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

RICHLAND-“AMERICA’S FUKUSHIMA”, A DISASTER WAITING TO HAPPEN IN OUR N.E.

30 Nov. 2013

RICHLAND, Wash. On a wind-swept plateau, underground steel tanks that hold the nation’s most deadly radioactive waste are slowly rotting. The soil deep under the desert brush is being fouled with plutonium, cesium and other material so toxic, that it could deliver a lethal dose of radiation to a nearby person in minutes. The aging tanks at the former Hanford nuclear weapons production complex contain 56 million gallons of sludge, the by-product of several decades of nuclear weapons production, and they represent one of the nation’s most treacherous environmental threats.

US DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY(US DOE) OFFICIALS have repeatedly assured the public that they have the advanced technology needed to safely dispose of the waste. However; an industrial city at the Hanford nuclear weapons complex has been under development for 24 years, designed to transform the sludge into solid glass to prepare it for permanent burial. Even so with $13 billion already spent, there are serious doubts that the highly complex technology will even work, or that the current plan can clean up all the waste. Alarmed at warnings raised by outside experts and some of the project’s own engineers, DOE officials last year ordered a halt to construction on the most important parts of the waste treatment plant. One would produce highly radioactivity resistant glass destined for a future geological repository, and the other a lower radioactivity rated glass that could be buried at Hanford. Over the last two (2) years, technical problems on the project have multiplied. Concern has grown that explosive hydrogen gas could build up inside the treatment plant’s pipes and tanks. Some project engineers now say that. lumps of plutonium could form inside the plant’s mixing tanks potentially causing a spontaneous nuclear reaction. A federal oversight board found that employee safety concerns had been disregard, while the DOE’s Inspector General reported an estimate that more than a third of the plant’s nuclear safety reviews required on every pipe, valve and device were never conducted .(BECHTEL- WHERE ART/WERE THOU ?).

PREOCUPIED POLITICIAN Sen. Ron Wyden(D-Ore.), chairman of the “Energy and Natural Resources Committee”. Said about Bechtel: They are missing one important target after another…It feels like we are going around in circles”.

FEDERAL CHIEF-ENGR. AT HANFORD, GARY BRUNSON WANTS BECHTEL GONE. Brunson recommended a year ago that the prime contractor, Bechtel National, be removed as the plant designer, citing 34 instances of serious safety and engineering errors. Two other senior managers have also publicly said the project’s technology is flawed and that safety concerns have been disregarded.

BECHTEL PROJECT MANAGER-NOT WORRIED. Bill Hamel who is managing construction of the waste treatment plant, said: “I am 100% sure that whatever the tests show, the mixing hardware or the chemical processes can be adjusted to allow the treatment plant to fulfill its mission…This entire design is based on safety,”  On a recent tour of the plant, Hamel navigated around walls 6 feet thick designed to protect workers from radiation. Massive stainless steel tanks that can hold up to 375,000 gallons of sludge were lined up in areas that will someday be sealed off from human entry ( HAMEL, DOES YO’ MAMA KNOW WHERE YOU ARE?).

BECHTEL NATIONAL TECHNICAL DIRECTOR AT HANFORD, Russell Daniel said: The probability of an explosion is no greater than 1 in 1 million…even if 20 feet of hydrogen gas accumulated inside a pipe and detonated, it would not cause a rupture or any damage…This is a very large, very complex facility…We continue to make progress”.  US DOE disagrees. Nov 2013 they formally offered a more cautious prognosis.  It notified Washington State officials that it might miss some of the most important project deadlines, promised three years ago under a “consent agreement” reached to address earlier lapses; Now, 14 of 19 key milestones are in jeopardy

ENDLESS DELAYS –NOT ACCEPTABLE – not when a million gallons of sludge from about a third of the 177 underground tanks have leaked into the soil, and some of it has reached aquifers under the plateau. The Columbia River, the West’s biggest waterway, is seven miles downhill from the waste and, under a worst-case scenario, it could be hit by the radioactive plumes in as little as 50 years, according to the Washington State Department of Ecology. Suzanne Dahl, who runs the Ecology Department’s Hanford office said:”It is really disappointing” In late Sep 2013, DOE Secretary Ernest J. Moniz tried to intervene with a vague plan for accelerating the project. He offered options that included the development of a new treatment plant and a change in the chemical process for treating some of the liquid waste. (JUDGING FROM MONIZ’S PAST PRONOUNCEMENTS “VAGUE” IS AN UNDERSTATEMENT).

