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Bad "Buss Duct" Causes Week-long Closure of 5,000 Employee Federal Complex 124

Posted by timothy
from the something-to-be-indignant-about dept.
McGruber (1417641) writes In Atlanta, an electrical problem in a "Buss Duct" has caused the Sam Nunn Atlanta Federal Center to be closed for at least a week. 5,000 federal employees work at the center. While many might view this as another example of The Infrastructure Crisis in the USA, it might actually be another example of mismanagement at the complex's landlord, the General Service Administration (GSA). Probably no one wants to go to work in an Atlanta July without a working A/C.
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Bad "Buss Duct" Causes Week-long Closure of 5,000 Employee Federal Complex

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  • Re:Link doesn't work (Score:3, Informative)

    by apraetor (248989) on Saturday July 26, 2014 @04:37PM (#47539889)
    It's not a link. Someone put an <a>..</a> tag around text, there's no href component with a URL provided.
  • Kinda of a big deal (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 26, 2014 @04:45PM (#47539927)

    If you don't know, buss duct is a power distribution component. It generally carries at least 1000 amps, sometimes much more depending on size. So... Yeah. Basically no power in probably half the building.

  • Re:Link doesn't work (Score:5, Informative)

    by Zero__Kelvin (151819) on Saturday July 26, 2014 @04:50PM (#47539939) Homepage
    The Infrastructure Crisis [asce.org] is a valid link. The rest of it is borked.
  • What? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Frosty Piss (770223) * on Saturday July 26, 2014 @04:50PM (#47539941)

    For those who are wondering, a "buss duct" is a duct that contains "busbars", which are generally large flat copper bars that conduct substantial current.

    From the Wikipedia...

    The cross-sectional size of the busbar determines the maximum amount of current that can be safely carried. Busbars can have a cross-sectional area of as little as 10 mm2 but electrical substations may use metal pipes of 50 mm in diameter or more as busbars. An aluminium smelter will have very large busbars used to carry tens of thousands of amperes to the electrochemical cells that produce aluminium from molten salts.

  • Re:Earthshaking (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 26, 2014 @05:05PM (#47539989)

    A large metal grid used to transmit lots of power within a building. It is a raceway for bus bars [wikipedia.org]. They help dissipate more heat than using cables and can be tied onto at many points. This isn't a sign of a larger failing - it's a critical part of the building's systems that needed repair. It's not easy to repair while live.

    We had a small fire when ours (in a NYC skyscraper) was accidentally shorted. It shut our building down for a couple of days as well (as the bus carried most of the larger loads like HVAC and elevators). We did still have lights and such.

  • by Known Nutter (988758) on Saturday July 26, 2014 @05:06PM (#47539991)

    A fool's drivel repeated often enough will some day end up in the lexicon, especially in the moden age of instant mass communications, but that does not make it correct.

    "Buss" is not a word, but because there was an electrical manufacturing company called "Bussman" that makes fuses, and people would often shorten it to "Buss Fuses", other illiterates have created a spurious spelling that uses "buss" instead of "bus". It's still incorrect however, in spite of the illiterates repeating it on the internet.

    This holds true within the electrical trade, as many old-timers frequently write (not type!) "buss" -- I often see it on equipment labels, one-line drawings, etc.

  • Re:Earthshaking (Score:4, Informative)

    by thegarbz (1787294) on Saturday July 26, 2014 @06:57PM (#47540415)

    Bus ducts are not off the shelf devices, they are normally custom made for the installation. Installation is also quite complex and slow but all these negatives come with really great benefit of the things being essentially maintenance free.

    Which makes me wonder how they had a fault to begin with.

  • by Ellis D. Tripp (755736) on Saturday July 26, 2014 @07:34PM (#47540521) Homepage

    into the same structure per the National Electrical Code. Only exception is for different voltages, etc.

    Every building has some electrical switchgear that constitutes a "single point of failure", and it is mandated to do so by code. Simplifies cutting off power by first responders in an emergency, etc.

    Buss duct is generally not stocked by local distributors, and may have been custom made to order (angle/offsets/termination sections anyway) so depending on what exactly burned up, they could be a while sourcing replacement parts.

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