RICHARD's desk: Nuclear scenario

Hoax, false alarm or cover up? We will likely never know the truth. 

The movie “China Syndrome” tells the story of a television reporter and her cameraman who discover safety coverups at a nuclear power plant. It was a a movie. 

China syndrome” is a fanciful term—not intended to be taken literally—that describes a fictional result of a nuclear meltdown, where reactor components melt through their containment structures and into the underlying earth, “all the way to China.”

Ha, ha, ha…Chernobyl, Fukushima…still something to laugh about?

What you are about to read is fiction, a fictitious creation based on the false alarm some Ontario received from the Ontario Power Generation on January 12. Characters, descriptions, and events described below are all based on fiction.


07:03am
Otto Enzotti laughed at the Toronto Star article Mike Babcock article. Fifty million bucks and the job …..

A red light pulsed into life on Otto’s control panel. Otto bolted upright in synch with the alarm that screeched out its warning in the control room.

07:05am
Protocol procedures fell into place. Otto immediately connected with the Provincial Emergency Operations centre.

“I gotta red light here. ‘PiBo’ shows a flush,” Otto blurted out as loudly as a parent yelling out a warning at their child in the path of a speeding car.

“Hey man, you sure?” replied the PEOC respondent. “You sure man?”

“Look pal, my board’s lighting up like a godamn Christmas tree.”

Steve Dante, the phone responder at the PEOC’s heart rate shot up immediately as he realized he had to act fast. He had to notify his superior, Sam Kilgore instantly and he had to hit the provincial alarm. Dante followed protocol and hit the alarm button as he waited for Kilgore to respond.

07:07am
cell phones across Ontario displayed the blood red alarm message; outside sirens shrieked an alert into the frigid morning air awakening many, shocking many others as to what was happening.

07:09am
Kilgore, bolted upright in his chair, as his red phone rang awake.

07:10am
“What is it?” blared Kilgore while scanning at his own control board and seeing a group of of pulsating red lights like the blinking eyes of a herd of charging bulls. The acidity of his stomach may have been part of the alarm protocol as his gut began to burn.

Kilgore grabbed a couple of Tums. The alarms triggered a whole set of procedures and related processes throughout the system. Cell phones displayed alarm messages, radio bulletins were announced, TV superimposed the emergency signage across the bottom of their screens. There were likely as many people who may not have received a warning as those who did. Afterall, it was just past seven in the morning,  people were still sleeping. Enzotti had pushed his alarm trigger button less than 15 minutes ago.

Kilgore jumped to his feet and shouted at Enzotti, “Are you sure?”

“Hey man, my control board’s lit up like crazy. Something’s happening, something big,” retorted Otto. “What d’ya want me to do?”

“What do you see on the board? Look at all the controls. What d’ya see? What are they saying?”

Otto scanned the blinking lights of his control board, looking at each group carefully, and reading each dial with growing apprehension and anxiety. 

“The water level indicators are moving. Water’s being flushed.” Both Otto and Kilgore knew this meant contaminated water, radioactive and dangerous, was being flushed out into the Lake Ontario.

“What’s your name,” Kilgore demanded of the Pickering nuclear plant control room employee. 

“Otto Enzotti, sir.”

“Listen Otto, examine those dials again. We have a disaster in the making unless we do something,” Kilgore hollered back. “Get back to me right away, I gotta go.”

Kilgore began the check off of his alarm protocols list: contact the political executives of the province, the highest political bigwigs, of Toronto, Pickering, Ajax, Whitby, and Oshawa each of whom in turn had their own dominoes-like procedures to follow.

Each superior Kilgore spoke with, and there weren’t that many, each repeated the affirmation request, “Are you sure?” Many of these superiors were just up, having breakfasts, morning coffees. Explanations and full comprehension of his message took time.

08:10am
Becoming increasingly more exasperated as time ticked on, Kilgore’s internal communication phone rang. 

“Hartwick here. What’s the story?” blared Ken Hartwick, current president and CEO of the Ontario Power Generation.

08:17am
“Son of a bitch, how in the hell did this happen? What’s happening at the plant? Get me the latest report and call me right back.”

08:21am
The lights indicating reactor flushing no longer screamed red but now were the calm, cool green colour of the water surrounding the reactors cores. The flushing had been shut down. Otto called the operations department to confirm what his control panel display.

08:36am
“All clear,” reported the floor manager from Operations. Otto sighed a breath of relief. He immediately called Kilgore.

08:40am
Kilgore punched the ‘End‘ button to terminate the public alarms but the emergency was not over with that as his next phone call would confirm. He called CEO Hartwick.

Kilgore and Hartwick recognized that the alarm procedures had had to be terminated. Continuing them would trigger panic among the population, particularly the people living near the Pickering plant. There was no way these people could safely escape given that the roads were already clogged with morning commuters.

08:55am
Hartwick thought about Kilgore phone report. Contaminated water has been flushed into the lake and people in Ontario received an emergency warning about this. More than the flushing water had to be shut down. The emergency warning had to be reversed, somehow.

Calming people with outright denial trumped any truthful announcement . People could not be left thinking that the fifty year old Pickering Plant had an accident. 

09:02am
Hartwick made his list of who would need to be recruited as part of the cover up team. People who he could count on as capable, credible and able to withstand the interrogation to which they would be subjugated, particularly by the media.

Screw the tree huggers like Greenpeace and Durham Nuclear Awareness.

Hartwick launched his plan. It would take time.

09:22am
Hartwick cradled the phone, the last call completed. The people of Ontario were told…
“There is NO nuclear situation taking place at the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station. The previous alert was issued in error….”


 

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