Monday, March 31, 2008
Wasn't like that when it first came out. We poured over it, like finding Santa's naughty list! We were stunned when people who we thought were completely useless, ended up on the list. They had gotten overtime for doing nothing! We found so much phony overtime, it was unbelievable. Of course, the next minute, management put in a complete ban on embarrassing overtime, which probably lasted -- a minute!
I wonder if other people had as much fun as we did.
Dear Jill, in anticipation of receiving the coupon in some manner, at some time, I set out to search for replacement strips. Did you know that you can't get them anywhere? Even on the internet? In fact, I can't find this product anywhere. I was 'lucky' to get the last one at Rona!
Even if I found some strips somewhere, I fear they will be the last ones, as well. Specifically:
A - they will be a lot more than $5
B - they will be as old as sin, and all dried out
I would suggest that you explore alternatives, such as sending me a replacement set of 8 strips, ripe and juicy, straight from the lab! If you have to go 'up the line' for this, I could provide an internet writing campaign 'Give Harold his Strips!". My blog fans are quite insane! I regret that I cannot return it to the store, since I opened it on Recycle Day. Besides, returning things always gives me anxiety attacks.
Thank you for your efforts so far.
This fun makes up for the money I lost. Here's my Youtube video, where I'm trying to test the new higher resolution. Looks the same to me.
These things are always twice as expensive, and take twice as long. It is the "Law of the Nuclear Plant". In China or Romania, they can hide things, but not in the real world! If the plant actually works at the end, it is still a good deal for Society, who might not have any power otherwise, but the public has to pay the piper.
So, let's grow up, roll our eyes, and hope the Americans now cancel all their plants, so we can get some decent AP1000's. Otherwise, we are stuck with building ACR1000's with their wonky physics.
Sunday, March 30, 2008
They always say that patches were 'available', but nobody had them in yet. Could it be that some MS patches are worse than nothing? I feel sorry for those people that maintain these things, except they get $1.5 million in overtime! And then they set up for another party!
ps. all the computers at the Disaster(ous) Call Centre are MS! (except they're not allow to talk to anybody!)
Of course, we all know that diamonds nowadays are all 'pure' as 'legal' ivory. Since Tanzanite is all heat-treated anyway, I'd rather buy synthetic ruby as a gemstone....
As the sulfur-laden Face of Doom ascends into the heavens, it will rain death and destruction on all of us non-believers (in Intelligent Design). Of course, the other people will be collateral damage....
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Friday, March 28, 2008
Dear Sir, I just bought the Command shower caddy from Rona. As
an engineer, I am stunned by the total failure of this product. I am a devote
follower of instructions, and both times, the strips practically flung
themselves off the shower wall as soon as water hit them. It's a smooth
tile with a gentle ripple. Suction cups stick well to it.
The strips seemed dry, and a bit old. Do they age? I also suppose that we
could have a batch batch. They didn't even stick well to the hangers.
I never call these help centres. I might just outline my horrible
experience in my technical blog, but I have to say that I gave you a chance.
And I got a reply right away:
Thank you for contacting 3M Canada.
We would very much like to correct the difficulty you have had with the 3M
Command(TM) Shower Caddy, and we appreciate the opportunity to do so. It
is distressing to learn that a product has not exceeded our customers'
It is possible for the adhesive strips to dry out over time; if the strips
are older, or if they have been exposed at any time to extreme
temperatures, their adhesion can be affected.
We would be more than happy to send a $5 coupon that can be used towards
replacement adhesive strips, or any 3M product of your choice. Please
ensure that you are using the Command(TM) Water Resistant Strips 17605BC
(3M stock number 70071493442) which are blue in colour. These strips are
designed to adhere even in a humid environment, such as a bathroom.
We are confident that the replacement will be the quality that you have
come to expect from 3M.
If we can be of further assistance to you please do not hesitate to contact
our Customer Care Centre at 1-800-364-3577 (1-800-3M HELPS).
Thank you for your inquiry and your interest in 3M products.
Customer Care Centre
3M Canada Company
Now, I can't tell if they are actually sending me the coupon, or I still have to go through a horrible call centre. Since I included my address, I shall assume the coupon is coming.
How will Ontario take this? Go instantly to the ACR1000? This should be interesting.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
The real question is the condition of the steam generators. Can they really last the next 25 years? Pickering A had to give up on 2 reactors, and Bruce is replacing them.
