Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Nuclear Waste Stops New Plants Cold


Congress was warned Tuesday that the failure to build the planned Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository in Nevada could delay licensing of the country's first new nuclear power plants in a generation.

I was wondering when this would hit the fan. Obama and chums can go 'la, la la', and keep Yuk-yuk Mountain barely alive enough to legally exist. Then they can keep all the old laws about federal responsibility for nuclear waste and all that. But, will anybody believe them?

The truth is: that new nuclear plant by the river, upstream from a major city, will keep it's nuclear waste in rusty barrels forever and ever. Are they getting wise to that?

Volcano in Hamilton

I'm so close to that movie deal, I can taste it! I'm going to have to take a pill to calm down! I actually talked to a guy from London, with an English accent, no less! Wow!

A giant volcano starts to rise in Hamilton.... People scream: "Oh no, it's a volcano!".

I'll actually miss a few good things in Hamilton. My daughter, for one, will have to find a new university. And I really like that pub beside her new house. Other than that... nah!

I wrote a poem:

Hamilton, 'twas a nice town.
It was there, now it's gone.

ps. there is actually some reality behind all this, but this is the best you'll get.... :)

No Date for Lepreau


Coffin said until AECL is certain it has solutions to problems found during the project, they won't issue a new target date for completion.

The pressure tubes have to be crimped around the end fittings. You can't use glue here! But this is good old 60's technology, and they can't seem to do it anymore. This could be major-major, such as the wrong metal for the pressure tubes. NB should just build a new reactor to forget about this little problem... :)

Poor engineers forced to do sound bites


This is a big earthquake week in Toronto, as we have a monster conference. But all my old buddies have to do tv interviews! A typical interview may take more than an hour, but they reduce it to under a minute. Therefore, only the pithy sound bites remain. And these tend to sound a bit obvious...

-Hey! Earthquake in Quebec!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Diary July 26, 2010

-great few days at the cottage, wind looked perfect for windsurfing. -went out and back and that was enough!

-caught one of those pampered dock fish. Nice dinner!

-got an offer (probably for free) from movie company to be a technical advisor for a science show about volcanoes in Hamilton. Love to be part of that! I can use my local knowledge to beat out all those real volcano guys! Last time a movie company came to me I scared them off by saying it was impossible (tsunami in Lake Ontario). Not this time!

Original Teak Windsurfers

I'm cleaning out the cottage, and I came upon the 2 old windsurfers, and I had to think about whether I was going to dump them or not. I got these 20 years ago from a nice lady, who had lost her husband Vernon. I even sailed them! but I had to make my own skegs. These things are heavy and the teak booms are dangerous! My head was knocked a few times.

This is the most amazing 60's technology! You will never see that fine fiberglass work again, it's all carbon now. In fact the modern sailboards make us whimps when compared to sailing these boats!

Now, I'm kind of dreaming that Big Larry will fly in a seaplane to pick these up for a zillion bucks. Failing that, I would like some opinion of whether these are valuable, or junk. I really don't know how to dump these things anyway, probably just stash them in the cottage for another 20 years. :)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Earthquake Conference in Toronto


I won't be there, I'll be at the cottage! Anyway, this will be all conventional earthquake engineering (Boring!), of which I have written many times. Let's hope they do the right thing!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

I'm Melting....


The primary contributors to sea level rise are generally believed to be thermal expansion of warming oceans and addition of water to oceans from melting glaciers and ice caps atop Greenland and Antarctica. However, local changes in sea level are relative the land such that, if the land subsides, sea level rises even if there is no additional water. In fact, the land is subsiding along the East Coast, and this might very well be tied to earthquakes such as the one just experienced.

I liked this article.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Ontario Earthquake produces first nuclear plant free-field record

The strong ground motions are in. They are in two big reports that I don't intend to read.

But we have the Darlington seismometer records! DRWO PGV was 0.28(E) 0.37(N) and 0.14(Z component).

I had surmised at an earlier date that the turbines could trip at 1 mm/sec free-field, but most likely at 5 mm/s. Nevertheless, this is a historic first for any nuclear plant east of the Rockies! They may have even triggered the internal accelerometer system, which would be a big double first! (I'll believe it when I see it). Pickering did have an acceleration recording, but no free-field.

