Citing recent concerns about North Korea and other groups ramping up their involvement in making and using radioactive material, John White, CNMT, Chair of the North Texas Radiation Response Group, updated the Eagles U.S Medical Directors Consortium on what would/could happen if a nuclear device was detonated in a large metropolitan center. Areas of prime focus will include: “¢ Need for water and other substance needs — for months; “¢ Shelter for hundreds of thousands of people; “¢ Special trash and sanitation concerns; “¢ Need to place children in alternative education facilities if their schools are contaminated; “¢ Psychological and law enforcement issues, particiularly when the population is displaced and hungry; Rioting will be a concern; “¢ Children separated from their parents; and “¢ Employees who “abandon” their jobs or profession to care for their quarantined children or due to stress and grief. He advised the Eagles and their EMS agencies and providers to get the Planning Guidance for Response to Nuclear Detonation, available free online. www.epa.gov/radiation/docs/er/planning-guidance-for-response-to-nuclear-detonation-2-edition-final.pdf. White told the Eagles that, “We know the bad guys want to get hold of nuclear material and devices.” The three concern that were discussed were: “¢ Nuclear power plant explosion “¢ Nuclear device “¢ Dirty bomb — with all material release rapidly He also recommended that EMS systems and communications centers download the free HOTSPOT – plume physics program: https://narac.llnl.gov/HotSpot/HotSpot.html. He urged those in attendance to keep hard/paper copies of these reference materials on hand and in supervisor vehicles because warned on electromagnetic pulses that will occur in the event of a nuclear release will incapacitate computers, vehicle electronic systems and other key devices we have become dependent on for emergency incident management. He noted that there will be significant demands on systems, particularly when affected agencies and residents will be unable to enter nuclear-affected areas for years. Take-away messages included: 1. Prepare/train your EMS personnel; 2. Meet with your local/regional meterologists; 3. Locate your Radiation resource personnel (A Health Physicist — Radiation Safety Officer; Nuclear Medicine Physicians and Technologists); and 4. Have pre-prepared messages ready for release prior to an incident occurs.
InterOil announced the relocation of core functions from its 100-person office in Cairns, Australia, to support expanding operations in Papua New Guinea (PNG). The Cairns office will close by the end of the year.The decision to increase capacity in PNG comes as InterOil is finalizing an agreement with Total S.A. of France to develop a multi-billion dollar LNG project in PNG. Work continues on completing the Total agreement by the end of Q1 2014, including the buy-out of minority interests.Michael Hession, InterOil Corporation Chief Executive Officer, commented,“The relocation of core functions would put resources where they are most needed. PNG is our base, and where all our activities are, including exploration, refining, and distribution – and, of course, the LNG project. It makes sense to focus our workforce there.”InterOil has also begun a new round of drilling as part of its exploration activities across almost 4 million acres in PNG. The company plans to drill up to eight wells in the next 12-15 months. The drilling of each well is expected to take about three months. Currently, 1100 people are working in the field on the seismic program and preparation for drilling operations. The commencement of drilling operations will employ an additional 300 people.[mappress]LNG World News Staff, January 29, 2014; Image: InterOil
Arild Bolsø, an engineer who worked for Statkraft in Norway and Forewind in the UK, has developed a new technical concept for offshore wind foundation installation. According to Bolsø, the concept would reduce installation time by 30-50%, compared to current methods.After Statkraft decided to stop new investments in offshore wind, Bolsø set up a new company – Arild Bolsø Engineering – and worked fulltime to develop the Hydrostatic Structural Connection Technology (HSCT), with the early phase of development financially supported by Innovation Norway.The HSCT involves a suction cap that connects two or more submerged structures. The technology can be used on submerged structures with a tower extending to the surface such as a wind turbine substructure, on completely submerged structures such as in oil & gas applications and tidal turbines, or as a quick connection on a mooring line.Bolsø told Offshore WIND that he decided to introduce the technology to the industry after filing a patent application in December.The conceptA substructure with sealing elements is installed on top of a foundation, creating watertight compartments between the two structures. The pressure inside these compartments is quickly reduced to atmospheric level allowing for the water pressure from outside to act on the structures and keep them connected. A secondary simple mechanical locking device takes the loads in the case of a sealing failure.To some extent, the principle is similar to that of the suction bucket technology, but instead of pushing a bucket into the seabed, the HSCT is connecting two or more submerged structures.The HSCT suction caps consist of peripheral sealing and rubber cushions (fenders) inside.Because of the very instant attachment of the suction cap, floating vessels can be used and integrated installation becomes possible, Bolsø pointed out, adding that one floating vessel can carry six suction bucket foundations or four complete turbines and substructures per trip.How it works?A suction cap is mounted at the lower end of the substructure, which is very similar to a three-legged jacket and goes between a tower and a foundation already installed at the seabed. The upper part of a suction cap is attached to a flat surface on the foundation.From the suction cap up, the foundation can feature either a jacket structure or a monopile-shaped structure.“Below the suction cap one can imagine several types of foundations. As long as the foundation has a flat horizontal area that matches the suction cap on the substructure, it can be either pin-piled to the ground, have suction buckets or be a heavy concrete slab. Also, floating structures can be used as long as they have the same horizontally surface at c. 35-meter water depth,” Arild Bolsø explained.Standardization and industrialization of substructures for bottom fixed and floating wind turbines can lead to significant cost reduction for both alternatives, according to Bolsø, since one installation vessel can be used for the standard “topside”, which may also install most of the foundation types.Offshore WIND Staff; Images: HSCT
