Sunday, August 31, 2008

Heat Transfer Experiments; Rectangular Channels

General Electric screwed-up. Westinghouse did not.

So, let's first look at the correct way to to the job. Westinghouse (Bettis) issued the following report that includes the correct design for a test section to determine the heat transfer characteristics of a rectangular channel.

The cross section below is the Westinghouse (correct) design for the heat transfer test section.

And the illustration below shows a neat way of installing the test section in apparatus for testing at high pressure (note the insulation to prevent leakage of electric current).

Now that you have seen the correct design, you may read the following that describes the errors in the GE design that led to an erroneous burnout heat transfer correlation. I was at GE (Vallecitos) less than four months when I wrote the following:

My boss at Vallecitos advised me to keep this close to my chest. Well, I talked a bit. Too bad. Several years later when politics pushed me out of Vallecitos, I certainly had no chance for a softer job in San Jose. HOW THINGS WORK!
Posted by Leyse at 11:44 AM

Featherbedding Feds

For those who choose to search, you will find a long list of crafty dippers!

Names of all NRC Personnel Grade 13 and Higher who have been Accorded Waivers Allowing them to Receive Both Full Salary and Federal Retirement Benefits.

FOIA/PA-2006-0259 2006-08-01 2006-08-17 ML062210445+ PENSION OFFSET WAIVERS APPROVED AUGUST 2003 - AUGUST 2006 EMPLOYEE LEGAL BASIS Delegation of Delegation of yfrom OPM authority from OPM Energy Policy Act of authority 5 OPM under 5 U.S.C. 8344 2005 Secti

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Lightning: My latest letter to INPO (INPO SER-76-84)

I e-mailed this yesterday and then mailed the signed copy.

Robert H. Leyse
P. O. Box 2850
Sun Valley, ID 83353

August 29, 2008

Ronn K. Smith
Suite 100
700 Galleria Parkway, SE
Atlanta, GA 30339-5943

Dear Ronn:

In your letter of August 4, 2008, responding to my request for INPO SER 76-84, you refer to the confidentiality between INPO and it members as essential to allow the kind of extensive plant performance analysis that INPO provides.

On August 17, 2008, I agreed that the long-standing INPO policy is OK; however I suggested that your board should consider releasing documents that are aged and insensitive. I also suggested that when NRC references a specific INPO SER in its public documents, the specific INPO SER should then be released to the public.

Please refer to page 121 of Levy’s book, 50 years in Nuclear Power, published during 2007 by ANS. Maybe Levy is wrong, but he describes in some detail how INPO went to Chairman NRC in disclosing its relations with PECO. “INPO finally decided to issue a very strong letter recounting past and current failures by PECO … When the INPO letter was published, it had a great impact on PECO and its top level officers.”

If the NRC does not give me INPO SER 76-84 under FOIA, I’ll remind the Chairman NRC that INPO, according to Levy, does not consistently regard confidentiality between INPO and it members as essential to allow the kind of extensive plant performance analysis that INPO provides.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Zircaloy-steam reactions A note from Aladar Stolmar

Here is a worthwhile reference. I'll study it.

Dear Bob,

I undusted some of my earlier irritations and came across the following (from the saame time I was doing my battle with NRC):
Following the uncovering and dryout during the coolant boilaway,the rods heated at a rate of 2 to 5 K/s until peak cladding temperatures of 1700 K were attained,at which time the autocatalytic oxidation reaction resulted in a temperature excursion (at a rate of 10 to 50 K/s) and hydrogen generation. Peak local cladding temperaturesare estimated to have exceeded-2600 K, based on information from thermocouples on the outside of the bundle liner.
The high-temperature oxidation reaction began at the 2.4- to 3.04-m elevation and formed a localized burn front that moved quickly downward as far as the 1.2-m elevation and then steadily upward. The burn front reached the top end caps (3.80m) and ceased 15 min before the end of the test. The oxidation reaction consumed 75% of the total Zircaloy or almost 100% of the Zircaloy in the path of the burn front. The remaining 25% of the Zircaloy was always
below or near the bundle water level. The amount of hydrogen generated was 300±30 g, close to the total conversion of the 1.26-g/s makeup coolant flow within the 45-min high-temperature period. The hydrogen flow fluctuated during the 45-min high-temperature period in response to similar fluctuations (10% to 20% relative)in the bundle coolant flow. The peak hydrogen flow was 190 mg/s, which corresponded to an oxidation power of 28 kW.

