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Re: Hydro Fracking Trouble in Wyoming County

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Just curious...at 800 gpm what constitutes "only a little bit"?


For some perspective: an Olympic-size swimming pool (50 meters x 25 meters x 2 meters) contains 660,000 gallons of water. At the rate of 800 gallons per minute, the pool would take 13 hours and 15 minutes to fill.

The article doesn't say how long the incident lasted, mention how long the peak flow lasted, give an estimate of the total amount leaked, or give a figure for the amount that's likely to have escaped containment, which leaves it as a preliminary account in my view.

The other factor is the toxic contamination potential of the dumped liquid, of course. I'm not exactly sure where fracking fluid rates on that wide continuum between pavement surface runoff and, say, metam sodium. It only took 19500 gallons of metam sodium to practically sterilize 35 miles of the Sacramento River, which took many years to rebound. Fortunately, fracking fluid is closer on the scale to pavement runoff. How much closer, I don't know.

Posted on: 2013/3/25 7:13


Re: Hydro Fracking Trouble in Wyoming County

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Posted on: 2013/3/25 9:24


Re: Hydro Fracking Trouble in Wyoming County

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Quote:

JasonS wrote:
Quote:

JackM wrote:
I am not advocating "no fracking" but I am advocating being careful enough to have no accidents. "


Then you are, in effect, advocating no fracking with those standards. Nothing is 100% safe.

By the way, on a year to year basis, I am pretty sure the PFBC is polluting more streams than all the fracking companies combined.


Nothing is fool proof, but there is NO reason why fracking can't have the same accident record nuclear power. 42 minor incidents and 1 'major' incident over 60 years is pretty good. I'm willing to bet that there has been more then 42 minor incidents involving fracking operation in the last 6 months.

One accident is one accident too many.

Posted on: 2013/4/3 12:58


Re: Hydro Fracking Trouble in Wyoming County

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wsender wrote:

Nothing is fool proof, but there is NO reason why fracking can't have the same accident record nuclear power. 42 minor incidents and 1 'major' incident over 60 years is pretty good. I'm willing to bet that there has been more then 42 minor incidents involving fracking operation in the last 6 months.

One accident is one accident too many.

Just curious what you consider a "major" accident? By my count we've had at least 2 (Chernobyl and Fukushima), and I'm not sure TMI fits in the "minor" category. At least a fracking accident doesn't make the surrounding area uninhabitable for several centuries.

Now don't get me wrong. While I accept fracking as a necessary evil for our current energy needs, I do also believe the drillers should be regulated and monitored extensively to prevent the inevitable shortcuts that are often the cause of these accidents.

Posted on: 2013/4/19 9:32


Re: Hydro Fracking Trouble in Wyoming County

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Chernobyl wasn't really an "accident", per se. Pretty intentional. But it is the only 1 that was officially rated as a 7 on the 7 point international nuclear and radiological event scale.

No containment vessel. Purposely started meltdown as an experiment. They wanted to "test" a new emergency cooling method. It's not like they thought it would work, they literally weren't sure. 4 previous tests didn't work, but they didn't think they had given it enough time to fully work. Giving it more time means going closer and closer to disaster. The risk to people's lives were considered worth the glory of Russia, so the decision was made to go forward, knowing the danger.

Three mile island wasn't anywhere near a major disaster. Rated a 5 on the official scale, but that has plenty of critics, as there were zero injuries or environmental effects. It was a near miss, but not a disaster.

Minor amount of low grade radiation released beyond containment, and most of that was contained in room temperature solids and liquids which were contained on facility grounds. Nobody recieved any more radiation than would occur in a common chest x-ray, and there have been no documented public health effects.

Fuikishima isn't rated yet. Likely to be a 6 or a 7, though. Aside from Chernobyl, which was just idiotic, Fuikishima is by far the worst true nuclear disaster outside of lab environments.

