[ RadSafe ] SL1

Jeff Terry terryj at iit.edu
Tue Jun 21 20:48:37 CDT 2011

We were always taught that the control rods were known to stick. Rather than sabotage, I think that the circumstantial evidence suggested that during maintenance the workers pulled too hard on the control rod to move it. Of course with no survivors the truth is gone. 

In my opinion it was a preventable accident, there is an accident summary in the LANL criticality report. 


Sent from my iPad

On Jun 21, 2011, at 6:23 PM, SFisher373 at aol.com wrote:

> Franz et al,
> I would say that sabotage is not the correct word to use.  We present  the 
> SL1 accident to our students, and I have read the reports, investigations  
> etc.  I am at home, so do not have the facts in front of me.  What  happened 
> was that contrary to what was posted yesterday, they were working on  the 
> control rods, not the fuel rods.  The central rod controlled 80% of the  
> reactor power.  The work involved stroking the control rods.  For some  reason, 
> unknown, the one individual removed the control rod.  He had broken  up with 
> his wife on the day of the incident and had his personal belongings in  the 
> car.  So was he distracted, was he trying to injure himself to get  
> sympathy, was it a murder/suicide (he felt that his wife may have been cheating  
> with the other operator on duty that day).  This was after the Christmas  
> holidays/New Year.  
> The magnitude of the excursion was greater than had been predicted.   There 
> are accounts that since this was a military reactor, it was known that  
> removing the central rod would cause the reactor to overheat and be  damaged.  
> What happened was the water turned to steam and the resulting  steam hammer 
> produced an effect far greater than predicted.
> So it was a human problem, and since no one lived, we will never  know.  
> Spencer M. Fisher
> Nuclear Theory and Reactor Physics
> Authorization Training
> Ontario Power Generation.
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