D. D. Lanning
N. J. Lombardo
W. K. Hensley
D. E. Fitzsimmons
J. K. Hartwell @ EG&G-Idaho
F. E. Panisko
April 1988 – Completion Date
September 1993 – Publication Date
Prepared for
U. S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Under U.S. Department of Energy
Contract DE-ACO6-76RLO1830


Pls. Note: „Post-test visual examination of one side of the fuel bundle revealed no massive relocation and flow blockage; however, rundown of molten cladding was evident." – contradicts to the above description of authors that the cladding burned off above the water level with a rate allowed by water flow.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Zircaloy takes off in a very hot water-steam mix!

Stainless Steel vs. Zircaloy at 2500 degrees Fahrenheit

By way of introduction here are a few sentences. We are talking about commercial or military atomic power. We must realize that at this stage the game is run by finance and marketing types. And if the so-called technical experts are not producing the proper sentences, the marketers will find others who will do so. In the following paragraphs I refer to clowns and that is not nice or even accurate. In reality they were a gang of obsequious, cunning performers and they were well rewarded for their antics. On one occasion, a bright young investigator, fresh out of MIT was told, “This not school!”

Of course I will not cover all of the details here. Those who choose may read the referenced FLECHT reports. FLECHT is Full Length Emergency Cooling Heat Transfer. A FLECHT heat transfer assembly is a 7 x 7 array of PWL simulated fuel rods (electrically heated) that were 12 feet long.

Two runs are discussed here. Except for Farman’s note (below) the run with stainless steel cladding has been unreported (at least I have no other records). It was a mess. However, it is also useful with my supplemental reporting herein for comparison of the behavior of zircaloy clad heaters in a subsequent test.

Here is some quick background. A FLECHT test consists of heating the test assembly to a temperature in the range of 2000 degrees Fahrenheit and then flooding the upright assembly from the bottom up and monitoring the cladding temperatures at various elevations as the flooding proceeds. The temperatures are monitored by thermocouples that are mounted within the heaters at several elevations. Also, the heaters are built with a profiled power distribution so that more power is at the central regions than at the ends. The flooding temperature is determined in the high power (central) region.

In the stainless steel test, an error led to monitoring the temperature of a lower power region for control of the onset of flooding. The result was that the heat transfer assembly was overheated and almost all of the heaters failed (burned out) at greater than 2500 degrees Fahrenheit. However, all of the cladding remained intact. Indeed, except for discoloration and warping, the assembly was in fairly decent shape. There was also melting of braze alloy from the spacer grids in the high power region, but this was not sufficient to interfere with the flow channels between the stainless steel heaters.

It is unfortunate that the assembly was not photographed. However, as is usually the case, although there was a lot of finger pointing, in the long run the forces in command chose to bury this event. Even with the mess and the lack of detailed reporting, it was a great adventure. I fortunately was not running the show, however, I had a grandstand seat! I’ll dwell on that at another time.

Anyway, Dick Farman produced a two page document that I have managed to preserve. Here it is. Click on it to enlarge and then press your back key to return here.
So, all of the above took place on April 18, 1969.

Well, I wound up running the test floor operations. On December 11, 1970, I was running FLECHT Test No. 9573, an assembly with ziracloy cladding that took off! And it was a good thing (for me) that I knew more about this racket than the clowns who were administering the project from down the road. Following the great take off, I quickly analyzed the charts, produced the following memo, and most important of all, I got it immediately distributed! The clowns down the street did not like this memo, but there was not a lot they could do about it. Here is the text of the memo and it is followed by a less clear (but readable) copy of the original document.

Here is a photograph of the failed assembly. The clowns also made sure that this was never published in the project reports. Again, click to enlarge, etc.

Among aspects that the clowns detested, was my insistence that the run produced valid data up to the time when failure of the heaters began. They invented the fiction that negative heat transfer coefficients were anomalous. In fact, the heat transfer coefficients were very real. They were negative because with the heat of reaction from high temperature oxidation of the ziracloy cladding, the heater became a heat sink as heat was transferred from the reacting surface inward to the very hot , but cooler heater internals.

Here is a memo that I faxed to the NRC a few years ago. (I have no record of the date).