BECHTEL’S BASIC PLAN is to pump the waste into a “pre-treatment plant”, a factory larger than a football field, and 12 stories tall, that would filter and chemically separate the waste into two streams: One high, another, low-level radioactivity. Then, two (2) other plants would “vitrify,”(mix the waste with molten glass), One would produce highly radioactive glass destined for a future geological repository, and the other a lower radioactive glass that could be buried at Hanford. But Sen. Ron Wyden(D-Ore.), among other critics, dismissed it, calling it “a plan for a plan”. (HMM…!  BECHTEL SURE SOUNDS LIKE JAPAN ‘S CENTRAL GOVT. ABOUT FUKUSHIMA) The questions concern Bechtel’s decision not to use traditional mechanical mixers with paddles driven by electric motors, as have been employed at other nuclear processing plants; Instead, the company chose pulse jet mixers, which function like giant turkey basters powered by vacuum and air pressure, they would suck waste into a cylinder within the tanks and then spit it out under high pressure. Such a system has never been used in such large tanks. The decision was based on the concern that mechanical systems could break down in highly radioactive “black cells,” as the tanks are known, over the 40-year design-life of the plant. Even so, doubts have grown about whether the pulse jet mixers can adequately agitate the waste and prevent the formation of hydrogen gas and clumps of plutonium at the bottom of the tanks and in pipes.

SERIOUS PROBLEMS WERE EXPOSED LAST YEAR by Walter Tamosaitis, one of the scientific chiefs of the project. He disclosed that the innovative technology for mixing the waste in processing tanks could cause dangerous buildups of explosive hydrogen gas and might allow plutonium clumps to form. ” Tamosaitis was fired for telling it like it is, but his candor made him a “whistleblower, and there is now Senatorial action afoot to protect him.

ENTER – THE US DEFENSE NUCLEAR FACILITIES SAFETY BOARD, an independent Federal Agency that oversees nuclear weapons sites, validated Tamosaitis’ concerns about the mixing technology and found that Bechtel’s safety culture at the project was flawed. Construction on the project’s two (2) most important components: The pre-treatment plant, and the high-level vitrification plant, were substantially slowed. The Safety Board has demanded that US DOE conduct a full-scale test of the mixing system, using nonradioactive sludge, before going any further. The test facility is under construction near Hanford, but the test completion date is uncertain.

ACADEMIA WORRIED Some of the nation’s top independent experts say the Bechtel technology is far from proven; Rich Calabrese, a University of Maryland professor (considered one of the world’s top experts in chemical mixing technology) said: “We are all out there at the frontier, trying to assess the technology…I am neutral about whether it will work or not…DOE has to demonstrate that it will do the job…people are working to make sure the right tests are done to answer that question.”

NUCLEAR ENGINEER IS PESSIMISTIC. Donna Busche, a nuclear engineer, and health physicist said: “The pre-treatment plant will not operate as it was originally intended….the facility would never be able to pass a licensing review because so many crucial tests had never been conducted and so many documents are missing…Even if concerns about the mixers are resolved, the very earliest construction could resume on the high-level plant is now set for 2014, and the pre-treatment after that…even if all of the technical doubts are overcome and if the lack of nuclear safety documentation can be resolved, there are serious concerns that the treatment plant will wear out before it can process all of the 56 million gallons of waste.. Busche leads the project’s safety team at “URS Corp” a Bechtel sub-contractor. (OOPS ! – LOOK OUT DONNA – YOUR JOB IS IN JEPARDY)

Many of the problems seem to stem from the decision to launch construction of the plant even before engineers had completed the design. The job of turning nuclear waste as thick as peanut butter into glass is at the leading edge of nuclear chemistry, a job made difficult by the complex mixture (Transuranics) of wastes that were fed into the underground tanks by some of the nation’s largest industrial corporations under a cloak of government secrecy. US DOE officials acknowledge that possibility, and say they will need a second low-level vitrification plant to complete the job. If/When that will happen is unknown -it is a project that Congress has not yet authorized. (SOUNDS LIKE MONIZ’S “PIE IN THE SKY”). And then there are budget constraints to contend with.

