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Re: Criticality accident
In a message dated 3/18/02 12:59:49 PM Mountain Standard Time, liptonw@DTEENERGY.COM writes:
Comparative body counts are even less useful than "cool alliterations," and
should NEVER be used to justify preventable accidents.
Are we getting a little self-righteous, or what?
1. Telling RADSAFE about the accidents is not "justfying" them.
2. Characterizing an average 0.4 accidents per year as "not many" is not justifying them either. I thought it was an unusually good record of industrial safety, given the state of knowledge in the 1950s and 1960s
3. Almost all industrial accidents are "preventable" but some are a lot more easily prevented than others. I would say the pre-1965 process criticality accidents may have been less "preventable" because the relative ability to create a criticality in a stirred or otherwise agitated solution was probably not fully appreciated at that time. Moreover, it made sense initially to adopt standard-sized chemical mixing vessels. If one looks at the history of process criticalities, I believe it shows an unusually good ability to learn from experience and to correct problems that could result in accidents. Almost all these accidents occurred more than 35 years ago.
Ruth Weiner, Ph. D.