Monthly Archives: March 2011

As the nuclear accident at Fukushima fades in the press, there’s still a lot of activity going on, and a lot of misinformation being spread. As the media is wont to do, sensationalism rules. Unfortunately, this tends to cause hysterical reactions in some quarters. I continue to go to Brave New Climate for reasoned analysis of what’s happening. Barry Brook has consistently taken a reasoned and logical approach to interpreting what’s going on.  Here’s part of his latest analysis:

1. Plutonium detected in the soil around the plant. A few isotopes of plutonium (Pu) have been found in soil at various test sites at the FD plant. This has sent some folks on Twitter apoplectic. So where does it come from?

One theory, and quite a reasonable one, is that it is the global residual left over from the extensive atmospheric atomic weapons testing of the 1950s — 1970s. That would help explain the presence of Pu-238, for instance — an isotope not readily created in a power reactor.

GE Advanced Boiling Water Reactor

Another thought is that there was a local source, either from volatilisation of sloughed material in the drying spent fuel ponds, or perhaps from the reactor cores (that was then carried away in minute traces via the vented steam). Being a heavy metal, however, the Pu would not mobilse readily and would deposit very locally. Remember, Pu is present in all spent fuel, via the U-238 –> Pu-239 transmutation pathway. All reactor fuel elements that have been fissioning will contain plutonium. It is not something peculiar to mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel (which was being used in FD unit 3), as some have implied — there has been a lot of nonsense written about this during the past few weeks.

In short, Pu is a metal, not a demon. Indeed, from my perspective on the Integral Fast Reactor technology, I see Pu as THE fuel of the future, and boldly predict that it will be looked back on, by some far distant civilisation, as among the most important elements humankind ever encountered. However, that’s for another post for another day. But if you want the full review now, please read Cohen.

2. Containment integrity and core damage. The story that hit the headlines was this…

Richard T. Lahey, former chair of nuclear engineering at Rensellaer Polytechnic Institute, in Troy, N.Y., was quoted as saying that the evidence he had seen indicated that fuel melted through the pressure vessel of reactor No. 2 at some point after the crisis began. He told The Guardian:

“The indications we have, from the reactor to radiation readings and the materials they are seeing, suggest that the core has melted through the bottom of the pressure vessel in unit two, and at least some of it is down on the floor of the drywell.”

While I respect his personal opinion as an engineer with professional experience with GE BWRs, I really don’t think he’s correct– to me, as a logical analyst, it’s just not consistent with the recent data. The reactor pressure vessel (RPV) outlet temperature, RPV internal pressure, and drywell pressure readings, have all remained relatively stable over the last few days (see latest FEPC and JAIF reports at the foot of this blog entry). I can’t see that this could possibly have been the case if chunks of molten metal had burned a gaping hole through the 8″ thick steel vessel and then fizzed through the concrete floor to boot. It certainly didn’t happen at TMI-2 in 1979, and I don’t think that it happened at Fukushima unit 2 either. Lahey seems to think his theory is supported by the high radiation readings in the water trench adjacent to unit 2… however, I disagree, as I explain in point 3.

3. Trench water. I think World Nuclear News had done an excellent recap on this: Tsunami likely filled trenches. In short:

Analysis of the trenches at Fukushima Daiichi indicates they were probably flooded by the tsunami. Low radioactivity in one trench may result from capture of radionuclides from the air but high levels in another are unexplained…

…But while an answer appears close on the presence of the water, the levels of radioactivity remain unexplained. The trench at unit 2 is a serious concern due to radiation levels from surface measurement in excess of 1000 millisieverts per hour. Further sampling has not yet taken place due to this extraordinary level, and it is not clear if the dose rate is representative of the whole 6000 cubic metre body of water, although it does match the level in the basement of the turbine building. Unit 2 suffered suspected damage to its torus suppression chamber on the morning of 15 March.

Read the rest at Brave New Climate

Barack Hussein Obama (*DfOaLG), mmmm, mmmm, mmmm. Get ready, America – there’s more of that feel-good Hopenchange coming your way this summer, courtesy of our Prevaricator-in-Chief. By the time vacation season rolls around, we should be at around $4.00 a gallon.

Feeling pain at the pump? Gas prices have doubled since Mr. Obama took office. According to the GasBuddy gasoline price tracking web site, the price of a gallon of regular gas was around $1.79 when Mr. Obama took office. Today the national average is $3.58. The lowest average price in the continental United States is $3.31 in Tulsa Oklahoma, the highest is $4.14 in Santa Barbara, CA. Four-dollar-a-gallon gas has arrived on average throughout California, and a number of other states are headed in that direction.

Yeah, some people will complain that prices got really high at the end of the Bush administration, too. They did, and it was painful then, too. But that wasn’t as a result of deliberate and calculated policy efforts to strangle the American energy industry. Barry’s gonna give $2 billion to Brazil, and “become their biggest customer” while vast energy resources in America go untapped. He’s determined to move us toward the liberal utopia that runs on windmills and solar power. Which is to say, he’s determined to move America back at least 100 years.

