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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)

IAEA DIR.-GRL. AMANO FLOPS HIS REPORT ON IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL TO USA SENATE

5 Aug 2015

On 5 Aug 2015, USA SENATE FOREIGN RELATIONS COMMITTEE chairman, Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) was quoted as saying that lawmakers left Wednesday briefing by Yukiya Amano, Director General of IAEA “less assured” about the nuclear deal with Iran. Readers who read our previous post will find his assessment not surprising at all. The IAEA is not a “Nuclear Watchdog Agency” as Reuters is fond of calling them, but rather, “A Nuclear Yunkyard dog” Sen Corker added: “The majority of members left with far more questions than they had before the meeting took place…I can say from my perspective that it left me far less assured.” Corker told reporters after an hour-plus briefing by IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano. Amano travelled to the USA Capitol Hill on a bid to assuage growing concern in Congress, where lawmakers will be voting in September 2015, on whether to approve the nuclear accord brokered between Iran and co-signer world powers. Amano was to address two confidential “side deals” IAEA signed with Iran. Washington has described the ‘side-deals” as “technical agreements” which are believed to include a deal about Iran’s documentation of the alleged previous military dimension (PMD)of its nuclear program” Iran in July 2015, granted the IAEA tightly-controlled “managed access” to its military bases as part of the accord. The IAEA agreement is aimed in part, at resolving s USA’s suspicions about Iran’s military facility at Parchin, where USA lawmakers, cited intelligence reports that Tehran conducted past nuclear armament work.

USA LAWMAKERS HAVE AIRED CONCERNS ABOUT IRAN’S MILITARY CAPACITY, and in particular, what kind of access the IAEA would have to Parchin (a known nuclear site). Sen Corkin said:”We can not get him (Amano) to even confirm that we will have physical access inside of Parchin” Amano said: he recognized the USA’s frustrations, but explained: “my legal obligation is to protect safeguards confidentiality.”Amano believes that if the plan is approved, “the nuclear activities of Iran will be reduced in size, and we’ll have the most robust USA verification regime in Iran.”

The top Democrat on the panel, Senator Ben Cardin (D-Maryland), said it was important for members of Congress to at least be able to see key portions of the IAEA-Iran agreements. He added: “I thought today was helpful, but it was not a substitute for seeing the document…I think there’s previsions in the document that relate to the integrity of the review of the PMD that would be useful.”They want to talk “turkey”; not Birds.

David Perdue (R-GA), also a member of the committee, emerged frustrated at Amano’s lack of detail. “The number one question we had was, are we going to get access to the two side agreements ? and the answer was ‘no’… the nuclear deal with Iran is troubling”. IAEA is not fooling our Senators.

UPDATE 1. 7 Aug 2015 Prominent Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer announced his intention to oppose the Iran nuclear deal, according to a statement in the New York Democrat posted late 7 Aug 2015 .

UPDATE 2.  10 Aug 2115, Pres. Barrack. Obama says 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.  On 10 Aug 2015 Pres. Obama said: “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, I am 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 have refrained from commenting on The Deal because as even our Senators have lamented, we are not privy to many important details; specially with regard to Iran’s nuclear weapon development, past and present. Even so…

THIS IS NOT A GOOD DEAL We feel compelled by our common sense/wisdom vis-a vis past Iranian/USA relations to opine that our main objection is based on the fact that Iranian Ayatollahs (past and present), have expressed 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 do not want the responsibility, only the Power. 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 wax 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. 

I  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. 

Wendy Sherman, USA’s Undersecretary of State for political affairs, testified to the Senate Banking Committee that she has read the side agreements and would share key details of them later Wednesday in a classified briefing to senators. One wonders why she would be privy to information not yet available to the USA Senate. Looks like money is always involved. We trust she will share information that will satisfy the USA Senate, one way or the other.

Edward Oliver Gonzalez (gonzedo)

 


August 5, 2015 at 9:46 PM Comments (0)

IAEA “THE GREAT PRETENDER” IS NO PART OF THE UN, BUT NUCLEAR ENERGY ADVOCATES

5 AUG 2015

THE “INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY (IAEA) Is not a part of the UN, as they often aggrandize themselves to be. They are really an agency whose main purpose is to advocate for, and promote the interests of the worldwide Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) Industry. Once that is understood, one wonders what good they can really be in negotiations such as those with Iran in 2015. The IAEA got its start in 1957 as a product of the “Atoms for Peace” (NPPs) at a time when it appeared NPPs were the solution to the world’s (clean ?) energy They soon grew to have 154 nations in their membership. Now, they probably have a few more “member Nations”. All hand-picked , and normally anonymous.

