10:28 PM. As Bartlet walks into the sit room, C.J. updates him that the heat removal pump isn't doing much good (20 degrees in a 700-degree space). On the phone, Harry gives them an update that they have a temporary coolant line now running into the core. Bartlet just stares. "I don't see anyone popping champagne corks -- I thought if we got a line in there, we'd avoid a meltdown." The problem seems to be this pesky extra building where the radioactive steam is being pumped. It can only handle 50 pounds of pressure and is already at 32, and the coolant line won't work well enough to stop the steam. The steam is unstable, and though they knew this when building the facility and designed the containment building to handle that, the dilapidated farmhouse or wherever its being pumped cannot. The solution is letting some of the steam into the air to release the pressure. Ah, a little radioactive steam bath to get the local flora growing! There are still 30,000 people in the area, and Bartlet, perfecting his furrowed brow, wants to find out what the alternative option is. "An explosion that spreads radiation across Southern California, maybe parts of Arizona and Nevada sir." Well, Harry, I suppose when you put it that way The gas that is let out would most likely be within EPA standards (great odds) and "it's Santa Ana season in Southern California." C.J. adds, "Which could be good, if the winds stay consistent, the radiation could drift out over the ocean. "How do we speed up the evacuation?" Bartlet asks. "Tell people we're about to spill radiation into the air," is the response, accompanied by a little shrug, "Good chance that'll speed them up." They'll have an hour to decide, and since they have taken over running the plant, it will be Bartlet's call when the time comes. Nothing like ending the Presidency with a bang! Ba-dum-bum. Well, except that this would hopefully NOT cause the bang, but you see, I was playing oh, never mind. The scientific discussion is frying my brain, and I don't even live near a leaking nuclear plant.
Episode Report CardLauren S: B | 1144 USERS: C+
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