Thanks to the L.A.Times for their excellent story 29 Nov 2013

OUR TAKE

Just as in the 1984 movie: “GHOST-BUSTERS”, we (the USA) have been “Slimed”, and now we need to put the EVIL GHOSTS back in the GHOST TRAPs.  The analogy is deeper and more menacing than it looks. It is clear to us that Bechtel National. has taken us for a 24 year, $13 billion ride so far; with no measurable results, and given the passage of time, for plant deterioration which marks Hanford as a clear and present danger, requiring immediate attention at all levels of government, and our Industries.

It should be clear to those Federal employees who authorize the checks, that Bechtel National should be fired ASAP for “Breech of Contract”, and/or “Lack of Due Diligence”; So, why don’t they?- You know…those in authority have received (or will receive) a sizable compensation for favors granted. It could be proven by “following the money”, but that will not happen because that would be scandalous, and might reach “Untouchable” political figures.

IN OUR OPINION, what is needed is an immediate Request for a Proposal(RFP) to Nuclear Waste Remediation segment of Industry to be reviewed by, an independent organization, such as the THE US DEFENSE NUCLEAR FACILITIES SAFETY BOARD. Regrettably, the US DOE seems to be lacking personnel capable of providing such advice. It may be necessary for our President to appoint an Independent “Blue Ribbon Committee” and I mean answerable to no one, but our President. There is a fitting Spanish saying: “A grandes males, grandes remedios”(“great ailments, require great remedies”).

Edward Oliver Gonzalez (gonzedo)


November 30, 2013 at 11:09 PM Comments (0)

UKRAINE-NEIGHBOR TO RUSSIA, ENTERS INTO A CONSORTIUM TO LOOK FOR OIL/GAS

23 Nov 2013

Royal Dutch Shell (Shell), co-signed a $10 billion shale/gas exploration/development deal with the Ukrainian government Jan 2013.  Shell expects to start drilling in the Yuzivska field in 2014  Ukranian  Energy Minister Eduard Stavytsky said: “$10 billion would be invested if the geology meets expectations   Ukraine (neighbor to Russia, and a former member of the Soviet Union),Has for many years depended on expensive/unreliable  Russian gas imports to cover more than 60% of its consumption, is now pushing to develop its own reserves, both onshore and offshore, in the Black Sea.

Graham Tiley,  Shell’s country manager in the Ukraine,  in an interview in Kiev, on 6 Nov 2013 said: .Shell will need to drill as many as 15 wells to complete the initial exploration appraisal of the 8,000 square-kilometer (3,100 square-mile) Yuzivska field in the eastern part of the country, ”…If you look across all these different projects, and if you look at interests of not just Shell, but major oil and gas companies, you would say Ukraine has a good chance to boost its output…The sector has been under-invested and I assume over time the domestic production will increase.”Mr. Tiley added: “So far all of Shell’s projects remain in the exploration phase…Until we get out there, drill some wells and test them, we simply won’t know how much of the area is going to be commercially productive…Right now the testing phase will take some months before we have some results, and that will be only from one well…Separately, the consortium has also completed drilling its first well in the Kharkiv region together with Ukranian state company DK Ukrhazvydobuvannya, a unit of NAK Naftogaz Ukrainy, and is preparing to drill two more wells in 2014.

The Ukranian government also signed a production-sharing agreement with Chevron Corp. on 7 Nov.2013 for exploration/extraction of shale gas; and plans to complete its negotiations by the end of 2013 with an “Exxon Mobil Corp-led group”(consortium), which includes Shell, to explore off Ukraine’s western Black Sea coast.

Thanks to Bloomberg for their 8 Nov 2013 story.

