- TV: Officials now confirm Plutonium and/or Americium reached Carlsbad, New Mexico’s 10th most populated city — Container of radioactive waste may have “blew up” (VIDEO)
- Anonymous Senior Tepco Employee: No one knows what to do at Fukushima, it’s impossible to fix — Reactors not under control — “We just can’t deal with the melted fuel”
- AP: ‘Very strong’ 6.9 quake rattles California coast, widely felt throughout region — Directly across from nuclear fuel storage site — ‘Aftershock Warning’: Probability of a strong quake within 7 days greater than 90% (VIDEO)
Archive for the ‘U.S.A.’ Category
AP: Radioactive material spews into air & sea at Fukushima — Asahi: Exposure levels spike — Nuclear Expert: We don’t even know where 3 melted reactor cores are… it’s not under control at all; Still getting worse 3 years later (AUDIO)March 11, 2014
‘Container fire’ at WIPP may have resulted from ‘spontaneous combustion’ — Expert: “Could’ve crapped up a whole lot of real estate down there” — U.S. radioactive waste disposal system crippled? — Potential radiological consequences for public, City of Carlsbad “affected greater than any other section”
Published: March 8th, 2014 at 4:13 pm ET
Albuquerque Journal, Mar. 8, 2014: WIPP radiation leak was never supposed to happen — No one knows yet how or why a waste drum leaked [...] setting off a cascade of events that could cripple the nation’s radioactive waste disposal system. [...] before WIPP opened, the [DOE] put the risk of such an accident at one chance in 10,000 to one in 1 million during any given year of WIPP operations [...] only two possible scenarios [...] an exploding waste drum or a waste disposal room roof collapse. [...] “You could have crapped up a whole lot of real estate down there,” [Bob Neill, a radiation safety expert] said. The underground drum fire scenario [...] hypothesized the “spontaneous combustion” of a drum’s contents, rupturing and spreading the radioactive waste inside [a] one chance in 10,000 in any given year of WIPP operations. The “roof fall” scenario [...] was calculated at one chance in a million during a given year [and] could leave a large number of waste drums crushed and leaking. [...] Cleaning up contamination [would] risk of further spreading the contamination. [...] In a formal legal notice, the New Mexico Environment Department said, “It is believed … that the WIPP will be unable to resume normal activities for a protracted period of time.”
Albuquerque Journal, Mar. 8, 2014: Because no workers were believed to be present at the time of the Valentine’s Day leak, only two scenarios here are plausible based on what we currently know – the burst drum or roof fall.
Department of Energy, WIPP Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (pdf): WIPP Disposal Accidents– Eight potential accidents at WIPP during disposal operations were evaluated; they are shown in Table 5-18. [...] Potential radiological consequences to the public and maximally exposed noninvolved worker are substantially higher than hazardous chemical consequences, which are very small for most accident cases. Estimated results for members of the public, the maximally exposed noninvolved worker, and the maximally exposed involved worker are presented below and in Table 5-19. Public Population consequences from WIPP disposal accidents were estimated for the 22.5 degree sector west of the site, which includes the City of Carlsbad. The population in this sector is 25,629 and would be affected greater than any other section in the surrounding 80-kilometer (50-mile) region.
- Container Fire — Contents of a drum in an underground disposal room spontaneously combusts prior to panel closure.
- Roof Fall — A portion of a disposal room roof falls prior to panel closure, crushing drums and causing container breaches.
