Monday, December 31, 2007

Fiberglass ignites

I love following the nuclear plant news. For example, this article says a fiberglass blanket caught fire. That's neat, since physics outside a nuclear plant might indicate that fiberglass doesn't burn. But in nuclear plants, anything can happen!

Old guys debate nuclear

We are promised a political debate on the general concepts of nuclear, in the new year. Should be very interesting (ho, hum). At least there were pictures of these old guys. I know somebody who works on the inside of the Ontario Legislature. OMG, the stuff that goes on before these guys set themselves up for a public television appearance! So much effort to put out the one-line sound bites!

So, I expect another year of political posture-izing, before there is some minuscule progress. Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

What now for AECL research reactor?

A Happy New Year to everyone! As we go into the first few months of the new year, the most interesting story (in my space) will be about AECL and the CNSC.

As we recall, AECL has been branded incompetent, and the CNSC has been destroyed (seismically speaking). I was talking to some nuclear people, and they think Linda Keen grossly over-reacted when she effectively closed down the research reactor, knowing of the tremendous dependence on isotopes. They note that she doesn't have a speck of qualifications for the job, and was an appointed political hack of the Liberals. That said, she simply may have been following a staff position, but most likely, she was in a political game, since she and AECL both fight under one cabinet minister.

This puts me in the poor position of never making any money off seismic things. The utilities can now happily ignore seismic issues, and say Naaah Naah to the CNSC. Harper has ingrained the position of "If you can't see it, it doesn't exist!" This makes for a sad Harold. You are not going to see any nifty geophysics and geology for the next nuclear plants.

I hate waiting for the next earthquake. It's going to be such a mess, and there is no fun in saying "I told you so!". I'm just going to have a drink at New Years....

Areva's Pride and Joy delayed again

We really can't say that AECL is the only one that screws up. Areva must be a proud member of that club! Their flagship plant in Finland is delayed another big hunk. At the current rate of delays, it will never get built!

I don't think there are any companies left that don't have screw-ups, since most of the US companies have ties to Japan, and they haven't really built much recently. So, we really can't discriminate against the screw-ups, or we'll have nobody left!

Our big problem is that we want large plants, and there is not a lot of good experience in that regard. The old US light-water plants are too small, since they have origins in the US nuclear submarine business. Scaling up reactors is a tricky business, as we well know.

I'm still 100% for nuclear (Warning: Sound Bite!). GE should buy AECL, and we'll go with their nuclear plant, built by Bruce Nuclear at the Wesleyville site. Of course, that makes too much sense, so you know what we'll end up with.

eee-pc good for the kids

I said earlier that I bought an Asus EEE-PC for the college kid. I don't think they could have come up with a worse name! How do you pronounce it? Do you yell "EEEEE! PC!", or do you call it "Triple-E PC". I'm just going to call it the 'eep'.

It is absolutely neat for your 1st year college kid (and 4th year!). They love to play all the Linux games, and use the wireless. He can't wait to write notes and essays on it. It is so light and small, that you want to carry it, unlike a standard notebook PC. The keyboard and screen work quite well. I almost feel like getting one for myself! Perhaps when I actually work one day....

Friday, December 28, 2007

New Japan nuclear plant delayed

Very weird news story. As we all know, a Tokyo Electric nuclear plant with a long name was blasted by a big earthquake, a while ago. I still can't find the peak velocities, but I suspect they were huge. This plant is still closed.

They are planning to build a new plant, but have delayed it for a year to incorporate 'new earthquake assessments', but no change to the design. This is designed to win back the locals, who are a bit wary, for some reason.

I wonder if that will work? Would anyone have faith in more Japanese 'earthquake people' looking at the design, and giving a nod? I don't even think they were fully open about the big quake. This will be interesting.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Fan-driven cooling towers are the latest thing

It looks like Ontario will get two new nuclear plants, one Candu design for OPG at Darlington, and one Areva (or other) light water design on the broken rock of Bruce.

The big question for both plants is whether they will use straight water cooling, or cooling towers. As this article shows, pass-through water cooling kills a lot of fish, and warms up the water. On the other hand, cooling towers probably aren't meant for Canada. Think of how a snow-maker works on a ski hill, and that's a cooling tower!

The new cooling towers don't look like something from the Simpsons. They are low and flat, and cover a football field. They still pump out a huge amount of water vapour, but they use fans instead of air convection. The Darlington site really doesn't have room for them, and the Bruce site has that cold Lake Huron water (what's left of it!).

I really hope there is some action next year on the nuclear front, to pull me out of my doldrums. The Bruce site will be interesting, since they are planning the riddle the rock underneath with a waste repository, while building a new nuclear plant! I can see all sorts of fights!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Vista nightmare is over!

For months I have been struggling with Vista. I got an AMD 64 bit chip, and dammit, I was going to have a 64 bit system, that still ran the stupid PC games. I finally gave up and went back to XP.

-networking hopeless, even with all the weird 'tweaks'
-no games ran (hardly any)
-kids yelling at me
-no PCI cards work

The final straw was that the graphics driver suddenly went sour, and nothing I could do to reinstall it worked.

Monday, December 24, 2007

US Pork wins, Big Science loses

The big trouble with constantly relying on the politicians for special funds, is that occasionally you lose out. Today the Big Science Pork has lost out to everyday pork. The US can probably make up for it by replacing science in education, with creationism.

I didn't see it here, but I'm sure that some of the earthquake science got killed, and I'm not too sure about the big effort at the south pole.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Gerry speaks at last on nuclear power

Before I go off on Christmas break, I leave this little present. Minister Gerry has at last said some words on nuclear power! Some people might be worried that he just the average political mini-me, but this has shown he is alive!

He says he won't hold AECL's performance against them, so they are still in the running. The final results will be political dynamite, third-rail stuff, so expect a decision in 2008, 9, 10 or 11.

MERRY CHRISTMAS! (solstice, winter dark days, whatever).

