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View Diary: Plastic Bags, Tape, and Broomsticks: Everyday Maintenance at San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (15 comments)

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  •  masking tape: a sure sign of incompetence (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bisbonian, Joieau, Sandino, kurt, chimene

    If they'd bothered to read the NRC Pipe Maintenance and Repair Manual 3496.21.7C, they would have known that the proper leak repair materials are duct tape and bailing wire.

    Ah San Onofre. Dad used to work there in the 80s as a health safety inspector. The stories about people working 12+hr shifts during outages, sneaking naps in broom closets to prevent falling over on the job in front of supervisors, really left an impression with me about how much SCE cares about safety.

    History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce - Karl Marx

    by quill on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 03:43:39 PM PDT

    •  asdf (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      alain2112, kurt

      12 hour shifts are the normal for a lot of power plants.  It's what we do at ours.

      "It has been said that politics is the second oldest profession. I have learned that it bears a striking resemblance to the first." - Ronald Reagan

      by erush1345 on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 03:58:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That makes me feel better. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Joieau, Sandino

        Truck drivers can only drive 8.

        "We refuse to fight in a war started by men who refused to fight in a war." -freewayblogger

        by Bisbonian on Tue Apr 30, 2013 at 07:10:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Um (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          According to the interstate truck driver guide to Hours of Service, they are allowed a 14-hour consecutive period in which to drive 11 hours and then much be given 10 straight hours off. Airline pilots are not allowed to fly more than 8 hours in a 24 hour period but that is misleading as they may be on duty foe much longer. They are only required to be given an 8 hour rest period in a 24 hour period. Doctors going through residency are allowed to work 16-hour days.

          •  truck driver comparison interesting (0+ / 0-)

            My sister has worked in trucking for years, from driving as an independent to owning a company and working as a dispatcher. Drivers and small companies often can't break even under the hourly driving rules, so they frequently break them to survive. Same goes for meth use.

            There are the rules, and then there is reality and a perverse incentive to break them,

            History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce - Karl Marx

            by quill on Wed May 01, 2013 at 08:22:05 AM PDT

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      •  I also worked 12 hour shifts at a power plant. (0+ / 0-)

        It is way more healthy than working 7 straight 8 hour shifts plus you get one full week off a month in addition to vacation time. At last for operations a rotating 12 hour shift is the most desirable.

        However, maintenance workers often are not scheduled this way, they work a straight 8. Many work 12 to 15 hours a day throughout a 4 week or longer outage.

        And yet...nuclear has one of the safest records of any many industry. It speaks highly the mostly unionized work force and their training.

        Most on this list think that it's all about cutting corners. I would advocate you all actually go to a nuclear plant and observe the working conditions and procedures. It's unllke anything you've ever seen interms of safety and oversight.

        I wrote a blog here defending nuclear whistle blowers. Their charges have to be investigated. I'm also for criminally indicting those that are doing so for fraudulent reasons or as 'gags'.


        Dr. Isaac Asimov: "The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but 'That's funny ...'"

        by davidwalters on Wed May 01, 2013 at 11:42:26 AM PDT

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    •  Actually, (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kurt, chimene, erush1345

      Regular duct tape is all but banned in nuclear plants. The glue contains chlorides which over the long term can cause cracking in stainless steel, which a lot of pipes are made of. I remember one refueling outage, after the plant had been running 20 years, that we had to replace a bunch of stainless pipe in containment. It was determined that a construction worker back in the 1970s probably pissed on them rather than take the time to look for a portapotty. Urine is also rich in chlorides.

      I started working at nuclear plants in the 80's and heard similar stories at the time. That was then, this is now. 10 CFR Part 26 is a big deal in the industry. If an industrial accident or near miss occurs the people involved are typically given drug tests, their work schedules are reviewed to ensure federal limits were complied with and they are interviewed to determine if they were fit for duty (e.g. didn't spend their mandatory rest period at home staying up with a colicky baby).

      •  worker shortages (0+ / 0-)

        As I recall, the industry had chronic shortages of workers with certain skills and certifications, so the ones they had were encouraged to work long shifts with exorbitant OT rates. Dad added significantly to his retirement this way.

        The point of my snark was that anyone working a demanding job like that is bound to suffer fatigue and make mistakes towards the end of that shift.

        History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce - Karl Marx

        by quill on Wed May 01, 2013 at 08:11:44 AM PDT

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        •  Well, like I said, the 80's were a different time. (0+ / 0-)

          I don't think the hours were necessarily the problem. Back then it was more common for guys coming off a shift to head to a bar instead of a bed and then sleep it off in some hidden nest at work. The current work hour limits are tightly defined and based on input from sleep experts and industrial psychologists and time is closely tracked with software programs. It isn't uncommon anymore for plants to go years and millions of man-hours worked without a lost time accident.

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