Showing posts from August, 2014

Mussels Close German Power Plant

B. McPherson Small but a big problem -- zebra mussels Warmer ocean temperatures are blamed for the shutdown of a major electrical producer in Germany. The EON SE plant at Wilhelmshaven on the North Sea was forced to shut operations because of marine mussel infestation.  The power plant normally produces enough electricity to light 1.5 million homes.
“We usually scrape tons of mussels out of the area where the cooling water flows during the plant’s usual revisions, but this time there were so many that we couldn’t wait for the next inspection,” Markus Nitschke, a spokesman for EON, said by phone from Dusseldorf today. “The warmer temperatures have caused this infestation.” Bloomberg News
Invasive mussels are causing additional expense and operating hazards around the world. Some species may be native to an area, but slight changes in their environment like temperature change may favour more rapid reproduction. Other species are introduced to an area where there are no natural checks on t…

Frackers in Pennsylvania used illegal additives

Barbara McPherson When fracking approaches an old vertical well, blowouts can happen An environmental watchdog group, Environmental Integrity Project(EIP), has blown the whistle on frackers in Pennsylvania who have been pumping kerosene into their wells.  Much of the fracking liquid used in the petrochemical industry’s rock fracturing operations is unregulated in the USA. The Energy Policy Act 2005 makes most of the additives exempt from regulation except for diesel. Diesel and its products can be used if a permit is granted.
EIP’s report Fracking Beyond the Law, alleges that using the companies’ own self-reported date that kerosene, derived from diesel, has been used in Pennsylvania operations. There have been no permits issued for its use. They go on to state that diesel has been used widely throughout the states to extract oil and gas.
"Injecting diesel fuel into the ground to fracture shale and extract gas or oil is a potential threat to drinking water supplies and public heal…

More bad news from Fukushima

B. McPherson Basically, Japan has this radioactive mess and doesn't know how to clean it up.
The nuclear power station at Fukushima Daiichi disaster has faded from the front pages, elbowed aside by new disasters, wars and disease but it is still festering on the coast of Japan.
The nuclear power station was devastated three years ago when a one-two punch of earthquake and tsunami hit it. The privately owned electrical company Tokyo Electric Power Company has been pilloried ever since for their failure to fully disclose the extent of the danger to the workers in the plant and to those in the surrounding areas.
A judicial panel has requested that an indictment proceed against three former executives of TEPCO – chairman and two vice-presidents – for their failure to act to mitigate the damages resulting from the radioactive releases.
The cleanup of the radioactive site has been a litany of worker exposures, shoddy work, repeated releases of radiation and rumours that organized crime …

Massive toxic waste spill contaminates BC rivers

B. McPherson No words can describe the damage done to our environment A massive tailings spill from a mine in British Columbia’s Cariboo region has fouled rivers, lakes and land. An estimated five million cubic metres of toxic waste escaped from a breach in a berm holding back the sludgy waste. The Mount Polley copper and gold mine run by Imperial Metals has contaminated the whole of the Cariboo and Quesnel River systems as well as Quesnel Lake.
There is a complete ban on water usage in these systems. About 300 people live in the affected area, but authorities are not sure if that number is accurate. Of course, that does not inform the wildlife in the area or the range cattle about the dangers.
Mine tailings from this kind of operation often contain substantial amounts of arsenic, mercury and sulphur as well as numerous other metals. Unfortunately, the mine operators were unable to provide an accurate accounting of the sludge that escaped.
Imperial Metals has three operations currentl…

Toledo water supply shut down by toxic algae

B. McPherson

Toledo was issued a wake-up call when toxic algae forced a shut-down of the water supply. 400 000 people were suddenly without water. They were told that the water was too toxic to touch. Orders went out to not use it as contact could result in difficulties. Difficulties like acute liver failure and death.
The culprit is a one celled algae. Algae are an important part of our ecosystem but when Nature’s fine balance is knocked out of kilter problems arise. Lake Erie is the most shallow of the Great Lakes. When hot summer weather warms the shallow lake, blue-green algae grow quickly. When runoff of fertilizer from agricultural operations and the products of millions of toilets are dumped into the water, the algae reproduce so fast that the water turns green with them. This is called a “bloom”. When the algae produce a poison, the water becomes poisonous as well. Monday, the mayor of Toledoannounced that tests came back showing the toxin levels had dropped to a safe level. T…