Archive for radiation

As 300 Tons of Radioactive Water Leak From Fukushima, Never Believe "The Nuclear Crisis Is Over"

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no nukes smaller

Your Daily Dose of BuzzFlash at Truthout, via my pal Mark Karlin:

There is too much money and too many political careers tied up in a radiocative future to believe any statement -- such as the ones about the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant: "Don't worry, the crisis is over" or "We've got it all under control."

Mainstream media across the world today have blaring headlines, such as the New York Times: "300 Tons of Contaminated Water Leak From Japanese Nuclear Plant:"

Workers raced to place sandbags around the leak at the site to stem the spread of the water, a task made more urgent by a forecast of heavy rain for the Fukushima region later in the day. A spokesman at Tokyo Electric Power, the plant’s operator, acknowledged that much of the contaminated water had seeped into the soil and could eventually reach the ocean, adding to the tons of radioactive fluids that have already leaked into the sea from the troubled plant.

The leaked water contains levels of radioactive cesium and strontium many hundreds of times higher than legal safety limits, Tokyo Electric said. Exposure to either element is known to increase the risk of cancer....

...Workers discovered puddles of radioactive water near the tank on Monday. Further checks revealed that the 1,000-ton capacity vessel, thought to be nearly full, only contained 700 tons, with the remainder having almost certainly leaked out.

As the fossil fuel industry races to destroy the planet in order to swill champagne bottles of profit as the earth's nurturing eco systems erode into toxic destructive forces, the nuclear industry rushes to justify even more nuclear power as the deadly impact of its current plants is still literally leaking into our environment: the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat from the oceans. [...]

This is not just a national emergency; this is an international crisis that like Chernobyl is a stop sign for the further development of nuclear power.

Please read the entire post here.

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Japan to end nuclear power by 2030s

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I wish the first words in the headline were "The United States," but I'm relieved to see Japan's pledge to phase out nuclear energy by 2039 at the latest.

Via the L.A. Times:

The Japanese government announced a dramatic turn in its energy policy Friday, vowing to make the densely populated island nation nuclear-free by the 2030s. [...]

The new blueprint calls for investing almost $500 billion over the next two decades to expand renewable sources like wind and solar power, the NHK broadcast network reported.

And no longer in the L.A. Times online post, but from my morning paper:

A 40-year limit has been set on operation of existing plants, meaning the last one would have to shut by 2039, but officials hope to close it earlier.

Expanding renewable energy sources is exactly what we should be doing, but the GOP has decided that's too Kenyan. They prefer to take long, luxurious crude oil soaks while having their toesies massaged by Exxon CEOs.

And while they're basking in the lovely green glow of leaking radiation, someone should remind them to expect the unexpected:

The word “expect” keeps popping up, and that ambiguity is what makes many of us a little wary. That’s because the 9.0 magnitude was also not expected. The combo of a huge quake and a tsunami was not expected. Experts say they don’t expect a quake larger than 7.0 near the San Onofre nuclear plant, nor do they expect one bigger than 7.5 near Diablo Canyon, despite the fact that new fault lines are discovered from time to time, not to mention the proximity to the San Andreas Fault.

But no, Republicans care more about profit than the health and well-being of their fellow Americans, so what do they do? They pass the No More Solyndras Act.

How's that for forward thinking?

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Astronomy Video Overnight Thread- Solar eruption captured by Nasa

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You can read more about this coolio eruption here.

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VIDEO- Rachel Maddow: Flood waters threaten Nebraska nuke plant

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Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Hugh Kaufman (senior policy analyst with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response) asked if the Nebraska situation was Fukushima 2.0, here. When I quoted him, I was accused of being an alarmist... for publishing his question.  I was also called an alarmist when I quoted early news reports calling the Fukushima nuclear disaster "out of control."

Now I'm posting a video of Rachel Maddow, who has genuine concerns about the Nebraska plant. There I go, being all alarmist again.

Of course, I’m sure nobody expected any of these events to happen.

FYI, here is more information from about a week ago.

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"Nebraska: Fukushima 2.0?"

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See the blog title? Before you accuse me of being an alarmist, the wording is a verbatim quote sent to me by Hugh Kaufman, (senior policy analyst with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response), who also linked me to the following article from Business Insider:

A fire in Nebraska's Fort Calhoun nuclear power plant briefly knocked out the cooling process for spent nuclear fuel rods, ProPublica reports. The fire occurred on June 7th.

On June 6th, the Federal Administration Aviation (FAA) issued a directive banning aircraft from entering the airspace within a two-mile radius of the plant. [...]

The plant is reportedly at a stage 4 level of emergency, though the Omaha Public Power District (OPPD), which owns and operates the plant, denies this.

