Industrialized Cyclist Notepad


2003 Plutonium Fire at Rocky Flats

That’s right, 2003.

Toward the end of Kristen Iversen’s remarkable book, Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats, she provides a detailed account of a severe plutonium fire that happened in Building 371 at Rocky Flats in May 2003 in which Rocky Flats firefighters put their lives at risk in order to protect innocent people both on and off the site. By the time of this fire, I had for a decade been attending Rocky Flats-oriented meetings at the rate of two or three per month as a member of a number of advisory and oversight bodies focused on trying to get a responsible cleanup at  Rocky Flats. When the fire happened, those of us engaged closely in Rocky Flats matters were awaiting publication of the final legally-binding Rocky Flats Cleanup Agreement by the Department of Energy and the cleanup regulators, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Despite all this close attention to what was happening at Rocky Flats, I and others around me never heard that there was another serious plutonium fire at Rocky Flats in May 2003. No one from the federal and state agencies responsible for day-to-day activities at Rocky Flats, no one from Kaiser-Hill, the cleanup contractor, no one informed us of this fire.

It might as well have been 1957 when a plutonium fire at Rocky Flats resulted in the largest single release of highly toxic plutonium to the offsite environment and the public heard not a peep. Forty-six years later, not a peep.

via Rocky Flats « LeRoyMoore's Blog.



U.S. Oil Production by Region

A historical perspective.

via Econbrowser and James Hamilton: http://www.econbrowser.com/archives/2012/07/shale_oil_and_t.html



Hamilton on the future of U.S. shale oil

Throwing a little cold water on some recent, loudly reported unscientific predictions. When you read Hamilton, always be sure to read the comments by Jeffrey Brown for an important Big Picture view.

In addition to the uncertainties noted above about extrapolating historical production rates, the rate at which production declines from a given well over time is another big unknown. Another key point to recognize is the added cost of extracting oil from tight formations. West Texas Intermediate is currently around $85/barrel. With the huge discount for Canadian and north-central U.S. producers, that means that producers of North Dakota sweet are only offered $61 a barrel. Tight oil is not going to be the reason that we return to an era of cheap oil, for the simple reason that if oil again fell below $50/barrel, it wouldn’t be profitable to produce with these methods. Nor is tight oil likely to get the U.S. back to the levels of field production that we saw in 1970. But tight oil will likely provide a source of significant new production over the next decade as long as the price does not fall too much.

via Econbrowser: Shale oil and tight oil.