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Subject: International glitches Date: Tue, 11 Jan 2000 16:21:29 -0500

FYI, This afternoon I received this list of glitches around the world. Some of the more interesting, (according to this document):

Canada: Computer controls on cell doors in British Columbia prison failed

Kazakhstan: Ekibastuz Hydroelectric Power Station 2 reverted to manual due to Y2K. "Manual handling causes certain difficulties, since at every power unit there are 250 devices to be controlled."

Nicaragua: "Supreme Court and Min of Agriculture reporting Y2K failures as are some 800 medium-sized companies."

Portugal: "Gov't data bases experience Y2K glitches in hospital admissions and payment systems"

Various glitches at nuclear power plants in Russia, Spain & U.S.

Sri Lanka: the analyzing part of the ECG monitoring unit -- "the only unit of it's kind in the hospital" -- "is not compliant and cannot be used."

Venezuela: "A failure has been detected in one of the major Aluminum manufacturing facilities. A temperature monitoring system had not been designed to handle only two digits for the year and was not corrected before the rollover. However, this failure does not represent a major risk for the production process itself. The plant is operating normally in manual mode..."

Zimbabwe: "The City of Harare's financial system has failed and contingency plans are being implemented."


From: "Leon A. Kappelman" Quite a revealing look behind the scenes of y2k, globally and domestically. I have taken out all identifying information and noted it accordingly, as well as added a brief description of the report. Nothing else has been changed. I share this in order to help others understand some of the human factors that are shaping these times. It is not about good and evil -- It's just about people trying to do their jobs as best they can.

Best wishes, Leon

Date sent: Mon, 3 Jan 2000 15:55:33 -0800

Sorry to take so long to respond, I was under a kind of gag order. After I wrote my report [on the state of their national electric system including nuclear power plants] and assigned a low risk to [an eastern european country], my contract manager and [the US government agency that helps other countries] in Washington DC changed it to medium risk and changed the recommendations. I and the US Embassy in [capital of the eastern european country] raised cain about it with the net result being the report didn't get published. As it turned out, that was good as if they had published it with a Medium risk they would have looked Silly. I know why the former Soviet Union did not have any real Y2K issues even though they didn't spend much money or time fixing things, they don't have many microprocessors and none doing critical control functions. This was the basis for my risk assessment and report. I'm including the body of my [eastern european country] report, as I wrote it, for you to take a look at. Personally, I think [US government agency that helps other countries] was trying to save face for the government after we had made a big issue of risk in these countries. The problem is the people doing the initial risk setting did not understand the country they were assessing.

In our digital economy here in the US we have to maintain very high quality power, in the former Soviet Union they are not based on a digital economy so they don't have a need for as high a quality power. Our experts did not understand this as they never went to [the eastern european country] or other places. Oh well. Glad the rollover went well. What did you do for the rollover? I ran [US-based electric power trade association's] Y2K coordinating center here in [US city]. It was actually quite interesting and not as uneventful as the media makes it out to be. Keep in touch and let me know about your y2k experiences.

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---------------------------- Y2K shows N-plants didn't know equipment Yomiuri Shimbun

Several Y2K-bug disruptions at nuclear plants across the nation have demonstrated that the electric power companies operating the facilities were not fully aware of the workings of their high-tech equipment and that their efforts to squash the millennium computer bug were unable to prevent human error.

Admittedly, none of the malfunctions adversely affected the safe operation of the nation's nuclear reactors. Still, the incidents highlighted the inadequacy of measures taken by the electric power firms to deal with the Y2K glitch.

Since Jan. 1, 10 minor malfunctions have been reported at nuclear power plants, nine of which were determined to be related to the Y2K bug.

"Fukushima No.1 and No. 2 nuclear power plants (in Fukushima Prefecture) and Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant (in Niigata Prefecture) have 3,707 Built in clocks. We confirmed that none of them has a problem," Teruaki Masumoto, managing director of Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), said in September.

