Free Pizza if your Fracking Well Explodes!

February 18, 2014

No matter how cynical I get, I can’t keep up.

Raw Story:

Last Tuesday, residents of the small town Bobtown, Pennsylvania woke to an explosion and a massive, high-temperature fire, at the site of a fracking well owned by the Chevron corporation. It wasn’t just any fire, either. Wrote the Pittsburgh Post Gazette Feb. 12:

More than 12 hours after an explosion that “sounded like a jet engine going 5 feet above your house,” as one neighbor put it, the fire, fueled by the well’s gas, continued to shoot flames and smoke into the air, causing a hissing sound that could be heard a quarter-mile away.

The heat from the blaze — which caused a tanker truck on site that was full of propane gas to explode — was so intense that first responders from local fire departments had to pull back rather than risk injury.

“They essentially retreated to let the fire burn,” said John Poister, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, which had three people on site investigating.

One person was injured and another presumed dead.

On Sunday, Chevron Appalachia Community Outreach sent a gift certificate to those who lived in the vicinity of the blast offering them a two liter bottle of soda and one large pizza.

Seriously.
chevronpizza

Philly.com

Is there a catch? Well, sort of – the certificate is good for a “special combo only.” Remember, Chevron’s yearly profits declined in 2013 and the firm made just barely over $21 billion. You weren’t really expected pepperoni, too, were you? (Note: the pizza certificates were first reported by No Fracking Way and Raging Chicken Press — I called (!!) the pizza shop and confirmed that about 100 of the certificates were distributed by Chevron.)

Of course, a cynic would argue that a lifetime supply of pizza — even with those cheesy breadsticks thrown in — wouldn’t be worth the health risks of having a massive fracking rig next door. On the other hand, I see a possible new marketing campaign for Chevron: We guarantee your fracking rig won’t explode, or your pizza is free!

 

42 Responses to “Free Pizza if your Fracking Well Explodes!”


  1. Re-parenting the reply to Dumb Old Guy:

    I was not speaking of decay but referring to the fact that the fission process in an active reactor just naturally wants to “ramp up” via an exponentially increasing chain reaction

    That’s not true.  There are a number of mechanisms which alter the “reactivity” of the system, to change the neutron multiplication ratio around the value of 1.  Inserting control rods lowers it, but so does reducing moderation when the reactor is already under-moderated (which results in faster neutrons and more captures in U-238 instead of fissions in U-235) and doppler broadening of the capture energy spectrum in U-235 (the hotter it gets, the more that thermal vibrations broaden and flatten the energy spectrum of captured neutrons, making it less likely that any passing neutron gets it right).

    Those who run them tell me that boiling-water reactors run under-moderated and vary power by running the feedwater pumps up and down.  Increase feedwater, the pressure goes up, the volume of steam bubbles goes down, there’s more water in the core and moderation increases.  Increased moderation (on the low side of optimum) increases reactivity and the reactor power.  As reactor power increases, more steam is created, the volume occupied by bubbles goes up and the amount of water in the core goes down.  This hits a new equilibrium when the reactivity hits 1.000 again.

    Pressurized-water reactors are different but have similar feedbacks.  Reactor operators aren’t chasing the core’s output all day trying to keep it from going out of bounds; it is set and then left substantially alone.  (If they had to chase it all the time, they wouldn’t have so much trouble following changes in demand would they?)

    You get into exponential problems if e.g. you mis-design a reactor so that it’s operated in a zone where you have a “positive void coefficient” and then let it start increasing those voids.  That was the flaw in the RMBK design.  There were safeties to prevent operation in the problematic region, but the supervisor on duty commanded them to be shut off for an “experiment” and the operators (who were new to nuclear power stations) went along.

    There’s a bone here for conspiracy theorists.  For the price of a lost reactor in Ukraine, Russia got a nuclear moratorium in western Europe and many hundreds of billions in natural-gas sales.  Worked out pretty well for Moscow, didn’t it?

    • dumboldguy Says:

      Why do you go on so? Are you trying to impress us with your vast store of knowledge? I AM impressed—-to a a point. I cleaned out the section of my library related to reactor design and operation many years ago once it looked like the battle had been won and nukes were receding. I DO understand all you say here, but you have missed my point.

      I am not speaking of operators having to “chase the reactor” I am speaking about the things that go outside the boundaries of all you speak of, are not “normal”, have not been designed for, or for which the design safeguards have failed. I speak of the operator impaled by a stuck control rod he tried to move by hand at the ER in Idaho, the Enrico Fermi plant that nearly melted down because of a poor weld, Brown’s Ferry that nearly did the same because someone was checking air leaks in a cable tray with a candle—-as well as Chernobyl, TMI, Fukushima, Chalk River, and others.

