energymaters.com

THIS JOURNAL WILL "TELL IT LIKE IT IS" REGARDING DIFFERENT FORMS OF ENERGY AND THEIR GLOBAL IMPLICATIONS/PROBLEMS

THE SAGA OF THE USS FITZGERALD (DDG-62) TRAGEDY – REPAIR /UPGRADE ? ?

7 Aug 2017

OUT OF COMMISSION USS FITZGERALD (DDG-62) sits in Dry Dock 4 at Fleet Activities (FLEACT) Yokosuka, Japan, to continue minimal repairs and assess damage sustained from its June 17, 2017 collision with a merchant vessel While it’s too early to reach a complete repair estimate, several naval analysts believe a $500-million bill to fix to the warship was not out of the question. We think this estimate is well below the real cost; and that it will exceed $800 million; and ,that… is a significant expenditure and worthy of consideration..

BACKGROUND The June 17 collision of Fitzgerald and the Philippine-flagged merchant ship ACX Crystal off the coast of Japan resulted in the death of seven sailors, extensive damage to the hull, and damage to several high-end electronic systems, such as the integrated radio room on the ship and the starboard forward array of the ship’s A/N-SPY1D(v) air search radar.The port side of the flared bow of Crystal caved in the superstructure of the ship, crushing the radar face and twisting the metal of the superstructure.

US NAVY WANTS TO BRING THE USS FITZGERALD TO THE USA, WEST COAST FOR REPAIRS. That is current favorite option in US Navy leadership circles. A damage assessment on The USS Fitzgerald is ongoing, and an official estimate is still being developed. The Navy is also debating how to get the ship to the USA west coast. Under consideration is a heavy-lift transporting ship like the MV Blue Marlin, to what is now the Ingalls Shipbuilding yard in Pascagoula, Miss, where the USS Cole took two (2) years to repair.

THE PENTAGON COST ESTIMATE to repair the USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62) will easily exceed the $250 million the U.S. Navy paid to repair USS Cole (DDG-67) after it suffered a year 2000 terrorist attack in Yemen, Even a very preliminary repair cost for the USS Fitzgerald repairs will easily top $500 million. The biggest difference in cost will be the replacement and upgrading the electronics of USS Fitzgerald. In an apparent attempt by the Navy, to sweeten the deal to the Pentagon, the Navy is taking: “life cycle costing” into consideration. The USS Fitzgerald is an “Arleigh-Burke-class” destroyer, and was due for a $170-million basic hull, mechanical and engineering upgrade in Fiscal Year 2019. The upgrade was meant to extend the life of the hull by 10 to 15 years.

UPGRADE/MODERNIZATION COSTLY A significant added cost is the Navy’s desire to upgrade the damaged electronics to the new “Baseline 9” standard that allows warships to target both, ballistic missiles and traditional air borne threats. That upgrade /repair would add $270 million. In our opinion, the repairs/upgrades (if authorized) will exceed $800 million.

THE REPAIR SCHEDULE IS TILL VERY NEBULOUS. The Navy has said it was committed to repairing the ship. U.S. 7th Fleet commander Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin told reporters on June 17, 2017:“The ship is salvageable.  It (the USS Fitzgerald) will require some significant repairs. You will see the USS Fitzgerald  back as one of our warships here. Repair time will take months,- hopefully under a year”.Dream on Vice Adm. Aucoin. We understand your desire to accentuate the positive; even after a fundamental naval tragedy in your command.

COST OF REPAIRS/UPGRADES Causes the Navy apprehension in difficult military money allocation times; Bryan Clark, naval analyst with Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, said that based on photos of the damage published by the Navy, the costs to repair the ship would easily top the $250 million of the Cole repairs, and could even double that figure.“That makes the repair-plus-overhaul several times more expensive than originally planned. The problem will still be: what work won’t get done on other ships to pay for the repair?” Clark asked. “Does that mean two BMD modernizations don’t get done? If that’s the trade then it’s not worth it.” That may be the final word on this tragedy.

Our appreciation to Sam La Grone , editor of USNI News for his 27 Jul 2017 story.

Energymaters related article dated 25 Jun 2017 (2017-1)

Edward Oliver Gonzalez (gonzedo)

2017-4

 

August 7, 2017 at 9:43 PM Comments (0)

WE DO NOT NEED NUCLEAR FACILITIES, OR THEIR HIGHLY TOXIC NUCLEAR WASTE

1 Aug 2017

INVESTMENT WISE Nuclear Facilities, make no financial sense. At best they take about 14 years to build, cost at least 15 Billion, and are traditionally plagued by cost overuns and construction delays, which are no longer acceptable to potential users/capitalists. Today, economic competition from other Facilities powered by Wind, Solar, Nat Gas, Hydro , etc. make nuclear facilities totally unacceptable to venture capital.

COST OF DE-COMMISSIONING Is a hidden cost of Nuclear Facilities; Point of fact, in the USA five(5) existing Nuclear Facilities have recently ceased operation, and it remains to be seen who will fund the high cost of de-commissioning, which could take many years, and cost untold billions of Dollars. One does not simply turn out the light and post a “closed sign”. Accordingly, the Nuclear Energy Industry has lobbied laws such that after 40 years, a nuclear facility becomes the property of the country. In other words, “Let the public pay for it, all we need do is sit it out.” Its a hell of a way to run a Facility, and one added tax for the public.

