Event Report: Loss of Control Room boundary at Minnesota nuke

Yesterday morning, the Prairie Island nuclear power plant in Minnesota lost both unit’s Control Room Special Vent Boundary when a door handle in the Control Room fell off. Air could be felt flowing through the hole, causing an opening in the Control Room Envelope. In the event of a serious accident, this breach could have allowed radiation to enter the Control Room. The incident was reportable as an “Event or Condition that Could Have Prevented Fulfillment of a Safety Function.”

To me, this just highlights the difference between nuclear power and other forms of energy production. When a door handle falls off in a nuclear plant, the situation becomes one in which the safe operation of the plant and the lives of the operators could be at risk. In other forms of generation, the consequences of such a simple failure are more in line with what Judd Nelson said in The Breakfast Club: “Screws fall out all the time. The world is an imperfect place.”


About Robert Singleton

By day, I work for a call center. In my spare time, I try to save my hometown (and planet) from a nearly constant onslaught of greedheads, lunatics and land developers. I live in a fictional town called Austin, Texas, where I go to way too many meetings.
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