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Account of the Accident

Monday, April 2, 1979

Monday morning Denton and Mattson met the press. George Troffer, a Met Ed official, had already told a reporter the bubble was essentially gone. Denton acknowledged a "dramatic decrease in bubble size," but cautioned that more sophisticated analyses were needed "to be sure that the equations that are used to calculate bubble size properly include all effects." As to the bubble's potential for explosion, Denton told reporters "the oxygen generation rate that I was assuming yesterday when I was reporting on the potential detonation inside the vessel is, it now appears, to have been too conservative." Throughout the press conference, Denton continued to refer to NEC's estimates as too conservative; he never stated outright that NEC had erred in its conclusion that the bubble was near the dangerous point.120

According to Mattson, the tone of the press conference -- its vagueness and imprecision -- was decided upon at a meeting of NRC officials Monday morning.

We wanted to go slow on saying it was good news. We wanted to say it is good news, do not panic, we think we have got it under control, things look better, but we did not want to firmly and finally conclude that there was no problem. We had to save some wiggle room in order to preserve credibility. That was our judgement."121