Aug 7, 2006

Runaway Meatball - Nuclear Reactor Ghost Ship

Nearly two weeks ago, around noon on July 25, a power outage occured at Forsmark [nuclear power plant], throwing the plant's control room into a state of chaos. As the power failed, so did two of the plant's four emergency backup g enerators. The numbers on the controls started to go berserk, and it took a full 23 minutes before the workers, who for a time had no idea what was happening inside the reactor, were able to bring Forsmark 1 back under control.

Describing the mishap, the environmental organization Greenpeace wrote that the events at Forsmark were comparable to a "ghost ship," with nobody at the rudder. And the Swedish Environment Ministry described the event as a "serious" safety incident. Swedish nuclear expert Lars-Olov Högland, who served as chief of construction for Vattenfall until 1986, put it far more dramatically. "It was pure luck that there was not a meltdown," he said. "It was the worst incident since Chernobyl and Harrisburg," a reference to the 1979 meltdown at Three-Mile Island in Pennsylvania.
-Excerpt From The Spiegel

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