A Radiating Exerience
Davishire relies upon nuclear power for more than half of its energy. There are many nuclear plants around the nation, and Risborough A is the oldest. Having been generating energy since the late 1970s, decommissioning was due to begin in just 5 years time.
The reactor has just undergone routine maintenance and the late shift are about to start a test of the reactors systems. The test is routine and carried out regularly at many plants of this type.
It was a quiet night in the south of Davishire, the conflict of recent months had passed and all was well. It was a clear night, with some clouds but the stars and the moon made for a terrific view. There was a moderate wind coming from the west,
Risborough A Reactor 4 Control Room, 01:30hrs DST , 14th May 2015
"I have control of reactor 4, prepare for test Alpha Mike One Zero"
The test would involved removing the control rods from the reactor, thus powering down the reactor. Reducing electricity generation.
"Sir, reactor is ready"
The controller turned a small silver key on his control panel, and pressed the blue and purple buttons at the exact same moment.
"Sir, the reactor is doing well, no problems thus far"
At this point a small red light turned on the main control panel,
"Sir, temperature is rising above safe levels"
"We must carry on with the test"
At this point bells and alarms started to flash, this was quite alarming. The skeleton crew in the control room didn?t really know how to react.
"Shut down the reactor!" screamed the controller at the top of his lungs
The assistant ran over to the big red button, that was located on the wall behind the controller. He pressed the button, nothing seemed to happen.
"Sir, the reactor is overheating still, the emergency shutdown has had no effect"
By this point more and more alarm bells had started to ring, lights were flashing, and the control desk was screaming at them.
"What on this..."
The controller didn't get chance to finish his sentence before a massive explosion occurred, the whole building shook and the controller was knocked off his stool. The tea and coffee making table in the corner tipped pouring sugar cubes and milk all over the floor alongside a packet of McVities Milk Chocolate Digestive Buscuits and Hobnobs. The operating assistant fell and hit his head on the way down whilst the assistant just managed to stay standing. The water cooler was another casualty of the massive shudder which only lasted for a couple of seconds but was massive in size.
The lights went out...
**Risborough A Reactor 4 Control Room, 01:31hrs DST **
The reactor controller was in a state of panic, moments after what appeared to be a power surge there was a massive explosion and everything shook. What was going on?
"Is everyone OK, is everyone OK?? We need to get this sorted out"
The Operator was lying on the floor unconscious but the assistant was still able to talk and walk, although he was a little dazed.
At this point the emergency lighting activated, creating a dim glow across the control room.
"This may still be containable! Ensure the reactor is powering down!"
Although the lights still flickered on the control panel, nothing could be done to resolve the situation. Little did they know that what had happened, cannot be fixed.
Suddenly, the radiation alarm went off, excruciatingly large sounds, almost like an air raid siren.
"Oh crap, what the fuck is going on?"
"I don't know? I don't have a bloody clue"
"Go and check the reactor body, ensure that it is not compromised!"
Risborough A Complex Emergency Command Post, 01:40hrs DST
Davishire has its own nuclear police force, the Civil Nuclear Constabulary. These officers are trained to protect nuclear plants and deal with the local area in the event of an emergency.
The officer in charge at the outside was Inspector I. Rob Daley. He was briefing his sergeants
"OK men, something has happened inside the reactor building. We don't yet know what has happened however there has been a release of radiation in the immetiete area around the reactor. This has not yet spread, but in the event it does we must evacuate the surrounding villages and move them as far away as possible."
At this point the Inspector bought out a map. There was a red line around the reactor, this was based on a 4km circumference.
"All persons within this area are being evacuated tonight, no exceptions. Local police will assist but with your training you will have special authority. There is a high risk to the 1000 people living within this vicinity and it is your job to help them."
A second yellow line had been drawn at a circumference of 8km around the plant.
"All roads in these areas have been closed to non-emergency traffic. Teams 6 and 7 assisted by local police are to visit every household within this area and advise them to remain inside their homes and close all windows and doors etc. This is important because should there be any radioactive release, any fallout may occur here.
Any questions? No good, lets get to work. Keep your geiger counters and dosimeters with you at all times and report any abnormal readings."
10 Downing Street, London 01:45hrs DST
The Prime Minister had been dragged into his underground bunker by 2 security officers, he was unsure what was going on and a little frightened. His new defence secretary, Iain Duncan Smith was present alongside the new Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Justine Greening.
"What did you call me down here for?" said the PM
"My sentiments entirely" replied the Energy secretary
Sir Gus O'Donnel started his briefing,
"Just 10 minutes ago the Risborough A nuclear plant reported a significant emergency with a release of radiation in the immediate reactor vicinity"
"Not at the moment sir, however the release may have poisoned people beyond what is possible to survive but we are currently not certain."
"and what about the levels of radiation in surrounding area?"
"This far Prime Minister, there has been no increased levels of radiation reported in the surrounding area, but this could change. We are going to send up a drone, to see what radiation levels and particles are like in the atmosphere around the plant."
"What is the worst possible outsome?"
"well sir, most of the western side of Davishire could be rendered uninhabitable including Risborough and Portland. London could also be affected. It is likely that any worse case scenario will spill over to the United Kingdom."
Risborough A Reactor 4 Control Room, 01:45hrs DST
The assistant had just been to check the reactor. He came running back, he was out of breath and his dosimeter was screaming at him.
"Sir, the reactor body has been damaged. I didn't get too close but it is not looking good"
"what do you mean the reactor body has been damaged?"