Thursday, December 20, 2007

AECL NRU reactor set to run forever

Everything is hunky-dory over at Chalk River. It's been toured by a Cabinet Minister, and it's all fired up. Still some ragged opposition sniping at the sidelines, but that doesn't count!

This whole subject is probably closed for a long time. I know I won't be commenting on it anymore. No use trading sound bites: "It's safe.... It's not safe! Yes it is!"

This is embarrassing for the poor government and opposition to deal with. But as the commercial says... an earthquake won't be embarrassed.

Badsiting - 4

Found this on an arrow embedded in my plastic 'Colour Changing LED' snowman.


When only the very bad will do.

For immediate shooting

Ottawa Valley: Other badness pales in comparison

Now, as we have seen, the Ottawa Valley would be pretty bad for a site, in any case. It is fractured down to the bottom of the crust, has had volcanoes run down it's length, and is on the edge of the Western Quebec seismic zone. What could be icing on this cake?

It turns out to be something that looks like icing, although sort of mucky and brown, and doesn't taste good. People might just call it dirt, but it's a very special dirt, extremely unusual in this world.

During the last glaciation, the whole area was pressed down by a giant ice thumb. When the ice melted, it didn't spring up right away, which allowed the ocean to come in quite far up the Ottawa Valley. All the ground-up rock from the glaciers, and the salt water from the ocean mixed up to form a delicious marine clay. Badsiting is too cheap to buy a map of this soil, but it's all over the place!

You would think this clay was bad enough, since it is a soft, jiggly mass that amplifies seismic ground motions by a factor of 10 to 100. But noooo, in the Ottawa Valley, it became something much worse. Groundwater attacked it, and replaced the sodium atoms with calcium. This made the clay super sensitive, so that you can have a very solid cube lump of it on a table, whack the table with a hammer, and the whole lump melts to ooze.

On the large scale, it makes goopy landslides like this.

So to find a truly bad site in the Ottawa Valley, we need to find the worst of two things:

-where the Ontario megathrusts intersect the valley (Timiskaming was one of them, but that huge earthquake happened already)

-where there are deep soil deposits

Surprise! Chalk River and the City of Ottawa come out on top! Unfortunately for Badsiting Inc., they already put some bathtub nuclear reactors at Chalk River, and Ottawa is all built on that nice goopy clay. There really isn't much to propose.

Therefore, we at Badsiting are closing up for Christmas, since we are plumb out of ideas. Perhaps something really stupid will come along (like Nuclear Waste!) that will get us going again.

Frying a motherboard

I keep venturing into areas that I shouldn't. I've been turning over the computers lately. I've kept the cases, and other parts that I could salvage, and changing the motherboards. The last time I did it, it went okay, but this new generation has been giving me endless trouble. Still, I have two new latest generation computers that are fantastic.

This last one killed me, though. I'm writing this as therapy, to show what a complete idiot I am, that I'm no threat to the Big Boys, since I can admit I was wrong. I feel so shitty, but writing this is better than taking Lorazepam.

I thought I was ordering the same that I did last time. A new motherboard, a nifty AMD dual 4800, and the memory. But I made a slip in the memory order, and got DDR instead of DDR2! What did I know? Two nearly identical memory systems? When I was putting it together, the fact that I was trying some new multi-focal contact lens conspired against me. Perhaps with my old glasses, and a magnifying glass, I would have seen there was a pin difference!

Anyway, it sort of worked, and then it didn't. Sent it back, and they say the board fried, and they have to send it back to the manufacturer. I feel like bashing my head against the wall! How could I have been so stupid?

Thanks for listening, I feel better.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


A poem sent to me to cheer me up:

Why I love Ontario

It's winter in Ontario
And the gentle breezes blow,
70 miles per hour at 52 below!
Oh, how I love Ontario
When the snow's up to your butt.
You take a breath of winter air
And your nose is frozen shut.
Yes, the weather here is wonderful,
I guess I'll hang around.
I could never leave Ontario,
'Cause I'm frozen to the ground.

Happy or sad fish?

That's live fish in that speaker! The fish seem to be happy with the blaring music, I'm sure they lead a lonely life. Anyway, there is a big too-do on whether this is fish cruelty or not.

(I have to do something fishy once in a while)

Lawrence Lessig fights corruption.

This is a great article. I am temporarily under the influence of my Black Dog (depression), thinking about corruption and bullying.

These things work by one person (or group) extracting a lot for themselves from the hides of the masses. In government, a group such as sugar farmers, gets policies that pour billions to them, and extracts $100 each from hundreds of millions of ordinary people.

Mr. Lessig may succeed because of the great power of mobility and the Internet. This has significantly reduced transaction costs. All around the world, poor people are finally able to use banking services, because the transaction costs have gone down by orders of magnitude.

How can this work in real life? For example, as a totally fictional example, our athletic club is being destroyed by a single, big, obnoxious bully. Other people are behind him, because he might lead one team to victory. Everybody else is sick of him, but the transaction cost is high, since confronting him leads to violence (ouch!). We need to allow all those who are sad at the destruction of the club to put in a small token, that can aggregate to something big.

In politics, corruption is always the same. A power group greases the politicians for lots of money to them. All the other people, who loses a little blood, have no ability to mount resistance, other than leading some big political movement, and getting killed.

The first effect of the Internet is working, that of making the contributions more transparent. We find more and more of what Hilary is getting. We don't find what promises Harper gets after he leaves office. But the second part is more transparent as well, what subsidies each group is getting. For example, we know the billions that ethanol farmers in Iowa are getting, and we know what things political people vote on.

Now we need the second part - lower transaction costs. That means Mr. Lessig needs an organization that takes all these corrupt money flows, and apportions each cost to people, depending on their income. For example, there would be a huge list with things such as sugar protection, what the fat cats get, and how much it is costing you.

If you find that the NRA is costing you $10 a year in terms of increasing the chances your kid will get shot, then you might want to contribute $1 to fight them. The same for all the other 'deaths of a thousand cuts'

This could aggregate from millions of people who are being taken for a ride. Individuals of the "Corruption Social Network (Corrupt-book)", would contract for action. Someone might take the risk and loss of salary of organizing something, and be compensated. Other people might just need expenses to go to a protest.