We’ll never be able to meet his crazy energy-policy objectives and remain the economic powerhouse we were until recently. Here’s a summary of the unobtainable goals (read the details at the bottom; involves more stealing from them that’s got and giving it to them that don’t, in the form of levies, taxes and subsidies) that Obama and his head-in-the-sand advisors have cooked up:

  • Provide short‐term relief to American families facing pain at the pump
  • Help create five million new jobs by strategically investing $150 billion over the next ten years to catalyze private efforts to build a clean energy future.
  • Within 10 years save more oil than we currently import from the Middle East and Venezuela combined
  • Put 1 million Plug‐In Hybrid cars – cars that can get up to 150 miles per gallon – on the road by 2015, cars that we will work to make sure are built here in America  [Hey! We’re well on our way with the ridiculous and largely unwanted Government Motors lemon, the Chevy Volt, which cost $80,000+ to produce, but they’ll sell to you for $35,000+ with an Uncle Sammy tax credit]
  • Ensure 10 percent of our electricity comes from renewable sources by 2012, and 25 percent by 2025
  • Implement an economy‐wide cap‐and‐trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050

Read more at The Washington Times

*Descended from Olympus and Lightworker Genius, on the order of Wile E. Coyote

Folks have varying opinions on why Donald Trump is dropping hints about running for president in 2012. I think he’s just promoting the Donald Trump brand. Over at Real Clear Politics, he explains to Bill O’Reilly why he wants to see Obama’s (*DfOaLG) birth certificate. He can ask right? After all, he released his…

Here’s a phone interview with Trump from NewsMax, where Trump says “I have a birth certificate; you perhaps a birth certificate; where’s Obama’s birth certificate?” And, he brings up the point that even Obama’s family can’t decide which hospital he was born in. It seems this issue won’t die.

The other interesting story I’ve read recently is about the mystery of Obama’s Social Security Number. Seems it belonged to someone else before it became Barry’s, and that, supposedly, doesn’t happen.

This being the case, I asked Daniels to guide me through the data mine field and help me ascertain what we know for sure about the world’s best-known social security number–042-68-4425.

“All I can say,” says Daniels of 042-68-4425, “is that it’s phony and [Obama] has been using it, with it first appearing on his selective service document in 1980.” Daniels sent me a copy of the hand-written application of the individual who held the number immediately before Obama’s, 042-68-4424. The applicant, Thomas Wood, died at age nineteen which is why his information is available. Wood’s Social Security number was issued sometime between March and May of 1977. Obama would turn sixteen in August of that year. Woods lived on Glenview Drive in Newington, Connecticut, the state from which all “042s” applied. Obama lived in Hawaii.

True to form, the left-leaning media set out to undermine the Social Security controversy and ridicule the investigators. Revealing, however, is the weakness of the response. “Numbers are assigned based on the return address on the request envelope, not residency,” crowed Jason Linkins in the Huffington Post as though he had said something meaningful. Linkins suggested two possible explanations, both preposterous.

One is that Obama applied for his SSN as a little boy in Indonesia for no known reason, and the application just happened to be processed in Connecticut for no known reason either.

For the second, Jinkins cited the argument of Carole Glibert, in the Yahoo-related “Associated Content.” Said Gilbert, presumably with a straight face, “In fact, Barack Obama’s dad attended college in Connecticut and in 1977, Obama was college aged; is it beyond reason to consider that he might have checked out his father’s alma mater?”

Last time I checked, Harvard was in Massachusetts. The closest town to Harvard in Connecticut is about 90 minutes away, and there is no record that Obama Sr. lived there, let alone that Obama visited his imaginary alma mater and just happened to apply for a Social Security card while visiting.

Daniels also sent me a copy of Obama’s Selective Service data. Obama appears to have registered on September 4, 1980, a month after his nineteenth birthday. The form lists the telling last four digits of his “042” number, “4425.”
This is the first use of the “042” number that Daniels could find. She is just not sure it is legitimate. Some have credibly argued that the Selective Service information was forged and backdated once Obama became a presidential candidate.

Read the rest at

*Descended from Olympus and Lightworker Genius, on the order of Wile E. Coyote

I like Casio watches in general. They’re usually pretty reasonably priced, solid and dependable. At $480, this one’s probably at the upper end of my affordability range.  In addition to telling time, it has sensors that measure altitude, barometric pressure, temperature, and directions. It’s waterproof to 100 meters (like most people that buy one will ever go that deep), and it receives time accuracy signals from those atomic clocks. Though the one in the feature image isn’t available until May, you can take a look at other Casio Watches at Amazon.

Casio PAW5000

(via Gear Patrol)