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4 Comments

  1. At least part of what we are seeing with the “worriers” is what has been termed “chronological snobbery.” That is, those who preceded us could not have done as good of a job as we would now, because they had less access to various facts, their tools (especially for computation) were inferior, and we are just so much smarter now.

    While some of this is partially true, especially the part about computational tools, what is not acknowledged is that those engineers who designed these nuclear power plants so many years ago understood the calculations they did better than many current engineers because they themselves had to do them, and not rely on a software tool whose inner workings are usually not understood by today’s users. In addition, the lack of precision in the calculations so many years ago was overcompensated by using a series of conservative simplifying assumptions. The net result is that we have structures that are significantly stronger than the stated strength.

    It is only by studying in detail the designs from the past that proper respect can be given to previous work. All too often, this historical research is given short shrift.

    1. “… their tools (especially for computation) were inferior, and we are just so much smarter now.”

      People just say that because they can barely do basic maths in their heads (or even on paper) and can’t comprehend that thinking without having something else do your thinking for you is even possible.

      After all, mathematics didn’t even exist before we invented machines to do it, right? Preposterous notion.

  2. I also think that the LNT nonsense that is factored into the designs of each nuclear plant will allow its structure to be earthquake proof on top and above of what would normally be required.

  3. Have any of the “concerned” readers ever considered the fact that the relay in their car (boat, plane, train, etc.) they rely upon to perform a needed emergency function is not and in many cases could not be qualified to serve as an acceptable safety related relay in a NPP – even though there could be 2 or three “backup/redundant” relays performing the same function. Can you ever recall replacing a starter rely in your car, the bright/dim headlight relay, and think about the punishment that the relays in a locomotive receive. I have seen shock sensors on locomotives that indicated 6G of shock and all of the electronic control functions were operating normally. SQUG is working on trying to get some of these “industrial” components qualified via paperwork but as expensive as it is it is cheaper to go ahead and do the actual seismic “shake” test for many components. Go figure. Your odds of dying from an auto, plane, boat, train wreck are 1 in XX to XXX and from a nuclear disaster from the local NPP are 1 in XXXXXXXXXX (approximate ratios).

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