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Chernobyl 2: electric boogaloo. a nuclear reactor on yogstation?

Discussion in 'General Suggestions' started by Partheo, Jul 17, 2017.

?

Do you like this idea?

This poll will close on Oct 17, 2017 at 11:18 AM.
  1. Yes, I want my spessman career to end in a glorious nuclear explosion

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  2. No

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  1. Partheo

    Partheo Just wants to help Moderator Forum Moderator Veteran Player

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    Wouldn't it be great if Yogstation had it's own unique engine? There exist a few already, such as the Supermatter, RUST, Singularity, Tesla, etc. This thread is to discuss the possibility of a Yog-proprietary engine for power generation- a nuclear reactor.

    I'll try to make this post as concise as possible, but I want every part of my idea to be properly represented. I'll leave a TLDR at the end, but if you want details you'll just have to read the whole thing.



    ---The idea:

    Remove the singularity/tesla containment field and particle accelerator. Replace it with a nuclear fission reactor. In Engineering, the nuclear reactor is set up and and managed by the engineers to generate HEAT. Heat is then moved to Atmospherics, where it enters the turbine and cooling chamber. The cooling chamber is managed by the atmospheric technicians to determine EFFICIENCY.
    Power is then generated by the turbine as a result of heat times efficiency. More heat and higher efficiency = more power.

    In Engineering, this is what you will see:
    -The reactor vessel, with a hatch that opens the core and another hatch that opens control rod access.
    -Pipes leading from the reactor vessel to Atmospherics.
    -Cables leading back from Atmospherics and into the SMES room.
    -A large console that displays a bar with a 1 to 100 scale. This is the heat meter.

    The jobs of the engineers will be to increase heat to as high a value as possible. However, if heat ever reaches 100, the core will become supercritical and a reactor meltdown will occur! This is the equivalent to releasing the singularity, or having the supermatter delaminate completely. Very bad. However, at low heat values, less power is produced, so the engineers' jobs will be to balance heat at an acceptable level.

    To increase heat, fuel must be added to the reactor core. For every bit of fuel present in the reactor, the heat meter will increase slowly every tick. More fuel increases the bar faster. Fuel allows you to control the rate at which heat increases.
    Fuel, typically uranium, is also slowly consumed, so over time the rate will slow down and reach zero. Consumed uranium becomes depleted uranium, which actually has a negative effect on the heat rate, causing the meter to decrease over time.
    This means that if you put a bunch of uranium in the engine and leave it be, the meter will increase quickly, slow down, then eventually start going back down to zero.
    Also, fuel cannot be removed from an active core until it is all consumed, or if heat reaches zero.

    You can also insert control rods into the reactor to slow down the rate. For every rod inserted into the reactor, the heat meter will decrease slowly every tick. More rods decreases the meter faster. Control rods allow you to control the rate at which heat decreases.

    Typically, this is what you must do:
    Fill the reactor with uranium and wait until the heat meter reaches an acceptable level, then gradually insert control rods until the reaction slows and the bar stops increasing, so that the heat rate is barely negative. It will then be more or less stable at a certain spot. However, as I mentioned, uranium slowly depletes, and depleted uranium has a negative effect on the heat rate. This means the heat meter will eventually start decreasing. To balance this, engineers can simply gradually pull control rods out to match the negative effect of depleted uranium. Eventually all the fuel will be depleted and you'll need to replace it if you want to keep generating power.

    Heat has an exponential effect on power generation. 2x as much heat could result in 4x the power produced. This will be explained in the Atmospherics section. This also means that reaching higher heat levels is very desirable if you want to generate more power.
    In essence, the heat meter will increase/decrease at different rates depending on what is in the reactor. The engineers' jobs will be to keep the meter steady and as high as possible, or else bad things happen and it explodes, or you get no power.