There could be light actions, and heavy actions. For example, something similar happened recently in Canada, in protest to the "Canadian DCMA". Thousands registered displeasure in Facebook (a light action), but it resulted in a spontaneous demonstration at the Ministers riding, in the middle of nowhere. This could be organized!

I wish you luck, Mr. Lessig, and hope you can read this one day.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Primer: AECL Maple reactors, MDS, and the Positive Coefficient of Reaction

I was very interested in researching this story, and it has turned out to be most fascinating. I've gone through lots of articles, and scientific papers.

Having picked the Absolutely Worst Spot in the World for a nuclear reactor, AECL has gone on to pick the Absolutely Worst Design. How could they have hit two home runs in a row? It turns out that the original NRU and Candu designs were done by brilliant people brought together by the war. The successor designs were done by techno-bureaucrats, who followed in their place. The location for all this was also picked out by bureaucrats.

As mentioned in a previous primer, the NRU was a brilliant piece of simplicity, although somewhat unsuited for its seismic location. It was an open bathtub of heavy water, with a lattice of hanging fuel bundles, and control rods. Although controlled by the crudest relay buttons, this reactor was kind and stable. If it overheated, by say filling up too much, the heat would create steam voids, and water would evaporate. These pockets of steam could not moderate (slow down) neutrons, and the whole nuclear reaction would slow down. This is like flying a biplane with a stick.

But the AECL techno-bureaucrats wanted to build a fighter jet. They wanted something to generate enough isotopes to Control The world! (market).

They designed and built Maple I and II. So confident were they, that they totally built the thing on the swamp. So confident, they made the coolant in the reactor of light water, with a reflector of heavy water (to save money). So confident was MDS, that they bought these reactors for a few hundred million. Soon, the isotopes would be flowing!

Alas, such are the dreams of mice and men. The Maple reactor has one little thing wrong - A Positive Coefficient of Reaction (PCR), which meant that if the reactor had a power pulse, steam would form in the light water coolant. The light water is a very heavy killer of neutrons, steam is not. The surrounding reflector of heavy water (perfect slower of neutrons) would continue to do its job and send in 'perfect' neutrons. The reaction would run away, and only the brakes of the control rods could stop it.

Now, AECL could probably have overlooked this little quirk, and snuck it past the sleepy (and LIBERAL!) CNSC, except for one inconvenient thing - Chernobyl! That's right, this graphite reactor also had a nasty little problem with PCR, and when things started to blow, inserting the control rods made it worse (and you know what happened).

Poor MDS, stuck with the bag, they put in some few hundred million to try to fix things. They finally gave up, returned the reactors to AECL, receiving $60 million pocket change, and a firm monopoly of all isotopes from AECL in perpetuity.

AECL has now made countless presentations to the CNSC (on the web), saying how smart and wonderful they are, and how they can handle this tiger by the tail. Like an unstable modern fighter jet, they have tacked on 'fly by wire' controls, and other stuff to deal with PCR. The Koreans have one and it works by magic!

In the meantime, they have to operate a 50 year old corroded thing that was to have closed years ago. Thanks to the Beaming Face of Harper, we are assured that there will be no earthquakes in this region. MDS is still making its money, so it has no need to grease things along, but the followers of Harperology may send their offerings, so that He should also abolish the PCR! That way, we can make billions in isotopes, and be ready when the old reactor collapses under its own weight!

I love this story, it's like a movie or a soap opera! Will they tame the PCR? Will Harper ascend to the Heavens in lightning bolts? Will AECL last forever? Will MDS stockholders be happy? Stay tuned....

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Badsiting - 3

Ok, the giant snowstorm stopped them from getting to my front door. This was tied to a brick that stopped my snowblower.


Where all good things go to bad.

For immediate throwing

What's so special about the Ottawa Valley?

You may not believe this, Virginia, but the Ottawa Valley and associated structures are some of the most significant and recent signs of rock destruction in Eastern North America (ENA). Sure those big megathrusts under Ontario are something, but that happened a billion years ago! So Yesterday, in geologic speak. What we have here is a giant tear through the entire crust, only some odd hundred millions years old.

It all starts with Wilson Cycles. This is the tendency for the earth to smash up all the continents together in one big pile-up, and then split them all apart again. It has to do with the fact that oceanic crust only wants to stay on top when it is young and hot. After a wild life of an odd hundred million years or so, it gets tired and wants to die, so it dives back into the earth.

Well on the cycle before the last one, the continents were all happy together, when they decided to split up. Wasn't really their decision alone, since they were responsible for true global warming right under their feet. They had blanketed a huge section of the globe with their bodies, which did not conduct heat well, and things started to warm up.

This upwelling of heat lifted and stretched the continents, ready to split. In the Ottawa area, a giant zit started to form, that extended out in a three-way. One big crack went up the Ottawa Valley, another down the St. Lawrence, and a third going down Lake Champlain. Later geologists would call it the Ottawa-Bonnechere Graben.

In cross-section it looks even more ferocious.

Anyway, all this action was for naught, the continents decided to separate along different lines, and all this split rock was called a failed rift.

But it's not a failure for us! After the continents split, things cooled down, and the rift valleys tightened up. The continents then started to smash together again, and we had the Appalachian Mountains. All would be peaceful for Ottawa, except for the fact that when things started to heat up again, a 'hotspot' formed somewhere north of Ottawa. As the continent moved and traveled over this hotspot, it had the effect of a key on a Rolls Royce, except the key was coming from underneath!

This mushed up the rock all over again, and gave us nice scenic spots such as Mount Royal in Montreal. Of course, the glaciation added an immense weight which crunched things up some more.

We now have the most wonderfully cracked up rock in ENA! The Ottawa Graben forms a boundary of the extremely seismically active Western Quebec Zone. As well, it is the terminator, of the Ontario megathrusts.