 

OUR TAKE

ENTER –“HYDRAULIC FRACTURING” (Fracking)  The relatively new and still controversial  Oil/Nat gas exploration/exploitation technology has produced a shale-gas boom in the USA, such that it has quickly outproduced Rusia as the world’s largest Nat gas producer. It is no wonder many other countries are looking at fracking as a potential solution to their energy problems. Ukraine could hold as much as 42 trillion cubic feet (1.2 trillion cubic meters) of shale gas, the third largest reserve in Europe, according to a 2011 U.S. Energy Information Admin. report.

RUSSIA HAS USED NAT- GAS FOR POLITICAL CONTROL of its former republics..  By forcing Nat gas pipeline-deals, port concessions for Black-Sea access, etc., Putin has successfully used Gazprom, to assert Russia’s political control of its former Republics during the past decade.; However, fracking in many places, and  domestic competition in Russia, is causing Gazprom to lose Nat gas primacy worldwide. We wish Russia would treat its neighbors as themselves, because “what goes around, comes around”, and The Russian people, as most of Eastern Europe, have endured/suffered enough since WWII.  One would hope they would be more politically understanding and helpful. Equal treatment would suffice.> http://energymaters.com/?p=1052

NATURALLY, UKRAINE SEEKS ENERGY INDEPENDENCE Another worry for Gazprom, is the urgent desire of Ukraine to free itself of dependence on Russian imports of Gazprom’s Nat gas. Over the past decade, the two countries have frequently clashed over gas prices/availability at peak-usage times. In the past, that has resulted in disruptions to the Nat gas flow through Ukraine to Europe.  Pres. Putin granted Gazprom a Nat gas export monopoly, and helped secure the “Nord Stream pipeline project” to Europe.  Significantly, Gazprom gained control over Belarus’s pipeline network, and negotiated a Nat gas price deal with Ukraine that extended Russia’s lease of a Ukrainian Black Sea port of Sevastopol used as a Russian naval base (KEEP IN MIND RUSSIA HAS NO SEAPORTS IN THE BLACK SEA. In other words, Putin et-al, has made its former Republics “A deal they could not refuse” if they wanted Nat gas.  AS WE SAY IN AMERICA: “WITH FRIENDS LIKE THAT, WHO NEEDS ENEMIES.

ABOUT UKRAINE: A country in Eastern Europe.  Its Capital city is Kiev (pop. about 3 mil.). It borders the Russian Federation to the east and northeast, Belarus to the northwest, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary to the west, Romania and Moldova to the southwest, and the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov to the south and southeast, respectively. IT HAS A LAND AREA of 603,628 km2 (233,062 sq mi), making it the largest country entirely within Europe. It is also home to the now infamous  Soviet Nuclear Power Plant disaster of Chernobyl, near Kiev.  Ukraine last became independent when the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991.  GRAIN PRODUCER/EXPORTER Throughout its history, Ukraine has been one of the powerhouses of world agriculture due to the fertility of its land.  The country was the world’s third-largest grain exporter( as of 2011).  POLITICALLY: Since the dissolution of the Soviet union(1991),Ukraine is a Republic under a semi-presidential system with separate  Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branches of government.  POPULATION: The country is home to 46 million people,- 77.8 % of whom are ethnic Ukranians, with sizable minorities of Russians (17%), Belarusians Romanians, and other nationalities  RELIGION The dominant religion in the country is Eastern Orthodox Christianity, which has strongly influenced Ukraine’s architecture, literature and music.

UKRANIAN AERONAUTICAL PRODIGY, Oleg Konstantinovich Antonov (1906-1984) was a world renown Soviet cargo aircraft designer, and the first designer/chief of the Antonov world-famous aircraft company in Ukraine, later named in his honour. Antonov was personally responsible for designing a very successful line of Soviet cargo aircraft from the Antonov AN-2 (Anne) single prop, bi-plane (1946), and up to what may well be the world’s best ultra-large cargo plane, the AN 124 ( in many variants ); similar to the USAs C-5A. It has been used by many countries(including the USA) to ferry heavy,oversize cargo, over long distances at very competitive prices.