    ---

    In Atmospherics, this is what you will see:
    -A new room that contains the turbine and cooling chamber
    -A simple N2 cooling system connected to the cooling chamber
    -Pipes leading from the reactor in Engineering into the turbine
    -Cables leaving from the turbine and going back to Engineering

    The jobs of the atmospheric technicians will be to increase efficiency to as high a value as they can. Due to the nature of the game, this task is less important than that of the engineers, as they should be the ones responsible for power. However, Atmospherics WILL play a role and can help power output significantly. Hopefully this will make the jobs less isolated from each other.

    Connected to the turbine is a cooling chamber. Connected to the cooling chamber is a pipe full of N2 gas that is cooled by some contraption, which may be replaced by Atmospherics as they like, to reach lower temperatures. The cooling chamber has a console on it that indicates efficiency, heat input from Engineering, and power output.

    The cooler the nitrogen in the pipe and the more moles of it present, the higher your efficiency, to a maximum of 100%. This maximum could be increased by upgrading the parts in the cooling chamber, which then allows you to generate even more power. As the turbine produces power, the cooling chamber will gradually heat the N2 in the pipe, requiring you to keep it cooled constantly rather than simply wrenching a cold canister to it once.

    While playing atmospheric technician, I have seen a wealth of varied designs on the best way to cool the waste loop, even if it never gets used. This will be a chance for our atmos techs to apply themselves to do something always useful. Maybe you could even find a design that combines waste cooling AND reactor cooling into one system... The possibilities are endless. Beginner atmos techs will be able to just wrench in the current system and hope engineering pulls their weight, while experts will have fun competing to design the best cooling system the station has ever seen.

    Efficiency has a linear effect on power generation. 50% efficiency means half of the power from heat is produced. Increasing this to 100% doubles the power produced(from 50%). Since heat has an exponential effect on power generation while efficiency is linear, this means that Atmospheric's contribution in this whole system is not weighted as heavily.
    In essence, efficiency will dictate the amount of power generated from heat. The atmospheric technicians' jobs will be to create a cooling system that can try to maximize efficiency in the turbine. This task has less of a weight to it than that of Engineering's, and considerably less risk.



    ---Gameplay:

    The reactor is a big vessel with two hatches, one to put fuel into, and one to put control rods into. There's also a console where you can monitor what is going on with it.

    Setting up this engine will generally go like this:
    At roundstart, some uranium fuel which begins in Engineering is added to the reactor core. The hatch is closed, locked, and the reaction is started. The heat meter will slowly increase as the uranium reacts, and power will start getting generated. When the heat meter starts reaching a high but safe level, control rods(which also start in engineering) are gradually inserted into the core to slow down the rate. Keep adding rods until the heat meter starts decreasing slowly. At this point, nothing other than removing rods can increase heat, so you can leave the reactor running without risk. As the uranium is consumed, the heat meter will start decreasing faster and faster. To counteract this, you can simply pull out some rods from the reactor. Eventually, the uranium will be completely consumed and your heat will start rapidly decreasing. Open the hatch, pull out all the depleted uranium, dispose of it(this is still something that is up in the air), put more fuel in, and restart. You cannot open the fuel hatch while the reaction is occurring. Once it is closed and the reaction is started(from the console, perhaps), you must wait till it is all burned.
    How long a full cycle like this should last is still unknown to me. I think around 30 minutes is a good time, so engineers will have to go back and maintain the engine at least once per round.

    What I just outlined is a basic setup. There is no meltdown risk unless you put the control rods in too late, or not enough of them. A very basic setup like this should not be enough to power the station for long rounds, unless atmospherics is very competent with their efficiency. In order to actually get meaningful power output, you will have to play with the engine, and this is where it gets interesting.

    Here are possible things you can have in the reactor core:
    -Uranium: slowly fills the meter. Depletes over time. If the reactor reaches 60% heat or something, then it destabilizes and the rate of reaction of uranium increases dramatically and the meter will start filling even faster. This means you can't put the meter at 99% and leave. The uranium you start with won't last all round, so mining has to get you some.

