The paper I'll briefly discuss in this post is this one: Scannotation: A Suspect Screening Tool for the Rapid Pre-Annotation of the Human LC-HRMS-Based Chemical Exposome, Jade Chaker, Erwann Gilles, Christine Monfort, Cécile Chevrier, Sarah Lennon, and Arthur David, Environmental Science & Technology 2023 57 (48), 19253-19262.
Mass spectrometry is the very important technique of placing molecules in the gas phase - most often by spraying them in solution and evaporating off the solvents - and then adding energy to break them into ionic fragments (MS1) that can be electromagnetically stored, and fragmented again, (MS2) or even multiple times (MSn). The way molecules fragment, and the mass of the fragments, and now, even their shape (IMS, ion mobility spectrometry) is characteristic of their structure, and thus molecules can be, in practically every case with few exceptions, uniquely identified.
The technology of mass spectrometry has reached a level where one can almost determine the presence, and often the concentration, of molecules, both natural and foreign, at the femtogram and even the attogram levels but the data set sizes in doing so are massive, far too massive in fact, for a human being to apprehend in any meaningfully reasonable amount of time. There is even talk these days of identifying single molecules in this way.
As I recently noted in this space, referring to another paper in this issue of Environmental Science & Technology , the number of chemicals now in circulation for use for technological applications are huge: Conflicts of Interest in the Assessment of Chemicals, Waste, and Pollution
A quotation from the paper discussed in that post:
The paper cited at the outset of this post considers the question of how many, and what types, of industrial and consumer foreign molecules - generally falling under the rubric of "xenobiotics" - show up in human flesh by developing a software tool to sort through the complex data sets generated by mass spectrometry. This concept is defined as the "exposome," a concept defined in 2005 by the editor of a scientific journal, Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.
From the introduction to the paper mentioned at the outset:
Annotation of complex HRMS data can be performed using NTS, which relies on the structure elucidation of features, prioritized as differential between two (or more) groups, or SS, which relies on the annotation of features prioritized for their similarity to compounds listed in a suspect library. This second methodology is particularly promising, in part because it has a strong potential for automation and allows for a very rapid prioritization of signals of interest. Furthermore, there is no restriction regarding the number of suspects that can be included as well as the forms they are searched as (i.e., parent or metabolite, adduct). The comparison of experimental features and suspects on characteristic properties such as their mass/charge ratio or their MS2 fragmentation profile can be automatically performed before being manually validated. Even though some bioinformatics solutions already exist to carry out MS2-based spectral library searches, allowing the automatized comparison of reference and experimental MS2 spectra (e.g., xMSannotator, msPurity, MZmine2, MS-DIAL4, patRoon, CAMERA), (8?13) the number of software tools is still limited and not necessarily suited for exposomics applications, (14) which present specific challenges detailed hereafter.
One of the main challenges of using biological matrices to characterize the human internal chemical exposome is the wide dynamic range of concentrations for compounds present in the samples. Compounds of interest in an exposomics context are often present at much lower levels (i.e., tens of pg/mL (15)) than many endogenous metabolites (i.e., up to a few mg/mL). These low-abundant xenobiotics do not systematically trigger MS2 acquisition. (16) This strongly limits the annotations confidence level according to Schymanskis scale, which is the current reference. (17) Despite this fact, other factors accessible through MS1 data, such as retention time (Rt), distinctive isotope profiles based on halogen contents (often present in exogenous compounds such as pesticides), or detection of other phase I/II metabolites, could already provide reliable indications of the annotations plausibility...
The authors use a lower level high resolution mass spectrometer, (HRMS) still a very powerful instrument but one that fits nicely on a benchtop to collect and annotate some data from human subjects.
A few graphics from the paper demonstrate the power of this software tool, which apparently can be downloaded for free by mass spectrometry labs:
The penultimate figure in the text gives an idea of the "exposome" found in human subjects:
An interesting, if disturbing, paper, I think.
Have a nice weekend.
Slaughterhouse Five, Catch 22 and Band of Brothers.
One formal request went out last week, the day before the House voted to expel former Rep. George Santos over ethics violations, according to a source familiar with the investigation...
... The formal interview request, which has not been previously reported, is the first sign of activity in the Ethics committees Gaetz probe since investigators made contact with witnesses in July. It also suggests that on the heels of Santoss expulsion, the panel is turning its attention to Gaetz, who argued on the House floor that expelling Santos without a conviction would be an incredible violation of precedent that would do grave damage to Congress...
... The Ethics Committee, which at the time was controlled by Democrats, originally opened its Gaetz investigation in 2021, publicly announcing that its was examining a range of allegations including that Gaetz violated sex trafficking laws, shared inappropriate images or videos on the House floor, used illicit drugs, converted campaign funds to personal use and accepted a bribe, among other claims...