For now, this wraps up this entry. Clearly, hot zircaloy takes-0ff in water-steam, whether the clowns like it or not.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Notes from Simpson and Levy (each wrote a book)

These guys are not always correct, but they have a very high batting average. Nuke engineering students should look at these books from time to time in their college library. I check them out now and then, and I'm placing notes here for reference to other entries in this blog. Simpson and Levy each made lots of dough, but that does not mean that the field is open today, certainly not for all; but then , it never was open to all in terms of really cleaning up the bonus dollars.

Now, when the bright nuke graduate goes for job interviews, and even before, he should think a bit of what he will not ask, but what he should be looking for. Here is one common sense suggestion:

"Here I am, a bright young nuke. I will be putting a lot of great ideas into this company. Who will get the bonus money if my ideas pay off?" Of course, this is not to be mentioned during the job interview.

John W. Simpson, Nuclear Power from Underseas to Outer Space, ANS 1994.

A very thorough book, not without errors.

Contributions from about 30 participants. It was edited by a freelance writer to render it “… as readable as possible for a broad audience.”

From page 79:

“AI-W had its share of Rickover incidents. He liked to put people down and make them feel their lack of expertise. At one meeting on reactor metallurgy, John Steifel, the project manager was the victim. The meeting convened late in the afternoon, broke for dinner, then continued into the evening. All during this time Rickover told Steifel to sit in one corner of the room and to not interrupt. Phil Ross, Steifel’s right hand man on technical matters, was told t do the talking – even at dinner. Rickover wanted to give the impression that he considered Steifel a technical idiot.”

From page 198:

“It started with some scale tests on the Special Power Excursion Reactor Test (SPERT) reactor on Idaho that cast doubt on what were then standard industry analysis techniques.”

From page 199:

Howard Arnold recalls joining as engineering manager in 1970, with about 600 engineers in his group. The financial people wanted him to cut the number of engineers on the basis that many of the plants being sold were really duplicates and that all that was needed was good project management. Soon thereafter it became clear that changes were needed in the business and that they could be turned into a profitable sideline.

Also from page 199:

“Where this couldn’t be done or wasn’t enough, we proposed an upper head injection system.”

From page 12:

“I was in Rickover’s office when Sam Untermyer came in carrying a shiny piece of pure crystal bar zirconium. He said they had removed the hafnium impurity, which would make excellent control rods, and the pure zirconium was ideal for cladding.” Note: Untermyer is not in the extensive INDEX.

From page 237 The GOCOs

These government-owned and contractor-operated faculties are called GOCOs.
Clearly, …the growth and decline of various projects in the nuclear enterprise provided an opportunity for maintaining and developing the nuclear experience base within the company.

From page 450
In the late 1960s, Westinghouse invented and developed an ice condenser containment concept in which several million pounds of tetraborate ice are stored in the containment. … effective up to and including a double-ended rupture … one-half the volume of dry type … inherently passive … sold 10 reactors …licensed to Finns for two Russian …disadvantage in refueling…tight quarters

From Page 175 and 176 Westinghouse Testing Reactor (WTR)

The new commercial power industry lacked some of the essential tools necessary to so the job. That’s why the AEC urged them to build – and Westinghouse did decide to build - a nuclear testing reactor. Monty Schultz was the technical director fro the project under Edmund T. Morris, general manager.

The construction permit for the Westinghouse Test Reactor was issued on July 3, 1957, and it began operation at Waltz Mill, Pennsylvania on July 1, 1959.

It was a low-temperature water-cooled reactor. The fuel elements fuel elements for this reactor were totally different from those used in today’s power reactors. Instead of an assembly of 1200 or more tubes, 12 to 13 feet long and containing pellets of low-enriched uranium oxide, the fuel elements for WTR were four feet long and consisted of three concentric aluminum cylinders alloyed with fully enriched uranium metal and clad with aluminum.

The WTR operated on commercial contracts in which various material were inserted into the core and removed after a 21 day cycle. Shielded piping (loops) and associated control and monitoring consoles were located on the floor of the vapor container to allow materials being irradiated to be exposed to various environments.

The expended fuel from the WTR …

After a cooling period, the expended fuel …

We kept the WTR busy for five years, but not without problems. At 8:34 on Sunday, April 3, 1960, there was a partial meltdown of some of the fuel rods. This caused radioactive krypton and xenon gases to be released to the atmosphere. The site was immediately evacuated and plant personnel surveyed the surrounding area in Westmoreland County to determine the extent of the radioactive release. While the radiation levels were high within the site, they were not above allowed levels at monitoring stations outside the site. Westinghouse submitted a report to the AEC on July 7, 1960. However, the accident went virtually unnoticed by the press and the public at the time. There were no injuries and no adverse health effects reported at the time , nor have any been reported since.

