Call for shutdown of nuke plants (from WorldNetDaily)greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
TUESDAY, JULY 27, 1999
PANIC IN THE YEAR ZERO Assessing risk of Y2K meltdown Watchdog group calls for shutdown of all plants
By David M. Bresnahan ) 1999 WorldNetDaily.com
The nuclear power industry has failed to prepare properly for the Year 2000 computer bug, according to a watchdog group, making the potential for a nuclear meltdown high.
The Nuclear Information and Resource Service continues to call for the shutdown of all nuclear power plants to avoid possible Y2K computer bug problems. A recent report from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has given critics additional reason for concern.
The NRC has confirmed that at least 35 nuclear power plants are not Y2K compliant and at best could only be Y2K ready by the end of the year.
NIRS noted that several of these reactors aren't even scheduled to complete their Y2K fixes until November 1999 or later. The last-minute nature of such repairs leaves virtually no time for testing and further adjustment if needed, according to NIRS spokesmen.
"The NRC's program is unacceptable," said NIRS' executive director Michael Mariotte. "It's what we feared all along -- this agency is waiting until the last minute and then just hoping that everything will work out OK. But with nuclear reactors, there is no margin for error. Simply hoping for the best is a sure indication that the worst can happen."
The NRC presented a list of 35 reactors that are behind schedule, along with a projected date they hope to have the plants at least Y2K ready. Compliant means that a system is completely repaired and will function without error at the turn of the century. A system which is only Y2K ready is one that has various patches that may enable it to function even though it is not repaired. One such patch is to change the date to fool the system. Such a fix may cause other problems.
Commercial nuclear power plants that are not ready were listed by the NRC along with projected dates that they will be Y2K ready. NIRS officials are concerned that not enough time remains between the dates given and the end of the year to test the systems to be sure sufficient repairs have been made.
The plants that are not repaired, along with their projected dates of Y2K readiness are:
Beaver Valley, Units 1 and 2; Shippingport, Pa., 9/30/99
Browns Ferry, Units 2 and 3; Athens, Ala., 10/31/99
Brunswick, Unit 1; Southport, N.C., 11/30/99
Clinton; Clinton, Ill., 9/22/99
Comanche Peak, Unit 1; Glen Rose, Texas, 11/30/99
Comanche Peak, Unit 2; Glen Rose, Texas, 10/30/99
D.C. Cook, Units 1 and 2; Bridgman, Mich., 12/15/99
Davis-Besse; Port Clinton, Ohio, 8/1/99
Diablo Canyon, Units 1 and 2; San Luis Obispo, Calif., 10/31/99
Farley, Unit 2; Columbia, Ala., 12/16/99
Hope Creek; Hancocks Bridge, N.J., 10/29/99
Limerick, Unit 2; Limerick, Pa., 9/30/99
Monticello; Monticello, Minn., 9/1/99
North Anna, Unit 2; Mineral, Va., 10/29/99
Oyster Creek; Toms River, N.J., 9/30/99
Peach Bottom, Unit 2; Delta, Pa., 9/30/99
Peach Bottom, Unit 3; Delta, Pa., 10/31/99
Perry; Perry, Ohio, 8/1/99
Salem, Unit 1; Wilmington, Del., 11/6/99
Salem, Unit 2; Hancocks, N.J., 10/29/99
Sequoyah, Units 1 and 2; Soddy-Daisy, Tenn., 10/31/99
South Texas, Units 1 and 2; Bay City, Texas, 10/31/99
St. Lucie, Units 1 and 2; Fort Pierce, Fla., 7/15/99
Three Mile Island, Unit 1; Middletown, Pa., 10/21/99
Turkey Point, Units 3 and 4; Florida City, Fla., 7/15/99
Vermont Yankee; Vernon, Vt., 10/31/99
Watts Bar; Spring City, Tenn., 10/31/99
"Obviously, the nuclear utilities still have an enormous amount of work to do to repair their computer systems for the next century," said Mary Olson, NIRS' Y2K specialist. "The NRC is trying to put the best spin possible on this problem, but the fact is some utilities just aren't going to be ready in time. Experts agree that no nuclear power will be needed in the U .S. on January 1, 2000, (because) there will be plenty of electrical generation available. For that reason, we join with our colleagues across the globe in calling for a nuclear moratorium on January 1-- a shutdown of all nuclear facilities across the world. Who knows, we may find we can live without them permanently?"
