Bloody Englishmen

Undisclosed nuclear enrichment site West of Norwich:

Percy Smith had recently started a job as a janitor at the Norwich enrichment facility, the only facility in the Celtic Republic designed to enrich uranium to the levels needed for nuclear weapons. He had been lucky to find this job, graduating middle of his class in Secondary School at one of the English slums.

He went down a hallway and pressed his keycard to the lock, it quickly turn green and chimed, followed soon after by the sound of a door unlocking. The soldier by the door nodded at him and he entered the control room of the facility.

Most of the staff had left for the night, leaving only a skeleton crew to keep a limited amount of the equipment running while other member conducted regular maintenance.

As he mopped the floor he bumped into a control panel. Percy turned quickly and, thinking back to the few times he had been in the room, checked if anything had been moved. After look at the panel for a brief time, he decided that he hadn’t touched anything and returned to his work.

The next morning:

The staff of the facility returned to work, they were preparing to run another test to increase the enrichment of their facility. They were steadily closing in on the amount needed for nuclear weapons.

They began by following their checklists of the day and started preparing the system for production.

Within an hour, they began start up procedures and the centrifuges began spinning up. None of them were aware that when Percy bumped into the panel he had caused a short in the reporting systems of the centrifuges, resulting in them misreporting the balance of the centrifuge.

As the centrifuges spun up, one developed a near invisible wobble. Normally this would have been detected before the centrifuge even began to operate, but Percy’s short had disabled the systems that would detect this.

As the centrifuges reached 1,400 rps, the faulty centrifuge finally gave out. The result was instantaneous.

In the time it took a person to blink the room turned from orderly to chaotic as the centrifuge broke free of its controls and shattered, sending shards around the room. As shards crashed into centrifuges next to them, they caused those centrifuges to fail.

A quick thinking worker in the control room was able to press the emergency stop as the system began to fail. Unfortunately, it was far too slow, as the centrifuges were forcibly stopped, other chain reaction was well under way. In less than a minute every centrifuge was either a total loss or in need of extensive repairs and almost every worker in the room had been killed or injured.