From my indications, I think Darlington will show exactly as Pickering, which is a factor of 2 amplification in the upper stories in terms of velocity. The standard seismic design analysis produces a factor of over 10 in acceleration! That adds billions of dollars to the cost of construction, but lots of jobs to seismic people.

Experience data never shows an upper amplification of more than 2, more like 1.5. Combine this huge amplification with huge accelerations recorded by close high-frequency accelerations, and you have Big Shit! The standard review level earthquake is 30% g, and you can imagine 3 g accelerations at the top in design!

This is one reason why we'll never build a nuclear plant in Canada. It can be argued that our hard rock produces much higher peak accelerations (but piddly peak velocities).

So, if Darlington produces a record, and we convert it to velocity, and we correlate it with the free-field, it will be awesome!

Monday, July 19, 2010

First day on the job

Hooray!! Number One Son has his first day on the job with a monster consulting company. They gave him a laptop and a nice case, and everything was working right away. How many companies can do that? I'm so proud!

Fault Mechanics

Wiki reference

Every once in a while I look at my wikipedia articles, and see if all the life has been stripped out of them. I started many articles there at one time, and always got in trouble with the humorless editors! Writing an article is like throwing it over the wall, and letting others hack away at it. Nearly all my articles have grown beyond recognition, but this one remains virtually untouched. Must be my pretty pictures!

The main point is that water makes these zones grow, and thus they are unlocked, and can grow forever. The alternative hypothesis is that all these historic zones are locked, and can never produce another earthquake. Thus, we must look to totally virgin rock for the next big quake. ---- Ha, ha!


Here is the full waterfall, suitable for a screen background. :)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Diary July 18, 2010

Such a wonderful summer this year! Let those miserable ice caps melt! Cottage life has been great, and it's almost like the summers of my youth. This is the daughter in a waterfall near the cottage (super model pose!). Although it's been hot, we've been getting a lot of rain, and the river flows are high. This is about the highest flow for these falls I've seen in a long time (for July).

Friday, July 16, 2010

May Contain Peanuts


It takes real effort to impugn the reputation of an inanimate object, but there is a movement gaining traction in Sacramento to strip the California state rock of its lofty title for what geologists say is a trifling offense: It contains asbestos.

A rock is convicted without right of appeal. Sort of like my Google Ads account! But this is a great bit of geology summer silliness!

Tunnel Collapse Syndrome


Another tunnel collapse has hit the headlines this week. This time it is in Prague on a highway tunnel being built on a ring road around the Czech Republic's capital. Local newspaper reports tell of a collapse crater on the surface of 20m wide x 30m long and of an excavator driver and his machine being buried under the fall, but rescued and released after a short hospital stay. Fortunately, there are no reports of serious injuries or fatalities or of structural damage to surface buildings or underground infrastructure in the area. The collapse is said to have occurred in the small hours of Tuesday 6th July at 1am, and on a section of tunnel designed and being constructed according to the NATM concept.

Ah well, maybe a few extra billion for the Niagara Tunnel isn't so bad... I find this article interesting, with the concept that engineering margins are so thin that a sleepy night shift can bring the tunnel down. I mean, really, who the hell works the night shift! Can you imagine some lower-ranked junior engineer down there? -- "Ah, excuse me, but I think that water is not a good thing...could you please stop and give up your bonus? Hello?"

When designing these things you should account for the night shift. That, of course, makes the cost go up,since it is a pessimistic assumption, and we all know these things are priced on all assumptions being extremely optimistic.

Mr. Earthquake Goes to Washington

Now, that's a tiny earthquake! But, location is everything.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

CNSC Speaks on Nuclear Waste


The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission says low-level radioactive steam generators, like the 16 decommissioned vessels Bruce Power plans to ship through the Great Lakes, do not present a risk to the public or environment.

Being government toadies, they have no credibility whatsoever. It would be useful to have credibility in these situations, since there really is no hazard from these things.

I wonder who they will get to speak next? Harper? "There will be no accident!" :)

Ottawa Earthquake Rare


Scientist John Adams, of the Geological Survey of Canada, told a university audience Wednesday that the shaking was likely a once-in-500-year event for Ottawa.