So, this press release is a classic, picking up on something that may have happened a while ago, and polishing it up to make it look current. I'm picking it up in my blog, just so they are happy! (maybe not!).
Here is the manifesto:
It is time to call an end to closed-source and proprietary nuclear hearings. These only benefit an inbred group of lawyers, consultants, newspapers, regulators, and local politicians. We wish to spread the booty over many more people!
We need volunteers in the following areas:
Someone to think up a neato acronym for NEUTRON.
Starting up a flash-in-the-pan Facebook group, demanding open source
Getting those 'Next great primeminister' guys to do youtube videos.
Organizing 'Mystery Bus Tours' to the next hidden hearing.
Somebody to get something unscripted from the hidden bureaucrats of OPG.
Any other thing.
If anybody does attend, remember that you can't stop them jamming a plant at Darlington, but you might get an earthquake scenario out of it! They would pay any money to keep things quiet. Use it for a societal good!
If people mention my blog at the hearings, maybe they'll pay me to keep quiet!
Maybe I'll live long enough to see an earthquake scenario, which I think has a slightly better chance than this one.
Still, the best time to build a new nuclear plant is during a recession.
Boy, I sure wish I could attend those parties now!
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
When a major earthquake occurs in a community where policy makers and the public are unaware of an earthquake risk and have not taken steps to address that risk, losses to buildings, infrastructure, the economy, and lives can be catastrophic. Buildings that are not engineered for seismic safety may collapse or become uninhabitable. Transportation networks may be severed, affecting the lives of commuters and workers. Disruption of utility systems may result; fire and chemical releases may interrupt critical services, and threaten life safety. Landslides and, in coastal communities, tsunamis, may also cause further severe losses.
A well crafted scenario provides a powerful tool for members of private industry, government officials, and the general public to begin to draft mitigation policies and programs. It will help the community weigh various risks associated with the earthquake and begin to set priorities that will systematically reduce the impact of the likely future event.
The basic idea here is to reduce the impact of the earthquake, and to be able to get back to normal as soon as possible. Obviously, one can take a "Bring it on!" attitude, but these things can really work. For example, I would predict that firehalls on soft soils would get their doors jammed in an earthquake. Wouldn't they look foolish? What would they do? How would they prevent this from happening in the first place?
This is a lesson for our own nuclear operators. In an earthquake, you are going to have the exact same damage as Tepco, and you will have a lot of egg on your collective faces. The earthquake will bring out all the errors of the past. Since the Candu design is a 'plumber's nightmare', you will have trouble inspecting, so that the plants will be closed a long time.
This is not good for a province which depends so much on nuclear power. As in Japan, a lot of carbon will be burnt while the inspectors fiddle.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
As outlined in my wiki article (which amazingly has survived intact!), an earthquake scenario is a planning tool. For this article, I am just outlining some of the points in the EERI publication.
First, why would a city (or province!) want an earthquake scenario?
Scenarios are widely used to better understand and help plan for the future. A successful scenario tells the story of a defined earthquake and its specific impacts. It draws the reader in by incorporating familiar aspects of the community that they can readily recognize. It helps decision makers to visualize specific impacts that are based on currently accepted scientific and engineering knowledge.
See? A scenario is not something to be scared of! It's not like you're admitting that a great white shark is cruising the beaches! It's just a boring planning tool.
Scenarios help to challenge assumptions. Conflicts that arise between planners when constructing a scenario can help to clarify issues or areas where knowledge is lacking. Challenges from other agencies provide new views which would not be possible if disaster planning occurred privately or individually.
There is nothing worse than the current assumptions for Western Lake Ontario, and the Ottawa Valley.
What can ordinary people do? Emergency Measures Ontario is just a big police call centre, they don't have the flexibility to spend money. I would suggest that if anybody finds the next OPG regulatory hearing (perhaps held in the Ajax Pickle Factory!), then they raise the point about regional earthquake planning. After all, it affects the safety of the plant, if everybody is running around like headless chickens! They might slough off responsibility, but they are the only ones that can make things happen (along with the sleepy CNSC!).
*Note to CNSC: If you want to restore your reputation after gutted out all your brains, then you should jump on this!
Monday, March 24, 2008
ps. the paraphrased quote from Dr. Evil was lifted from somebody else.