See also: LA Times: Expert says ‘radiological process’ may have forced material out of container at US nuclear site, “Could be a mess”; Officials saying little about extent of problem — Levels remain too high to let in non-essential personnel — Air monitors not allowed to collect filters
Published: March 8th, 2014 at 4:13 pm ET
- TV: Officials now confirm Plutonium and/or Americium reached Carlsbad, New Mexico’s 10th most populated city — Container of radioactive waste may have “blew up” (VIDEO) March 10, 2014
- Shooting nuclear waste into the sun? ‘Space disposal’ considered by Obama commission May 1, 2013
- TV: Radioactive waste containers may be “smashed and opened” after roof collapse at leaking U.S. nuclear site — Official: We believe there’s been a breach… “It’s a very serious thing” — ‘Seismic event’ mentioned — High levels of alpha and beta radiation detected (VIDEO) February 21, 2014
- CNN: “Largest hazardous waste disposal company in N. America” working at sinkhole August 17, 2012
- Radioactive contamination now reported in city over 20 miles from leaking U.S. nuclear site #WIPP — 10th largest population in state of New Mexico (MAP) February 24, 2014
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 10, 2014
CONTACT: Beyond Nuclear
Linda Gunter, Beyond Nuclear: 301.455.5655
TAKOMA PARK, MD – March 10 – The Fukushima nuclear power plant catastrophe in Japan is about to enter its fourth year. Many questions remain unanswered. Little has been done to shore up the 31 U.S. reactors that are identical in design. Interviews with specialists at Beyond Nuclear are available.
Kevin Kamps Radioactive Waste Specialist. 240.462.3216;email@example.com
“The condition of the high-level radioactive waste storage pools at the Fukushima-Daiichi reactors remains perilous. Another big earthquake could prompt a sudden drain-down of the Unit 4 high-level radioactive waste storage pool. The Unit 3 pool may be in even worse shape,” Kamps said.
“Few lessons from Fukushima have been learned in the U.S. One of the most important should be that high density U.S. pools are emptied into hardened on-site storage as soon as possible, before the worst happens, whether due to natural disaster or terrorist attack.”
Cindy Folkers, Radiation and Health Specialist. 240.354.4314;firstname.lastname@example.org
“Considering the constant misinformation regarding how much radioactivity has and is being released into the Pacific Ocean from the ongoing Fukushima nuclear disaster, we must continually monitor the ocean and ocean life, particularly food sources,” Folkers said.
“The American Medical Association has passed a resolution pressing for seafood testing for the U.S. But independent testing is almost non-existent. We have the highest allowable limit of radioactive cesium in the world, but not the robust food testing needed to see if we are exceeding it.”
Paul Gunter, Reactor Oversight Director. 301.523.0201;email@example.com
“In a bid to restart Japan’s reactors, none of which are currently operating, the regulator there ordered utilities to install costly countermeasures to another severe accident. Here in the U.S., the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission continues to stall those same countermeasures for the identically flawed nuclear technology to protect the fragile economics of nuclear power and keep vulnerable reactors running full throttle,” Gunter said.
“The Japanese Diet reported that Fukushima was a ‘man-made disaster’ caused by the collusion of government, regulator and industry to protect a nuclear production agenda. ‘Nuclear Regulatory Capture’ of the NRC by industry here in the U.S. has put financial protectionism, aging reactor systems and the roll of the dice on converging courses for an American Fukushima.”
Linda Gunter, International Specialist. 301.455.5655;firstname.lastname@example.org
“Japan’s early decision to choose nuclear power, rather than renewable energy, now means Japan will temporarily worsen climate change as the country imports stop-gap fossil fuels while its reactors are down. The alternative favored by the Abe government, to restart its nuclear plants, poses unacceptable consequences,” Gunter said.
“Japan must now move to rapid implementation of renewable energy and energy efficiency. Japan’s predicament spotlights exactly how detrimental the nuclear energy path has been to preserving our planet. We cannot take back the disastrous releases of radioactivity. But Japan, like Germany, could now choose to renounce any further such risks.”
