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Spectrum, IEEE

Issue 4 • Date April 1981

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Displaying Results 1 - 25 of 32
  • [Advertisement]

    Page(s): 1 - 2
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  • Contents

    Page(s): 1
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  • [Advertisement]

    Page(s): 2 - 3
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  • Calendar

    Page(s): 4 - 9
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  • Forum

    Page(s): 10 - 11
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  • News from Washington

    Page(s): 12
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  • Energy report

    Page(s): 12 - 13
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  • EEs' tools & toys

    Page(s): 14 - 15
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  • Scanning the Institute

    Page(s): 16
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  • Coming in Spectrum

    Page(s): 16 - 19
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  • What ever happened to ... ?

    Page(s): 20 - 22
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  • Technically speaking

    Page(s): 24 - 26
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    This column is intended as a commentary on the current commotions in the English language, with particular emphasis on the usages of our own technical community. Because few who care about the language are neutral, it will probably be seen as a laudable effort, badly misinformed, stunningly correct, dead wrong, essential, or trivia! Comments, commendations, and condemnations will be accepted. Readers' pet peeves are of particular interest. View full abstract»

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  • Spectral lines: The rebirth of nuclear power?

    Page(s): 27
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    The trauma of Three Mile Island set the nuclear industry back several years ¿ or thrust it ahead, depending upon to whom one speaks. View full abstract»

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  • Power/energy: TMI plus 2: Two years after the ordeal at Three Mile Island, a restructured, safer nuclear industry is envisaged

    Page(s): 28 - 29
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    Presents the results of continued monitoring of the industry-wide changes that have taken place since the Three Mile Island nuclear reactor accident two years ago, on March 28, 1979. The author presents the findings in five sections: (i) Engineering changes: new and improved systems and hardware; (ii) The human side: training and tools to help the operator; (iii) Management attitudes and safety measures; (iv) Tougher nuclear Regulatory Commission; (v) Importance of computers in future plants. View full abstract»

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  • I. Engineering changes: New and improved systems and hardware

    Page(s): 29 - 33
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    In the wake of the TMI. accident, the popular press has focused on the need for better operating procedures, better-trained operators, and improved management attitudes, but major changes are also being made in the equipment and systems of nuclear plants. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission's TMI. Action Plan (NUREG-0660 and 0737) details these new requirements and lists numerous engineering fixes to be made. These, as well as nontechnical items in the plan, arise principally from recommendations in the reports of three groups ¿ the President's Commission on the Accident at Three Mile Island, the NRC-sponsored Special Inquiry Group, and the NRC's own Lessons Learned Task Force. View full abstract»

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  • II. The human side: Training and tools to help the operator

    Page(s): 33 - 37
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    A clogged demineralizer line that caused a turbine to trip, a leaky pressurizer that disguised a loss of coolant accident, and a valve that stuck open ¿ these were the equipment problems that triggered the accident at Three Mile Island. Since that accident, however, study after study has observed that if the automatic safety systems had been untouched by human hands, these hardware failures might not have led to the calamity at TMI. The real damage at TMI was caused by unprepared operators, confused by both inadequate training and poor control room diagnostic aids, who inadvertently, but systematically, checkmated every automatic safety system until the core began inciting. What the accident at TMI showed was that ill-prepared operators could make things worse. View full abstract»

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  • III. Management faces the facts: Damaging accidents are possible

    Page(s): 37 - 40
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    The accident at TMI and its aftermath has hit most utility managers like a bucket of ice water in the face. Many were roused from a complacency that had led them to believe that serious accidents just could not happen. The NRC had required so many safeguards, they felt, that their plants were foolproof. Two years later, there is a growing awareness that accidents can indeed happen, that utilities cannot rely on the NRC to ensure safety, and that utilities must develop their own expertise to cope with emergencies. View full abstract»

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  • IV. NRC's new zeal, a face-lift, and increased regulation

    Page(s): 40 - 42
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    If the TMI accident hit utility managers like ice water, it was no less shocking to the regulators in the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Post-TMI study groups sharply criticized the agency's personnel, structure, and pre-TMI laxities. Critics asked: Why did the NRC not strictly enforce compliance with its safety regulations? Why was there no strong leadership directing the agency's priorities? Why did the agency fail to examine every abnormal operating event and disseminate the information throughout the nuclear industry? Some of the questions have been brought into the courtroom. General Public Utilities, the owner of the crippled TMI reactor, has filed suit against the NRC for $4 billion alleging inadequate oversight of safety. GPU charges that the TMI accident might not have happened if the NRC had told the utility about an incident at the Davis-Besse reactor in Ohio, during which a sequence of events almost identical to those that triggered TMI occurred. (The incident at the Davis-Besse reactor, owned jointly by the Toledo Edison Co. and the Cleveland Electric Illuminating Co., occurred at low power and did not progress as far as the TMI accident.) View full abstract»

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  • V. A look ahead: More plants to come; Computer's role on rise

