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Fukushima Elevated to Level 7 - by Stephen Lendman
Fukushima's disaster will scar much, perhaps all of Japan for generations, including fetuses and newborns to be genetically harmed by radiation poisoning.
Kyodo News announced the latest news headlining, "Japan ups Fukushima nuke crisis severity to 7, same as Chernobyl," saying:
"The government's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) upgraded its provisional evaluation based on an estimate that radioactive materials far exceeding the criteria for level 7 have so far been released into the external environment...."
NISA and Japan's Nuclear Safety Commission (NSC) estimate that 370,000 - 630,000 terabecquerels of radioactive materials have been released from Units 1, 2 and 3. One terabecquerel equals one trillion becquerels.
A few days ago, I drove past the house we sold in 1994 to move to Nashville. There was a “For Sale” sign in the yard. Later, I went to the web, curious about the price. It’s three times what we’d accepted. Then, I scrolled through the photographs. Had I not seen the front of the Tudor row house and known the house number, I wouldn’t have recognized the rooms. Complete renovation. Gone was the breakfast bar my husband designed and built. Gone were the balcony tiles I’d helped him install. All gone, except the memories.
Mostly, friends came to us. It’s what we preferred, because of our children.
We sat around the large table in the octagon-shaped dining room, its walls covered in a moody, almost smoldering coral.
It was the late 80s and early 90s and we called ourselves the Seinfeld gang. I was Jerry. My best friend Joan was Elaine.
We amused each other.
By Betsy Ross
We are now on the brink of the mother of all meltdowns in more ways than one.
Last weekend, The Times quoted Alan Hansen, a nuclear engineer and executive vice president of Areva NC, a unit of Areva, a French group that supplied reactor fuel to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plan, who spoke before a private gathering at Stanford University. “Clearly,” he summarized, “we’re witnessing one of the greatest disasters in modern time.” What the on-going release of cancer-causing radioactive fragments means in terms of human health and the environment is only beginning to come to light.
Powerful Aftershock Rocks Japan - by Stephen Lendman
Measuring 7.1 (one or more other reports said 7.4), rocked northeast Japan, causing more damage and disruption to a devastated area. It cut electricity to four million homes, disrupted power at two nuclear facilities, and according to Kyodo News:
"Radioactive water spilled from pools holding spent nuclear fuel rods at the Onagawa power plant in Miyagi Prefecture," according to Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA).
For up to 80 minutes, power was lost at Onagawa and the Higashidori nuclear facility. "A small amount of contaminated water spilled on the floor (inside) all three (Onagawa) reactors....In all, water spilled or leaked at eight sections of the plant," also run by Tokyo Electric (TEPCO). In addition, blowout panels designed to control pressure were damaged in reactor number three's turbine building, TEPCO saying a complete damage assessment was ongoing.
Fukushima Meltdown Confirmed - by Stephen Lendman
On April 6, Reuters reported that "the core at Japan's Fukushima nuclear reactor has melted through the reactor pressure vessel," Rep. Edward Markey told a House hearing on the disaster, saying:
"I have been informed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) that the core has gotten so hot that part of it has probably melted through the reactor pressure vessel."
Recklessly promoting nuclear proliferation, America's NRC is notorious for coverup and denial of its harmful effects. As a result, their rare admission virtually confirms a full core meltdown in one or more reactors, meaning vast amounts of radiation are being uncontrollably released into the atmosphere, water and soil, spreading over a vast area. It's the ultimate nightmare scenario now unfolding, but don't expect major media reports or government officials to explain.
Increasing Fukushima Radiation Dangers - by Stephen Lendman
Daily reports on efforts to contain Fukushima's disaster remain worrisome. On April 5, New York Times writers Andrew Pollack and Kevin Drew headlined, "Plant Operator Measures Higher Radiation in Sea," saying:
"(C)ompany officials said that seawater collected near the facility contained radiation several million times the legal limit."
