Our blog page is updated on a bi-weekly basis and covers a broad range of industry-related topics such as nuclear energy, application stories, new product highlights, replacement model updates, among many others. Here you can gleam an insight into what we’re thinking, where we’re heading, and how we’re getting there, by checking out our blogs. Want to see a topic of your interest explored? Send us a email in our contact us page!

Regulatory Policies Hampering Valuable Climate Change Technology

In the ever-escalating fight for climate change policy in the United States, it may be the policies themselves that are preventing valuable technology from being sewn into progress. Racked with climate lawsuits, protests, and befuddling bills languishing in bureaucratic red tape, the clean energy debate in this country consistently overlooks a major asset in lowering the dreaded CO2 emissions: that of nuclear energy, and in particular, small module reactors.

The emerging technology of small module reactors (SMRs) has enormous potential for both the nuclear industry itself, as well as for the overall climate change initiative spreading around the world. Here in the U.S., our vastly undermined electrical grid would reap immediate benefits from polices geared toward promoting research, development, and implementation of small module nuclear reactors. These reactors are cheaper (in terms of lower initial capital investment), safer (by way of utilizing non-light water coolants to minimize waste threats to the surrounding environment), and obviously more versatile due the compact and highly mobile nature of their design. SMRs can also pair with the more popular renewables, such as wind and solar power, to generate higher energy efficiency and electrical grid stability.

So what are these policies preventing what appears to be a very useful tool in the climate battle? Topically, there are two main hurdles to address: the standardized use of the “Liner No-Threshold” model, and the NRC-governed insurance pools that affect SMR’s ability to economically price themselves into the market.

Addressing the first, the Linear No-Threshold model stipulates that any level of radiation greater than zero is a danger to public health. Without needing to elaborate too far, this delineation obviously places an enormous financial burden and procedural planning costs across the nuclear industry—and the science behind it simply isn’t justifiable. Research in the field of radiation shows that humans are exposed to various levels of radiation in medical procedures, airplane travel, and a host of other routine activities with no discernible health effects noticeable—which calls into question the need for resource allocation to a standard that isn’t accurate, and is a rather large detriment to nuclear power’s image in the public eye.

Second, the inclusion of SMRs in an insurance pool with larger, traditional reactors casts an unfavorable shadow on the new technology in the eyes of potential investors. The gripe here is that because SMRs can’t be used in the existing American nuclear fleet of 30 year or older reactors, they should be afforded their own insurance pool at much lower premium levels which would in turn attract investors, thus promoting development of the technology. By lumping them in with the older, expensive reactor fleet, makers of the SMRs argue they are losing out on potential resources to advance their much needed technology.

Ultimately, this boils down to a legislative lagoon where progress seems to get mucked down in the bog of bureaucracy.

While Otek cannot affect that fight, we can keep engineering our digital panel meter technology help nuclear power plants make progress on the ground level. During our half-decade campaign to help the nuclear industry digitize, we’ve designed two of our flagship models to aid aging (30+ years) power plants as they seek to modernize and combat analog obsolescence.

Our New Technology Meter line (NTM) boasts 22 different models offering an array of features, including but not limited to: automatic tricolor bar display, loop, signal or external power, plastic or metal housings, our patented signal failure alarm, isolated serial I/O, 4 alarms output/channel, 4-20mA retransmission (see also our NTT transmitter series), math functions, and are applicable for Mil-Spec and Class 1E grades as well as being cyber security safe by design.

Our second prominent addition to Otek’s nuclear strategy is our Solid State Analog Meter, the SSAM. Built with the cyber security ramifications of NEI 08-09 in mind, the SSAM was explicitly designed without any critical digital assets such as microprocessors and runs off CMOS logic—essentially rendering the SSAM invulnerable to the type of cyber security attack that just struck one of India’s leading nuclear power plants. Highlight features of the SSAM include: 100% signal powered for 4-20 and 10-50mA current loops, as well as V/A AC/DC Watts and Hertz for external power, 4 ½ digit ultra white LED display that can be easily changed out to an unlimited range of custom colors with our One Size Fits All scale plate design, Otek’s signal failure alarm that alerts the operator in the event of a lost or dead signal, and less than a 5V loop burden.

