Two views of Millennium bug

8 January 1999

Will the Year 2000 problem – the millennium bug – wreak havoc on the commercial nuclear industry? The Nuclear Energy Institute says the millennium bug won’t adversely affect nuclear plant safety systems, because such systems respond to plant conditions and operator commands, not to date-driven data bases that would be particular prone to the problem.

Nevertheless, the Nuclear Information and Resource Service, a group critical of nuclear energy, recently asked the NRC to shut down nuclear plants on 31 December 1999 if their owners can’t prove, through testing, that the millennium bug would not affect their safe operation. The NIRS alleged that the problem is so large that some nuclear utilities won’t be Year 2000 compliant by that date.

An even more alarmist report has been posted on the Internet. Entitled, A Circle Of Dominoes: A Critical Look at the Coming Year 2000 Crisis Using the Mathematics of Interrelated Probabilities, the report contends that the millennium bug poses a significant threat to modern society. It says the odds of significant consequences are higher than generally believed, because scant attention has been paid to the interdependence of the three primary sectors of the US economy – banking, power and telecommunications. Failure of even one of them would cause the failure of the other two sectors within a matter of days or weeks, the report says. The report is available by visiting:
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