NIRS submitted three petitions for rulemaking to the NRC at the end of 1998.
One would require any utility not fully Y2K-compliant by Dec. 1, 1999 to be closed until it can prove it is Y2K-compliant. Thus far, the NRC has not indicated that any reactor will be Y2K compliant by Dec. 1, 1999.
NIRS also wants the U.S. to provide assistance to Eastern-Bloc nuclear reactors that suffer from Y2K problems.
"More U.S. assistance is necessary for many Eastern countries to ensure that January 1, 2000 is not a time of meltdown, but of celebration," said Olson. "The U.S. Congress needs to recognize that several Eastern countries need help in basic Y2K work and in enabling the implementation of meaningful contingency plans. Such assistance is of little cost to the U.S., but will be of great benefit if meltdowns and electrical grid disruptions can be avoided."
The North American Electric Reliability Council issued a report on the Y2K computer bug challenge to the electric industry. The report states that uninterrupted production of electricity is critical to the nation's infrastructure.
"More than any other element of the North American economic and social infrastructure, the electricity production and delivery systems must be dependable during the transition to Y2K. Every other critical element of infrastructure depends on the availability of an interconnected, reliable supply of electrical power. There is no doubt that cascading or even localized outages of generators and transmission facilities could have serious short- and long-term consequences," the report states.
Electric power in the U.S. is distributed through a power grid, which is made up of four large interconnections, according to NERC. Disruptions within the grid could cause a failure of the entire grid, or perhaps a failure of one of the interconnections.
"A major disturbance within one part of an interconnection will rapidly have an impact throughout the interconnection and has the potential to cascade the effect to the entire interconnection," the NERC report explains.
Although the loss of one, two, or even three power plants within an interconnection will not necessarily cause cascading outages, the Y2K problem may bring about such a failure. Many power plants have digitally controlled parts from the same manufacturer. These common modes could spell disaster.
"Y2K poses the threat that common mode failures (such as all generator protection relays of a particular model failing simultaneously) or the coincident loss of multiple failures may result in stressing the electric system to the point of a cascading outage over a large area," NERC admits in the report.
The late dates announced by the NRC for so many nuclear plants to be Y2K ready make testing difficult in the time remaining before the end of the year, according to the announcement by NIRS. The NERC report specifically points out that individual testing of power plants is not sufficient.
"An individualistic approach to the problem may not cover all potential problem areas (e.g., coordination with neighboring utilities) and, thus, could adversely affect operations within an interconnection. An individual electric utility that invests tens of millions of dollars in solving Y2K problems could be affected in a major way by an outage initiated in neighboring systems that have not been as diligent. Therefore, preparation of the electricity power production and delivery systems in North America must be a coordinated team effort by those entities responsible for system reliability. All preventive programs do not have to be the same, but they do have to be coordinated. The industry will succeed or fail together in its readiness for Y2K," predicts the NERC report.
WorldNetDaily previously reported the admission by NERC officials that critical information on the Y2K testing of power plants was purposefully being withheld from the public and from the Department Of Energy. That policy is still in effect.
NERC claims the challenges of meeting the Y2K transition can be handled successfully if critical areas are properly solved. NIRS believes the one problem which may be the greatest threat to the electric system, and to the safety of the general population, is the nuclear power plants. Only 15 to 20 percent of all power in the U.S. is generated from nuclear power, and NIRS claims all nuclear plants could be turned off in December with no adverse effects since usage is at the lowest level at that time of year.
NERC admits that newer power plants actually have a greater risk than older ones. Newer plants use digital control systems and older plants use analog controls. The digital equipment use time-dependent algorithms that could cause a system to trip offline if they fail.
