$31.00 donated in past month
From the Open-Publishing Calendar
From the Open-Publishing Newswire
Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: California | Central Valley | International | Peninsula | Santa Cruz Indymedia | U.S. | Environment & Forest Defense
Atomic Fracking in New Mexico, Colorado
The over-exploitation of Oil and Gas here at home, is not about “America's Resources For America". It is a kind of sinister 'new world order' of technology driven tactical diplomacy. One might call it more accurately a Right Wing Energy Plan For Destabilization of Key States throughout the world. As the U.S. and Canada production rises, some oil producing countries could face the threat of becoming "failed states" as their leadership grapples with greater pressure for economic and political reform while resource revenues decline. But atomic fracking is unwarranted.
Atomic Fracking in New Mexico, Colorado
Tritium, and Krypton 85, with half lives of 12 years and 10.7 years respectively, aren't Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (NORM) brought up to the surface through the wellbore of fracked natural gas wells. These are remnant blast radionuclides, from three, separate, but simultaneously detonated 33 kilo ton nuclear devices under 'Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy' carried out in the Southwest of the US to increase gas production. The gas fields are currently active, according to this 2006 symposium.
Several sites exist in the U.S. and former Soviet Union where nuclear devices were detonated in low-permeability gas reservoirs to increase reservoir permeability (Rubin et al., 1972; Nordyke, 1996). Three stimulation projects were undertaken in the U.S., although none resulted in successful gas production. Two gas reservoir stimulation projects were conducted in the former Soviet Union, at least one of which resulted in a 20-fold increase in produced gas over that expected without nuclear stimulation. Nothing has been reported of the other experiment.
The three U.S. experiments were conducted in fine grained, low-permeability sandstones and shales located in the Piceance Basin of Colorado (Projects Rulison and Rio Blanco) and the San Juan Basin of New Mexico (Project Gasbuggy). Gaseous radionuclides (primarily Tritium, Carbon 14, Krypton 85) were included with the natural gas flared to the atmosphere as a result of production testing after the detonations.
All three of the atomic fracture stimulation sites are located in actively producing gas fields. As a result, there is interest in evaluating subsurface radionuclide migration toward producing gas wells. This paper reports part of an investigation of subsurface transport at the Rio Blancosite, where three 33-kt nuclear explosives were simultaneously detonated at 1780, 1899, and 2039 meters below the land surface.
The extreme temperatures from the blast vaporized much of the rock, water, and gas, resulting in three underground cavities. Each cavity was estimated to have a radius of 21 m and height of 84 m. Fractures from the explosions were estimated to extend 63 m horizontally from the emplacement hole. Within one minute of the detonation, the formation pressure fell to predetonation formation pressure. Molten rock formed a puddle of lava (puddle glass, or melt) several meters deep at the bottom of each cavity.
As the cavity cools, radionuclides are distributed into four phases: the nuclear melt glass, as surface deposits on rubble in the chimney, dissolved in water, or in the gas phase (Borg et al., 1976; IAEA, 1998). Most of the fission products from the detonations are refractory and are incorporated into the glass. These will leach very slowly out of the glass as the glass itself slowly dissolves in groundwater. More volatile radionuclides, or those with a gaseous precursor (such as 137 Cs, which is produced by the decay of 137 Xe), occur both in the melt glass and as more easily dissolved deposits on rock surfaces. Though surface-deposited nuclides are more readily dissolved into groundwater than those in the melt glass, many are reactive and tend to sorb strongly onto mineral surfaces. Several radionuclides are mobile in groundwater, with the most significant being tritium. At Rio Blanco, tritium is also the most abundant of the gaseous radionuclides.
Because tritium is an isotope of hydrogen (half-life 12.26 yrs), it is able to form radioactive water and possibly methane (CH4) molecules. Water exists in both the gas and liquid phases, while methane exists (under reservoir conditions) in only the gas phase. Some tritiated methane, however, probably formed under the extremely high pressure and temperature conditions associated with the nuclear detonation. In addition, tritium can be present as hydrogen gas (either 3 HH or 3 H2), which can be as much as 13 percent of the gas phase (Toman and Tewes, 1972). Monitoring during flaring activities suggests that the majority of tritiated methane and hydrogen gas were removed during the production tests. All of the tritium, therefore, is assumed to be bound in the water molecule (i.e., little remaining tritium exists as either hydrogen gas or tritiated methane).
Following the nuclear detonation, tritium diffuses radially outward from the nuclear cavity.
After 35 years, a production well is located 290 m from the cavity, and production begins. Gas production occurs for 30 years, at which time it ceases. The effects of permeability, gas saturation, and production rate on tritium migration are examined in the results.
Tritiated gas fills the cavity within the first month of the nuclear detonation and diffuses radially outward from the cavity for the first 34 years. Just prior to the start of gas production (35 years after the detonation), the extent of the tritium is approximately 100 m from the center of the cavity.