      My whole point was simply that “fires” simply burn out, while accidents at nuclear reactors tend to enter positive feedback loops and get worse (much worse) before they get better. That’s all.


      • Why do you go on so?

        Why do you write things that are manifestly NOT TRUE, and expect no one to rebut you?

        Are you trying to impress us with your vast store of knowledge?

        I am trying to refute the FUD used to demonize nuclear energy, to remove the roadblocks which prevent us from replacing FF burners with it.  You, with your “exponentially increasing chain reaction” nonsense, are purveying agitprop.  Even in the short term this agitprop causes real harm to people, such as stress reactions (very common in Japan).  In the long term, it has kept us from getting off the course to climate disaster.

        I cleaned out the section of my library related to reactor design and operation many years ago once it looked like the battle had been won and nukes were receding.

        If you didn’t already know what I wrote (which is from reading the chit-chat of nuclear engineers and operators, and following the links they post), you didn’t learn much from your library.  If you did know it and held the same positions anyway, you knew your position was based on falsehoods.  Indefensible, either way.

        I am not speaking of operators having to “chase the reactor” I am speaking about the things that go outside the boundaries of all you speak of, are not “normal”, have not been designed for, or for which the design safeguards have failed. I speak of the operator impaled by a stuck control rod he tried to move by hand at the ER in Idaho

        The SL-1 HAD NO SAFEGUARDS; everything was moved by hand.  The reactor didn’t blow up like a bomb, and there were fewer casualties than the San Bruno pipeline explosion.  More people die every year working on wind turbines.

        the Enrico Fermi plant that nearly melted down because of a poor weld

        It DID melt down, partially.  The operators found a problem and shut it down.  The damaged fuel was replaced and the reactor was even operated again, but not well for reasons I do not understand.

        My whole point was simply that “fires” simply burn out, while accidents at nuclear reactors tend to enter positive feedback loops and get worse (much worse) before they get better.

        There was no runaway at Fermi I.  Now you shift from “exponentially increasing chain reaction” (which was not true at TMI or Fukushima) to “positive feedback loops” which is not true either; cascading failures are not feedback loops.

        What IS a positive feedback loop is our climate system.  Once the northern reaches get warm enough to start major decomposition of methane clathrates, that’s all she wrote.  We could have a Fukushima every year with a Chernobyl on top and not have a hundredth of the damage that would cause.  In reality, we’ll never have a Chernobyl again; there will be no more RMBKs.

        Your FUD is keeping us on the track to disaster.  Please stop it.

        • dumboldguy Says:

          I’ve done it again! E-Pot is all atwitter and ranting away because I have dared to disagree with him (or massage his ego, or whatever—hard to tell with these narcissists). He is STILL “going on”, but it’s late and I won’t reply to all of it

          E-Pot makes a bald assertion that I “write things that are manifestly NOT TRUE, and expect no one to rebut you?” First, I do NOT write things that are “manifestly NOT TRUE” (citations and examples, please?), and I DO expect rebuttal IF someone is able to do so. Galloping around in a state of “high dudgeon” as E-Pot tends to do is NOT rebuttal.

          Is it NOT true that removal of the control rods by design or accident will produce an “exponentially increasing chain reaction”? My point was that a reactor is a super-critical assembly of fissile material that is controlled so that the chain reaction proceeds at an even rate, and so that the heat can be extracted in a controlled way and used to generate electricity. There is no “agitprop” involved in pointing out that a reactor must therefore be “sat upon” as compared to a fossil fuel burning plant where fuel and oxygen must be supplied or it will “go out”. I did NOT say it would explode like a bomb, did I?

          In the long term, what has kept us from getting off the course to climate disaster is not our rejection of nuclear power (for additional reasons other than FUD), but our adoption of and reliance on of the cheaper, easier to find, and easier to use fossil fuels..

          “If you did know it and held the same positions anyway, you knew your position was based on falsehoods. Indefensible, either way”. Incomprehensible BS from you that is unrelated to what I said. I said I understood the technical explanations you were giving about reactors, and that had nothing to do with any “position” I hold. Reread my remarks.

          You need to go beyond reading “chit-chat” and following random links posted god-knows where—do some systematic study. If you had, you would know that it is wrong to say “The SL-1 HAD NO SAFEGUARDS; everything was moved by hand”. The SL-1 had mechanically operated control rods, and the accident occurred when one was manually withdrawn too far during a maintenance procedure.

          It is also incorrect to say “The reactor didn’t blow up like a bomb”, because it did, actually. Not a nuclear bomb—no reactor has ever done that—-it went prompt critical, resulting in a power excursion so large that a steam explosion blew the top off the reactor—and parts of the reactor impaled one of the operators and pinned him to the ceiling.