The U.S. imprisons a higher percentage of our population than countries like Russia, China and Iran. (photo: Michael Criswell/Getty Images)
By Sean McElwee, Rolling Stone
08 March 14
Our society lags behind the rest of the developed world in education, health care, violence and more
lthough the U.S. is one of the richest societies in history, it still lags behind other developed nations in many important indicators of human development – key factors like how we educate our children, how we treat our prisoners, how we take care of the sick and more. In some instances, the U.S.’s performance is downright abysmal, far below foreign countries that are snidely looked-down-upon as “third world.” Here are six of the most egregious examples that show how far we still have to go:
1. Criminal Justice
We all know the U.S. criminal justice system is flawed, but few are likely aware of just how bad it is compared to the rest of the world. The International Center for Prison Studiesestimates that America imprisons 716 people per 100,000 citizens (of any age). That’s significantly worse than Russia (484 prisoners per 100,000 citizens), China (121) and Iran (284). The only country that incarcerates a higher percentage of its population than we do is North Korea. The U.S. is also the only developed country that executes prisoners – and our death penalty has a serious race problem: 42 percent of those on death row are black, compared to less than 15 percent of the overall population.
Over two and a half million American children have a parent behind bars. A whopping 60 percent of those incarcerated in U.S. prisons are non-violent offenders, many of them in prison for drug charges (overwhelmingly African-Americans). Even while our crime rate has fallen, our incarcerated population has climbed. As of 2011, an estimated 217,000 American prisoners were raped each year - that’s 600 new victims every day, a truly horrifying number. In 2010, the Department of Justice released a report about abuse in juvenile detention centers. The report found that 12.1 percent of all youth held in juvenile detention reported sexual violence; youth held for between seven and 12 months had a victimization rate of 14.2 percent.
2. Gun Violence
The U.S. leads the developed world in firearm-related murders, and the difference isn’t a slight gap – more like a chasm. According to United Nations data, the U.S. has 20 times more murders than the developed world average. Our murder rate also dwarfs many developing nations, like Iraq, which has a murder rate less than half ours. More than half of the most deadly mass shootings documented in the past 50 years around the world occurred in the United States, and 73 percent of the killers in the U.S. obtained their weapons legally. Another study finds that the U.S. has one of the highest proportion of suicides committed with a gun. Gun violence varies across the U.S., but some cities like New Orleans and Detroit rival the most violent Latin American countries, where gun violence is highest in the world.
A study last year found that in many American counties, especially in the deep South, life expectancy is lower than in Algeria, Nicaragua or Bangladesh. The U.S. is the only developed country that does not guarantee health care to its citizens; even after the Affordable Care Act,millions of poor Americans will remain uninsured because governors, mainly Republicans, have refused to expand Medicaid, which provides health insurance for low-income Americans. Although the federal government will pay for the expansion, many governors cited cost, even though the expansion would actually save money. America is unique among developed countries in that tens of thousands of poor Americans die because they lack health insurance, even while we spend more than twice as much of our GDP on healthcare than the average for the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), a collection of rich world countries. The U.S. has an infant mortality rate that dwarfs comparable nations, as well as the highest teenage-pregnancy rate in the developed world, largely because of the politically-motivated unavailability of contraception in many areas.
The U.S. is among only three nations in the world that does not guarantee paid maternal leave (the other two are Papua New Guinea and Swaziland). This means many poor American mothers must choose between raising their children and keeping their jobs. The U.S. education system is plagued with structural racial biases, like the fact that schools are funded at the local, rather than national level. That means that schools attended by poor black people get far less funding than the schools attended by wealthier students. The Department of Education has confirmed that schools with high concentrations of poor students have lower levels of funding. It’s no wonder America has one of the highest achievement gaps between high income and low income students, as measured by the OECD. Schools today are actually more racially segregated than they were in the 1970s. Our higher education system is unique among developed nations in that is funded almost entirely privately, by debt. Students in the average OECD country can expect about 70 percent of their college tuition to be publicly funded; in the United States, only about 40 percent of the cost of education is publicly-funded. That’s one reason the U.S. has the highest tuition costs of any OECD country.