ABOUT NATURAL GAS. It is a wonderful fossil fuel because it produces about half as many greenhouse gasses as anthracite coal, when used to generate electricity. It is also very versatile as home heating fuel etc. It can also be used as a fertilizer precursor; and as such, we will someday wish we had not “burned-up” so much of it. We must view it as a “transition fuel” perhaps for 50 years; however it is a fossil-fuel, and as such, a non-renewable resource. The world should see Nat gas use as the last chance to prepare renewable (Green-energy). Fortunately, many nations can see far enough ahead to realize that we must ultimately develop/emplace sustainable green energy means, be they whatever best suits each country.

RENEWABLE ENERGY OUTLOOK IN UKRAINE The share of “renewables” within the total energy mix of Ukraine is still very small, but growing fast. In 2011 it stood at 397 megawatts (MW). Also in 2011, several large “solar power stations” were opened in Ukraine, among them Europe’s largest solar park in Perovo, (Crimea). Ukranian “State Agency for Energy Efficiency and Conservation” forecasts that combined installed capacity of wind and solar power plants in Ukraine could increase by another 600 MW in 2012. According to Macquarie Research, by 2016 Ukraine will construct and commission new solar power stations with a total capacity of 1.8 GW, which is almost equivalent to the capacity of two nuclear power plants.

UKRAINE AND OTHER EX-SOVIET REPUBLICS WANT DESPERATELY TO JOIN THE EUROPEAN UNION (EU). > http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/25/world/europe/thousands-of-ukrainians-protest-scrapping-of-trade-pact-with-eu.html?_r=0 Many of them are still clamoring for their governments to leave the Russian sphere of influence; However, Russia’s  Pres. Putin has been able to suppress those longings thus far.  Energy independence from Russia holds the key to do so; Hence, Russia must be looking apprehensively at their efforts to “frack” their way out of subjugation. We wish them all well, and may their efforts be rewarded with good energy exploration/exploitation partners, and energy self-sufficiency. Ukranians are a very diligent, talented, industrious, and tolerant people who deserve no less.

Edward Oliver Gonzalez (gonzedo)

 


November 23, 2013 at 11:35 AM Comments (0)

PRES OBAMA PROMOTES DAN UTECH TO ADVISOR ON ENERGY AND CLIMATE CHANGE

16 Nov 2013

WASHINGTON– Dan Utech, a long-time Washington insider, has been Appointed as President Obama’s new “Advisor on Energy and Climate Change”. Utech will assume his new position on (Monday) 11 Nov 2013  Dan Utech came to the Obama administration in 2010, and currently serves as the “White House Deputy-Director for Climate. He will replace the departing Energy and Climate Advisor, Heather Zichal, whose last day in office was 8 Nov 2013.

ABOUT DAN UTECH For the last 3 1/2 years, Utech has played a significant role in developing and implementing much of Pres. Obama’s energy and climate agenda.  Utech will also have the unenviable task of explaining to the public, the Administration’s stand on often-contentious energy and environmental issues, such as: The Keystone XL oil pipeline, and new rules to cut greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.  Utech has experience with Congress that could prove helpful as he champions the White House’s energy and climate priorities.

UTECH IS A WASHINGTON “OLD-TIMER” Before joining the Obama administration, he worked in the Senate for 10 years, on the staff of the “Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee” and as Hillary Clinton’s top advisor on energy and environment issues. During the transition to Obama’s first term, Utech helped Secretary of Energy Steven Chu through the Senate confirmation process and then served as a senior advisor in the Energy Department.

ENVIRONMENTALIST Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council said: “Dan Utech is a leader, a seasoned expert, and the right person for this critical energy and climate post…He’s well-suited to carry forward the policies our country needs to expand clean energy, cut carbon pollution, address climate change, and protect health.”

THE US CHAMBER OF COMMERCE SAID: We decline comment on Utech’s new role (TRANSLATION: HE IS NO FRIEND OF OURS).

THE AMERICAN PETROLEUM INSTITUTE  Pres Jack Gerard, said : “We hope to have a productive relationship with Utech…We had a constructive working relationship with Heather Zichal, and wish her well as she moves on… We look forward to working with Dan Utech to promote the U.S. energy revolution that is creating jobs, sending more revenue to our government and making America more energy secure.”