NUCLEAR CENTRAL FACILITIES ARE NO LONGER BEING BUILT. Nuclear Central Facilities already under construction in many countries are doomed to failure, overtaken by events, world needs, plus Technical and financial considerations. Venture Capitalists will need to bite the bullet. They are victims of history, greed, and technollogy. Countries that sell Nuclear facilities like Japan/Toshiba/Westinghouse, France/EDF (Areva), Russia and their surrogates (Westinghouse – recently bankrupt), China,and others, no longer build them for themselves for the same reasons.

POLITICS AND FINANCIAL INDUCEMENTS are rapidly disappearing everywhere. In The USA The Trump Administration speaks with ambivalence, Congress has no time for it. Truth be told, the US government can no longer afford “tax credits”; specially to those who fail to satisfy the stated requirements. Nuclear facilities are toast. Problem is nobody, but nobody likes that kind of toast.

Edward Oliver Gonzalez (gonzedo)

03-2017

August 1, 2017 at 2:29 AM Comments (0)

OIL DRILLING AND EXPLOITATION INDUSTRY ALWAYS CRYING – NOWDAYS

July 7, 2017

OIL PRODUCERS ARE ALWAYS CRYING IN THEIR BEERS.  Only 6 years ago, when oil was $110 /BBl, they had no mercy on the consuming public, and we were also paying an invisible tax in defending the Gulf Of Hormuz to ensure the flow of Arabian oil.

IT IS POETIC JUSTICE THAT THE OIL BARONS THAT BEGAN FRACKING have created an oil glut that nothing can overcome. Other initiatives such electrical autos, bycicles, etc. have also had an imact on driving demand/prices down. Most of the so called “OIL PRICE ANALYSTS” in The BBC, and other mass media are always trying to tell us consumers, that oil price will rise again, so buy now. They lie, and they know it!.  Bull Shit! They are spitting against the wind, and they know it! Now is not time to buy petroleum energy, and that time may never come again. Given the greater fuel economy of today’s cars, the time to invest in oil is gone with the wind.

There are many splendid things to do with oil, but the industry is not fully exploiting them. Even then, demand can never reach supply. OPEC, and others keep saying: $50/BBL is better than nothing, and keep producing with glee. IT IS THEIR BUSINESS! WE CONSUMERS HAVE NOTHING TO GAIN FROM THEIR GREED.

2017-2

July 6, 2017 at 6:32 AM Comments (0)

USS FITZGERALD DESTROYER RAMMED BY CONTAINER SHIP ON CLEAR NIGHT

THE SAD STORY OF HOW THE USS DESTROYER FITZGERALD (DDG-62) WAS RAMMED BY A CONTAINER SHIP REMAINS TO BE TOLD. – IF IT EVER IS.(Part 1.)

THE FACTS: From Wikipedia)

About 1:30 a.m. on 17 June 2017, USS FITZGERALD (DDG-62) About 9,000 gross tons) collided with ACX Crystal, a Philippine-flagged container ship measured at 40,000 tons deadweight. Most of Fitzgerald‘s 200 crew were asleep at the time The collision occurred about 56 nautical miles  southwest of her homeport of Yokosuka, Japan.

The starboard (right) side of USS Fitzgerald was seriously damaged. The container ship’s bulbous bow penetrated the destroyer’s hull below the waterline, flooding a machinery space, the radio room, and two crew berthing spaces. The captain’s cabin was crushed Seven (7) crewmen were reported missing after the collision, and their bodies were found the next day after rescue workers gained access to flooded compartments Several others were injured, including the ship’s commanding officer and two sailors whom the Japanese evacuated by helicopter.

Vice Admiral Joseph Aucoin, commander of the US 7th Fleet, said that the Navy would conduct an investigation, led by a flag officer, to determine what happened and apportion responsibility, and a separate safety investigation to learn lessons from this incident. The US Coast Guard will conduct a marine casualty investigation, because there was a commercial ship involved.

PROBLEM WITH THE STORY AS TOLD SO FAR IS: How could a ship designed to be all eyes and ears against surface, undersea, and air attack could be surprised in “the middle of a clear night”. It begs the question: was someone asleep at the helm? -It certainly seems like it. What do the Captain (Cmdr. Bryce Benson – since May 13, 2017), and first officers offer for an explanation? It is probable that no (true and complete) public explanation will be given (in the name of national security), But an explanation of sorts to the American and Japanese public is necessary. The loss of seven sailors, and and two wounded, aboard the USS FITZGERALD is/sad reprehensible. As for the USS FITZGERALD, we believe at the end the day, the damage sustained by will deem it “a total loss” — Its back is broken. This 22 year old Destroyer ostensibly had been upgraded and modernized to serve it purpose in today’s high seas environment. BUT IT FAILED!;- AND THAT REQUIRES AN EXPLANATION AND CORRECTIVE/PUNITIVE ACTION TAKEN BY THE NAVY

HOW COULD A CARGO CONTAINER SHIP INFLICT SO MUCH DAMAGE? , The ACX CRYSTAL (Phillipine flag) Like most transporters of their kind, (40,000 ton class), have a huge torpedo like bulbous extension, underwater (for hydrodynamic gains and fuel burn improvement); that extends beyond the prow of the ship, and is well below the Transporter’s water line. It was this bulbous underwater protrusion that caused the most grievous damage, below the water line of the USS FITZGERALD, and probably broke its keel. We believe the USS FITZGERALD is toast. Its valuable gear will be removed / salvaged (This is a $1.4 Billion Dollar ship), and the hull dismantled/repaired. We recognize that, whether to repair the hull or scuttle it, is a Navy/US government prerogative yet to be made.

