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Official: It's OK to frack within 500 ft. of nuclear plants

A natural gas well that will be hydraulically fractured or fracked is planned one mile from FirstEnergy Corp.’s Beaver Valley Nuclear Power Station in western Pennsylvania
“We’re not aware of any potential impacts and don’t expect any,” said FirstEnergy spokeswoman Jennifer Young today. “We see no reason to be particularly concerned.”


Follow up to:

Fracking permit given just 1 mile from US nuclear plant — “Whether that is cause for alarm, experts can’t say”


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These companies will lie to

These companies will lie to you and tell you the operations are completely safe. I used to work for a seismic company and the amount of corruption was sickening.


There are about 900 rigs operating right now in Texas. These wells are drilled anywhere from 15-120 days depending on location and depth. Just about every well drilled is fracked. Now do the math and ask yourself how many earthquakes occur in Texas every year. Do you honestly believe that fracking causes earthquakes? Half of our countries rigs (total of 1748) are in Texas. So wouldn't a large chunk of our earthquakes be here as well if you believe this non-sense? Citing sensationalist scientists as proof is not credible. I see everyone talking about getting off foreign oil all the time. Yet they fail to realize that fracking has increased our oil production to the extent that we have surpassed Saudi Arabia. What you really should be asking is why do we have nuclear power plants instead of utilizing the unimaginably massive supply of natural gas as energy. Natural gas burns clean, unlike nuclear and coal which has waste. People need to take the steps to educate themselves about the oil industry before making judgement. Opinions are fine and healthy for discussion but spreading disinformation is exponentially harmful.

Liberty: Too big to fail

Again I have to fight

Again I have to fight disinformation on nuclear plants. Fracking poses no danger to a nuke, I have worked in a half dozen nukes, we are talking concrete walls 4 feet thick here with steel beams for structural reinforcement. Even an earthquake wont take one down. Fukishima failed not because of the earthquake, but because of the combination of that earthquake with a tsunami. Now do I think fracking is a good idea 500 feet from a plant? Hell no, there is no reason to take that risk, but in reality they couldnt get that close to a nuke anyway...generally the plant owner's property extends about a mile around the plant itself. No other industrial actvities take place on this land. To me the only real danger from nuclear power plants is that they become a HUGE problem in the event of a collapse...whether caused by an economic collapse, a pandemic, an EMP, etc the danger comes when the employees stop showing up for work. Even after its spent a fuel rod must be kept submerged for ten years or so before they stop producing neutron radiation. Neutron radiation is the most dangerous and is only stopped by water and concrete. This is why spent fuel rods are kept in a spent fuel pool until they cool down, this is all well and good but the rods release heat into the water so the water must be circulated by pump to remain cool enough not to boil away and expose the rods to the air, so as long as parts are avaialable and people show up to work its all good....but if people dont show...its only a matter of time till a pump fails, or the fuel rod the reactor runs on runs out, shutting off the pump power, the other unit will supply power for another year before it runs out of fuel as well...the backup diesel generators will only last a couple months at best...so somewhere between 2.5 and 3.5 years assuming nothing breaks down or is sabotaged is the best you could possibly hope for a nuke to run itself...potentially a much shorter time.

We need to begin building the newer modular designs

They are free of all the dangers you list. The plant is entirely buried, and the cooling water, and water for waste fuel cooling cycles via thermosyphon (no pumps to fail) from a surface lake which ideally would be recharged naturally from rainfall. The designs allow for modular sizes in the 10-100MW range which is 1-10% of the size of a plant today. Controls are simpler, maintence is much less, and the system is failsafe. You could put a plant under the city park, and othe rthan the transmission line heading out no one would ever know it was there. The dangerous part about nuclear power is that the NRC is so slow they can't get around to approving any new designs, so we are still running 40-50 year old plants based on 60 year old designs that were meant to last 30 years. The power company I work for is looking at building one of these, we'll see if the NIMBY folks can get it stopped yet.

Josh Brueggen
Jack of all Trades
Precinct Commiteeman Precinct 5 Rock Island Co Illinois

From the article: "As the

From the article:
"As the fracking continues, does anyone, driller or geologist, know what really lies beneath the surface? Does the improbability of seismic activity as a result of fracking become more likely as more wells are drilled?"


Yes, these people just drill drill drill without regard to any surroundings. The geology? They don't know anything of what is below the surface, it is a random guess where they threw a dart at a map.

Southern Agrarian

What is beneath the surface? A coal fire

that has been burning for almost 51 years now. OK, it is in the middle of the state, so not under this, but still... There was a DPer in the 2007-08 years who was leaving PA, I forget who. Looks like he made a good call.


This is the article that got my posting privileges revoked:

Why would it be a problem?

Why would it be a problem?

Southern Agrarian

Maybe because it causes small earthquakes?

Have you noticed all of these states that frack having earthquakes that have not happened in thousands of years? PA and TX recently.

Well if you read material

Well if you read material other than sensational news sites, you would know the actual act of Fracking itself does not cause earthquakes. It is the disposal well process that causes the minute tremors. The permit is for a fracking well, not a disposal well. Chesapeake isn't run by idiots, (they were till their latest chairman was voted off the board for squandering company money on personal affairs).

Southern Agrarian

National Geographic was all over "Global Warming"

a few years ago as well. Scientists are prone to the same character issues as everyone else. Just like everone else they have dreams of grandeur (i.e. saving the world) tend to think they are much smarter than the average bear, and hate to admit it when they are wrong. When NAt Geo quit with the climate alarm articles and admits they might have been wrong on that one I'll take them seriously when they warn about the fracking. Until then I'll continue to assume that small tremblors 1-2 on the richter scale (not noticeable to people) are generally ongoing as they have been for thousands of years.

