Snow Whacks French Nuke Waste

Nuclear Electricity in France is THE major source

Nuclear Electricity in France is THE major source

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I find a curious open character to modern Russian news. I don’t know if it is a rebellion against the past strict censorship, or just that they like to Gore different Oxen than we do, so it’s “Fresh” from my point of view. But the “bottom line” is that it is fruitful to read the Russian news from time to time.

For example, this little tidbit… About heavy snow in France.


Heavy show caused a roof fall at one of nuclear waste depots at the Flamanville nuclear power plant in France.

The management says containers with low-grade nuclear waste were not damaged.

France is seeing heavy snowfall for 10 days.

Not a lot of meat on those bones (a very Russian kind of directness about it)… but …

Do ya think that if it was an ocean rise flooding a waste storage site, or an air conditioning failure on a hot day causing a roof collapse on a nuclear waste storage site; that maybe, just maybe it would have been global news? Placarded wall to wall that AGW was going to cause us all to die a horrible nuclear death?

But this is snow, inconvenient snow, so that’s different… But the Russians know snow and they know what it means. That the first roof of the season is not the last. Something to warn about and raise preparation levels, not to ignore for political reasons.

They also have snippets like this little story:

“Cold Weather Grips Europe” with a gallery of very nice pictures from all over Europe. A nice visual tour of just how frozen it is.

And this one about heavy rains in Bulgaria:

‘Code Orange’ weather warning in Bulgaria

Meteorologists have issued a Code Orange warning for this weekend in Bulgaria, where torrential rains-turned-floods earlier rode roughshod over the capital Sophia, as well the cities of Pernik, Blagoevgrad and Kyustendil.

With the evacuation of citizens expected in the coming hours, local rescue teams and firefighters are currently doing their best to tackle the disaster.

Code Orange means ‘dangerous weather’ and is second in degree of alert, behind Code Red, or ‘extremely dangerous’.

That has two important implications. First off: that heavy rain further south often implies more snow where it’s colder. But second, and while more subtle also more important, as convection and evapo-transpiration dump heat at altitude, it does it with lots of water condensation. The expected consequence of “rapid heat loss to space” is “rapid water fall to earth”.

This is what we are seeing globally. From the flooding and rains of Australia, on up to Bulgaria. Just as the Maya calendar predicted in the Dresden Codex. It does not predict the end of the world in 2012, just the end of a major calendar cycle, and that it will be accompanied by water pouring from the sky. I think those ancient Maya, in addition to great astronomy and a more accurate calendar than anyone else, also had a handle on the external forces driving the climate cycles on Earth.

We’ve got heavy precipitation going on. And it will take a decade to cool the global ocean. I suggest a good rain coat, new umbrella and/or new snow shovel, and check on the status of the roof…

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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9 Responses to Snow Whacks French Nuke Waste

  1. Soronel Haetir says:

    I know snow can collapse buildings but I would hope the facilities that such materials are stored in are built to withstand any amount that could reasonably stay on the roof. Flooding too can be engineered against but snow load is such an integral part of building in so many places that I would hope that this is really a non story that somehow got written up.

  2. pyromancer76 says:

    Unbelievable (lack of snow-load strengh for roofs) and hilarious (couldn’t happen to a better bunch of elites), but sad and/or tragic for the citizens of various countries who will bear the brunt of all the “climate disruption”. Another tragedy is that we in the developed world no longer enjoy a fourth estate — except for bloggers.

    I enjoy your fresh Russian view. When did they get a nose for news?

  3. E.M.Smith says:


    I used to listen to Radio Moscow on shortwave. Mostly for the humor value of their very canned topics and presentation. But sometimes that had a truth that was being hidden on our side of the Iron Curtain. They loved to shine a light on our stupidities.

    After the USSR came apart, there was an odd transition. For a while they tried to emulate the BBC (the OLD GOOD BBC)… then found their own voice. They had a show on the satellite that was TV news from Moscow. A bit formal with bits of pre-scripted “banter”. But they steadily learned.

