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SENT TO GLOBAL TV AT THE REQUEST OF THEIR LEGAL DEPARTMENT January 2009

Their show will air on Sunday January 11 at 6:30 pm on Global TV, It is a new show that started in September 2008 called "16 by 9". The Sunday show will talk about lax security at Research reactors in Canada. of which the largest (outside of Chalk River) is the McMaster pool-type reactor. Michel Duguay and Gordon Edwards were interviewed for this show. During my interview I mentioned the 1994 incident when there was a power surge during refuelling due to improper procedures on the part of guys who were doing it, who had not even consulted the operators manual.

This makes reference to and analyzes the 1994 incident at McMaster:

http://www.nuceng.ca/papers/jan94-r2.pdf

From page 1 of the report:

The January 94 fuelling incident involved the insertion of a fuel assembly (worth an estimated )k of 24.8 mk), over an estimated 20 second period, to a partially assembled core sitting at an initial keff of 0.983 and an initial power of 13 mW. Point kinetics simulation of this case concluded that the best estimate peak power was approximately 8.4 MW [TR97-03]. The purpose of a CATHENA simulation of this event is to estimate the thermal response to this base case power pulse and variations on this base case.

It is important to remember that the McMaster Nuclear Reactor (MNR) was designed for a maximum power of 5 megawatts (MW). In this incident, the power went in TWENTY SECONDS from a level of almost ZERO to over EIGHT MEGAWATTS!!

This is what is referred to as the "power pulse" in the second paragraph.

If this had continued for much longer the entire reactor core would have self-destructed accompanied by releases of fission products (radioactive materials, including gasses, metallic vapours, and possibly particulate matter, all of it intensely radioactive).

Such power pulses, if not terminated very quickly, can have devastating consequences. See for example the following link about the SL-1 reactor accident which killed three men. The SL-1 reactor in Idaho was designed for 3 megawatts of power; the reactor core was totally destroyed during a 0.01 second power pulse which was much more intense than the one at McMaster:

http://www.radiationworks.com/sl1reactor.htm

Gordon Edwards

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