Saturday, August 05, 2006
News Not Reported in the U.S.A.: Worst Nuclear "Incident" Since Chernobyl
Here's the story from Spiegel:
An observer has called last week's mishap in Sweden the worst incident to befall a nuclear power plant since the accident at Chernobyl. Nobody was injured, but for 22 minutes, workers had no idea what was happening in the reactor's core. Swedish officials have taken half the country's nuclear power plants offline until it can ensure their safe operation.
Sweden's nuclear energy authority, SKI, has largely completed its reconstruction of events in an accident last week that led to the closure of a nuclear power plant in the city of Forsmark and, ultimately, the shutdown of half the country's nuclear plants as a precautionary measure. In the incident, two of the plant's four backup generators malfunctioned when the plant experienced a major power outage on July 25. According to officials, who described the event as "serious," a short-circuit triggered the accident, which caused a cut in power to the nuclear facility. Plant workers told Swedish media that it came close to a meltdown.
In fact, the only thing that appears to have stopped a catastrophe is the fact that two diesel backup generators kicked in, enabling the Forsmark facility to operate at least part of its emergency cooling system. Still, for 20 minutes, workers were unable to obtain information about the condition of the reactor and they were only able to respond after 21 minutes and 41 seconds, according to a report in Germany's Hamburger Abendblatt newspaper.
Swedish media are reporting that a previously unknown technical problem emerged during the emergency that could also be present in all other Swedish nuclear reactors.
* * * * * * *