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#162091 - 01/09/09 08:17 AM Re: New report on solar storms [Re: Susan]
adam2 Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 05/23/08
Posts: 386
Loc: Somerset UK
Originally Posted By: Susan
"... new satellites are now watching solar activity and would provide a warning of a major storm."

Okay, there's a major solar flare and scientists estimate we've got half a day to do something... So, what might that 'something' be? (Besides taking off the tinfoil hat)

And, what happens if it happens on a Sunday at 10 a.m.?

Sue



A number of actions can be taken

1)divide the grid into sections, with each area having sufficient generating capacity, plus a reserve, to meet local demand.

2) utility companies can arrange overtime working to ensure plenty of staff to reset circuit breakers, replace fuses, control plant manually. They may man subststions and switching centers that are normally automatic.

3)ensure that electric railroads have diesel locomotives available.

4) pre position tankers trucks of diesel fuel at hospitals etc in order to ensure ample supplies for diesel generators.

5) make arrangements with generator hire companies etc to ensure essiential facilities get first chance to hire generators and other plant

6) prepare evacuation centers for use, especialy in extrememly hot or cold weather

7) cancel police leave, extra policing may be required.

8)place the armed forces at a higher state of readyness, lest terrorists or foreign enemies attempt to take advantage of any confusion.

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#162108 - 01/09/09 02:11 PM Re: New report on solar storms [Re: Susan]
ki4buc Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 11/10/03
Posts: 710
Loc: Augusta, GA
Originally Posted By: Susan
"... new satellites are now watching solar activity and would provide a warning of a major storm."

Okay, there's a major solar flare and scientists estimate we've got half a day to do something... So, what might that 'something' be? (Besides taking off the tinfoil hat)

And, what happens if it happens on a Sunday at 10 a.m.?

Sue



adam2's post is pretty spot on for what is going to happen.

This is why I don't like everything being digital. You're going to have to protect the grid by shutting it completely down. You'll have to start with all of the nuclear plants, because they require the grid to operate their safety systems. They have diesel generators, but once those are turned on, the reactor is scrammed from what I understand. So, in order to shut down the grid, you are going to have to have a coordinated power down otherwise someone is going to burn something out. Not sure how long that will take. You would also have to make sure everyone that relied on electricity (i.e. hospitals, people on ventilators, etc. ) are taken care of. You _will not_ have the benefit of satellite or HF communication during and after the event, so gonna have to fall back to the "sneaker net".

Regarding the transformers (maybe it's been mentioned here) but from my understanding the worldwide production is 35 to 70 transformers A YEAR. There are 100,000's of these larger transformers in the world. From my understanding (I didn't look today), we do not have any domestic (U.S.) production of these transformers. We'll have to buy them, or take them my force, from somebody else. Not even sure that will work with our 60Hz, 120VAC system. Doesn't everyone else have 220VAC, 70Hz or something?

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#162118 - 01/09/09 03:36 PM Re: New report on solar storms [Re: ki4buc]
MarshAviator Offline
Marsh Aviator
Journeyman

Registered: 11/18/05
Posts: 70
Loc: Baton Rouge, LA, USA
Originally Posted By: ki4buc
Originally Posted By: Susan
"... new satellites are now watching solar activity and would provide a warning of a major storm."

Okay, there's a major solar flare and scientists estimate we've got half a day to do something... So, what might that 'something' be? (Besides taking off the tinfoil hat)

And, what happens if it happens on a Sunday at 10 a.m.?

Sue



adam2's post is pretty spot on for what is going to happen.

This is why I don't like everything being digital. You're going to have to protect the grid by shutting it completely down. You'll have to start with all of the nuclear plants, because they require the grid to operate their safety systems. They have diesel generators, but once those are turned on, the reactor is scrammed from what I understand. So, in order to shut down the grid, you are going to have to have a coordinated power down otherwise someone is going to burn something out. Not sure how long that will take. You would also have to make sure everyone that relied on electricity (i.e. hospitals, people on ventilators, etc. ) are taken care of. You _will not_ have the benefit of satellite or HF communication during and after the event, so gonna have to fall back to the "sneaker net".