I'm inclined to respond as Gaetz did, but for different reasons. His response was "Oh please..." as a denial of his criminal perversion.
I share the "Oh please..." for different reasons. I don't believe that the Republican Party retains enough of a sense of decency to do anything about this creep. In fact it's very clear that the Republican Party has no sense of decency.
Shin Hanul 2 received an operating licence from the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission on 7 September, after which it completed a preliminary inspection by the regulator. The loading of 241 fuel assemblies into the reactor's core was carried out between 11 and 18 September. High-temperature functional tests were subsequently conducted.
With first criticality now achieved, Shin Hanul 2 will undergo performance tests of the power plant system. The reactor is scheduled to start generating electricity on 20 December, contributing to the winter power peak, KHNP said. After major tests at each output stage, it is scheduled to begin full-scale commercial operation in the first half of 2024...
..."Shin Hanul unit 1, the same reactor design as Shin Hanul unit 2, began commercial operation in December of last year and has been operating without failure for 365 days to-date," KHNP noted.
Once in operation, Shin Hanul 2 will be South Korea's 28th nuclear power reactor and its 4th operational APR1400 - after Saeul units 1 and 2 (formerly Shin Kori 3 and 4) and Shin Hanul unit 1. Two further APR1400s are under construction as Saeul units 3 and 4, with two more units planned as Shin Hanul units 3 and 4...
The APR1400 is a reactor of Korean design, incorporating design features originally developed by Combustion Engineering, later acquired by Westinghouse.
Three other APR1400's now operate in South Korea, including Shin Hanul 1, and three more operate in the United Arab Emirates, with a fourth undergoing commissioning.
This is a victory for people who are serious about climate change, as opposed to those who couldn't care less about the use of fossil fuels, for instance the German Government.
Although Korea has a large nuclear infrastructure, it is heavily dependent on dangerous coal and dangerous gas otherwise. To eliminate coal with reliable clean power, South Korea would be required to roughly triple its nuclear capacity.
Electricity Map, South Korea (12 Month data. Accessed 12/07/23)
The experience of building 8 reactors of endogenous design should open the doors to accomplishing this important task. With more reactors planned Korea obviously now has a nuclear construction infrastructure.
Benjamin Pounds, Tennessee Lookout, Dec. 6, 2023.
The utilitys board authorized $200 million to explore building a reactor on the site last year after the Nuclear Regulatory Commission gave TVA an early site permit in 2019
This first-of-its-kind small modular reactor would be smaller than standard nuclear reactors and generate less power, but it would have other advantages. While typical nuclear power plants need to provide power at 100 percent of their capacity constantly, a small modular reactor can more easily increase or decrease the amount of power it provides to the overall grid. Melinda Hunter, TVA nuclear communication specialist explained that this flexibility can complement renewable plants elsewhere in the TVA grid...
...Granholm stressed the small modular reactors importance for the Biden Administrations priorities of the U.S. becoming carbon neutral by 2035 and reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. She also said it fit the U.S. and other countries commitment at the 28th Conference of the Parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change to triple nuclear energy capacity globally by 2050. Granholm said the Inflation Reduction Act, passed in 2022, gave tax credits for nuclear power projects.
We basically have to build a hundred Hoover Dams in nuclear to be able to meet those goals, she said. Weve got to do it. Weve got to be serious about it, and thats why the fact that TVA is so far along is so important....
I'm not sure whether these reactors would be those with 3D printable cores recently demonstrated at ORNL, but the Secretary waxed enthusiastic as reported in other media about exporting the reactors.
The Biden administration is serious about climate change, and is, in fact, the most serious such administration in my lifetime.
The HTR-PM features two small reactors (each of 250 MWt) that drive a single 210 MWe steam turbine. It uses helium as coolant and graphite as the moderator. Each reactor is loaded with more than 400,000 spherical fuel elements (pebbles), each 60 mm in diameter and containing 7 g of fuel enriched to 8.5%. Each pebble has an outer layer of graphite and contains some 12,000 four-layer ceramic-coated fuel particles dispersed in a graphite matrix. The fuel has high inherent safety characteristics, and has been shown to remain intact and to continue to contain radioactivity at temperatures up to 1620°C - far higher than the temperatures that would be encountered even in extreme accident situations, according to the China Nuclear Energy Association.
First concrete for the demonstration project was poured on December 2012, with the operating permit granted in August 2021 and the plant connected to the grid in December 2021. The plant has more than 2200 sets of first-of-a-kind equipment, including more than 660 sets of innovative equipment. The supporting fuel element production line has the largest production capacity in the world...
The reactor operates at 500°C with a helium moderator/coolant. This type of reactor is probably not sustainable because the world supply of helium will run out within a few decades, I think, although small but trivial amounts will be available from the decay of tritium (3He) and alpha decay in nuclear fuels, particularly those running on the higher actinides, americium and curium.
