Skip to comments.Tomorrow no one shows up for work at the power plant, what happens? (research request)
Posted on 03/15/2012 1:16:25 PM PDT by Mad Dawgg
I am working on a story and in the story people don't show up for work anywhere including the power plants (electrical generation).
So what happens? For instance will a Nuke plant shut down safely if no one shows up ever again or will the plant become unstable after a time with no human supervision and it would go into meltdown and/or releases some form of nuclear exhaust? If so what are we talking here? China Syndrome or something like the what happened in Japan after the quake?
A coal fired plant or a gas fired plant I would surmise would just cease to function once the fuel ran out. Of course I understand once you get a couple of plants offline then the grid would start reacting and I guess it would cause a blackout like we had a few years back.
But what would happen at the plants themselves with no one there to react to a demand for more power? Would such cause the plants still running to try and take up the slack? If so when they tried to keep up could it cause them to work too hard and cause explosions?
I figure Hydro plants would just keep on going till the turbines burnt up unless there are automatic relays that shuts them down if the load becomes to heavy...
How long could the grid stay active without human supervision? Are we talking hours or days or weeks?
This is research for a story so any help is greatly appreciated, first hand knowledge or links on the web or good books and movies are all appreciated!
I think the Japanese answered the question about the Nuclear plant about a year ago.
E-Gen plants have human supervision 24/7. To “not show up to work in the morning” would not make sense unless the crew on-shift purposely left their posts.
I would think that if you are looking at a Galt-like situation, the employees would safely shut it down prior to leaving.
A bunch of illegals show up.
More like the computers would shut down the reactor.
This is TEOTWAWKI stuff.
The scariest thing I ever heard was talked about on Coast to Coast one evening.
All nuclear plants are required to have the ability to generate (external) power for at least 8 hours if they shut down or go off the grid. Because they need to keep pumping cooling water in until they can at least get the fuel rods withdrawn and secured.
Otherwise, we get like what happened in Japan.
OK, so far, no biggie.
Problem is most plants, no matter what, are pretty much on their own after 30 hours or so.
The real problem is the entire power grid depends on these large (90KV to 150KV) transformers.
One decent solar storm could knock out a couple hundred of these across the grid, normally there are about 3,000 online.
And we have zero backups of these transformers. Or so close to zero, it might as well be zero.
So a decent solar storm or EMP, and we have probably less than 30 hours before we have not just one event like Japan, but maybe 50 or 100 all happening at the exact same time.
what happened to the prior shiftwhen the next shift failed to show?? Did they walk out without shutting down the plant, fleeing like crazy lest their irresponsible act of abandoning a functioning nuclear plant overtake their escape? Or walking zombie-like without a care in the world? Or did they die like in a neutron bomb? What happens when a neutron bomb hits a nuclear plant?
The most likely scenario would be that the power plant staff would shut the plant down in an orderly and safe fashion before they left. Management would likely step in and try to do it themselves if there was a walkout. A third alternative would be to find a competent contractor to do it. Plans b and c would be risky alternatives, at least at my power plant
No, the situation is people will not be at the plant period. There won't be an orderly shutdown they just are not there for whatever reason.
Can a nuke plant shutdown safely under automation? And IIRC those rods can't be shutoff they still are hot and water is used to keep them from overheating if the water goes then the problems start. (At least that is how I understand it.) So even if the plant shuts of generation there is still the problem of the rods. I am guessing eventually the water dissipates without human supervision.
Some systems had only hours to go kerplop. The New York subways would be flooded within four days. The power grid would shut down and, in some cases, start combusting within a week.
House dogs and most other pets would not survive. Cats, on the other hand, would do just fine. Those not quick enough to catch mice and squirrels would just switch to moles and birds.
Within 40 years, windows would mostly fall out of buildings. Glass is a liquid, after all. Within a century, highways and streets would be overgrown with grass. Undulates would thrive as would their predators.
After 10,000 years, only a handful of man made edifices would even be recognizable, including Mount Rushmore (minus the noses) and pyramids of Egypt.
Biggest news-- none of the real scientists or computer models would or could predict climate changes in the earth because such changes were largely outside the control of man. Interesting stuff.
Who is John Galt?
I think they dealt with this in the “Life after People” series on the History channel. Rather chilling.
“Glass is a liquid, after all.”
No, it’s not. If it was there wouldn’t be well-shaped glassware thousands of years old. The “old windows are thicker at bottom ‘cuz thy flowed” is BS - panes were made and installed that way back when.
Mister Burns would have to build a robot and steal some poor bastards brain. And Moe would be victimized. Again.
This is the info I keep finding but rarely with attribution just a statement saying power grid would last no more than a week without supervision and even less if say a lightning strike took out part of the grid in a large urban area. A heavy draw to replace the downed plant would cause demand to shoot up on the remaining power generation plants and cause a cascade effect like happened a few years back.
Scenario: “everybody out! Now! Vertical or horizontal, you choose!”
For fiction, situations can be invented as needed.
I work in the utility industry and I often wonder the same thing. Imagine when the economy gets so bad and government handouts become so large that going to work stops making sense, especially if you have a dangerous and physically demanding job like working in a power plant.
Would Obamunist KGB (DHS)come to my house to force me back to work at gunpoint? Would they nationalize me into the Army? Would they just ignore my anti-communist past and let me join the Party, becoming a low-level apparatchik as long as I play along and keep my mouth shut?
NEVER FEAR - Homer will be there ...
Automatic systems will trip fossil fuel plants offline once things go out of whack. Nukes? They trip offline too. After they trip - that is where I don’t know.
The Federal Government steps in and eventually takes control of the power plant-—immediately if we are talking about a nuclear reactor.
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