IN OTHER TIME/PLACE THE USS FITZGERALD TRAGEDY WOULD BE THE HEADLINE STORY here and in Japan. Given the GEO-political implications of this TRAGEDY (in the full sense of the word) the loss of life and materiel/cargo cannot be compared to the GEO-POLITICAL IMPLICATIONS/ RAMIFICATIONS of the FIASCO. The Trump Administration’s problems are minuscule compared to the USS FITZGERALD incident, and yet USA politics suck all the oxygen in the USA room.

THE PROBLEM WITH AMERICA’S MAINSTREAM MEDIA AND TV is that it continues to play the relatively small “human loss angle” with interviews of lost sailors’ relatives.; so; we the public may never know the truth.

AMERICAN POLITICIANS HAVE NO TIME/CONCERN YET; Politicians are primarily worried about their survival at next election time; THAT IS SELF-EVIDENT! Hell Trump is off golfing for the weekend as usual. It sure smacks of WWII de-je-vu (all over again).

THE GEO-POLITICAL IMPLICATIONS ARE: That this incident may be used by some Japanese militaristic groups (as happened in WWII) as a justification for an arms development expansion program coupled with a “Japanese self-protection armed forces with an “Expeditionary forces” mandate that in the end will benefit no one. The people of Japan have already made it abundantly plain to their government that they seek only peace, and that military action is forbidden by its Constitution. Only in Okinawa (bought by the blood of some 17,000 US Marines), are their citizens clamoring for the removal of all US Forces in the region; These at present, consist mainly of an airfield used by Ospreys, VTOL Aircraft, ostensibly there to provide first-responder assistance in a quake-prone region of Japan.

IN 1936  JAPAN WANTED PEACE At least Emperor Hirohito of Japan wanted peace, but his military did not (remember General Hideki Tojo); hence Pearl Harbor Dec 7, 1941.

In early 2017, Japanese emperor Hirohito retired as Emperor, bringing to an end the long Chrysanthemum Dynasty, and perhaps a portent of a coming war of terrible consequences in the Pacific. The USS FITZGERALD incident will, because of its GEO-political implications dwarf the USS PUEBLO SEIZURE (remember that N. Korea Fiasco). We hope we are wrong. Even so: WE TELL IT LIKE IT IS, or at least as we see it.

Edward Oliver Gonzalez (gonzedo)

P.S. We have had a long hiatus in this publication due to health issues, and dire Political involvement since the 2016 USA political campaign. We hope to publish at least once monthly from now on.

2017-1

 

June 25, 2017 at 11:44 AM Comments (0)

WE WISH YOU A HAPPY YEAR END 2015, AND AN EVEN BETTER 2016

24 Dec 2015

Dear readers,

As 2015 nears its end, we just wanted to wish everyone happy festivities, however you celebrate them. As we reflect on the events/accomplishments in many fields both social, scientific of the past year, we are reminded of the maxim:”May you live in interesting times”. We do indeed! Never in the history of the world has humanity accomplished so much change in so little time as we have seen in the last five years (2010-2015). One possible exception is the five years of WWII (1940-1945). We must remember that the number of people in the world has virtually doubled since 1945; that in and of itself, has been the cause of much strife, huge population migrations/displacements and scientific accomplishments.

Probably the greatest accomplishments have occurred in the scientific, energy, medical, new materials, new improved telephony, space exploration, and cosmology fields, brought about by exploding knowledge accumulation propagated by the World Wide Web. Such knowledge opens new thought horizons as well as accelerated socio-political change.

The human experiment goes on. If we just adjust our needs and ways/means, we could emerge into a new light of universal prosperity by the year 2,100. The alternative is too harsh to contemplate: A highly polluted world untenable for large human habitation; accompanied by untold suffering and death probably worse than the bubonic plague which decimated one third of humanity during the middle-ages.

May we all bask in the company of our loved ones, have something special to eat/drink, and above all be happy to be alive, and doing well, while we reflect upon those not so lucky, and find some way to share what we have. This Post is planning an expanded overview of of the past five years in most meaningful areas of human endeavors. Based on that, we shall attempt project where changes are direly needed. We know that will be no small task. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Your friend in South Texas,

Edward Oliver Gonzalez (gonzedo)

e-mail: gonzedo@yahoo.com


December 24, 2015 at 10:01 PM Comments (0)

VITRIFIED HIGH LEVEL LIQUID NUCLEAR WASTE FOR ABOVE GROUND STORAGE TOUTED BY USA

13 Nov 2015

The USA Department of Energy-Office of Environmental Management (DoE/EM) is proud to announce its new process of “Vitrification” for high level Liquid nuclear waste. This news release is difficult to understand fully for most of our readers because of its complexity and omitted information. We have attempted to make it understandable by most people, so please bear with us. Given the magnitude of the world-wide problem of long term disposal of high level nuclear waste, this is an important article.

