"A popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy; or, perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power knowledge gives."


Wednesday, September 30, 2009

TVA, Brown's Ferry Reactor Scram

Unit 2 Reactor Scrams, safety equipment offline, coolant water level drops 50 inches before recovering. http://blog.al.com/spotnews/2009/09/browns_ferry_nuclear_plant_shu.html
Official Report from NRC http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/event-status/event/2009/20090930en.html Event 45391 This event occurred last night.

What would have happened if the cooling water had dropped a few more inches, hear about 3 Mile Island, how about Chernobyl? Nuclear Power is all so safe huh? How long did it take for the cooling water to return to the "safe level?"

Do you feel safe when the TVA and TVA's contractors punish their employees for reporting safety problems? http://www.timesdaily.com/article/20090928/NEWS/909289992/1011/NEWS?Title=Tuscumbia-whistle-blower-wins-case-against-Browns-Ferry Unfortunately there is a history of punishing those who report nuclear safety violations within the TVA.

Nuclear power is not safe, it is not clean (Just ask the 160,000 nuclear workers who have filed claims and the 40,000 whose claims have been approved and the 1200 whose claims were never paid due to their deaths.)and it is sure is not cheap. One plant's cost, 8-9 billion dollars and rising.
Update: The Browns Ferry Unit 2 Nuclear Reactor Scrammed due to equipment failure at 11:23 PM on the 29th of Sept. 2009. The TVA reported, "HPCI and RCIC actuated as expected to restore reactor water level. Reactor pressure control was maintained on the turbine bypass valves, and no Main Steam Relief Valves (MSRVs) were opened as a result of the transient."
"At this time the unit is stable in mode 3. Reactor water level is being controlled using one Reactor Feedwater pump. HPCI and RCIC have been returned to standby readiness. Reactor pressure is being automatically maintained by the main turbine bypass valves." So they stated, but was this a true statement? Did the RCIC actually return to standby readiness?
The subsequent event report, after review of the event data reads, " "The initial notification made at 0409 hours ET on September 30, 2009, reported that the RCIC system actuated as expected in conjunction with the HPCI to restore Reactor Pressure Vessel (RPV) water level. However, during a review of plant data, BFN [Browns Ferry Nuclear] determined that after receiving a valid actuation signal, RCIC failed to inject to the RPV. The cause of the failure is under investigation. " The RCIC is the reactor core isolation cooling system, a very important safety asset failed. This is what caused the reactor water level to drop 50 inches but was not reported in the initial report.
The initial report mentioned above was in error and false. A violation of Atomic Safety Protocol even though it has been corrected in the subsequent report. Inaccurate reporting reflects a failure in the attention to detail, a personal reliability issue. A lack of attention to detail is not a desirable trait for the management of a nuclear power plant.
Update: The NRC Event report was updated the next day to reflect an accurate report after a review of event data. http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/event-status/event/2009/20091001en.html The updated report reads, " * * * UPDATE FROM MIKE HUNTER TO JOE O'HARA AT 1508 ON 9/30/09 * * * "The initial notification made at 0409 hours ET on September 30, 2009, reported that the RCIC system actuated as expected in conjunction with the HPCI to restore Reactor Pressure Vessel (RPV) water level. However, during a review of plant data, BFN [Browns Ferry Nuclear] determined that after receiving a valid actuation signal, RCIC failed to inject to the RPV. The cause of the failure is under investigation. "The licensee informed the NRC Resident Inspector of the update and does not plan a press release." Notified R2DO(Ernstes)."

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Scottsboro City Council Meeting

Old Business: 1) The CDA, Commercial Development Authority was approved by a 4 to 1 vote. Mr. Hodges was the dissenting Council Member. 2) The 10 year Solid Waste Plan was approved.