500°C is too low to run the SI cycle for water splitting to provide captive hydrogen. My understanding is that the experimental HTR10 run in China did run at temps this high, and if I recall correctly, an SI (sulfur iodine) cycle was explored with this reactor.
Nevertheless, the reactor has been designed for the purpose of producing process heat, which allows for increased exergy recovery and efficiency.
It's nice to see.
In the United States a reactor along similar lines is being designed, but the working fluid is not helium, but is rather a molten salt, bringing to reactor concepts together. This reactor is under development by Kairos, under the scientific leadership of Per Petersen at UC Berkeley. The type of fuel, with refractory Silicon Carbide layers is known as "TRISO" fuel.
The British AGCR which is a commercial bulk fuel option has similar features. The United States operated (briefly) a similar type of reactor at Ft. St. Vrain in Colorado in the 1960's, but the materials science was not well enough developed and the reactor was problematic and was converted to a dangerous natural gas plant.
This opinion piece is from one of the scientific journals I regularly read, the current issue: Thallium Pollution from the Lithium Industry Calls for Urgent International Action on Regulations Juan Liu, Wenhuan Yuan, Ke Lin, Jin Wang, Christian Sonne, and Jörg Rinklebe
Environmental Science & Technology 2023 57 (48), 19099-19101
The opinion piece gives out the seldom challenged but nevertheless nonsensical inclusion of energy storage as so called "green energy." The laws of thermodynamics, which are not going to be repealed by appeal to wishful thinking are laws of physics, and a statement of the 2nd (inviolable) law is that storing energy wastes energy. The problem before humanity is to produce sustainable primary energy, not to play with Rube Goldberg schemes to pretend that storing energy with batteries, and worse, the very, very, very stupid hydrogen stuff that flies around all the time is the same as producing energy.
Although I'm not a fan of the "batteries will save us" scam, and I'm well aware of the material limitations, of which lithium is just a subset, I was unaware of the thallium issue with lithium mining. Thallium is an element in the periodic table that has been used as rat poison, although it is now banned for this purpose since it accumulates.
From the text:
In the meantime, there should be growing concern that soaring growth in Li production may dramatically increase Tl contamination in the surface environment if no regulations are implemented for Tl pollution control during the manufacturing and supply of Li. Recent reports highlight excessive environmental Tl levels not only in industrial effluent from Li production facilities (8) but also in debris or gangue left in evaporation ponds for Li extraction processes. (9) High levels of Tl have also been found in leachate from some discarded rechargeable Li batteries. (10) All of these new findings indicate that Li-related production and end-of-life consumer waste (batteries) can lead to environmental pollution and adversely affect human health due to potentially Tl-containing toxic materials. Worse still, predictions suggest that global demand for Li resources will continue to surge by 540 times from 2020 to 2040, (11) ultimately reaching a peak in Li production of >700 000 Mt in 2041. (7)
This situation emphasizes the need for increased international collaboration to evaluate and critically limit environmental pollution from Tl during Li production and its life cycle. Considering the prevalence of Li production, the associated risk of Tl pollution is poised to escalate significantly in the coming decades...
The use of the word "green" to describe technologies that are not even remotely sustainable, and which in fact rob all future generations of their rights to this planet, is one of the most dire abuses of language known.
Have a nice day tomorrow.
The following paper is open sourced: Conflicts of Interest in the Assessment of Chemicals, Waste, and Pollution Andreas Schäffer, Ksenia J. Groh, Gabriel Sigmund, David Azoulay, Thomas Backhaus, Michael G. Bertram, Bethanie Carney Almroth, Ian T. Cousins, Alex T. Ford, Joan O. Grimalt, Yago Guida, Maria C. Hansson, Yunsun Jeong, Rainer Lohmann, David Michaels, Leonie Mueller, Jane Muncke, Gunilla Öberg, Marcos A. Orellana, Edmond Sanganyado, Ralf Bernhard Schäfer, Ishmail Sheriff, Ryan C. Sullivan, Noriyuki Suzuki, Laura N. Vandenberg, Marta Venier, Penny Vlahos, Martin Wagner, Fang Wang, Mengjiao Wang, Anna Soehl, Marlene Ågerstrand, Miriam L. Diamond, and Martin Scheringer Environmental Science & Technology 2023 57 (48), 19066-19077.
Although it's available for anyone to read for free, some excerpts are in order:
Most chemicals used in society, such as various pharmaceuticals and personal care products, pesticides, and industrial chemicals, are used and distributed globally. As a result, these contaminants are found everywhere, even in locations remote from their production and use, including polar environments, mountain ranges, and the deep sea. (6?9) Many of these chemicals remain in the environment even long after discontinuation of their production because of prolonged use and storage in the technosphere and environmental reservoirs where they are resistant to degradation processes. In addition, many parent compounds used in industrial processes and consumer products form new chemicals (transformation products) when interacting with the natural environment, further adding to the complexity of chemical exposures; others are formed unintentionally from processes such as incineration.