Its Current “Director General” Yukiya Amano is the IAEA’s 5th Director, and has been in office since Dec 2009. He was born in Japan in 1947, is married, and speaks English, French, and Japanese. The IAEA has its general “Secretariat” offices in Vienna, Austria where Mr Amano directs operations of some 2,300 employees. Their normal membership meeting is held in Vienna in Sept of every year, although there have been many special sessions.

IOULI ANDREEV, RUSSIAN NUCLEAR ACCIDENT SPECIALIST IS CRITICAL OF THE IAEA’s response to Fukushima, and says that the IAEA did not learn from the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, and has accused the IAEA et- al of “wilfully ignoring lessons from the world’s worst nuclear accident 25 years ago, to protect the industry’s expansion…The IAEA’s role as an advocate for nuclear power has made it a target for protests”. We too subscribe to the belief that the IAEA’s is an advocate for the NPP Industry, and not much more. Our world is full of “wolves in sheep’s clothing”; In this case, they only add to the public distrust of the NPP Industry as a whole.

OUR ARTICLE RE-POSTED BELOW clearly shows that the IAEA took minimal involvement in the Fukushima triple-meltdown tragedy in Mar 2011. That incident was in Mr. Amano’s pale. There were rumors that the IAEA had contributed nearly $4B (under the table) in 2011 to someone in Japan to “mitigate” the expenses caused by TEPCO’s terpitude. Clearly IAEA’s members were not appreciative of their Japanese General Director’s generosity to the Japanese NPP Industry. The IAEA has grown more zealous in safeguarding their activities as evidenced by their website now open only to those approved. We guess they just can’t stand the light of public scrutiny. Even Wikipedia articles about them are considered now unreliable because of it.

Edward Oliver Gonzalez (gonzedo)

 

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IAEA ELECTS 16 NEW BOARD MEMBERS, AND ANNOUNCES ITS UPCOMING VISIT TO JAPAN

Filed under Nuclear Energy by gonzedo

28 Sep 2011

The Director General of the “International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)”, Yukiya Amano, announced the IAEA would send a team of experts to Japan next month to help sanitize areas contaminated as a result of the nuclear accident. “For the engineers, what is going on in the reactor is the main issue of interest. For the local people, the most important is what happens with their house or rice field, so we need to decontaminate,” Mr. Amano told reporters, Japan does not have much experience in this area (Hell nobody does; that, is the problem), adding that some people were spraying water and digging up the earth in an attempt to clean up their homes. “These things should be done properly, otherwise the amount of debris becomes huge” (this man does not know what he is talking about). I hope we can give some advice.”  YEAH! -SPECIALLY HOW TO KEEP THE CLEAN-UP CREWS SAFE, AND HOW TO DISPOSE OF ACCUMULATED NUCLEAR WASTE – TOUGH NUT TO CRACK!!!

IAEA “ACTION TEAM” another SHAM. The IEIA,Vienna-based agency was setting up an “action team” to oversee prompt implementation of newly agreed-to measures designed to enhance nuclear safety standards around the world after Fukushima. The IAEA’s annual gathering of its 151 member countries last week endorsed an IAEA plan to help ensure there is no repeat of the world’s worst Fukushima Dai No.1 triple meltdown, and its consequences globally. Chairman Amano said: The IAEA “Action Plan on Nuclear Safety”…requires immediate follow-up”.  The plan is already criticized by some nations for not going far enough towards more mandatory measures; instead, it outlines a series of VOLUNTARY STEPS (WE ALL KNOW  THESE DO NOT WORK WELL IN THE GREEDY NUKE INDUSTRY – JUST LOOK AT THE NRC IMPASSE ) aimed at improving reactor safety and emergency preparedness. Mr. Amano made clear the agency needs more money to turn the plan into reality, but did not give details.  Now he is talking turkey; not birds – Give me more money! – IAEA has a huge budget for its “Secretariat” Offices, and its 2,300 Staff employees.  

A HELL OF A TIME TO ASK FOR MORE MONEY Mr. Amano is worried that expanding demands for assistance from member states for nuclear safety, etc., will require an increase in the agency’s resources. He said: “I encourage all countries in a position to do so, to make additional resources available to the agency.”(my guess is his Board members were looking at each other looking for “pigeons”) Even before Fukushima added to its workload, experts warned that budget austerity in member states may block funding required by the IAEA to deal with “growing demand for atomic energy and the attendant risk of weapons proliferation” (THAT, IS AMANO’S  TRUMP CARD); Traditionally, the bulk of money for the IAEA, comes from Western member states on a voluntary basis. For 2010, the agency secured a budget increase of 2.7 % in real terms to 315 million euros ($434.1 million), but this was considerably less than it had sought. At a time of economic problems squeezing government finances everywhere, some European states have resisted budget hikes for the agency, although the United States has increased contributions in recent years.

