Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Once again looking at the seismic safety of Canada's nuclear stations


The question of seismic safety for nuclear plants has arisen in New Brunswick.  There, they seem to have people dedicated to killing themselves over the issue.

In Ontario, it's a different story.  Nobody cares and nobody is willing to kill themselves, especially me.  If some eager starving young reporter tries to raise the issue, they are met with the stony silence of the PR departments, who issue a statement that everything is fine.

The truth is that seismic analysis hasn't changed for 40 years, and they 'lie' about the geology, where I define that term as 'wilful ignorance' or Clintonian Semantics.  Something like the VW scandal where they want to witch-hunt young engineers, as if they had any incentive to do it.

The geology is 10 times worse than anything they've bothered with.  On the other hand, if use PGV rather than PGA, you find that the heavy equipment is regularly exposed to levels beyond anything an earthquake can produce.  That leaves light components and they are in bad shape.  I once wrote a scenario for an M7ish earthquake in Lake Ontario, where they regularly occur on a 1000 year cycle.  It isn't pretty.

Pickering will probably release with a near 6, which might be about the same odds.  I was raised to get those odds down to 1 in 10 million, but everybody is happy with 1 in 500, the same as an M9 hitting Japan.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Plotting the destruction of Canada's cartels

Canada loves its cartels and monopolies.  In fact, the government once openly formed the Uranium Cartel, until that was perceived as bad political optics.  After that, they went underground.  The driver is nationalism, and in Quebec it is micro-nationalism.  We have a sparse and spread population, so if we want national champions to keep out the grubby outsiders, we form cartels.

The system works through alcoholic connections at the Empire Club and big parties.  The main job of the big bosses is to keep the system going.  They devote nearly 100% of their time looking up, and barely control the companies, since the margins are so high and nobody can botch that up.

By charging us poor people twice the going rate for everything, they can keep out the foreign invaders but there is trouble in paradise.  Modern technology has not been kind to these organizations.  They are used to deploying armies to swat a fly, and have set up rigid hierarchies to achieve this, all following orders from the top.  As goes the whole organization, so goes the internal structures (self-similarity, fractal law).  All full of wannabee alkies, and preeners.  But the invention of internal email and, horrors, the internet has disrupted control.  The end result is that they can't do anything involving modern technology, since all of that relies on open communication.  The classic case is Blackberry, who achieved monopoly, and joined the Empire Club.

For now the banks can rely on their old mainframes, but 400,000 escapee Canadians in the San Franscisco Bay area are plotting their destruction.  My son is starting to zoom with his start-up.  It will mean the destruction of the big bank cartel.  Uber was the most obvious shot to the taxi monopoly, and Toronto was quick to defend the poor slobs.  Will Canada have to protect the banks?  I can see the laws being written, even now.

Canada will become worse than France, protecting every old industry from the past 200 years.  Meanwhile, more and more bright Canadians will escape stultification.  

New Madrid Fault Zone Activated by Oklahoma

Most likely.  I must be getting old adding qualifications.  I usually call it 'absolute' if it's over 80% correct, and I believe in this.

Earthquake season has started with the arrival of gas frack waste to OK.  If you do a discrete element analysis you will find that disturbance extends several diameters from the main source.  New Madrid is definitely within this zone.  But NM is totally dead for another big one.  It is now living in a 1000 year stress shadow.  However, small quakes act as the best strain gauge.

So, the hypothesis is that OK will continue with about 3 3's a day and New Madrid will be above the off-season rate.  Friday had 6 3's, and Sat, Sun had 1 each (so far).  We should have a 4 once a week, a 5 every couple of months, and a 6 by the end of the season.  I love being wrong with a hypothesis, since they are always grounded in good physics, but the uncertainties are huge (both ways).