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California | Environment & Forest Defense | Government & Elections

P.G.& E. threatens to Erase Point Bushon 'Marine Protected Area'
by David Gurney
Sunday Jun 24th, 2012 12:36 PM
Once the shock waves kill or deafen everything in their path, from the surface to the ocean floor, they will penetrate some fifty feet into the earth's crust, allowing scientists to map the newly discovered fault lines just offshore from the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant.

The "safety zone" of evacuation, in the event of a Diablo Canyon meltdown

http://noyonews.net

P.G.& E. threatens to Erase Point Bushon 'Marine Protected Area'

by David Gurney

In a bizarre footnote to the final implementation of the privately funded MLPAI "Initiative," Pacific Gas and Electric Company has asked the California Fish and Game Commission for a "scientific collecting permit" to possibly "cleanse an extensive swath of the ocean - virtually sterilized of living creatures" (Comm. Richard Rogers) - within a "Marine Protected Area" off the Central California Coast.

After the Fish and Game Commission's adoption of the final North Coast leg of the Marine Life Protection Act "Initiative" in Eureka, California on June 6, 2012, the next item on the agenda was a request from P.G. & E. for a "scientific collecting permit" - to allow the blasting of 250 decibel air cannons within the Central Coast's Point Bushon 'Marine Protected Area.'

According to P.G.&E., the proposal calls for a 240 ft. ship to tow a quarter mile-wide array of twenty 250 decibel "air cannons," along a 90-mile stretch of California's Central Coast. The cannons will shoot very loud underwater explosions, that will blast from the surface to the benthic depths, once every sixty-three seconds, day and night, for 42 days and nights.

Once the shock waves kill or deafen everything in their path, from the surface to the ocean floor, they will penetrate some fifty feet into the earth's crust, allowing scientists to map the newly discovered fault lines just offshore from the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant.

The Hosgri Fault, discovered in 1971, is an 87-mile strand of the San Andeas fault system that lies three miles offshore from the Diablo Nuclear Power Plant. Its discovery forced P.G.&E. to design the Diablo plant to withstand a 6.5 magnitude earthquake.

But, according to the Southern California Earthquake Data Center, the Hosgri Fault is capable of producing a 7.5 magnitude earthquake, or greater.

And the recently discovered "Shoreline Fault" is just half-mile from the plant. Scientists fear that in combination, the Hosgri and Shoreline faults are capaple of producing a major "lateral slip" quake of undetermined proportions. Since strands of the Shoreline fault possibly extend directly beneath Diablo Canyon itself, the resulting catastrophe would make Fukushima seem like a picnic.

The Shoreline Fault, 600 m offshore from the Diablo Canyon NPP. The Hosgri Fault, part of the San Andeas system, is just offshore. Scientist fear that in combination, the resulting earthquake will devastate the Diablo Canyon plant.

Although they did not reveal the fact to either the F&G Commission, nor the public, at the June 6 meeting in Eureka, P.G.&E. has been ordered by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to conduct a new safety review of the plant. The seismic survey procedure involves firing eighteen of the twenty cannons at any given time, two being kept in reserve. Each of these blasts will be at the volume level of a shock wave, that can and instantly deafen, maim and possibly kill everything unfortunate enough to be in its path.

The resulting seismic profiling, simiar to a CAT scan, would give geophysicists an idea of just how bad the newly discovered fault systems actually are.

But according to Commissioner Richard D. Rogers, conducting the seismic tests with eighteen 250 decibel (dB) air cannons will "literally cleanse an extensive swath of the ccean, virtually sterilized of living creatures." Much to the chagrin of the three commissioners attending the meeting, who had just congratulated themselves on finishing up the last of California's novel "network of marine protected areas," this "cleansing" includes the entire Point Buchon MPA, in effect since 2007.

The Point Buchon marine protected areas include a 'State Marine Reserve' and 'State Marine Conservation Area.' Both will be destroyed by P.G.&E.'s proposed seismic testing plans.

In the realm of human hearing, a sound of 140 decibels, carried through the air, is considered loud enough to cause permanent hearing damage, although "Sounds that are louder than 85 dB can cause permanent hearing loss" .

140 dB is as loud as a jet engine. A 150 dB sound is like having fireworks exploded three feet away from you. 165 dB is the sound that comes out of the barrel of a 12-gauge shotgun. A stun grenade produces a sound 170-180 dB. Over 200 dB is well off the scale of most noise or hearing loss charts. But 240 dB blast is reportedly like being one foot away from the mouth of a large cannon. Your ears, or what's left of your ears, would probably never stop ringing.

Since the dB scale, like the Richter scale, is logarithmic and not linear, 250 dB is exponentially greater than 240 dB. The consequences of experiencing this level of sound can only be presumed to be immediate and permanent deafness - if not worse.

Sound travels differently in water than in air. Though it travels farther and faster, the shock wave of louds sounds, like an explosion, is less intense at higher frequencies in water. But at the 200 Hz and lower frequency range that P.G.&E. proposes to conduct these tests, severe damage to marine mammals and fish and will undoubtedly result. Beyond just broken ear drums, the transfer of low-frequency shock waves from water-air-water causes hemorraging of lungs and air-sacks, and will result in the death of sea mammals and fish.

Noyo News will have more on this developing story....

NOTES:

"(Richardson et al., (1991) suggest that if baleen whales show low auditory thresholds for low frequency sounds, then sound levels of 195-210 dB might result in immediate damage to their auditory organs.) Link

"(In Simmonds and Hutchinson, 1996), Jonathan Gordon and Anna Moscrop state that shock waves caused by intense underwater sound sources can cause direct tissue damage. Animals with air filled lungs and swim bladders are especially vulnerable because of the large difference in impedance between air in the lungs and their body tissues or sea water. Submerged animals exposed to explosions at short range showed hemorrhage in the lungs and ulceration of the gastro-intestinal tract."

Loud underwater sounds also, of course, affect fish and other marine life. Studies show harmful effects of even moderate noise on hearing in fish and the viability of fish eggs exposed to noisy environments was significantly reduced (Myrberg, 1990). On March 10, 1998 the "Seattle Times" reported that hundreds of dead fish appeared in Lake Washington after 240 dB airgun blasts were used to test for earthquake faults. Seismometers dozens of miles away picked up the air gun pulses and nearby residents felt their beds shaking." source: link