New Orleans attorney Stuart Smith knows something about radiation from oil drilling:
Smith is well known for his role as lead counsel in an oilfield radiation case that resulted in a verdict of $1.056 billion against ExxonMobil for contaminating land it leased from the Grefer family in Harvey, Louisiana –– and attempting to cover it up.
The court stated that from June 1986 to March 1987, “Exxon officials intentionally withheld information,” and that the company “knew the [radioactive] scale posed a direct danger to the physical health of those workers.” Oilfield waste, or TERM, is primarily composed of radium, a highly radioactive chemical element. Exposure to radium is known to cause a variety of devastating illnesses, including cancer. Radium’s impact on the human body is particularly acute because it is similar chemically to calcium –– and as such is frequently absorbed into bones after entering the body.
But at least there's no radiation being released from BP's oil spill in the Gulf, right?
Well, as Smith wrote on August 4th:
This is directly from the EPA website discussing oil drilling activity:“These processes may leave behind waste containing concentrations of naturally-occurring radioactive material (NORM) from the surrounding soils and rocks. Once exposed or concentrated by human activity, this naturally-occurring material becomes Technologically-Enhanced NORM or TENORM. Radioactive materials are not necessarily present in the soils at every well or drilling site. However in some areas of the country, such as the upper Midwest or Gulf Coast states, the soils are more like to contain radioactive material.”
“Radioactive wastes from oil and gas drilling take the form of produced water, drilling mud, sludge, slimes, or evaporation ponds and pits. It can also concentrate in the mineral scales that form in pipes (pipe scale), storage tanks, or other extraction equipment. Radionuclides in these wastes are primarily radium-226, radium-228, and radon gas. The radon is released to the atmosphere, while the produced water and mud containing radium are placed in ponds or pits for evaporation, re-use, or recovery.”
“The people most likely to be exposed to this source of radiation are workers at the site. They may inhale radon gas which is released during drilling and produced by the decay of radium, raising their risk of lung cancer. In addition, they are exposed to alpha and gamma radiation released during the decay of radium-226 and the low-energy gamma radiation and beta particles released by the decay of radium-228. (Gamma radiation can also penetrate the skin and raise the risk of cancer.) Workers following safety guidance will reduce their total on-site radiation exposure.”
It’s time BP comes clean as to the levels and amounts of radioactive material released from this oil spill.
Here's the EPA website which Smith is quoting.As Scientific American noted last November:
What scientists call naturally occurring radioactive materials—known by the acronym NORM—are common in oil and gas drilling waste, and especially in brine, the dirty water that has been soaking in the shale for centuries. Radium, a potent carcinogen, is among the most dangerous of these metals because it gives off radon gas, accumulates in plants and vegetables and takes 1,600 years to decay.The American Petroleum Institute recognizes radiation as a common enough problem in petroleum production to sell a variety of publications on the topic, such as:
Federal laws don't directly address naturally occurring radioactivity, and the oil and gas industry is exempt from federal laws dictating handling of toxic waste ....
- A National Survey on Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (NORM) In Petroleum Production and Gas Processing Facilities
- Methods for Measuring Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (NORM) in Petroleum Production Equipment
Environmentalists argue that we can achieve energy independence by cutting demand and ramping up renewables. They add that the thousands of gallons of mud deepwater drilling unearths contain toxic metals—mercury, lead, and cadmium—that may end up in the seafood supply. The water that comes up from wells contains a toxic mix of benzene, arsenic, lead, and various radioactive pollutants, according to studies by the Natural Resources Defense Council.This is not to say that radiation is being released from the well at dangerous levels for the general public. Obviously, BP and the government should be pressed to release all radiation test results (or to do them if they haven't already). I haven't heard any information indicating dangerous levels, and I'll assume for now that radiation levels in the Gulf as a whole are low and not much more than background levels.
However, for the clean up workers, and when it is concentrated in landfills, crude oil from the Gulf might be a real health threat. As Smith writes:
This is all bad enough at the spill and cleanup sites, and it’s not nearly the near-term danger of all the toxins in the oil-dispersant stew. But it can become a danger when you start concentrating it in normal landfills. Remember, oil was exempted from hazmat regulations for political reasons, not because it’s not hazardous.
And, as far as we can tell, nobody is even testing the BP waste going into those landfills and if the oil company knows radiation levels, we can expect them to keep it secret. Hey, this is the company that required a Congressional order and a Federal Court Subpoena just to release video of the spill … we have no way of knowing what else they’re not telling us.
And it’s not comforting that the EPA, which allowed BP to use toxic dispersant to hide the oil and is now minimizing what’s left through bogus science, and the Coast Guard, which allowed dispersant use even in excess of what the EPA approved, are in charge of all this. And the EPA knows better, of course.
While we certainly cannot say the Zonda F lacks performance figures, driving around the Nürburgring in 7:32 and achieving lateral G forces of almost 1.5 G, it is however a road car, easy to drive, intuitive and setting the benchmark for comfort, safety and lightweight. Paired with a quality finish and the attention to detail this made the Zonda F one of the most desirable supercars resulting in the 25 Coupé models being sold out in record time.
The Zonda R is born with full liberty. The target: the ultimate performance at the racetrack without any implications of rules, except for safety, where no compromise is allowed. In September 2006 the first drawings were ready, but it was crucial to have the support of Mercedes-AMG for a high revving engine with a power output of 750hp, dry sump, light and with a low centre of gravity. The basis was the self supporting engine of the mighty CLK GTR, which has dominated the GT championships.
Eve at constant racing pace the engine would have to cover over 5.000 km before servicing. The challenge has been accepted without hesitation.