    -Depleted Uranium: Slowly empties the bar. Must be taken out of the core and disposed of when all the fuel is consumed.

    -Stabilized Uranium: Made in science. Doesn't destabilize until 75% heat, which allows even more power. Depletes slower than uranium, so it lasts longer.

    -Plutonium?: Fills the meter very quickly, destabilizes at 95%. Depletes very quickly.

    -Maybe make some lavaland loot that can get to 99% without destabilizing, and never depletes. Mithril?
    -etc


    Control rods you can insert:
    -Control Rod(Use plasteel on a rod): Slows the rate of reaction when inserted. You can insert a bunch.

    -Silver control rod(From mining. Use silver on a control rod): Slows the rate of reaction even more, and becomes more effective as heat increases.

    -Improved control rod(From science): Even more effective, but doesn't become more effective at higher heat, so this rod is good if you want the reactor to run hotter. Lasts forever.

    -Bluespace control rod(From science): Very rapidly reduces heat(by teleporting it out, flavor text). Useful to prevent meltdowns, or to turn off the engine, so this can be used to sabotage power without blowing everything up. They are consumable, so they disappear after a while.
    -etc


    Other things I had in mind:
    -The control rod hatch and fuel hatch are ID-locked.

    -As the core reaches high heat levels, the console will send radio messages over the engineering channel warning them of this. At 95% or so, it should send a station-wide announcement warning of imminent core meltdown.

    -The heat pipes will function differently from regular pipes. They do not actually contain a gas at a certain temperature, or else power generation would be too easy. They simply work as a link between the reactor and turbine.
    Reasoning: you could hook up a heater or burn chamber to the turbine to produce absurd amounts of power without actually using the reactor.
    "But you can just make it require really high temperatures to be useful!" then the reactor would need to produce absurdly high temperature gas, which you could then abuse by rerouting pipes to fuck up atmospherics and torch the station, or even to the regular turbine in the incinerator room.

    -The core hatch could be hacked somehow to allow it to open even during a reaction. You could make this the effect of an emag on the reactor console. Opening the core hatch during a reaction would flood the room with radiation, high temperatures, although it could let you put stuff in. Like more fuel, or your victims.

    -I've also come up with mathematical equations that explain exactly how power generation is computed. I'm not including them here because that's beyond the scope of a suggestion looking for feedback, but let me know if you want to see them. It might clarify how this whole idea works.

    This idea is designed to be great for players who like to micromanage, and also friendly to those who don't. Engineers that are too careful will have an engine that is always cooling down, and will have to keep dumping fuel into it to produce meaningful power. Engineers that are too risky will have an engine that is always heating up, and they'll be scrambling to cool it down, but it will produce a lot of power. Work on finding a good balance. Engineers will be able to compete and work together to get the highest possible power output if they desire.
    It's also good for inexperienced or lazy engineers, as basic setups can be forgotten without any risk. If left alone however, it will stop producing power after a while. This engine requires people to maintain it, but it is your choice if you want the engine to require you to produce power, or to not explode.

    ---Extras:

    These are all other ideas that relate to the nuclear reactor, but aren't part of the main idea.

    -The reactor needs a name! The only thing I could think of so far is the FRAG Engine: Fission-Reaction A___(Atom? Alternating?) Generation Engine. Acronyms are good. Something scary is good.

    -Depleted uranium could be used for certain things. You could buy special rad-proof crates from Cargo, fill them with DU, and send them back to earn credits. You also need to find a way to dispose of it.

    -Someone suggested that the reaction could be started using a rad-pistol. A literal gun. After loading fuel into the core, you shoot it, and rush to quickly close the door! It's sketchy as hell but has a lot of flavor. Also adds some antag potential, and you could make it a traitor steal objective.

    -How the reactor melts down itself is up in the air. A simple explosion would be boring; something requiring clean-up would fit the bill. Perhaps, as long as clean-up is not completed, radiation starts slowly expanding outwards from the melted core, eventually affecting the entire station.

