Year of the Horse
May it be your best year ever.
“Rabies is a severe, and often fatal, viral polioencephalitis that specifically affects the gray matter of the dog's brain and its central nervous system (CNS). Furious rabies is characterized by extreme behavioral changes, including overt aggression and attack behavior.” ~ Source: Rabies in Dogs, PetMD.comI will confess that I chose not to watch the SOTU message last night. I just wasn't up to looking at the sour Republican faces, heroes being paraded out and over zealous Democrats standing and clapping as if they were punctuation marks in the President's speech.
“I was standing on the flight deck, and we felt this warm gust of air, and, suddenly, it was snowing,” sailor Lindsay Cooper told the New York Post in an interview published Monday. The metallic-tasting snow was caused by the freezing Pacific air that mixed with the radioactive fallout from the Fukushima power plant that was wrecked in the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
~ Source: International Business Times, David Kashi, December 24, 2013Here is the link to the full story and more photos.
"Space inside goes for $10,000 a cubic foot in some cases. Three-quarters of the money goes to Mr. Baltzer’s company, Waste Control Specialists, and the rest to the surrounding Andrews County and the state of Texas. WCS, as the company is known, has a monopoly: As aging nuclear reactors retire, their most radioactive steel, concrete and other components must be shipped for burial somewhere."
"Solutions to prevent the leak have been thwarted by various obstacles. The stopgap solution to contain the already contaminated water in storage tanks has caused numerous incidents on site, due to faulty containers and tanks being over filled." ~ Greenpeace: Fukushima Now
In 1982, a colleague and I pointed out that not all U.S. reactor containments would have survived the T.M.I. [Three Mile Island] accident, and we suggested that all U.S. reactors be retrofitted with a robust filter system made of sand and charcoal that could filter the gases that would have to be released if a containment was approaching its failure pressure. The nuclear utilities resisted, however, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, as usual, did not press for change.
The U.S. has 71,862 tons of the waste, according to state-by-state numbers obtained by The Associated Press. But the nation has no place to permanently store the material, which stays dangerous for tens of thousands of years.Plans to store nuclear waste at Nevada's Yucca Mountain have been abandoned, but even if a facility had been built there, America already has more waste than it could have handled.Three-quarters of the waste sits in water-filled cooling pools like those at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear complex in Japan, outside the thick concrete-and-steel barriers meant to guard against a radioactive release from a nuclear reactor.Spent fuel at Dai-ichi overheated, possibly melting fuel-rod casings and spewing radiation into the air, after Japan's tsunami knocked out power to cooling systems at the plant.The rest of the spent fuel from commercial U.S. reactors has been put into dry cask storage, but regulators only envision those as a solution for about a century and the waste would eventually have to be deposited into a Yucca-like facility.The U.S. nuclear industry says the waste is being stored safely at power-plant sites, though it has long pushed for a long-term storage facility. Meanwhile, the industry's collective pile of waste is growing by about 2,200 tons a year; experts say some of the pools in the United States contain four times the amount of spent fuel that they were designed to handle.[...]
Safety advocates have long urged the NRC to force utility operators to reduce the amount of spent fuel in their pools. The more tightly packed they are, the more quickly they can overheat and spew radiation into the environment in case of an accident, a natural disaster or a terrorist attack.[...]Some countries -- such as France, Japan, Russia and the United Kingdom -- reprocess their spent fuel into new nuclear fuel to help reduce the amount of waste.The remaining waste is solidified into a glass. It needs to be stored in a long-term waste repository, but reprocessing reduces the volume of waste by three-quarters.Because reprocessing isolates plutonium, which can be used to make a nuclear weapon, Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter put a stop to it in the U.S. The ban was later overturned, but the country still does not reprocess. [Associated Press, 3/22/11]
Studies show that the key risk posed by spent nuclear fuel involves a release of radiation that could harm human health or the environment. The highest consequence event posing such a risk would be a self-sustaining fire in a drained or partially drained spent fuel pool, resulting in a severe widespread release of radiation. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), which regulates the nation's spent nuclear fuel, considers the probability of such an event to be low. According to studies GAO reviewed, the probability of such a fire is difficult to quantify because of the variables affecting whether a fire starts and spreads. Studies show that this low-probability scenario could have high consequences, however, depending on the severity of the radiation release. These consequences include widespread contamination, a significant increase in the probability of fatal cancer in the affected population, and the possibility of early fatalities. According to studies and NRC officials, mitigating procedures, such as replacement water to respond to a loss of pool water from an accident or attack, could help prevent a fire. Because a decision on a permanent means of disposing of spent fuel may not be made for years, NRC officials and others may need to make interim decisions, which could be informed by past studies on stored spent fuel. [Government Accountability Office, 8/15/12]
U.S. nuclear power plants are not adequately protected from threats, including the theft of bomb-grade material that could be used to make weapons and attacks intended to cause a reactor meltdown, a University of Texas report said on Thursday.
Not one of the country's 104 commercial nuclear reactors or three research reactors is protected against an attack involving multiple players such as the ones carried out by 19 airplane hijackers on 9/11, said the report by the Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Project, or NPPP, at the University of Texas, Austin.
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) only requires power plants to protect against attacks carried out by five or six people, according to the report, entitled Protecting U.S. Nuclear Facilities from Terrorist Attack. In addition, the NRC does not require plants to protect themselves against attacks from high-powered sniper rifles and rocket-propelled grenades. [Reuters, 8/15/13]
"As your body sleeps, your brain is quite actively playing the part of mental janitor: It’s clearing out all of the junk that has accumulated as a result of your daily thinking."I have sleep issues and without the aid of pills I probably would drop dead from lack of sleep. I tried to figure out what is different now, because I literally used to sleep like a baby. I suppose it is really a combination of lots of different things; less physical activity, age itself and the real culprit, I think - the electronic age.
"In the Matter of Ameren Missouri, Callaway Plant; Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation; Order Modifying License (Effective Immediately)
ACTION: Order; modification.
Jan 08, 2014 (Menafn - FIND, Inc.
via COMTEX) --SUMMARY: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has issued a general license to Ameren Missouri (AmerenUE), authorizing the operation of an Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation (ISFSI), in accordance with its regulations. This Order is being issued to AmerenUE because AmerenUE has identified near-term plans to store spent fuel in an ISFSI under the general license provisions of the NRC's regulations."