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Charles-A. Rovira

Charles-A. Rovira
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  • Earthquake and Nuclear Risk for New York City energy provider [View instapost]
    I am an ex-IT project Manager who is now disabled by multiple sclerosis and an unwilling retiree.

    I have a podcast, published a book, written a column and several articles for professional publications and journals.
    May 8 05:17 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Earthquake and Nuclear Risk for New York City energy provider [View instapost]
    This is the content of a letter I sent to the Indian Point authorities. Its just a talking point intended to spur some conversation:

    I am a concerned citizen and I would like to share my thoughts with you concerning disaster planning and risk assessment.

    Given the increased focus on nuclear power, and the deleterious effects, since the earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Fukushima, Japan, I would like to share with you some idea I have had about the location of an expanded and renewed Indian Point nuclear power station.

    That the problems at Fukushima were not caused by the 9.0 earthquake is a testament to how dependably we are now able to build.

    The sky scrapers in Tokyo swayed but did not topple and the reactors at Fukushima all came through the earthquake ordeal in fine shape.

    The Chunnel between England and France, the Mont Blanc tunnel under the Alps, the CERN ring between France and Switzerland, New York City's own Water Tunnel #3 and mines all over the planet are testaments to the fact that we also know how to dig.

    Combining these two gives us solutions to all of the conceivable problems that Indian Point could conceivably encounter and a final solution to the unconceivable ones as well.

    In real estate, the motto for selling a house is: "Location, Location and Location."

    That is a fitting place to start my discussion about a possible solution for many of the problems I have heard discussed when conversations about Indian Point occur.

    The problems at Fukushima were ones of:
    • location (building the station right next to the ocean was definitely a mistake, [Indian Point has the limits imposed on it by the use of the Hudson river for a source of cooling,])
    • location, (designing the cooling systems to need a source of power to work is, in hindsight, a blunder, [one easily avoided by the design of CANDU style reactors,]) and
    • location (the country-side and farm lands around Fukushima are now no longer accessible. This is a disaster for a country with as little arable land as Japan. [Indian Point is in the heart of the Hudson river valley and upstream from New York City, a major population center.])

    We'll set aside for the moment:
    • the problem of disposal of nuclear waste,
    • the problems of controlling unauthorized access,
    • the problem of expansion of the nuclear facility,
    • the problem of positioning/arraying physical equipment.

    Indian Point has to dig deep underground, half a kilometer or more, for several reasons:
    • security (you don't have to patrol underground, terrorists would be unable to infiltrate the perimeter,)
    • coolant source, (the Atlantic Ocean is available for desalination and containment in huge, but segmented, underground reservoirs which can all be gravity fed,)
    • redundancy (further to security, you want to be able to completely replicate all of the control functions and eliminate single points of failure, this is also essential to the safety functions as you don't have to care if one control center is inaccessible, for whatever reason,)
    • cooling (you can dig out large chambers holding water above the reactors and gravity is the source of energy for getting coolant to the reactors, lose power and the reactors immediately flood and stay flooded until power is restored,)
    • safety (dig several small chambers a few hundred meters from each other and you effectively isolate each reactor from whatever happens in another reactor, when building underground, you also operate in three dimensions, not just two, which brings us to the next bullet,)
    • expandability (there is nothing to prevent the facility from expanding the number of reactors, water chambers, turbine rooms, power control rooms etc. in several chambers built around one or more common shafts. The facility can expand as required and new chambers be built as reactors get decommissioned and the old equipment gets entombed along with its waste,)
    • nuclear waste storage and disposal, (you dig a side chamber and you never have to bring any waste to the surface, leave it underground where it was mined from.)
    • catastrophe containment (when all else has failed and a portion of the facility, or the entire facility, gets totally thrashed, you can always hold a ceremony at the entrance to a chamber, or over the entire facility, and know that the bones of any workers trapped inside are entombed for eternity.)

    Why would indian Point want to embark on this admittedly expensive undertaking? (New York City's Water Tunnel #3 is definitely worth the expense but its was done at considerable expense.)

    The reduction of exposure to:
    • terrorism (half a kilometer underground, the security of the site is much simpler and manageable, [even if terrorists manage to make their way in and take over one reactor chamber its not even going to slow down the entire facility,])
    • increased insurance costs (wide spread nuclear contamination like Chernobyl and Fukushima is impossible,)
    • possible (expensive) loss of human life from uncontained nuclear material,
    • possible loss of agricultural, industrial and residential real-estate resulting from fall out,
    • creation of a model for the future of a green energy source with thousands of years of life.

    Please note that this was all prompted by the realization that the United States has had all of the necessary expertise since the end of above-ground nuclear tests, and testing and detonation of nuclear weapons was moved underground.
    May 8 05:12 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • In the Wake of Bear: I-Bank Regulation Now in Fed's Hands [View article]
    This sad debacle is deserved comeuppance over the failure to come to terms and negotiate derivatives.

    Instead you let the boys with the math degrees sell you a pig in a poke. (I use the "Warren Buffett" investment rule: I ask "Where's the value?" If I don't see it, I don't invest. [And I certainly DON'T EVER GAMBLE!})

    Bend over boys and spread 'em.!

    I'll buy you a cigar as a consolation prize if you can walk over to Barkley-Rex.
    Mar 26 10:02 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment