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Report: Nuclear Plants Should Focus On Risks Posed By External Events

Fierlo Re:Most accident scenarios ... (133 comments)

There are probabilistic models that NPPs use to account for random failures, and human interactions (e.g., valve left in wrong position after test and undetected).

The issue that the OP is referring to is that most stations only use the internal events model which has an initiating event that starts with a NPP system failure (e.g., coolant line failure), instead of the external events models. They are called external, but includes fire, flood, seismic and high wind events.

about 2 months ago

Skilled Manual Labor Critical To US STEM Dominance

Fierlo Re:Welders make 150k??? (367 comments)

There's also the fact that part of Pioneer Pipe's work revolves around fabrication for specific industries. Industries with specific requirements and certifications. You can't just hire any guy off the street to do welding for something that is slated to be used in the primary side of a nuclear power plant.

about 5 months ago

Skilled Manual Labor Critical To US STEM Dominance

Fierlo Re:Welders make 150k??? (367 comments)

You might want to look at what Pioneer Pipe actually does. They service a lot of different industries, including the nuclear industry.

It isn't simple welding. If you're pre-fabbing stuff that gets installed into a nuclear power plant, it's got some very specific requirements which includes radiography.

I wouldn't be surprised to hear that a lot of the nuclear industry is hurting for welders, or that their maintenance outage timelines are challenged because they can't find enough welders, or other specific tradepersons.

about 5 months ago

Google: Our Robot Cars Are Better Drivers Than You

Fierlo Re:Yup, and it doesn't matter. (722 comments)

I would much rather see self-driving bikes than human-piloted ones. Every day, the human-piloted ones seem to weave in and out of traffic, and obey the rules of the road only when convenient.

Any time you can take the human out of the equation, you are making it safer.

about a year ago

Jeffrey Zients Appointed To Fix

Fierlo Re:What you're missing... (250 comments)

Lots of things are designed not to fail. Arguably, everything is designed to not fail, however, everything that is designed well is designed to fail gracefully or in a predictable fashion (or at least, not catastrophically).

The reason you don't get invited to meetings is that you demonstrated arrogance (or misplaced humour) when asked a legitimate question.

Not that being in meetings is particularly pleasant, but there is sometimes value in being present.

about a year ago

USAF Almost Nuked North Carolina In 1961 – Declassified Document

Fierlo Re:old, really old, news (586 comments)

There should never be accidental detonation of any munition on a bomber/fighter. The entire point is that they target something. Whether a country is at war, or flying a training exercise during peace time, you never want any weapon to detonate when the plane goes down shortly after takeoff.

about a year ago

Germany Produces Record-Breaking 5.1 Terawatt Hours of Solar Energy In One Month

Fierlo Re:Clarification requested on "load priority" (687 comments)

Not sure how it works in the US, but in Ontario, there is the Feed-In-Tariff program (FIT). Otherwise known as a way to make money from renewable energy. Depending on the scale / method of electricity produced, you are guaranteed a different rate. Something like $0.13/kWh for wind, and $0.40/kWh for solar. And I think the term they use to describe them is 'non-dispatchable', in that, the grid must always accept the energy provided by these generators. Other generators (natural gas / hydro) are generally responsible for curbing output and maintaining adequate spinning reserves.

I assume it is somewhat similar in the US but don't know the details.

Nuclear plants aren't usually asked to reduce power, as they provide baseload generation. It is simpler to ask a fossil plant to shutdown.

about a year ago

Samsung Infringed On Apple Patents, Says ITC

Fierlo Re:Living up to your name, I see. (274 comments)

FRAND doesn't mean that the price of licensing the patent should be near zero. Just that it should not be discriminatory. If Samsung's typical price is in the range of 2.4% of the handset, then why would it be different for Apple? Just because they chose to produce a more expensive shiny trinket? If that's the case, then everyone else would say that they were discriminated against (I paid 2.4% and Apple only paid 0.3%).

Also, if Apple really didn't want to pay the appropriate licensing fee, then they could have just used technology that did not violate any of the patents. After all, they do place a very high priority on IP.

about a year ago

Door-To-Door Mail Delivery To End Under New Plan

Fierlo Re:Already happening (867 comments)

Maybe you should help subsidize them because you want to buy meat, bread and gas. You don't think the farmers live in the city, do you? What about the oil refineries? Obviously, they drill and refine oil in your city specifically for you, and could not possibly be doing this in an area that is unattractive (except for the oil refineries).

You strike me as one of those city hipsters that doesn't actually know what goes into making their life possible.

about a year ago

Hollywood's Love of Analytics Couldn't Prevent Six Massive Blockbuster Flops

Fierlo Re:The day human beings become rational ... (1029 comments)

I recently went to see "The Purge", and prior to the start time (8:35), there was a pre-show consisting of entertainment trivia, product placement spots, and such.

At 8:35, the commercials started. I timed it. There was a full 10 minutes of commercials.

Then there were previews. 10 minutes of previews. I don't mind the previews usually, but after sitting through 10 minutes of commercials, I just wanted to see the movie.

For an 86 minute movie, there was 20 minutes of stuff before the movie started, and the movie ended up starting at 8:55 instead of 8:35.

I won't be going to the theatre again any time soon.

about a year ago

Apache OpenOffice 4.0 Released With Major New Features

Fierlo Re:Reveal Codes? (238 comments)

Reveal codes was such a great feature for making sure the formatting did everything as expected.

I always fight with Word at work to make sure everything is formatted properly.

about a year ago

The Average Movie Theater Has Hundreds of Screens

Fierlo Re:is it really that big of problem? (924 comments)

Answering your phone and leaving the theater means it was probably important.

However, checking your texts and responding??? Texts are never important. If they were that important, it wouldn't have been a text (no guaranteed delivery time, and no feedback that it was received). It would have been a phone call, and taken care of by the above scenario.

The fact that you see people checking their phones and texting (here and there...) during the movie does not mean that you live in a more polite region, it just means that your definition of polite has shifted dramatically during the years.

about a year ago

The Average Movie Theater Has Hundreds of Screens

Fierlo Re:I never found it a REAL problem (924 comments)

You know, I am sure that the Red Cross does many good things, like you mentioned, however I am often conflicted about large humanitarian / philanthropic organizations. They just seem like they have many layers of management.

I am always glad to hear about the 'normal' folk who provide immense value to these organizations.

about a year ago

The Aging of Our Nuclear Power Plants Is Not So Graceful

Fierlo Re:NIMBY (436 comments)

In the case of any thermal station (nuclear, coal, etc.), this is not good, because they are suddenly producing vast amounts of waste heat that must be quenched. The sudden changes in temperature cause the heat exchangers can go into thermal shock. Also, once cooled, any brick refractory material must be checked. This process takes days, especially in the case of nuclear generating stations where numerous rigorous safety checks must be completed. Thus, once the grid has been destabilized, it cannot restart quickly.

The heat exchangers (e.g., boilers / steam generators) at a nuclear plant don't go into a 'thermal shock' when a plant is forced to shutdown unexpectedly. The plants are designed to reduce power rapidly (~2% per second, in some cases) to vent steam to maintain the temperature / pressure in the steam generators and primary heat transport system. This is called 'zero power hot' by many utilities. You're producing basically zero power, but the systems are still hot.

The reason it takes longer for a nuclear plant to restart after reducing power rapidly is the xenon transient. At full power, there is a baseload of neutron absorbing xenon-135, which is daughter product of iodine-135. When power is reduced, xenon-135 is no longer being 'burned,' only produced by the decay of iodine. The result is that there is a large amount of negative reactivity that the control systems cannot counteract. Depending on the exact fuel makeup, it can take about 30-36 hours for the xenon to decay down far enough such that you achieve criticality again.

Page 11 of 14 for a nice graph

about a year ago

What Keeps You On (or Off) Windows in 2013?

Fierlo Re:because desktop linux is a toy and novelty (1215 comments)

I was thinking along these lines too. For any issued report / calc (either internally or externally), it should be very simple to reproduce for one of two reasons:

1. It is a 'simple' problem with only one real solution.

2. The report / calc is issued with the exact instructions and/or files to reproduce the results.

It is much harder to do #2 when you're trying to follow along what someone else has done in the GUI vs. a flat text file where errors can be very readily apparent, or at least checked programmatically.

about a year ago

Apple Updates MacBooks and Mac Pro Desktop With Haswell, "Unified Thermal Core"

Fierlo Receptacle? (464 comments)

Is it just me, or does the Mac Pro look like a really fancy garbage can? That's the first thought I had when I saw the pictures in the article.

about a year ago

GM Crop Producer Monsanto Using Data Analytics To Expand Its Footprint

Fierlo Re:Come on guys, have some ethics (128 comments)

A large degree of unknowns is okay, from a crop diversity perspective. It reduces the likelihood of a single organism being able to wipe out the entire crop.

A plant with a relatively homogeneous genome will be more susceptible to certain types, and less susceptible to others.

However, it only takes one very efficient killer to wipe the GM crops out. It may take several different ones to whack the more diverse crops.

about a year ago

Monju Nuclear Plant Operator Ordered To Stop Restart Preparation

Fierlo Re:So, not a Tepco site (72 comments)

Preventing regulatory capture is pretty simple in theory. You give the regulator real power, complete independence, and almost more importantly, money. Doesn't really matter where the money comes from. I would think in most countries, the utilities pay a large portion of the fees. If a certain site requires more oversight, the utility is obligated to pay for it.

However, the real reason for requiring the regulator to have enough money is to ensure that they can hire higher-end technical experts to really challenge the utilities.

about a year ago

The Canadian Government's War On Science

Fierlo Re:Hand wring much? (474 comments)

If the data isn't known, then they really can't make any decisions based on 'the greater good'.

In essence, what you're advocating is having a government make decisions based on those who complain the loudest, and are the most organized.

about a year ago

Florida DOT Cuts Yellow Light Delay Ignoring Federal Guidelines, Citations Soar

Fierlo Re:Lather, rinse, rage (507 comments)

Or, the other option is to follow closer than you feel comfortable with. Sounds like a great plan.

Ripples occur when there are rapid stops. A very gradual slowing down should really minimize the downstream effects, providing other drivers are paying attention and not following so closely that they have to slam on their brakes when the speed of the car in front of them decreases even the slightest.

about a year ago


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