The Zonda R is a car designed from scratch, with only 10% of the Zonda F components to be carried over. The suspension forged in Avional, a new Pagani six speed transversal sequential gearbox, carbon fibre monocoque, aeronautical four pump fuel tank are only part of the equation.
The wheelbase has grown by 47mm, the overall length by 394 mm and the track is increased by 50mm. The bodywork and aerodynamics have been studied to offer maximum downforce. Even though built for the track, the project would not have received kick off, if the quality and finish of the car and its details was not up to the level of the Pagani road cars. One of the first cars to be delivered however will be kept in a living room, designed by Pagani and built with the same materials as the Zonda F, beautifully textured carbon fibre, avional, titanium, inconel and other state of the art materials. Additionally it will feature a bespoke HiFi System that will allow the customer to listen to the sound of this car at Le Mans and the Nürburgring.
The Pagani customers who have ordered the Zonda R will be relieved of almost 1.2 million + taxes.
The Technical Specifications
This Zonda is purpose made for track use, without restrictions of any competition rules or homologation, with the only exclusion of the passengers' integrity, where no compromise is tolerated according to our philosophy and state-of-the-art safety measures are featured.
The central carbon chassis will incorporate a roll cage and a rubber racing fuel tank with 4 fuel pumps and quick refuel filler like on GT race cars. The wheelbase has been increased by 47mm to offer the best stability. The front and rear subframes are brand-new, built to accommodate a new suspension geometry, produced in avional. The magnesium forged rims with central wheel nut and a quick pneumatic lifting system allows fast and effortless changes of the slick tyres.
Bodywork and aerodynamics
The new bodywork has been honed to offer elevated downforce even in low speed corners. The longer front bonnet with flaps, closed underbody and the rear overhang with the adjustablerear wing and race derived diffusor translate into shattering aerodynamic efficiency and will let you experience cornering speeds beyond imagination. The car displays and logs information about the amount of dowforce that the car is generating at each moment. Combined with the adjustable wings you can easily find the best setup for each track.
The interior is designed to accommodate the driver and passenger in bespoke seats, built to offer the best support, when the G-forces from the vehicle dynamics come into question. The Digitek instrumentation provides the essential information and a sophisticated telemetry allows through a variety of sensors to monitor every single component of the car.
* Type V12 - M120
* V - angle 60°
* Displacement 5987 ccm
* Stroke 80,20 mm
* Bore 89,00 mm
* Valves per cilinder 4
* Horse Power 750
* Power output 551 KW at 7.500 1/min
* Torque output 710 Nm
* Aspiration Single throttle bodies, mechanically operated
* Lubrification Dry sump with separate oil tank
* Firing order 1-12-5-8-3-10-6-7-2-11-4-9
The Press-Register notes today:
Lumpy, degraded oil collected in the Mississippi Sound has tested positive for several of the main ingredients in the Corexit dispersant used in connection with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, according to scientists working for a New Orleans-based lawyer.
Officials with the federal government and BP PLC have maintained throughout the oil spill that no dispersant products have been used near shorelines in Alabama or Mississippi.
Marco Kaltofen, part of the group of scientists who found the oil in Mississippi Sound, said it was impossible to determine when the dispersant had been applied to the oil. Results from the tests, which were conducted in a Colorado laboratory, indicated the oil was from the Deepwater Horizon well, he said.
“EPA samples found only one indication of dispersant near shore in Louisiana. That location was sampled several times with no other detection,” U.S. Environmental Protection Agency spokeswoman Terri White said in a Monday e-mail. “There is no authorization to apply any dispersant at this time. If anyone has information about this, they need to report it immediately so it can be investigated and referred to law enforcement.”
Smith, the lawyer who funded Kaltofen’s sampling expedition, discounted the notion that dispersants had not been used near shore.
“I personally saw C-130s applying dispersants from my hotel room in the Florida Panhandle. They were spraying directly adjacent to the beach right at dusk,” said Smith. “Fishermen I’ve talked to say they’ve been sprayed. This idea they are not using this stuff near the coast is nonsense.”
Other tests are coming back positive for dispersant as well.
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BP Tells Experienced Gulf Fishermen that They Don't Know the Difference Between Oil and Seafloor Muck
The Pensacola News Journal notes:
Recreational fisherman Mark Fuqua, 47, of Pensacola, who has fished the waters from Destin to Pensacola most of his life, discovered just how big the mess is on the first day he struck out to drop a line in the water since the fishing ban was lifted two weeks ago.
After a day of fishing in several areas of the bay on Wednesday, his boat, anchor and cast net were covered in oil.
"I've never seen anything like it," he said. "I was fishing in front of Palafox Pier and pulled up my anchor, and it looked like it had black mud on it. I reached down to try to wipe it off and it was all greasy, like greasy sand."
The anchor was dropped in 20 feet of water.
[Scott Piggott, who heads the Escambia and Santa Rosa cleanup operation for BP] said the reports from fishermen about finding oil often are not reliable.
"I've heard accounts of people who hold up their anchors that have this black stuff on it," he said. "I can't tell you how many times we've gotten reports from fishermen with sightings of sheen and oil. Ninety-nine percent of the time, these reports turn out to be organic material."
Fuqua said Piggott's statement "sounds typical.""BP is really counting on that out-of-sight, out-of-mind thing. It's there and they know it," he said. "They need to be exposed and made to do something about it."
Sure, and the oil plumes and dispersant which experienced scientists think they are finding in the Gulf are really just kelp, and the dead animals which people see are really just sleeping, and the rashes and breathing problems coastal residents exposed to the dispersant are suffering are really just allergies.
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By David DeGraw of Amped Status Preface by Washington's Blog: This is the first guest post we have run. We are running it for 2 reason...
Car insurances prices are increasing on the back of the credit crunch and are hitting drivers hard at a time when many can’t afford the extr...