Otek’s long standing tradition of bending our technology to consumer applications extends indefinitely to the nuclear industry. We recognize the dire planetary need for combative action against climate change and wholly believe nuclear energy must be a player in any successful effort. We’ll continue to supply our technology towards that end while the legalities sort themselves out.

A malicious cyber security threat

            A malicious cyber security threat infiltrated one of India’s top nuclear power plants in recent days and leading security researchers have identified the Lazarus Group, a North Korean hacking team, as the culprit. Reports began surfacing Monday that the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KNPP) had been attacked by malware that resembled the notorious Dtrack trojan virus that has been in circulation recently—a form of malware that features keylogging, retrieving browser history, gathering IP addresses and information about connections, tracking running processes, and downloading all accessible files onto disk or jump drives.

            A former security analyst at India’s National Technical Research Organization, Pukhraj Singh, suggested in comments made public via Twitter that the malware was able to infiltrate the plant’s systems by surreptitiously piggy-backing off an internal anti-virus upload and then spreading outward from there. The evidence recovered included hardcoded credentials (which would have been used to bypass certain security measures) specific to the plant, indicating that the threat was designed to grow and multiply within the plant’s internal network. What’s perhaps more alarming is that sources claim the Indian government was made aware of a potential imminent attack back on September 4th, notified the KNPP itself, and yet the hackers were still able to get through.

            Fortunately, the attack itself appeared to be only for reconnaissance purposes and was unable to reach the critical network controls that operate the plant’s nuclear reactors. That being said, the incorrigible fact that both the government and the plant itself had prior knowledge of a threat and it still was able to strike nearly unopposed is a disturbing glance at how vulnerable we truly are to this new era of cyber security criminality.

            OTEK, in our enduring quest to aid the nuclear industry, has designed a new type of digital panel meter specifically designed to address cyber security concerns facing nuclear power plants around the world. The Solid State Analog Meter (SSAM) is a revolution within the industry as a fully functional ANSI 4” switchboard replacement for the popular DB40 and VS252 analog meters. Designed without any digital assets such as microprocessors, the SSAM classifies as Cyber Security Exempt under NEI 08-09 regulations.

            Highlight features of the SSAM include:

  •  – Invulnerable to cyber security attacks due to the absence of non-digital components
  •  – Powered by the same award-wining OTEK technology that powers our NTM series
  •  – Advanced “pure white” LED technology allows for a powerful display that is customizable to a vast  array of colors
  •  – Easily interchangeable scale plate designs without needing to remove the unit from the panel/wiring
  •  – Auto-Tricolor LED bar graph with 4 ½ digit display
  •  – Signal failure alarm alerts the operator in the event of loss of power or signal
  •  – The only analog portion is the input signal

            In this new digital world where criminals lurk with unseen fingers upon keyboards anywhere in the world, we must do better to be vigilante in how we protect and defend critical institutions such as nuclear power plants. The SSAM is OTEK’s contribution to that fight.

            For more information on the SSAM or any of our other products, please call 520-748-7900 or email our sales department at sales@otekcorp.com.

Can a Meter/Controller Be Exempt From Cyber Security Regulation?

Can a Meter/Controller Be Exempt From Cyber Security Regulation?

Tucson, AZ – Opening a new avenue for cyber security applications within Nuclear I&C rooms, OTEK Corporation unveils its Solid State Analog Meter (SSAM) for streamlined plug and play replacement of ANSI 4” analog meters with technology that renders this new digital panel meter exempt from cyber security threats. Designed without any digital assets such as microprocessors and powered by CMOS logic, the SSAM series is built to easily replace obsolete analogs Form, Fit, and Function using existing wires, panels, and necessitating only minimal operator training.

In addition to the cyber security applications, the SSAM series also features 4-20 and 10-50mA inputs, 100% signal powered, AC/DC Watts and Hertz or external power, 4 ½ digits at 0.1% accuracy, optional isolated H.V. SPDT dual alarms, a loop burden of less than 5V or 100mW power, and our patented signal failure alarm that warns the user of a signal or power loss for nearly an hour after the initial dead signal.