So, whether or not this turns out to be as dire as what happened in Japan, it is worrisome to say the very least.

Of course, I'm sure nobody expected this to happen.

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Fukushima update: "A very bad situation"

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We don't hear a lot about the Fukushima nuclear disaster these days, do we? That coverage has been replaced by the lunacy of Donald Trump and Newt Gingrich, among others. Meanwhile, people in Japan are suffering, and we're not learning much new information about the consequences of what is now being called a "meltdown".

However, Chris Martenson does have a very disturbing piece up. Here is a sample, but please go read the whole thing, as he goes into a lot of detail:

Well, it now turns out that much of my worst fears and about Fukushima have been confirmed with the news that TEPCO has finally admitted that reactor #1 has experienced a meltdown event that may have breached the primary containment vessel. Further, truly alarming levels of radiation are now being reported in and around Tokyo.

The prospects for containing the situation at reactor #1 are now much dimmer than previously admitted. A melted core is far more difficult to cool because the geometry of the slag heap at the bottom is not nearly as favorable as long thin tubes around which water can be relatively easily circulated.

Worse, if the slag has either melted through the primary containment vessel or somehow leaked out through a fitting that has failed, then the ability to circulate water is even more compromised.

He then cites "Partial meltdown hits Fukushima nuclear plant".

Martenson also wonders about data that TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Co) has been releasing. It's contradictory and worrisome, to say the least:

This, too, has troubling implications for it means that the rest of the data - including the radiation readings and isotopes discovered - are all suspect too.

Much more here.

H/t: @cjohanns

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How nuclear apologists mislead the world over radiation

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I may have mentioned in an earlier post that when news was continuing to break about the Japanese nuclear disaster, I was regularly tweeting about it, quoting news alerts and other various news reports. Several of those reports used the words "out of control", and so that's exactly what I repeated in my posts and/or tweets. I was called out by a few people who said condescending things like, "Why are you panicking? How sad." I wasn't, I was passing on what I heard.

Several people tried their best to convince me how far nuclear power has come, and even compared it to coal and oil in an effort to prove its effectiveness, reliability and safety.

My response was that they were all pretty bad, and the severity of the pollution from coal and oil does nothing to lessen that of a nuclear accident or the problems associated with storing nuclear waste.

When I referred to comparisons to Chernobyl, I was ridiculed. At times all of this was amusing, at other times infuriating.

At one point, I was followed on Twitter by the Nuclear Energy Institute, receiving tweet after tweet challenging my views, trying to convince me to change my mind. It didn't work.

I continue to post about the resulting radiation and about lax safety measures at the power plants, including the two here in California; I live in the L.A. area, between them.

I wish I had seen this article from the Guardian before now, but it wasn't published until April 11:

Internal radiation, on the other hand, emanates from radioactive elements which enter the body by inhalation, ingestion, or skin absorption. Hazardous radionuclides such as iodine-131, caesium 137, and other isotopes currently being released in the sea and air around Fukushima bio-concentrate at each step of various food chains (for example into algae, crustaceans, small fish, bigger fish, then humans; or soil, grass, cow's meat and milk, then humans). [2] After they enter the body, these elements – called internal emitters – migrate to specific organs such as the thyroid, liver, bone, and brain, where they continuously irradiate small volumes of cells with high doses of alpha, beta and/or gamma radiation, and over many years, can induce uncontrolled cell replication – that is, cancer. Further, many of the nuclides remain radioactive in the environment for generations, and ultimately will cause increased incidences of cancer and genetic diseases over time.

The grave effects of internal emitters are of the most profound concern at Fukushima. It is inaccurate and misleading to use the term "acceptable levels of external radiation" in assessing internal radiation exposures. To do so, as Monbiot has done, is to propagate inaccuracies and to mislead the public worldwide (not to mention other journalists) who are seeking the truth about radiation's hazards. [...]

[A]s the US National Academy of Sciences BEIR VII report has concluded, no dose of radiation is safe, however small, including background radiation; exposure is cumulative and adds to an individual's risk of developing cancer. [...]

The World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2005 issued a report attributing only 43 human deaths directly to the Chernobyl disaster and estimating an additional 4,000 fatal cancers. In contrast, the 2009 report, "Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment", published by the New York Academy of Sciences, comes to a very different conclusion.... 980,000.

There is a whole lot more here. Please read it all.

By the way, I'm still not panicked, just very concerned.

And I haven't heard a peep out of all those critics since it has been confirmed how "out of control" the situation got... not an apology, not a retraction, not an acknowledgment, not a hint of a whisper of a word. Then again, I didn't expect one.

More TPC posts on this topic here.

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