The AEC required improvements to be made in the venting system before allowing the reactor to be restarted in October 1960. The reactor operated without further untoward incident until it was shut down.

Unfortunately, shortly after it was completed, the government … ETR … Plum Brook … WTR retired in March 1962.

The AEC approved plans for the retirement …

The former WTR head tank …

The NRC has begun a nationwide program to … decommission …during the cleanup process following the accident thousands of gallons of water were used that became contaminated …the soil and groundwater … cleanup will be … costly.

Salomon Levy, 50 years in Nuclear Power A Retrospective, ANS 2007.

From pages 73 and 74:

Several old issues and many new circumstances had to be dealt with in mid-1973 in the BWR Systems Department. The effectiveness of emergency core cooling (ECC) was back in the news. After suing a set of interim acceptance criteria to ensure ECC effectiveness, the AEC started a public hearing process on that subject in 1972. During that process, several participants were very critical of the methods of analysis and some went as far as predicting the possibility of reactor core melting. During the hearings, tests were conducted in a small, semi-scale, electrically heated model of the Loss-of-Fluid-Test (LOFT) facility being built by the AEC at Idaho. A couple of the experiments indicated that injected water during the blowdown phase of the accident may not reach the reactor core. The media gave coverage to those results and the safety credibility of light water reactors (LWRs) was damaged considerably even though it was shown later that the semi-scale test results were due to poor scaling, deficiencies in semi-scale operation, and perhaps the release of unconfirmed results.

From page 75

As pointed out in 1988 in NUREG–1230, Compendium of ECCS Research for Realistic Analyses, more than $700 million had been spent by 1988 to show that ECC systems can will function reliably.

From Page 90

When Dr. Beaton found out that I had resigned without having another position, he gave me a consulting contract to advise Bill Anders, the astronaut and the new vice president of Manufacturing. I was even more surprised when Dr. Beaton asked me to visit him in April 1978 and handed me a very large incentive compensation check for my work in 1977 and stated that I had earned it fully.

From Page 105


From Page 150


From Page 159

I described the GE procedure available to employees to raise a safety issue and the management process to respond to it.

From Page 72

For example, I refused to consider a 9 x 9 fuel design to get a plant order in Germany because of its impact on the difficult ongoing asks, especially in manufacturing.

From Page 73

… I decided to investigate other openings at the department general manager level. When I arrived at headquarters, I discussed my preferences and the human relations person ...

From Page 161 – 162

I was next contacted to participate in an advance code review being conducted by Dr. L. S. Tong who was in charge of thermal hydraulic research for the NRC Research Branch. Tong held an early position at Westinghouse similar to mine at GE at the time and we knew each other very well even though at heat transfer technical meetings, we seldom talked about nuclear power for competitive reasons.
NRC had created an Advanced Code Review Committee and I was asked to become a member. The Committee function was to review the Los Alamos work to develop the transient reactor analysis code TRAC, for predicting the loss-of-coolant accidents (LOCAs) in PWRs.
The Los Alamos engineers were not as appreciative of attending the review meetings because they were getting tired of being told that they could not sacrifice the physics involved to simplify their computer simulations.

From Page ix

Also I wish to recognize the efforts of Karen Vierow, the chairperson of the American Nuclear Society (ANS) Book Review Committee, and of the committee members for their comments and advice. Professor Vierow spent a considerable amount of time getting the book approved by ANS and I am Grateful for her continued support. Finally, I wish to thank Randall S. Bilof and Lorretta Palagi for their excellent editing work.

Salomon Levy March 2007

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

UHI Upper Head Injection: Early Development Work

“Where this couldn’t be done or wasn’t enough, we proposed an upper head injection system.”
John W. Simpson, Nuclear Power from Underseas to Outer Space, ANS 1994, page 199.

Note: UHI had been removed from all of its victim nuclear plants by the time ANS published Simpson's book in 1994.

I've said a lot about UHI, Ultra High Risk, and I've said it is a very involved case. And at some point I'll put this all in some organized presentation.

