Power plant operations
Memo: A.E.C., Status Brief
From: Tom Murray, Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission
Subject: Danger of overdependence upon central computer for all reactor control.
NOTE to the CABINET: I hate to be a nag by bringing this up all the time, but I cannot overemphasize the importance of diversifying our Atomic Powerplant's control systems. Here's my official report. I think that once you read it, you'll understand why we need to have a backup system. --Tom
Atomic Energy Reactor Regulator
Vault-Tec's new Uranium Nuclear Reactor has been working to top efficiency so far. With the state of the art computer systems that were made specifically for the task of regulating the coolant temperature as well as many other key functions, we are able to allow the reactor to run with minimal supervision.
The new Synchronic multi-processors that we had built into the tri-processor motherboard are able to multitask the coolant temperature, the intake of cool sea water, the outtake of expended coolant and waste from the reactions, and the regulation of the neutron bombardment upon the uranium. Without the computer systems, the reactor would go out of balance almost immediately, causing a chain-reaction bombardment of the uranium isotopes. Within two hours, or less, this would result in a nuclear explosion equivalent in the 100-kiloton range.
The sum of the main portions of the reactor are placed underwater, beneath the station. This arrangement allows the ocean's natural temperature to keep the exterior cooler. Seawater, from 500 meters, is pumped into the coolant chamber. A portion of the cool seawater is diverted to the containment unit, where the core and control rods are. There, it circulates through the core, becoming heated from the nuclear reaction taking place. The seawater reaches the boiling point and the resulting steam is used to turn the turbine generator to create all of our electricity. The steam then condenses and returns to a filter tank. The cleansed water is entered back into a preparation tank, ready to start the cycle all over again.
Severely radiated water, and miscellaneous toxic materials, are pumped out of the station through a waste-conduit, terminating one mile to the south. Reports from our survey crews state that our effluvia drifts down the coast of southern California and Mexico, causing irreversible ecological damage. Many of the beaches are now saturated with toxic waste, and highly radiated sea life. Fortunately, this doesn't effect us.
In any case, if our reactor is shut down, we do have some backup batteries that can be used to power vital systems throughout the Enclave until power is restored. However, these do not include extraneous and high energy items such as forcefields. Also, as a safety precaution, certain watertight doors throughout the station, will close when power is reduced (to prevent flooding in case of an emergency). This will restrict movement through the station but movement to the top of the station is still possible, through alternate routes.
The real problem is that if the computer is shut down or destroyed, unlikely though both of those events may be, the reactor will go critical to the point of meltdown within two-hours. We need to install some sort of a human-maintained backup system. I know that you may think I'm an alarmist for bringing up these provisions for an unthinkable event, however it always pays to be prepared.
In the meantime, let's just make sure no one blows up our computer (hah, hah).
Yours, Tom Murray, Chairman, A.E.C.