Josh Brueggen
Jack of all Trades
Precinct Commiteeman Precinct 5 Rock Island Co Illinois

Don't you mean 'you' agree

Don't you mean 'you' agree with the article written by other people? Not the other way around?

Southern Agrarian

I said it before the article was published online


So your idea was genuinely

So your idea was genuinely unique, before NatGeo published its article?
NRDC had a blog post with a similar theory, posted over 13 months ago. The idea that "fracking" is a direct cause to tremors isn't as new as you are claiming it to be either. This blog made a post about it in 2011 and I sincerely doubt she thought of the idea on her own out of the blue.
Though I am linking to these blog posts I have a high amount of skepticism that their authors understand the fracturing work flow process past what MSNBC, FOX, or the editor at HuffPo allowed to be printed.

Let's start with the NatGeo article.

The data showed that the initial rupture reached incredibly close to an active well—within 660 feet (200 meters)—and the majority of the aftershocks were located within the same level of sedimentary rock as the wastewater injection wells.

Non-sequitur and misleading. The epicenter of the earthquake was at 35.537°N, 96.747°W at a depth of 3.1 miles. The closest well, API# 35081235610001 in Lincoln County near Prague Lake, is 7198 feet in depth with a second, API# 3508123561, at only 4583 feet. The earthquake was 16368 feet, another 2 miles deeper. This is misleading because the well is in lateral proximity to the epicenter but 2 miles deeper.

(You can search for wells by API here )

The second statement about the aftershocks is downright silly, “… were located within the same level of sedimentary rocks as the wastewater wells.” Oh really? Where at? In the same county? The state of Oklahoma? China? The well operates within the Arbuckle formation, which is comprised of Proterozoic era rocks and I doubt, and know for a fact, that South Central Oklahoma is not the only home to such a formation. The author is obviously new to scientific writing because claiming, “within the same level of sedimentary rocks…” can be interpreted to mean at any location on the planet at the same geologic horizon! We should have expected this with his first misleading statement that the epicenter was “near” the well.

That's because injection wells receive far more water than fracking sites, said Katie Keranen, lead author of the Geology study.


Fracking is one major cause of the increase in energy production wastewater. Although the process may not be the direct cause of the quakes, each drill site requires between 3 to 5 million gallons of water per frack, much of which is later disposed of underground.

The first well’s SPUD date was June 27th, 2000 and was cemented and completed one month later . The well was designed to hold 14,500 gallons of water, a pretty small amount. (8.35 lbs/ gallon, 121075 lbs, or 60 tons. Sound like a lot? Not really, 14000 gallons will fill one of these. Not exactly, the 3-5 million gallons the author is alluding to. He is trying to deceive the reader into thinking that the actual fracking process caused the tremor, not the disposal well. Read his statement, “Fracking is one major cause of the increase in energy production wastewater. Although the process may not be the direct cause of the quakes, ( but you certainly are alluding to that aren’t you Joe?) each drill site requires between 3-5 million gallons of water per frack. It is painfully obvious this cartoonist only saw the disposal well on the map without checking its logs before he read his verdict on the quake’s cause. Are we to assume then that this disposal well whose volume the author failed to report, could, probably, may (all words used frequently in the NatGeo article) contain upwards to 5 million gallons of water? The first statement quoted from the Journal of Geology article throws all of Joe Eaton’s credibility out the window. Surely the author would want to clarify on a statement to build on his credibility as a scientific writer as all he would have had to do was check the well logs to see that particular well was only going to hold 14,500 gallons. In Nat Geo’s world of arithmetic, 14,500 gallons > 3-5 million gallons.

John Bredehoeft, a geological expert at the Washington State research firm Hydrodynamics Group, said scientists have long known that wastewater injection cause earthquakes. "There is no question about that anymore," he said.
But Bredehoeft, who held research and management positions during a 33-year career at the U.S. Geological Survey, said the overwhelming majority wastewater wells in the United States appear to be safe. The problem, he said, is scientists have no way of determining which of the roughly 30,000 wells are likely to trigger earthquakes.
"We don't know enough about the earth's crust to know where it will happen," Bredehoeft said. "Almost nowhere do we have enough data to do that."

This isn’t helping your claim that you were the original owner of the idea of waste water wells causing tremors; apparently it has been around long enough to make an entire business out of it. I would like to clarify that I too believe waste water wells can cause tremors but I have a problem with the author’s statement of, “…The problem, he said, is scientists have no way of determining which of the roughly 30,000 wells are likely to trigger earthquakes. – Bredehoeft” Joe Eaton, why are you citing someone that goes against your articles’ thesis? It was bad enough you left the reader in doubt with many sentences in the passive voice. Bredehoeft goes on to say that they do not have enough data to determine which wells will cause earthquakes or not. A geoscientist with 33 years of experience in the USGS is saying this, yet our author continues to push his wish washy theory, through the journal article, that they surely must be directly related. For some reason though, he never comes out and clearly states this as to leave himself plenty of wiggle room as a defense to rebuttals from his peers. Which is it? Does he actually believe what he is writing or not?

Rubbish article.


Southern Agrarian


Now there is a technical smackdown. I'm guessing you are some sort of engineer as well Ulfias? I hope Ralph doesn't hate me by association now.

Josh Brueggen
Jack of all Trades
Precinct Commiteeman Precinct 5 Rock Island Co Illinois

Actually, I was being lighthearted and frivolous in my comment

Sometimes people choose to ignore the "LOL!" and want to take things seriously. All I was saying was, "I told you so". I don't get to say they out loud much because it pisses people off, but it sure is fun writing it.

Aren't several small

Aren't several small earthquakes better for buildings than one giant earthqake that releases monster energy?

Diamond Dog's picture


That is crazy!

The Diamond Dog is a real cool cat. | Reporting on the world from an altitude of 420.