The following discussion and slides relate the era during the early 1970's when UHI was in the early stages of design and development. Two systems were on the table, UHI was one, the other was In Core Spray (ICS). Each system involved the injection of emergency cooling water into the core during blowdown. (In my organized presentation all this will be clear.) The emergency cooling water was stored in a large pressure vessel and upon demand it was injected by high pressure nitrogen which was in a second large pressure vessel.

So, I bugged the project manager, Gallagher, with some questions directed to ICS, but these also applied to UHI. The problem that I identified on October 25, 1972, was the impact of dissolved nitrogen on system performance. Click on this slide to enlarge and press your return key to get back here.

Gallagher promptly responded. In the slide below, November 1, 1972, his bottom line is "In general, the effects of nitrogen saturation have not been considered."

The In-Core spray system was abandoned, and I never found out how in the world the designers expected to get by with short term pressurization of the accumulator water.

However, by January 30, 1973, the designers of the new UHI system were very well aware of the potential impact of dissolved nitrogen on UHI performance. The following two slides reveal their awareness and also the very narrowness of their awareness.

The very narrowness of the scope of their evaluation is summarized in the first sentence of the second paragraph of page 1 of their report, "The evaluation consists in determining the potential for flow choking during UHI system blowdown, the degree to which UHI system performance is affected, and the feasibility of engineering tests to confirm the calculated results." There is no recognition that the release of the large volume of nitrogen into the pressurized water reactor vessel would adversely impact the cooling of the reactor fuel elements.

As I have discussed previously, our great evaluators in our NRC also failed to recognize the hazards associated with the large nitrogen inventories. For reference, I am again attaching my appraisal of the NRC's negligent evaluation of UHI field performance. All of this will be integrated in a complete presentation sometime in the future.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

NSF ignores independent research by individuals

I want the Committee on Science and Technology to investigate this situation.
It appears that the cartel of university officials has succeeded in gaining a preferred and somewhat closed access to NSF funding.


Section 3(e) of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Act of 1950, as amended, states that: " shall be an objective of the Foundation to strengthen research and education in the sciences and engineering, including independent research by individuals, throughout the United States, and to avoid undue concentration of such research and education."

I took my great technology to UCLA. Our proposal (my technology) was declined:
CBET 0438436
U of Cal Los Angeles
Declined 08/19/2004

Without my knowledge, UCLA then submitted Proposal Number 0553571 which was a modification of the above declined proposal, but which still had my great technology as its keystone. UCLA won $399,740. I was surprised to find this out when I scanned active awards at NSF.

This certainly amazed me. I asked NSF's OIG to look into this and recently I was told, “We opened a file in response to your email received in this office on April 17, 2008. We have determined that there is insufficient substance to an allegation of misconduct to proceed in this case. The case has been closed and no further action will be taken.”

I want the Committee on Science and Technology to investigate this situation.

It appears that NSF avoids funding independent research by individuals. It appears that NSF resents such applications for funding. It appears that the cartel of university officials has succeeded in gaining a preferred and somewhat closed access to NSF funding.

I received no reply from the House Committee on Science and Technology, So I asked my Congressman, Mike Simpson to get after these birds. He has done so, and I suppose that at some point I will get some kind of response. Auway, here is an early response from Mike.

NRC could send me INPO-76-84

Send your worries; more myths will be fabricated at your expense!


The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is seeking suggestions from the public on how it can increase its level of openness related to security at nuclear power plants and certain other facilities while still protecting sensitive information. A summary of the feedback will be posted on the NRC’s Web site, provided to the Commission and considered in the development of new openness policies.

After the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, the Commission implemented a new policy of withholding certain information. Some information previously available to the public was withheld and new information, such as certain orders to NRC licensees on security measures, was designated as classified, safeguards information or sensitive unclassified information and withheld from the public.

In 2007, the NRC began redacting and releasing many of the safety documents previously withheld, and the agency is interested in taking additional action regarding security-related inspection and license performance information. Under consideration are several approaches, including adding more detail to an annual report to Congress on security oversight and to the cover letters for security inspection reports, and by making more information available on the NRC Web site.

“We view nuclear regulation as the public’s business and believe it should be transacted as openly and candidly as possible,” said NRC Executive Director of Operations Bill Borchardt. “Ensuring appropriate openness while also controlling sensitive information recognizes that the public must know about and be able to participate in the NRC’s regulatory processes.”