WEST VALLEY, N.Y. located about 35 miles south of Buffalo. For the first time in U.S. history, High-Level (nuclear) Waste (HLW) was placed in long-term, outdoor storage.   The unprecedented accomplishment occurred in the cleanup at the West Valley Demonstration Project (WVDP).   The liquid waste, which has been immobilized in glass in the vitrification process, is being relocated from the site’s main plant process building to an interim storage pad so that pre-demolition activities can take place within the building.    WVDP was once the site of the first and only commercial nuclear fuel reprocessing plant in the U.S; now it is an environmental cleanup and waste management project.

IT HAS BEEN SAID: “SUCCESS HAS MANY FATHERS – FAILURE IS AN ORPHAN”

Bryan Bower EM WVDP Director said: “I could not be more proud of this team…This effort is a culmination of four years’ work to begin the safe removal of the high-level waste canisters from the former reprocessing facility, allowing for the eventual demolition of the building.”

Paul Bembia, Director for NYSERDA’s West Valley Site Management Program said: “The relocation of the high-level radioactive waste to the new interim storage facility is a significant step forward in the cleanup effort at the West Valley Site…This is yet another major accomplishment from the dedicated and talented workforce at the West Valley Demonstration (Prototype)Project.”

David Brown, CHBWV project manager for the High-Level Waste Project said. “The workers have dedicated the past four years working tirelessly to plan, construct, train, and operate the specialized equipment to perform this important work…This project is called the West Valley Demonstration (Prototype)Project, and once again this workforce demonstrated a first-of-its-kind operation.” 

This cleanup is conducted by The office of Environmental Managemt (EM) in cooperation with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). CH2M HILL BWXT West Valley, LLC (CHBWV) is EM’s contractor for WVDP. In 1972, commercial nuclear fuel reprocessing ceased in the Main Plant Process Building. Workers experimented with vitrified HLW from 1996 to 2002. They placed the waste into 275, 10-foot-tall canisters and stored them inside the building.

DESCRIPTION OF VITRIFIED LIQUID HLW NUCLEAR STORAGE CASKS. Each cask has a 4-inch-thick steel liner and 20 inches of steel-reinforced concrete. The five (5) -pack storage system design is based on “spent nuclear fuel dry cask storage systems”(that is what comes out of nuclear utility reactors worldwide) used in the USA. and around the world, with modifications for long-term storage of vitrified HLW.  The storage configuration of the HLW canisters is fully compliant with all state and federal regulations, and supports future off-site shipment of the HLW canisters. There will be 55 casks in total relocated to the interim storage pad at this facility.

West Valley, LLC (CHBWV) was awarded its contract in 2011, and since then it has completed extensive planning, design, construction, and building modification. They also purchased special transport equipment, which was required to transfer each 87.5-ton cask from the plant to the on-site storage pad.    In preparation for the demolition of the existing site, the first five (5) canisters were transferred to five (5)-compartment, stainless-steel over-packs inside vertical storage casks.   The vertical storage casks were fabricated on site, and 16 have been constructed. With a minimum design-life of 50 years.   Relocation of all HLW at the site is scheduled to be complete in 2018.

Nothing is said about particulars of the “Vitrification” process which may yet be proprietary or secret information. It has been in experimental development for many years, and we hope it will extend the HLW Cask life well beyond its current 50 year life span before “Re-casking” is necessary. Another mentioned, but not highlighted feature of this initiative is that it is intended for above ground storage. Recall that that we have often suggested that it is folly to store HLW in caverns because it will make inspection and maintenance virtually impossible if the underground permanent storage NLW should become contaminated. Remember Fukushima? Yeah! They can’t even get near the crap! Things are going from bad to worse there as HLW liquid, and solid waste continues to accumulate without an end in sight.

Edward Oliver Gonzalez (gonzedo)

References: Dry Cask of spent nuclear fuel  (high-level waste)

http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/fact-sheets/dry-cask-storage

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dry_cask_storage

http://www.nrc.gov/waste/high-level-waste


November 13, 2015 at 10:14 PM Comments (0)

EXPLOSIVE DECOMPRESSION OVER SINAI OF RUSSIAN A321 BEING EXPLOITED BY MANY

5 Nov 2015

THE FACTS ARE: The plane exploded in mid-air, and the complete tail section (empennage) was found about (two)2 kilometers from the rest of the plane, behind the rest of the actual debris field. There is an old aeronautical accident axiom that: “the pieces that fell off first, probably caused the crash.” In this case the aft pressure bulkhead which we believe was the immediate cause of the tragedy is clearly visible a few meters away from the tail section. Inspectors were seen showing keen attention to the fasteners that held the aft pressure bulkhead, and fail section together, and attached to the rest of the aircraft. This is precisely the tail section that had a hard tail-first landing in 2001, and required “factory repairs” (by Airbus ?). Problem is, minute cracks/imperfections (never seen by Egyptian maintenance /inspectors); since then, accelerated the metal fatigue, leading to the tragedy.