The IAEA plan also calls on countries to quickly conduct assessments on how their nuclear reactors would be able to withstand extreme natural hazards, and also encourages them to invite IAEA-organized safety inspections.  Oh yeah! – We know that does not work!  Not with greedy “Merchant” power providers everywhere.

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MY TAKE

In my opinion the IAEA Director Mr. Yukiya Amano has created what I believe time will show a Sham plan to aid the people of the Fukushima region of Japan.  He has to show the world IAEA is “doing its thing”, even when most nuclear technicians and scientists do not know what that is/would be.  If they did, they would have done it already.

Actually, Mr. Amano is begging member countries for more money – lots more, to fund his 2,300 Staff organization, and doing so at global economic doldrums time – fat chance!  By the way, contrary to some media reports, IAEA IS NOT,  AND HAS NEVER BEEN, A PART OF THE UNITED NATIONS. They are privileged to report to the United Nations on occasion.

FROM THE “INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY (IAEA)” WEBSITE  Check it out at: http://www.iaea.org/newscenter/news/2011/bog260911.html

The IAEA Board of Governors met 26 Sep 2011, in a one-day session to address matters arising from the 55th regular session (they have been around since 1957) of the General Conference was held in Vienna on 19-23 Sep 2011.  Another reason was to elect the Board Chairman and the Vice-Chairpersons(2) for the period 2011-2012, and to appoint/elect 13 new “Governors”.

IAEA DIRECTOR GENERAL MR.YUKIYA AMANO In his opening address,  announced the establishment of a “Nuclear Safety Action Team” tasked with overseeing the implementation of the IAEA Action Plan on Nuclear Safety, which was endorsed last week by the General Conference. Director Amano said: “This team will oversee prompt implementation of the Action Plan and ensure proper coordination among all stakeholders (SAY WHO? – READ ON)I will update you on initial progress in implementation at the Nov. Board ( probably the Nov 2011 Board Meeting); In the meantime, I count on all other stakeholders – especially governments, regulatory bodies, and operators to take a proactive approach to fulfilling their responsibilities under the Action Plan.” (My translation: You all come up with a lot of money –  now  hear!- PR is very expensive, and besides…you know! ).  

TIME TO TAKE THE BURR OUT FROM UNDER THE IAEA SADDLE – JAPAN. Mr. Amano also updated the IAEA Board on plans to further assist Japan in the wake of the Fukushima Dai No.1 triple Nuke meltdown last 13 Mar 2011. Amano said: “At the request of Japan, I am preparing to dispatch a mission whose mandate will include assisting with plans for the remediation of large areas contaminated as a result of the Fukushima Daiichi accident.”– THIS I WANT TO SEE!!! So do most Japanese.  I bet all they will get is a  pronouncement that things are much better, and should return to normal very soon.  They lie a lot!, and people of Japan already know this.  IN MY OPINION, ALL THAT IAEA SEEKS IN JAPAN IS TO QUASH THE ANTI-NUKE FERVOR ALL OVER THE WORLD.  THEY ARE BLEEDING MONEY, AND WANT TO PLACE A TOURNIQUET ON THE WOUND.  NO WAY MR. AMANO!!  WE KNOW THE HAND YOU AND YOUR ENERGY BARONS  PLAY ALL TOO WELL.

INCOMING TOP DOGS FOR 2011-2012;  Are: Board Chairman: Mr. Gianni Ghisi (Governor for Italy), and Vice-Chairpersons (2) Ms. Dana Drábová (Czech Republic), and Mr. Makram Mustafa Queasy( Jordan).

NEWLY  ELECTED IAEA TO THE BOARD OF GOVERNORS: The General Conference in Vienna Austria, elected 13 countries to serve on the 35-member IAEA Board of Governors for a one-year period from 2011-2012. THEY  WILL REPRESENT THE NUCLEAR INTERESTS OF: Argentina, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Japan (NOTICE A NEW MEMBER FROM JAPAN), Netherlands, Russian Federation, South Africa, Great Britain and Northern Ireland (see there, North Ireland considers itself independent of GB), and the USA.

