The word on Forsmark

Some news from SKI on Forsmark.

The incident at Forsmark 1 did not come near a meltdown, no emissions to
the environment occurred as a consequence of the event, and the number of safety
systems that were activated proved sufficient. A comprehensive evaluation put
the event at 2 on the seven-point INES scale.

The most serious aspect of the incident in SKI's view is that safety
systems that should have been independent of one another were not sufficiently
separate.

So the fearmongering - shock horror! - was baseless. Not only that but it turns out the flaw was a failure to follow the principles of defense-in-depth wth its multiple, independent redundancy. Proper application of defense-in-depth would have prevented all the panic. There is nothing wrong with the principles of nuclear engineering. They just have to be followed.

And even then, the designers of Forsmark-1 still did a good enough job that this error failed to ultimately jeopardise safety in any serious way.

The word on Forsmark

Some news from SKI on Forsmark.

The incident at Forsmark 1 did not come near a meltdown, no emissions to
the environment occurred as a consequence of the event, and the number of safety
systems that were activated proved sufficient. A comprehensive evaluation put
the event at 2 on the seven-point INES scale.

The most serious aspect of the incident in SKI's view is that safety
systems that should have been independent of one another were not sufficiently
separate.

So the fearmongering - shock horror! - was baseless. Not only that but it turns out the flaw was a failure to follow the principles of defense-in-depth wth its multiple, independent redundancy. Proper application of defense-in-depth would have prevented all the panic. There is nothing wrong with the principles of nuclear engineering. They just have to be followed.

And even then, the designers of Forsmark-1 still did a good enough job that this error failed to ultimately jeopardise safety in any serious way.

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.

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.