September 20, 2018 | Mark Paradies

When is a leak in a nuclear reactor minor?

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I saw an interesting article in the Military News yesterday. The headline read:

Navy: ‘Minor’ moisture leak in nuclear plant prompts sub’s return to Groton base

This caused me to think of several things…

First, if a ship has to return to port, the leakage was not minor.

Second, I’m glad they returned to port for repairs. Much better than having the leak progress into an accident.

Third, why did we hear about this?

The article doesn’t give many details about the problem and the Navy spokesperson downplayed the significance by calling coming back into port for a leak:

…not uncommon, and ensures the ship is maintained at a high state of readiness.

I guess I was in the Navy a long time ago when things like that were uncommon.

In fact, back then if something like this happened, there would not have been a press release. The ship would have gone ito port, been fixed, and gone back out to sea.

Los Angeles class subs are getting old (USS Pittsburgh is over 30 years old) and I hope the Nuclear Navy really is maintaining the high state of readiness that they are known for.

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