COUNTRIES WITH EXISTING MEMBERS ON THE BOARD OF GOVERNORS ARE:  Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, Cuba, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Hungary, Indonesia, Italy, Jordan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Niger, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sweden, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and the United Republic of Tanzania.  WE MAY NOT KNOW THEIR NAMES, BUT THEY ARE WORLD-CLASS ENERGY BARONS – ONE AND ALL!

THEY ARE FIGHTING TO HOLD-ON TO THEIR WEALTH AND POWER.  To paraphrase Niccolo Machiavelly, an astute 15Th century Italian: “Those that know what they stand to loose, will always fight harder than those who do not know what they stand to gain”  Generally true, but we, the people have everything to loose, SO IT IS WE THE PEOPLE who must fight NPP mentality the hardest.  AND SO WE WILL!!

Gonzedo

 


August 5, 2015 at 1:38 AM Comments (0)

INDUSTRIAL WORLD SCRAMBLES FOR WAYS TO GET RID OF SPENT NUCLEAR FUEL

2 Aug 2015

OUR WORLD HAS UNTOLD TONS OF “SPENT NUCLEAR FUEL” CREATED BY NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS(NPPs) all over our globe; predominantly in highly developed countries Most such spent nuclear fuel has been accumulated in the “cooling tanks” kept underwater (for cooling) and adjacent to the NPPs, and with little, or no protection against the vagaries of nature or man. Now the NPP Industry wants the world’s governments to clean up their mess of many years to make room for the creation of more of the same perdition; Hence the urgency for each country to find a permanent storage solution (Nuclear Repositories if you will) for material that can remain radioactive/toxic for hundreds of thousands of years.

GREAT BRITAIN Like other countries keen to persuade their populations of the merits of nuclear power, such as their new “Hinkley Point C” NPP project, are likely to take encouragement if the Scandinavians are successful; However their hopes are of necessity, pinned on France’s approval of known fatally flawed steel pressure vessels (see our previous article) on four (4) reactors under construction. Spent nuclear fuel be damned!

SWEEDEN is working on a similar project at Oskarshamn. Their legal permissioning (My definition of permissioning is: The greasing of the palms of any and all public officials in authority) process lags that of Finland, with a recommendation to the government possible in 2017 which, if approved, would be followed by a 10-year construction period. Christopher Eckerberg, managing Director of SKB Swedish Nuclear Fuel and Waste Management Company said: “A realistic time for operating a facility is at the end of the 2020s… The critical part is public acceptance” He is certainly correct about that! Sweeden was among the first nations to build a relatively large number of Nuclear Power Plants (NPPs) in the 1950s; hence has many now obsolete NPPs and now seriously beyond their expected life of 40 years. SKB is pioneering a technology known as KBS-3, which involves encasing the spent nuclear fuel rods in copper containers, then packed into absorbent bentonite clay which swells when wet, sealing off the package from corrosive elements. Question is: for how many years? No one will venture to say, or how to remediate “nuclear leaks” in deep underground caverns. Meanwhile…

MKG A SWEDISH NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATION (NGO) concerned with nuclear waste, has serious apprehensions about SKB’s enthusiasm with unproven technologies. MKG Director Johan Swahn said: “Of greatest concern is if water molecules, and not only oxygen, react directly with the copper surface; if this is the case, it will be difficult to prove a safety case for 100,000 years”. He added: Spent nuclear fuel (most toxic type of nuclear waste) – is not safe to handle at all for 40 to 50 years until it cools, which begs the question: What shall we do with it it in the interim years? The public is now very weary regarding the lethality, and radioactive persistence of “spent nuclear fuel”, as well as as the connivance and lies propounded by the Nuclear Power Plant Industry which makes light of it.

FINLAND and Sweden hope to be the first countries in the world to store spent nuclear fuel rods in an underground repository during the next decade, using a new technology to encase fuel rods and protect them from erosion/corrosion. Finland stopped exporting spent fuel for reprocessing to the then Soviet Union in 1996, For years, and has been building a deep underground spent fuel repository, some 450 meters (492 yards) below the surface in the granite bedrock at Onkalo, (Shades of Yucca Mountain in NV USA), on its west coast. They are hoping that the technology known as KBS-3, developed by Sweden’s SKB, will be successful. The operator, Posiva, which is owned by utilities TVO and Fortum, hopes it can become operational about 2022. As in Sweeden, Authorities know that public acceptance is crucial, and sought local approval for the 3 billion euro ($3.38 billion) Onkalo repository, which can hold about 9,000 tons of spent nuclear fuel rods Last February 2015, Finland’s Nuclear Regulator STUK issued a safety assessment, which backed the project. According to STUK inspector Jussi Heionen said: “The population has a high trust in regulators and policymakers”.  Our experience shows that may be so because they lie like troopers to make their sale – They did so to the San Antonio, TX, USA public.

INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY (IAEA) acknowledges that nuclear waste held in surface level storage, poses great risks, exposing it to floods, terrorism, earthquakes, climate change and sea-level rise or human error. Stefan Mayer, team leader of the IAEA’s waste technology section said: Waste won’t go away after reactors are turned off…If we can provide socially and politically accepted approaches, we can implement solutions” During their annual conference in Vienna in mid July 2015, the 164-nation agency heard updates from Finland and Swedish authorities regarding their model solution. But JUST WHO IS THE IAEA? Guardians of the world ? No-way! They are Energy Barons – one and all. Just read our next post regarding this “Agency”.

GERMANY OPTED TO ABANDON NUCLEAR POWER several years ago, but still bears the burden of their active and inactive reactors, and their consequential spent fuel accumulation. Hell, for a while, they even accepted 10 or more rail shipments of “Hot cargo” from France. We believe they were taken supposedly for interim storage in salt formations in Lower Saxony’s Gorleben, until that repository was scrapped amid mass protests/indignation.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD’s) Nuclear Energy Agency says it is impossible to gauge the future costs of (permanent) storage sites, because each country’s geography is different and there are no previous projects to serve as examples. SO… don’t look to us for answers.

The European Union is trying to speed up thinking on the issue by demanding that member countries submit by August (2015?) individual plans on how to deal with nuclear waste.

FRANCE hopes for success with its “Cigeo” project at Bure in a sparsely populated part of the country’s east, which has thick layers of argilite clay rock. A final investment decision could be due around 2020 and an industrial pilot phase could then be ready to start in 2025. However we do not see France benefitting from the development/implementation of renewable energy; Meantime, Germany has come a long way toward achieving that precious resource.

SWITZERLAND has identified two areas, Zurich Northeast, and Jurassic East, to be studied as potential repositories for spent nuclear fuel (and other waste). They probably would like to “sweep it under the carpet”.

IN THE USA, and in many other countries, consideration is being granted to do just that. I use the phrase “sweeping it under the carpet” because in the USA we hear of radioactive waste being removed, “ and taken away”. Really? Making it disappear, as if by magic, but where did it go? nobody seems, or wants to know. The prevailing policy appears to be for every state in the Union to bury their nuclear bones wherever the can/wish. It is pathetic how our media, and even our Sub-Department of Energy Management just glosses over such vital concerns.

AIRBORNE AND NUCLEAR POLLUTION ARE ARE BECOMING A DEADLY KILLER OF THE OLD AND THE YOUNG in many places; Specially San Antonio, TX (sadly my city) On 23 July 2015, our SA-Express News headlined that we recently won the disgraceful honor of being the “most air polluted city in TX. Hell!, We even outdid Houston TX!-Damn! We are now getting “ozone”(it is really “smog) alerts daily. Translation: don’t breathe the air because it is harmful to your health. Meanwhile our City Council is still celebrating our First Afro-American woman Mayor. She appears too busy to care. Only one councilman voiced concern about our poor air quality, but got no traction.

EVERYONE IS BEING TOLD TO BLAME OUR TRAFFIC, but I don’t think our Dept of Transportation is to blame. To blame are two(2) 1,500MW coal burner Power Plants just So. of San Antonio,that burn a trainload of coal ea. every day, shipped in our City Public Service Energy owned trains more than 1,700 miles from Gillespie Co, Wy., then returns the rolling stock empty. This, when we have so much/abundant Nat gas being being flared (Burned in large chimney like pipes) for want of use; just 40 miles south of San Antonio in the Eagleford Play. It is unconscionable that we are creating coal air pollution, while we waste precious Nat gas that produces half as much pollution as coal burners that would be relatively fast and inexpensive to convert to burn Nat gas.

EVEN SO OUR LOCAL POLITICOS ARE CONTENT to accept their recently granted pay, and do not much more. To me that constitutes Corruption in high places that is killing people. Our San Antonio, TX City Council needs to prioritize their duties to our citizens, and quit being just “ceremonial”. When I write these lines I am painfully aware that many cities of our globe are undergoing the same pains, and preventable deaths attributable to deadly air pollution. You know where you are. Where corruption exists, let’s stamp it out! It is a societal cancer that is spread by impunity. Send all such corrupt leeches to work for a living!

Your Friend in Texas, USA who tells it like it is.

Edward Oliver Gonzalez

 


August 2, 2015 at 10:10 AM Comments (0)