McJ's post goes into a lot of detail about the discrepancies surrounding the fire event at the plant. There are MANY discrepancies to consider, and we will not go into that so please click over and read the post and comments.
Today we see some attempt at message control coming from the authorities, including a bit of hand-wringing and aspersions cast in the way of "some internet bloggers". Hmm. As we all know by now, authorities have never been known to lie or downplay bad situations, or cover things up or anything like that, so everyone should calm down because there is NOTHING to worry about.... ? The plant only APPEARS to be surrounded by flood waters. In "reality," the plant has an "aqua berm" to protect it from the Missouri River. What is an "aqua berm?" Well, it APPEARS to be a sort of sandbag, except instead of sand in smallish bags, it's water in a big plastic bladder.
This is the "aqua berm," the thing standing between the Missouri river and the Fort Calhoun nuclear plant. From Cryptome, click through for more pics.
Make of that what you will. To our mind, looking at the pictures, the plant appears to be surrounded by water because here in reality, the plant is surrounded by water. And the only thing between the river and the plant is what appears to be a big water balloon.
There are a few reasons why we don't find this reassuring. For one thing, Omaha, NE lays downstream of SIX dams. The Missouri River drains water from a huge landmass spanning Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska -- at the bottom. Any sort of event that happens upstream will eventually come to Omaha, and we are thinking those aqua berms just might not be adequate should a catastrophe take place such as a dam breaking. From the USGS website:
The Missouri River drains one–sixth of the United States and flows 2,341 miles from its headwaters at the confluence of the Gallatin, Madison, and Jefferson Rivers at Three Forks, Montana, to its confluence with the Mississippi River at St. Louis, Missouri (U.S. Geological Survey, 2001). One–third of the Missouri River has been transformed into lake environments, due to six dams built in Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Nebraska (U.S. Geological Survey, 2001).That's a lot of water, even under ordinary circumstances, without even considering the heavy rainfall and melting snow of this year.
Assurances about these dams range from, "The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has made assurances the dams are safe..." to "The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has made assurances the dams are safe." Any other questions?
Go here to see the US Army Corps of Engineers data measuring the water situation at the six dams.
More detailed info here showing upstream to downstream flow around the various dams.
And here's a little scenario, "a terrorist scenario," called The Fort Peck Incident, posted in July 2008, by a futurist. It is a work of fiction, a work of his imagination. The author, Futurist Thomas Frey, wrote the scenario in 1998 and has been told the scenario has been routed through all levels of government. He also writes that people at the US Army Corps of Engineers say it's not possible.
The date and time has been carefully chosen. Spring runoff has pushed the dam capacity to near record levels and the 120 minute timer allows plenty of time for the two men to pack all their belonging and disappear before the prescribed detonation time of midnight.
You'll just have to go over and read it. No matter how it might start, whether by Terrorist Sabotage, Human Error, Act of God or Mother Nature, the description of one of these dams breaking would results in massive death. Then throw the nuclear plants on top of that.
Q: Comparisons have been made between what happened to Japanese nuclear power plants and those in Nebraska because of their proximity to the Missouri River. Some people say Cooper Nuclear Station is particularly vulnerable because it has the same basic design as the Japanese reactors. (Note: This question does not apply to OPPD because its reactor is of a different design.)Do we need, specifically, an earthquake and tsunami to create a Fukushima-like disaster? No. Other combinations would result in the same level of catastrophic failure.
NPPD: Extremely unlikely. The Midwest is not susceptible to a tsunami. ... Cooper is designed against flooding from the Missouri River, and NPPD is confident the safety systems are in place to respond to a major, natural disaster or crisis event. The accident at Fukushima Daiichi was initiated by two severe natural disasters ... an earthquake measuring 9.0 on the Richter scale (and) ... a tsunami. (SOURCE)
We also note, before you go, that the Fort Peck Dam had a deadly collapse in 1938, two weeks after completion, killing eight men.
What caused the dam to slide? To this day, many say the core pool was too deep. Others say the dam was being filled too fast and there was not enough time for the water to drain out. Some blamed the bentonite seams beneath the dam. Soon after the rescue efforts were halted, engineers conducted a battery of complex tests to determine the cause of the slide. Samples were taken from as deep as 300 feet. A board of blue chip consultants was formed to study the problem, and it was their decision that work should continue on the dam.
To this day. TO THIS DAY they don't really know.....???
Regrettable. Also, concerning.
Then we have the small problem of the cozy relationship between the nuclear industry and the nuclear industry regulators, and the consequences of that: WEAKENED SAFETY STANDARDS.
Records show a pattern of plants falling out of compliance. Studies ensue. The studies find the standards overly conservative. Authorities loosen the standards. The plants then come back into compliance. For example, radiation makes concrete brittle. The US Nuclear Regulatory Authority set a "reference temperature" benchmark of 200 degrees Fahrenheit to predict the threshold that the concrete vessel housing radioactive fuel could break apart. The standard today: up to 356 degrees Fahrenheit.