Unique among the SSAM series, the SSAM-9 model features an incredibly powerful display using pure white LED technology that allows the user to easily interchange the scale plate design and coloring using the same unit and panel cut out. We call this the “One Size Fits All” philosophy and offer on-site training to demonstrate the ease by which you utilize unlimited custom colors for you SSAM-9 display. Customizations to the overall meter itself are also welcome—OTEK customizes its technology to reverse engineer replacements for obsolete meters/controllers so all you have to do is Plug & Play!

With cyber security rapidly becoming a major concern within the electric, water, and nuclear industries, the SSAM is positioned to become a mainstay in the industry for years to come. Current SSAM technology may be found at www.otekcorp.com. For more information or ordering contact Chris at 520-748-7900, or by email at sales@otekcorp.com.

Universal Possibilities with New Hybrid Meter

Tucson, AZ – Continuing to push the technological limits of metering technology, OTEK Corporation introduces its latest product line: The Universal Panel Meter (UPM) series. This unique technology has the ability to function as both a DPM as well as a Counter/Timer for a wide variety of applications across a host of industries. As strictly a DPM the UPM series offers over 30 analog input signals—as a counter/timer the UPM can provide a host of functions, including as a scientific controller-display, process PID controller, a forecasting center, scrolling message display, and a process automation controller among many others.

Like OTEK’s popular NTM series, the UPM offers high reliability through a myriad of company staples such as automatic alpha-numeric tricolor display and input signal fail detection with runtime stamp, relays, isolated 4-20mA retransmission and universal power inputs. The series can be powered externally or by the signal that it measures (like analogs) as well as by OTEK’s well-known current loop power technology.

Leading off the series is the UPM-0 model, which easily replaces any 1/8 DIN DPM or counter/timer. The UPM-0 features isolated serial I/O (USB/RS485) as well as Ethernet, in addition to self diagnostics, intensity control via serial port, math functions (x-y tables, polynomials), dimensions of 3.78”x1.9” and is available in either plastic or metal.

The UPM series is still being expanded upon with several more models soon be to be debuted. Check them out at www.otekcorp.com. For more information or ordering contact us at 520-748-7900, or email us at sales@otekcorp.com.

The NELA & America’s Nuclear Outlook

 

On September 20th of this year the Three Mile Island nuclear generating station closed for good, ending three decades of service to the Pennsylvania energy grid. Currently there are only two new reactors being built in the United States, both of which are over budget and well beyond schedule deadlines. Since the U.S. became the first country on earth to commercialize nuclear power seventy years ago, the once global leader on atomic energy has drastically fallen behind other emerging powers in terms of development, efficiency, research, design, education, and production. The causes for this tumble from the mountain are complex and vary wildly, but if one wants to point to a singular root cause it would be wise to level a finger at public support.

            What begin in the 1970’s as a counter-culture aversion to the neo-science of nuclear energy and its three glaring global disasters, and thus played itself out in protest anthems, concerts, and jostling posters slapped with peace signs, has now once again become a political maelstrom hampering any advancement in the technology. What the hippies saw as a mushroom cloud holocaust, the left-wing clean energy movement now sees as a leverageable political pawn. It can hardly be anything else—when leading experts and scientists not only in America, but looped around the entire globe, vehemently state that no clean energy future is attainable without the inclusion of nuclear energy, and still these special interest groups still refuse to treat “Nuclear” as anything other than a dirty and disgusting word, one simply has to see it for what it is. Empirical science (truth, if such a thing exists on planet earth) can only be denied avariciously. We know the hard facts—renewables such as wind, solar, and hydropower just aren’t as reliable, efficient, and powerful as the near continuous energy derived from an atomic reaction. That logic cannot be refuted in any rational sense—which means we are dealing with an ethos problem. So what can be done?

             The Nuclear Energy Leadership Act (NELA) a bipartisan proposal that currently has 13 sponsors in the House and 17 in the Senate, aims to reinvigorate the U.S. nuclear industry through investment in research, development, fuel security, workforce development, and public education. The legislation, lead by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Va.) addresses both the short and long term needs of American nuclear generation in the coming decades by laying the groundwork for attainable and cohesive objectives between federal and private sector laboratories such as Idaho National Labs, providing financial support for research and development that establishes safety/reliability standards necessary to pursue new state-of-the-art technologies like small modular reactors, as well as providing a consistent amount of reactor fuel for researchers and developers as they push the boundaries of what we’re currently capable of.

