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1998-02-05 11:08:37


Nuclear Power Industry Is Not Being Forthright, Says Y2K Programmer



Don Taylor is concerned that the nuclear power industry is not telling the public the whole truth regarding the industry's noncompliance. The industry pooh-poohs critics, yet it does not provide evidence of the actual risks. It even implies that some plants have become compliant, but none is named.

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Example: The Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) and Nuclear Utilities Software Management Group (NUSMG) issued a Y2K strategy document last fall for the industry. Wermiel called it "a FAIRLY (emphasis supplied) effective program...covering everything a licensee needs to be concerned about." He WANTS to see a Y2K plan at least as good in place at every nuclear power facility. Where are the teeth in wanting?

Example: The NEI Director of Operations, Jim Davis, compared the century rollover to the exercise nuclear power plants must run through for conversion to Daylight Savings Time. "Not a big deal," he said. Comparing an event that is happening for the first time in the history of nuclear power plants to one that has happened twice yearly for the twenty years or so they have been in operation is too big a stretch to be taken seriously.

Example: Davis objected to what he called "myths, confusion and misstatements" about the true state of Y2K affairs within his industry, saying that it is difficult to "sort stories from facts." But in his next breath he admitted that until enterprises perform their inventory and assessment, the magnitude of the situation remains unknown. In spite of this admitted lack of facts, in spite of the fact that there are less than two years remaining to resolve a problem of unknown size, he told the public that everything was in good order. Mr. Davis topped all that off with "But those that have done it say (the conversion) is a manageable problem." If one or more nuclear power plants have completed the conversion, why aren't they spreading the news? . . .

Assurances such as these are the reasons why everyone should be extremely concerned with the upcoming Year 2000 Crisis. It is disturbing to imagine that such a major part of the power industry, the one industry that absolutely must stay in operation during the date change, is so lackadaisical about their plans to meet this crisis. Instead of trying to reassure the public that they are ready, the Nuclear Energy Institute should concentrate on finding any and all possible problems that could occur in their domain.


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