Regarding the transformers (maybe it's been mentioned here) but from my understanding the worldwide production is 35 to 70 transformers A YEAR. There are 100,000's of these larger transformers in the world. From my understanding (I didn't look today), we do not have any domestic (U.S.) production of these transformers. We'll have to buy them, or take them my force, from somebody else. Not even sure that will work with our 60Hz, 120VAC system. Doesn't everyone else have 220VAC, 70Hz or something?


You have it about right.
Worldwide production is 1) mostly offshore to the us, 2) limited to schedule production of about 30 or 40 units worldwide.

All of these transmission line type transformers are essentially custom made to an application.

In other words we don't use "off the self" transformers, they are designed for a specific location/application.

Power around the world varies from 50 to 60 HZ (cycles per second) with some legacy systems using 25 HZ.
Voltages are from 60KV (kilo volts) to 1 MV (Mega Volt) primaries and secondaries from 69KV to 13.2KV, but again of
the 100,000 installed base vary few would match even if the frequency and voltage match, the sizes (capacity) vary just as much or more and have to match the impedances of the circuits involved a custom designed application.

We can repair these, but not in place, they have to be R&R to a shop, and these have capacity of 1 or 2 per month.

Even the distribution transformers we use in industry are typically 13.2KV or 35KV are 90 day lead time.
The plant where I am the chief electrical engineer has one spare for it's 14 substations.

And by the way, lots of other things like circuit breakers, switches, power factor correctors etc. are also custom and in short supply.
They also cost a fortune to have sitting around collecting dust, so the accountants will not let you have plenty of spares.
Also maintenance staff are routinely working 60+ hours a week.
We have a very thin line.

Most people have no idea just how thin the technical staffs are; I went to LSU, we had 30K (thousand) students, just 1200 in all engineering disciplines.
My step son has a tee shirt typically of the students these days, it says "liberal arts major, you do the math".

We are in deep do do as the existing people are mostly about to retire (or so they think).

stock up on batteries, generators and fuel, oil, etc.

Our power infrastructure is pretty bad, even broken bridges can by bypassed.

Good luck.

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#162122 - 01/09/09 03:44 PM Re: New report on solar storms [Re: ki4buc]
adam2 Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 05/23/08
Posts: 386
Loc: Somerset UK
Originally Posted By: ki4buc
[
Regarding the transformers (maybe it's been mentioned here) but from my understanding the worldwide production is 35 to 70 transformers A YEAR. There are 100,000's of these larger transformers in the world. From my understanding (I didn't look today), we do not have any domestic (U.S.) production of these transformers. We'll have to buy them, or take them my force, from somebody else. Not even sure that will work with our 60Hz, 120VAC system. Doesn't everyone else have 220VAC, 70Hz or something?


The relativly small transformers used to power homes and busineses are produced in most developed countries, including the USA, by many competing companies.
There are indeed hundreds of thousands of these transformers in use. possibly millions. With an average life of a few decades, that implies anuall production of rather more than 35 or 70.
Utility companies hold stocks of spares.

The problem would be with very large grid transformers, of many hundreds MW capacity, these are used in much smaller numbers of from a few dozen to a few thousand (depending on your defination of "very large")
An anuall production of 35 or 70 would certainly be reasonable for such very large units.
The timely replacement of such transformers damaged by a solar storm could certainly be problematic, though they can sometimes be repaired.
Very large transformers are generaly custom manufactured, and cant therefore be held in stock as spares.
The failure of one or two large grid transformers should not be that serious, after all, although long lasting, they do fail in normal use, or due to lightning. When this happens the utility routes power by alternative routes, useing other transformers, until repair or replacement.
If however a sufficient number of very large transformers were damaged, there could be prolonged blackouts or power rationing.

It should not be required to complelty shut down power grids when a solar storn threatens, but to sectionalise in order to limit cable lengths in which undesirable currents can be induced.

Most countries other than the USA use 220/230/240 volts at 50 cycles rather than the USA 120 volts 60 cycles.
However the very high voltages used for bulk power transmission are more or less standardised world wide, in emergency 50 cycle transformers can be used on 60 cycles, though this is not ideal.