Thanks to the LA TIMES, 8 Nov 2013 for the story.

OUR TAKE

TO TELL IT LIKE IT IS: Ms. Heather Sichal  is out (probably dismissed) , Mr. Dan Utech is promoted to her position as President Obama’s new “Advisor on Energy and Climate Change”.

WHAT MOTIVATED THE DISMISSAL/PROMOTION?  We may never learn the reasons, but as a former Federal Employee, I recall the axiom:  “If one is not doing the job, someone else will be assigned to assist you, then replace you”. Often true; always wise.

WHY DO SO MANY WELL-INTENTIONED APPOINTEES FAIL?  Well…When it comes to contentious issues such as Carbon dioxide gas emission (Coal-fired Power-Plants), and many other Industrial noxious fume generation, business as usual (Liaises-faire) is a luxury we cannot afford, or tolerate.  The time is now, to “Fish, or cut bait”. Our governments have to face the immediate need to move swiftly in an attempt to stem the tide of “extreme weather events” such as sustained droughts, prolonged rains/floods, tornados, hurricanes, typhoons, polluted air ailments, etc.  Even so, most governmental employees have shown a tendency to follow the axiom: “The wheels of government move extremely slowly, and grind exceedingly fine”.  Why no boy!-that won’t do now!  Humanity must realize that each day we allow greenhouse gasses to exist/proliferate costs many thousands (if not millions) of lives

OUR EPA IS TOO SLOW  USA’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), is today, a good example of “business as usual”, albeit at an accelerated pace; which does not promise immediate action /relief from the Carbon Dioxide (Coal-Fired Utilities) paradigm. EPA has already held 11 Public Listening Sessions.  See http://energymaters.com/?p=1287 between 23 Oct 2013 and 08 Nov 2013. The sessions were held to:“solicit ideas and input from the public and stakeholders about the best Clean Air Act approaches to reducing carbon pollution from existing power plants”. We were informed that the sessions were to all accounts a success; regrettably, their higher-ups would make no comment to us.. Typically, about 60 persons were allowed 3 minutes each.  The participants were from academia, the Coal fired Utility Industry and its stakeholders, and the general public. It has not been disclosed what (if anything) was gleaned from the sessions, or exactly what information was sought. That initial round of Public listening Sessions is scheduled to be followed by an additional Public Input during the “Notice and comment period”, once the EPA issues a proposal by June 2014. (NO GREAT EXPECTATIONS) Evidently the way they see it, such plans were created concurrent with the Clean Air Act long ago, and they should be followed, but where does it say that?! A midcourse trajectory- correction is sorely needed; Unfortunately, US DOE Secretary Moniz is dedicated to helping the worldwide Coal Industry; So perhaps the EPA’s attitude reflects his attitude , In my opinion, what is needed now, is an EPA Director with balls to confront the coal Barons with their doings and to bring the full weight of our Government toward making them an offer they can’t refuse. THE HEALTH OF OUR CITIZENS SHOULD BE HIS /HER PRIME DIRECTIVE.

IN MY BOOK, EPA IS “FOOT-DRAGGING” We need to keep in mind that EPA already knows full well who the principal Carbon-fired Utilities are, and where they are located, and can even quantify the amount of pollutants they emit. See: http://www.epa.gov/ghgreporting/ In my mind it is the Shareholders, and Operators of such Utilities that should be asked by EPA to submit their plans for improvement ASAP, and for compliance dates. Problem is, they put profit above all else.-Hell! At least half of them could morph to burn Nat-Gas within a year if they so willed it. It is even cheaper than coal, but changes cost money.  See what I mean!. EPA should not think that the coal-Industry will ever love them, not when they are being told to spend money, but that is alright!  “It is better to be feared than loved” -Nicolo Machiavelli (c. 1,500 AD).  We don’t love the IRS either, but we comply – Don’t we?.

