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2011 June 27 — Why Now?
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Las Conchas Wildfire

Las Conchas WildfireThe fire started at 1PM local on Sunday, on private land, but quickly grew large in the Red Flag fire weather that the area has been experiencing. It is racing through mixed conifer forest and is approaching the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Information from the current Las Conchas Wildfire InciWeb Page

  • Date Started: 6/26/2011
  • Location: Jemez Ranger District, Santa Fe National Forest; approximately 12 miles southwest of Los Alamos off NM 4 at mile marker 35, New Mexico
  • Cause: Unknown – under investigation
  • Size: 43,597 acres [68 miles² 176 km²] based on infrared data
  • Percent Contained: 0%
  • Injuries to Date: 0
  • Number of Personnel: Approximately 315 including 2 hotshot crews and 9 hand crews
  • Equipment: 5 dozers, 13 engines
  • Aircraft: 3 helicopters
  • Incident Commander: Joe S. Reinar, Type I Incident Management Team

Power and phone lines are down in the area. The fire is approximately 1 mile southwest of the boundary of the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). The fire has not entered Laboratory property at this time. All radioactive material is appropriately accounted for and protected.

[For the latest information click on the Fire symbol, or go to the CATEGORIES drop-down box below the CALENDAR and select “Fires” for all of the posts related to wildfires on this site.]

June 27, 2011   2 Comments

Invest 95

InvestThere is an area of disturbed weather, Invest 95, that may develop into a tropical depression. It is in the southern Bay of Campeche and moving towards the northwest. It is unlikely to have enough time to become a tropical storm, much less a hurricane, but it is producing a lot of rain which is desperately needed in Northern Mexico and the state of Texas.

There is a ridge of high pressure over the northern Gulf of Mexico which will limit how far north the system can move, but whoever gets it, will really need it.

June 27, 2011   2 Comments

WWC Group B Games

World CupFrom FIFA’s official site: it’s Japan 2-1 New Zealand and Mexico 1-1 England in the first round of play in Group B.

ESPN has the replay on the ‘Net.

June 27, 2011   Comments Off on WWC Group B Games

A Non-Event

The Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant is not in any danger of melting down. It has been in cold shutdown since early Spring for maintenance and wasn’t restarted because of the floods. The fuel is not in the reactor, it is in a fuel pond outside the reactor. Any kind of pump can circulate the cooling water for the fuel pond, as it isn’t a high pressure system that is used in reactors.

They only need one back-up generator to supply power to the facility, and they have three on site.

The FAA didn’t place a flight restriction over the Fort Calhoun site, they reminded people that there have been flight restrictions imposed over all nuclear sites following 9-11. It was a reaction to the media violating those restrictions to get video of the plant.

As an additional safety measure, they installed a giant temporary berm that is a large plastic and fabric tube filled with water. Someone punctured it with ground equipment and the water leaked inside. As the water was approaching an electrical transformer, they switched to a back-up generator while they fixed the berm and cleaned up the water.

Fort Calhoun is probably the safest nuclear facility in the world at the moment. They have a team of NRC inspectors on site, and they have other resources in the area, that are well in excess of what was available to Japan. The Strategic Command is headquartered at Offutt AFB south of Omaha, and there are rumors that they have nuclear accident response capabilities for some reason.

If this flood had occurred last year, Fort Calhoun would have been a major concern because they had been dragging their heels at fixing a lot of deficiencies. That is why they have NRC team on site. Fort Calhoun was required to fix everything and pass an in depth inspection before it would have been allowed to restart. That is why it is probably the single most prepared facility in the US for flooding, and why they have three back-up generators, instead of two.

Yes, you need high ground clearance and hip-waders if you drive to the plant because the parking lot is flooded, but that is the worst of their problems.

June 27, 2011   Comments Off on A Non-Event