We can expect the most marvellous huge earthquakes at the intersections of these two fault systems, just like the 1935 Timiskaming earthquake. All in all, a most wonderful bad site! What makes it absolutely terrible, is discussed in the next 'flyer'.

Real reason CNSC was destroyed

The good thing about reporters is that they get access to politicians. We bloggers wouldn't be caught dead talking to one! Anyway, this article shows that the real reason for passing the Nuclear Fiasco Act, was the simple reason that our glorious MP's wanted their 6 week Christmas break.

So, Merry Christmas to them all, and I hope Santa MDS leaves them something nice in their stockings!

Friday, December 14, 2007

A primer on the Canadian Nuclear path to glory

I realize that some people are making fun of this whole nuclear business in Canada, but other people can't laugh along unless they've had some serious background on the whole issue. So, now I put on my serious hat, and offer this to help others.

I've had something like 29 years in the nuclear business, so I think I'm as good as the Conservatives! The mere fact that my many alter egos find everything so ridiculous should not put me at a disadvantage compared to those who are totally humourless. I started my career as a Geotechnical Engineer, working on the foundations for two nuclear plants - Bruce B, and Darlington. I also helped review Pickering B. I was a bright young thing and learned everything about Candu, because the plant was going to sit on the foundation, draw water through tunnels, and put it's waste in the facilities I was helping to design.

I have recently re-researched the history of nuclear stuff in Canada. It is actually difficult sifting through all the AECL-generated fluff, or avoiding the nasty Greenpeece versions. Somewhere in middle is a very human story of people muddling along to try and help Canada.

The history of nuclear in Canada is very much tied up with the nuclear bomb. The first man-made nuclear reactor in the world was done by some crazy guys in Chicago, who shoved some enriched U235 together, until the Geiger Counters went wild, and their eyebrows tingled.

This was the critical concept. A small hunk of U235 all by itself spontaneously generated neutrons, but they just zoomed away and went into people. But U235 has a great property that it can latch onto a neutron travelling at just the right speed, vibrate a lot, and then split apart. When it splits, it generates more neutrons, and other radioactive stuff. We are lucky that sometimes it takes a while to split, which allows the reaction to be controllable.

Nevertheless, they soon realized that knocking together bits of Uranium with a screwdriver was not ideal, and set about to scale it up. The US used graphite in big piles of bricks (hence, 'nuclear pile'). Their attention was solely on the prize of producing Plutonium for bombs. Graphite was extremely dangerous (think Chernobyl!), but this was war!

The graphite acted as a 'moderator' which meant that the high-speed neutrons could be slowed down to just the right speed to split the Uranium. This was necessary for a controlled reaction. But there was another moderator - heavy water, which is a rare form of water with extra neutrons in the hydrogen. The world's only supply of heavy water had been purified in Norway, constantly being shipped ahead of the German advance. It finally made it to England, and then to Montreal.

So, at this point, the US was churning out Plutonium, and they thought it would be great if the Canadians did it a different way. They pumped a lot of money into Canada to create a super-secret installation disguised to look like a miltary base, right in the middle of a great big swamp north of Ottawa. This was Chalk River.

With their big supply of heavy water, the Canadians did it different. They had a big bathtub, and they hung uranium fuel rods like icicles. Then they pumped in the heavy water, and at a certain level, it became a 'hot tub', full of neutrons. If they filled it too much, it became super-hot (super-critical), which had a good chance of blowing up. If this happened, they had suspended control rods, which dropped down into the tub, absorbing neutrons, and killing the reaction.

Needless to say, these crazy guys had a lot of accidents, where people got majorly zapped with neutrons, and it never bothered anyone! I like to think that a good dose of neutrons counteracted the smoking.

All of this was ready, the day the war ended. The Americans no longer had any interest in the Canadians, and gave them this wonderful present. Now the Canadians had to figured out what to do with it! So, they cranked up the reactor and made neutrons! In 1957 they made the biggest reactor bathtub in the world, the famous NRU, of nuclear fiasco fame. This was no super-safe baby, they cranked it up for neutrons! If the water level went too high - poof! If it went too low - poof! And you were relying all the time on those rods dropping cleanly. Needless to say they had accidents, since this really was 'research reactor' run by absent-minded professors.

Since they had nothing better to do, they bombarded all sorts of things with neutrons to see what happened. They made Cobalt for the first cancer machines, and they made medical isotopes. Such a large bathtub could churn out lots of isotopes!

Needless to say, somebody figured out that having scientists monkey around with water levels, and floopy rods was no way to have a commercial reactor, where you wanted lots of power. They changed the design, still having a big bathtub, but shoving in the fuel sideways in pressure tubes. Thus began the great Candu era!

Over the years, they have realized that the original design was a bit too dependent on gravity behaving itself. And we all know that earthquakes can upset that assumption. The first and most important thing was building on a good foundation, not a swamp. The second was to make the control rods spring loaded, and able to insert under high lateral forces. As well, all the surrounding buildings were built for earthquakes.

Today the new Candu stations are pretty good for earthquakes. What about the old NRU? I can only shudder. The building is on ground that will amplify ground motions about 100 times. It is probably all brick and block walls. The bathtub can slosh out all the water, which makes the fuel rods explode. The control rods won't drop under violent shaking. The containment building won't hold. Still, most likely, the great big poof of radioactivity would spread over a fairly empty area, and flow down the Ottawa River, where it would be diluted. Not really that bad.

*All of this can be found by Google searching, and looking up Wikipedia. I left out all references, because I wanted to.

First head rolls in nuclear fiasco

And it's a Conservative head. When will the Liberal head roll?

Generally, I find this head-rolling thing about as useful as a fart in the wind.

Harperology explained

Quoted from Minister Conrad Brian, high priest of Harperology:

"We're getting a lot of flak from the Germans that we aren't a real religion. This is nonsense, since like any religion, we have a lot of axioms and proverbs to guide our actions.

A bill in the hand, is worth two in a cheque.

