Emergency and disaster management briefing for February 22, 2021: United Airlines flight UA328 suffered an uncontained right engine failure on takeoff out of Denver; one of two reactors at a Texas nuclear plant shut down automatically during the winter storm that recently impacted the state; a recent study suggests solar panels may cause catastrophic global harm when used in the Sahara Desert; the NHC releases upcoming 2021 hurricane season names; the SolarWinds hack included OEMs, likely exposing critical infrastructure to hackers; Kroger announced it was affected by the hack of a third party data-transfer product; Mount Etna erupted for the fourth time in an ongoing nearly cyclical eruption; and United Airlines voluntarily grounded 777 aircraft with the same engine type involved in Saturday’s engine failure incident after FAA regulators ordered stepped-up inspections.
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1. United Airlines suffered an uncontained engine failure on Saturday while departing Denver International Airport. The aircraft, N772UA, a Boeing 777-200, was operating Flight UA328, bound for Honolulu, when its right engine failed on takeoff. The failure resulted in engine debris falling onto neighborhoods west of the airport, including Broomfield.
2. One of two reactors shut down at the South Texas Nuclear Power Station, southwest of Houston, during the winter storm that impacted the state last week. Nuclear officials noted that the shutdown of the reactor occurred from a disruption in a feedwater pump to the reactor. Safety protocols triggered an automatic shutdown of the reactor to prevent any issues with the reactor.
UPDATE: @NRCgov confirms the shutdown at South Texas Nuclear Power Station "was not safety related" and says operators have restarted the reactor, which was at about 14% power this afternoon. https://t.co/Zf66x03CZb— Joshua Siegel (@SiegelScribe) February 17, 2021
3. A recent study suggests that solar panels in the Sahara Desert may actually do considerable harm to the earth’s climate. The study identified solar panel impacts on complex feedbacks across the earth, including the atmosphere, the oceans, the land and its ecosystems, and how they interact together. Unintended consequences are highly likely to occur, including a marked increase in local temperatures that would spread globally but not uniformly, due to the excess heat produced by the dark panels.
Scientists unearth a consequence of solar panels in the Sahara https://t.co/fFwZQbmFiH— Slawek Wojtowicz (@WojtowiczSlawek) February 22, 2021
4. The 2021 hurricane season begins in just over three months on June 1. As the season approaches, the National Hurricane Center has released the names for the upcoming 2021 season. The preliminary forecast for the 2021 season suggests that it has a 65% chance of being an above-normal season.
National Hurricane Center: Here are the 2021 Atlantic hurricane names https://t.co/B71boOo3FR— Andrea Jackson FOX 35 📺🇺🇸 (@AJacksonTV) February 20, 2021
5. The SolarWinds hack affected more than a dozen critical infrastructure companies. Among those impacted were electric, oil and manufacturing industries, along with those companies that specialize in industrial control system security. Known as OEMs, or original equipment manufacturers, these companies often have remote access to customer networks — potentially causing network exposure.
“Compromising one OEM could lead to access to thousands of organizations. Two of the OEMs that have been compromised have access to hundreds of ICS networks around the world.”#SolarWinds hack infected critical infrastructure, including power industry https://t.co/blwdcUY6eZ— Julie Laumann (@Otpor17) December 24, 2020
6. Kroger announced that it experienced a data breach in December that involved a third-party vendor’s software. The December hack impacted the Accellion product known as FTA, a file-transfer product that is used to share sizable email attachments or large data amounts. Other companies affected by the hack include Jones Day, the University of Colorado and Washington State’s Auditor.
"At this time, based on the information provided by Accellion and its own investigation,— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) February 22, 2021
Kroger believes that less than 1% of its customers, specifically customers of Kroger Health and Money Services, have been impacted." https://t.co/B4EQaTLQ4f
7. A fourth eruption occurred at Mount Etna on Saturday morning, with even more powerful lava fountains. The eruptions are occurring at nearly consistent intervals, with each of the four eruptions being about 35 hours apart. However, reports indicate that with the last eruption, lava fountains were higher and of longer duration, and lava is now flowing down toward Valle del Bone. Although there is no threat to inhabited areas by the lava, lapilli or ash, the ash plumes do pose a danger to aircraft in the area.
8. Following the engine failure of one of its Boeing 777s on Saturday, United Airlines has grounded 24 of its in-service 777 aircraft. The company was ordered by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulators to step up inspections of its 777 aircraft with the same engines to ensure the safety of the airplanes. An initial investigation into Saturday’s incident by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) found two of the unique hollow fan blades of the engine were fractured and several others were damaged.