La Jicarita: What’s Wrong with WIPP.
“If the leak came from panel 7, it could be from one or more of the 258 contact-handled (CH) waste containers, containing 388 cubic meters that were emplaced between January 25 and February 5. Eighteen canisters, containing 16 cubic meters of more highly radioactive remote-handled (RH) waste, had been put into that panel starting in late September 2013.” A great deal more serious than we’re being told. I still wonder why there are no robotic means to investigate the mines. Antennae could have been placed for ease of operation. Probes down ventilation shafts? Seriously? I would, if I were the DOE, be testing the fracking workers at those nearby wellheads … if for no other reason than to prevent possible spread to family members.
Later: The exposed workers will “be unlikely to experience any health effects.” No radioactive dose amounts were reported. Luckily they had no evidence of plutonium or americium. But it would be nice to know how much radiation they experienced. Between the fire and this particular event, the plant must be running out of un-radiated workers.
ProPublica: Drilling for Certainty - The Latest in Fracking Health Studies.
USA Today: New Mexico sets deadlines for handling nuke waste.
It’s a definite risk, esp. as our spring winds kick in. I suspect some are rueing the day they approved single-wall containers over the safer double-walls.
As far as the continuing radiation leak issue, don’t they have remote robot/drones to drive into the radiated areas? Every bit of news seems to confirm that this is a threadbare operation, a hole in the ground with security guards and forklift operators … and not much else. They had to expect this might happen? There had to be contingency plans?
The Big Picture: Your Broccoli Is Way Too Thirsty.
Rice, and orchards, are the biggest users of water … by a long, long stretch. This infographic is misleading.
SciAm: Methane Pollution from Gas and Oil Proves Cheap to Fix.
WaPo: More than half of U.S. housing wealth concentrated in 10 percent of communities.
“The states likely to experience the strongest rise in the median price of an existing single-family home are New Mexico, Mississippi, Maine and Illinois — where prices are expected to jump more than 30 percent from early 2012 through 2018, the study said. New Hampshire rounds out the top five list at 28 percent.” Well, that’s a bit of good news. Drought may challenge those numbers … maybe. If we turn into Phoenix, will that bring more retirees?
ABC News: 13 Were Exposed to Radiation at New Mexico Plant.
“New Mexico State University runs a monitoring center in Carlsbad that offers free radiation-detecting body scans. The director of the center said there has been a rise in appointments being scheduled since the leak.” I’m sure. We’ll learn more at the press conference this afternoon.
SciAm: Radiation Levels Fall after Nuclear Waste Leak in New Mexico.
It’s freaking a lot of people out here. Read between the lines, authorities’re not sure why it happened, and they’re not releasing underground radiation figures. They haven’t even gone in to look; it may take a month before the radiation comes down to ‘safe’ levels. The foil-hat folks are talking about massive plutonium releases and thousands of potential deaths across Texas. Given that most of the stored materials are things like radioactive tools and clothing, massive amounts of plutonium escaping through ventilation shafts stretches the imagination just a bit too far … unless contaminated gloves can climb ventilation shafts by themselves and wave at passersby.
BBC: Smell of forest pine can limit climate change.
Pine-sol saves the world? No. But I couldn’t resist saying it.
Bios Urn: Biodegradable Urn with seed.
“Let’s convert cemeteries into forests.” Great idea. I wanna be a tulip tree. I think.
Bloomberg: Fracking Boom Leaves Texans Under a Toxic Cloud.
SF New Mexican: Leak confirmed at nuclear waste dump in Carlsbad.
“But it wasn’t until Wednesday night that DOE confirmed that radiation had also been released above ground, about a half mile from the plant. And it wasn’t until a Thursday press conference that Jose Franco, manager of the DOE’s Carlsbad Field Office, confirmed publicly that readings from the monitors matched materials from the waste that is stored there, indicating a leak.” Sounds to me like a container wasn’t properly sealed. Which may mean it could have leaked on its entire trip down to WIPP. Never thought I’d thank our westerly winds, but right now, I will [these trucks pass just about a mile to the east of us].
Where can I buy (or build in a DIY kit) a cheap Geiger counter?
Real Shit - Organic Manure For Urban Farmers.
Offered, sans comment.
SciAm: New Highly Radioactive Leak at Japan’s Fukushima Plant.
I ask again, why are we letting this continue to deteriorate?
Time: Obama Plays Water-Guzzling Desert Golf Courses Amid California Drought.
“President Barack Obama traveled to California on Friday to highlight the state’s drought emergency at two events near Fresno, calling for shared sacrifice to help manage the state’s worst water shortage in decades. He then spent the rest of the weekend enjoying the hospitality of some of the state’s top water hogs: desert golf courses.” Don’t let the door hit you on your way out, sir.
Guardian.UK: Cargo ship Cygnus leaves International Space Station.
“Cygnus is filled with garbage and will burn up Wednesday when it plunges through the atmosphere, over the Pacific.” I really dislike that the Pacific has become the space ‘dump’ of choice.
ProPublica: A New Road Rage.
Hmmm. Given the penchant of Darwin award-winners to fill up their cars while fiddling with cigarettes and cellphones, I suppose hydrogen cars may have the unintended effect of reducing population.
Much later: A reader posts a response in the comments area here, which is in response to ProPublica’s original post.
AFP: Jet stream shift could be permanent.
“We can expect more of the same and we can expect it to happen more frequently.” Hotter summers, harsher winters. Oh, joy.
SF New Mexico: Drought-stricken states prepare for landmark year in fires.
“The climate, which for millenia has acted as a curb on fire activity, is becoming an accelerant.” If our July/August monsoon season dries up, we become southern Arizona.
LA Times: Fracking brings oil boom to south Texas town, for a price.
Spells out the good and the bad.
SF New Mexican: Road test shows Lamy stretch may not be built to carry oil tankers.
It was just repaved late last summer, which I thought was mighty suspicious given the timing of the announcement of this oil concept. However, a fresh coat of asphalt will not remedy the rolling, less-than-stellar underlayment. The tarmac they covered over was well and deeply potholed. If they say it will handle heavy trucks, they’re out of their minds.
Bloomberg: Global-Warming Slowdown Due to Pacific Winds, Study Shows.
“This hiatus could persist for much of the present decade if the tradewind trends continue; however rapid warming is expected to resume once the anomalous wind trends abate. [snip] Volcanoes and changes in solar radiation can also drive cooler decades against the backdrop of ongoing warming.” Or not.
Oilprice: Wind and Gas Forcing Out Nuclear in Midwest.
“Exelon blames low electricity prices and “bad energy policy” for making some of its units unprofitable to continue to run. By ‘bad energy policy,’ Crane is referring to subsidies for renewable energy that Exelon has long campaigned against.”
Inhabitat: White Roofs are Three Times More Effective at Fighting Climate Change.
Next roof. White membrane.