Skip to comments.Sabotage may have started Three Mile Island accident
Posted on 01/19/2014 10:12:01 AM PST by Pontiac
Updated (Jan 19, 2014 at 01:45 am) The pattern is not completely clear, and there are pieces missing from the puzzle, but I have found enough bits of evidence to convince me that it is more likely than not that someone purposely initiated the Three Mile Island (TMI) accident.
This is a difficult story to tell; its not easy to revise history. Its even harder to it successfully when there is sure to be disbelief, dismissal, and efforts to discredit. I prefer being respected and strive to avoid the potential of being marginalized as a crackpot. However, I feel a strong inner push to share what I have learned so far. It would be okay to have someone disprove my postulated sequence of events. Its quite possible that sharing my version will encourage others to add puzzle pieces that make the story even more complete.
At the time of the initial investigations, the possibility of sabotage was considered and officially rejected due to a lack of evidence. However, the historical record is reasonably clear about the lack of high-level interest in finding any evidence of malice. Chapter 11 of the Conclusions and Recommendations section of the Rogovin Report Three Mile Island: A Report to the Commissioners and the Public is titled Sabotage, Bribery, and Coverup. The reports authors were unable to determine why the emergency feed water valves were shut, and left it as an open issue in their final report.
(Excerpt) Read more at atomicinsights.com ...
Probably deserves a re-investigation
Author’s name is Rod. Excellent.
The fact that the movie “China Syndrome” came out about that time had nothing to do it. The greenies wouldn’t sabotage a nuke plant to advance their agenda would they?
Pinging some who posted to Fukushima articles
That was my first thought, as well, especially considering the Hanoi Jane connection.
Before TMI operator training was much different than now. Besides training ergometrics where also investigated. All operating nukes were required to make changes after TMI. One was the construction of a simulator for training. The simulator was an exact replica of the control room down to the furnishings and the color of telephones.
Unless a trainee or operator requalifying looked behind him to see the windows into the trainers room, they could not see a difference between the control room and the simulator.
I forget how accurate the S/W had to emulate the actual plant. At that time they all used Gould minicomputers. All of the alarms, meters, etc. in the simulator responded the same as the actual plant would as the controls were moved.
There was a cacophony going on in the TMI control room during that incident. A large part of the problem went back to the plant design including the control room. From what I’ve read and seen afterwards and while at TMI following the incident, I don’t believe it’s sabotage.
People were challenged by an unusual happening and their equipment and training didn’t provide the tools they needed.
Early in The China Syndrome, the characters played by Jane Fonda and Michael Douglas witness an event from the control room observation area at a 4 year-old, single unit, inland sited, 800 MWe nuclear power plant whose characteristics roughly match those of Rancho Seco, a sister plant of TMI unit 2.
movie event which the Douglas character insists on calling an accident, even though there was no core damage is described as a turbine trip with a loss of feed water. The first indication in the control room is a shuddering floor that makes the water cooler and a cup of coffee shake. The horn blares frequently enough to distract the shift supervisor, and nearly every light on the expansive monitoring panels flashes, demanding attention.
During the event, there is a stuck open relief valve, a pressurizer level indication that pegs high, operator worries about going solid, operators that stop High Pressure Injection during the casualty, and a need to manipulate stop valves for the relief valves.
In other words, with all of the possible nuclear plant events that the writers could have picked, the fictional event was virtually identical, in initial stages, to the real event.
Sorry. It's not even worth reading.
***The execrable the China Syndrome***
Our power company VP told us not to go see this movie. So we did. It lacked some of the technical info to shut down a turbine from a remote position in an emergency.
MBH Technical Associates, the consulting firm founded by Gregory Minor, Richard Hubbard and Dale Bridenbaugh, served as technical consultants for the movie. They did a very credible job; the set included an almost perfect replica of a nuclear power plant control room, the turbine and auxiliary building scenes were frighteningly accurate, and the operators used realistic terminology.
At this point, the questions that come to mind are: Did life imitate art? Did someone decide that the best way to predict the future is to invent it. Did a disgruntled employee watch the movie and recognize an opportunity to get his concerns noticed? Did a New Jersey mobster decide to issue a warning about moving a plant out of his influence area?
So China Syndrome film had a technically savvy consultant on the film that knew the TMI plant very well. Coincidence or no?
He talks more about the film in part 2. Go about 2/3 way down the page.
TMI was a case of lack of training. Most operators think a Power Plant as a bunch of things rather than a system.
I trained my operators to think: If I do this, push a button, how does that affect all of the other parts of the system and if I get strange results why?
Look at it, you have people on the floor for that reason.
Given that it happened just as JANE FONDA was coming out with the ‘China Syndrome’, it does look very suspicious. Why would anybody just turn off the water valves?