Is it just a model?
Gas production occurs for 35 years, after which time production ceases. The pressure gradient induced by gas removal has only a limited effect on tritium transport, as radioactive gas is drawn only an additional 40 to 50 m during gas production.
66 years after the nuclear detonations; at this time, tritium migration is balanced by it's
radioactive decay such that the plume dimensions have stabilized. Beyond this time the mass fraction field diminishes due to radioactive decay. Gas-phase tritium never reaches the production well under this scenario.
Although not shown, tritium dissolved in the aqueous phase has a similar appearance to Xg THO, with higher values of tritium mass fraction. Aqueous phase velocities are several orders less than those in the gas phase due to smaller liquid-phase diffusion coefficients, yet tritium in the aqueous phase has traveled the same distance as in the gas phase.
The reason is due to phase change; that is, tritium moves away from the cavity in the gas phase and partitions into the aqueous phase. This partitioning acts to diminish Xg THO at the expense of gaining mass in the aqueous phase. In combination with radioactive decay, this acts to constrain the dimensions of the plume, as both processes (phase partitioning and radioactive decay) work together to diminish mass fraction of tritium in both phases.
The presence of the Rio Blanco underground nuclear test within a natural-gas producing field prompted investigation of subsurface migration of tritium in the reservoir. The Rio Blanco test was conducted in the Piceance Basin of Colorado, in the Mesaverde Formation, where reservoirs occur in very low permeability sandstone lenses. TOUGH2 was used to explore some of the processes controlling tritium migration toward a hypothetical gas production well.
Gas diffusion was found to be an important part of overall transport, with only limited additional migration driven by advection from assumed gas production from a well. Varying intrinsic permeability and gas production rates within reasonable limits only impact the simulations by less than a factor of two. Conversely, increasing the initial gas saturation of the formation allows more transport as a result of the association of saturation with the gas phase relative permeability. The tortuosity model also has a significant impact on the transport pattern, with greater transport calculated for a relative permeability model, as compared to a saturation based model. Of importance in all simulations are exchange and decay processes. Though migration occurs essentially only in the gas phase, exchange into liquid water serves to effectively trap tritium mass along the gas pathway. The tritium half-life of 12.26 years allows for significant mass decay over the time scales considered here.
This work was supported by the Department of Energy, National Nuclear Security Administration, contract no. DE-AC52-00NV13609.
PROCEEDINGS, TOUGH Symposium 2006
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, California, May 15–17, 2006
TRITIUM TRANSPORT THROUGH A LOW-PERMEABILITY NATURAL GAS RESERVOIR
Let's move forward a bit in time to Dick Cheney's era of the 2005 Halliburton Exemption.
The over-exploitation of Oil and Gas here at home, is not about “America's Resources For America". It is a kind of sinister 'post cold war' tactical diplomacy. One might call it more accurately a Right Wing Energy Plan For Destabilization of Key States throughout the world. As the U.S. and Canada production rises, some oil producing countries could face the threat of becoming "failed states" as their leadership grapples with greater pressure for economic and political reform while resource revenues decline
As the U.S. and Canada rise, some oil producing countries could face the threat of becoming "failed states" as their leadership grapples with greater pressure for economic and political reform while resource revenues decline, the report said. Others, especially China, could make up for some of the demand, but not all.
"Nigeria, the picture is fairly bleak. Venezuela is pretty bleak."
As for Russia, "if it is the case that what is now a $90 Brent floor price becomes a $90 Brent ceiling price, given the dominance of hydrocarbon exports in Russian revenue, there could be a three percent hit to GDP which is by no means insignificant over the next five years, because that's how critical hydrocarbons are," he said. "Here you have a country that requires, on its own public record, $117 per barrel Urals crude, on average, to balance their budget. If the price of oil collapses to only as low as $90 a barrel, it does have that order-of-magnitude effect."
The oil producing nations of OPEC, and others, will have to adjust to a world of lower prices.
Brent crude, the international benchmark, could trade in a new lower range of $70 to $90 per barrel by the end of the decade, from its recent range of $90 to $120 per barrel, Citi projects. That would be below the break-even levels required by many producing countries. The price required by Saudi Arabia is $71, and Kuwait is $44 per barrel, but many other countries have break-even levels of $110 or greater.
"Starting this year, North American output, as we indicate in this report, should start to have tangible impacts both on global prices and trading patterns, and will eventually turn the global geopolitics of energy on its head," the report said.
Since 2006, U.S. oil field production of crude, plus natural gas liquids and bio-fuels has grown by three million barrels a day, about the same as the total output of Iran, Iraq, or Venezuela. In the same period, Canadian production has grown by 510,000 barrels a day.