He made his remarks to members of the Atomic Energy Commission and the press after TEPCO conducted a Y2K countermeasure test at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. TEPCO officials were relieved to find that the end-of-the-year simulation they set up to test their equipment's Y2K compliance revealed no abnormalities.

However, at around 9 a.m. on Jan. 1, in the No. 1 reactor of Fukushima No. 2 nuclear power plant, an instrument for monitoring the location of 185 rods that control nuclear fission reactions indicated a malfunction had occurred.

The reactor was kept in operation for about three more hours before workers could confirm whether the control rods were using another computer.

The company discovered that some of the equipment's built-in clocks were on GMT, so the malfunction occurred when the program read the year 2000 as 1900 when the year ended at midnight GMT, or 9 a.m. Japan Standard Time.

The malfunction occurred in a piece of equipment installed by TEPCO in January last year and not in older machines, which are not equipped with built-in clocks.

Because workers did not know their equipment was set to GMT, they conducted Y2K tests using only Japan Standard Time.

An official in charge of the company's nuclear power plant technology said, "Though things have become more convenient, the machines now are like black boxes."

At Hokurioku Electric Power Co.'s Shiga nuclear power plant, a device for sending data about the status of nuclear reactors to the International Trade and Industry Ministry in the event of an emergency malfunctioned, and the transmission of data was temporarily hampered. The machine had passed inspection for Y2K glitches.

Workers who tested the machine were unaware that a program to increase the speed of data processing would misread the date.

There was also a series of incidents involving simple human error.

A TEPCO data storage program failed because workers in charge of repairs forgot to modify the program to make it Y2K-compliant.

A similar failure occurred at Tohoku Electric Power Co.'s Onagawa nuclear power plant in Miyagi Prefecture.

Though the International Trade and Industry Ministry's Natural Resources and Energy Agency had announced that all important computer systems, including those at nuclear power plants, were ready for Y2K, an official of the agency admitted these problems were significant.

Yoshinori Moriyama, chief of the agency's office of nuclear power plant operations, said, "We must regard it as a lesson for the future that failures to find problems occurred at more than one company."

Jun Sakurai, a technology critic, said, "If another problem had occurred while the location of the control rods was unknown, it might have taken too long to discover it, which could have had serious consequences."

"As the criticality accident and other difficulties have shown, new technology has become harder for the engineers to understand. An increasing number of engineers only follow the manual and do not know the insides of the machines," he said.

Copyright 1999 The Yomiuri Shimbun Technicians: Flight delays may be linked to Y2K glitch by Laura Brown Wednesday, January 5, 2000 The Federal Aviation Administration yesterday insisted that a 2-hour Monday night air traffic computer glitch was not Y2K-related, but technicians who fix the equipment are not so sure.

``We don't believe they can eliminate Y2K as a possibility,'' said Tom Demske, regional vice president for the Professional Airways Systems Specialists, the union representing the workers who fix and maintain the FAA's computer equipment.

Air traffic controllers at the FAA's regional facility in Nashua, N.H., were forced to resort to a back-up system from 7:08 p.m. to 9:40 p.m. Monday, triggering delays of up to 90 minutes for planes coming into Logan and shorter waits at other airports in the region. . . .

[No indications if this was Y2K-related or human error] Http:// 4. Januar 2000 - THE ROYAL MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS - TRAIN DISASTER (All papers) The train collision near Esta in Hedmark county may be the worst train accident in Norway's history. Yesterday evening seven people had been found dead, but the police are afraid that rescue parties will find a further 26 this morning. The two trains that crashed should not have been allowed onto the 13-kilometre long stretch at the same time. Red lights in Rena in the north and Rustad 13 kilometres farther south in Xsterdalen should have stopped one of the trains. As of yesterday nobody could explain what went wrong. The two trains were carrying a total of 100 passengers. One was coming from Trondheim and the other from Hamar. . . . AN ACCIDENT COMMISSION MAY BE APPOINTED (Dagsavisen) During the course of the week Minister of Transport and Communications Dag Jostein Fjfrvoll will decide whether to appoint a special accident commission to investigate the train tragedy on the Rxrosbanen line. Both the Norwegian State Railways and the Norwegian National Rail Administration had their own accident commissions on the scene yesterday to identify any possible clues indicating the cause of the accident.. . .