In an emergency, the need for bulk long distance power transmission can be reduced by more local generation near towns and cities.
This could be by the continous operation of plant normally only used in the peaks, or by fleets of large mobile generators.

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#162149 - 01/09/09 06:18 PM Re: New report on solar storms [Re: MDinana]
jeffchem Offline
Newbie

Registered: 04/12/06
Posts: 27
Loc: KY
Insulation will not deter the electromagnetic radiation. The EM will then set up a current in any condutor and cause problems. EM is a magnetic field that is moving.

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#162163 - 01/09/09 06:58 PM Re: New report on solar storms [Re: Susan]
scafool Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/18/08
Posts: 1534
Loc: Muskoka
Originally Posted By: Susan
"... new satellites are now watching solar activity and would provide a warning of a major storm."

Okay, there's a major solar flare and scientists estimate we've got half a day to do something... So, what might that 'something' be? (Besides taking off the tinfoil hat)

And, what happens if it happens on a Sunday at 10 a.m.?

Sue


You would unplug everything in your house that has an electronic chip in it including the phone. Stuff all of the small electronic items you could into metal boxes, unplug any antennas for your radios or wireless internet antennas for your computers.

The metal boxes will act as Faraday cages to shield the electronics from a magnetic wave.

Most of the older style stuff without integrated circuits will likely be just fine

That is about all that you can do.


Edited by scafool (01/09/09 07:01 PM)
_________________________
May set off to explore without any sense of direction or how to return.

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#162232 - 01/10/09 03:40 AM Re: New report on solar storms [Re: Blast]
dropout Offline
Newbie

Registered: 01/30/07
Posts: 40
Has it been said that dec 21st 2012 we are lined up with the sun and the middle of the milky way at the same time? This a a 26,000 year event or something. I think it's called the galactic alignment. It's the satellites that are really gonna get hammered by the storms. bye bye GPS



Edited by dropout (01/10/09 03:47 AM)

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#162258 - 01/10/09 05:04 AM Re: New report on solar storms [Re: dropout]
scafool Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 12/18/08
Posts: 1534
Loc: Muskoka
The GPS system crashed on Dec 6 2006 from the effects of a solar flare. They waited until April 2007 before announcing it.
_________________________
May set off to explore without any sense of direction or how to return.

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#162278 - 01/10/09 11:07 AM Re: New report on solar storms [Re: Susan]
Onedzguy Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 09/29/07
Posts: 67
Loc: Lost in Waipahu, HI
Originally Posted By: Susan
"... new satellites are now watching solar activity and would provide a warning of a major storm."

Okay, there's a major solar flare and scientists estimate we've got half a day to do something... So, what might that 'something' be? (Besides taking off the tinfoil hat)

And, what happens if it happens on a Sunday at 10 a.m.?

Sue



Uuhhhmmm. No football, baseball, basketball, hockey, nascar, golf, etc... No ESPN?

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#162356 - 01/10/09 11:04 PM Re: New report on solar storms [Re: Susan]
samhain Offline
Addict

Registered: 11/30/05
Posts: 598
Loc: Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Originally Posted By: Susan
"... new satellites are now watching solar activity and would provide a warning of a major storm."

Okay, there's a major solar flare and scientists estimate we've got half a day to do something... So, what might that 'something' be? (Besides taking off the tinfoil hat)

And, what happens if it happens on a Sunday at 10 a.m.?

Sue



Reading the posts from adam, and the rest suggest that a lot of the actions are already in place around the nation in response to a variety of events:

a) hurricane season
b) earthquake preps
c) blizzard power outages
d) other large scale disruptions to services.

The tricky part is teaching the public:

1) how to respond to the specific effects of a solar flare,
2) getting them to respond appropriately / take it seriously.

If you tell folks on the gulf and east coasts "hurricane's a-coming", we (a percentage of us) know what actions to take.

The rest don't care and there's nothing that is going to reach those knuckle-heads ... (I've given up trying).


_________________________
peace,
samhain autumnwood

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