    -Perhaps control rods would degrade over time, and eventually break. This means you would have to replace them, as having a rod break means that the heat rate would increase without you knowing about it.

    -Putting a gas other than N2 into the cooling chamber could have some fun effects.

    -There could be a new machine in Engineering called an Extruder, which you would put uranium into to make fuel cells, and other materials in to make control rods.

    -Engineers could have a PDA program that allows them to get basic monitoring over the core.

    -What happens if you put the nuke core from the vault into the reactor?

    -Add a new possible station goal: Reach X power output with the reactor and sustain it for X minutes. This would make sure the full extent of the engine gets used!

    ---TL;DR:
    Engineering now produces power from a nuclear reactor. Engineers add uranium to the core, which increases it's heat level. They also insert control rods into the reactor to prevent the heat from reaching supercritical levels and causing a meltdown. The heat is then sent to Atmospherics, where it is weighted against their cooling system, and then used to generate power in a turbine. More reactor heat, and the better the cooling system = more power. The engineer's job is more important. It's an engine that would require attention from the engineers throughout the round.


    ---Final words:
    So, that's the idea. When I first heard about SS13, it was described to me as a game where everyone aboard the station had to work together and do their jobs to keep it running. This fulfilled a fantasy of mine, a game where everyone runs across the deck of a hypothetical ship, patching hypothetical holes, and being able to wipe the sweat off their brows and congratulate each other when they reach their goal. For you old schoolers: think the Blast Furnace from Runescape, or Puzzle Pirates, before those two games went to shit. SS13 is not quite like that, but I feel like this suggestion might bring it a bit closer to this ideal game of mine. If you're a Urist who likes !!SCIENCE!!, then you'll probably be enticed by this idea.

    This is an idea. It's been discussed in Discord a bit, but there is nothing more to it than what is written in this post, no code or assets or much feedback yet. This is not something that is "happening". If anything does result of this, it wouldn't happen for a while. It's also purely my point of view, so it would play out a lot a lot different than I imagined. This also might never happen. And that's okay.

    Also, I tried as much as possible to keep this scientifically accurate, but had to make some sacrifices in some places to fit SS13/for gameplay/because X sounds more awesome than Y. If I made any glaring mistakes, please correct me.

    SO. Thoughts? Feedback? Is this something we want at all? Do we want another engine, but not my specific take on it? Am I absolutely insane?
    Discuss.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2017
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  2. Alexandria404

    Alexandria404 Administrator Forum Moderator Veteran Player

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    Love it.
    I thought about the issues of no competent engineers being there and not being able to start it.
    Which brought me to the conclusion that the solars/turbine might finally be a reasonable approach if nobody is there to manage it.
     
  3. Larissa Mayrink

    Larissa Mayrink Active Member

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    I still don't belive you didin't tag me to see the post, and you forgot the cooling needed for the "water" before it runs back into the engine. Also i'm pretty sure you, me and mat discussed the hell out of the 'engine running into atmos' thing. It is a problem, lets just keep it entirelly inside eng.

    Here comes some badly drawn schemics(again) as a example.
    [​IMG]
     
  4. Alexandria404

    Alexandria404 Administrator Forum Moderator Veteran Player

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    What´s the issue with having the cooling in atmos?
    It fits the purpose of atmos exactly and it´s not like atmos techs have that much work anyways. They need something to do badly.
    As I have been told by Par, the thing the atmos tech would do is make it cooler and thereby create more energy. He said it´d be just barely below what the station needs without further cooling, which means engie alone can set it up, but for full power it needs another one.
    No atmos tech would mean flickering lights now and then somewhere, with atmos tech support, everything would be powered.
    Meaning that the atmos tech is not needed, but he has a purpose and can accomplish something.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. Bekons

    Bekons That one scientist Veteran Player Yog-Award Winner 2015

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    Make it so a syndicate has the objective to *test* the reaction of plasma fuel rods, provided by the syndicate, which will send the station into delta and start overheating the entire station starting from engineering.

