So I'm resting my head for a minute, listening to some tunes when the phone rings. I pick it up on the chance that it is business related, and a soft spoken person is on the line, with his carefully crafted script. He tells me he is from the NRA, and that OUR Second Amendment Rights are UNDER ATTACK! Eeks, I think, the Barbarians are at the gates, and they are coming for us. Heck, maybe they are Zombie Barbarians... and they are hungry and haven't had breakfast yet. You can hear their empty, growling stomachs making such a hungry sound... and it could be freaking me out if I wasn't tired from reading something dry and technical this morning...about biogas in Germany and what a kickass system they have for encouraging this kind of farm activity versus those (so far) slackers in neighboring Poland. Or come to think about it, New York State seems pretty much in the dark, biogas speaking. Maybe if we weren't so worried about staying so armed and dangerous... we could do something about the collapsing rural economic activity that could be at least partly alleviated by employing the German renewable energy payment system (see http://www.papers.itc.pw.edu.pl/...)
Hurricane Irene is now on track to "beach-sweep" much of the US Eastern shore, from North Carolina to Maine, and it looks like it's final destination is to come ashore near NY City and then cruise on up the Hudson River, dumping massive amounts of rain. It will most likely do this when tides are maxed out due to a full moon.
The Hudson River normally gets tidal action almost all the way to Albany, and sometimes there are "standing waves" that are discernible some distance up the River. But, 10 foot plus storm surges from a major hurricane that coincide with a full moon tide - not good. There will be a lot of waterfront and riverfront damaged - and perhaps a lot of the Amtrak rails that connect NYC to Albany and Montreal are going to get water and other damage.
But, all that is chump change when one considers what is sitting on the waterfront 38 miles north of midtown Manhattan - the Indian Point nuclear complex. These are two big reactors (about 1300 MW and 1100 MW) that supplied NYC with about 1863.1 MW of electricity (on average) last year. This wikipedia link has a nifty picture of these twin potential doom engines for a large part of the NYC metro region, with about 30 million or more people in "internal tanning range".
Anyway, when massive water walls of water interact with sea-level situated nukes, the results can be ...not good. Then lets take a water-sodden ground and intense wind gusts associated with a big area hurricane going onshore, and lots of grid damage can happen. And when a grid connection happens combined with a back-up diesel system fails to activate, you get a "Loss of Cooling Accident" or LOCA. That is NEVER a good thing. And if that continues for more than a few hours, well, the stinky stuff really hits the proverbial fan. That is really bad, and is NOT supposed to ever happen. But it has happened before...
So, maybe that site should just be put into shutdown mode pronto, control rods fully inserted in both nukes, and get those back-up diesels activated. If they don't work as they should right away (and that has also happened, more than once, at places like the Fermi 2 nuke in Michigan), maybe they will be working by the time Irene comes to town. And maybe they ought to get more back-up gen-sets lined up in case the back-up diesels get swamped, or some other Black Swan event rears its ugly head, care of Mr. Murphy and his nefarious laws.
What do you think about that idea?
It's a great saying: "If you can't do the time, don't do the crime". And it applies to nuclear power in major ways, even if the crime of epic-scale poisoning or wasted investment on a massive scale was or was not "intentional". Or if some yahoo uses a nuclear weapon, or a nuke as a weapon, or if a yahoo country does the same. All that money down the drain that was put into a weapon(s) that can't be used unless self destruction of that person, that country (including the people in that country) is seriously considered a possibility. In the case of a nuclear war, the destruction of "our species" has to be considered via a massive "first strike" and/or via the retaliation by those who got nuked, weren't happy about it, and had the means and wherewithal to effect this retaliation. Who would even want to consider crap like that as a template for our future? And what if the crime was intentional? Is there a difference to those rapidly killed by poisoning or eventually by being "cancered", as to whether it was an accident or deliberate?
There is a newly released blurb on the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) website (see http://www.awea.org/...) that is definitely worth a look, a mirror of one from the US Dept of Energy:
This is about a serious update of the wind energy potential that was last estimated in the 1979-1981 era (see http://rredc.nrel.gov/...), and which was woefully out of date. This new one used wind speeds present at 80 meter heights (most commercial scale units installed in the US are have been on 80 meter tall towers for several years). This is still a pretty conservative estimate, and the details are a bit sketchy.
The newly calculated amount of electricity that could be readily tapped from the winds across just the land portion of this country is... HUMONGOUS.
There's a great recent article in The Nation Magazine concerning Global Warming and attempts to fix that problem, which leads to a report referenced in the article (if you search for it), titled "Solving the Climate Dilemma: The Budget Approach" by a group known as WDGU (German Advisory Council on Global Change). It's a 60 pager (.pdf), but pretty easy reading, and it has some great ideas for saving humans from themselves and between one third to one half of the living species on the planet, all due to (largely) CO2 pollution. Or, "anthropogenicly derived CO2 made via combusted fossil fuels.
I recently saw an item on Dailykos by Senator Kerry, touting his version of a Senate Energy/Climate Change Bill. The link to his bill can be seen here:
His bill is an alternative to/similar to the so-called ACES bill (Waxman-Markey Bill) which recently passed the House, albeit in a severely wimped out/compromised form
Anyway, here was my reply to Senator Kerry.
Vermont has become the first state to grow a pair, even if in a modest way. They have passed a Renewable energy Feed-In Law, based on the European model.
For some details, see here
A Siegel recently invoked the Inhofe Scale for a Climate Change Denialist who got a chance to goober up the Huffington Post. But, the concept of the Inhofe Scale can be used for more than just Global Warming Denial and Peak Oil "Ostriches". Here's an example of an entity who refuses to acknowledge that the recent Peak Oil/Finance Fantasy/Wall Steer Casino (Jerome a Paris's term is "Anglo Disease") induced severe recession/mini-depression has consequences. Plus, it enhances the versatility of the "Inhofe Scale".
Like millions of us, I watched the Democratic acceptance speech of my Party's candidate. It was, by and large, a great speech, a great example of effective communication, and a great summary of why Barack Obama would be SO much better than McSame & Co. But in this speech, there were a pair of things said - they went by in an instance - that were "audience duds" before the 80,000 people watching, and most likely the 38 million or more of us folks in TV land. Well, in those few seconds, the people of our Democratic Party spoke, and I hope our candidates listen. These items fit into the "room for improvement" category - one an Oxymoron, the other, a chimerical dead end. But in some circles (which have highly concentrations of lobbyists and power company executives), they can sound so reasonable.......
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