New Business: 1) Job description for Jailers position approved. 2) Staff Accountant job description approved. 3) New Street Department Organizational Chart approved. 4) City Hall Organizational Chart approved. 5) Vacancies on Library Board and Museum Commission upcoming, contact the City Clerk, Ms. Cathy O'Shields no later than Oct. 16, 2009 by 4:30PM if interested. Ph # 574-3100. 6) Alcohol Beverage License hearing for El Paraiso Mexican Restaurant. Issue was tabled due to owner not present. 7) Budget Hearings will continue Oct 1, 2009 at 4:30 City Hall. 8) City Council Meeting was continued until Oct 5 for approval of 2010 Budget. 9) Mr. George Lewis spoke expressing his concerns about the CDA.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Scottsboro City Council Budget Hearings, Part 1

Last night was the first of the Budget Hearings. The Mayor and Council Department Committee members had already met with the Department Heads to work out budget details concerning the respective departments.

As previously announced by the City Council, revenues are down this year. Mr. Wheeler commented lodging taxes were down. Lodging taxes account for 42% of Scottsboro's General Fund budget. The departments were requested to reduce their budgets so a reduction in employees or city services would not need to occur.

Unfortunately Employee insurance costs have risen by 14%. A plan is being considered to reduce the insurance cost increase by 5% to a 9% increase. It appears the city employees may have to share part of the insurance cost increase by higher deductibles. There was considerable discussion concerning this issue. Mr. Smith suggested that if employees were to bare the brunt of cost increases they should receive a one time pay increase to help defray costs. During the insurance discussion it was brought up the city had contracted an insurance evaluator to save the city money in its insurance for its employees. There was some question as to exactly what his contract was for and the length of service of the contract. It was stated this individual was hired 3 years ago for 1 year and the contract has not been officially extended. There was also questions concerning how much money the insurance evaluator was being paid and for what purpose. Neither was clear to this writer as to amount of money paid for the exact service rendered as to cost savings which is what the insurance evaluators contract concerned. Figures given for evaluators pay did not match percentage of savings. It was very confusing, except there was no current contract for what he was being paid.

Another interesting revelation was the amount of money to be placed in the IDB budget, $23,000. I inquired after the meeting as to the specific usage of these funds there was no specific answer given.

There was discussion as to freezing of all Cost of Living Allowances and step increases to meet a balanced budget.

The budget hearings are not a decision making session but are sessions of deliberation to work out problems in the up coming Fiscal year's budget, 2010. I was the only person present outside of the City Council and Mayor. Next budget hearing will be Oct. 1, 2009 at 4:30PM.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Scottsboro City Council

Tonight was a work session. 1) Larry Ward presentation on Standard & Poor's Bond Rating of the City of Scottsboro. "The City of Scottsboro shows great strength in many areas..., the City of Scottsboro is rated at A+." 2) Presentation and discussion by Mayor Potter concerning Street Department organizational chart. The Street Department will be eliminating 1 position. 3) Discussion by Ms. Debra Borders concerning job description for Jailer. Ms. Borders has indicated there is no job description that can be located. 4) Mayor Potter discussed changes in job descriptions for City Hall employees. 5) Mayor Potter discussed changes in the Organizational Chart for City Hall employees. Changes would involve duties of City Clerk and Financial Division personnel.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Scottsboro City Council

Scottsboro, Alabama home of First Monday. Always the 1st Monday of the month and the weekend prior to the 1st Monday.
LEARN ABOUT OUR OPPORTUNITIES http://www.cityofscottsboro.org/

The Monday night meeting of the Scottsboro City Council consisted of a Work Session and a Regular Council Meeting.

Work Session. 1) Pat Blankenship of CCS, Court Collections Systems, submitted request to perform the Court Fees and Fines collection services for the City of Scottsboro. 2) Garry Morgan made presentation concerning First Monday and marketing of the event and the city. 3) Jerry Cunningham made presentation on needed improvements and inclusion of Cedar Hill Cemetery into the National Historic Sites Places. 4) CDG Engineers made presentation on Master Drainage Plan for city.