    Making the crew choose between leaving or sacrafising a crew member to certain death to release the fuel rods and shut the thing down.
     
  6. aksuduud

    aksuduud Unknown member Veteran Player

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    I like it, but it needs to be refined, the turbine part is a particular issue, as now it seems like it would just be an improved version of the regular old gas turbine, also, instead of an efficiency figure it'd make more physical sense for cooler intake air to simply allow for higher operating power without risk of overheating.
    [​IMG]
    Pictured is an IRL closed gas cycle nuclear reactor
     
  7. Partheo

    Partheo Just wants to help Moderator Forum Moderator Veteran Player

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    So, here are a few things I forgot because I was tired. This is what I envision Engineering to look like with the reactor in place:
    [​IMG]

    Of course, a lot of things will have to move around so it's definitely a mapping project, but I think everything can fit in quite nicely.

    @Alexandria404 :
    Agreed. If the reactor is too much for someone, the solar panels and incinerator turbine are always an option.
    If cooling is a necessary aspect of this engine, then I want atmos to be responsible for it.


    @Larissa Mayrink :
    I didn't forget the cooling before water returns to the reactor- that's exactly what the cooling chamber is. Here's my idea of a simple schematic, which fits the map above:
    [​IMG]

    The heated water produced in the reactor would go spin the turbine, then get cooled by the cooling system before returning to the reactor.
    As for atmos' place in the whole operation- Increasing heat is essential to producing power. Increasing efficiency is non-essential. Therefore, while atmos' job is useful and will often make the difference, it is not necessary. In a low-pop station, a single engineer would be able to set up the reactor on his own, although he would have quite a bit more work to do alone. A single atmos tech could NOT set up the engine on his own.

    @Bekons :
    I like this idea a lot. It's a fun objective, and you can already emag the console to open the hatch anyways, so it fits. My worry is that it's too engineering-specific, but it would have fun implications. For this to work, radiation damage would have to be delayed like it is in real life, so anyone being sacrificed to save the station would have time to undo the damage before their skin melts off.

    @aksuduud :
    The turbine would look and function differently than the current gas turbine. This does touch upon one of my worries though, and it's to make this engine different from everything else. The idea does currently feel similar to either the gas turbine or the TEG, and I'd love to make it different- I just don't know how to do that exactly. I'm not 100% convinced that a cooling loop is the best task for atmos.
    Also, the reason I picked efficiency over something like core cooling is that I don't want atmos' task to be essential. Low-pop rounds often have no atmos techs, and I want the engine to be operable entirely from engineering if needed. Requiring the core to be cooled as a separate task to prevent meltdowns is not something that would work well for most rounds. As the idea is currently, only a fault in engineering can cause a meltdown, not atmos.
    Thank you for your diagram. I'll try to make as many connections between my idea and what you posted-
    -The reactor core in my schematic is the reactor in your diagram
    -The cooling chamber in my schematic is the recuperator in your diagram
    -The cooling system is the precooler
    -The turbine in the same as the turbine, gearing, and dynamometer.
    -- I didn't include the shield and moderator water in my idea. The way I see it, the now-cooled water that returns back to the reactor is what keeps it from heating up indefinitely.

    I added some extras to the main post.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  8. kayozz11

    kayozz11 'He wanted to make the station fire...' Administrator Forum Moderator

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    Partheo can I just say - This community is richer for suggestions like this. I genuinely think we've got some awesome people onboard and some of the suggestions I've been reading lately have impressed me.

    I know very little about nuclear reactors but you've managed to present it in a concise and simple way.

    One thing I will say though - The AI would HAVE to be make this off-limits to any non-engineering personnel now. No more opening engineering for some scrub to run in and get gloves. I'd like to think this would become one of the restricted areas.
     
  9. BritishGrace

    BritishGrace Moderator Forum Moderator

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    Good idea, provided it is done correctly in-game and such.
    also if the reactor goes into Meltdown I expect the entire station become heavily irradiated for the rest of the round.
     