SOCIO POLITICAL IMPLICATIONS The volatile socio-political situation created by ISIS, has created all sorts of conspiracy theories to blame someone; and who better than ISIS, since they are continually looking for such events to exploit / propagandize their deeds/misdeeds. We believe their claims about retaliation against Russia’s PM Mr. Putin for the recent Syrian bombing are just propaganda/exploitation. Problem is ISIS has stirred a hornet nest of free world condemnation. We believe countries such as the USA, England, and probably Russia (Egypt also has a stake) will now use this tragedy, and the claims by ISIS, to support greater specific involvement against them; Accordingly, ISIS claims of downing the plane will probably backfire against them big-time. The hell of it is they all really want the USA to continue being the gendarmes of the world. They need to get weaned from such thinking. Peace and liberty is for those willing to pay for it. Our Lord knows the USA and Russia have paid heavily already.

WHAT IRKS ME are the lies and deceptions being propounded by our media (with few exceptions); For instance: “Unfortunately part of the cockpit voice recorder was damaged”. Come on! Both recorders were in the soft landing tail section and were recovered virtually intact. Three days after the crash, England announced that a bomb was responsible. Russia had made such half-baked allegations even before their people reached the crash site. On 4 Nov 2015, the USA joined the “bomb aboard” scenario. How in the world would they know that, since no evidence of explosives or explosive damage has been found? The media then went viral explaining all about “altitude sensitive bombs” They have not yet hit on a simple time bomb, but they will; in time just to cover the news with interesting, nonsense It is no wonder the media is called entertainment/news. THE BIG HUSH IS ON disguised as distraction!

LET US PAY ATTENTION TO THE SOCIO POLITICAL TREND TO “GET ISIS”. There are many already involved in that long-term ongoing war. The world, and most people in the region, are learning the bitter lesson that ISIS has nothing to offer but blood, sweat, and tears. They have a strong propaganda machine; Hitler did too! Beware of that!

Oh! what a tangled web we weave when at first we seek only to deceive”

Edward Oliver Gonzalez (gonzedo)

 

 


November 5, 2015 at 2:24 AM Comments (0)

Kogalymavia Flight 9268 AIRBUS A321 LOSS PROBABLY CAUSED BY HIGH ALTITUDE EXPLOSIVE DECOMPRESSION

2 Nov 2015

We have good reasons to believe that the cause of this tragedy was the result of mid-air high altitude explosive decompression. This time the probable cause of the disaster was the separation of the aft pressure bulkhead. This aircraft was a very old, many past owners airliner that was (regardless of exculpatory statements), poorly maintained since it became part of a “Bargain flight fleet”. What do you think? Its parent company had not paid its maintenance employees for over 2 months.

Kogalymavia Flight 9268 (7K9268/KGL9268) was an international chartered passenger flight operated by Russian airline (branded as Metrojet), which crashed in northern Sinai, on October 2015 at 04: 13 UTC(06:13 USA- EST) following departure from Sharm el Sheikh International Sharm, Egypt, en route to Pulkovo Airport, Saint Petersburg, Russia.

THE AIRCRAFT, AN AIRBUS A321-231, was carrying 217 passengers and seven (7) crew members; of those, mostly were tourists. The majority were Russian, four (4) were Ukranian, and one was Belarusian. With a total death toll of 224 people, it is also the deadliest air crash involving an aircraft from the Airbus A320 family, and the deadliest plane crash for a Russian airline.

TO VISUALIZE THE PROBABLE CAUSE of the explosive decompression event, one needs to think of an airliner as a huge flying thermos-bottle filled with compressed air with about a 6 pound per square inch pressure differential from outside air at altitude. Now then the aft end of the pressure vessel consists of a normally semi-spherical aluminum “pressure bulkhead” firmly attached to the fuselage (body of the plane)  This particular aircraft was old, had many flight hours, and in its old age fell into disrepair. A few years earlier the aircraft had a hard, tail first landing which no doubt weakened the aft pressure bulkhead, but after the customary repairs, and inspections were made, it was once more considered “airworthy”. We believe the entire tail (empennage) aft end complete with vertical and horizontal stabilizer; blew off (parted company with the rest of the plane) severing hydraulic lines electrical wires, etc. An absolutely catastrophic event. Normally, in this type of event, the tail end that separated will fall to the ground more slowly because of of its large, un-aerodynamic shape (catches more wind);that is the reason there have even been survivors found in the tail. Aljazeera did today show many pictures which clearly show the aft pressure bulkhead, and the tail section of the plane nearby, consistent with our thinking. Perhaps the worst tragedy of this kind involved the loss of a Japanese Air Line Boeing 747 jumbo jet (Queen of the skies) JAL Flight 123.

THE CRASH OF JAPAN AIRLINES FLIGHT 123 on August 12, 1985 is the single-aircraft disaster with the highest number of fatalities: 520 died on board a Boeing 747 The aircraft suffered an explosive decompression resulting from an incorrectly repaired aft pressure bulkhead, which failed in mid flight, destroying most of its vertical stabilizer, and severing all of the hydraulic lines, making the 747 virtually uncontrollable. In a feat of Remarkable airmanship, Pilots were able to keep the plane flying for 32 minutes after the mechanical failure, before crashing into a mountain. Remarkably, several people survived, but by the time the Japanese rescue teams arrived at the crash site, all aboard had perished, except for four (4) survivors. Unfortunately, in this case dispensations had been granted by Japanese aeronautical authorities to carry extra passengers on the premise that the average Japanese person weighed less than other passengers.

