Trip Review: #220 Gasket/Packing training Prairie State/Sioux Ameren Fossil Power Plants

Radionizer: #220
Trip: Valve and Gasket Training at Sioux Power Plant and Prairie State Power Plant
February 25th – 27th, 2013 – outside Saint Louis, Missouri
This trip was to conduct 4 4-hour seminars at 2 fossil power plants on the basics of valve packing and flange sealing. The training went off very well and I really enjoyed doing the training. It was also a chance for me to use my 2nd generation bolting demonstration unit I built from the ground up.

My bolting cart screenshot showing the decay curve of gasket creep.

Fred moving the valve hands on unit between plants

The Sioux Power Plant

The Prairie state Power Plant

Remembering California while it snows outside

This photo was taken while we drove up from Venice California to Santa Barbara on the PCS (Pacific Coast Highway). Not only am I getting the lingo down, I am all in on the golden state! We had a great vacation starting in Palm Springs and then moving through the Joshua Tree National Forest, San Diego, and Los Angeles.

I think one of the best things I loved about the vacation was the time of the year – terrible weather back here in Worcester and just amazing in southern Cal. Also it was considered way off season and we had very few crowds! I will try to add that destination for every January from now on!

Williams heat exchanger fire

Another video that shows how people neglect procedures in place because they seem to be burdensome but end up causing massive damage, and in this case death. The story also highlights how “tribal” knowledge can end up not being captured. I feel when the changes were made no one thought they would need to explain how the system now works – and they would never recommend opening the heat exhanger without having the vent engaged, but, like many times, that information got lost in translation to paperwork.
I think something like having a lockout tag on the 2nd valve would of been noticed if someone did a thorough MOC but, as stated in the video, some questions were left blank.

The link to the CSB report here.

Lac Magantic Train Crash and air leakage

I have been thinking of this accident in Canada.  Not only was the issue with putting the hand brakes on with the air brakes on already as a root cause, but also the leaks in the air line that must have lowered the air pressure in the system.  Air leakage is accepted as normal and no one really spends much time fixing but this accident should reflect on how something so simple as an air leak can cause a disaster.

Fittings around air piping are a typical air leak problem.  Simple checks and using higher grade tape could of assisted.  I am not the only person to wonder http://about this – here is a great article with more depth of the issue.  One good quote from this article:

“Hand Brakes should have been redesigned many years ago, to make them easier to use and more likely to work properly. The problem is, no one is pushing for it. Costly air leaks should have been addressed and improved, but nobody is pushing for that either.

It’s difficult to explain in this format just how much leakage the railway industry is OK with. Locomotives are equipped with an air flow sensor that shows the engineer how much air is flowing/leaking. Get the picture? Leaks are OK, we just have to manage them. Our Lac Magentic engineer was driving the train, so he knew what the leakage was on that train”

Manchester by the sea Movie Review

The movie really hit me after watching it last night.  The quote I see sometimes on social media is “you can’t tell from the outside what people are suffering inside”.  This was the main point I got from this movie and the pain people carry around with them.  As the character Lee said, “I can’t break it” – it is not as easy to say snap out of a bad mood when you have serious weights in your life you carry.

Your life can be looked at as a existing between 2 goal posts ~ one being the  worst pain you have ever felt in your life and the other being the most happiness.  Some peoples goal posts are very narrow with a low standard deviation of a bell curve and some with high ones.  In this movie they tell a story of someone who has lived though things no one should have to do.  It really made me think deeper about what people’s tolerance to suffering.  Also it was a movie to reflect on how people’s own selfishness gets in the way to see other’s humans pain.

Also the filming style was really low key and added to the feeling of flowing in sorrow with the main character Lee.  I recommend seeing it because it is something to reflect on your own life.