According to Tokyo Electric (TEPCO), radioactive iodine-131 in samples collected measured 200,000 becquerels per cubic centimeter, or five million times above normal. Cesium-137's elevated level was 1.1 million times. No information on uranium and plutonium concentrations were given. Clearly, however, growing dangers are worrisome, yet official reports downplay them. Coverup and denial persist. According to TEPCO,
radiation levels have "no immediate impact" on the environment or human health. In fact, it's catastrophic. More on that below.
By Missy Comley Beattie
I used to joke with my peace-movement friends, telling them I might self-immolate in front of the White House to make a statement about war. And, then, I’d laugh, saying there was just one glitch in the plan—I’d require so much Valium I’d be unable to strike the match.
For weeks, I’ve thought about a 26-year-old Tunisian man. Mohamed Bouazizi, educated, jobless, unable to feed his family, and desperate, doused himself with gasoline and died from his burns. This sacrificial act triggered the uprising in Tunisia and inspired other people across North Africa to do the same.
We are witness to revolution, civil wars, in which ordinary people are demanding basic rights.
Lately, I’ve been obsessing about the catastrophe of Fukushima, a crescendo of events as/more devastating than Chernobyl.
Japan's Apocalypse - by Stephen Lendman
Despite a disaster multiples worse than Chernobyl, major media reports all along downplayed it. Now they largely ignore it, moving on to more important things like celebrity features and baseball's opening day, besides pretending American-led Libya bombing is well-intended when, in fact, it's another brazen power grab - an imperial war of conquest, explained in numerous previous articles.
The horror of all wars aside, waged solely for wealth and power, never humanity, Japan deserves regular top billing, given its global implications and potential millions of lives affected. Ignoring it is scandalous, yet it's practically disappeared from television where most people get news, unaware only managed reports are aired omitting vital truths.
Yumi Kikuchi & Gen Morita are our good friends who live in Japan. They are anti-war & anti-nuclear activists who have done so much good work, both in Japan & internationally on these issues. Yumi & Gen translated "ADDICTED To WAR" into Japanese and were responsible for over 70,000 copies being sold in Japan. They also put Japanese subtitles on my film “What I’ve Learned About U. S. Foreign Policy” and screened it at the first ever Tokyo Peace Film Festival, which they organized. I could go on & on listing many of the things they have done to promote Peace in the world. Below is what they are asking us to do to help them now.
Veterans for Peace, Chapter 007 Los Angles, CA
The petition can be accessed through Yumi Kikuchi's blog below or contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
By Charles M. Young
The prime minister of Japan has said that his government is “not in a position where we can be optimistic” about the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Is there any logical conclusion to draw from that statement other than that a large chunk of Japan is going to be uninhabitable?
They’ve got four nuclear reactors right next to each other in various states of disaster and probably meltdown. Two more are damaged. The workers on site are exhausted, sick and dying. The ocean and air around the plant are highly radioactive. The surrounding farms are producing radioactive vegetables. The drinking water in Tokyo is radioactive. If the Fukushima reactors keep exploding and burning and blowing radiation into the reservoirs, how long before Tokyo becomes Jonestown with a population of 13,000,000?
Japan's Leaking Water Radiation 100,000 Times Above Normal - by Stephen Lendman
Initial March 27 Tokyo Electric (TEPCO) reports detected Fukushima Daiichi Unit 2 radioactive water readings at ten million times normal levels, including:
-- 2.9 billion becquerels of iodine-134;
-- 13 million becquerels of iodine-131; and
-- 2.3 million becquerels (each) of cesium-134 and 137 per cubic centimeter of water in the turbine building's basement.
This measure was 1,000 times above water readings in Units 1 and 3. Emissions happen during nuclear fission. Tokyo University Professor Naoto Sekimura said the leak came from Unit 2's damaged suppression chamber, designed to contain radioactive substance overflows. French Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety's Olivier Isnard believes high readings are "proof that the reactor core (at least) partially melted." Others suggest a likely full meltdown, covered up and downplayed.