In this incident, finger-pointing has already began, as well as the “who, me!” We can be sure Russia, Egypt and Airbus Industries will disclaim all responsibilities. Next will come lies from the investigators, about the two (2) Black (orange) boxes contents. They have both been found, and will no doubt tell the true story- even if the public never hears it. The “big hush” is already quite notable. The lesson in this for many of us is to be weary of flying on “fly by cut-rate airlines”. Indonesia’s A320 crash last year taught us a very valuable lesson in this regard.

Our heart-felt condolences go out to the so many people that more than 200 casualties can create, and the truncated expectations of so many people who loved them, and are now grieving.

Edward Oliver Gonzalez (gonzedo)

P.S. The author worked for many years as an aircraft designer

 

 

 


November 2, 2015 at 1:16 PM Comments (0)

TIANJIN PORT DISASTER-THE WORST EVER? NOT YET, NOT BY A LONG SHOT

21 Aug 2011

UNFORTUNATELY, HISTORY IS REPLETE WITH WORLD-CLASS PORT AND INLAND EXPLOSIVE INCIDENTS. So many in fact that, we are forced to limit our comparison to those that occurred in the past 70 years (or so). Perhaps not so strangely, many of them involve the explosive detonation of nitrates and/or munitions. Note: Nitrates are used worldwide for agricultural fertilizer products; hence are ubiquitous, inexpensive, and unfortunately, can be used as precursor for explosives of all sorts. Munitions involving small and large cartridges, artillery shells (small and huge fused devices) torpedoes, and non-nuclear bombs of all sizes and capabilities. To this we must add industrial explosives used in mining, tunnel boring, etc. (referred to as: Dynamite). Most such are made from derivatives of nitro-cellulose in different compounds. Then there are the High explosives such as Centex, TNT, Plastique, and other compounds normally strictly controlled by governmental offices and restricted to use by the military in most nations. Today, there exist many previously unheard- of “Precursor” compounds used in the Industrial production of chemicals ranging from textiles to amphetamines, and other mind altering “designer drugs”. Were any of these compounds present in the Tianjin explosion? Probably, but there are worse chemical compounds in term of their lingering effects such as Sodium Cyanide. It has been detected in huge quantities in the water used by the firemen to suppress the fires. Many dead fish have been found several kilometers from the port, attributed to chemical poisoning. Who cares the most about what chemicals they are exposed to? Firemen and First Responders of all kinds; that’s who! As the extent of the damage becomes known, the public has been well advised to leave the area for other cities. China’s capital city of Beijing is only about 150 Km. away as the crow flies. As of of 15 August 2015, the number of evacuees has grown to more than 6,000 The government has issued an evacuation order fearing further explosions; but not all residents complied. Perhaps it is a problem of: “were do we go to? and, who will feed us? Such problems really tax a government.

THE 2015 PORT OF TIANJIN, NORTH CHINA EXPLOSIONS started on Wednesday, 12 August 2015 about 23:30Hrs. The first explosion occurred and registered as a magnitude 2.3 earthquake. Initial reports estimate that the first explosion was equivalent to 3 tons of TNT. Shortly thereafter, a second more powerful explosion occurred, estimated to be equivalent to 21 tons of TNT, causing most of the damage and injuries. Its shock-waves were felt many kilometers away. The resulting fireballs reached hundreds of meters high, and were visible from space. On15 August, a further series of 8 explosions occurred in the port as fire from the original blasts continued to spread. It is believed the first explosion occurred at a shipping container storage area containing calcium carbide, sodium nitrate, and potassium nitrate two explosions occurred within 30 seconds of each other at the facility, which is located in the Binhai-New Area, North China. Over 100 people were killed, and hundreds of others were injured. The cause of the explosions was not immediately known, but initial reports pointed to an “Industrial accident” (so said the port authorities). Fires caused by the initial explosions continued to burn uncontrollably throughout the weekend; repeatedly causing secondary explosions. Eight (8) additional explosions occurred on Saturday, 15 August. The Central China government immediately began a Military-like PR Campaign to minimize the extent of the dangers still prevalent (supposedly to prevent panic), and even prevented news media photographers from entering the area (for their own safety-so they said)… But, how does the TIANJIN PORT disaster compare with other such disasters? It is way too early to assess the total extent of the damage (and will remain so for at least the foreseeable) future; however, in terms of lives lost it may never equal the the deadliest industrial accident in USA history: THE PORT OF TEXAS CITY DISASTER OF 1947. See below.

 

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THE DEADLIEST INDUSTRIAL ACCIDENT IN USA HISTORY

 THE “PORT OF TEXAS CITY” DISASTER OCCURRED APRIL 16, 1947, in the Port of Texas city. It was the deadliest industrial accident in USA history, and one of the world’s largest non-nuclear explosions to date. The incident began with a mid-morning fire on board the vessel SS Grandcamp (docked in the Port Texas City). Her cargo was about 2,300 tons of Ammonium Nitrate which caught fire and detonated, creating a chain-reaction of further fires and explosions in several other ships in the port, railroad cars, vehicles, and nearby oil and Chemical storage facilities, killing at least 581 people (plus many still missing); including all but one of the 29 members of the Texas City Fire Department.