There is also pressure to move light sweet crude from the Gulf Coast to higher value locations. For instance, Morse expects to see light sweet crude move form the U.S. Gulf Coast to eastern Canada, displacing more West African imports to North America.
Citi expects that within two years, there could be pressure for more exports to other destinations or for pipelines on the East Coast or to change laws that would allow shipping of crude from the Gulf Coast to the East Coast by non-U.S. flagged ships.
By the end of 2014, Citi expects that sour Canadian crude should make its way to the Gulf Coast by way of new pipelines and that should provide a challenge for other producers shipping to the Gulf Coast, including Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait , Venezuela and Mexico. Morse says they could be pushed out by Canadian crude, or these producers could preserve market share by cutting prices.
Interdependent North America - The Citi report, titled "Energy 2020: Independence Day"
"Most people are not aware that almost 60% of our oil production is from foreign sources. Once they are made aware, they are extremely uncomfortable that we are so dependent on others, especially OPEC, for such a critical resource. Of all players in the energy debate, no one is more hated than OPEC. Let me be clear: OPEC is the enemy."
The Luntz Research Companies - Straight Talk
Luntz memo, Right Wing Energy
The perfect soundbites...
Now let's head across the country to Bayou Corne, Louisiana, the Sinkhole. They've found an UNKNOWN underground volcano and lava. BP probably knew... The New Madrid Faultline, may become more famous (soon) than the San Andreas.
Texas Brine, not exactly the Texas Tea of Jed Clampett.
All links go to YouTube uploads.
Feb 27, 2013
Residents angry as Assumption sinkhole continues collapsing.
Eyewitness News report from February 25, 2013.
BAYOU CORNE, La. -- The Assumption Parish sinkhole is a lot like a living, breathing thing. More than 200 days after it mysteriously started swallowing up the swamp, hundreds of residents are still under a mandatory evacuation order. Geophysicists say the cavern that caused the sinkhole at the surface is still collapsing,
Environmental activist Erin Brockovich told a group of Bayou Corne residents on Saturday that standing up and taking legal action against the company that owns a failed salt dome cavern believed to have caused the Assumption Parish sinkhole is the only way they will find relief from the emergency.
Bayou Corne, LA "Sinkhole is only a Symptom" + New Madrid Fault Line + BP Oil Spill + other events, including sulfur & radiation emissions and radiation levels in the food supply, leaking nuclear plants, nuclear waste, seismic activities, oil industry , lack of real information released from officials, media misrepresentation, etc.
There should be no fracking, or acidizing in seismic prone California,
We do what we can, and all we can to
Ban The Frac King, Moratoria NOW!
An even clearer description of 3 nuclear fracs over 6 years in the Southwest is given here:
Test 1: Gasbuggy Nuclear Test, December 10, 1967
On December 10, 1967 Project Gasbuggy, a project under US AEC Operation Plowshare Program, exploded a 29 kiloton nuclear device at a depth of 4222 ft or close to a mile underground in an effort to release natural gas trapped in the rocks.
The test called for a 29-kiloton nuclear device to be placed at the bottom of a 4,240-foot deep shaft drilled in a "tight" shale formation known to contain natural gas. To a large degree the experiment went as planned: the underground cavity produced by the explosion, 80 feet wide and 335 feet high, filled with natural gas from the fractured surrounding rock. However the gas was too radioactive to be commercially distributed by public utilities.
Test 2: Rulison Nuclear Test, September 10, 1969
The Rulison test, part of the Operation Mandrel Weapons Test Series
Operation Mandrel was a series of 53 nuclear test explosions conducted in 1969 and 1970. This test series included a 1.2 megaton "calibration shot" code-named Milrow, which was detonated 1,220 metres (4,000 ft) underground at Amchitka Island, Alaska, and the 40 kiloton gas stimulation experiment code-named Rulison, detonated near Grand Valley, Colorado. The Rulison underground nuclear detonation took place in Colorado in 1969, to investigate the possibility of using nuclear explosions to extract natural gas from low grade deposits.
The test, a Plowshare Program experiment called Project Rulison, was performed by the Atomic Energy Commission and two corporate partners, CER Geonuclear and the Austral Oil Company, using a 43 kiloton bomb (greater than 2x the Nagasaki bomb), at the bottom of an 8,426 foot deep shaft.
Over 40 years later –
The federal government prohibits drilling and extracting below 6,000 feet within a 40-acre zone surrounding surface ground zero. (DOE)
Test 3: Rio Blanco Nuclear Test, May 17, 1973
Conducted under the Operation Toggle series 75 miles north of Grand Junction, Colorado
An underground nuclear test took place the Rio Blanco site in 1973, to investigate the possibility of using nuclear explosions to extract natural gas from low grade deposits. The test, the last in the Plowshare Program, was performed by the AEC and two corporate partners, CER Geonuclear and the Equity Oil Company, using three simultaneously detonated 30 kiloton bombs.