Regular Council Meeting, Old Business: 1) Special Events Annual Liquor License approved for The Comfort Inn. 2) CDA, Commercial Development Authority, added to agenda by motion and approved. Mr. Thomas took over Council President, while motion was made to table item by Mr. Hodges until the citizens could have input and notice of this decision prior to vote. Mr. Smith voted against the tabling motion. The motion to table was approved by a 4 to 1 vote. The issue will be placed on the agenda of the Sep. 28th City Council Meeting.

New Business: 1)Silver Fox Restaurant name change approved for Alcohol Beverage License. 2) City Attorney made recommendation that the Mayor be authorized to approve all insurance claims below the deductible limit of $2500.00. Motion made and approved. 3) Solid Waste Management Plan report by Mr. Eddie Blizzard, Director of Solid Waste. 4) Knights of Columbus Roadblock approved.

Open Meetings Act, Notice Requirement concerning Budget Hearings: There was some confusion concerning the notice of the scheduled Budget Hearing meetings. The Open Meetings Act requires all notices of meetings of a quorum of the legislative body be posted 7 days in advance on the bulletin board including notice to the local press. There was no notice on the City Hall entrance bulletin board nor sufficient notice given in the local paper as required by the Code of Alabama 36-25A-3, 7 days prior to the meeting date. The meeting that was scheduled for the 15th and 17th, the notice was given in The Daily Sentinel on Sep 11, 2009 in a news article, time was listed as 4:30 was cancelled. The first Budget Hearing meeting will be the 22nd of September, 2009 according to Mr. Hodges City Council President.

Monday, September 7, 2009

First Monday Chronicles 2009, Part 2 Familiar Faces

"Face Pots" by Selfville, Al. potter Bobby Gaither. Bobby is one of the best in Alabama and shows his wares across the southeast.
Bobby at the potters wheel. Potter Bobby Gaither gave a demonstration of how pots were made. His pots are sought after far and wide. He uses the old style technique known as "Sand Mountain Pottery."

" Brother Don" showing his wares at First Monday.

Roll Tide! Al's family and friends sell sports memorabilia and of course Alabama football collectibles.

Mr. Phil sells high quality hand crafted Maple chairs, rockers and swings. He also sells many other interesting items. You never know what you may find at a 1st Monday event.
First Monday is always the weekend prior to the 1st Monday of the month, and of course the 1st Monday of the month. The big days are Saturday and Sunday with very few vendors on a Monday except on holidays, most folks work on Mondays.
Scroll down for Part 1.

First Monday Chronicles 2009, Part 1

Shoppers were looking for the bargain and unusual items at the 2009 1st Monday Labor Day Event.
Crowds were brisk later on Saturday afternoon when the rain stopped.

Good food, friendship and deal making could be found at this 1st Monday Labor Day Event.

Antiques, knives, coins, books and historical curiosities from around the world may be found at at 1st Monday.

A very successful Labor Day 1st Monday. As one poster commented on one of my favorite forums, "Every First Monday should be like today. There was a time when it pretty much was." It can be very successful with a little positive effort and marketing.
Rain on Saturday decreased the amount of patrons shopping but many carried umbrellas, browsing and shopping continued. Businesses around the square did very well during the rain showers. After the rain ceased business picked up considerably.
Art'n the Park also fared well. Huntsville Times article. http://www.al.com/news/huntsvilletimes/local.ssf?/base/news/125231490668370.xml&coll=1
Sunday and Monday's event was booming. 2500-3000 showed for Sunday with the same number for Monday. Many came from far away as Wisconsin, California, New York, Texas and the mid-western states. I also saw many local people and became reacquainted with old friends in which I had not seen in many years.
First Monday is an event which represents the Spirit of Scottsboro and must be supported by our local political leadership.
Many thanks to all the folks which show their support for 1st Monday events.