Third in a three post series on the Three Mile Island meltdown
Good series on TMI. How would you rate the complexity and risk of operating a nuclear power plant versus other similarly sized industrial facilities, e.g. refineries?
Simplified diagrams of nuclear plants look pretty simple. Yet pictures of control rooms look exceedingly complex. Why does one look so simple and the other so complex?
As a private pilot, I know some about complex cockpits, recurrent training, simulators, NTSB accident investigations, FAA Airworthiness Directives, etc. Although the FAA and Boeing screwed up on the 737 Max design, the two crashes could have been avoided if the crews had been able to see through the complexity of the cockpit and instead see the fundamentals of flying a plane. If they had just disengaged the autopilot (a button on the control yoke), the accidents would have been avoided in spite of the regulatory failure. Seems similar to the TMI case. I don’t know if the right people at Boeing and FAA paid for their mistakes. Hope they did.
Unfortunately almost the entire system of government in the US has become an effort to deflect blame and offload risks to taxpayers. I’m no anarchist, but the NRC is far from the only part of the government that is structurally unable to perform its stated function. Until that changes, everything is just rearranging the deck chairs.