ILL-FATED TRAINS COULD HAVE BEEN STOPPED (Dagens Nfringsliv) The Rxrosbanen line is one of two lines that lack an up-to-date system for stopping trains automatically. The modern systems automatically stop all trains that drive through a red light. This system for stopping trains has been introduced on all train lines in Norway except for some sections of the Nordlandsbanen and the Rxrosbanen. The installation of the automatic system is scheduled to be completed on the Rxrosbanen next year, at a cost of between NOK 10 and 15 million. . . . - Two months ago the Norwegian National Rail Administration warned that lives could be lost at the turn of the millennium due to computer problems. This was revealed in an internal document from the Ministry of Transport and Communications. The Rail Administration has found Y2K bugs in its systems in Hamar. (Dagbladet) January 5, 2000 Bug hits payroll with blast from past By Gerald Mizejewski and Clarence Williams THE WASHINGTON TIMES A District of Columbia Fire Department payroll computer yesterday displayed the date Jan. 4, 1900, when a worker booted it up, one of several city government computers to skip back 100 years since the year rolled over. "They're saying everything is Y2K-compliant, then we saw this," said Capt. Richard Sterne of Engine Co. 18 on Capitol Hill. "What we're concerned about is . . . are the checks going to say 1900? Is it going to work?" City officials said they were aware of the error and insisted the foul-up would not affect when  or whether  employees get paid. Technicians are figuring out how to fix the problem, a city spokeswoman said. While Lucy Murray, spokeswoman for Chief Financial Officer Valerie Holt, said she had reports that other city computers also read 1900, she could not say how many. Few city officials were able yesterday to address how widespread the problem is. Capt. Sterne kept his sense of humor about the situation, saying of the new 1900 date: "We were wondering what time we feed the horses." The District has spent more than $140 million preparing for the year 2000 and overhauling computers to ensure they function properly. On Monday, Mayor Anthony A. Williams told The Washington Times that the city "tested 95 percent of our systems and found them to be running normally." Despite a smooth rollover into 2000 in most parts, reports of isolated computer glitches brought on by the so-called year-2000 bug are beginning to surface around the region. Over New Year's weekend, the date read 2036 on the computer system at the Sheetz gas station in Haymarket, though a worker said the error was not year-2000 related. Nevertheless, Sheetz could not transmit credit-card purchases and so many people drove off without paying that the gas station hired a special private security force with walkie-talkies to monitor the pump lines. Others have also had problems  albeit small compared to the predicted armageddon. . . .

By John McWethy Jan. 4  Defense Department officials now acknowledge that there was an intelligence blackout on New Year's Eve  and that the Y2K glitch was a big deal.

"It was a significant source of information in our national intelligence capabilities," Deputy Defense Secretary John Hamre said today. "It was not an unimportant dimension. It was a significant dimension."

Sources tell ABCNEWS that for two hours, the United States lost all information from spy satellites that take pictures over places like the Middle East and Russia.

The data was beamed back to Earth, officials say, but computers at Fort Belvoir, Va., could not translate the information, and it was lost forever.

Temporary repairs were begun quickly, but it took two days to complete the job.

Reporters were told New Year's Eve that there were no Y2K glitches.

Wouldn't Have Admitted Problem

Today, Hamre said he did not know at the time there was a problem, but he made it clear, even if he had, he probably would not have leveled with reporters.