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Final whining is about the next ice age, where maybe a teensy weensy bit of fuel might leak out. They don't mention that the available water will increase a thousand times, and there will be a zillion more tons of radioactivity released by the ice grinding up nasty granite. Been there, done that, lots of times!
I can't imagine life on a panel. It would be like jury duty! They run these things the way they did a 100 years ago! It would be so good to get submissions by youtube, and broadcast via bittorrent. Panelists could keep running blogs. Just having lawyers read out pages they haven't written is horrible!
Now that we can't talk about this anymore, I was dying to ask the Westinghouse people, how long would we have to wait for a reactor vessel? If it's like 5 years (Japan steel is supposed to double its capacity), then it's okay to go with them.
Friday, March 21, 2008
The problem with these things is that they leave all the important stuff off the agenda. The trick of making a truly useless panel is to restrict the scope. For example, an environmental assessment is restricted to determining the effect of the plant on the environment, not the other way around. When you do want to raise the seismic issue later, they say it was covered already.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
They might start site work soon, and I'm looking forward to reading about it.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
It's always interesting to see what happens when you pick turkeys for nuclear sites. Will the geology always be left off the agenda? Can they just bulldoze it through, and then sink into the rotten rock? This is fun.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
So, you can work in a building that has acknowledged the reality of earthquakes, and yet be clueless. The Italian restaurant in the building will stand, but those huge giant wine bottles on the shelves over your head will kill you.
Why is that? I think it's because, in the political world, you can't acknowledge earthquakes, without having to do something dramatic. There is no 'dipping your toe' into the cold waters. All I want, is to place 'earthquake', in the hit parade of Ontario disasters: fire, flood, and ice-storm.
Could we ever be rational with earthquakes? I think it's rational to spend 1% per year, on lives saved, assuming 1 million dollars per life. This gives us room for little things. For example, an educational campaign. Or getting those highway signs ready for an earthquake. It would be great to have an automatic way to flash "Earthquake, Slow Down!" on every sign. That would save dozens of lives.
The Ottawa Valley needs earthquake drills. People need to take down heavy things over the beds of their kids. People near Chalk River need to know that an earthquake will sploosh radioactivity all over the place.
Ah, the dreams of old men....
Monday, March 17, 2008
And what have they done? Absolutely nothing! What do they plan to do? Same thing. I would love to join these guys, they share my attitude towards work.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Actually, these things aren't going to replace wind turbines, but will work together 'in harmony'.
I'm looking forward to watching this whole thing (at least on a good day!). I really don't know what will happen when it all blows up. Perhaps an emergency will be declared, and they will allow costs multiply by many times. Who knows?
Seems a very tiny shaft is made out of cheap plastic, or the torque is too high for the material, so it shears off. This makes the 'command wheel' useless. I basically followed the instructions here.
As I got into, I was beginning to think that this was an elaborate internet joke. The shaft was so tiny, and the attachment nearly impossible. I got around my problems by filling the command wheel with hot glue, and potting the end of the shredded toothpick. Then I spent the next 20 minutes using a Dremel to slowly shape the hex shaft for the switch wheel. It works now, and I hope it holds!
Otherwise, it's a great camera and I have my water polo pictures over here.
Friday, March 14, 2008
You need a decent computer. I buy from parts, so I can avoid the 'Windows tax'. Ask a kid to do it! I would go for a standard motherboard, with a dual AMD-64 chip, and at least 2 Gigs of memory. I'd pack in a very large disk.
Loading Linux is easy. There is lots of help on the internet. I use vanilla Debian 64 bit. The 64 bit is magnificent if you are doing several big things at once, like downloading, converting and streaming.
On the Linux server, you need to load MediaTomb, which is the data streamer. Buy a PS3 as your tv top player. It's heavily subsidized by Sony, and is great even if you never play a game! It has built-in divx, up-scaling, and blu-ray.
For file fetching I use gtk-gnutella most of the time. You also have to ditch cable internet, since they bitch about this sort of use. Even the phone line thing has its ups and downs. Since I also create content, you really need full time access to bandwidth you pay for.
That's it! I'd be happy to answer any questions about this interesting, and totally legal hobby.
I'm still interested in how they are going to do the site studies. Bruce is famous for leaving out certain things.