            Face it—20% of all energy produced in the United States is from nuclear power and we’re falling behind China who is rapidly building new reactors in not only their own country but foreign nations as well, and Russia is the world leading exporter of nuclear energy. We need to revive interest and innovation among our brightest minds—from college and grad students in our universities to our tech conglomerates to our elected officials. America was once true to her creed of liberty and justice for all and we extended that to global leadership of the most volatile force known to humanity. Beyond even the energy concerns, electrical grid efficiency, and clean energy, we cannot risk the nuclear question being answered by governments and nations who would wield it as a blade.

            That’s why OTEK is tremendously invested in the health and prosperity of the American nuclear industry.  That’s why we became as Class 1E/Appendix B company and developed our New Technology Meters (NTM) and the Solid State Analog Meter (SSAM) to aid the nuclear industry. With analog obsolescence coming to a head in the nuclear I&C rooms, the NTM and SSAM are designed specifically to replace old analogs wire by wire without retraining operators, incurring lengthy installation outages, and effectively combating cyber security expenses with C.S. Compliant (NTM) and C.S. Exempt (SSAM) designations.

            For more information on OTEK’s efforts to help the nuclear industry, our Class 1E/Appendix B approved meters, or any of our vast array of products, please call our office at 520-748-7900 or email our sales department: sales@otekcorp.com

U.S. Energy Department Pushing for Nuclear Waste Storage in Idaho

As nuclear energy makes further headway into the clean energy obsession throttling planet Earth, a darker question seems to run beneath it all: what do we do with the ugly byproduct of a nuclear reaction? Where do we place of strontium-91, baium-139, barium-140, and lanthanum-140 after they’ve become enthusiastically radioactive and will continue to be so at varying levels for the next hundred or so years?

The federal government is now looking into potential storage of nuclear waste on the U.S. Energy Department’s 890 square mile preserve in eastern Idaho, which also houses the Idaho National Laboratories (INL)—one of the nation’s leading nuclear research facilities. And the waste they want to store isn’t just the radioactive result of a nuclear reaction—it’s the culturally toxic and bedeviled waste from the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant, which partially melted down in 1979 and ignited a cultural hallucination on the role of nuclear power in our energy grid. The Energy Department is pursuing an operating license that would run through 2039 and has repeatedly stated the project poses no threat to the surrounding environment, and will be closely monitored in conjunction with INL.

This not the first time the U.S. government has attempted to find a permanent home for nuclear waste on its own soil. Beginning in 1987, a deep storage repository was designated for construction as the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository, roughly eighty miles northwest of Las Vegas. Originally designed to house 70,000 metric tons of waste, the project was immediately overwhelmed by political, environmental, and ethical opposition to the point that by 2011 the project was largely considered dead in the water. It remains so to this day.

Norway however, has long been light years ahead of the United States where waste storage is concerned. Unveiling the Onkalo project–1,710 foot labyrinth being constructed on a remote and uninhabited island, the massive structure is to be the world’s first deep geological repository for the final disposal of spent nuclear fuel when it is completed.

While OTEK can’t force the U.S. government to follow Onkalo’s blueprint, we can lend our technology to the American nuclear industry. That’s why we became as Class 1E/Appendix B company and developed our New Technology Meters (NTM) and the Solid State Analog Meter (SSAM) to aid the nuclear industry. With analog obsolescence coming to a head in the nuclear I&C rooms, the NTM and SSAM are designed specifically to replace old analogs wire by wire without retraining operators, incurring lengthy installation outages, and effectively combating cyber security expenses with C.S. Compliant (NTM) and C.S. Exempt (SSAM) designations. Whatever the future holds for the nuclear industry, Otek plans to be there at every turn and every juncture, ready to bring our technology to bear and help create a more energy conscious future.