  10. Alexandria404

    Alexandria404 Administrator Forum Moderator Veteran Player

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    One thing that might be interesting and highly relevant being a rather common malfunction is the release of irradiated gases from the reactor.
    It´s a comparatively common thing (compared to other issues) IRL and can be perfectly implemented here.
    Possibly a simple gas that either does toxin damage or if possible irradiates above a certain threshold?
    This can happen when the reactor is driven to extremes/handled badly before more problematic issues arise, as a sign to stop reactor and fix the leak, before something more gruesome happens.
     
  11. chuggachar

    chuggachar Pet Xenomorph Retired Admin

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    I think the reaction to the reactor going into meltdown should be an explosion then a slow spread of fallout.
    Also i want an alarm you can trigger when it goes into meltdown that sounds like a nuclear attack alarm.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2017
    • Agree Agree x 1
  12. Kmc2000

    Kmc2000 Best of the worst of the team Administrator Forum Moderator Veteran Player Yog-Award Winner 2015 +Spriter+

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    make it randomly generate.

    So one round you get sing/tesla

    one round this
     
    • Disagree Disagree x 2
  13. aksuduud

    aksuduud Unknown member Veteran Player

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    Now, should it use a purpose made water turbine and related parts or use regular old atmospheric gases and piping? I see these two rather mixed in this thread. If it were to use atmospheric gases then the new parts that would need to be made are the reactor (obviously) and a special gas turbine for electrical power generation. If it uses a primary water cycle as some of the pictures in the thread show then more parts need to be coded in. Realistic failure modes would be meltdown from relatively slow overheating, which causes uncontrolled criticality and thus massive radiation leak at the core, with possible piping failures, and steam/gas explosion from fast overheat/overpressure which ruptures piping and or other parts, causing some blast damage and massive radioactive venting.

    I don't see a proper method for simulating radioactive gases in SS13 since as far as I know atmospheric gases cannot carry reactants, but I think it might suffice if the reaction produced some plasma into the gas loop. Core radioactivity should be simpler and very much like the radioactivity emitted by the singularity, although far less in normal operation.
     
  14. Partheo

    Partheo Just wants to help Moderator Forum Moderator Veteran Player

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    Here is a little demo I have made in Excel. It requires Excel to run, obviously- Just change the file extension to .XLSM and double click on it.
    I changed it to .txt so I could upload it here, but you'll have to change it to use it. If the code ever borks or stops, just close the spreadsheet without saving it and open it again. It's a bit barebones and doesn't have rods or fuel destabilization coded, but it illustrates how the reactor works quite well.

    I'm currently working on a full version in VB which I may upload later as a .exe for anyone to play with.

    [​IMG]
     

    Attached Files:

  15. Bekons

    Bekons That one scientist Veteran Player Yog-Award Winner 2015

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    "What is this round? The fun one? No?" - Suicided engineer.
    Remove rng.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  16. Slinky5890

    Slinky5890 CUK MASTER 23 Council Member Forum Admin +Coder+ Forum Moderator

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    Maya brought this up with me before- no. god no. Don't arbitrarily restrict engineers from doing what they wanna do, just add it as a sattelite or some shit
     
  17. Partheo

    Partheo Just wants to help Moderator Forum Moderator Veteran Player

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    My thoughts on this is that you would still have the parts to set up a singulo/tesla in secure storage, so you could set them up if you wanted to as a project.

    You could have an "abandoned" containment field in space that is mostly broken down, with maybe an emitter and a field generator or two, as well as a bit of cabling. That way, it makes for something that you could rebuild in case you wanted to set up a singularity. Also, it would be some station history.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  18. Rhoemer

    Rhoemer Active Member

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    How about this?
    If there is no Atmotech to cool the system the engineer needs to release the pressure from the system manually like every 25 minutes. If he fails to do THERE IS A MELTDOWN
     

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