and how do you pronounce ‘Chernobyl’?

We read of plans to replace uranium with thorium as the fuel of choice for a new breed of nuclear power stations, and also the opinion of some that this replacement fuel is more acceptable because it is ‘safer’.

Seeing as the plans to produce a first working reactor by 2010 in Moscow, Ijust wonder if anyone recalls the last time any clown from the Soviet side of things said those immortal words:-

“Trust us, we’re just checking the Safety interlocks! “

And why not?

A columnist in the Daily Mail, one Richard Littlejohn, has the temerity to tell the voters of Britain whom they should NOT vote for. He diversifies his attack upon a legally-constituted and democratically-run political party by stating that, if people wish to protest, they should try UKIP, or the English Democrats, or anyone but his non-favourite party, the B.N.P.

Now I much prefer to keep my political inclinations to myself, and my political statements are made in attacking all three main Parties, as I consider them all much the same, which is fairly useless, but I would never ever advise anyone to cast their vote as an alternate to a Party with which I disagree.

The British National Party may be many things, but the one thing they are not is a Party which sets it’s policies as decided by asking people what they believe in, and then altering their policies to suit.

As a group, the B.N.P. carries certain baggage along with their checkered history, but I cannot believe that by voting for a B.N.P. candidate, a voter is sounding the death-knell of British Democracy. From my own reading of their policies and statements, I would say that they deserve as much consideration as any other of the opposed parties, and maybe even more than some!

Going through the Scottish ‘motions’!

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In amongst all the veritable ‘flood’ of comments upon the sewage screw-pump failure at the Seafield Treatment works in Scotland, a few reasoned and temperate, the vast majority both uninformed and typical of the extremely low levels of knowledge of basic civil engineering processes; almost all missed the one basic action which was perfectly demonstrated by the increased flow of sewage into the Forth Estuary. This action is of course part of the established practice, extant in all areas of the developed world where civilised societies have built water treatment and sewage plants for the continued health of their population; in that when an ‘Event’ occurs, whether through an equipment failure or a sudden downpour threatens to overcome the existing works and storm systems, the ’emergency flow’ will always be towards open water! If stations had to be designed and built to cope and contain all eventualities, they would need to rise in size, cost and complexity by a factor of about thirty. One comment asking why there weren’t two archimedes screw-pumps in play at Seafield is a valid one, and that can only be answered by those who chose, finalised and accepted the design. The screw-pump in question raises the sewage, which flows into the works at a very low level, up a height of some ten metres, so that gravity runs virtually all the process after the pumphouse!

Where I personally would take issue with Scottish Water is in their choice of Thames Water to help build and run their plant, which was upgraded in a PFI set in 1999. Thames, from the moment of it’s inception as a privatised Company, has only been interested in one thing, increase of ‘Shareholder value’ and everything is subordinate to that purpose! During my own involvement with Thames, sometime as a direct contractor and sometime whilst working for consultants, the rush towards automation, and hence de-manning, was foremost in the minds of the original directors, almost all of whom have moved on once their damaging work was done. The lists of maintenance and breakdown tasks which grew exponentially was legendary within the industry, and when Thames was the body part of the old Metropolitan Water Board, such lists would have been grounds for dismissal of senior staff and management; nowadays this conduct is rewarded with promotion and bonuses!

The old adage of ‘you get exactly what you pay for’ does not ‘sync’ when one deals with Thames Water, and Scottish Water, in my own personal view, made a bad bargain for their fellow Scots when they signed up with this rapacious conglomerate!

Great Britain re-arms at last!!!

It’s been a long time a-comin’, but the latest addition to the mighty Royal Air Force rolled majestically out of it’s hangar, after a small amount of refurbishment!

“The fact that the hangar is part of the Imperial War Museum should not be taken out of context”, the Ministry of Defence answered yesterday to certain pointed enquiries!

Yep, she’s perfectly safe!!!

Photo ONE of the transporter and oil rig off Angola. All is well!

What is supposed to happen is the transporter ship uses it’s own ballast tanks to slowly lower itself down, and let the oil rig float off! What could be simpler? 

Then the rig starts to float off; but things start going wrong!

Starts to get worse!

All is definitely NOT well!

Tea, Vicar?