Personally, I didn't think they were happy with just a twin. I thought they were going for 4! With just a twin, Darlington probably has enough room. The article says that with an ACR twin we can get rid of loser Pickering, but I'm not so sure.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
We now know from the 'spitzing' that when people appoint themselves, judge, jury and executioner, strange things happen.
There are certainly no earthquakes there because nobody's been around to feel them. All in all, a match made in heaven!
The ACR1000 continues the Candu tradition of being a 'plumber's nightmare'. You can read all about it at this site. It has the same layout as an AP1000, except they allow two reactors to be siamese twins.
The only sop to modernity is the use of light water in the pressure tubes. Since Candu's are 'neutron starved', this can only be done by jumping up the fuel with some extra juice. They use a fuel somewhere around 2% of the hot stuff. The fuel can be jacked up with the ground-up remains of old Soviet nuclear bombs.
I believe they just use a hyped-up Darlington design. If they increase the coolant flow, I'll feel sorry for them. They never really figured out the physics of why the Darlington fuel channels have such a horrible vibration instability. I know, but I'm telling anyone. :) This new one has more fuel channels jammed in, and could be a real musical instrument!
So, let's hear it for the ACR1000, our only choice!
This forge is in Japan, and they make the vessel like a Samurai sword. They are booked up until the next century (or at least my lifetime). Ontario's diddling doesn't help us here.
This most likely forces us to use the AECL reactor, since nobody else is making them, and the calandria is multi-part forge. Nevertheless, we shall keep on partying with all the vendors until December!
As I've said, I'm only talking public domain movies here, until the movie companies wake up. In the future I see compression techniques matching with the end device. For example, the PS3 has these incredible side-processors, like a super-computer, that make for great 'upscaling'. That's taking a dvd movie and making it look like a blu-ray. Right now, for me, a good quality, compressed movie looks like blu-ray at 480p, which is the best that my big screen can do.
You'll want to store all these bizarre movies, and the best way to do it, is with a media-server. I use Mediatomb, and it's fantastic. It can store movies, photos, and audio. It streams them over your network wires, so the playing device doesn't have to store anything. (Wireless is hopeless here!).
We need a word on how the movie companies will eventually get these movies to the home, which is a real bottleneck. They could use dedicated servers. I would recommend imprinting each movie with the customer's name, since they can sell children's books this way. It makes for a very expensive system.
On the other hand, they could use existing resources. I use gtk-gnutella, that has a direct Bitzi connection to flag dangerous files. As well, I also use Bittorrent. Both these services are nearly identical, in that they split up the movie into a zillion pieces, and all the people who are downloading, are uploading little pieces as well. It becomes efficient when there are lots of people involved. I can sometimes get my full 700 Kbytes/s with a dozen feeds. Of course, there aren't that many people looking for the totally legal stuff, like me!
Next: Getting the equipment.
Now, there's a big one on San Francisco 1906. If you want to enjoy this one, you shouldn't read too much on this blog. I might watch it, and it could be as funny as The Core!
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
I'm a bit behind on this. I can't find a speck of difference between the Areva and Westinghouse design. I think it takes a larger footprint, but it is supposedly good up to 1600 MW. They are having a bitch of a time with it in Finland, but I don't know if it is the fundamental design.
The control rods are shoved up from underneath, which seems rather silly, and you can notice the vast array of steam dryers on top. The steam goes directly to the turbines, which makes for some radioactivity in the turbine hall. As such, the building is complex.
This is a generally terrible design, that would not be good for airliner strike. The footprint appears to be the same as for the AP1000, so there is still the problem of fitting it on the Darlington site.
Of course, they are now offering the 'super advanced' bwr, but I can't find anything on that. I would assess this as a loser design that I would not want to see in Ontario, but again, I'm not part of the Spritzer parties.
One of the first video codecs was mpeg-2, which is used by satellite channels, and standard dvd's. I'm not too sure how that works, but I believe it only looks at one frame at a time. This makes it possible to get a full movie down to 4-6 Gb.
Now, old mpeg-2 looks rather primitive, but the studios must produce a physical medium, much like the record companies are forced to stick to cd's, which is very old technology. There are now newer video codecs which look at multiple frames, and have greater compression. The most common is mpeg-4, which can be called DIVX or XVID. A further wrinkle is that older movies are DIVX-3, and the PS3 only takes DIVX-4! And try telling the difference!