ENTER DAN UTECH – STAGE LEFT. We must recognize that Dan Utech is not on the chain of command for the EPA, and that is good, because as Pres Obama’s “Advisor on Energy and Climate Change” He may speak independently/directly to the President (it is known as “having the ear of the president”) at anytime regarding recommendations/ ways-and-means to bring about what he (and his staff) believe could be done to accelerate and empower the EPA in its efforts to accelerate Carbon reduction goals ASAP. Utech’s many years of experience in the field, and the Washington scene, marks him as a potential Very Important Person (VIP) in the Obama administration, and a powerful advocate for Carbon reduction goals. Let us hope his heart is in the right place, because Carbon dioxide pollution reduction cannot wait. The reduction of Global warming is far more important than the financial interests of coal Barons, and time is of the essence.

Edward Oliver Gonzalez (gonzedo)

#18-2013


November 16, 2013 at 7:26 PM Comments (0)

JAPAN WANTS TO SIGN IAEA PROPOSED NUCLEAR DISASTER LIABILITY TREATY

3 Nov 2013

USA DEPT. OF ENERGY SEC. ERNEST MONIZ GOES TO TOKYO AND APPROVES

On 2 Nov 2013, in Tokyo U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said: “Japan would receive international help with the clean-up at the Fukushima atomic station once it joins an existing treaty that defines liability for accidents at nuclear plants, The treaty known as :The Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage, assigns accident liability to plant operators (TEPCO-The people that own and operate the Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) rather than equipment and technology vendorsAs one gets into the real work, then these liability conventions become quite important…Certainly (Japanese)Prime Minster Abe and Minster Motegi both emphasize that the importance of moving on this in 2014 is to a large extent driven by their openness and their desire to get as much international help as they can…. Such help will be easier to secure once Japan ratifies the treaty … U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Trade Minister Toshimitsu Motegi , and other officials showed eagerness during meetings for expertise from abroad to decommission the Fukushima NPP. Liability would rest with TEPCO as the plant’s operator is known… this has global significance, and we all have a direct interest in seeing that the next steps are taken well, efficiently and safely.”

THE IAEA PROPOSED NUCLEAR LIABILITY TREATY – SAY WHAT?.

US DOE Secretary Moniz was in Japan to discuss cooperation with Japan with plans to ratify the The Convention on “Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage Treaty”. His visit coincided with calls for a larger government role in the response to the 12 Mar 2011 triple meltdown + at the Fukushima Dai No1 Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) the site of the the worst nuclear tragedy ever; and certainly since Chernobyl, in the Ukraine (formerly Russia).  TEPCO in recent months has reported large leaks of highly radioactive fluids into the Pacific Ocean. The treaty includes setting up a fund for victims of nuclear accidents and a standard for compensation claims   NOW THEN: The Compensation for Nuclear Damage treaty was adopted in 1997 under the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and had 16 signatories as of 24 Jun 2013,

RADIOACTIVE WATER TREATMENT IS (STILL) THE IMMEDIATE PROBLEM

TRITIUM REMOVAL is among the contaminants found in hundreds of thousands of tons of water stored in more than 1,000 tanks at the Dai No.1 site. Those levels are rising at a rate of 400 tons a day as groundwater seeping into basements mixes with cooling water that has been in contact with highly radioactive melted reactor cores. Sec. Moniz said that other companies that could assist TEPCO are builders that have worked at U.S. nuclear sites, and have specialists in cleaning groundwater and controlling its flow without identifying particular businesses. Well… Except for California-based Kurion Inc., that owns technology for removing the radioactive isotope tritium from contaminated water… FOR CESIUM REMOVAL TEPCO has had treatment systems in place for removing the radioactive cesium since shortly after the March 2011 tragedy at the plant, and is currently testing a filter to remove the radioactive element strontium.  Moniz added that the proposed liability pact has so far not been needed by foreign companies because there’s been little direct engagement between such businesses and TEPCO, although some U.S. entities have helped the utility in a consultant role.

LINKS ALREADY EXIST BETWEEN JAPAN AND USA NUCLEAR WASTE PROCESSING CORPORATIONS.

