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The nukes are alright...
November 8, 1999 7:33 PM   Subscribe

The nukes are alright... "since most American nuclear plants were built in the 1960s and '70s, they operate on analog systems, and are unlikely to be affected by digital errors." I feel so much safer now...
posted by grant (4 comments total)

Jeez, that does give me the creeps. I sure hope all the Russian nukes are Y2K ready too. I'm starting to think Y2K is going to be no big deal in North America, but potentially a big deal in Asia and Eastern Europe.
posted by mathowie at 11:46 PM on November 8, 1999

As I recall from first year college physics, nuclear power is both very safe and an excellent means of power generation. The real problem is the limit of uranium. If I remember right most of the mainenance is mechanical and moderated by water so situations like that in the Chernobyl disaster are difficult to realize because by default the system is in a shut-down mode and not in an excited/meltdown mode. Anyone with a better (non-political) background on this available for comment?
posted by jim at 12:18 PM on November 9, 1999

Forgot to mention that most ballistics/missiles are also designed to not arm unless specifically told to do so. It seems obvious that a weapon made for (mass) destruction would be designed with special care given to its activiation/trigger. Most weapons/explosives only work in very special circumstances. For example, 22 shells in a fire will ignite and the worst that happens is hot brass bounces out of the burning material. The bullet does not explode and go through your brain. Likewise, a weapon of mass destruction is not going to arm and detonate when the power goes out. This is how I see it.
posted by jim at 12:28 PM on November 9, 1999

When it come right down to it, I'm much more concerned about the mundane events that trigger accidents, than I am about the far-fetched prognostications of a few Y2K doomsayers. Given all of the analog-iness so far entrenched in the technicalogical world, it doesn't seem to unlikely that a power plant disaster could be triggered by an engineer tripping over the extension cable for the Mr. Coffee.
posted by grant at 8:44 PM on November 9, 1999

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