THE “SS GRANDCAMP” (French Registry), WAS A RECENTLY DE-MOTHBALLED 437-FOOT-LONG, SURPLUS, WWII LIBERTY SHIP built in1942, and given to a French Line to assist in the rebuilding of Europe (we believe the SS designation implied “Surplus Ship”) Along with ammonium nitrate (a very common cargo on the high seas), it was also carrying small arms ammunition, machinery, and bales of sisal twine. Docked nearby SS Grandcamp on the port, were the SS High Flyer (blew-up 15 Hrs after the SS Grandcamp, and also the SS Wilson B. Keene, the High Flyer contained an additional 872 metric tons of ammonium nitrate, and 1,600 tons of Sulfur (a perfect formula for explosives). The ammonium nitrate in the two (2) ships and in the adjacent warehouse was on its way to farmers in Europe. Several other moored ships (also loaded with nitrates) caught fire and exploded. Let us remember that ammonium nitrate is not only an excellent agricultural fertilizer, but also a component of high explosives even today. On that fateful day, longshoremen reported the ammonium bags were warm to the touch prior to loading.

ON APRIL 16, 1947, AROUND 8:00 A.M., SMOKE WAS SPOTTED in the cargo hold of the Grandcamp while she was still moored. Over the next hour, maritime attempts to extinguish the fire or bring it under control, failed as a red glow returned after each effort to douse the fire with water. Shortly before 9:00 a.m., the captain ordered his men to “steam the holds”. Thoughts linger that such action only exacerbated the ignition; Meanwhile, the fire had attracted a crowd of spectators along the shoreline, who believed they were a safe distance away; Eventually, the ship’s hatches were blown open and yellow-orange smoke billowed out. The unusual color of the smoke attracted even more spectators. Spectators also noted that the water around the docked ship was already boiling from the heat, and the splashing water touching the hull of the ship was vaporized into steam. The cargo hold and deck began to bulge as the pressure of the steam increased inside. HMMM!- Time to scoot!!!

AT 9:12 A.M THE SS GRANDCAMP EXPLODED with a tremendous blast sending a 15 foot wave that was detectable nearly 100 miles off the Texas shoreline, and leveled nearly 1,000 buildings on land. The SS Grandcamp explosion destroyed the Monsanto Chemical Plant and resulted in ignition of refineries and chemical tanks on the waterfront. Falling bales of burning sisal twine from the ship’s cargo added to the damage and with the fires raging throughout Texas City, first responders from other areas were initially unable to reach the site of the disaster for several days. It is remindful of the PORT OF TEXAS CITY which also began reconstruction immediately after the disaster.

IN THE AFTERMATH OF THE DISASTER Victims’ bodies quickly filled the local morgue. Several bodies were laid out in the local high school’s gymnasium for identification by loved ones. More than 5,000 people were injured, with 1,784 admitted to 21 area hospitals. More than 500 homes were destroyed and hundreds damaged leaving 2,000 homeless. The seaport was destroyed and many nearby businesses were flattened or burned. Over 1,100 vehicles were damaged, and 362 railroad freight cars were obliterated. Burning wreckage ignited everything within miles, including dozens of oil storage tanks and chemical tanks. Even the nearby city of Galveston Texas, was covered with an oily fog which left deposits over every exposed outdoor surface. The property damage was estimated at $1.06 billion in today’s terms. One of the propellers on the High Flyer was blown off, and found almost a mile inland; it is now part of a memorial park, and sits near the the SS Grandcamp 1.8 ton anchor which was also hurled 1.62 miles across the city. Fires resulting from the cataclysmic events were still burning a week after the disaster, and the process of body recovery took nearly a month. Of the dead, 405 were identified, and 63 have never been identified. An additional 113 people were classified as: missing; these include 27 firefighters who were aboard SS Grandcamp when she exploded. It is really difficult to visualize the full magnitude of the disaster (perhaps like pictures of Hiroshima in WWII).

THE CAUSE OF THE INITIAL FIRE/EXPLOSION ON BOARD THE GRANDCAMP WAS NEVER DETERMINED. The Texas City Disaster is still generally considered the worst industrial accident in American history. There is some well-based speculation that there may have been hundreds more killed but uncounted, including visiting seamen, non-census laborers and their families and, an untold number of travelers. Strangely however; there were some survivors as close as 70 feet (21 m) from the dock.

RECONSTRUCTION OF THE PORT BEGAN SOON AFTERWARDS. A positive result of the Port Of Texas City disaster was widespread disaster response planning to help organize plant, local, and regional responses to emergencies. Within days after the disaster, major companies that had lost facilities in the explosions announced plans to rebuild in Port Of Texas City, and even expand their operations. Some Companies implemented hiring policies of retaining all of the hourly workers who had previously worked at destroyed facilities, with plans to utilize them in the rebuilding. The expenditures for industrial reconstruction were estimated to have been approximately $1.06 B (2015 Dollars). Payouts for fire insurance claims reached nearly $41.8Million. Difficulties in the settlement of liabilities caused the Federal Government enactment of Tort laws which exist today.

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WHO IS ULTIMATELY TO BLAME IN SUCH DISASTERS?

Industrial accidents will happen; that is the reason most industrialized countries have found it necessary to create governmental Agencies etc. to assist industry in preventing them, and to improve the safety of the general public.

The Occupational Safety and Health (Act) Administration(OSHA) is an Agency of the United States Department of Labor, its mission is to “assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance”. If only they would!!!- Conservatives say: “that costs jobs”- The facts do not bear out their contentions, but they appeal to their base very successfully.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). In the USA they would be responsible for the temporary wellbeing of displaced persons in any disaster area. They have faltered but come through in the past, if only to wastefully give away money to their friends who are not in need. We remember Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans brought about the FEMA purchase of several thousand trailer homes which were never occupied, and eventually sold for cents on the Dollar.