Cleaning up our environment is not only related to climate change, it means cleaning up the damage done, and in many cases known to be damaging by the businesses and corporations who caused it, all around us, especially that which kills over time, shorter times!
Updating Japan's Nuclear Disaster - by Stephen Lendman
Japan's March 11 earthquake/tsunami-caused nuclear disaster affects millions of people regionally and throughout the Northern Hemisphere. But you'd never know it from most major media reports, downplaying an unfolding catastrophe.
In fact, distinguished experts like Helen Caldicott long ago warned of inevitable nuclear disasters, especially in seismically active areas. On May 23, 2004, The Japan Times contributor Leuren Moret headlined, "Japan's deadly game of nuclear roulette," saying:
"Of all the places in all the world no one in their right mind would build scores of nuclear power plants, Japan would be pretty near the top of the list."
"Japan sits on top of four tectonic plates....and is one of the most tectonically active regions of the world. (There) is almost no geologic setting in the world more dangerous for nuclear power than Japan."
by Walter Brasch
There has been a lot in the news this past week.
Most important, if measured by getting most of the ink and air time, is the continuing soap opera, “Charlie and the CBS Factory.”
The latest in a seemingly never-ending story is that after Charlie Sheen melted down, was fired, and spread himself to every known television talk show, declaring himself to be a winner and announcing a $100 million forthcoming law suit against CBS for breech of contract, the president of CBS announced he wanted Sheen back in “Two and a Half Men.”
Details are to be worked out. CBS said it would work with creator/executive producer Chuck Lorre and producing studio Warner Brothers, The relationship among Sheen, Warner Bros., Lorre, and most of the cast and crew may be a bit more difficult since Sheen’s warm-and-friendly on-air persona didn’t match his vitriolic attacks upon his co-stars and anti-Semitic remarks about Lorre.
Warns Any Radiation Exposure Is Unsafe
Washington, DC - March 19, 2011 – Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) today called for a nationwide
moratorium on new nuclear reactors in the United States and a suspension of operations at the nuclear reactors with a similar design as those involved in the disaster in Japan, as well as those on fault lines. PSR cited the medical risks associated with any level of radiation exposure regardless of how small. Lower doses result in less chance of harm than higher doses, but any dose level can put an individual at risk.
Toxic Intervention: Are NATO Forces Poisoning Libya with Depleted Uranium as They 'Protect' Civilians?
By Dave Lindorff
President Obama’s criminal launch of an undeclared and Congressionally unauthorized war against Libya may be compounded by the crime of spreading toxic uranium oxide in populated areas of that country.
This is latest concern of groups like the International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons, which monitor the military use of so-called depleted-uranium (DU) anti-tank and bunker-penetrating shells.
Images of Libyan civilians and rebels celebrating around the burning hulks of the Libyan army’s tanks and armored personnel carriers, which had been hit by US, French and British aircraft ordnance in the early hours of the US-led assault on the forces of Col. Muammar Gaddafy, could well have been unknowingly inhaling the deadly dust of the uranium weapons favored by Western military forces for anti-tank warfare.
By Linn Washington, Jr.
A timely report from the Union of Concerned Scientists, based on data from the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), contains troubling news about the state of America’s vast network of nuclear power plants.
The report, which examined serious incidents at 14 U.S. nuclear power plants nationwide from New York to California in 2010, finds fault with both plant operators and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission which is supposed to oversee them.
“Many of these significant events occurred because reactor owners and even the NRC tolerated known safety problems,” states the report, entitled: “The NRC and Nuclear Power Plant Safety in 2010: A Brighter Spotlight Needed.”
While none of the 14 safety incidents tagged in the Union’s report as “near misses” produced harm to nuclear plant employees or the public, the report terms the frequency of these incidents, which averaged more than one per month, “high for a mature industry.”