The grasping shall inherit the earth.

All things come to those who wait, after their term of office.

Pay unto others, as you would want them to pay onto you.

When at first you don't succeed, pay, pay again.

The Beaming Face of Harper helps those, who help themselves.

When facing jail, declare everything!

I hope this clears everything up."

Mr. Conrad Brian was last seen taking a trip to his Swiss bankers.

Google starts Moneypedia

I used to write a lot for Wikipedia. But I eventually got tired of their 'holier than thou' editors, and sermonizing. It started to resemble a giant bureaucracy, and I was retiring from that!

Now Google hopes to do one better. Authors will compete for cash, and will be judged by the minions who click. I am sure that this will be totally authoritative, and I can't wait to do an article on Harperology!

New religion formed

Dateline Ottawa

The famous psychic Conrad Brian is forming a new religion, called Harperology. They worship the Beaming Face of Harper, and his god-like ability to stop earthquakes in the Ottawa Valley.

Harperologists contribute heavily to the Conservative Party, and expect to get a tax exemptions for their numerous business activities, such as MDS. They hope to get Tom Cruise to convert, with an offer of more money.

Says Minister Brian, "With Harperology, we kill two birds with one stone ... a glamorous religion, and a way to slip money under the table, wrapped in our embossed offering envelopes."

Badsiting - 2

Those people have nailed another notice to my door. Damn, I wish they'd learn to use tape!


We go one up on the Big Guys!

For immediate nailing

Badsiting Inc. continues it's efforts to find the worst sites in Ontario, for big nasty things such as nuclear research reactors. It's a constant struggle to compete with the Big Guys, since they have infinitely more money under the table.

Originally, Badsiting Inc. was going for a Hamilton site....

But now, with the Face of Harper beaming down on Ottawa, there's more money there.

First, why is the Ottawa Valley so interesting? It's an amazing fact, that in the last Nuclear Fiasco, nobody thought there are any earthquakes there. In fact, many comments were along the line of "We haven't heard of any incidents there for 50 years, so it's good for another 50 years". In fact, all the bitching that Geofish guy does about earthquakes in Southern Ontario, is a waste of breath compare to Ottawa. Here is a seismicity map...

Ha! Look at the red dots! One might argue that all the red dots are over in Quebec, and nobody gives a damn, but boundaries are very significant. In our next release, we opine on how the Ottawa Valley is one of the most significant seismic features in Eastern North America, even though nobody remembers an earthquake there.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Coral reefs to be dissolved

I find it a bit strange that the happy people are predicting the end to coral reefs, but I'm not going to argue with them. Clearly, injecting huge amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere will have some nasty effects.

But there have been many injections in the geological past, and yet the coral survives. What happens to them during a CO2 episode? Do they just give up on the reef building and float around? Would evolution be friendly to such an arrangement? Do they shift to other areas of the world? I find this interesting.

California's Hayward Fault

I caught this on the web, didn't see it in my journal yet. They are making a big deal out of this, but all of California is a big mish-mash of faults. The article has a very interesting map, though, and it shows how a lot of faults are interconnected.

In California, they make a big deal out of 'segments' in their faults. They like to feel that if an earthquake has terminated in the past at one point, it will always do so. And if they map a trivial one-mile gap in the fault, then it is significant. Boy, has Nature got a surprise for them!

In reality, this doesn't make much difference for the average bridge, or house. The big threat is always the earthquake right beneath you, and if it comes as a 500 km fault rupture, or a 50 km rupture, it still packs some velocity. As well, being on soft soft in a basin amplifies by about a factor of 100, so they will react to any earthquake. A big earthquake just affects a lot more people all at once, so this has an impact on recovery efforts.

In the end, I can look at a big long active fault, and not know whether the future holds one big, full length rupture, or a lot of in-betweens. As with the upcoming big Vancouver earthquake, it could be a big slip, or a decade of terror!

Netherlands adopts open source

Good for them! I just got an Asus EEE PC to give as a Christmas present (shh, don't tell anybody!), and it is sooooo cute! It is perfect to look trendy at the Cafe with all the other trendies. I never see anybody actually doing stuff with their laptops there, but you can do all your Facebook and Google stuff with this. The BIG GUY (Microsoft) must be trembling in their boots with these cutie half-laptop, half-Blackberry things.

Back to Holland. I hope they have an easier time than Munich, or Boston. They can expect the full Wintel Cartel to come swooping down on them! A lot of Schreiberish money will flow under the table! Be strong, brother! Be strong!

Harper taken for a ride on Nuclear Fiasco

My Internet Girlfriend* (*never met her, and don't let her see this!) over on Science Notes, notes that AECL has botched up medical isotope delivery before, and it hasn't been such a big deal. Had they given the proper notifications, and had they realized, once they shut down, their Blackian Nuclear Seismic Safety Chickens would come home to roost, then people could have gone to other suppliers.

But nooooooo! They had to kick up a big fuss and go directly to Harper, saying that they were Conservative (ha!), and that the CNSC were nasty Liberals. In reality, they are both peas from the same pod! I hope poor old Harper realizes that he has been had, sells them immediately, and shuts down the reactor in 2 years.

Badsiting Inc. is back!

Oh, look at that! Somebody has nailed this to my front door.


Our sites are so bad, they're good!

Our company's mission is to find the worst sites in Ontario for important things, such as nuclear waste, nuclear power plants, dangerous research reactors, refineries, etc. The difficulty in our challenge, is to find sites that are worse, than those actually chosen.

Our current project is to find a site on soft soil, along the Ottawa Valley. Further 'Nailing Notices' will go into the details, showing how you couldn't pick a worse site, even though everybody lives in a fool's paradise, because nothing much has happened in living memory.

Boo to 'Copyright Reform'

I have to join the thundering herd. I don't want the nasty Media Cartel suing kids in Canada. Hopefully, Harper is exhausted from the Nuclear Fiasco, and will give up on this.

