Kiss Engineering Again

AS WE WATCH this disaster in Japan unfold, no doubt we’ll ask, why didn’t they do this is that?

One of my favorite comments made thus far… by a power engineer “Imagine… a 45 year old design in a 45 year old industry said to have flaws in the design!” The comment was made after a brief discussion that there were three whistle blowers out of GE saying this design had it’s problems.  Another person commented just how far the third generation of nuke plants have come and how many efforts have been made to ‘KISS’ engineer them. What isn’t part of the design doesn’t fail… we know all about that..

Think about that when you go out of your way to design a cooling system that relies on a circ pump to cool an engine, others have designed that thermal loop that will cool the engine and then added a circ pump to move the heat off to a point of use. Seldom will you ever design it close to right the first time. There’s just too much to learn during the actual operation, and unfortunately.

Help keep the prayers flowing.


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2 Responses to Kiss Engineering Again

  1. Thomas says:

    Hi George
    here is some real nuclear power plant news from operators in Canada sorting out the facts from the rhetoric in Japan
    Love your site and your comments.

    • George B. says:

      Most DIYers will be interested in what the operators have to say. There are others who are cocksure they are evil or misguided people with an agenda far different than theirs. Many of us are amazed that engineers built a fairly modern machine so far above the specification, in the old days, (1930s and prior) they built machines exceeding requirements only because they didn’t have the science to calculate the forces and loads they need to meet. Somewhere we are likely to find a whole herd of retired bean counters that lost their minds attempting to control cost of construction at these Japanese plants.
      At the end of the day, we will have all the data we need to do an accurate assessment of these plants designed before most of us were born and without the help of sophisticated computer aided design. There is an argument to be made that the actual physical structures and supports were so strong only because they didn’t have the tools to calculate beams and supports with enough accuracy to meet the design without exceeding it. Had there been a lot of bidders, the company bidding on the job and exceeding the design criteria this far >might< have lost the bid.
      For those who go through life never seeming to be aware of the risk they take. I suggest an experiment. We identify a large pool of people that are vocally opposed to Nuclear power. Then we pick 300 at random and access the risk they take everyday.
      *How many choose to drive compact cars over the far safer vehicles like the Hummer and full size 4 door pickup trucks?
      *How many live or even purchased older houses that clearly would not survive a 9.0 earthquake?
      *How many live in an area that will flood with a 35 foot Tsunami?
      *How many drive without insurance or have been issued speed tickets?
      At the end of our study, I’d be very surprised if we don’t find that this group of people are not only less capable of analyzing real risk, but actually take on more risk than a group of 300 people picked entirely at random….. That’s my theory.

      In the real world there's no reward with risk, we know that's true with machines as well. 'Fly by wire' technology is now everywhere with a probability in the billions ot one. It's still a risk, and who are those people who take that risk?

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