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Sweden was 2 hours from a disaster worse than Chernobyl

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posted on Aug, 2 2006 @ 04:30 AM
Last week (25 July 2006) an electricity fault shut down a reactor at Forsmark Nuclear Power Plant in Sweden. Whenever a reactor is shut down in this way it needs urgent cooling to avoid meltdown. However, a malfunction in the generators for the cooling system (an error which apparently was present on all four generators) caused only two of the generators to start, and they started by pure luck! A report was presented today in Sweden. They lost power for 20 minutes and only parts of the security system was working. Also in the control room there was problems (Monitors and speakers not working...). Forsmark was only two hours away from a meltdown! A disaster which could have been worse than Chernobyl according to a Swedish nuclear expert, Lars-Olov Höglund, who was also involved with the construction of the reactor.

Photo: Lars Pehrson

From Wikipedia: Forsmark Nuclear Power Plant

On 25 July 2006 one reactor was shut down after a electricity fault. [1] According to Lars-Olov Höglund, a former construction chief at the Swedish nuclear inspection authority SKI, it is the most serious nuclear incident in the world since the Chernobyl disaster, and it was simply luck that prevented a meltdown. The current leadership of the authority do not agree and say everything was under control and there was no risk of a meltdown.

Nuclear plant faced possible meltdown

Last week's shutdown of the Forsmark nuclear power plant in Sweden, north of Stockholm, reportedly could have resulted in a meltdown.

"It was pure luck that there was not a meltdown," nuclear expert and former Forsmark director Lars-Olov Höglund told The Local. "Since the electricity supply from the network didn't work as it should have, it could have been a catastrophe."

He said without power, the temperature would have been too high after 30 minutes and within two hours there could have been a meltdown.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

The pro-nuclear power people are now busy covering up and limit the damage. They say he is exaggerating this whole situation and there was "actually no real danger". Yeah, right. "Everything is under control here. Nothing to see..."

Related News Sources:
United Press International: Nuclear plant faced possible meltdown (in english...)
Nettavisen: To timer unna ny Tsjernobyl (in norwegian...)

posted on Aug, 2 2006 @ 04:33 AM
Aren't they on a grid like in the U.S. so they can draw power from other plants in case of total failure of all equipment there?

posted on Aug, 2 2006 @ 04:36 AM
Oh my god. They started by pure chance?

That is a nuclear facility!! It should have if not the the most advanced, then the most well kept machinery in the country. And yet there were monitors and speakers not working, as well as vital generators?

Not my area of expertise - get Tom Bedlam onto this - but it is clear to me that this situation SHOULD NOT have developed. Even if the facts were played up a bit, anything resembling this event at all should not even happen. What about all the backup systems those places are supposed to have? Are they unable to draw electricity from somewhere else?

This is dire news. The quicker we get fusion working the better, if you ask me.

[edit on 2/8/2006 by watch_the_rocks]

posted on Aug, 2 2006 @ 04:45 AM

Originally posted by watch_the_rocks
This is dire news. The quicker we get fusion working the better, if you ask me.

We've been working on fusion for years, and have never been able to get it to work in a productive way (other than in bombs).

Not to abandon fusion research, but I think we need to improve the design of fission reactors. I think current U.S. designs have few problems...we had 3 mile island incident but that was more human error than design flaw. The computers were telling the people there the right thing to do, but they thought the computer was in error and did the opposite.

posted on Aug, 2 2006 @ 04:53 AM
Have you read my article on the Chinese EAST? And it is only a testbed for the European International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, which will be completed in about 10 years, so they say. I'm looking forward to the massive leaps we should make with these.

posted on Aug, 2 2006 @ 07:18 AM
I want to know why the heck this wasn't on the TV news?

Question - who built the plant? I'm pretty sure that the nuclear plants that Bechtel
took care of here in the USA have a one month backup supply of fuel to keep the
plant taken care of in case of power going out. No, I don't have links to that
info. I just heard it somewhere. No, I don't remember where.

Isn't there backup energy at these places to keep them going for a while?

posted on Aug, 2 2006 @ 10:07 AM
Hi, Watch. I don't know the type of plant here.

GE BWR plants have all sorts of backups, not only can they draw recirc power from the grid, but if the switchyard fails they have four deep diesels on independent fuel and switch gear. Then they have water tower like storage that can gravity feed with no power at all.

They have backups on their backups on their backups. I don't know how you'd have any conceivable failure that would prevent them from keeping the core cool long enough to do something to fix the problem. Now, they might CAUSE the problem by screwing up the automatics, ala TMI.

Hell, I think given enough time and incentive and they can run hoses with a gas powered pump to some outside water source like a pumper truck.

