Thursday, December 8, 2011

Nuclear plants: Backups to Backups Never Work


Magee pointed out that the system is a backup that is needed only if the plant's other shutdown modes can't be used.
"We take their assessment of plant performance very seriously," Magee said. "This facility has never been needed in the 38 years of Oconee's operation."

I had this problem when installing seismic instrumentation -- if the system is regarded as useless by the operators, it will never work.  Operators have very short vision, usually just to the end of their nose.  The management consists of former operators.  A long time ago some designer thought to make things safer by putting in a backup to the backup system.  Bad mistake!

That's why nuclear plants do very badly in an earthquake.  The plant is full of these people who say "We haven't had an earthquake in 38 years, why bother?"

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