"Sir, the reactor core is exposed!"
The controllers face went white, all of the blood suddenly drained out of his head. He went into a state of shock, panic and condusion.
"Oh fuck fuck fuck blast!, how did that bloody happen you idiot! What did you do you fucking dickhead!"
"Me, you were in control of the bleeding test! I told you we should stop"
"I was following instructions, you know these test have to be carried out! Go and seal the control room door, we don't want too much radiation coming in here!"
The controller walked over to his desk, he was hoping that the emergency systems still enabled his phone to the emergency bunker to be used.
"Mr Stern, yes sir reactor 4 control room. I am concerned as my assistant reports that the reactor core vessel is damaged and the core is exposed."
"What do you mean we have to go back and get images, we cannot due to the radi.... I am not going into that reactor room! You can go and just ffff... you think my contract matters now, you blith... if you want images come and get them yourself!"
at this point he put the phone down,
"We must check the secondary emergency containment shelter, it will be quicker with two of us, lets go"
Risborough A Reactor 4 Building , 01:50hrs DST
"Quickly, we must check the reactor integrity and see if it is as bad as you say!"
The reactor 4 controller and his assistant were running toward Reactor 4
"What do you mean when you say you can see inside the reactor?"
"The side of the reactor appears to have cracked open sir, like an egg"
"So you can see the reactor core?"
"Shit, this is really not going to be good"
Within a few moments the men got to the initial barrier which screened the reactor vessel from the outside world. Before they approached the door they heard another explosion that came from the other side. The whole building shook and on the other side came the sound of something collapsing.
"Ok Nick, when I open this door we can only open it for a second.If the geiger counter is reading this high on this side of the door imagine what it is like on the other."
At this point the controllers assistant opened the door, and what was on the otherside was not what anybody wanted to see. The reactor vessel had exploded outward on its south side and along with that a massive hole in the southern end of the secondary shield. Half of the outside wall was missing and open to the night sky.
"We must get back to the control room"
The controller ran back to the control room, meanwhile his assistant entered the reactor room. By this point he had already received a fatal dose of radiation and he knew this,
He was pressing various buttons and levers none of which would do any good. Trying to shut down a reactor that was already falling apart. By this point his radiation does was signiicant, he had strange burns on his skin and felt weak. He left through the fire exit collapsing once he got outside.
10 Downing Street , 02:00hrs DST
The Prime Minister who had left returned after he was informed that there was a phone call direct from the Risborough A nuclear facility.
"Well, what is the latest update?"
"Well Prime Minsiter, we have a the director of the Risborough A plant on the line."
Suddenly a voice on the speaker from the phone on the desk spoke up,
"I'm sorry to disturb you Prime Minister, this is Martin Stanford, Risborough A director. I would like to give you an update"
"Very well Mr Stanford, go ahead"
"Well sir, I have spoken with the reactor controller personally and he is also with me here now. He says that the reactor vessel itself has suffered extreme damage and had cracked open like an egg with its southern side open to the outside."
"But every reactor room has an emergency secondary radiation shield does it not"
"That is correct sir, however the explosion caused by the reactor has created a rather large hole in the wall. Through this large amounts of radiation is leaking out and levels are significantly above average levels around 5km away and getting higher"
"What about an exclusion zone?"
"The local police working with the nuclear constabulary are working with local authorities to create a 6km exclusion zone around the entire plant on the southern side this stretches to 10km to account for the break in the wall. Currently there is no wind and thus any contaminated dust isn't able to easily spread over significant distances. But I believe that will chage in the coming day so we need a response now"
"Is the gap small enough to plug with a lead seal?"
"We don't know sir, but we won't be able to do anything until we get proper equipment and a proper view of what is going on inside the building"
"Thank you, keep me informed"
The next morning the Fire Brigade had used drones to cover the hole in the wall with a tarpaulin sheet. It was accepted that this was not enough to stop radiation but it was hoped that it would stop the escape of much of any dust and debris which was probably radioactive. In the control room the plant controller,Martin Stanford was talking with his deputy, Matthew Walsh.
"Ok, Matt, if is time we got onto the Prime Minister about this"
Matt and Martin went over to the main computer and connected to the governments emergency procedure intranet and came straight through to the Prime Ministers Office
"Prime Minister, good to speak..."
"Cut with the pleasantries, tell me what you know"
"Um, yes sir. Well, there is a significant chunk of the wall that has been taken outmost of the southern wall, and part of the roof with it. Much of the rubble is currently in an area outside the reactor from where it has been blown out by the explosion. Radiations levels are not extremely high at this point except for the immediete area near to the reactor and in the reactor building itself."
"How is that the case?"
"Well, the explosion was more of a shock wave, whilst some nuclear fuel has leaked out of the reactor itself very little to none has escaped into the atmosphere at any great rate. Helped by the lack of wind to stir things up."
"So, what are we going to do?"
"Well, we have put up a very large sheet of tarpaulin seized from a local building supply store. This is being used to cover the gap and prevent water getting in and anything getting out.
"And in the long term? "
"We are trying to figure out a way in which we can properly secure the reactor materials, most of which thankfully is still within the reactor"
"when will you have a plan? The longer this goes on the more likely it will get into the press!"
"I will have it with you very soon sir, I am sure"
At this point the Prime Minister ended the call, he went up to bed as he needed some sleep having been up much of the night.
"Matt, how are we going to solve this? THis isn't an easy thing to do. Call in the whole team on this. I want the entire plant management on site within 2 hours!"