Skip to main content

Ask the Dust (at Calvert Cliffs)

102320765-7dde5b05-8412-4c8f-88d0-4dba3aa026a1This is called overselling your story:

Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Facility in Lusby, Maryland recently began a lengthy roof replacement process, due to take over a year. During such renovations, it is common for dust and debris to become a menace, quickly covering all the surfaces in the building below. While such a mess is often a nuisance, in the case of a nuclear facility such as Calvert Cliffs, it can become a serious safety hazard. The tiniest wood splinters, or the smallest nails, could fall into the turbine’s mechanical openings and cause a nuclear accident. For this reason, the services provided by ShieldWorks are absolutely invaluable.

Well, no, it could likely not even cause a turbine accident. What’s supposed to happen? – all the nuclear electricity backs up from the broken turbine, overloads the reactors and causes untold grief? It’s like a nuclear Rube Goldberg machine.

A bit of a shame, really, because the story about ShieldWorks is pretty interesting. Nuclear facilities are really big industrial plants and ShieldWorks has found a unique niche for itself – making sure dust does not fly all over the place during construction projects – though the article would benefit from more explanation of the actual process. Trade secret, maybe.

When I first read the term ShieldWorks, I thought radiation. Nope. Dust. Worth a read, if the breathless disasters of the first paragraph don’t throw you.

---

The shooting took place on May 7 in Genoa, Italy, and responsibility was claimed (in a letter sent to a newspaper) by a group calling itself the Olga Nucleus of the Informal Anarchist Federation, or IAF. The victim, Roberto Adinolfi, was the CEO of a nuclear energy firm owned by the Italian State Defense group, Finmeccanica.

[…]

Adinolfi may have been an easy target, but in the letter they warn that this attack is just the beginning and that Finmeccanica will be targeted a further seven times, one attack for each of the Greek anarchist members of the Conspiracy of Fire Nuclei currently in prison.

Adinolfi was not killed. I doubt we need to tell anyone that this line of action basically kills all support for whatever it is being supported. Terror is terror, whether directed at nuclear energy concerns or political enemies. The Italians have been through this kind of thing before – I’m old enough to remember the Red Brigades and Aldo Moro – and I expect they can dispatch these creatures pretty quickly.

---

International Herald Tribune headline:

Who Will Be Next to Call Nuclear Energy Indispensable?

All together now: Me! I’ll be the next!!

Roberto Adinolfi.

Comments

jimwg said…
I kind of wish ShieldWorks did a rewrite or retraction of that blurb. It really undercuts the whole safety reason they're on operation, not to talk about unwittingly "confirming" the FUD out there.

Man, I'd love to present Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda with the giant brass gonads award for being one gutsy pol in the face of a sea of fear! Good man, good man! Let's hope he backs himself up with major nuclear public education programs and PSAs to remind people that it was waves that killed over there, not any nukes! I mean com'on, the worst a quake can do one and no lives lost? We happily tolerate hundreds if not thousands wiped out by oil and gas accidents without closing much down! Get that message out, Noda! Shunning nuclear energy is like looking a gift horse in the mouth!

James Greenidge
Queens NY

Popular posts from this blog

A Billion Miles Under Nuclear Energy (Updated)

And the winner is…Cassini-Huygens, in triple overtime.

The spaceship conceived in 1982 and launched fifteen years later, will crash into Saturn on September 15, after a mission of 19 years and 355 days, powered by the audacity and technical prowess of scientists and engineers from 17 different countries, and 72 pounds of plutonium.

The mission was so successful that it was extended three times; it was intended to last only until 2008.

Since April, the ship has been continuing to orbit Saturn, swinging through the 1,500-mile gap between the planet and its rings, an area not previously explored. This is a good maneuver for a spaceship nearing the end of its mission, since colliding with a rock could end things early.

Cassini will dive a little deeper and plunge toward Saturn’s surface, where it will transmit data until it burns up in the planet’s atmosphere. The radio signal will arrive here early Friday morning, Eastern time. A NASA video explains.

In the years since Cassini has launc…

How Nanomaterials Can Make Nuclear Reactors Safer and More Efficient

The following is a guest post from Matt Wald, senior communications advisor at NEI. Follow Matt on Twitter at @MattLWald.

From the batteries in our cell phones to the clothes on our backs, "nanomaterials" that are designed molecule by molecule are working their way into our economy and our lives. Now there’s some promising work on new materials for nuclear reactors.

Reactors are a tough environment. The sub atomic particles that sustain the chain reaction, neutrons, are great for splitting additional uranium atoms, but not all of them hit a uranium atom; some of them end up in various metal components of the reactor. The metal is usually a crystalline structure, meaning it is as orderly as a ladder or a sheet of graph paper, but the neutrons rearrange the atoms, leaving some infinitesimal voids in the structure and some areas of extra density. The components literally grow, getting longer and thicker. The phenomenon is well understood and designers compensate for it with a …

Missing the Point about Pennsylvania’s Nuclear Plants

A group that includes oil and gas companies in Pennsylvania released a study on Monday that argues that twenty years ago, planners underestimated the value of nuclear plants in the electricity market. According to the group, that means the state should now let the plants close.

Huh?

The question confronting the state now isn’t what the companies that owned the reactors at the time of de-regulation got or didn’t get. It’s not a question of whether they were profitable in the '80s, '90s and '00s. It’s about now. Business works by looking at the present and making projections about the future.

Is losing the nuclear plants what’s best for the state going forward?

Pennsylvania needs clean air. It needs jobs. And it needs protection against over-reliance on a single fuel source.


What the reactors need is recognition of all the value they provide. The electricity market is depressed, and if electricity is treated as a simple commodity, with no regard for its benefit to clean air o…