This gives the impression that everything is over with, and we can all go back to sleep. I don't agree.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Demonizing Steel


Elston says Bruce Power, which is paying Studsvik roughly about $1 million per shipped generator, deserves some credit for the plan because it will reduce the company’s environmental footprint by ridding it and Canada of the nuclear waste.

Poor Bruce! They feel they are unloved after all the political dirty tricks they have pulled over the years.

But really, the most dangerous thing in that ship will be the fuel oil to run it. If the whole ship blows up, which is the scare scenario the greenies are painting, then another ship can pluck these things out of the water without a speck of radiation going into the zebra mussels!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Niagara Tunnel on the Road Again

July 8th 2010 -

At the beginning of the day shift, the TBM is at 7,152 meters (23,464 feet). The TBM is averaging 15 meters daily There is no appreciable overbreak. The Invert Concrete Carrier is at 5,075 meters (16,651 feet). The Arch Concrete Carrier is at 112 meters (367 feet).

Yeah! It's amazing what an infinite amount of money can accomplish! The TBM has virtually been replaced, and they are on the move! The main roof liner seems to be stuck, must be that pesky overbreak...

Oil and Wind


Last month's guilty verdict against Syncrude in the deaths of 1,606 ducks at an oilsands tailings pond received international media coverage.

Meanwhile, little attention has been paid to 1,982 bird and bat deaths at Canada's second-largest wind farm, Ontario's Wolf Island Eco-Power Centre.

According to a monitoring report in May, the nearly 2,000 bird and bat deaths during the first eight months of the wind farm's operation involved 33 birds species and five bat species. No charges have been laid.

Frankly, I just love this attempt to tar with the same brush! Yuck yuk!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

New Nuclear for Canada?


I can't really take this seriously, but here we are. Wouldn't it be neat to have Les French come in a show us how to put up a nuclear plant? They have some advantage in that they won't be harried by a hopeless bureaucracy and union like in Ontario. As well, they probably have lots of room on a foundation of solid rock. All they have to do is give up the land and stand back!

In Ontario, we could never do this. Any new nuclear plant would be as successful as the Niagara Tunnel! There would be horrible political interference, the site would be useless, and the union/bureaucracy would roll over them like a steamroller.

I don't think the French can do it either. I'd rather have the Russians come in, with their sex-spies... Oh yeah, baby! Silence me! :)

Niagara Tunnel Bleeding Cuts into Solar


The provincial government says it can't afford to pay the current rate to homeowners with small, ground-mounted solar power systems who sell power back to the grid.

Ontario finally admits it is running out of money for all its bizarre schemes. With the notorious money pit going a few billion dollars over, it's hard to pay for the black shiny things that politicians so obviously love.

Next, they'll say we can't afford to have electricity....

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

NRU Saga Winds Up

Selected quotes

Despite the positive assessment of commission staff, some of the commissioners wondered if the assurances given by the AECL were trustworthy. The leak was caused by a buildup of nitric acid which corroded the walls of the vessel. He noted that three years ago, the commission issued a licence to AECL based on its promise that the reactor was fit to operate for five years. Two years later, it was being shut down because it had sprang a leak. Commissioner Alan Graham wondered why the problem was not detected and caught before the licence was issued, and asked CNSC staff if AECL could be relied on again when it says the same reactor is safe to operate.

"Is there anything that's been overlooked?" Graham asked. "AECL have been before us with the same words. Are we in a position to be assured that these words are not just words?"

Pilkington acknowledged that mistakes were made. He said lack of appropriate technology, combined with a number of wrong assumptions about the operations played a part in the leak. But he said the right lessons have been learned.

This is truly the mark of this country! When I was in the old company, time and time again some useless division would screw up, and always say that they had 'learned their lessons', and would never screw up again!

To be absolutely certain, they re-inspected the reactor vessel following the June 23 earthquake. The seismic event registered 5.0 on the Richter scale at its epicentre, located north of Ottawa, but this was reduced to between 3.0 and 4.0 by the time the tremors reached Chalk River. The facility is qualified to withstand an earthquake of up to 6.0, which is 10 times stronger than the one which shook the Ottawa Valley.

Their ignorance of seismic issues will only become obvious when there is a real earthquake. Until then, we are all happy, happy with their assurances...