By almost every measure, the U.S. tops out OECD countries in terms of income inequality, largely because America has the stingiest welfare state of any developed country. This inequality has deep and profound effects on American society. For instance, although the U.S. justifies its rampant inequality on the premise of upward mobility, many parts of the United States have abysmal levels of social mobility, where children born in the poorest quintile have a less than 3 percent chance of reaching the top quintile. Inequality harms our democracy, because the wealthy exert an outsized political influence. Sheldon Adelson, for instance, spent more to influence the 2012 election than the residents of 12 states combined. Inequality also tears at the social fabric, with a large body of research showing that inequality correlates with low levels of social trust. In their book The Spirit Level, Richard Pickett and Kate Wilkinson show that a wide variety of social indicators, including health and well-being are intimately tied to inequality.
The United States infrastructure is slowly crumbling apart and is in desperate need for repair. One study estimates that our infrastructure system needs a $3.6 trillion investment over the next six years. In New York City, the development of Second Avenue subway line was first delayed by the outbreak of World War II; it’s still not finished. In South Dakota, Alaska and Pennsylvania, water is still transported via century-old wooden pipes. Some 45 percent of Americans lack access to public transit. Large portions of U.S. wastewater capacity are more than half a century old and in Detroit, some of the sewer lines date back to the mid-19th century. One in nine U.S. bridges (or 66,405 bridges) are considered “structurally deficient,”according to the National Bridge Inventory. All of this means that the U.S. has fallen rapidly ininternational rankings of infrastructure.
America is a great country, and it does many things well. But it has vast blind spots. The fact that nearly 6 million Americans, or 2.5 percent of the voting-age population, cannot vote because they have a felony on record means that politicians can lock up more and more citizens without fear of losing their seat. Our ideas of meritocracy and upward mobility blind us to the realities of class and inequality. Our healthcare system provides good care to some, but it comes at a cost – millions of people without health insurance. If we don’t critically examine these flaws, how can we ever hope to progress as a society?
Expert: ‘The worst’ from Fukushima has left Japan and is headed to US, Canada — “Most of the radioactivity” moving with currents toward west coast — Report: Front edge of plume arrives in Gulf of Alaska — State: “There’s been a detection of cesium from Fukushima”March 10, 2014
- “Truly an operational nightmare” at WIPP — Radiation level doubles at location far from leak; Carlsbad monitor jumps around 40% — Residents plead for more info, concerns over safety (MAP)
- NBC Nightly News: ‘Has Radiation Entered Our Food Supply Chain?’ — USA Today: News getting worse at Fukushima, widespread suspicion leaks into ocean ‘underreported’ — Expert: “I’m not trying to be alarmist… but how will we know it’s safe” for West Coast? (VIDEO)
Fukushima plant hanging by its fingernails, about to fall off — Disaster is “warning to all of civilization” — “Gov’t & Tepco announce dates for completion, but no one really believes them… this is new territory” (VIDEO)March 9, 2014
- U.S. Navy Officer: Radiation levels routinely exceeded 300 times normal for over a month far away from Fukushima, “yet I was given only gloves!” — My son was throwing up 30 to 40 times some days — “This basically ruined my life” (VIDEO)
- ‘Container fire’ at WIPP may have resulted from ‘spontaneous combustion’ — Expert: “Could’ve crapped up a whole lot of real estate down there” — U.S. radioactive waste disposal system crippled? — Potential radiological consequences for public, City of Carlsbad “affected greater than any other section”
Pro-Russian supporters wave Russian flags to welcome the Russian Black Sea Fleet flagship, the missile cruiser Moskva, entering Sevastopol bay. (photo: AFP)
By Robert Freeman, Common Dreams
08 March 14
kraine is a lot more portentous than it appears. It is fundamentally about the play for Persian Gulf oil. So was World War I. The danger lies in the chance of runaway escalation, just like World War I.
Let’s put Ukraine into a global strategic context.
The oil is running out. God isn’t making any more dinosaurs and melting them into the earth’s crust. Instead, as developing world countries aspire to first-world living standards, the draw-down on the world’s finite supply of oil is accelerating. The rate at which known reserves are being depleted is four times that at which new oil is being discovered. That’s why oil cost $26 a barrel in 2001, but $105 today. It’s supply and demand.