Bad to Worse in Japan - by Stephen Lendman
It bears repeating. Government, industry, and major media reports downplay and deny Japan's unprecedented nuclear disaster, potentially able to kill millions now living and in future generations painfully.
Nuclear power is a real life Andromeda Strain. If uncontrollably unleashed, it's potentially able to destroy life worldwide under a worse case scenario.
In his latest article, nuclear expert Harvey Wasserman said "the most devastating thing about (Fukushima) is not what's happening there now. It's that until all the world's reactors are shut, even worse is virtually certain to happen again. All too soon." Fukushima, in fact, may be the nuclear nightmare he suggests.
Globally, 450 reactors operate, including 104 aging American ones, many with bad safety records caused by cost-cutting and shoddy maintenance. Poorly regulated, they're ticking time bombs, accidents waiting to happen, many plagued by near-meltdown misses.
By Missy Comley Beattie
It’s blue here in Kentucky, true blue, a landscape of royal blue, this altar to basketball and home to the Kentucky Wildcats whose devotees are historically and hysterically frenzied for victory.
The same day I awakened to breaking news of breaking tectonic plates, breaking nuclear reactors, and breaking hearts, I left my sister Laura's house for exercise and heliotherapy. An elderly woman pushed her walker in the middle of a street, a man entered his house with a giant box of Pepsi Cola attached to his arm, and another person was at his mailbox. All were costumed in Big Blue fan-ery.
On Sunday, the Cats defeated the Florida Gators to win the SEC tournament. Often, during the action, we zipped to CNN’s coverage of Japan’s tsunami, earthquakes, and maybe-yes, maybe-no, Chernobyl-like meltdowns.
Multiples Worse than Chernobyl - by Stephen Lendman
In Japan, coverup and denial persist. In a March 18 press conference, Tokyo Electric's (TEPCO) spokesman claimed water-dousing lowered radiation levels from 312 microsieverts per hour to 289. However, 48 hours earlier, chief cabinet secretary Yukido Edano said radioactivity levels were misreported in microsieverts instead of millisieverts - 1,000 times stronger.
Contrary to other reports, TEPCO's spokesman also said water remains in Unit 4's cooling pool. In fact, there's none. Nothing the company says is credible.
Full Core Meltdown in Japan? - by Stephen Lendman
Possibly it's ongoing and concealed. All along, Japanese and Tokyo Electric (TEPCO) officials downplayed or lied about the severity of the crisis. Virtually nothing they say can be believed.
Nor from the Obama administration, budgeting loan guarantees for new reactor construction instead of decommissioning all 104 nuclear plants because operating them risks full core meltdowns.
Partial or full ones gravely harm earth, air, water and food. Three hazardous Fukushima radioactive isotopes are especially problematic. University of Rochester Professor Jacqueline Williams, a radiation expert, says ingesting radioactive iodine-131 causes thyroid and other cancers. So does hazardous beta and gamma radiation from Cesium-137. Released Strontium 90 also causes leukemia and other cancers. Large amounts of all three are spewing daily.
Armageddon Scenario in Japan - by Stephen Lendman
Japan's deepening disaster affects everyone. Atmospheric radiation will spread globally, mostly affecting the northern hemisphere. Everyone to some extent will be affected, those in Japan and nearby the most.
An unprecedented catastrophe is unfolding. You'd hardly know it from most major media reports, including US broadcast and cable channels, National Public Radio, Public Broadcasting, BBC, and Al Jazeera, failing to explain a deepening catastrophe placing millions of lives at risk.
On March 16, however, Russia Today said Japan "may be losing control" at Fukushima after a rise in radiation suggests efforts to contain the disaster aren't working. Nuclear engineer Arnie Gunderson told the Washington Post that evacuating most workers "is a sign to me that they have given up trying to prevent a disaster and gone into the mode of trying to clean up afterward."
By Dave Lindorff
It seems rather silly now, doesn’t it, all the US concern about terrorism?