For more information on our efforts to help the nuclear industry or any of our technology-driven product lines, please call us at 520-748-7900 or email our sales department at sales@otekcorp.com

Nuclear Energy Takes Another Step in Clean Energy Discussions

 

In 2018 the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) made a proclamation heard around the world: nuclear energy is a source of clean energy alongside solar and wind renewables. As a collective organization made up of twenty-six different nations and sponsored by the European Union as a whole, their pronouncements on clean energy carry a global weight. Though a dense litany of scientists and energy experts from every conceivable corner of the planet have long belabored this point, to hear nuclear energy is clean from a world-wide organization devoted solely to clean energy is nothing short of a miracle given the politicized lightening rod the very word nuclear has become.

            While being perpetually submerged in the milieu of propaganda hysteria which has no real factual basis in a world supposedly governed by logic, nuclear energy has been making headway since the lambasting PR campaigns of the late 60’s and 70’s surrounding Chernobyl and Three-Mile Island—the latter of which produced not a single death and less radiation than a standard x-ray scan, but hey, you know, pop culture never met a truth it couldn’t twist. Yet strides have been made in recent years with the wave of clean energy obsession rising to the surface of our national consciousness—in fact, joining with the CEM, MIT in a dual partnership with Idaho National Laboratories (a sprawling research facility dedicated to nuclear development), released a joint statement emphatically laying out that “nuclear energy is “essential” to expand energy access and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.” And unlike the jejune knee jerks of hysterical young Americans inhaling propaganda and regurgitating it as facts, these organizations actually have a factual basis for their claims:

  • 19% of all electricity in America comes from nuclear power plants
  • A single nuclear power plant uses approximately 13 acres of land to produce one megawatt of energy—a wind farm would require 45 square miles of land to produce the same amount of energy, and a solar farm nearly 260 miles
  • Wind systems generate energy 37% of time they are operational, solar checks in at 26%–nuclear energy generates at a rate of 93%
  • The average operating license for a nuclear power plant in the United States hovers around 60 years—renewables’ operational life bottoms out at 30 years in comparison

            Now we know truth in our time belongs whomever’s shouting the loudest and the most often, so it’s no surprise that nuclear energy’s biggest drawback is a false narrative created by three-eyed fish on the Simpsons, Jane Fonda screaming for 2 and a half hours in The China Syndrome, and a generation of simpletons cringing and recoiling in terrified stupors at any mention of the word nuclear as though it were a contagious disease. If nuclear energy is truly going to be given its proper place at the round table of clean energy discussions, then it will need to overcome nearly seventy years of mud-slinging from one end of the earth to the other.

            If the disaster at Fukushima is any sort of measurement, we still have a long way to go:    While visiting Fukushima, founder of Environmental Progress, Michael Shellenberger challenged the Japanese government’s colossal efforts to remove thousands of tons of “contaminated” topsoil. The response he got was shockingly frank: “Every scientist and radiation expert in the world who comes here says the same thing. We know we don’t need to reduce radiation levels…We’re doing it because the people want us to.”  –from an article on cnn.com

            At OTEK we remain committed to the nuclear industry and its applications for the human race. We are an Appendix B/Class 1E nuclear qualified supplier with technology engineered to combat rising analog obsolescence within the industry and help ensure nuclear I&C rooms smoothly transition to digital instrumentation. In that regard, we designed our Solid State Analog Meter (SSAM) to bypass the heavy financial implications of NEI 08-09 by way of being built without any critical digital components such as microprocessors—just good old CMOS logic all the way through—and is recognized as Cyber Security Exempt from such mandates. The SSAM also falls under OTEK’s “Plug n’ Play” ideological umbrella—meaning it’s designed to be compatible with most wires, panels etc already in place, and requires only minimal training for operators—all you have to do is remove your old ammeter from the panel where it’s been rotting in obsolescence for decades, and install the Otek technology—you know, instrumentation from this century.

            For more information on our effort to help the nuclear industry or any of our various product models, please call our office at (520) 748-7900 or email our sales office at sales@otekcorp.com

Faulty Components Found in French Nuclear Reactors

The devil as they say is in the details. Unfortunately, this English proverb translates to a €400 million problem in French for the state-owned power company, Electricite de France SA. In an announcement Tuesday, the company issued a warning that several of its nuclear reactors have been structurally compromised by faulty welding. EDF said it was made aware of the problem by nuclear supplier and subsidiary, Framatome; the company declined however, to comment on the potential shutdown of any of its 58 reactors across the European country.

