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Power Plant fact-checking questions

Saturday, February 24, 2018   By: Sraben [2238] 0 Stars
Hi, I am an author writing a story set largely in a power plant and I was hoping to get some advice so as not to be too far off base. The setting is fictional and futuristic, so I can fudge on some things eg. after a few decades of on-site work being done via remotely accessed waldos, I figure OSHA might not have as much sway.

A rough draft called for an insider knocking out power and forcing a black start, ultimately with the plan to direct a surge at a particular company, crippling it.

Even to a layman, this seems only vaguely plausible. So what I’m looking for is a better understanding of how this could potentially be pulled off, assuming my antagonist isn’t an idiot.

Also if possible, what could be some of the potentially lethal circumstances that two people could find themselves in either enacting or preventing this hair-brained plan. A recollection of a physics lecture brought to mind the story of a worker dropping a spanner on a step transformer and vaporizing it, so I had imagined something along those lines but I figured her may be others that could work. Ultimately, hearing stories from those with years of boots on the ground would have a greater impact on telling this story than all the reading I’ve been able to do thus far.

So

1- could an attack on a specific institution be pulled off from a power station?

2- what are some life threatening situations that can occur in a large say 250+ MW station?

3- what are some noteworthy stories that you have experienced that could help shape my understanding of the people and situations around a large power station?

Thanks in advance,

Shane

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Saturday, February 24, 2018   By: Ross [390] 5 Stars
Very few items in a power station are non essential for the station to operate.

Ross

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Saturday, February 24, 2018   By: cmolanes@itba.edu.ar [50] 4 Stars
Mr. Shane:

As Mr. Ross already answered, nearly anything happening in a power station will surely bring it out of the line. I have no direct experience on large power plants, but have visited one 250 MW several times, even witnessing repairs being carried out in boilers and turbines... many nasty things may actually happen, as lack of oil lubrication of turbine bearings damaged sootblowers causing a fire in an economizer, which is a water preheater centrifuged turbine rotor or the main generator rotor...

Nevertheless, I strongly suspect that a large enterprise as you appear to be thinking of, will surely have their own generators, either dieselelectric or even gasturbine driven generators, so probably your blackout will not cause any serious or unsolvable damage, only common people that rely on electric supply will be the victims, in my opinion.

Claudio Molanes

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Monday, February 26, 2018   By: Sraben [2238] 0 Stars
Thank you both for your time and input. Of course any large enterprise would have backup generators, thank you for that catch. That is exactly the kind of plot hole that I am glad to have caught. Thanks again!

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