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This’s Got to Be the Year of Radioactive, Chemical and Oil Spills, Too!

Posted by terres on July 24, 2008

The Moderators have so far declared 2008 the year of fire, tornadoes and volcanic eruptions.

We were wondering whether 2008 could also be declared the year of radioactive, chemical and oil spills, too, almost certain of the knowledge that Areva, EDF and the likes would not “disappoint” us!

French Nuke Industry, Again!

Sure enough, in the third incident of uranium spillage in two weeks, it was revealed that about 100 employees at a nuclear power plant in southern France were contaminated with radiation during maintenance work at the Tricastin reactor number four.

Nuke Leaks, USA: Contaminated US site faces ‘catastrophic’ nuclear leak

More than 210 million liters of radioactive and chemical waste are stored in 177 underground tanks at Hanford in Washington State. Most are over 50 years old. Already 67 of the tanks have failed, leaking almost 4 million litres of waste into the ground. New Scientist reported.

Mississippi Oil Spill [Though Not the Largest Ever!]

Meanwhile, back home, A chemical tanker broke a fuel barge in half on the Mississippi River. About 420,000 gallons (1,589,700 liters) of fuel oil No. 6 [described as lighter than crude oil, but heavier than diesel] were spilled forcing the closure of a 58-mile (93km) stretch from New Orleans southward.

“It’s not the largest spill we’ve ever had, but it’s a large one,” said Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality spokesman Rodney Mallett. [Well, isn’t that a relief!]

Vanadium mine leak in China

Sludge from a vanadium mine in northwestern China contaminated two nearby rivers, Shuanghe River and Donghe River in Shaanxi province, when a spillway collapsed on Tuesday and sent authorities scrambling to protect drinking water supplies, Xinhua news agency said.

“The black-colored waste water with a layer of white bubbles on the top is being stopped by multiple (makeshift dams) and stored and diverted to low-laying areas,” Xinhua said.

“In April, ore tailings from another vanadium mine in Shanyang county polluted and literally blackened three rivers, state media reported at the time.” Reuters reported.

[All vanadium compounds should be considered highly toxic. Generally, the higher the oxidation state of vanadium, the more toxic the compound is. The most dangerous compound is vanadium pentoxide.]

Oil Spill in Amur River

Russia informed China of oil pollution in the Amur River On July 8. last week, the Ministry of Environmental Protection ruled out the possibility that the fuel oil pollution in Amur, or Heilongjiang River, was China.

Mystery oil spill in Patagonia: January 2008 [Don’t you just love the murder mystery spin?]

“The overall spill is made up of several slicks, two to three kilometers wide along a total extension of approximately forty kilometers,” reported the local newspaper El Chubut.

“Argentine government is analyzing recent satellite imagery to determine the cause of the spill but has yet to determine where the oil came from. According to local media reports, several corporations are suspected of causing the spill.” IFAW reported.

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Penguins warm up after being affected by the oil spill in Patagonia.
© IFAW. See FEWW Fair Use Notice!

Black Sea and San Francisco Bay Oil Spills: Environmental disasters follow oil spills

“In the Black Sea and San Francisco Bay, tens of thousands of birds, countless marine creatures and a half-dozen people died following oil spills. The spills in the Black Sea were caused by ships running aground and sinking during the worst storm the region has seen in decades, while the spill in the Bay Area was caused by a lone container ship hitting a bridge in fog. Environmental groups working in both regions call the spills ecological catastrophes.” GEOTIMES wrote.

In Russia, a severe storm struck the Black Sea on Nov 11 damaging or sinking 11 ships and tankers. a total of about 1 million gallons (1,378,500 liters ) of oil was spilled into the Kerch Strait, which ends in the Black Sea, killing as many as 15,000 birds. It’s thought as many as 11 endangered species of birds inhabit the area, and many more migrate through the fragile eco-region.


San Francisco Bay oil spill. Image may be subject to copyright. See FEWW Fair Use Notice!