Posted on: 2013/4/19 11:47


Re: Hydro Fracking Trouble in Wyoming County

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I note you changed terminology to "disaster" from "accident" regarding TMI. I agree, it was not a disaster. It was, however, a major accident considering it left one reactor in rubble. Just because the containment vessel wasn't breached, doesn't mean it wasn't a major accident.

I guess my main point is, counting "accidents" is not a valid way to compare nuclear reactors to fracking. There's 104 nuclear reactors in the US while there's 1771 active drilling rigs operating in the US (as of 4/12/13 according to Baker Hughes). 59 in PA alone, down from 101 last year this time.

Posted on: 2013/4/19 12:39


Re: Hydro Fracking Trouble in Wyoming County

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If you're arguing that nuclear power is far safer than gas, I'm in full agreement. You don't compare by number of reactors vs. number of wells. You compare on an equal measure of "power produced". Because you HAVE to drill many wells to get the same amount of power as 1 reactor.

Gas may be far safer than coal, but it doesn't hold a candle to nuclear.

Posted on: 2013/4/19 13:17


Re: Hydro Fracking Trouble in Wyoming County

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Actually, no. That wasn't my argument. My point was comparing the two is apples to oranges. The worst fracking accident would still be a minor event compared to a major nuclear accident. The area around Fukushima will be uninhabitable for at least 20 years. Nuclear accidents may be much rarer than a fracking accident, but a major nuclear accident is much more catastrophic than the worst fracking accident.

Posted on: 2013/4/19 13:50


Re: Hydro Fracking Trouble in Wyoming County

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The area around Fukushima will be uninhabitable for at least 20 years.


Which is largely related to public fear, rather than reality. Yes, areas around the plant have tested higher than normal levels of radiation. High enough that people living there, and crops grown there, would cause residents to have a slightly elevated risk of developing certain cancers.

Increased radiation has been detected elsewhere too, such as in seafood, and is above Japan's tight limits, but not enough to statistically determine any health effects.

But even close to the plant, the danger level FROM RADIATION is currently lower than it is to live near a coal mine (or plant), or drill tailings, or in a natural concentration of radon. And those things add other dangers in addition to the radiation.

Posted on: 2013/4/19 14:25


Re: Hydro Fracking Trouble in Wyoming County

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I guess the obvious question is, if nuclear is so safe, why have we built a new plant in almost 40yrs?

Posted on: 2013/4/19 16:00


Re: Hydro Fracking Trouble in Wyoming County

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I guess the obvious question is, if nuclear is so safe, why have we built a new plant in almost 40yrs?


Because reality and perception aren't always the same thing.

Also, our current plants are 1st generation plants, well past their designed lifetimes. Far less safe, and create far more waste, as well as that waste being far more dangerous, than modern designs would do. But we don't build modern plants to replace them, because, uhh, we're worried about waste and danger?


Posted on: 2013/4/19 16:17


Re: Hydro Fracking Trouble in Wyoming County

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pcray1231 wrote:
If you're arguing that nuclear power is far safer than gas, I'm in full agreement. You don't compare by number of reactors vs. number of wells. You compare on an equal measure of "power produced". Because you HAVE to drill many wells to get the same amount of power as 1 reactor.

Gas may be far safer than coal, but it doesn't hold a candle to nuclear.


Globally, NG produces 4 times the energy of nuclear. So on a "power produced" bases, we'd be talking about the equivalent of at least 12 Fukishima's, Chernobyl's and TMI's over the last 40 years.

Safety statistics for the O&G industry are well known, but it's difficult to separate gas from the oil. To stay on a "power produced" bases, we'd have to scale up nuclear accidents by another 6X for a total of 30. About the same rate of major oil spills and rig explosions.

So you're correct. O&G disasters can't hold a candle to nuclear ones.

Posted on: 2013/4/19 22:51
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Re: Hydro Fracking Trouble in Wyoming County

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Except even if you scaled up nuclear accidents, the impact is still far less.

Fukishima - zero killed - impact to public mostly out of abundance of caution.
TMI - zero killed - zero impact to public

Chernobyl is the ONLY commercial nuclear disaster in the world which had casualties. The worst U.S. nuclear incident was actually in Idaho in the experimental days of nuclear, on a national lab site. 3 people were killed, small amounts of radiation were released.