I think I'll see what's available on the plant, it should be interesting to find out what happened in a little more detail.

I've got my left eyebrow set on 'mild disbelief' for this Hogland fellow. He's a construction chief, a nuclear expert, AND a former director. What's up with that? I've never seen a construction chief that would know doodly about the plant itself, much less be a "nuclear expert". A construction chief might be a Civil engineer. I'd expect him to be a concrete guy, maybe an expert in time management or something but not a "nuclear expert". That's why you have nukies from the reactor company there to answer questions. I'm not saying he isn't, just that he seems to have a lot of hats.

Do inspection authorities HAVE construction chiefs there? NRC doesn't build plants here. Maybe it's done differently there. The French tend to stir all that together.

Oh, here's you some fun readin':

Lots of spooky fun in here, especially under "events" and "generic communications". You can find out who screwed up and where, stuff that broke for no reason and what happened when it did. I don't know whether these are comforting or alarming. Sort of both I guess. The fact that they deal with it and nothing bad happens is good, but that it happened at all is spooky.

As far as I'm concerned, the way to go in the future for fission reactors is probably MOX balls in a PBR. You can turn one of those up all the way, vent the coolant and walk off. Nothing will happen.

Just remember: A little nukey never hurt anyone.

posted on Aug, 2 2006 @ 06:08 PM
Forsmark is a 3 unit BWR facility.

This article is really nothing but sensationalism - typical media tripe. It seems to me that the author has no understanding of what went on and is trying to cover his/her ignorance with eye-catching words.

Modern facilities have multiple avenues of core protection in the event of a reactor trip. In Westinghouse PWRs in the US, an unplanned reactor trip will cause an autostart of the diesel generators. These provide power to the vital busses (those that deal with the safe shutdown of the plant). This power will run the necessary pumps and associated cooling water injection/circulating systems to cool the core. In the event that the diesels fail to start, other backup sources of power are use (such as battery or unit cross-tying). Even if all onsite power is lost, a steam-driven turbine/pump can be used as well as gravity-fed water or even (as Tom Bedlam mentioned) fire hoses. Even though this is a BWR plant, many of the same or similar safety features are present.

If what I have read is correct, two of the four diesels failed to autostart. About 20 minutes later, the other ones were started manually. So it looks like the first line of defense (of many) was able to bring the plant down safely, albeit with some human assistance.

Höglund looks to be the kind of person that is dredged up to give the kind of information the paper wants (namely, that which will sell more papers), whether it is factual is another matter. Anyone can sound like an expert with the right kind of editing.

I should be getting a proper event-notification from WANO sometime this month and I'll see what the issue really was. I'll take that over random news articles any day. Feel free to get in a tizzy if it makes you feel better, but I will wait until the real information comes out.

[edit on 8/2/2006 by Tanin]

posted on Aug, 2 2006 @ 06:19 PM

Originally posted by FlyersFan
Question - who built the plant? I'm pretty sure that the nuclear plants that Bechtel
took care of here in the USA have a one month backup supply of fuel to keep the
plant taken care of in case of power going out. No, I don't have links to that
info. I just heard it somewhere. No, I don't remember where.

Isn't there backup energy at these places to keep them going for a while?

At my plant there is enough diesel to run three diesel generators for about a week (~50K gallons). And that can be refueled as needed; so as long as fuel trucks can access the plant, the diesels can run indefinitely.

posted on Aug, 2 2006 @ 06:48 PM
Sweden has decided to shut down two of three reactors at the Oskarshamn Nuclear Power Plant. The decision was made about two hours ago. The reason? The safety cannot be guaranteed. They tested their security systems after the incident at Forsmark.

Expressen: Säkerheten kan inte garanteras (in swedish...)

Related ATS Thread:
Nuclear Power Plant In Sweden Sealed Off - Bird Flu Confirmed (It was Oskarshamn Nuclear Power Plant)

edit to add:
There are now four reactors shut down in Sweden and they say the situation is "very serious"! Only in swedish for now as no english source have been found yet (ATS is first...
) Fyra svenska reaktorer avstängda (in swedish...)

[edit on 2006/8/2 by Hellmutt]

posted on Aug, 2 2006 @ 07:14 PM
I can't wait to hear the technical details on this. Sounds like all four started but two shut down for some reason, and this Hogland guy thinks that the reason the two shut down could have kept them all off line. Like maybe there's some sort of oil pressure switch failure or something.

I don't know how the tests go in Sweden, but I do know that here in the US they're required to fire them up and run from them on some regular schedule, just to avoid this sort of thing.

[edit on 2-8-2006 by Tom Bedlam]

posted on Aug, 2 2006 @ 07:47 PM
Helmutt's, posts never cease to amaze me. The variety of information that I would never normally see is amazing. I don't know how he does it, but I like it.