Nothing much has changed on the audio end. MP3 works by dumping parts of the sound that the human ear can't pick up. We all know how tightly that compresses, and the quality is determined by the bit rate.
Next: converting formats
Although *some* Ontario sites are as bad, they'll have a real problem putting up a plant on that unstable land. All the proposed plants for Ontario have a standardized seismic resistance to 30% g, much like a Japanese plant. For Indonesia, they can't gloss over the issue like the Chinese, they'll have to go for 60% g, and I don't know where they'll find such a plant. Perhaps the Russians? I'm sure their certifications are good....
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
If ever the movie houses got a clue, they would distribute movies like zml.com. Right now, that must be Mafyosi operation, but wouldn't it be nice? Of course, if you are going to swim with the sharks, you need some better security than woosie XP. Even the virus checkers won't help here, because you are dipping right into the brand new stuff.
Even if zml.com were legit, there is the question of how to deliver movies at a decent download rate. PirateBay has torrents, but wouldn't have a means to charge for the service, and people seeding the files might not do so, for a commercial service. The Bay just makes money showing Spritzer-ladies. (sp. intentional!).
Thus, I have led my investigation into how to download movies, for the future, when they are legit. Actually the reason they can't do it now is that Walmart would yank off all the first one's DVD's! Without wanting to get anybody pissed off, I do my investigations with totally legal fare, such as hour-long infomercials!
When loading a movie length travel promotion, the first thing that has to be considered is the compression technique. This has caused me endless problems with my 'How to Make Expresso' collection, since there are so many formats, and some devices (such as the PS3) don't play them.
Usually a full-length movie can be compressed decently into 700 Mb, but a 'dvd quality' travelogue can be split into 2 files of 700 Mb each. This is the magic number to fit on a standard CD for the flea markets. I can't see this general limit being valid for future legit movies, and in fact it's being exceeded in a lot of cases. A current dvd has 4 to 6 Gb of data!
(more to come, if my ad revenues make me happy and nobody sues me! :)
Next: A Zillion Formats!
The AP1000 is designed as a self-contained single unit reactor. This has certain advantages in management, where it is known that managing a 4 unit plant is a nightmare. The AP1000 doesn't really need shared facilities, unlike the old CANDU with its monstrous vacuum building.
The Chinese layout is shown in this picture.
You can see how they hug the water source, and the electrical facilities go out the back. It is unclear how they will handle water intake and discharge, but I suspect they are simple pipes thrown in the water. We would most likely have a shared tunnel intake and outflow, like Darlington A. The forebay would be behind the plants.
I have calculated the general footprint of one reactor to be about 100 m and 300 m long. You need to place them about a width apart. As such, I have come out with this layout for Darlington.
As you can see, it's ugly and mashes up a lot of existing buildings. As well, there is a mountain of dirt under this site, and it ends up very close to the quarry blasting. That is why I call it a 'postage stamp'.
The rational approach, like the Chinese, had a reasonable base cost. Just slap on some AP1000's (or whatever!) on a site with plenty of room, such as Wesleyville (a few years ago!). Of course, that is not possible, so every step towards political correctness slaps on another billion. And that's before OPG Management has a go at it!
It's a bit sad, which keeps me in the doldrums.
All of these new plants are designed for a generic 30% g, standard US spectrum. When I was with the CSA nuclear seismic standards, I foresaw these 7000 pages, and wanted the new CSA code dedicated to handling this stuff. Alas, no such luck!
Our problem in Canada is that we never believed in the US standard spectrum, and have no way of formally certifying that a given site is adequate for the design. In the old days, we would determine the seismic parameters, and make a new custom design for those numbers.
The US NRC has declared that 30% g is adequate for most sites in the East, whatever that means. The documentation outlines their method of seismic analysis. They start with the site plan for the nuclear island, since nobody cars about the turbines!
From this, they make a finite element model, which is really just a Lego model of bricks.
Now, this looks very fancy, but then they reduce the whole thing into a single lumpy stick for the actual seismic analysis.
Our seismic site evaluations are different from the US, so now we have to go into this, and compare. As well, they specify a whole suite of geology, and geophysics that we have to do, and we haven't started on that!