It is also possible that global positioning satellites could fail in orbit, and some electric power plants depend on time signals from those satellites to run energy management systems. If the satellites fail the power system will fail. NERC is quick to point out that the satellites are controlled by the U.S. Government.
"Electric supply and delivery systems are highly dependent on microwave, telephone, and VHF radio communications. The dependency of the electric supply on facilities leased from telephone companies and commercial communications network service providers is a crucial factor. With telecommunications systems being the nerve center of the electric networks, it is important to address the dependencies of electric utility systems on the telecommunications industry during critical Y2K transition periods," the NERC report states.
NERC conducted a test in April to determine if the power grid could function with only high frequency radio systems as a backup in case other telecommunications systems fail. Another test will take place in September.
There are protection systems within power plants, but the newer ones are controlled by digital devices. It is possible that a failure of these devices could bring loss of power from many power plants all at the same time.
"Although many relay protection devices in use today are electromagnetic, newer systems are digital. The greatest threat here is a common mode failure in which all the relays of a certain model fail simultaneously, resulting in a large number of coincident transmission facility outages," explained the NERC report.
NIRS believes that the prudent approach is to shut down all nuclear plants in December and never turn them back on unless they can be proven to be fully Y2K compliant, not just Y2K ready. Spokesmen from NERC and the NRC claim the people from NIRS are overreacting.
David M. Bresnahan, a contributing editor for WorldNetDaily.com, is the author of "Cover Up: The Art and Science of Political Deception," and offers a monthly newsletter "Talk USA Investigative Reports." He may be reached through email and also maintains a website.
) 1999 WorldNetDaily.com, Inc.
This page was last built 7/27/99; 3:35:11 AM Direct corrections and technical inquiries to email@example.com
-- walt (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 27, 1999
Along the lines of nuclear reactors-- has anyone given any thought about the nuclear reactors out there that are not "commercial" nuclear power plants?
-- winter wondering (email@example.com), July 27, 1999.
Just a note on Florida's nukes, Port St. Lucie and Turkey Point...
From http://www.fpl.com/ [scroll down to 'year 2000 update', click on "Find Out More"]
Scroll down a bit to this section...
Turkey Point Nuclear Plant Receives Positive Y2K Audit Comments
FPL received positive comments from a Y2K audit performed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in May 1999. A Y2K readiness review and a contingency planning audit were conducted at the Turkey Point nuclear plant. The overall conclusions were as follows:
Readiness Review. The NRC reviewed FPL's Y2K readiness assessments on six plant systems and stated these were the most in-depth assessments they have seen. The NRC review identified no issues or weaknesses.
Contingency Planning Audit. The NRC reviewed contingency plans associated with 16 systems, and integrated contingency planning, with no issues or weaknesses noted. The NRC inspectors commented that FPL's Y2K program was aggressive, and the FPL contingency plans were well thought out.
The same Year 2000 readiness program is in use at St. Lucie and will be reviewed by the NRC in June. The NRC intends to release a report summarizing the results of its reviews of all U.S. nuclear plants in early August.
All remediation and detailed assessment for the nuclear plants are essentially complete as of June 30, 1999. St. Lucie unit 1 is scheduled for a refueling outage during the fall of 1999, and FPL intends to conduct confirmatory testing of a small number of systems during this outage.
Elsewhere, they repeat that they are 'esssentially complete' and give a date of June 30,1999.
-- J (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 27, 1999.
Ah Chuck, that question won't make you any friends...
Of course you are right. Think 50%-60% in some states. Anyone here from New Jersey? North Carolina? Pennsylvania? Could be cold without nuclear power...
NIRS joins the Union of Concerned Scientists for the best disinformation campaign on nuclear plants. Can one of you electronics gurus tell me why I can't bench test a component to be y2k compliant and then install that component on Dec. 30 without a problem? The plants in question are not going to shut down to install a compliant component that can be installed during a scheduled outage.
There is a huge margin for error at a power plant; at least a 100% margin for FAILURE, forget about the error margin.
Anyone with questions should consult the archives at Electric Utilities and Y2K. DO THE RESEARCH!