Anyway, here are a few more engish articles describing some of the problems at Forsmark nuclear power plant.

The paranoid Plant could have gone into meltdown!

The usual Greenpeace: close all Swedish nuclear plants now!

The humorous Jellyfish Cause Reactor Shutdown in Sweden!
(last year at Oskarshamn plant)

posted on Aug, 2 2006 @ 08:49 PM
a lot of people forget that modern nuclear reactors are only as good as the people running them and maintaining them. It's like a car, if you don't regularly check your car, bring it to the dealer, etc...obviously you are going to get problems.

Most plants in North America have excellent maintenance protocols in place to avoid situations like this. Chernobyl may have been based on poor technology, but the reason the accident happened was because of the operators and their poor training and judgement.... hopefully the swedes fix their problems.

posted on Aug, 3 2006 @ 12:55 AM
While it's never a good thing for an emergency shutdown, 2 Hours is a good margin with time to correct problems. It's when you have under 1 hour that you have to start worring.

posted on Aug, 3 2006 @ 02:30 AM

Originally posted by AlabamaCajun

It's when you have under 1 hour that you have to start worring.

Actually, from one of the sources in the initial post (a part which I also quoted)

the temperature would have been too high after 30 minutes and within two hours there could have been a meltdown.

Does this mean that it would have been too late to do anything after 30 minutes?

Btw, I heard that there is some kind of error which is present on all of Sweden's nuclear power plants. Not all of the reactors but all of the plants. The only reactor which is not shut down at Oskarshamn is not of the type with the error. If this is true Sweden got a big problem. And the fact that they are shutting down other reactors now indicates that they do have a problem. Four reactors are shut down already. I don't know how many reactors Sweden have, but it can't be that many...

[edit on 2006/8/3 by Hellmutt]

posted on Aug, 3 2006 @ 03:14 AM
If they are shutting down more, then there surely is a serious problem. It is good that they are taking precautions, obviously the incident caused them to check elsewhere as well.

Does anyone know how many reactors they have? How many are of this type?

We surely do not need another Chernobyl. I first heard about it in my 11th grade Chemistry class. I went home that weekend and looked up so much information on it. I was fascinated by it, but I do not want to see something else such as that.

posted on Aug, 3 2006 @ 03:39 AM
The Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority (NRPA) has an article in norwegian. They say they have rated the Forsmark incident as an INES 2 event. The highest INES rating is 7. The highest rating when there's no leak of radiation is 2. They are inspecting all of Sweden's nuclear power plants right now.

Here is a good news article for those who can read norwegian (or use a translator) : Dagbladet: Full alarm på atomkraftverk i Sverige (it was last updated 80 minutes ago)

posted on Aug, 3 2006 @ 03:56 AM

Originally posted by makeitso

Anyway, here are a few more english articles

Excellent links!

Now they have this :

Two more Swedish reactors close

Published: 3rd August 2006 09:14 CET

Some 20 years after Chernobyl’s devastating nuclear meltdown, possible faults at two Swedish facilities have led four of the nation’s 10 reactors to go offline.

He said without power the temperature would have been too high after 30 minutes and the reactor would have been damaged. Within two hours there would have been a meltdown

OKG decided not to take further risks.

He said at 11:30 p.m. on Wednesday that after careful review there was good reason to turn off the two reactors.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

[edit on 2006/8/3 by Hellmutt]

posted on Aug, 3 2006 @ 12:11 PM
Sweden has three nuclear power plants, ten reactors in total and five of those are now offline. Ringhals has a reactor (of four) offline as well. They claim this reactor was shut down for maintainence and not because of any problems. They have been very busy today in Sweden, trying to figure out whether they need to shut down any more reactors and also how they're going to get their offline reactors back online again. The price for electricity in Sweden went up a lot today. Having half of the country's nuclear reactors offline costs alot and someone has to pay...

posted on Aug, 26 2006 @ 01:00 PM
Four reactors are still offline in Sweden. Oskarshamn may open at September 6th at the earliest, but only if they pass a test. The Forsmark incident has been labeled "worst ever in Sweden"...

The Local: Power firms stung by cost of nuclear shutdown

25th August 2006

The shutdown of the nuclear reactors at Forsmark and Oskarshamn after an incident at Forsmark on July 25th has so far cost the plant owners 600 million kronor.

How long it will be before the Swedish nuclear power inspectorate (SKI) approves Forsmark 1 and the other three reactors is still unclear.

SKI has demanded that the Oskarshamn plant demonstrates by September 6th that the same fault cannot happen there. The reactors will not come back online before then.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

Related News:
The Local: Forsmark incident "worst ever in Sweden" (24th August 2006)

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