Sunday, February 7, 2016

65,000%? Maybe Exponents Would Be Appropriate -- February 7, 2016

Governor Cuomo won't allow fracking in his state, but apparently he has little concern about the risks nuclear power plants pose -- especially aging plants with a history of radioactive-contaminated water leaks. This is from the governor's office when he was gold that "alarming levels of radioactivity at three monitoring wells was reported by the nuclear plant -- radioactive tritium-contaminated water -- one well's radioactivity increased nearly 65,000 percent.

Note: the company self-reported. This was not "discovered" by the EPA or the NRC or some other state or federal government agency. The company has been directed to do its own investigation and then report back its findings. I can't make this stuff up. 

From the letter to the company when he was told the radioactivity increased 65,000%:
  • deeply concerned
  • radioactive tritium-contaminated water
  • recently leaked
  • into groundwater
  • not the first such release at this facility
  • nor the first time that this facility has experienced significant failure
  • this facility is not safe
  • radioactivity significantly higher than in past incidents
  • 65,000% increase; from 12,300 picocuries/liter to over 8,000,000 picocuries/liter
So,what is the governor demanding:
  • the company must investigate this incident
  • how to avoid this in the future
And the final admonition:
"Please report back at the completion of the investigation."
No sense of urgency. No deadline set. Just whenever you get around to it, "report back at the completion."

I can't make this stuff up.

You know, when you get to "thousands of percent," you might want to start using exponents or logarithms. Oh, that's right. we're talking politics, not science here. 

Let's see. A liter is a 1,000 ml. A ml = a gram. So, 8,000,000 picocuries/liter = 8,000 picocuries/gram. The threshold for action in the Bakken and North Dakota is 75 picocuries/gram. Facilities in Montana accept materials with radiation levels of under 30 picocuries per gram, while in Idaho, they tolerate levels as high as 1,500.

One certainly gets the feeling that the EPA is watching the west more closely than the east. Speaking of which, how much toxic chemical(s) did the EPA dump into the Animus River last year? Oh, yes, that's right: the EPA dumped 880,000 pounds of metals into the Animus River, and some of that toxic material ended up in the San Juan River in New Mexico. Utah says some of the contamination reached their state. The toxic metals may have included cadmium, copper, lead, mercury, nickel, zinc, arsenic, and lead. Pretty much the entire periodic table of toxic metals.

Back to "percent." How much, as a percent is atmospheric CO2? 400 ppm = 400 parts per million = 0.0004 or 0.04%. How much did atmospheric increase over the past four years? 4 parts per million = 0.000004 or 0.0004%. How much did atmospheric CO2 increase year-over-year, January, 2015, to January, 2016? That's a trick question. According to CO2 Now, atmospheric CO2 decreased year-over-year this past January. It decreased 0.01 part per million. Yeah, I'm not going to do the math.

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