And when you start comparing industry injury rates from mining uranium on through power production, vs. gas drilling on through power production, the differences become more stark. We're not talking huge explosions which make the news, we're talking regular old safety of workers.

You could get into the indirect health effects that are difficult to prove. People get cancer around TMI, and they will around Fukishima as well. Rates higher than the general population? Not statistically, but it's hard to say with any certainty that it didn't contribute to any individual case. That said, if you use that, you also have to use indirect effects of gas drilling. Wastewater diluted in rivers - used for drinking. Air quality around drill sites. CO2 emmissions and global warming. Other airborn emmissions from power plants. Etc.

Pollution: Gas creates many times the amount of waste than nuclear. Tailings, wastewater, etc. Nuclear waste, while lower in volume, is TREATED as more dangerous, but 99% of it isn't. And with nuclear, the volume of fuel is so small that transportion isn't a big issue. Doesn't require pipelines and all the associated manufacturing pollution. CO2 emmmissions at the plants themselves are nil, as are other airborn pollutants.

Nuclear is cleaner and safer than gas, and that's with us making poor choices around it. It could be even safer and cleaner, with less dangerous and less volume of waste. All we'd have to do is build more modern designs, and recycle the waste (ALL of the high level waste is more fuel, which would decrease in volume 100x and be far lower grade afterwards to boot). It COULD also be cheaper, if we approved a single design, once, and built it many times. France does this. Our high nuclear costs are due to aging plants, and expensive red tape to upgrade or build new.

I'm a proponent of gas, it's the next best thing, certainly better than coal and oil. And it's a bad idea to go too heavily on only one source of power. But IMO, nuclear is better.

Posted on: 2013/4/22 9:30


Re: Hydro Fracking Trouble in Wyoming County

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Quote:

DanW wrote:
Quote:

wsender wrote:

Nothing is fool proof, but there is NO reason why fracking can't have the same accident record nuclear power. 42 minor incidents and 1 'major' incident over 60 years is pretty good. I'm willing to bet that there has been more then 42 minor incidents involving fracking operation in the last 6 months.

One accident is one accident too many.

Just curious what you consider a "major" accident? By my count we've had at least 2 (Chernobyl and Fukushima), and I'm not sure TMI fits in the "minor" category. At least a fracking accident doesn't make the surrounding area uninhabitable for several centuries.

Now don't get me wrong. While I accept fracking as a necessary evil for our current energy needs, I do also believe the drillers should be regulated and monitored extensively to prevent the inevitable shortcuts that are often the cause of these accidents.



I was only speaking of domestic nuclear energy, not internationally. We have some of the tightest regulations for nuclear energy, I can't speak for other countries.

TMI was pretty tame with only 2.5 Curies of radiation being released. A person living within ten miles from the plant received about as much radiation as an average chest x-ray.

If a retention pond was damaged and flooded, I'd be willing to be no one would inhabit that area for years.

Posted on: 2013/4/22 15:36


Re: Hydro Fracking Trouble in Wyoming County

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pcray1231 wrote:

Nuclear is cleaner and safer than gas, and that's with us making poor choices around it. It could be even safer and cleaner, with less dangerous and less volume of waste. All we'd have to do is build more modern designs, and recycle the waste (ALL of the high level waste is more fuel, which would decrease in volume 100x and be far lower grade afterwards to boot). It COULD also be cheaper, if we approved a single design, once, and built it many times. France does this. Our high nuclear costs are due to aging plants, and expensive red tape to upgrade or build new.

I'm a proponent of gas, it's the next best thing, certainly better than coal and oil. And it's a bad idea to go too heavily on only one source of power. But IMO, nuclear is better.


Correct me me if I'm wrong, but GE Mark IV reactors can use up to 100% of the available fissile material. Relevant xkcd...

Resized Image

Posted on: 2013/4/22 15:42



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