Next up will be the Chinese multi-plant layout and how that would fit on the Darlington postage stamp. I just read how the Minister has dismissed Wesleyville, which is one of those decisions with a billion dollar price tag.
Monday, March 10, 2008
Sunday, March 9, 2008
The first is the Westinghouse AP1000 design. Westinghouse is the 'grand dame' of nuclear plants in the US. The core is something lifted out of a nuclear submarine (in spirit only). It uses 'power grade' enriched uranium, which is about 4% of the good stuff, U235. In contrast, our plants have used 'natural' uranium at about 1% hot stuff. AECL is now using the euphemistically called 'slightly enriched' uranium, at about 2%.
WH has been bought out totally by Toshiba, so there is some good Japanese heavy metal behind it. We can't really hold the total political failure in Japan against them. The advantage of the AP design is that it uses pressurized 'light' water, which makes it very compact. In fact, everything else dwarfs the tiny reactor.
In China, they are putting 4 units at one site, which is probably what they want for the Darlington postage stamp, or the Bruce Caves. I'm still looking through the NRC documentation for the site layout, or some idea of the Chinese layout, since I don't believe this design can share facilities.
I still don't know if I'm going to continue this series, but if I do, I'll look next at their seismic requirements, and superimpose the plant on the Darlington site.
Saturday, March 8, 2008
The article makes a mistake that we only want 1000 MW nuclear. That's nothing! We're putting in twins at Darlington, or maybe 4.
I think I'll investigate and start a series on each of the technologies, and how they work for Ontario, especially fitting in to the postage-stamp Darlington site. Only if I get some show of support, since this could be boring.
I was always in that situation. The best thing that happened were Java applications that I could run without those bozos! The Google web applications were also great.
Friday, March 7, 2008
There are four, rather than three. This makes for less people to offend. We have Areva, AECL, GE, and Westinghouse.
The announcement seems to indicate that there will be one plant design for Ontario, so Bruce and OPG will have to pick the same one! Normally, they would go for anything, but what the other guy has!
MOUNT JULIET, Tenn. — High winds are blamed for the death of a man who died when a mattress he was sitting on was blown off the back of a pickup truck.
Police said D S, 42, a public works employee, was helping move the mattress Monday.
The wind flipped the mattress and Smith fell and hit his head on the road. He died at Maury Regional Hospital.
Mount Pleasant Police Chief Tom Wilson said the death would be classified as weather-related.
It also appears that their big attempt to catch Google may be running into trouble because their stock price is going south. Go for it Ballmer! You know we're all rooting for you! (ha!)
The diffuser tunnel at Darlington was bitchy. Normally, the warm water discharge is just handled by a channel out into the lake. They had done a lot of hydraulic modeling on this outflow, and for the most part it was quite benign to the lake. That's because the warm water would stay on top and most of the heat energy would go to the atmosphere. Lots of fishies like the warm water, and it's usually the best fishing in the lake! The water is usually cleaner coming out than going in, because of all the zebra mussels in the pipes!
But once in a while, physics comes into play. Water has the maximum density at about 4 deg. C, and then fluffs up for freezing. That's why the whole lake seasonly 'turns over', when the temperature changes. If the water is near freezing, and the warm water comes in, it can be denser, and plunges along the bottom. This could kill fishies in their nests.
For this reason, we had to diffuse the warm water. The tunnel was about twice as long as the intake. It had a reducing diameter, and had diffuser pipes shooting out the top. As such, it was more difficult to excavate.
First, the pipes had to be drilled in, grouted, and closed with a cap. When the tunnel was excavated, these pipes were opened from underneath, so that only the steel cap was between you and certain death! The tunnel was lined with concrete and filled with water. Then the caps were taken off the top of the pipes.
* I am sure there are at least *some* people on this council that are not Voldie Toadies.
* Use my site search to clarify code names.
Thursday, March 6, 2008
I suppose that if they had done the decent thing, and merely invoked their published backup plans, they wouldn't make as much money in the future. It was no sweat off their nose to cause a major crisis. And it was good they had that nuclear medicine doctor lined up to really cause a 'people will die' panic.
Speaking of doctor-induce panic, this article has the new, totally gross, ads by the doctors' cartel. I'm sure their 'solution' is to pay all doctors more money!
