Monday, November 21, 2011

How Many Engineers Does It Take To Screw Down The Lid Of A Nuclear Core?

How Many Engineers Does It Take To Screw Down The Lid Of A Nuclear Core? Don't ask the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and/or Progress Energy that question. Given the recent declared emergency at the Brunswick Nuclear plant in North Carolina, where the pressure cooker top of the nuclear core was screwed in loose enough to allow the NUCLEAR CORE to DIRECTLY spew out hot radioactive materials, the answer obviously is that the NRC and Progress Energy didn't have the ability to answer that question. But don't worry, the NRC and Progress Energy say there is no IMMEDIATE danger.

The public and media seemingly have no concept of the gravity of this utterly dangerous situation. The penalty of failure in the nuclear business is high and long; in fact it is much higher than in aviation where a lesser failure would have resulted in the FAA IMMEDIATELY grounding and inspecting fleets of aircraft with similar maintenance histories. The reality of this situation is that this sort of escaped defect undermines the credibility of the entire Nuclear Power industry and highlights the level of danger the public faces (which is exactly why it is being played down).

We at POTRBLOG believe this incident was an act of sabotage, modeled on a March 18, 2011 Union of Concerned Scientist Analysis showing how the Brunswick plant could be turned into a Fukushima style hydrogen explosion. Our position is supported by a past history of core sabotage at the Brunswick plant. What makes the current situation doubly interesting is that UCS engineer Dave Lochbaum, who authored the analysis on how North Brunswick could go all Fukushima, made this comment about the emergency at North Brunswick: "It's more embarrassing than it is a safety near-miss," That is exactly the kind of comment a law enforcement agency would ask such a person to make in order to strike at the ego of the saboteur, in hopes that saboteur would respond. In fact, it is only scenario in which we can imagine David Loughbaum's comment to make any sense at all. One only hopes that Loughbaum's comment didn't incorrectly reassure the public about the immediate safety of the declared emergency.

The good news is that a saboteur can be tracked down and arrested, IF A PROPER CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION IS CONDUCTED. That bad news is that suspected saboteur likely has access to more than one nuclear plant. The worse news is that if there is no saboteur, and it is solely a matter of nuclear incompetence, eventual that incompetence will screw us all in the end with another home grown Fukushima.

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