Most of this copyright thing is becoming irrelevant anyway, as the Media Cartel starts to offer things on the Facebooks of the world, in return for advertising revenue. The big writers strike in Hollywood is all about carving a piece of the pie, on this issue.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Comments on nuclear fiasco

I'm glad nobody reads and comments on my blog. Not when I read all the comments on this article. I loved reading the comments (and glad not to have to respond!) These people really know their seismology! Anyway, it's all over. The old Soviet reactor will putter along. There will be no earthquakes along the Ottawa Rift, since there hasn't been one yet.... (har, har)

I am seriously in favour of giving people 2 years before the reactor is packed up. This would make up for destroying the CNSC, which is already totally whipped by Bruce Power.

Hoover dam going dry

This article include a great picture of the lake behind the Hoover Dam. I'm sure they'll all blame this on soda pop, even those ancient Indian records have shown horrendous long droughts in this area that wiped out all local humanity.

Nuclear isotopes: the fat lady sings

The shouting is over. The bill is passed, and let's see if AECL can get it started, even with this push. Meanwhile, the totally Liberal CNSC is doomed. I'm glad Harper relied on an old OPG buddy, Bob Strickert for all that advice, instead of me. :) I worked for Bob a long time ago when we did the environmental assessment for Pickering A. He invited the working stiffs to a success party, and I got a gift! Will never forget him, but God he must be OLD! And so busy with that Conservative Party stuff! And what he knows about seismic risk and hazard could fill a book! (am I thinking a big book here, folks?)

Oh well, on to the next crisis! At least this has inspired me to think evil thoughts....

Earthquakes and medical isotopes

That was fun watching the House shouting match on TV. So much shouting, so little brains. Here's what Harper should have said:

"I am neither God, nor a nuclear safety expert. I do know we have a serious problem balancing the immediate need of 10's of thousands of patients, versus the risk of something happening to the reactor. My personal seismic expert, Harold, assures me that the chance of a major earthquake, over a short time, is small. This "Time at Risk" argument has been used before when there are problems with backup systems at nuclear power plants.

I, therefore, put forward that we immediately start the reactor, with it's inadequate backup systems, on the proviso that we shut down and pack up the entire reactor in two years. Harold tells me the reactor is a piece of shit that could never pass a modern seismic walkdown, and it will most likely crap out in 2 years, throwing us back into the same situation.

This gives 2 years for the sleepy Medical Establishment to get their act together and find some alternatives. On my part, I am ordering the immediate sale of loser AECL, in the hope that some new brains can get the replacement reactors going."

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Ads are gone

Over the months I had ads, I made a total of under 3 bucks! Alas, I will never see that money, because there is a minimum before they send a check. But these ads were somewhat questionable, such as the ad for 'Syware' which I think must have installed more than removed!

So, for the season, let's us be happy and not afraid to wish "Merry Christmas" on the street!

Reactor to start over Keen's dead body

Oh, well. Sometimes you have to stick your neck out, to see it chopped off. That's what is happening to the CNSC big boss, ever since Harper found out he was an expert on nuclear safety. Harper has expressed that he has 'lost confidence' in the poor lady, which is the next thing to the boot. And since she is a political appointee, she is only giving the CNSC staff opinion. Perhaps they should all be fired! And fire the damn guy who says that there's a heavy seismic hazard up there! (Oops, that's me! And they can't fire me, I quit!).

I now see the end of this great saga. Soon the creaky old reactor will start running again, waiting for an earthquake. It's upriver from Harper, so he'll be able to eat his own dogfood...

Harper promotes himself to God

Citing his immense God-like powers, Harper declares that there will be no earthquake under Chalk River, while he has any say in it. It's a good thing when people do not let reality choke their high opinion of themselves, just like Conrad Black!

These same powers will be needed when we have our expected big earthquake under Lake Ontario, some January. With all the nuclear plants shut down, and nobody having a clue what actually happened to them, it will require a declaration from God-Harper to start them up half-crippled, since everybody will be freezing to death. I'm glad he is sharpening up the old lightning bolts right now.

The truth is that this horrible old reactor should not be running -- period. The fact that it is vital to save lives, isn't my problem!

Gov't chooses isotopes over nuclear safety

The government has now put a lot of pressure on the CNSC to paper over their difficulties and get the reactor running again. This, despite the fact that AECL did a Conrad Black over required seismic safety upgrades.

If this were the States, we'd put AECL in jail, but we can't. The hospitals are now getting isotopes with these 'generators' which I gather are shielded boxes with a hot core (cobalt?). Probably these isotopes are now 10 times more expensive, because apparently the gov't wasn't paying AECL much for the cheap stuff.

This bottom line is that this is an old clapped-out reactor in a very active seismic zone. I bitch a lot about OPG and the province not doing a good job on seismic, but this reactor takes the cake! There is nothing worse than being right on an active old rift. And this reactor was built when they would have said: "Seismic, who?".

Again, we wouldn't have had this problem if AECL had the slightest clue on the fundamental physics of these reactors, especially heat and water flow. They built the new reactors and found a big surprise! The same thing happened for Darlington. You can only step on Mr. Physics for so long before he bites back!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Buffett backs Idaho nuclear potato plant

Another day, another nuclear plant proposal. But this one has legendary investor Warren Buffett behind it! That makes it ever so more real. It'll probably be another untested design, on untested ground, but with the Buffett Billions behind it, this nuclear plant might be cooking before anything in Ontario!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Former AECL employee blabs

And he said NOTHING! Just mentioned that things were pretty incompetent between AECL and the CNSC. Still, I think people will have their lives shortened by all this. And even when they get it running again, it will still be the only one.

Will anything be learned by this? I doubt it. Oh well, on to the next crisis!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

I have zero confidence in AECL

That's not me saying that! That's some guy in this interesting article. I have lots of confidence in AECL. For example, they are very good at politics. For anything technical, however, I tend to side with that guy.

So now we have patients dying because of our good friends at AECL. They kept saying they could get the new reactors working, and they lulled somebody to sleep. Who is nastier, the lullers or the sleepy-heads?