"I mean, we were at a global alert for potential terrorist activity around the world," he said. "Forgive me for being disrespectful, but if it's trying to respect your right to file a story and my responsibility to protect the country, I'm going to protect the country."

Hamre insisted that although the failure was big, the impact on American security was not.

Officials elsewhere in the government say that at the time, they did not know what they were dealing with. It was, they say, a very bad night. Web posted Tuesday, January 4, 2000 2:01 p.m. CT

Y2K bug bites cellular phone company Business Brief

SAN ANTONIO (AP) - A small San Antonio cellular phone and pager business experienced Y2K-related computer problems Monday.

The problem isn't affecting phones or pagers, but has prevented Alamo Paging and Cellular from making printouts, said owner Irene Peche. Workers wrote receipts by hand Monday.

"It's hard to conduct business when you can't print. We never realized how much we were going to miss our computers until this started," Ms. Peche said. . . .

Y2K: What Exactly Happened? Sunday, January 02, 2000 By MITCH RADCLIFFE WASHINGTON, Jan. 1 (UPI)-- After a year of build-up, Y2K was expected to make a dramatic appearance on the world stage. Instead, it arrived quietly and will hang around for a while causing minor errors.. . .

Here is a sampling of problems reported:

United States

Seven of the nation's 103 nuclear power plants reported minor incidents, including systems that control access to parts of the plants, some of the monitoring and weather systems used by plant managers. The problems did not affect the operation of the plants.

The operation of a nuclear plant is largely manual or can be in the absence of computers to remotely control valves, machinery and circuits. When small date-related problems erupted, the plants had contingency plans in place to continue safe operations.

In the electric industry, less than a dozen plants reported minor problems with the way they synchronized clocks with the rest of the industry. Because electric load and demand must be balanced carefully, the plants use the Global Positioning System to access a universal time base. Where trouble occurred, the GPS system operated normally, but the computer at the individual utility misunderstood the date as it changed from 1999 to 2000. In all cases, the clocks were quickly reset and operations were uninterrupted.

Several power plant shutdowns happened, coincidentally, on or around the New Year. The three plants that tripped off did so for physical reasons, such as a faulty circuit or a failure of a turbine. This is not unusual -- power plants often go offline.

Several power plants were reported to have had Y2K-related problems with power conditioning equipment, systems that ensure electricity is delivered at the correct frequency and intensity. Only Rochester, N.Y., was identified as a location for these problems.

In the telecommunications sector, problems were reported in Michigan and Pennsylvania that, upon investigation by the White House's Year 2000 Conversion Information Coordination Center, proved to be non-Y2K related.

The 911 Emergency systems in Palatka-Putnam, Fla., and Charlotte, N.C., experienced problems around the New Year. The Florida system was fixed by 1 a.m., Jan. 1. In Charlotte, the system crashed during testing on Dec. 29 and extra staff was brought in to handle calls. The 911 system has been fixed.

Problems in the transportation sector were more widespread. A Low-level Windshear Alert system the Tampa; Denver; Atlanta; Orlando; Chicago O'Hare; St. Louis; Toledo, Ohio; Lansing, Mich.; Charlestown, An automated radar system at the Peoria, Ill., airport failed just before the date change and was repaired, by resetting the system "within minutes."

A weather monitoring system at 16 locations began sending the date "2010" to data collection computers at midnight. This interfered with National Weather Service reporting for 10 minutes, by which time the system had been repaired by reinstalling the application software.

The FAA was repairing a system, which that sends weather and other information to pilots, that failed when it encountered the Year 2000 date. For the time being, the data is being rerouted through other systems and a complete fix was expected to be in place by Sunday.

Among problems reported by rail operators was a failure in a traffic monitoring system that would not display graphical symbols to show where trains were located until it was reset. In San Francisco, the Bay Area Rapid Transit system reported two failures in computer clocks that notify managers about maintenance schedules, though the problems did not interfere with safe operations.

