Bela Liptak Spends an Evening with the ISA, Will-DuPage Section!

From Control Magazine, June 2014 Issue:

Lipták Talks Nuke Plant Safety at Harrah’s

ISA Will-DuPage chapter scores visit from process control master and editor of the Instrument Engineers’ Handbook.

Control’s legendary contributor and editor of the Instrument Engineers’ Handbook, Béla Lipták, made a rare Midwestern appearance on May 22 at the ISA Will-Page Section’s technical meeting at Harrah’s Casino in Joliet, Illinois. He talked about “Fukushima Failures and the Next Generation of Nuclear Power Plants” to close to 70 attendees, and described how au tomatic controls could have prevented recent nuclear plant disasters and can prevent future accidents.

“None of the three accidents at Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima would have occurred if those plants had been designed and run with help from process control people,” says Lipták.

Lipták adds that nuclear power is just like boiling water on a stove where the heat can’t be turned off, so it’s crucial to make sure the process can’t run away. Nuclear reactors are usually SCRAMed, or slowed to 5% of heat release, by lowering control rods between their uranium fuel rods. But if they lose cooling water, they can still melt and contaminate their local environments. “SCRAM stands for ‘safety control rod axe man,’ and this manual-control mentality still persists today,” explains Lipták. “If the fuel rods’ zirconium coating melts, it can react with steam to produce explosive hydro- gen. And if there’s oxygen present in the air, then all that’s needed is an ignition source to cause an explosion.”