Oil recalls that old expression: “In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.” In industrial civilization, the nation that controls the oil is king. And 60% of the known oil reserves are in the Persian Gulf. That’s why the U.S. invaded Iraq in 2003: to seize control of the oil. Alan Greenspan told at least one truth in his life: “I hate to have to admit what everybody knows. Iraq is about oil.”
But the U.S. lost the war in Iraq. Remember? The U.S. was going to install a democracy and 14 permanent bases there. They’re not there. The U.S. was run out after proving unable to pacify the Islamic jihad it had unleashed under the pretext of searching for non-existent weapons of mass destruction. Instead, Iraq allied itself with Iran, its Shi’ite comrade-in-arms in the Muslim Wars of Religion.
So today, the battle for the Persian Gulf is being carried out through its two regional powers, Saudi Arabia, the champion of Sunni Islam, and Iran, the torch carrier for Shi’ite Islam. Think of the Wars between the Protestants and Catholics in the 1500s. The U.S. backs Saudi Arabia, as it has done since 1945, when Roosevelt cut a deal with Ibn Saud to protect his illegitimate throne in exchange for the House of Saud only selling oil in dollars.
Iran, of course, is implacably hostile to the U.S. after the U.S. overthrew Iran’s democratically elected president, Mosaddegh, in 1953 and installed its own fascist puppet, the Shah of Iran. The Iranians overthrew the Shah in 1979 and installed a fundamentalist theocracy that continues to this day.
Iran’s main ally in the region is Syria, which the U.S. has been trying to overthrow for three years by helping the al-Qaeda-linked rebels that are attacking Syria. Syria’s chief military patron is Russia, which conveniently bailed Obama out of his childish “red line” declaration last year, a declaration he had neither the military nor political nor diplomatic capacity to carry out.
So, the upheaval in Ukraine is really about the U.S. trying to weaken Syria’s patron, Russia. If Russia is weakened, Syria is weakened. If Syria is weakened, Iran is weakened. If Iran is weakened, the U.S. has a better chance of seizing control of the world’s largest reserves of oil. That is the Great Game that is going on here.
The problem is the risk of escalation. It’s not at all fanciful to imagine some ambitious Ukrainian colonel firing at Russian forces. Russia fires back, decisively. This puts Ukraine at risk for its European suitor, the EU. So NATO intervenes to try to intimidate Russia. Russia retaliates to blacken NATO’s nose. And before anyone knows it, the U.S. is dragged into a shooting war where no one can understand how it ends. This is almost exactly how World War I started.
The Germans were gunning for Persian Gulf oil via their relationship with the Ottoman Empire. But this would have given Germany a choke hold on England, which had only just converted its navy to oil. So, England reversed its historical rivalry with France, in 1904, and with Russia, in 1907, to try to contain Germany. But a minor, unanticipated dust-up in the Balkans in the summer of 1914 escalated into The Greatest War The World Had Ever Known.
In a freak event, a Serbian teenager killed the heir-apparent to the Austrian-Hungarian throne. So Austria-Hungary attacked Serbia. Russia couldn’t stand idle as its sole Balkan ally, Serbia, was humiliated. So it mobilized on Austria-Hungary, an effective declaration of war.
Germany moved to defend its ally, Austria-Hungary, by attacking Russia’s ally, France. England, France’s ally, responded by declaring war on Germany. Within less than one month of a minor incident in a minor region of the continent, all the major powers of Europe were at war.
World War I would inflict 27 million casualties through the industrialization of human slaughter. It destroyed four great empires, more than had expired in any single event, ever. Eleven new nations were created in its aftermath, including Iraq, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine. It was the event that shifted the locus of global power from Europe to the U.S., where it has resided ever since. It rearranged the architecture of global power more than any event of the last thousand years.