But you should read the article. He makes points that had not been brought out in any writing about the accident before to my knowledge.
I have been in the industry since 1981 and I never knew about the hose connecting water and air systems that caused the feed water valves to close.
When viewed as a whole all of these mispositioned components seem to be just too many to happen all at once with out some person or persons setting it up.
The interactivity among the system is key. You can study all the drawings and system descriptions you want, but the simulator brings it all together for a nuke operator.
It is a long read, I only lasted thru part 1, but I shall revisit, and check out this section, as well. Thanks for the info.
Thank you for the ping.
it. The greenies wouldnt sabotage a nuke plant to advance their agenda would they?
if not the greenies, then the weather underground or the anthroprogal global warming extremists would
Two words: Reactor Operator. Too fixated on one indicator (Pressurizer Level). Manually overrode safety functions, not once, not twice, but three specific times to come withing 20 minutes of a ‘meltdown.’ Saved, in the end by the designers, who pointed tolerances on metallurgical equations in the most conservative directions so that the core actually ‘slumped’ away from a focused pool of mass. Stupid design. Compared to most pressurized water nuclear reactors, TMI’s control/surge volume was tiny. Like trying to steer an 18-wheeler with tricycle handlebars. Shoddy construction - paraphrasing their own testimony, unit 1 was like a Mercedes Benz, Unit 2 was a ‘59 Rambler. Net result to local population? same radiation exposure as a flight to Denver. Catastrophe compounded by the governor, who as a DOJ attorney wrote a well-received report stating that the Federal Government should exacerbate small disasters to make them bigger and test population effects. One of the things he suggested in the report was a gag order so the press could only speculate. So guess what Dick Thornton did as Governor of Pennsylvania? Yep - a gag order. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose! (The more things change, the more they stay the same...)
You have to train your people, think of the system. Never over ride a safety system with out verification.
A Control Room Operator is only one person in the chain.
I’m an engineering supervisor at a nuke. You are absolutely right. The operating crew did not understand they had a steam bubble in the reactor, and thought they had a solid pressurizer. So they reduced water in the core. The rest is history. No sabotage, no grassy knoll.
Coolant water was leaking out of the core through a faulty valve. The operators misread the control panel and thought the opposite was happening. So instead of correcting the fault, they accidentally made it worse.
It would be difficult to prove or disprove anything now.
Sabotage possible at TMI? Sure it’s “possible”.
Is it likely? I doubt it. The envirowackos we
now deal with were still in their infancy and the
kind of people who would be willing to sabotage a
nuclear plant for their green agenda are NOT the
kind of people to put in the time and effort to
learn the needed skills in order to become employed
at one. Could someone have been paid to booger up
things there? Sure...but never attribute to malice
that which can be explained by incompetence, stupidity
or crappy instrumentation. There are plenty of more
realistic reasons behind what happened. But people
LOVE a good conspiracy theory.
I have heard that explanation but the man worked at the nuclear plant for a long time. How can he have made such a dumb mistake without investigating further?
Make sure you read part 2.
In part 2 the author points out the disturbing parallels between the movie The China Syndrome and the sequence of events at TMI. Start about half way down if it too much.
It almost seems that TMI may have been set up to make publicity for the movie.
I know it seem a stretch but when there are that many similarity it is just too many to be a coincidence.
I would suspect that the author of The China Syndrome did his research about reactor design, talked to industry insiders about things that could go wrong and wrote a book then a script that was realistic....too realistic.
I truly doubt the enviroweenies could successfully infiltrate a reactor crew
as an employee....true math and science is not their forte. I also find it difficult to believe that a movie production company could pay off or coopt
an employee to act in their interest.
As stated a connection is certainly not impossible......just extremely improbable.
*shrug* I was about 8 at the time, so I'm in no position to offer a post-mortem.
Sometimes, when you're under pressure, you don't take in needed data in quite as effective a fashion as you would otherwise. That's all I can suggest.
Interesting reading, but way beyond my technical pay-grade. Yes, I remember “China Syndrome”. Who knew TMI would follow that flick so closely?
That is the real question isnt it?
Was it an accident? Or was it a publicity stunt that worked too well?
This brief article is about the pipeline explosion in Washington state. Not in the article - but it was partly a result of Y2K computer problems (switching in a hurry to new software). The software had shown several times a false indicator that a valve down line was closed, when in fact it was open. The first few times they would send a person the xx miles to check on the valve out in the field.
After numerous false alarms, this time when the software showed it to be closed (”Oh yeah - that thing is always wrong, let it flow”) it WAS closed. And the pipe burst with all of the aviation fuel hitting the closed valve.
If it weren’t for two little boys (RIP) playing with a lighter in the woods, the fuel would have made it into the populated town and exploded there.
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