onstitutes a "full" or "partial" meltdown—neither is a strictly technical term, though in the popular usage of the word, today's revelation leans more towards the former. David Brenner, director of the Columbia University Center for Radiological Research, describes a "partial meltdown" as "fuel that's been damaged and partially melted. Some of the fuel has probably been oxidized and breached and melted at the top of the core where the heat rises."
Go to your nearest tap. Light a match, and place it next to the running water. If it catches fire, as it has in many American homes, your water supply has probably been polluted by a natural-gas extraction process called fracking. If no flames appear, don’t get complacent. Fracking is becoming the gold rush of the 21st century – as well as an urgent wake-up call on the irreparable damage we are wreaking on our environment. Fracking began in Britain in March, and is probably coming to a gas reservoir near you.
Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, involves blasting huge amounts of water, mixed with sand and often toxic chemicals, to break up shale formations thousands of feet under the earth, to release natural gas.
In the fall of 2007, workers at the Byron nuclear power plant in Illinois were using a wire brush to clean a badly corroded steel pipe — one in a series that circulate cooling water to essential emergency equipment — when something unexpected happened: the brush poked through.
The resulting leak caused a 12-day shutdown of the two reactors for repairs.
The plant’s owner, the Exelon Corporation, had long known that corrosion was thinning most of these pipes. But rather than fix them, it repeatedly lowered the minimum thickness it deemed safe. By the time the pipe broke, Exelon had declared that pipe walls just three-hundredths of an inch thick — less than one-tenth the original minimum thickness — would be good enough.
After a series of high-profile natural gas drilling spills, the Energy Department named a panel to recommend ways to improve the safety of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a technique that has expanded the country's potential to extract the fuel.
President Barack Obama asked the DOE to form the panel of academic and environmental experts to identify any immediate steps that can be taken to improve the safety and environmental performance of fracking, the DOE said on Thursday.
An investigation into possible manipulation of gasoline prices has uncovered "disturbing'' revelations, Attorney General Eric Holder said today. "There are a couple things that … are disturbing,'' Holder said, declining to elaborate.
He indicated the information would be reviewed by a fraud task force formed last week. For the week that ended Monday, the nationwide average cost of a gallon of gasoline rose 3.5 cents, to $3.879, the Energy Department reported.
Two natural gas exploration companies have agreed to extend the shutdowns of two injection wells in Arkansas as researchers study whether the operations are linked to more than 1,000 unexplained earthquakes in the region, a state commission said Wednesday.
Chesapeake Energy Corp. and Clarita Operating LLC asked to postpone a scheduled April 26 hearing on the shutdowns until the Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission's next meeting on May 24, said Shane Khoury, deputy director and general counsel for the commission.
Officials said thousands of gallons of fluid leaked over farm land and into a creek from a natural gas well in Bradford County. Now there is a massive operation underway to contain the spill of drilling fluids.
The rupture near Canton happened late Tuesday night, contaminating nearby land and creeks. The blowout happened on the Morse family farm in LeRoy Township outside Canton, a farming community. Chesapeake Energy officials said a piece of equipment on the well failed. Now a major response is underway to stop the leak of frack fluid and get control of the well.
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