X-Message-Number: 2668
Date: 28 Mar 94 05:09:44 EST
From: Paul Wakfer <>
Subject: CRYONICS CryoSpan's Storage Risks


In CRYONET MSG 2664, in response to Mike Darwin's posting announcing some of
our earthquake plans, Jeffrey Soreff writes:

>I'm sure that you can armor your patients' vault against an earthquake, but
>how do you ensure a continued liquid nitrogen supply?  How much of the road
>system will be passable after a Richter 8.5?

    Since I am the one who invited the firm of seismic/structural engineers
to give us a proposal for the design of an underground storage vault to
withstand the "Maximum Credible Earthquake" (MCE), defined as that earthquake
having a 10% probability of being exceeded in 250 years, and to retrofit the
building to withstand the "Maximum Probable Earthquake" (MPE), defined as
that earthquake having a 10% probability of being exceeded in 50 years, I
would like to answer these questions by outlining CryoSpan's complete plans
in this regard.  (Yes, we will be vulnerable until these plans are fully

    CryoSpan plans to build an underground reinforced concrete vault which
will hold up to 6 bigfoot dewars.  In CryoSpan's scheme of usage, these
dewars hold 4 whole bodies and 4 neuros (for safety purposes, we don't wish
neuros to be near the liquid surface), or 36 neuros, or various combinations
thereof.  One dewar will always be kept available for 3 purposes:
    a) Controlled cooldown of new whole body or neuro patients.
    b) Backup in case a dewar containing patients suddenly looses vacuum.
    c) Bulk storage of LN2 to reduce the purchase price per liter.
These purposes conflict somewhat because cooldown requires a dewar with only
a small amount of LN2 in the bottom.  If the backup/cooldown/bulk dewar is
required for cooldown, its LN2 will have to be disposed of and this,
sometimes occurring, extra cost must be taken into account.  When we get to
higher dewar and patient volumes, this conflict will be eliminated by having
2 dewars for these purposes.
    The dewars will be solidly attached to the walls of the vault and
surrounded by extra insulation.  The dewars will take the maximum
accelerations involved.  The ceiling of the vault, at the floor level of the
building will be covered with steel plates under which will be 6 inches of
fire proof insulation.

    Using a dewar for bulk storage is now more feasible since CryoSpan has
found an inexpensive method of reducing the boiloff from its patient dewars
by 30% to 40% (to about 10 liters/day) and from its backup/cooldown/bulk
dewar, probably even more.  We plan to always keep the backup/cooldown/bulk
dewar at least half full (1000 liters) of LN2.  This means that even when we
have 4 patient dewars in service (estimated to be within 5 years), for
example, at worst case (the "big one" strikes when the dewar is half empty),
it will be about 45 days before the LN2 level reaches the top of the whole
body pods.  The pods themselves are 79" tall and for most whole body
patients, under 6 feet tall, it be another 14 days before the LN2 level is at
the soles of their feet (remember they are stored upside down).  For the
neuros (stored only 4 high), it will be a total of 83 days before the LN2
level is at the top of the highest neck.  (Some animals would then be in the
gas above the surface, still pretty damn cold.)  In the best case (the bulk
dewar is full when the "big one" strikes), add another 20 days to these
figures.  (Inserted after: I just realized, there is an even worse case: the
"big one" strikes just as we have emptied the dewar to begin a cooldown.  
For that unlikely situation, subtract 20 days from the above numbers.)  For
less than 4 patient dewars in service, all the numbers are larger, of course,
as long we have some LN2 in our bulk dewar (always the case when we get to
more than 1 backup/cooldown/bulk dewar or when we get to a dedicated super-
bulk dewar).

    Los Angeles has 3 separate liquid nitrogen plants (that why prices are
low here).  The Union Carbide plant, with enormous size bulk tanks, is less
than 10 miles away in Fontana.  If the roads were truly all down, we could go
cross country in a four wheel drive to get LN2.  But the roads will not be
down for that long.  Even if every highway bridge and overpass fell down,
they would quickly be replaced with level four way stop (later stop-light)
intersections.  Yes, it would be slow, but certainly not impossible to go 10
miles and back.  Don't forget, there are many other critical usages of LN2
these days.  The LN2 plant would be quickly put back in working order.

    Now I've had enough with trying to defend CryoSpan.  How about the other
patient care providers?  Are their dewars safe from the risk of fire?  Are
they safe from some psycho shooting them full of holes?  Are they sure that
there won't be *any* large earthquake in their area within the 100 to 200
years (maybe more) which they will have to care for their patients before
restoration to life and health is possible?  (Or are they all nanotechnology
dreamers, who believe that their patients will all be out of the can within
30 years?)

    Rancho Cucamonga is over an hour's drive from the crime ridden areas of
LA.  We are in prime real estate, one block from the city hall, police
station, and San Bernardino County Courthouse, half a mile from the fire
station, 5 miles from Ontario international airport.  The area is free of
floods, landslides, snow, tornados, and hurricanes.  We are nowhere near the
LA fire and mudslide areas.  There is zero crime in our area.  Even so, we
have a comprehensive burglar alarm system and a fully-sprinklered building
with a 24-hour-per-day, dedicated-phone-line, fire detection reporting
system.  Come and see the facility for yourself, except for the earthquake
problem, which we are eradicating, I defy you to say how it could be much
better situated.

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