Don't forget that Chalk River is earthquake country, and things could have happened. We have vital infrastructure in Hamilton, and there is no backup. We could have a sizable earthquake tomorrow, which knocks out all our nuclear plants for the count, and then what do we do? Wring our hands, like this medical thing?

Loaded handgun found at nuclear plant security

I like this story. "I forgot it was there." Being America, he probably had three more in his pickup truck.

OPG has a dysfunctional workplace culture

I didn't say that! The Bruce guy said it! I'm only agreeing with it. As I said before, the Bruce inherited all the smart people when everything was split up in 1991, and they are motoring nicely. I also like the comment that Candu is a hopeless design. This goes well with the recent AECL medical isotope idiocracies.

I truly wish them luck getting that old junk working again. We really need the power.

As for OPG, they better hire somebody like that Bruce guy real soon.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Doctors want to run reactor until it blows up!

Damn that's a nice headline! This is right in my interest area of nuclear power and bureaucratic incompetence, and finally I have something to write about!

To twig the search engines (for greater audience!), this is about AECL, the CNSC, and the Canadian Government, Nuclear Medicine, blah, blah. The article has everybody yelling and screaming. Where were they when I said politics (such as AECL) destroys everything technical. Would the politicians say that? (No way!).

Now there will be a great political dance that happened all the time in OPG, that of casting blame, and deftly side-stepping it. It truly shows the finest skill of the political types that have infested all these organizations.

Should there have been a backup? Can't you just have a special control canister for an active nuclear plant, like they do with Cobalt? Or did they *want* to make this reactor so vital that it couldn't be shut down (with all the jobs?)? Rational people want to know, and we sure as shootin' aren't going to get it from the politicians.

Under attack from spammers!

Yes, the spammers have found a way past the squiggly letter defense. They probably use Russian supercomputers, the same ones that rigged the election. Although nobody ever comments, unless I make fun of Australia, I have had to go to the next level -- moderation. So there might be a tiny delay before your brilliant musings come out to my widely-read (by spammers!) blog.

Japan nuclear plant knew about deadly fault in 2003

At least that's what some headlines are saying. This article just says that they saw some horrifying evidence that the fault was a lot bigger than they thought, so they stomped on it. I would call it selective blindness, which is common in such organizations. They certainly wouldn't have ordered more investigations when faced with such a horrible thing...

AECL and CNSC in big rumpus

It turns out that AECL was operating this medical isotope reactor all along, in violation of their operating license. Naturally the regulator is pissed! This is a shame since those isotopes are so vital.

I hope all this bureaucratic mish-mash is cleaned up before we start on a new reactor. Somebody up there must realize that it would be impossible to build a nuclear plant with the current bureaucratic structure. I am always hoping that our 'hero' will come soon...

Thursday, December 6, 2007

The end of cheap food

As long as I can remember, food has always become cheaper. That is why so many people find it easy to become extremely fat. But that is now coming to an end, and the stupid ethanol subsidies are making things worse.

What will this mean to the world? Will rich-world farm protection end, or will the farmers just come up with some new wheeze? Perhaps along the line of: "Now that food is becoming so expensive, you need to funnel in more taxpayer money to keep local food supplies secure." Perhaps, if things were rational, Hillary would remove all farm programs, which would fight rising prices. Ha, Ha.

Kangaroo farts will save the world!

This has now been added to my list of formerly unknown things. Did you know that kangaroos are grazers, yet they do not fart methane? Sheep and cows are huge methane generators, and I can imagine that vast herds of bison in pre-white-man North American were also a methane factory.

Now you can wait for scientists to try and get kangaroo bacteria growing in cows, or you can eat kangaroo! Come on crazy Ozzies, try out Roo-burgers for us, and see how they taste!

Facebook issues a mumbly 'sorry'

Caught with it's collective pants down, the Facebook guru issued a sort of minimal sorry. Seems that most of the teenie-bopper users were just angry about getting their Christmas surprise gifts blabbed about.

Facebook will now be much more discreet about the information it gathers...

Japan: Robots instead of immigration

All of Japan's third-generation youngsters want to become jet-setters, and zoom away. No menial tasks for them! Meanwhile the only people left are cranky oldsters who are nasty to foreigners. What to do?

Let robots take over! They can serve meals in the old-folk homes, make wheelchairs, all sorts of things. The old guys can die off, leaving their money to the vanishing young, and the robots can bury them. Everything is fine, as long as the robots look like geisha girls, and keep the culture alive!

Of course, you might have noticed a flaw in this plan, but the geriatrics in charge don't care, as long as they get their nappies changed....

Trees and volcanoes

Costa Rica is a lush tropical place, which gets a lot of money for carbon credits. They have recently planted their 5 millionth tree. Now, it is generally agreed that planting trees in North America is not a great carbon sink, because of forest fires. But what of places, such as Costa Rica, which has no forest fires, but lots of volcanoes.

I was thinking of this because an old volcano is sputtering back to life, and it doesn't sound like there is any significant monitoring on it. If we plant trees on the slopes of fertile, active volcanoes, are we doing anything? I think Mt. St. Helens did a good job clearing the trees out.

In my opinion, the only good land carbon sink is a nice peat bog. It takes out carbon, until it becomes coal. Unfortunately, the great demand for stupid biofuels is causing these bogs to be drained and burned. These is more carbon released by these operations than most things. Forests are being cut down for land for ethanol-corn, and the high grain prices caused by this silliness, is also causing more land to be cleared for grazing. All of this wonderful activity is being subsidized by taxpayers.

US Nuclear plants: The Silliness Starts

Oh, jeez. I remember the US nuclear 70's and 80's. Then, you could talk to total farmers about their nuclear plans. "We get all our expertise from consultants!", they would tell me. Now the farmers are back. This article mentions a company in potato-Idaho that is going to build a nuclear plant on a reservoir in the middle of nowhere. The company has built potato-plants, but has no experience with nuclear. They are using well-drillers on the site as we speak.