            By noon Tuesday shares of the company had fallen by 6.8%, despite insistence from EDF that all reactors would not be compromised as Framatome used different welding techniques on different reactors. The issue reared its head primarily in steam generator welds—which were found to deviate from established technical standards required to ensure reactor components meet the safety guidelines set forth by the French nuclear industry regulatory commission.

            For a country which is so hyper-dependent on nuclear power for its energy (the IAEA estimated France’s 2018 energy supply at 71.67% from nuclear sources), the idea of weakened steel in such crucial applications is troubling indeed.

            In the United States our nuclear fleet is governed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), under whose auspices OTEK Corporation became a Class 1E/Appendix B nuclear qualified supplier. Why’d we do it? Well, the long hours and mountains of paper work were part of the obligation we undertook when we decided to lend our technologically advanced DPM’s to help the industry reclaim its rightful place in our energy future. We figured the most effective place to start was the heart—the nuclear Instrumentation & Control rooms where thousands of obsolete analog technologies still hang like weary eyes all around operators, and suffer from stuck needles, subjectivity, and unreliability. It’s not hard to imagine—analog meters like the DB40 and GE180 were being put into control rooms as far back as the 1970’s. That’s why we’ve invested heavily in technologically enhanced Plug & Play replacements for obsolete analogs such as Versatile, Sigma, Wechsler, Scientech and many others—our NTM and SSAM models are designed to slide right into the panel cutout using all the same wiring, terminals, and only minimal procedural training for operators.

            Both of the aforementioned models are also designed to effectively meet the mandates established by NEI 08-09 with regard to cyber security—with the NTM carrying a C.S. “Compliant” status and SSAM registering as “Exempt” from C.S. standards by way of being built without any microprocessors or other critical digital components.

            Even the French, who use more of it than anyone else on earth, haven’t hammered out all the details (literally) on nuclear energy; if America is going to regain her place at the forefront of global nuclear power than we’d do well do mind the devil too.

            For more information on Otek or any of our products please call our office at (520) 748-7900 or email our sales department at sales@otekcorp.com.

Politics Around the Nuclear Question

 

CNN’s Democratic climate change town hall meeting certainly was extraordinary—in that it ran for seven consecutive hours and some people evidently wagered their sanity watching it till nearly midnight on September 4th.  With climate change now a global buffet for opinions and the Democratic presidential hopefuls pouncing on it with sensational glee, the soap opera saga did at least yield insight into how America might look moving forward under a different president with regard to climate change—and specifically nuclear energy. A word which is nearly as polarizing as the political spectrum itself.

            In an effort to not mirror the doldrums of a seven hour telethon, we’ll stick to a couple highlights:

  • Only half the candidates even addressed the topic of nuclear energy
  • Corey Booker (D-NJ) and entrepreneur Andrew Yang both advocated nuclear energy as not only a major part of any solution to climate change, but also as a more efficient and reliable means of generating clean energy
  • Booker especially pushed the idea that America cannot afford to let other nations dictate the nuclear imprint on humanity, commenting: “As Americans, [we] must make the investments so that we lead humanity to the innovations, to the breakthroughs, to the jobs of the future”
  • Booker introduced a plan to allocate $20 billion towards the development of next-generation nuclear technology like Small Modular Reactors
  • Yang’s proposal calls for $50 billion towards building new reactors in the U.S. by 2027 (Only one reactor has come online in the last twenty years)
  • Bernie Sanders predictably outlawed nuclear energy in all forms, calling it a “False Solution”
  • Kamala Harris declined to fully condemn nuclear energy, instead choosing to make scant comments about proper nuclear waste disposal
  • Elizabeth Warren choose to orchestrate her argument against nuclear energy around her Native American cause, citing “Environmental Injustice” imposed on indigenous peoples by the development of nuclear power plants and waste disposal sites
  • Biden kept his position rather vague and spent his turn distancing himself from failed Obama-era climate policies, only mentioning the need for more R&D in the field

            What’s clear is that the majority of the Democratic Party is opposed to nuclear energy in America’s future.