A scientist at the Savanna River National Laboratory under the USA-DOE said they already helping Japan’s International Research Institute for Nuclear decommissioning by providing proposals from international entities seeking participation in the Dai No.1 plant’s decommissioning and cleanup..TEPCO said 1 Nov.2013 that it is also holding talks with The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, a USA DOE research center, about getting help with groundwater management, removing fuel debris and other areas, the utility said in a statement.  TEPCO engineers have also visited the site of the Hanford Engineer Works weapons lab in Washington State, where the USA DOE has spent more than $16 billion since 1989 on cleanups, to evaluate whether methods used there could be applied at Fukushima. Sec. Moniz said: “With openness, I would say the eagerness, expressed by the (Japanese)Prime Minister and by a variety of other government officials to have international help, we see our laboratories certainly continuing to contribute and we see our companies being enabled to come in as well.”

Thanks to Bloomberg, and RT

OUR TAKE.

We must remember that the IAEA is a Vienna-based energy Barons Corp (with a 2,300 employee Secretariat) founded to protect the financial interests of the world’s Energy Industry. Let us also remember that USA DOE Sec. Moniz made a trip to the IAEA (Vienna) to address the IAEA annual report on 3 Jul 2013 ostensibly to assuage their concerns about the coal Industry (now on life support world-wide).  It occurs to us that behind the scenes a more important initiative was afoot: How to protect the Uranium NPP’s Industry now, and in the future against financial Liability. One more thing to remember: The General Director of the IAEA since 2009 until today is Mr. Yukiya Amano, a former V.P. of TEPCO.  Nuff’ said!

JAPAN NEEDS HELP WITH FUKUSHIMA

But if it is money they want to help their NPP Industry, and its victims, and to protect them against financial liability, now and in the future, they are asking the wrong country.  Evidently Sec. Moniz has not heard about the budget impasse in the USA Congress, and the talks about sequestration. Linking Japanese authorities (be it TEPCO, or the Central government) to appropriate technical consultants in the nuclear remediation field here in the USA, or anywhere in the world, is already in progress, and done privately (as it should be).  Honestly, Sec. Moniz seems totally detached from the financial realities facing the USA, yet, he offers all sorts of assistance he cannot deliver. Just to think that the Dai No. 1 cleanup and decommissioning is expected to take 40 years (I think 60 Years or longer) Unless they screw things up. Talk is Cheap!

HOW IN THE WORLD CAN WE EXPECT THE IAEA PROPOSED SHARED FINANCIAL LIABILITY TO BE IMPLEMENTED?  Naturally, the Japanese government asks:  “and all we need to do is sign to get the world to assist us financially, technically, and otherwise?” Wish it were so but it is “Pie in the Sky”.

FOOLISH PLAN TO REMOVE SOME 1,500 “SPENT FUEL RODS” NOW.  Sec. Moniz said:It appears that spent nuclear fuel will begin to be removed from Unit 4 as scheduled in mid-November The spent-fuel removal at DAI No.1 Unit 4,is considered by nuclear experts to be the toughest and most dangerous operation for TEPCO; one wrong move could result in horrific quantities of radiation being released into the atmosphere or cause an explosion many times worse than the original tragedy. PROBLEM IS: Reactor 4 “Spent-Fuel Pool” contains 10 times more Cesium-137 than Chernobyl did. Scientists have warned that another nuclear tragedy of such magnitude could be the beginning of an ultimate catastrophe for the planet.  This plan seems like too dangerous an operation, and apparently intended to make it seem like that decommissioning has begun.  These spent fuel rods are trasuranic extremely dangerous radioactive material the removal of which, if just once (out of 1,500 times), is done incorrectly, or an accident occurs due to unforeseen circumstances, could precipitate an uncontrollably nuclear chain reaction of unchartered proportions that would render the rest of the NPP facility unapproachable for decades. Just to relocate the fuel rods, but where?.   They do not even know where yet in their ever more crowded environs.  THEY MUST BE KIDDING!-I CERTAINLY HOPE SO!– JAPAN NEEDS TO GET REAL!

Edward Oliver Gonzalez (gonzedo)

 


November 3, 2013 at 11:28 PM Comments (0)