    Page(s): 43 - 44
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    In the U.S., there are 73 commercial nuclear reactors in operation. Eighty-three more are in various stages of construction, and construction permits are being sought for 12 others. The numbers are essentially the same as before the TMI accident, though a few plants have been canceled, and chances are good that nearly all of the proposed plants will eventually be licensed to operate. View full abstract»

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  • Microcomputers: Microprocessors and the M.D.: A new breed of smart medical equipment can diagnose, monitor, analyze, and rehabilitate

    Page(s): 45 - 49
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    Microprocessor-based electrocardiography instruments are helping combat the No.1 killer of people in the United States: heart disease. The new ECG instruments not only capture and display real-time and recorded measurements of heart rates, waveforms, and rhythms, but they also process and transfer the data to a remote site for analysis by a cardiologist or a computer. Analysis can point to problems in the electrical conduction networks, heart muscles, valves or blood flow. The latest ECG equipment uses the microprocessor's software-derived intelligence to diagnose some heart defects or to record and warn of abnormal heart rhythms. Microprocessors are also turning up in other medical applications that are making diagnoses and even medication less prone to error. Among these applications are the following: Bedside monitoring of patient circulatory, respiratory, and central nervous systems, along with metabolic and acid/base control systems. Monitoring of heart signals in ambulatory patients through the recording of data on a tape cassette worn by patients. Feedback control of the breathing of bed patients and the automatic infusion of intravenous fluids. Automatic chemistry analyzers for laboratories that allow blood counts to be made by relatively unskilled personnel. View full abstract»

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  • Solid state: Superfast annealing: Application of laser and electron-beam annealing portends three-dimensional ICs and economical photoelectric cells

    Page(s): 50 - 56
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    Laser or electron beam annealing can be carried out with either pulsed or steady beams. The beams may be large or small, may persist for only nanoseconds or dwell on a spot for many milliseconds. However, in all cases, the power of the beam must be high enough to raise the material's temperature to the melting point, or at least to within a few hundred degrees of it. The range of applications for these clean, fast-heating methods has gone far beyond annealing of defects to a variety of other materials manipulation possibilities. For years, lasers have been used in the processing of metals and ceramics: to weld metals and flash-melt alloys, for surface hardening and drilling holes in metals and hard insulators, for example. They have also been used in the electronics industry for silicon wafer scribing and labelling, wire bonding, resistor trimming, and interconnection path selection by pulsed laser erosion. The new field addresses the manipulation of semiconductor material properties themselves. View full abstract»

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  • Data communications: Local data nets: Untying the office knot: Establishing standards for accessing local data networks may facilitate intra-office communications

    Page(s): 57 - 59
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    The author points out that business communications are headed for a spectacular expansion in this decade as companies draw up plans to convert their headquarters into electronic offices. But the problem is that office equipment is not standardised so that layers of one manufacturer's equipment cannot interface with the equipment of another manufacturers without using special adapters. To make matters worse, whole commercial networks are incompatible, thus the need for standardisation. The author discusses this problem of standards, solutions proposed, difficulties encountered and other pertinent issues. View full abstract»

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  • Standards: The metric system: Its status and future: The U.S. creeps reluctantly toward metrication; the electrical engineering profession encounters few problems

    Page(s): 60 - 63
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    Considers the progress towards metric conversion in the US occurring even without an enunciated national plan. Reasons for the slow progress are given and the difficulties faced in particular areas are also pointed out and it is stated that the electrical engineering profession seems to have encountered few problems. Charts of conversion to metric, with derivations and special names are presented. View full abstract»

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  • Communications: The crystal detector: By 1920, G.W. Pickard had tested 31 250 possible combinations of materials in search of a practical detector

    Page(s): 64 - 69
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    We use the term electronics today; in 1906. the term was ¿radio.¿ Radio was a new field, and most of the technology had to be developed from scratch. For reliable long-distance communication, sensitive receivers were vitally needed. The heart of the receiver was its detector, the device that demodulated the radio frequency signal and produced an audio frequency current in the headphones that listeners had to wear. Making this detector more sensitive became the goal of every radio engineer. The inventor who did more than any other to develop the crystal detector and turn it into a practical device was an American, Greenleaf Whittier Pickard (1877¿1956). Pickard, whose great-uncle was John Greenleaf Whittier, the poet, was born in Portland, Me., and educated at the Lawrence Scientific School, Harvard University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. During the Summer of 1899, he received a grant from the Smithsonian Institution to experiment with wireless antennas raised by kites at the Blue Hill Observatory in Milton, Mass. His apparatus was the same as Marconi's (Fig. 1), employing a coherer as the detector, and Pickard soon became aware of its limitation. View full abstract»

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  • Awards: IEEE major medalists for 1981

    Page(s): 70 - 71
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IEEE Spectrum Magazine, the flagship publication of the IEEE, explores the development, applications and implications of new technologies.

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Susan Hassler
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