But before we get into the details of the event report, first lets deal with a simple question.
What would happen if all of a sudden the Forth Knox gold depository had a on site failure that resulted in a loss of site Safety Parameter Display System (SPDS), Emergency Response Data System (ERDS) and Plant Process Computer (PPC)?
Imagine Fort Knox being blind to what is happening in their facility for a 2 hour period. What do you think they would suspect might be happening? Now imagine that happening at a nuclear plant that has a reported history of sabotage.
Well you don't have to imagine it, because it happened yesterday at the Brunswick North Carolina nuclear plant. From the NRC event report # 48019
LOSS OF THE PLANT PROCESS COMPUTER SYSTEM
"At 1757 EDT on 6/12/12, Brunswick Nuclear Plant experienced a fault on the Emergency Response Facility Information System (ERFIS) uninterruptible power supply (UPS) electrical bus 'A'. This resulted in a loss of site Safety Parameter Display System (SPDS), Emergency Response Data System (ERDS) and Plant Process Computer (PPC) for both Unit 1 and Unit 2. The cause of the fault is not yet understood and under investigation. No other major plant effects occurred and no major plant evolutions are planned.
"During the loss of SPDS, the emergency response capability of that system was lost to the site. During the loss of ERDS, the automatic data transfer feature of that system was lost for transmissions to the NRC, however manual data transfer is still available. During the loss of the PPC, automatic core thermal power averaging and automatic core thermal limit monitoring was lost. Manual calculations are available for these functions.
"Unit 1 SPDS was restored to the Emergency Operations Facility (EOF) at 1949 EDT. Unit 2 SPDS was restored to the EOF at 2030 EDT. ERDS and PPC remain unavailable with troubleshooting in progress. Both units reduced power to 98% as a conservative measure.
"The NRC Resident Inspector has been notified."
The NRC has documented serious sabotage at the Brunswick Nuclear plant. They have also explained away some happenings, like not properly bolting down the lid of a nuclear reactor, in a way that can only be described as complete, total, and utter incompetence.
So what are we to make of the recent "event" at Brunswick? Well, what would they think and how would they respond had this happened at Fort Knox or at a 'deadly force authorized' nuclear weapons/materials storage facility?
Given its history, our take is that if we lived any where near or downwind of Brunswick nuclear plant, we would be concerned about what was either just stolen at Brunswick or what might have just been set up to happen next.
We would be less concerned about these things if the happenings at Brunswick were investigated from a criminal standpoint (just to be safe) versus the NRC method of relying on incompetence over malice.