While delivering benefits through their intended function, many anthropogenic chemicals, including the anthropogenic use of metals, are linked to a wide range of severe adverse impacts on human health and ecosystems. They also cause other major problems such as ozone depletion, global warming, and antibiotic resistance. Further, pollution by increasing amounts of waste leads to growing contamination of air, soil, water, and wildlife worldwide. (10) All of these adverse effects are associated with enormous efforts and costs for treatment and remediation, if this is at all possible. (11?15)...
I particular find worth reading the section on "Manufactured Doubt" especially this phrase:
In his 2008 book Doubt is Their Product, (29) David Michaels quoted a cigarette executive who once observed: Doubt is our product, since it is the best means of competing with the body of fact that exists in the minds of the general public. It is also the means of establishing a controversy. Multiple examples of vested interest engagement in manufacturing doubt around contemporary issues, ranging from tobacco to climate change, have also been reviewed by Oreskes and Conway in their 2010 book Merchants of Doubt. (30) More recently, Goldberg and Vandenberg summarized more than two dozen strategies and tactics that have been used by multiple organizations either to counter scientific evidence or to promote narratives favorable to the specific industry sectors. (27,31)...
There's a lot of cigarette sales going on this planet in the metaphoric sense, and in fact the cigarettes are among other things, choking off the air, quite literally. Our atmosphere is dying, and almost all of what's being said about it, right and regrettably often on the left, is delusional nonsense.
It's worth a read I think...
Sama Bilbao y León, Director General of World Nuclear Association, which represents the nuclear industry worldwide, said: "Nothing less than this ambitious, but achievable, target will be enough to deliver the scale of contribution needed from nuclear energy to achieve sustainable economic development, and avert the devastating consequences of unchecked climate change."
The Net Zero Nuclear Industry Pledge notes "that since 2000, nuclear generation has supplied, on average, 2500 TWh of electricity each year, and that, worldwide, nuclear reactors now supply around 10% of the worlds electricity, and around one-quarter of all clean, low-carbon electricity" and also that the International Atomic Energy Agency forecasts a substantial increase in electricity demand by 2050...
...Maria Korsnick, President and CEO of the Nuclear Energy Institute in the USA, said there had been a sea-change for nuclear energy, noting that it not only brings carbon-free energy, but also high reliability, jobs and energy security and said that nuclear energy was one area of bipartisan agreement in the USA...
Sama Bilbao y León made clear that she was not claiming that it would be easy, that there were supply chain and work force requirements to address.
My favorite, by far, remark in the in the article came from John Gorman of the Canadian Nuclear Association:
I'm proud to say my son will be on the front lines of the effort to save what is left to save, and restore what can be restored.
This is an article in the official anti-nuke paper of record in the New York Times.
22 Countries Pledge to Triple Nuclear Capacity in Push to Cut Fossil Fuels
It mentions the commitment and then lists all of the specious objections by dumb antinukes.
It mentions the cancellation of the NuScale project in Idaho, but not the cancellation of the planned wind crap that was supposed to industrialize the Benthic ecosystem off the East Coast (because of costs).
It repeats the bald faced lie that nuclear energy is slower to build than, um, what, gas plants, coal plants? What exactly?
Let me guess...
Surely they can't mean slower to build than solar and wind, since the nuclear industry has been producing around 30 Exajoules of energy for decades in an atmosphere of vituperation, using infrastructure designed and built largely in the 20th century, and the solar and wind industry in an atmosphere of whipped up enthusiasm and cheering has managed only to produce 15 exajoules of (unreliable) energy at a cost of over 3 trillion dollars, between 2004 and 2019 alone.
The numbers are here: 2023 World Energy Outlook published by the International Energy Agency (IEA), Table A.1a on Page 264.
Costs of solar and wind:
I manually entered the figures in the bar graph in figure 8 to see how much money we've thrown at this destructive affectation since 2004 (up to 2019): It works out to 3.2633 trillion dollars
And of course, the antinuke Times drags out every antinuke airhead on the planet to complain, not about the 7 million people who die each year from air pollution, not the future generations fucked by climate change, but about...who the fuck cares?
The headline is worth reading, the text is not. The New York "...but her emails..." Times doesn't seem to have noticed that the planet is in flames.
The announcement from the US Department of State:
The United States Joins Multinational Declaration to Triple Nuclear Energy Capacity by 2050 to Support Global Climate and Energy Security Goals
Excerpt, listing the nations:
Have a nice day tomorrow.
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