Specifically, the NRC is seeking public input on a number of questions relating to what type of information the public wants. Sample questions include:

What kind of NRC security inspection and licensee performance information would enhance your confidence in NRC’s regulatory oversight effectiveness?

Is the information provided in the NRC cover letters to security inspection reports useful?

What kind of NRC security inspection and licensee performance information would enhance your knowledge as to how safe and secure you and your family are?

The questions, with background information, are available in the Federal Register notice issued today. This notice is available on the NRC’s Web site: will be accepted until Sept. 12. Comments can be submitted electronically through or mailed to Chief, Rulemaking, Directives and Editing Branch, Office of Administration, Mail Stop T6D59, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, D.C. 20555-0001. Comments can also be delivered to Two White Flint North, 11545 Rockville Pike, Rockville, MD., between 7:30 and 4:15 p.m. on federal workdays.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

LIGHTNING: Here is a response from INPO.

CLICK on the image to enlarge. Hit your return button to get back here.

Below is my response to INPO.

Robert H. Leyse
P. O. Box 2850
Sun Valley, ID 83353

August 17, 2008

Ronn K. Smith
Suite 100
700 Galleria Parkway, SE
Atlanta, GA 30339-5943

Dear Ronn:

Thank you for your letter of August 4, 2008, responding to my request for INPO SER 76-84. I received your letter on August 14, 2008. There was a delay because it was addressed to my street address instead of my P. O. Box.

My feeling is that the long-standing INPO policy is OK; however, your board should consider releasing documents that are aged and insensitive. Also, when NRC references a specific INPO SER in its public documents, that specific INPO SER should then be released to the public.

Now that I have told you how to run INPO, let’s get back to my narrow case. What has driven me nuts for decades is the INPO summary rejection of my NSAC/INPO SIGNIFICANT EVENT, SALEM 1, which was posted by NSAC on 12-AUG-2000. INPO, in a knee-jerk reaction, immediately (within hours) “suggested” the deletion of this entry.

I became aware of the INPO “suggestion” on 27 Aug 1980 and I told NSAC to “…send the completed form to INPO.” I never knew until 3-11-82 that NSAC had trashed my NSAC/INPO SIGNIFICANT EVENT, SALEM 1.

Ronn, maybe for now, INPO may answer the following question: Is the Salem 1 event of 06-08-00 included in INPO SER 76-84?

As an aside, NRC denied my request for the stuff under FOIA. I’ve appealed that and we’ll see what happens.

Bob Robert H. Leyse

Monday, August 11, 2008

How things work: H. Tracy Hall, 1919-2008

H. Tracy Hall, 1919-2008; Scientist Created Artificial Diamonds

Click on the following for the very intriguing games of the great Tracy Hall.

Following are some highlights from the above:

It would be safe to say that there is no American whose life is not significantly impacted by the uses of industrial diamonds. Much of the credit for this can be given a young farm boy who enjoyed reading about Thomas Edison in the public library.

In July 1970, Dr. Hall presented his PERSONAL EXPERIENCES IN HIGH PRESSURE. Following are selected quotes:

On December 16, 1954, I discovered how to make diamonds.

The way to discovery was not easy …

I attempted many hundreds of indirect (mainly "carbon releasing") approaches a period of about a year but to no avail, and I was becoming discouraged. Then, one wintry morning, I broke open the sample cell after removing it from the Belt. It cleaved near a tantalum disk used to bring in current for resistance heating. My hands began to tremble; my heart beat rapidly; my knees weakened and no longer gave support. My eyes had caught the flashing light from dozens of tiny triangular faces of octahedral crystals that were stuck to the tantalum and I knew that diamonds had finally been made by man.

In April of 1955 I decided to leave the company that I had aspired to work for in my youth. There were several reasons for doing this, most compelling among them the continued lack of financial support for the things I wished to do. I had come to "understand'' the politics of the expensive double-ram press. After committing itself to this approach, management could not face a cheap alternative. But after synthesizing diamond I expected that money to be no object and could understand no longer.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

How could Obama make it worse?

Look at this trash!

Press Release 08-133

NSF Issues Solicitation for Basic, Human Sciences Research on Social and Behavioral Dimensions of National Security, Conflict and Cooperation

First call for proposals under recent Memorandum of Understanding between the Foundation and Department of Defense

The National Science Foundation releases a call for research projects to support national security. Credit and Larger Version

August 4, 2008

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has issued a solicitation that represents a partnership between NSF and the Department of Defense (DoD) to support basic research projects that can address areas of strategic importance to national security as one part of DoD's Minerva Initiative launched in the spring by the Secretary of Defense.

