Panic attack: The second coming!

It's even worse this time because nothing actually happened. A power transient in the Swedish National Grid caused Forsmark-1 to SCRAM. Normally, this would be hard for even Greenpeace to spin this particularly dastardly, but two of the four emergency diesel generators failed to come online. This is fine for keeping the reactor safe, but of course, the purveyors of FUD enjoy wondering what could have happened if the transient had taken out all the generators.

From the NY Times:
Some experts have likened the incident to the Chernobyl and Three Mile Island
nuclear accidents, while industry officials have scoffed at such comparisons.

They're right to scoff. While Chernobyl's meltdown was due to prompt criticality, which allows for an uncontrollable power surge, the near-miss scare stories about the Forsmark SCRAM are all related to a lack of adequate dissipation of decay heat. This scenario is somewhat similar to Three Mile Island, though it would require a drop in coolant levels, for it was the portion of the fuel above the water line in the core, which melted. There was no loss of coolant at Forsmark, so this comparison is also slightly stretching it.

But never doubt the ability of the media and interest groups to turn a relatively benign equipment malfunction into an almost full-scale disaster. It is somewhat telling that what they're calling the worst accident since Chernobyl is entirely based around fear or what might have happened, rather than what did happen. Speaks volume for the safety record of the industry.

Anyway, I have produced a write-up on it.

There's also some good stuff around the blogosphere, particularly from the WNA and NEI.

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