          And the Enrico Fermi 1 core DID melt down substantially. You should read “We Almost Lost Detroit” for a good account—that book was part of my library and I reread it several times because it was a true-life “novel” The true story is far more scary than you know (as the book title implies), way more than how you minimalize things with: “The operators found a problem and shut it down The damaged fuel was replaced and the reactor was even operated again”. The operators were scared S***less and after repair, it was operated only intermittently and for short periods—I believe that it never generated more than a total of $60K worth of electricity before it was dismantled.

          “….but not well for reasons I do not understand”. It was a liquid sodium cooled fast breeder reactor—-an experiment, poorly designed, and way ahead of its time—all that coupled with poor construction and oversight made it unworkable and unreliable, so they gave up on it.

          “There was no runaway at Fermi I.” Did I ever say there was? Not a runaway nuclear reaction, but a runaway temperature excursion that melted the core

          I’m sorry that your need to disagree (and be disagreeable) has blinded you to the meaning of the simple words I used.

          One thing we DO agree on is “What IS a positive feedback loop is our climate system. Once the northern reaches get warm enough to start major decomposition of methane clathrates, that’s all she wrote”. No doubt in my mind—-the amounts are staggering, both in the permafrost and in sea bed deposits. And that’s why it’s irrelevant to talk about how “nice” Chernobyl and Fukushima were damage-wise. It looks like we are never going to have enough nukes and have them soon enough to make a difference. You are tilting at windmills and not driving any progress here—you are just distracting everyone, and that’s worse than the FUD that you imagine in my remarks.


          • E-Pot is all atwitter and ranting away because I have dared to disagree with him

            Me?  You’re not disagreeing with me, you’re claiming the exact opposite of what working nuclear engineers and reactor operators rely on to do their jobs every day.

            Briefly, dumboldguy is placing HIS PERSONAL OPINION superior to the established behavior of hundreds of working reactors and the laws of physics on which it is based.  This is as narcissistic as you can get.

            SBAN, Doggie-doo!

          • dumboldguy Says:

            BS on you, Eeeeewwwww-Pot. The very brevity of your comment shows that you are really at a loss to counter what I have said.

            Virtually everything you post here on any topic is YOUR PERSONAL OPINION drawn from your endless searching of the web and eavesdropping on the conversations of people who MAY know what they’re talking about. Your actual knowledge base must be extremely limited for you to say such things as “everything was moved by hand” when talking about the control rods on a reactor. Lord love a duck!

            Just in case the irony escapes you (we all know you are irony impaired), I will point out that it is ludicrous for someone who relies all too much on his “personal opinion” of what is significant or not to be taking someone else to task.

            The old saw about “Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but not their own facts” holds true for you, E-Pot, even though your exalted self-image makes it impossible for you to accept that.

            You obviously don’t even understand what I’m “claiming”, or you would not offer your PERSONAL OPINION in such a declarative manner. I have owned and read a number of WHOLE BOOKS on nuclear power, and began doing so nearly 50 years ago. In addition to the “intro biology” that you took (but learned so little in about bacterial genetics), I have taught “intro physics”. Do you actually know personally anyone who has operated a reactor or gotten close to a reactor yourself? I’ve done both. I had my own “nuclear reactor advisor” in the form of a friend and fraternity brother who served for years in the engineering department of USN nuclear missile subs, and who later parlayed his knowledge into a nice job in the commercial power reactor insurance business. We lost him on 9/11 because he was at work on a floor near the top of one of the towers and didn’t make it out. He married one of my wife’s best friends (we introduced them) and we still see her often.

            I’ll stack my opinions based on the FACTS I have learned about nuclear power and reactors and analyzed over the years any day against your truly narcissistic OPINIONS and inability to participate in discussions on Crock.

            Briefly? Personal opinions and Doggie-doo, my ass! Fool!


          • The very brevity of your comment shows that you are really at a loss to counter what I have said.

            No, it shows that you are “TL;DR”.  SBAN!

          • dumboldguy Says:

            Anything you say, E-Pot. We all know how highly you value your own OPINIONS above anything that all the rest of us may say to you.

            Knock yourself out denying reality. Fool!

            (And if and when you ever get near a reactor and are invited to control it, be sure to wear gloves—-the sweat and oil from your hands will not be good for the control rods as you push and pull on them)

  2. daryan12 Says:

    Actually, given what’s going on in Romania right now (fracking going on in their back yards, without any prior consultation, etc.) at least people in the states are getting a free pizza!
    http://www.channel4.com/news/fracking-romania-protests-pungesti-chevron-victor-ponta


  3. […] will remember that last week, Chevron offered free pizza to frazzled neighbors of a fracking well that exploded , burned, and incinerated a man in rural […]


  4. […] if a shale gas well blows up in your back yard, what can you expect from Chevron? A free pizza! So okay, not quite as bad as […]


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