Yet another weird SF fan

I'm a mathematician, a libertarian, and a science-fiction fan. Common sense? What's that?

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Yet another weird SF fan

Friday, October 28, 2011

This List of Nuclear Accidents Is Incomplete

A list of nuclear accidents somehow didn't include all the leaks in nuclear power plants that occur in restrooms.

The list in question has to be one of lamest excuses to suppress a technology I've ever seen. It includes the times a nuclear-power plant worker brought a porno magazine to work or accidentally shut down a reactor while cleaning the control room. It includes an “attack” on a nuclear-power plant by jellyfish and numerous instances of reactors being shut down by false alarms. A typical scenario can be summarized as “Some trivial problem occurred. The reactor shut down and was later restarted.” For example:

Nuclear Power's Dirty Little Secret

One June 17, 1970, an operator at the LaCrosse nuclear plant near Genoa, Wisconsin, used a dust cloth to clean the control room. The cloth snagged the identification tag attached to one of the key switches and moved it around to the OFF position. The repositioning of this single switch caused the reactor to automatically shut down.

To prevent this unfortunate event from happening again, the control room operators were instructed to use a feather duster when cleaning. [23]

The training program for operators consists of more than a year's worth of classroom instruction and simulator exercises. The proper techniques for feather-dusting are not covered during this otherwise comprehensive training.

Another scenario is that of becoming aware of a potential problem and fixing it:

Easy Doesn't Do It

In late May 1990, the Brunswick nuclear plant in North Carolina was shut down because the operators flunked their requalification exams. In early May, fourteen of 20 operators and three of four operating crews had failed the test. On May 19 20, all four crews and eight of 27 operators failed re-tests.

A spokesman for the plant attributed the failures to a change in the retraining program requested by the NRC. According to the spokesman: "The NRC exam is very difficult." [24]

Hopefully, nuclear power plants will only have easy accidents. Hard accidents can be so darned inconvenient.

Does that mean they fired Homer Simpson?


Anonymous TJIC said...

> fourteen of 20 operators and three of four operating crews had failed the test

Apparently all of higher education is a disaster because not every PhD candidate passes their oral exam, and not every professor is granted tenure.

Shut down higher education and go back to chanting Latin - it's the only safe way given the Horrid Dangers(tm) !

10:09 AM  

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