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Roger Mattson on: Day Two
Roger Mattson Q: Describe the general mood and activity at the center when you arrive on Thursday?

RM: I came into the emergency center at NRC headquarters Thursday afternoon, probably in the early afternoon. They had a structure for the emergency response team. The team members were seated about a table gathering or receiving information from the site, asking for people to do studies and bring them additional information. They would, from time to time, stop and talk to one another as a team -- decide whether NRC should be doing something different than it was doing. Outside the emergency center, there were a number of rooms where groups of people had been gathered to study particular things -- to look at the weather, to look at the radiation measurements off-site, to look at data from the plant. I was assigned to go to one of those rooms and to take charge of an analysis of the thermocouple data from the core to try to interpret what was going on with the reactor at that time, Thursday afternoon, as evidenced by these temperature data.

Q: Do you have the recollection that Hendrie and others thought things were under control on Thursday?

RM: They did think Wednesday and Thursday that they had the accident under control. I think basically, from the time they turned the reactor coolant pumps back on late Wednesday afternoon, early evening, the perception at the plant was that they had it under control. It was not until Thursday drug on, that they still -- understand that they had non-condensible gas, hydrogen, as we came to understand it, in the primary system -- that they still did not have complete control of the primary system.

Q: Then what happens?

RM: I think the people on Thursday were tired. They'd been up all day Wednesday, all night Wednesday night. They had been communicating with the plant, trying to understand what was going on. They'd been testifying to Congress, having press conferences. By Thursday night people are literally run-down, they're tired. Data continues to be taken about the reactor and there are things about the reactor that aren't right, that didn't coincide with a safe condition. It's not in a stable shut-down mode. There's still boiling going on in the core. There should never be boiling in the core of a pressurized water reactor. What does that mean for the fuel damage? It's starting to soak in. They're tired, but it's starting to soak in Thursday night that there's more to this story that we've understood yet.

Thursday I stayed at the emergency center all night and some of the others that had been up got some sleep in the wee hours, I think, of Friday morning. As people begin to come back with some rest, we began to see off-site release of radioactivity increase, and so the tenor changed Friday, maybe three-four-five o'clock in the morning Friday morning. And we began to see more excitement over what was the condition of the reactor and what radioactivity was being released to the environment.

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