First thing we did was to blast huge holes in the rock, about 5 m deep, to be the foundations for the reactors. The turbine hall was up on the till. These holes proved interesting, in that you could see classical 'rock squeeze', and some of the upper beds were actually shifted by the blasting. Again, this was touted by some, as 'earthquake signs'.
Beneath the disturbed layer, the rock was absolutely impermeable, as far as it can be in Nature. The holes were below lake level, and there was no seepage. Because these foundation benches were so deep, some bright guy had the idea to use rock anchors, to prevent the reactors from floating away. That was the beginning of many gross wastes of money for the plant!
We also had to excavate a deep forebay for the cooling water. This can now be seen as a giant canal in front of the plant. I absolutely loved the big intake tunnel that was being blasted at the time. I got to visit once or twice.
Inside the tunnel, the limestone beds were flat, and the whole tunnel was dusty-dry, even though it was beneath the lake! The had to pipe in water to wet down the dust! I always made it a point to keep away when things got dangerous, which I always thought was the case, when they came to the end. The intake tunnel had a big deep sump blasted out at the end, and then they blasted upward as far as they dared. Then they loaded up the remaining portion with explosives and went away. The tunnel was filled with water, and the then the plug was blasted. The excess rock fell into the sump, and the tunnel was open.
The big problem with these intake tunnels is the formation of a giant vortex that sucks up fish and small boats. At Bruce, they put in a steel structure which broke up the vortex. At Darlington, they designed a huge concrete intake structure, which allowed a slow vertical intake flow, that would hopefully suck in less fish. In the past few years, it has proven to be a marvelous breeding ground for zebra mussels!
Next up: the diffuser outflow!
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
ps. I just added the ads back. Now you can choose which ones. I've selected a variety that look good, with no malware. I still can't get ads of things I actually use, but who would want old-man stuff anyway!
On a happier note, we look at the superb rock of Darlington (and Wesleyville). Once we had all the till stripped off, we could stand on the bedrock and look around. The diamond cores had revealed a limestone of remarkable tightness and perfectly level beds. In fact, the major rock layers (marker beds) hardly varied from a slightly tilted billiard table.
The rock on top was neat. It was the Whitby shale, which was a very oily shale, with unbelievable fossils. In fact, I think it's to our eternal shame that we didn't have fossil-people there for the excavation. Construction workers found museum pieces of large trilobytes, and one idiot even spray-painted his with gold paint. I, myself, only picked up some small partials. Perhaps, with the new plant, they'll be nicer.
We had to blast in big holes and trenches into the rock, for the reactor foundations, and the water intakes. Two tunnels had to be blasted out under the lake, one for the intake, and one for the outflow diffuser. The funny story is that we were going ahead for just the intake, when legend has it that they discovered one pregnant whitefish, perhaps the last in Lake Ontario. (There are billions of them up in the North Channel!). Suddenly, at the last minute we had to design the outflow tunnel, after the intake blasting had been started.
The rock was interesting to walk over, since I don't recall that the boreholes had told us about a 1 metre broken zone at the top. This comprised mostly of solid plates of rock, underlain by about 5 cm of injected sand. It was clearly glaciation-induced, much like the disturbed rock of the Rouge Valley, although there was one crazy guy who said it was an earthquake fault!
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
All these panels are being set up. Soon, there will be a big demand for panelizers.
Memoirs of Drilling - 2
In addition to the N-value, the split spoon brought up a soil sample. This was important to tell if it was silt, sand or clay, or any combination. In this type of till, the real nasties are sand lenses. It didn't really matter at Darlington, since we were so traumatised by the sand lenses of Pickering, that we decided to take off all the dirt.
That was 100 feet of dense till. The operation was magnificent, with these huge scrapers, which then dumped the dirt on Darlington Hill, which can be seen from the highway. But I digress. The soil augers told us where the bedrock was, simply because you couldn't drill any more.
The soil augers were great for the dirt work, but since it was getting stripped off, we needed to find out about the bedrock. That was the time to bring out the diamond drills! We either slipped a casing on the soil hole, or sunk a new casing to bedrock. This was required to keep the hole clear for rock drilling.
Although I loved the dirt, the rock was where the action was! Here's a Wiki thing that I started. The process seems a bit tricky, but the drilling part is merely a pipe with a tip embedded with industrial diamonds. As the drill stem turns, water is injected in the middle. The diamonds chew up the rock to a powder, which is then washed away. Since the pipe and drill bit are hollow, a core starts to form up the middle.
