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Quad cities crack up April 11, 2006

Posted by dr. gonzo in Nuclear Power.
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And back to nuclear power I go.

First, check out the update to my recent post, Braidwood leaks radioactive steam (click for update). I took a semi-in-depth look at the tritium contamination around the Braidwood plant and looked less deeply into the problem around Byron. I will probably delve futher in a future post.

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I have an item of note about the Quad Cities plant, nothing huge, but I will offer up some analysis that is rather foreboding for the nuclear power industry. (more…)

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Kepler April 10, 2006

Posted by dr. gonzo in Space.
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Artists conception of Kepler. (Courtesy NASA).Babbling on and on about Kepler. Kepler will use the transit method to detect extrasolar planets, both terrestrial and gas giants.

Here’s a quick blurb from NASA on the transit method of planet detection:

A transit occurs each time a planet crosses the line-of-sight between the planet's parent star that it is orbiting and the observer. When this happens, the planet blocks some of the light from its star, resulting in a periodic dimming. This periodic signature is used to detect the planet and to determine its size and its orbit.

(more…)

Resource-war-hell April 8, 2006

Posted by dr. gonzo in Iraq, Science.
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(A reprint) Nov. 17, 2005– A time when I was too much like the Destroyers of themselves.

The United States is guzzling oil faster than Tara Reid downs martinis. Now is the time to do something – not later.

In Tuesday’s Northern Star the peak oil theory was explained. The theory, in essence, explains oil production along a bell curve and says that oil is cheap and plentiful on the up curve and scarce and expensive on the down curve. (more…)

Friday protest April 7, 2006

Posted by dr. gonzo in DeKalb, Iraq.
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The regular Friday anti-war protest that I have been attending went pretty well this week despite the cold April wind putting me in a position near the edge of frostbite. Heh. (more…)

Braidwood leaks radioactive steam April 7, 2006

Posted by dr. gonzo in Nuclear Power.
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I don't run a nuke plant but jeez, these people are idiots. Exelon. Morons.

Here's the statement from Exelon, nada from the NRC thus far.

UPDATE: They just didn't make it obvious. There is a preliminary report available, (PDF here).

It is actually a "Preliminary Notification of Event or Unusual Occurence," which is different from the event reports compiled on my Nuclear Emergencies Database. (more…)

Near Earth asteroid monitoring April 7, 2006

Posted by dr. gonzo in Asteroids, Space.
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2004 VD17

This Near Earth Asteroid stands at a 1 in 1,200 chance of impact on May 4, 2102. It has slowly inched up and down since it moved up to Torino Scale 2 at the end of Februrary. (more…)

More glass pipe nonsense April 7, 2006

Posted by dr. gonzo in Crime, DeKalb.
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If you read the Swan’s Star article you know that TJs and the police have come to an agreement. In fact, the “drug parephrenalia” was returned.

That doesn’t even make sense. How wrong do the police think this activity is anyway? What is the motivation here? How giving back items that they see as dangerous makes the world a safer place I will never know. (more…)

Dallas Cowboys 06 schedule April 6, 2006

Posted by dr. gonzo in Sports.
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Go Cowboys! (more…)

The LaSalle report April 6, 2006

Posted by dr. gonzo in Nuclear Power.
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*Note, I have linked as many of the technical terms and abberviations as possible to the definitions maintained in the NRC online reading room glossary.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission Special Inspection Report on LaSalle County Station Unit 1 was sent to Exelon on March 23, 2006, 31 days after the ‘site area emergency’ at the LaSalle nuclear plant. The reactor came back online March 20, 2006. (more…)

Some minor tinkerings April 5, 2006

Posted by dr. gonzo in BlogNotes.
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I have been tinkering with the “artsy” part of my blog lately. New updates to both the writing page and the photography page. Of course, in reality all writing, including blog posts are artistic in some way or another. (more…)

Adios, pipas de cristal April 5, 2006

Posted by dr. gonzo in Crime, DeKalb.
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And here’s the word on TJs from Northern Star DeKalb Government Reporter Michael Swiontek in some online only Star content.

If you read my blog you already know my opinion, so I’ll spare you, if not, see it here and here.

Notes on the LaSalle nuclear plant April 5, 2006

Posted by dr. gonzo in Nuclear Power.
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Still waiting on the NRC report on the site area emergency that occurred in the wee hours on the morning of Feb. 20. I blogged about it here. The NRC previously stated, in its Feb. 23 release on the incident that a written report of the incident would be available in 30 days and posted on this website: http://www.nrc.gov/NRR/OVERSIGHT/ASSESS/listofrpts_body.html#lasa.

Weird but it’s not yet available. I sent a request to the public affairs office at the NRC hoping they can point me in the right direction. We shall see. (more…)

More writing April 4, 2006

Posted by dr. gonzo in BlogNotes, Writing.
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I added tons of links on the writing page to various non-fiction stuff I have out there.

Check it out at the writing page on the top nav bar.

Also added a few photos and updated the nuclear emergencies through today.

The NASA hack job on the extrasolar planet search April 4, 2006

Posted by dr. gonzo in Politics, Space.
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Are we alone? One of the grandest and most impactful questions humankind can pose. The answer, whether positive or negative, will have profound implications for humanity.

Before the early 1990s the only known planetary system in the entire universe was that of Sol, our Sun, Earth’s system.

On October 6, 1995 all that changed. The discovery of a Jupiter-mass planet orbiting the star 51 Peg ushered in a new era of astronomy. Since that day 162 other planets have been confirmed orbiting 138 different stars.

Some of the discoveries have turned planet-formation theorizing upside down. So far, we have only been able to detect mostly large gas giants, some larger than Jupiter, some so close to their star that they orbit 8 times closer than Mercury does to our own Sun.

Recently, a new class of extrasolar planets was discovered. The Super Earth. These planets are thought to exist at the upper limit of mass and size for terrestrial planets.

What’s next? (more…)

Express line to Venus April 3, 2006

Posted by dr. gonzo in Space.
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April 11 is fast approaching and the ESA is making numerous preparations for the Venus Express firing its main engine in space. (Courtesy ESA).orbital insertion of its Venus Express spacecraft. Way cool if you ask me.

The five month 400 million km journey is near an end. The spacecraft will study Venus in detail, from orbit.

From the ESA, the preparations will:

comprise a series of telecommands, engine burns and manoeuvres designed to slow the spacecraft down from a velocity of 29,000 km per hour relative to Venus, just before the first burn, to an entry velocity some 15% slower, allowing the spacecraft to be captured into orbit around the planet.

Anyway I think I am going to try Live Blogging the insertion, as the ESA is providing TV coverage and updates through its website. This orbital insertion stuff is tricky and there is, of course, no guarantee that it will be successful, heres hoping it is.

Sabotage at Florida nuclear plant? April 2, 2006

Posted by dr. gonzo in Nuclear Power.
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 A reader pointed me to this story at daily kos.Turkey Point Nuclear Plant, near Miami, Florida.

UPDATE: 4-19-06- You can read a brief update on this story here.

Apparently, operators at the Turkey Point Nuclear Plant in Florida found a hole drilled into a pipe at the facility. Note the use of the term drilled. Possible sabotage?

Perhaps. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission maintains a database of event notification reports, which I am using to compile the nuclear emergencies that have a occurred in the United States over the past several years. (more…)