There’s been plenty to dislike during the Orioles’ season-worst four-game losing streak, but the latest poor outing from Opening Day starter Kevin Gausman tops the list.Seemingly poised to become a top-of-the-rotation starter after a superb final two months of 2016, the 26-year-old has instead been one of the worst pitchers in baseball to begin the new season.The fourth overall pick of the 2012 draft entered Monday last among qualified American League starters with a 7.19 ERA over his first nine starts and is better than only the 43-year-old Bartolo Colon in the major leagues. In blowing a 5-0 lead in Sunday’s 9-8 loss to Kansas City, Gausman surrendered at least five earned runs for the fourth time in his last six starts, an alarming stretch considering he entered the season with a total of 12 outings of five or more earned runs allowed in his entire career. Forgetting any visions of Gausman becoming an ace, where’s the solid pitcher who posted a combined 3.77 ERA over the previous three seasons to serve as a middle-of-the-rotation starter?That’s what makes his horrendous start so troubling. Contrary to the many frustrated fans comparing him to Jake Arrieta — though his sudden fourth-inning collapse against the Royals on Sunday was quite “Arrietian” in nature — and Brian Matusz, Gausman has had much more success than either of those two ever did as starters in Baltimore. The right-hander hasn’t struggled to this degree since early in his rookie season when he was a year removed from being drafted and hadn’t pitched above Double-A Bowie.So, what’s wrong with the talented young pitcher?A career-low 6.8 strikeouts per nine innings and a career-high 4.6 walks per nine are red flags that beg to question whether Gausman is healthy, but his average fastball velocity is nearly identical to what it was last year and is in line with where it sat when he was exceptional over the final two months of 2016, according to PITCHf/x data. That doesn’t mean he couldn’t still be hiding an injury as diminished command can be an early sign of an ailment, but manager Buck Showalter has volunteered more than once that Gausman is in a good place physically after dealing with bouts of shoulder tendinitis in 2015 and early in 2016.Gausman has spoken more than once about his mechanics being out of sync as the novice can see how frequently his fastball has leaked to his arm side this season. Even his biggest critics over the last few years acknowledge that he never had a problem with issuing free passes after walking just 2.5 per nine frames over his first four seasons. If his delivery is out of whack and causing his poor command, what is new pitching coach Roger McDowell doing to help matters?Regardless of how hard he’s been hit overall, Gausman simply isn’t throwing as many strikes — a career-low 60.6 percent of his pitches have been strikes compared to 64.4 percent over the previous two years — and that’s clearly a problem.There have been some changes to Gausman’s pitch usage early in 2017 that could either help explain or merely reflect his overall problems.The development of an effective breaking ball has been a well-documented obstacle throughout his professional career, but he revealed in the spring that he was going back to his slider after leaning more on a curveball the previous two years. Gausman is throwing the slider more frequently than ever — with the occasional curve mixed in — and his average slider velocity of 84.3 mph is much faster than he’s ever thrown it, but the results still haven’t been there.Making matters worse has been the regression of his split-changeup, which had easily been his best secondary pitch over his first four major league seasons. According to Brooks Baseball, Gausman is throwing his split a career-low 14.8 percent of the time, and the sharp break and consistent command of the pitch just haven’t been there. Though that pitch has been more effective against left-handed batters and he did face some righty-heavy lineups early in April, a 1.5-percent decrease in lefty hitters faced from a year ago is hardly meaningful enough to justify such a decrease in his usage of the split.Has his spring focus and increased velocity on the slider somehow compromised the reliability of the fastball-split combination that had made him consistently competitive in the majors over the last few years?Only Gausman can know this for sure, but could at least part of the problem be mental?Despite looking every bit the part of an ace over the final two months of 2016, Gausman had to hear about the increased expectations throughout the offseason, especially with veteran Chris Tillman sidelined throughout the spring and over the first month of the season. Has the emergence of Dylan Bundy prompted Gausman to put more pressure on himself to be great since the 24-year-old has spent a fraction of the time in the majors compared to him?After Gausman received little run support a year ago, no one can complain about the lineup’s contributions as he’s received the best run support of his career so far in 2017. Staked to a 9-1 lead at Yankee Stadium last month, Gausman gave up five earned runs and was chased in the seventh inning of a game the Orioles inexplicably lost in extra innings. On Sunday, it took him only minutes to squander a 5-0 lead as MASN broadcaster and Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Palmer questioned his concentration level during the telecast.Whatever the explanation, the Orioles need Gausman to rediscover himself quickly. With Tillman not pitching at full strength and Bundy still in his first full season as a major league starter, Gausman is too important to the fate of the 2017 club to continue performing like this. His track record as a reliable middle-of-the-rotation arm for the better part of the previous three seasons makes him deserving of at least a few more starts to get back on track and start showing consistent improvement, but he can’t continue holding a rotation spot as one of the worst pitchers in baseball for the long term — even with the lack of viable alternatives.Those offseason thoughts of Gausman finally becoming a No. 1 starter may look foolish at the moment, but, at this point, the Orioles would take him being the solid pitcher he’s been for most of his career.Aside from a start or two, even that guy is nowhere to be found in 2017.