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Another Expert Agrees With Dark Comet Theory

February 21, 2013 – 11:31 am | No Comment

Astronomer David Asher (from Armagh University) has agreed with Bill Napier and Janaki Wickramasinghe (Cardiff University) that “dark comets” are real and dangerous.
The following quotes are from a paper by Napier and Asher published in Astronomy & Geophysics.

We know that about one bright comet (of absolute magnitude as bright as 7, comparable to Halley’s Comet) arrives in the visibility zone (perihelion q<5AU, say) each year from the Oort cloud. It seems to be securely established that ~1–2% of these are captured into Halleytype (HT) orbits. The dynamical lifetime of a body in such an orbit can be estimated, from which the expected number of HT comets is perhaps ~3000. The actual number of active HT comets is ~25. This discrepancy of at least two powers of 10 in the expected impact rate from comets as deduced from this theoretical argument on the one hand, and observations on the other, is …

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Home » Nuclear

Power Grid Failure and Nuclear Meltdowns

Submitted by on September 1, 2012 – 9:07 pmNo Comment

I have frequently discussed the worrisome prospect of long-term power grid failures. NASA has acknowledged the risk, and it all it will take is a massive solar storm – like the Carrington Event of 1859. If the grid is down for months on end, it is expected that millions of people would die – western society just doesn’t know how to cope with out power.

But what about Nuclear Power Plants? Things would get even worse still if there were multiple meltdowns! And 100 million Americans live in a fallout zone.

To keep reactor cores cooled, electricity is required. Widespread blackouts can happen any time, so as a backup the nuclear facilities have diesel generators. That’s the only backup plan. If the generators fail to operate, or are damaged (by a tsunami, for example, in Fukushima), then meltdown occurs. It strikes me as extraordinary that such a terrible disaster can occur so easily, with so little effort put in place to stop it. Even worse, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) currently requires that only one week’s worth of backup generator fuel needs to be stored on-site at nuclear power plants.

c. Section 5.4, “Calculation of Fuel Oil Storage Requirements,” of the standard sets forth two methods for the calculation of fuel-oil storage requirements. These two methods are (1) calculations based on the assumption that the diesel generator operates continuously for 7 days at its rated capacity, and (2) calculations based on the time-dependent loads of the diesel generator. For the time-dependent load method, the minimum required capacity should include the capacity to power the engineered safety features.

If the power grids go down, infrastructure grinds to a halt. The authorities will have just one week to get extra diesel to each of the 104 reactors in the USA, and 195 in Europe. All vehicles get their fuel via electric pumps, so there’ll be a might Catch-22 occurring. It will be hard to get diesel to the power plants because the trucks won’t have any fuel themselves.

Surely governments are aware of this terrible scenario and have planned for it? Logic dictates that they haven’t, otherwise they’d be mandating a year’s worth of diesel at the power plants instead of just enough to last a week. That would have been the easy, no-brainer solution. According to expert John Kappenman, the diesel and other on-site measures would cost less than $1 billion – that’s a one-off cost equal to running the Department of Defense for 12 hours. Or buying one B-2 Stealth Bomber. If you are wondering why the diesel would cost so much, the Kewaunee facility has 70,000 gallons of diesel on-site to cover their 7-day requirement.

Last year a U.S. Army workshop was held to discuss this very topic – how will the authorities cope with no electricity?

Military Planning for a Catastrophic Critical Infrastructure Event

 The loss of electrical power and communications infrastructure for days, weeks, and more than a year are threat scenarios which could disintegrate the social, agricultural, and governmental fabric which makes a modern society possible today.The preservation of the electric grid is central to the defense of the United States.

To assess the state of preparedness of the United States in the event of the loss of critical infrastructure, especially of electrical and communications infrastructure, the Center of Strategic Leadership at the U.S. Army War College conducted a three day workshop which assembled a body of subject matter experts, civic leaders, and electric industry providers to create awareness, discuss threat postures, and recommend actions to better prepare for the possibility of a critical infrastructure failure or collapse of the electrical grid and associated electronic devices due to either a solar storm, electromagnetic pulse (EMP), or a cyber attack.

There’s only a singular mention of nuclear power plants in the report – perhaps not because they haven’t considered the risks, but more that there are just too many factors to consider when the grid fails:

Additional challenges are family support for first responders and other emergency management personnel, nuclear power plants, hazard mitigation plans and strategies, DHS/FEMA catastrophic planning initiatives (New Madrid, improvised nuclear device), regional catastrophic planning initiatives (with New York/New Jersey), exit flow from New York and New Jersey, and presidential and gubernatorial initiatives (Project PREPARE, Children in Disaster).

A very sensible bill was passed by the House in 2010 – H.R. 5026, the Grid Reliability and Infrastructure Defense (GRID) Act – which proposed measures that would minimize the risks associate with entire grid failure. For example:

Such standards shall require entities that own or operate large transformers to ensure, individually or jointly, adequate availability of large transformers to promptly restore the reliable operation of the bulk-power system in the event that any such transformer is destroyed or disabled as a result of a reasonably foreseeable physical or other attack or geomagnetic storm event.

The #1 reason it could take 6 months to restore the grid is a lack of spare transformers. The logical solution is to have some spares on hand. Unfortunately the bill was not passed by the Senate. I guess more important things need taxpayer money… The bill also recommended that key defense facilities be able to operate on their own power if the grid went down:

facilities located in the United States that are:

(A) critical to the defense of the United States; and
(B) vulnerable to a disruption of the supply of electric energy provided to such facility by an external provider.

The government would have been expected to make a list of their top 100 most important facilities. Hopefully the bill will be revived at some stage, because otherwise this is an open invitation to terrorists – take down our grid and we will fall over. Read the full story of this bill, and other similar bills that were also not passed, at Right Side News. And for more on the EMP attacks terrorists can make:

Running Out of Diesel

A report from 2005, Reevaluation of Station Blackout Risk at Nuclear Power Plants, covers every aspect losing AC power, and every aspect of diesel generator failure that could lead to meltdown. There is no mention of running out of diesel – the presumption is that more diesel can always be brought in.

I guess that every nuclear power plant in the world has staff who have asked the question – if we lose grid power for more than seven days, where do we get more diesel from? And I guess the answer is that they have contracted this task to a fuel supplier, and just in case, they have a second supplier as well.

A document from Boston Edison shows how unlikely events aren’t worth planning for:

The SBODG storage tanks (40,000 gallons capacity total) are maintained in accordance with NRC guidance published in Generic Letter 85-06, in compliance with 10 CFR 50.63 requirements. These Class II tanks are rugged, double-wall fiberglass tanks. While not designed to safety-related requirements, the failure of these tanks under extreme environmental conditions, such as an earthquake, has been evaluated to be very unlikely.

The probability of concurrent events is low (i.e., LOCA, sustained loss of off-site power greater than 4 days, inability to replenish fuel from off-site sources during a nuclear emergency, inability to manage fuel in the Class I tanks through EDG load management, etc.) to the extent it is reasonable to credit reliable Class II equipment for supplying approximately 3 days of fuel for operation of each EDG. This conclusion is further substantiated by the fact only one EDG is required to mitigate the consequences of a DBA LOCA yet the seven day on-site fuel requirement will be met for both EDGs.

In other words, they expect they will probably be alright in an emergency, so meeting the minimum regulatory standards is all they will do, and nothing more. Because it is unlikely that off-site power is down for more than 4 days, they’ll not plan for it.

If you live within 5o miles of a nuclear power plant (I suggest doubling that), and you are able to live somewhere safer, I urge you to consider relocating.



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