How will brittle concrete walls withstand a deluge of water, should something go wrong with the dams upriver? What is the answer to that question? Don't worry it can't happen?
And do we think the aqua berms will protect the Fort Detrick plant should a dam break? No. They'll be easily breached and probably float away.
Murphy of Murphy's Law was an engineer and his 'law' is not a joke. Quite simply, if something can go wrong, then eventually it will. Simple logic. This logic demands that monitoring of wear and tear be carried out and maintenance performed on schedule. All devices and products will fail at one time or another. Engineering is the study and practice of designing for failure or the management of eventual failure. The nuclear industry has repeatedly found safety standards overly conservative and relaxed them to bring plants into compliance. That does not strike us as good engineering practice, but what do we know.
We know there are two basic modes of failure: controlled failure and catastrophic failure. In catastrophic failure the device or product fails completely and at once. A controlled failure happens over time and can be avoided by scheduled maintenance and repair. The concrete walls, for example, have a known controlled failure issue: radiation makes the concrete increasingly brittle over time. It needs to be replaced before it is too weak to perform its primary function. Leave it long enough in service and Murphy's Law will ensure a disaster.
Now we have concrete long in service, prone to a catastrophic failure. Concrete is very brittle by nature and is made useful in building design by having steel rods embedded within it which take the bulk of the tension loads and leaving the concrete to deal with the compression loads. But the concrete needs to be able to move to accommodate some tension loads. When it becomes too brittle to cope with the tension loads, it cracks, breaks, and shatters. Catasprophic failure. The very thing no one can afford at nuclear power plants.
We have experts telling us that everything is under control. This is Russian Roulette. The dams have to hold. The weather has to cooperate. The concrete has to hold. The aqua berms have to hold. Notice there is no room for Human Error, Acts of God, Mother Nature, Terrorist Sabotage. The systems are already maxed out.
The records show a pattern. You don't have to be a scientist, or an engineer, or any sort of specialist to see that these PATTERNS of behavior tend to repeat, and these PATTERNS of behavior tend to results in people dying, which is then deemed regrettable. And we have discussed these patterns many, many times, but if we were to pick one post as a reference, we think this one does the trick: getting away with murder.
Then we also have the problem of weather modification. We will turn to A13 for her comprehensive recent post on it: Weather Modification, a covert weapon of mass destruction.
These are the X Wars Technologies, conducting war in secret, in totally deniable ways, under cover of Mother Nature and Acts of God. NOTHING NEW.
1968: Substantial progress within the environmental sciences is slowly overcoming the gap between fact and fiction regarding manipulations of the Earth’s physical environment. As these manipulations become possible, history shows that attempts may be made to use them in support of national ambitions. To consider the consequences of environmental modification in struggles among nations, we need to consider the present state of the subject and how postulated developments in the field could lead, ten to fifty years from now, to weapons systems that would use nature in new and perhaps unexpected ways.
The key to geophysical warfare is the identification of the environmental instabilities to which the addition of a small amount of energy would release vastly greater amounts of energy. Environmental instability is a situation in which nature has stored energy in some part of the Earth or its surroundings far in excess of that which is usual.
To trigger this instability, the required energy might be introduced violently by explosions or gently by small bits of material able to induce rapid changes by acting as catalysts or nucleating agents. The mechanism for energy storage might be the accumulation of strain over hundreds of millions of years in the solid Earth, or the super-cooling of water vapour in the atmosphere by updraughts taking place over a few tens of minutes. Effects of releasing this energy could be world-wide, as in the case of altering climate, or regional, as in the case of locally excited earthquakes or enhanced precipitation. Chapter from Unless Peace Comes by Gordon J. F. MacDonald U.S.A. 1968 [Abridged]
Recent weather modification over Minot, ND, home of US Air Force Global Strike Command.
Minot AFB. Home of the 5th Bomb Wing, "Guardians of the Upper Realm."
And the 91st Missile Wing, "Rough Riders."
Who would dare to modify the weather over the USAF Global Strike Command? The Russians? Al qaeda terrorists? Really? We don't think so. We think the technology is in the hands of our very own heroes.
We certainly hope nothing ELSE goes wrong with these nuclear plants and flooding situation, but frankly, we see a very disturbing pattern. We see a catastrophe waiting to happen. This is not fear mongering. This is looking honestly at the situation and recognizing that one thing going wrong in this situation can trigger a catastrophic failure. We can see this from way over here in New England, even with our right brain handicap. Do the authorities know this? We think they know this DAMN WELL.
The key to geophysical warfare is the identification of the environmental instabilities to which the addition of a small amount of energy would release vastly greater amounts of energy. Environmental instability is a situation in which nature has stored energy in some part of the Earth or its surroundings far in excess of that which is usual. Chapter from Unless Peace Comes by Gordon J. F. MacDonald U.S.A. 1968 [Abridged]