-- nucpwr (email@example.com), July 27, 1999.
Ok there dude, then why don't you just explain to me why your safety oriented industry yanked the section of their website which detailed digital failures from 96-97. Here read this:
COMPUTER-BASED DIGITAL SYSTEM FAILURES: DECEMBER 1996 - MARCH 1997 ______________________________________________________ Click
This page has been removed until it can be re-checked for accuracy.
(Effective: May 5, 1999)
Now, here's some of the text from that page which someone(Rick Cowles) thoughtfully saved a copy of (pay close attention to section 3):
Computer-Based Digital System Failures:December, 1996 - March, 1997 (Nuclear Regulatory Commission)
The report that follows provides a summary of NRC staff results from a search and review of digital system problems at nuclear power facilities. It is reprinted here simply to illustrate the fact that there are many systems controlled by digital technology components and devices in power plants, both nuclear and fossil. While this report covers only a four month window, a review of NRC data from 1987 to 1997 finds one hundred eleven separate instances of significant digital system failures.
1. INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND
In recent years, many licensees have chosen to install computer-based digital systems for control and protection purposes to replace outdated analog equipment. As an effort to gain a better understanding of the overall reliability of digital systems currently installed in nuclear power plants, the Instrumentation and Controls Branch (HICB) tracks problems associated with these digital systems. This information can be referred to when performing reviews and inspections of future digital system retrofits or when considering new industry standards and NRC guidelines. This report presents the results of HICB's search for digital system problems or failures that occurred during the period of December 1996 through March 1997. This information was obtained through interfacing with designated instrumentation and controls contacts in each region and reviewing Nuclear Plant Reliability Data System data, Licensee Event Reports, event notifications, morning reports, inspection reports, and Nuclear Utilities Software Management Group news bulletins for information concerning digital system problems. This report should not be considered a comprehensive list of all digital system failures.
As outlined in "Proposed Plan to Track Digital System Failures," transmitted via memorandum to Jared S. Wermiel, dated December 16, 1994, HICB has undertaken two tasks in order to identify computer-based digital system problems. First, HICB maintains communication with designated instrumentation and controls contacts in each region to obtain information concerning problems associated with digital systems. Second, HICB performs a quarterly review of Nuclear Plant Reliability Data System data, Licensee Event Reports, event notifications, morning reports, inspection reports, and Nuclear Utilities Software Management Group news bulletins for digital system failure information. The problems identified during this review period were added to HICB's digital system failures database. This database contains software, hardware, electromagnetic interference, and man-machine interface problems associated with digital control and protection systems dating back to 1993.
Eleven software deficiencies were identified during this review and are shown in Table 1. Three of these problems were associated with safety-related systems. Descriptions of the problems associated with the digital data processing system at St. Lucie and the digital adjustable speed drive (ASD) modification at Washington Nuclear Project 2 are provided below.
Three digital system hardware problems were also identified during the review and are shown in Table 2. These were all associated with safety-related systems. The problems involving the gas turbine generator at Millstone and the radiation monitor remote display unit at Diablo Canyon are described below.
Now tell me with a straight face Nucpwr how freaking safe your industry is? Yeah, right. Now I'm not questioning you personally, I'm simply pointing out the fact that your boys there at NRC (stands for Not Really Competent or Nobody Really Cares) are full of shit. This bullshit has got to stop. Your industry is really fucking with peoples lives out there and the average nimrod doesn't have a clue that he's in danger.
Look in safe times, you might be able to convince me that there's a place for nuclear energy, however these aren't safe, simple times. Shut em down and startem up later. Yes I realize what that means.
-- Gordon (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 27, 1999.
I have a bud that works as a fire/safety crew at Hanford. They are a non-power produceing nuk plant and he is scared. They don't have gensets for the cooling ponds for the spent rods, and they aren't ready yet. I've invited him and his family to vacation here over the holidays, but Hanford wants full crews over the hollidays, no leaves. He thinks he will have a family emergency just after Chistmas.
-- CT (email@example.com), July 28, 1999.