    Those early shows had some of the best news, but the delivery was a bit stilted. Still looking over their shoulder a bit, I think.

    Then, I’d place it about 1990 to 1995 it just sort of “clicked”. They got it together enough to have pretty good “flow” while still having some nice journalist investigative spirit. Somewhere in there we had Putin jail a couple of Oligarchs and reassert power. At that point, criticism of internal affairs dropped off again; but the external news has stayed good and clear.

    So I visit them every month or so…

    Back when the USSR was coming apart, there was a time when Radio Moscow announced they were unsure of their future. Funding was potentially going away (or in fact non-existent for just about everything) and things were being disrupted internally. I got the distinct feeling of old friends watching their world collapse, but gamely and with a near British “Stiff Upper Lip” carrying on. I’d listened to those folks for a couple of decades, and they were ‘old friends’ to me in some ways. I actually stuck a $50 check in the mail to them. I like to think that that much in US dollars bought someone a few groceries at the station. And yes, I know it was probably intercepted by some ‘monitor’ in the mail room. But still, I like to think that ‘fan mail’ was not high on the list of things to ‘monitor’ and perhaps, just maybe, I made their life a little better in their time of troubles.

    But now it’s a bit more “western” and getting more slick. They know how to do what makes money and not step on the too important toes internally. But they still have a very human view of people, and they Do know how to shine a light on the folly of the rest of us… The Russian coverage has also fractured into many sources now. Not just Radio Moscow any more.

    Sometimes, just for nostalgia sake, I break out the shortwave and try to find Radio Havana again… and get some of that good ‘ol Commie Propaganda again. Haven’t done that in a few years. Maybe I’ll see if shortwave has any action sometime soon. (Though with the sleepy sun propagation ought to be pretty crummy…)

    Took my trap loaded dipole down when the tall TV mast came down about 5 or 6 years back. To get any decent coverage I’d need to rig up a new antenna. I’ve still got a ‘pudgy wound helical’ on the roof. It was an interesting experiment that did OK. Kind of peaky in odd spots, but still a good small space antenna. (Wound about 40 M of wire on a 6 inch diameter plastic tube. A 40 M dipole shortened to about 2 M via the pudgy helix. Would have liked to put a tuner and SWR meter on it, but it worked OK and never got around to borrowing the gear.) Come to think of it, I’ve been reading about fractal antennas. This would be a good excuse to make a SW Fractal Antenna…

    Maybe next weekend…

    And somewhere in storage I have a “kit” I bought to make a Tube Receiver. It was from Australia, so uses their tubes. Bought it just as it looked like tubes were going to be completely kaput. Little did I know they would hang on a bit in audio gear.

    Ah, the days… tube radios, regenerative detectors, wire out the window and into the tree… just to hear what someone on the other side of the world thought without any intervening organizations… Now you just subscribe to their feed… ;-)

  4. E.M.Smith says:

    Looks like MSNBC has it too:

    In France, where a cold snap hit a northern swath of the country, a portion of a roof at a nuclear power plant in the town of Flamanville near the English Channel collapsed under the weight of snowfall, Electricite de France said.

    The electric utility said nuclear waste stockpiles were not under threat, and there was no environmental impact caused.

  5. Chuckles says:

    These days you are far more likely to get a factual unslanted report from Pravda or Isvestia than most western media outlets. There’s a message in there I think? Something about ‘Been there, done that, no thanks for a second round’

    I’d stress that the report mentioned ‘low-grade’ nuclear waste. The knee-jerk hysteria at the slightest mention of ‘nuclear’ ensures that no-one mentions what that ‘low-grade’ means.
    If even one of the wrong sort of particle or ray – e.g. one from a nucular radioactive source – were to come into close proximity to our sensitive quivering bodies, we would immediately die of radiation poisoning and cancer…

    Remember that the hysteria usually means that EVERYTHING used in the plant is classified as ‘nuclear waste’ and must be treated like a block of u235. Gotta get those costs up. ‘low-grade’ usually means things like old uniforms, floor mops, cleaning cloths etc. Real frightening stuff.