            At Otek we sincerely hope that with more factual information, credible research, and honest introspection, America as whole can come to the logic that clean energy is simply not possible without nuclear energy. It just isn’t—and there’s bevy of scientists and leading experts strung around the planet who will tell you that harsh reality. That’s a major reason why Otek took our knowledge of digital panel meter technology, process control, and 0.1% accuracy measurement, and evolved into a Class 1E/Appendix B company—that’s why we designed our New Technology Meters (NTM) and our Solid State Analog Meter (SSAM) to ease the burden on the nuclear industry as it grapples with analog obsolescence and the digital transition.

            The future is bright as long as we are willing to listen to each other. We hope this hold true for nuclear energy—a resource, much like humanity itself, that has the power to elevate or destroy the world.

            For more information on our efforts to help the nuclear industry or our digital technology and how it may be of service to your applications, please call us at (520) 748-7900 or email our sales department at sales@otekcorp.com

Russian Explosion Points to Nuclear Reactor

U.S. Intelligence officials released a new report today detailing new information on the August 8th mysterious explosion off Russia’s northern coast, indicating that a nuclear reactor was in-fact involved in the blast. The report highlights a cocktail of radioactive isotopes—the main byproducts of nuclear fission—which swept over a nearby town and were identified by the state weather agency Roshydromet. These decaying isotopes, chalked thick with radiation, were found to be large quantities of strontium-91, baium-139, barium-140, and lanthanum-140—all with half-lives (the time it takes them to half-way decay) between 83 seconds and almost 13 days.

            Every single one of those is a fission product produced as part of a nuclear chain reaction. Nils Bohmer, a Norwegian nuclear-safety expert, speaking with the online newspaper The Barents Observer (which covers the Arctic Circle including Scandinavia and Russia), dryly surmised, “the presence of decay products like barium and strontium is coming from a nuclear chain reaction,” adding that it was evidence that it “was a nuclear reactor that exploded.”

            Joshua Pollack, a nuclear and missile proliferation consultant to the U.S. Government added darkly, “If anyone still doubts that a nuclear reactor was involved in this incident, this report should go a long way toward resolving that.”

            Russia, ever true to its clandestine nefariousness, has provided little information, and the few statements Putin’s government has released seemed to flip flop with the exchange of sun and moon. Five scientists who worked directly on the project have died, rumors persist of gas mask convoys being delivered into the area, doctors being forced at gunpoint to sign non-disclosure agreements before treating the injured—all shades and hearsay cobbled together paint a grim picture upon whose back the shapeless echo of Chernobyl grows louder with each day passed into speculative silence.

            The report from the U.S. intelligence community also suggests the explosion may have resulted from a recovery effort to collect a failed test of the dubious Burevestnik “Skyfall” weapon—a devastating cruise missile powered by a nuclear core which Putin lauds as possessing “unlimited range”. While details still need to be flushed out, the report clearly hints that during the recovery mission to the bottom of the sea where the dead missile fell, one of the recovery ships exploded and triggered a subsequent explosion from the missile’s nuclear core. U.S. officials estimate that this same weapon was tested four times between late 2017 and early 2018 with similar failures being aborted into the ocean and then hunted for by submersible recovery initiatives.

            So what does this all mean going forward? At a very base level it indicates the increased role nuclear energy will play in shaping our world in the 21st century. From diabolical missiles to clean energy demands, the nuclear question appears entrenched in the center of our time. How we answer that question will determine both our future and the longevity of our planet.

             At Otek we have long recognized the undeniability of splitting the atom. Servicing the nuclear industry, not only in the U.S. but globally as well, has become one of our major outreaches over the last few years—towards this effort we have become a Class 1E/Appendix B company and developed two new product lines specifically geared to help the nuclear I&C rooms with their digital transition in our NTM and SSAM models. Both tackle the financial and labor restrictions nuclear plants encounter under the regulations of NEI 08-09 for cyber security protection. The NTM operates fully compliant with 08-09 mandates, and the SSAM (by way of containing no critical digital assets) performs exempt from C.S. protocols.

            With technology riding an upward arch uncertain to ever falter, we must be vigilant in our knowledge of nuclear energy and its potential. Otek stands firmly committed to that ideal.

            For more information on our products or our nuclear commitment, please call our office at (520) 748-7900 or email our sales team: sales@otekcorp.com