United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA or sometimes called USEPA) is an Agency of the US Federal Government, United States Department of Labor, which was created for the purpose of protecting human health and the environments. We wish it would be allowed by conservatives (and some liberals) to perform its duties. Unfortunately we have a “do nothing Congress” which has as its function to block the actions of our president. I mean when these folks do something good for the people, it is probably for the wrong reason(s).

The World Health Organization (WHO) is a specialized agency of the UN that is concerned with international public health. Did you ever hear of anything good they did?

THAT BEING SAID, WHO IS REALLY TO BLAME FOR THESE CALAMITIES? We believe mostly wealthy Corporations, and a few Multi-billionaires, who because of their unbridled greed, and abundant funding, act like a Black-hole (in space) into which gravitate all susceptible public officials (those not so inclined are quickly dismissed, or sidelined), never to be heard from again. It is called: Corruption and defined as accepting favors or emoluments for taking action for or against, rules/laws not favorable to their financial/other interests. Now then, I hope china has counterparts to the organizations we have in the USA, and sincerely hope they take hold, and work to help to protect and compensate the working class for their losses in lives and property.

UPDATE 1. On 26 Aug 2015, CCTV News announced  that Officials from the City’s Transport, Work safety, and  Customs department, as well as the Tianjin Port group Company, are under investigation on charges of “dereliction of duty”, and “abuse of power”; Separately, China’s “Ministry of Public Security” announced the arrest of twelve(12) persons (including high ranking corporate Officers) from the “Tianjin International Ruihai Logistics”. It was their Containers that first expoded causing the entire incident.  We truly hope China will show the world a good example of dealing with corruption and conivance.

UPDATE 2. As of 12 Sep 2015 (a month after the incident), the official casualty report was 173 deaths, 8 missing, and 797 non-fatal injuries. The Central Government has offered to compensate the first responders (we do not yet know how), and a semblance of normalcy has returned to the Port. We feel certain a lot of rebuilding still remains to be accomplished, but no one doubts Chinese diligence.

Edward Oliver Gonzalez (gonzedo)

RELATED ARTICLE: GENERAL ACCOUNTING OFFICE (GAO) LAMBASTES NITRATES INDUSTRY Post 11-2014

P.S. We have once again opened the comment column. Please use it wisely, and not simply to promote your business.

 


August 21, 2015 at 11:37 PM Comments (0)

THE “IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL” IS AT BEST “KICKING THE CAN DOWN THE ROAD”, AND NOT WISE

14 Aug 2015

Pres. Barrack. Obama said on 10 Aug 2115, that a15-year delay in Iran’s (nuclear weapons) capabilities is one of the virtues of the agreement that US, and the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and Germany (the P5+1) tentatively signed with Iran in July 2015 Now Pres. Obama says: “If in fact the breakout (?) times now are a few months, and we’re able to push that breakout time out to a year so, that we have more time and space to see whether or not Iran is cheating on an (is there more than one ?) agreement, kicking out inspectors, going for a nuclear weapon; if the breakout time is extended for 15 years and then it goes back to where it is right now, why is that a bad deal?” .

WELL…Mr. President, We are not sure we understand how that could be a “Good Deal”. Suppose that We lift the sanctions, on a gamble that Iran will comply with “The Deal” (By the way?, is this really a Memorandum of Understanding MOA, AN International Treaty, or what is it.); Then if Iran fails to comply with The Deal, in a week , or a month, or a year (as happened to British PM Neville Chamberlain in 1938 when He and Hitler signed a Peace treaty, and Germany began his expansionist campaign a week later) what recourse do we have?. We had refrained from commenting on The Deal because as even our Senators have lamented, we are not privy to many important details; particularly with regard to Iran’s nuclear weapon development, past and present. Even so…

THIS IS NOT A GOOD DEAL Our common sense/wisdom vis-a vis past Iranian/USA relations give us cause to  believe that given the fact that Iranian Ayatollahs (past and present), have expressed deep distrust toward the USA, and acted in nefarious/hostile ways toward us; How can we trust a government whose Islamic Leaders distrust us?- NO WAY! Agreements must be made in good faith between/among mutually trusting nations. Mullahs, have traditionally set themselves above and apart from their secular governments, but remain highly in influential in their country’s political affairs. They have traditionally basked in their power/Influence. The day when such governments become truly democratic, and disregard the political opinion of their Clergy, Monarchs, Princes, etc., will be a happy day for humanity. I know I sound like France’s Voltaire in my philosophy, but so does the USA Constitution and democracy – even with all its faults. Voltaire too, was intensely disliked by the French Monarchy, but that soon come to an abrupt end.

We  further believe that our diplomats should clearly explain to Iran the consequences of our even knowing they have deliverable nuclear weapons, and the concept of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD).  All Nuclear bomb possessing countries have come to recognize that having them is really an expensive impediment to their governance/ internal security.

NOTE: We expressed our concerns on this issue in the previous article as “UPDATE 2, but given its transcendence, decided to publish it as a separate post.

Edward Oliver Gonzalez (gonzedo)


August 14, 2015 at 8:56 PM Comments (0)

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