Other than that, bring on the isotopes! :)

Pickering Fishie Killer

I think the Feds are ordering the tide to stop. There is no way to stop Pickering from killing at least one fish.

This seems to be a recent picture. Notice all the crazy nets everywhere! When I was there, we started with the ridiculous 'toilet bowl', which was a vortex created by sucking out water with a bypass pump. This was supposed to stop silt being sucked into the machinery. Then we had one exceptional winter when ice blocked the system, so they had to put in that stupid ice boom you can see in the middle of the intake.

Then, they had algae blocking things, so they put up an algae net, which is now buried in the fish net. At one time we were proposing to dig an intake tunnel. I think it would have turned out a lot cheaper!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Substandard Toilet Hoses


I'm doing this because our cousin came home to a totally flooded house, and is now living in a very nice downtown condo! Apparently Canada is infested with these fake parts. It's the home scale of my other article on this. I had a quick check of my house, and you can't tell a damn thing! But it all looked like high-grade nylon. I think it would be a criminal plumber who would put in a fitting made from old plastic forks.

New subdivisions could be the worse for this, since if it is bought from Home Depot, I'm pretty sure it's good. So bend down, and check with the new LED flashlight. If there are stampings on the metal connector side, and the plastic doesn't look like a coffee cup, then you are golden! :)

Timex Comes Through

As recounted in my earlier Broken Watch Saga, I mailed the watch to Timex. I just got it today! They replaced the watch, and put it back on the existing leather strap. They sent me a formal invoice for $7.91! (shipping and handling, and they did send it back express post.) Can you imagine how much that costs to process? Would they send a collection agency if I didn't pay? Anyway, being the nice guy I am, I had to phone them and given them my credit card number. I think the whole process probably cost them $10!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Nuclear Rehab Follies


Today, nobody knows when the plant will be back online, except that it won’t be any earlier than 2011. The company's engineers are currently trying to figure out how to restore seals on critical components inside the reactor vessel of the provincially owned plant, 40 miles east of Lubec,

No comment.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Wind MIll Sillies


Mr McLeod said he worried about the impact on the birds and his pupils, who got upset when deaths happened during playtimes and lunchtimes.

Oh look, Mommy! There's a nice birdie ...... SPLAT! (and the kid is covered in gore and feathers!) This is right out of Monty Python! I love it!

People here know I love to tear into those stupid wind mills. In Ontario, we're sinking 4 Niagara Tunnels into these things! Locate them out in Lake Erie with killer ice, or out in Lake Ontario on a silt-bar. Or put them near people and watch their brains turn to mush with the infrasound. It's all so much fun! :)

Summary July 4, 2010

-very, very hot. cottage is great! Can actually swim this year, the water was too cold the past 2 summers. Went sailboarding.

-middle son had brought up his drunken buddies a few weeks ago, and left all this really cheap 'buck-a-beer' crap, so I have been taste-testing it! Bohemian - nice start, total water finish, but clean. Old Milwaukee - good start, but is really cloying on the tongue -- I dumped half the bottle, and went back to Corona to recover my tongue! Next time, I try more! But really, they should just add alcohol to water!

- I can't see anything in the earthquake biz - probably the best for the summer.

-dog and I caught a lot of fish at the dock. we catch rock bass, which are invasive. I toss it on the dock, and Cindy catches them in mid-air, when they flop. she then carries them up on the rock to dry. Today, the girls saw a baby mink with one of the dried fish in her mouth, really cute! Cindy did too much when she came up to help us pick blueberries, and could hardly move today. She's really getting old! (10!)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

AECL NRU Acknowledges Ontario Earthquake


Some inspections were repeated following an earthquake last week but AECL says no changes were detected.

Wow. Of course, if they had more competence, we would have got some PGV readings, especially since they are on a swamp that could amplify by a factor of 100. Still, it must have rattled somebody's coffee! :)

US can pay down deficit with Russian spies


Nine people charged in a Russian spy case were having bail hearings Thursday and a U.S. prosecutor said the evidence against them was growing stronger by the day.

One other defendant has already been denied bail, and an 11th suspect has jumped bail in Cyprus.

Yeah! Just set the bail at 100 billion each, and let them go!