The solicitation follows a Memorandum of Understanding signed by NSF and DoD in June that facilitates support of such research collaborations.

The solicitation, "Social and Behavioral Dimensions of National Security, Conflict and Cooperation" (NSF 08-594), will support high-quality, basic, human sciences research of investigator-initiated research projects and/or the development of joint workshops.

All project proposals submitted through this solicitation will be reviewed using NSF's standard process of merit evaluation based on peer review, meaning proposals will be evaluated for their intellectual merit and broader impact.

"To secure the national defense was one of the original missions we were given when we were chartered in 1950," said David Lightfoot, assistant director of NSF's Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences Directorate. "We've always believed that sociologists, anthropologists, psychologists and other social scientists, through basic social and behavioral science research, could benefit our national security."

By partnering on this solicitation, the NSF and DoD seek to: 1) develop the DoD's social and human science intellectual capital in order to enhance its ability to address future challenges; 2) enhance the DoD's engagement with the social science community; and 3) deepen the understanding of the social and behavioral dimensions of national security issues.

A Letter of Intent (LOI) must be submitted prior to the submission of a full research proposal and the deadline for LOIs is Sept. 30, 2008. LOIs are not required for workshop proposals. The deadline for formal proposals is Oct. 30, 2008.

The Minerva Initiative is an effort led by Secretary Gates to build bridges between the academic social science community and the Department of Defense. To achieve that vision, the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy has piloted a number of approaches to engage the social science community, including partnering with NSF on this solicitation. A Broad Agency Announcement (BAA) was released by the Department of Defense in June and represents a completely separate funding mechanism from this solicitation.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Lightning: INPO's Early Stumble; a Staggering Start.

Lightning is also the centerpiece of the next several entries in this blog. Here is my perspective on this including further documentation.

“Bill LaValle – If this is not a significant event, than maybe I should be out of this business! Suggest we send the completed form to INPO. Leyse 27 Aug 1980”

Why did INPO originally stiff-arm my finding that the Salem lightning strike was indeed a Significant Event? I submitted my write-up on August 12, 1980, and INPO rejected it that same day. INPO had no logic in its rejection; it was a brief and emotional response. As I found out about two years later, NSAC went along with INPO’s rejection. So why did INPO react so quickly and emotionally in its rejection, and why, about four years later, did INPO finally publish a Significant Event Report that apparently covered lightning strikes at several units including Salem-1?

Here is my recent perspective. During August 1980, INPO existed for less than one year, and its staff refused to report the Salem-1 lightning strike as a Significant Event because they feared the reaction of the Admiral who ran the place. The nuclear power utilities set up INPO because Jimmy Carter’s Kemeny Commission mandated the formation of something like INPO. The utilities also knew that in the public’s view, Rickover was unimpeachable. The utilities then used Rickover as a public relations tool when they selected his choice, an Admiral Wilkinson, to dominate INPO. Wilkinson was obviously a master of the Rickover games.

Now, a lot has been written about folk hero Rickover, but much of it is not concretely documented. However, here is some concrete evidence of Rickover in action. Following is a direct quote from the book by John W. Simpson, Nuclear Power from Underseas to Outer Space, American Nuclear Society, 1994.

From page 79:

“AI-W had its share of Rickover incidents. He liked to put people down and make them feel their lack of expertise. At one meeting on reactor metallurgy, John Steifel, the project manager was the victim. The meeting convened late in the afternoon, broke for dinner, then continued into the evening. All during this time Rickover told Steifel to sit in one corner of the room and to not interrupt. Phil Ross, Steifel’s right hand man on technical matters, was told to do the talking – even at dinner. Rickover wanted to give the impression that he considered Steifel a technical idiot.”

So, that is mode of domination that the staff at INPO was facing when they feared disclosing the lightning strike at Salem-1 as a Significant Event. After a few years, INPO’s first leader completed his tour of duty, and his replacement was likely less treacherous. INPO then became free to recognize that lightning strikes led to Significant Events at nuclear power plants and it issued INPO Significant Event Report SER 76-84.

I’m still trying to get a copy of SER 76-84. INPO and EPRI have not acknowledged my request, and the NRC is working on my appeal for its release under FOIA.