[ RadSafe ] LOBA Accidents -- Wind Turbine Failures Strike Again

Stewart Farber SAFarber at optonline.net
Fri Jun 10 13:41:23 CDT 2011

Hi all,

Fun for a Friday afternoon.   Attached are a few links about an older  
fatal accident, and 2 recent windmill accidents a few months ago for those  
who are interested in alternate energy impacts. If not interested, please  
delete this email and all attachments. It's too hot for flaming.

Occassionally when discussing alternate energy impacts, list members have  
referred to my 1981 satirical LOBA [Loss of Blade Accident]   
letter-to-the-editor titled "The potential dangers of windmills"  about  
the threat of  LOBA  accidents with wind turbine electric generation. This  
satire and a bunch of email responses, including some hilarious replies  
 from people who did not realize my letter was a satire,  are attached.

Who needs a LOCA when a LOBA can kill people in the here-and-now?  As has  
been pointed out many times [where is Petr Beckman when we need him?],  
nuclear electric generation has  the lowest detriment when viewed on the  
basis of deaths and environmental impact per unit energy produced.

I wrote my 1981 LOBA satire after a true incident where the President of  
the company which manufactured the windmill,  and which threw a blade fell  
while he WAS ON the tower,  fell to his death while inspecting the  
windmill at a California windfarm.  When I saw the initial headline: "Man  
killed at windmill" about the tragic [seriously] accident, I knew this was  
the stuff of which satires are made.

My initial 1981 satire about the LOBA death in California is attached.  
This satire  proposed "at least a 5 year moratorium on any new windmills  
[and perhaps any machine with propellors] until detailed safety studies  
can be completed and be accepted by popular vote". Unfortunately, this  
sensible step was not taken.

In addition attached is a link to a detailed recent news article titled  
"NJ Turbine Blades Fly Off" which concerns two recent incidents where  
LOBAs actually occured at two large, modern windmills in NJ [somewhat  
coincidentally Forked River, NJ is home to Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating  
Station]. Thankfully, the blades which flew off the windmills in Forked  
River did not feather out to strike the Oyster Creek nuclear plant.

Of additional note, these two windmills cost about $1 million each  
[subsidized by the taxpayers to the tune of about $700,000 each -your tax  
dollars at use]. Each windmill  delivered only about 25% of the total  
kilowatt-hours promised by developers [before all 3 blades flew off from  
each windmill]. You could say that the developers proved to be blow-hards  
because the wind blew too soft. Although ignored in all news reports about  
new wind farms, the capacity factor is generally  18% to 25% for wind  
farms vs. about 90% ++ at today's nuclear plants. So about 3,700 MW[e] -  
5,000 MW[e] of wind farm installed peak capacity is needed to equal the  
average output of one 1,000 MW[e] nuclear power plant. Tends to affect the  
cost of  wind power generating capacity "slightly".

Stewart Farber, MSPH
Farber Medical Solutions, LLC
Bridgeport, CT 06604

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