All the remaining complexity is then devoted to keeping the core as well-preserved as possible. If you are in solid rock, and just looking for minerals, you can just lower in a core-breaker-grabber, and yank out the core of solid rock. For geotechnical drilling, you can have a very fancy triple-tube arrangement which produces undisturbed core, with all it's gaps and fractures.
We drilled the bejeezus out of Darlington, because we were doing all sorts of work in the rock, including tunnels. We even put in a couple of exciting 'deep holes' to look at the granite beneath the limestone. Those were fascinating, and a possible subject for another story.
Monday, March 3, 2008
Pay attention to the fact that Peace River is already sprucing up to receive the new people. After this winter in Toronto I might think about retiring there (not!). Anyway, I can't think it's any worse than Bruce.
I was surprised to learn that Bruce submitted their environmental assessment for the new build. I would seriously like to read it for a laugh, if anybody can cough up a copy. You might have to enter a dark building, after being strip-searched, but take one for the gipper! Maybe it's on Wikileaks!
Now that everybody has used the video to get a great night's sleep, I'd like to focus on some highlights. When I first came to the big company, we had a Geotechnical Engineering Department. This was a very busy place, since we were actively building at the time. Our department was always in conflict with the Civil Eng. Dept., because they would use the drilling results to design foundations. We, of course, thought it was our right to comment on their designs!
At about that time, Darlington was just a big field, and Geotech was the first to go in. In those days (and now!), they just picked the site, and we had to put on a nuclear plant, by jimminey!
The first thing was to lay in a site grid by the surveyors. Over the course of constructing the plant, there would be several grids, which made things hell, if you ever wanted to plot all boreholes. Now, everything is GPS. It is extremely important to locate every hole with accuracy.
At Darlington, we would go in first with soil drilling. This was the standard hollow-stem auger, probably on a track-mounted drill, because of the mucky conditions. The auger would be drilled down every few feet, and then a sample taken. That would comprise of removing the centre plug, and attaching the split spoon. I always loved the soil drilling, since the smell of the deep soil was magnificent! A good geotechnical engineer could tell the type of soil, by listening to the effort of the drill, and mushing the soil in his hands. You would grind the soil between you fingernails to check the silt content.
Unfortunately, you didn't want to stand there for hundreds of boreholes, so you had to rely on the drill logs. The sampling would consist of a split spoon, which was a split cylinder held together by rings. This would be attached to the central rod and lowered into the hole. The most important thing (IMHO), would be whapping the sampler into the soil below the auger. This was done in a very controlled manner, using a standard steel weight, dropped a standard distance. The number of whaps to driver the sampler in, was the N-Value. Although a crude measure, it had the advantage of being done a million times all over the world, and for all sorts of projects. For example, the odds of soil liquefaction during an earthquake can be correlated with N-value.
Thus, commuting is only limited by congestion and how much people can stand, which is an awful lot!
Although I like the idea in principle, I am sure that Montreal will botch it up, and send all the money to black holes.
Here's where the companies underbid the actual cost, knowing full well they can never pull it off. Once they get the contract, then it's "Oh, we never knew that! You never told us that! blah, blah" Still, it's progress.
Sunday, March 2, 2008
I love this stuff! I don't know if anyone else is interested, but it is such an interesting mix of earthquakes, and rotten social policy. I have great faith that things will come to a head, and they will change for the better, since this is the way of all human society.
On the actual topic, I despair of anything happening on the nuclear front. First, they have to hire somebody competent to handle billions of dollars, and not being called a 'fat cat' by the NDP. Then, they actually have to tell AECL to get lost, and get accused of 'destroying thousands of jobs'. Then they have to say 'Oh, we're sorry, we're not actually building at Darlington, but next door at Wesleyville.'. Then, they have to tell the Suzukiists 'Sorry, but we're killing a few fish, instead of birds'. And it goes on and on.... I don't think they have the heart for it.
Now, if you want all the gory details of drilling, there is a wonderful 35 minute video available. (downloading is a bit of a bitch!) It put me to sleep, but it covers all the aspects of geotechnical drilling. I shall only cover the interesting bits, or whatever shakes out of my associative memory.
I shall let you chew on the video, while I reach down into my Harry Potter pensieve and extract some memories.