The headline is a hat tip to The Daily Bayonet, who we miss, still in hiatus. Excerpts from the Los Angeles Times:
June 19, 2012, 12:33 a.m.
Faulty computer modeling caused the equipment problems that are expected to keep the San Onofre nuclear plant dark through the summer, federal regulators said Monday.
Officials from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission gave their first public account of the initial findings of their investigation into the plant’s problems at a meeting in San Juan Capistrano.
What they did not give was any indication of how long the plant is likely to remain out of service, saying there are still questions plant operator Southern California Edison needs to answer and more inspections the NRC must do.
NRC officials said it appears that simulations by Mitsubishi underpredicted the velocity of steam and water flowing among the tubes by a factor of three or four. The high rate of flow caused the tubes to vibrate and knock against each other, leading to the wear.
It was not clear why the computer modeling was so far off. Mitsubishi had no representatives at the meeting and could not be immediately reached for comment. Collins, however, said that ultimate responsibility lies with Edison.
Full story here
If a linear system like steam in pipes can’t be properly modeled, it makes you wonder how well the chaotic non-linear system of global climate does in computer models like GISS Model E.