  6. boballab says:

    Background first: I am a graduate of the USN Naval Nuclear Power School and attended the Windsor Locks Naval Nuclear Power Training Unit (actual Nuc Plant used for training).

    So with that out of the way I can state that Chuckles is right in that anything that comes from inside a Nuc Plant (used up pens, old broken tools, used paper towels, etc) is classified as being low level waste.

    Example all tools taken inside the plant where I was trained had to have the Magenta and Yellow stripped tape on it to denote that it had been “exposed”. If you found a tool laying around unused, not in the tool box and marked like that you had to treat it as if it was highly radioactive and set off the alarms. That meant you marked off the area, stayed as far from the object you could but still inside the marked off area while the people in the clean up suits showed up with a Geiger counter to verify.

    I still remember the day when after they shut the “tea kettle” down and a few days later started taking us students inside right up next to the reactor. I somehow got stuck right next to a “hot spot” of 10,000 micro curies per hour.

  7. Pascvaks says:

    Ref- boballab

    Then the MOST dangerous “Exposed” items are people? Since they’re allowed to wander around in public? I guess I’ve been “Exposing” people now for ~40 years. Think maybe the EPA will be busting down the door in the middle of the night soon? Oh! That’s right, they’re out beating the bushes for CO2. Far more dangerous. Oppppps.. if you’re “Exposed” AND emitting CO2 (and various other GHG’s after a big meal), then aren’t we far more dangerous? Shhhh.. I won’t tell them about you, and you don’t tell them about me. OK?

  8. E.M.Smith says:

    Well, admission time:

    On one occasion a friend had access to the nuclear lab on a certain campus. We got a tour inside the target area… It was interesting, as we wandered around with a Geiger Counter each and instructions to ‘back off’ if it went high. More than once it would do that ramp up on the chatter “click… click… click click.. click click brkkkx” and you’d back up a couple of feet.

    I found it rather fascinating to be able to hear the edge of particle collision / decay… to know the point where they had hit enough air or had enough time to end their life.

    Oh, and for a while I had a “Nuclear Disk” that I used for some misc. experiments. I kept it between two 10 lb “dive weights” of lead when not in use.

    Yeah, I’m not worried about ‘low level’ waste at all. After all, I have a (mandatory) smoke detector…

    Frankly, my concern about ‘high level’ waste pretty much evaporated when I found out that the tens of thousands of years before it is “Safe” was a crock. It was based on time to decay to background. If you make the standard “decay to original ore levels” it ends up being about 200 to 300 years. We can easily bury it as well as the original ore and have it stay safe for 300 years. So the high level waste standards effectively require us to “clean up after nature”… and to an obsessive degree.

    At any rate, I’m not worried about the French waste, so much as noticing that not a peep is coming from the MSM about a snow induced “Nuclear Accident” just a “nothing to see, move along move along’… (but I’m quite sure that if it was anything else they’d be pushing it..)

    One of the more amusing nuclear events was when they fed my spouse some “glow in the dark goo” as we called it. We were advised to sleep in different rooms for a day or two… (Just the thing to make her feel better, I’m sure: “Yeah, it’s safe. Just don’t be too close to anyone else for a while…” )

    So in hospitals all over the place they have folks drink radioactive markers, and you pee them out and they go where again? Oh, yeah, “The solution to pollution is dilution”… into the sewer… But Lord help you if you used a wrench on a bolt inside a nuclear plant containment building.

    Oh well, I suppose someone makes a bundle of money off the nuclear waste contracts…

  9. Pascvaks says:

    If we didn’t have an EPA, would it better or worse today? Now that’s a deep question? A very deep question indeed.

    It does lead one to other very deep questions as well. Like if we didn’t have a Department of Education or Public Schools or Government Research Grants or Department of Labor or Federal Employee Unions or….

    Life is full of questions!

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