Certain larGE companies seem to have something to do with just about anything and everything.
We have all watched with fascination and horror the televised images of the Japanese earthquake, the tsunami that ensued, and the aftermath of both. In particular, those of us whose bills are paid by radiation have followed the potential tragedy at the Fukushima Daiichi electrical station with almost morbid interest. Personally, I'm rather frustrated by the limited information available to the public. Exactly what has been vented into the atmosphere? Iodine? Cesium? What is the temperature of the reactor cores? And so on. But I'll leave that sort of thing for the main outlets, as I have no inside information on any of it.
Some of those same mainstream outlets are giving us some unusual pieces of information, some tidbits that are not complementary to the Administration's favorite larGE company. It seems that the reactor in use was designed by said company in the 1960's. . .
From the New York Times
The warnings were stark and issued repeatedly as far back as 1972: If the cooling systems ever failed at a “Mark 1” nuclear reactor, the primary containment vessel surrounding the reactor would probably burst as the fuel rods inside overheated. Dangerous radiation would spew into the environment.
From ABC News comes this piece , citing an insider to the design, someone whose futile attempts to warn those in charge are eerily remniscent of the Challenger fiasco
Thirty-five years ago, Dale G. Bridenbaugh and two of his colleagues at General Electric resigned from their jobs after becoming increasingly convinced that the nuclear reactor design they were reviewing -- the Mark 1 -- was so flawed it could lead to a devastating accident.It all comes back to listening. To your employees with expertise in such areas. Or to your customers. It is all about remembering that one's ego needs to end where the life and livelihood of others begins.
It's rather ironic, really. No one would have been at all surprised had the containment vessels ruptured outright in the 9.0 earthquake. That would have been tragic, but acceptable at some level. After all, the structures were never designed to withstand that sort of an impact. But since the reactors did survive, only to fail from what may be a lesser design flaw, the pressure is on (pun intended).
Let us hope and pray for the best.