A container ship in San Francisco Bay struck the Bay Bridge on Nov. 7, causing substantial damage to the vessel and spilling about 60,000 gallons (~ 227,00 liters) of fuel oil into the bay. Some 2,500 birds died as a result. Experts say the region may be affected by the spill for the next 20 years.

Although the two incidents happened in November 2007, the full environmental impacts are now beginning to appear.

Norwegian oil spill raises concern about future oil plans

The second biggest oil spill in Norway occurred in December 2007, reviving concerns of the possible expansion of oil and gas exploration in Norwegian waters.

The spill of around 25,000 barrels left an oil slick 5 kilometres wide and 10 kilometres long. Fortunately the accident was mostly contained by favourable winds. The accident occurred as a tanker was loaded at energy group StatoilHydro’s Statfjord field. IceNews reported.

Norway Again: Oil spill on Draugen

The Petroleum Safety Authority Norway (PSA) has conducted an investigation of the incident that occurred on Draugen on 10 January 2008, which led to an oil spill of about 6 m3 to the sea. On the basis of our findings we have issued an order to A/S Norske Shell (Shell) and Teekay Shipping Norway AS (Teekay). The Petroleum Safety Authority Norway reported.

Oh, NO! Not Norway Again!

During oil offloading from the Statfjord A platform in the North Sea, about 4,000 cubic meters (~ 1.1 million gallons) of crude oil was spilled into the sea on the December 12 causing marine pollution. The Statfjord field is located around 200 kilometres west of Bergen, close to the border of the UK continental shelf. Statfjord was discovered by Mobil in 1974, and Statoil took over the operatorship on 01 January 1987. The field is likely to remain in production until 2019. MarineBuzz reported.


Stril Pioner and seagoing booms at Gullfaks. Imagt credit: MarineBuzz [click link for more photos.] Image may be subject to copyright. See FEWW Fair Use Notice!

Oil Spill Lebanon

“war on Lebanon brought about the biggest environmental catastrophe in the history of this small country. 15,000 tons of oil spilled from Jiyyeh power [plant] after Israeli bombardment spilling oil onto most of the Lebanese coast. ”

“A lot of oil is still on the beach, but all oil spill cleanup operations have stopped due to lack of funding. The last organization doing cleanup is ‘Bahr Loubnan’ NGO that was cleaning rocks from oil near Jiyeh using high pressure water jets. A lot of oil can still be found on shore all along the coast in Jiyeh, Beirut, Tabarja, Jbeil and Anfeh. The Ministry of Environment has issued a call for the second phase of cleanup and is looking for funding.” Oil Spill Lebanon reported.


The oil pollution on the Lebanese Coast (Rena Karanouh). Image may be subject to copyright. See FEWW Fair Use Notice!

Oil Spill Korean Style

In South Korea’s worst oil spill [December 2007,] a crane barge punched holes into Hebei Spirit tanker which spewed 10,500 tons (3.4 million gallons) of its crude oil load into the sea.

Folks, it’s time to drill the Arctics some more. There’s too much pollution out here!

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2 Responses to “This’s Got to Be the Year of Radioactive, Chemical and Oil Spills, Too!”

  1. Jamie said

    I like the format of the posts.

  2. Control room staff in the Highly Active Liquor
    Evaporation and Storage plant detected a
    disruption to the facility’s cooling water supply.
    On investigation, it was discovered that the
    cooling tower basin (cooling towers 1 and 2)
    levels were very low.
    The cause of the loss of the cooling water was
    provisionally identified as an incorrect plant
    reconfiguration following replacement of a valve.
    The plant response was to mobilise its incident
    control arrangements and the Site Emergency
    Control Centre was partly mobilised in support of
    the recovery activities for a period of four hours.
    Cooling water was reinstated to the High Heat
    Highly Active Storage Tanks within two hours of
    the initial loss and to the remainder of the plant
    within eight hours.
    This is within the bounds of the Plant Safety
    Case. NII and EA have been informed.
    A detailed investigation into the event is being
    carried out and the event has been provisionally
    categorised as INES level 1.

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