Federal agencies experienced scattered problems with building access systems and fire alarms. In one case, at the federal building in Omaha, Neb., the problem was resolved by setting the system clock back to 1972, the last year with a calendar identical to 2000.

In Guam, as expected, the food stamp program will have to send benefits manually. No other food stamp or federal benefits programs were reported to have problems and testing was done over the weekend.

Much was made of a coding error on the Naval Observatory's Web page that caused the date displayed by the agency's atomic clock to appear as 19100. The clock was not malfunctioning, though a Web programmer somewhere is probably embarrassed. The Department of Commerce said its atomic clock, maintained by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, was under extremely heavy pressure from people checking the clock.

In the private sector, Y2K watchers are limited to information provided by companies or problems that become visible to the public. If business operates normally through the week, then the chances are slight that computer problems will become noticeable.

Trade groups reported that testing occurred in many industries over the weekend. An unprecedented level of cooperation has been applied to this problem to eliminate problems caused when computers owned by different organizations communicated.

"Information was collected beginning at 6 a.m... and there have been only isolated issues indicated that were or could have been Y2K-related," said David D. Kittell, executive vice president of the Securities Industry Association. Brokerages, markets and other financial services companies will be testing over the weekend and after the beginning of business Monday.

In an incident bizarrely reminiscent of Y2K satires, Microsoft Corp.'s MoneyCentral Web site miscalculated subscribers' portfolio values, indicating that they were worth more than the correct amount. Microsoft's HotMail division, which provides free e-mail services, displayed the date on e-mail messages sent before October, 1999, as 2009. The former problem was repaired before midnight Friday, the latter was still being addressed Saturday.

Five medical equipment problems were reported in Asia, 10 in Europe, and one in North America. In most cases, the devices operated normally, except for a problem with a date displayed. Several of the devices reported to have malfunctioned were known to be Y2K noncompliant, indicating that the hospital decided to take a "wait-and-see" approach to Y2K.

In Asia and Europe, patient admission and laboratory information systems reportedly failed. A humidifier failed but worked when it was reset. An electrocardiogram monitor and a patient monitor needed to be reset after midnight. An autoclave printed out the date "1900" on a report, but was otherwise unaffected.


A bus ticket system malfunctioned and caused delays in departures for a short time.


Toll ticket machines near Sao Paulo misprinted the date but continued to function, according to British diplomats monitoring the country.

A patient admission system at a hospital in Sao Paulo malfunctioned; staff reverted to paper admission forms.


A network for four satellites used by the military and France Telecom set off alarms because of misreported dates, but the ground systems continued to operate reliably.


The smallest of this nation's stock exchanges was behind schedule on Y2K repairs. Last week, the exchange stopped using dates on computerized transactions and will revert to paper transactions until systems are repaired.


Shika Nuclear Reactor Number One, which experienced an apparently Y2K-related interruption in data communications between a radiation monitor and a central computer system, is operating normally. The problem began at midnight and the system could collect data, but still was unable to send it as of 11 a.m. Saturday. Officials told the International Y2K Cooperation Center that they did not believe the problem was Y2K-related, because it had also happened last fall at the same facility.

Japanese National Y2K Coordinator Kaoru Ishikawa said weather forecasting computers for private pilots at five airports experienced some problems.

Train ticket-dispensing machines at 13 rail stations in Japan malfunctioned after the date change, but have been repaired.

The Japanese Meteorological Agency said that some of its systems displayed incorrect dates without affecting the operations of weather data systems.

South Korea

An administrative computer used by a court issued summons to approximately 200 people asking them to appear on Jan. 4, 1900.


The Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand overseeing Y2K conversion said 192 incidents were reported. None of the reports was linked to Y2K problems, many, it turned out, were due to planned shutdowns of ATM networks and other systems around the New Year. . . . -- Copyright 2000 by United Press International.

-- GICC Sysop (, July 18, 2000

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