The US has enough talent for 1-2 new plants max. Canada only has enough for 1 plant max, if they can ever find a low-wage super-leader to start one. I've never seen such a person. Crazy Areva has 20 potential plants on the go, and they can't even do a good job on the one they have going. AECL is totally botching up a couple of stupid medical reactors!

I would love to have new nuclear reactors. For Christmas, I would want to see at least one rational effort, somewhere. (not China and Romania, they're too good!). And of course, this needs a rational effort on the nuclear waste issue!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Fake earthquakes

On a lighter note, the business of fake earthquakes is booming! Why wait for the real thing, when you can have one right under the seat of your car! All the latest honeymoon beds have got to get this installed!

More on the Japan nuclear earthquake

I knew more information would leak out in dribs and drabs. This report mentions some pretty horrible things that happened. Throughout the crisis, the primary aim of management was to not let out any news. They also had a serious case of group-think, like every other bureaucracy I know of.

Really old vital reactor is clapped out

Even the Greenpeece weenies can't say all nuclear power is bad. This horribly old reactor has been churning out medical isotopes for most of the world. What I find interesting in the article is how well AECL has done with the replacement reactors for this task. Who thinks they can actually build a big reactor? China and Romania don't count because they have smart people there.

I hope they get things working soon. I'm getting old, and might need some good radioactive juice one day...

Nuclear industry screwing up already

The new nuclear era was supposed to be one of total rationality, without any of that political crap. Oh, yeah. The US NRC would pre-approve just a few designs, and the industry would install them on approved ground. Everything would be tickety-boo.

Now it appears that those sites who have approved ground, don't have approved designs, and those with approved designs don't have approved ground. And nobody can leave well-enough alone! They have to put in design modifications suggested by idiot relatives of the president!

If you think this is going anywhere, then you believe that Ontario will actually build a nuclear plant, of unknown design, on unknown ground. Me, I'm really expecting a plant on the wheat fields of Saskatoon! :)

Most vulnerable cites to earthquake

This is an interesting article, and I really like the pictures. For a lot of these cities, you really don't know the exact odds of a killer quake happening, and you certainly don't know if it is going to happen soon.

My general observation is that most earthquake cities settle down to the odds of 1% in 100 years (one in ten thousand per year), of having a super-disaster earthquake. That is because this is the level where things drop off the 'living memory radar', and people become slack. I include Toronto in that crowd. You only need a few hundred cities in that category, to have a big disaster every 10 years or so.

Usually after a big disaster earthquake, the city will close the barn door, and start building in a responsible manner. For poor countries, we are more worried about the buildings collapsing. For richer cities, such as Toronto, we are more worried about life-lines, and economic damage.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

More dream nuclear plants in Canada

OMG! Sask. is now dreaming of a nuclear plant. Yeah, we can build dozens of them, all at once! And they should all be Candu, because those guys are so good at selling things! And we all know it's all flat there with no geology, mainly because nobody has done anything, and nobody ever felt an earthquake, so there never was any need to put in seismometers.

All in all, a perfect place!

(the preceding would be rated very high on the Sarcasm Meter)

Monday, December 3, 2007

Choose your Global Warming book for Christmas

Ah, Christmas. Up here in Canada, they are predicting the coldest winter in a long time, due to that nasty sloshing of the Pacific Ocean. As I run my snowblower, I think "Bring on Global Warming!". However, there are poor dusty suckers in Australia that might not be of the same opinion.

So, this year you can choose your book as a Christmas gift. This article lists several that are either Goreishly Gloomy, or celebrating that coal in your stocking! With either type of book, it looks like things are warming up anyway, so it's just a matter of feeling guilty, or not.

My own feeling is that you should not be terrified of something that is out of your control. I've read a lot on the subject, and I would dismiss the doomiest-gloomiest vision of an exponential run-away reaction that turns us into a hellish Venus. Those guys are out to lunch! But at the same time, those damn Americans should pay a realistic price for gas, that includes all the externalities. But, we might not have to worry too much about them, as they go down into a carbon-saving recession.

Facebook denies screwing customers until the dress comes out

Good old Facebook, the Internet bubble darling. Faced with hard evidence, they are slowly admitting to their obvious guilt. Can we impeach them?

I am pretty sure they must be desperate to actually show some revenue. I bet now they are sorry they didn't sell out to Google when they had the chance!

Neato energy from waste

Crazy old Google wants to operate its server farms on solar energy. These things need a huge amount of constant energy, somewhat like a small town. What they could do is put some money in this technology, which heats municipal waste, and extracts oil. This might be better for fish guts and diapers than Toronto's smelly compost technology.

I'm quite amazed at the useful bi-products from these plants. The big question is whether these plants can scale up to Toronto levels. This is where Google money could be useful.

Will AECL actually go to the block this time?

After many false starts, the media is once again forecasting that pieces of AECL will be sold to Areva. I'm not getting up my hopes again! I find this a bit odd, since the main competition in Ontario is between Candu and the hopelessly oversold Areva design. What are they going to do when the two morph into one? As well, there will be a competition for resources between the do-nothing Ontario plant, and the imaginary Alberta project.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Canada kids near top in science

Yep, our bright little kids are right up there in science, mainly because they aren't burdened down with RIAA lawsuits, and 'creashun crap'. One might ask, where is the US? and the poor Australians can't get over the disadvantage of living upside-down (har, dee har!).

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Liquor guys hand over the Alberta nuclear dream

In what might have been the plan all along, the original guys, who didn't know squat about nuclear power, have sold out to Bruce Nuclear. Now, the whole mysterious thing makes some sense.

Government terrified of nuclear waste

"We aren't going to touch it, smell it, or see it!"

So says our government emphatically. Makes me wonder on the odds of actually discussing this issue intelligently.

Facebook crosses the line

In a bold new bid for suicide, Facebook has conducted a massive milking of its cheap clients. Like I've said before, these guys need some revenue, but the thundering herd will just stampede to the next free thing.