So the portent of Ukraine is a global strategic order hanging in the balance. The U.S. must subdue Russia to gain control of the world’s oil. It is the same strategic objective that is driving the U.S.’s subversion of the democratically elected government in Venezuela: it sits on one of the world’s largest reserves of oil. Indeed, all of the U.S.’ aggressions on Iran, Syria, and Venezuela, and its subversion of the democratically elected government of Ukraine, can be understood in this context.
The wild card in the whole fracas is China. China is the biggest customer of Iranian oil, and the largest international investor in Venezuela. These represent some of China’s moves to counter the U.S. attempt to control the world’s oil. The potential escalation from Ukraine as the U.S. pressures Syria, Iran, and Venezuela, inescapably involves China. If China becomes involved, trying to defend its allies and its supply of oil, it is anybody’s guess where it ends. But it won’t be pretty.
US Gov’t: Never faced challenge like this, but “not giving up hope” at WIPP; Salt from contaminated mine to be sold as feed to dairy farms — TV: “Residents flat out concerned for their safety”; “I want to believe them… but I don’t” — Reuters: ‘Falling slabs’ may have breached waste drums (VIDEO)March 8, 2014
- Gov’t Paper: Air samples so hot from Fukushima, special handling required — U.S. had more stations at Level 5 than rest of world combined — Oklahoma lab reached overload (MAP)
- NBC: Head of radiation testing program on West Coast says Fukushima plume could threaten ecosystems — The effect on marine life? “We don’t know, whatever is in the kelp will get in bodies of those animals also” (VIDEO)
- New Studies on Mystery ‘Black Substances’ Released: Fuel core materials from Fukushima plant detected — Plutonium, Uranium-236, Curium discharged into environment likely in form of fine particles (PHOTO)
- US Gov’t: Never faced challenge like this, but “not giving up hope” at WIPP; Salt from contaminated mine to be sold as feed to dairy farms — TV: “Residents flat out concerned for their safety”; “I want to believe them… but I don’t” — Reuters: ‘Falling slabs’ may have breached waste drums (VIDEO)
- NPR: Rapidly unfolding situation at cracked dam has engineers scrambling — Experts troubled over ‘slip’ in structure — Official “didn’t answer question” about dam near Hanford nuclear site — Major employer in area obviously worried — “Spring snow melt will swell river” — NBC: “Crack in Dam Repairs Itself”
WIPP Expert: Nuclear waste is getting out above ground — Plutonium / Americium found in “every single worker” on site when leak began — New Mexico officials ‘totally unsatisfied’ with lack of info from Feds — “We don’t know how far away it’s gone” — Continuing threat for long time to come (AUDIO)March 6, 2014
Nuclear Engineer: We’ve already seen genetic defects and radiation-induced illness after Fukushima — Baby of Navy sailor born with multiple genetic mutations, mother pregnant aboard USS Reagan for Japan rescue mission (VIDEO)March 5, 2014
- TV: Dam a ticking time bomb? “Next 24-48 Hours Critical” — “Preparing for worst-case scenario” — No ‘immediate’ threat — Feds monitor structure, ‘sudden release’ possible — “Very few have faced this” — NPR: New photo shows ‘pronounced curve’ — Docks near Hanford nuke site closed (VIDEO & PHOTO)
- Fukushima Farmer: Nuclear is the most terrible thing, people don’t realize how horrible and scary it is — Sending this to future generations is unbelievable — “I don’t want to be their guinea pig” — Mayor evacuated his own kids while trying to get families to stay, this is a significant crime (AUDIO)
- Nuclear Engineer: We’ve already seen genetic defects and radiation-induced illness after Fukushima — Baby of Navy sailor born with multiple genetic mutations, mother pregnant aboard USS Reagan for Japan rescue mission (VIDEO)
- Fox Host: Most of Fukushima’s radioactive releases in ocean to hit our coast… “And there it is, moving toward us” — “Frankly scientists are being very careful about what they say about the radioactivity” — Official: Plume may already be in US (VIDEOS)