The nuclear crisis in Japan, which continues to worsen, threatens to become a total multiple meltdown, combined with the perhaps even more disastrous explosion and fire in one or several spent fuel rod ponds. If any of these things happen, not to mention many of them, several hundred square miles of Japan would be rendered indefinitely uninhabitable, costing hundreds of billions of dollars. And it could be worse. If the winds are blowing south during such a disaster, all of Tokyo, which has a metropolitan population of over 30 million, could have to be evacuated.
A study by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission back in 1997, found that one spend fuel disaster could devastate almost 200 square miles of the US, and cause half a trillion dollars in damage!
Red Alert in Japan: An Unfolding Nuclear Catastrophe - by Stephen Lendman
Since March 12, a potentially unprecedented catastrophe has been unfolding in Japan, despite official denials and corroborating media reports - managed, not real news. Believe none of them. Nonetheless, on March 15, Reuters suggested what's ongoing, headlining: "Japan braces for potential radiation catastrophe," saying:
"Japan faced potential catastrophe on Tuesday" after a fourth Fukushima reactor explosion, fire, and high-level radiation release, posing grave human health risks to an expanding area, including Toyko's 20 million population 170 miles south.
France's Nuclear Safety Authority rated the disaster a six on the international seven-point nuclear accident scale. Clearly, it's the worst ever. Europe's energy commissioner, Guenther Oettinger called it an "apocalypse," telling the European Parliament that Toyko lost control of events.
Coverup and Denial in Japan - by Stephen Lendman
Discount all official government statements and major media reports repeating them instead of demanding expert, unbiased views.
Officially, Japan's nuclear emergency is under control and contained. In fact, lies substitute for truths, denial for reality, and managed news for honest reporting.
Point of fact: Besides its catastrophic quake, tsunami, destructive aftershocks, and resulting humanitarian crisis, Japan is experiencing a developing nuclear catastrophe, the full extent not known until independent sources reveal it.
On March 12, a huge explosion rocked Fukushima's Unit 1 reactor. Reports said its containment chamber was intact. Independent experts are skeptical, believing at least some damage occurred, perhaps a major breach now covered up. Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) blamed a core meltdown for the explosion, releasing hazardous atmospheric radioactive cesium-137 and iodine-131.
The Idiocy and Hubris of Engineers: Will GE Get Whacked for the Catastrophic Failure of its Nuke Plants in Fukushima?
By Dave Lindorff
GE, the company that boasts that it “brings good things to life,” was the designer of the nuclear plants that are blowing up like hot popcorn kernels at the Fukushima Daiichi generating plant north of Tokyo that was hit by the double-whammy of an 8.9 earthquake and a hugh tsunami.
The company may escape tens or hundreds of billions of dollars in liability from this continuing disaster, which could still result in a catastrophic total meltdown of one or more of the reactors (as of this writing three of the reactors are reported to have suffered partial meltdowns, and all could potentially become more serious total meltdowns with a rupture of the reactor container), thanks to Japanese law, which makes the operator--in this case Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) liable. But if it were found that it was design flaws by GE that caused the problem, presumably TEPCO or the Japanese government could pursue GE for damages.
By Linn Washington, Jr.
Swinging a sledge hammer, Pennsylvania’s first-term Republican Governor Tom Corbett, smashed into educational spending and state worker jobs during his first-ever budget address, following in the footsteps of his conservative cost-cutting confederates across the nation.
While Corbett proposes slashing over a billion dollars in fundis for pre-K through college, he spares the Keystone State’s burgeoning billion-dollar Marcellus Shale natural gas industry from his call for ‘shared sacrifice’ to close a $4-billion gap in the state’s budget.
Corbett refuses to do what over a dozen other oil and gas-producing states do and impose an extraction tax on the natural gas industry--the same industry that low and behold last year lavished him with hundreds of thousands of dollars in contributions to his gubernatorial campaign.
Nuclear Meltdown in Japan - by Stephen Lendman
For years, Helen Caldicott warned it's coming. In her 1978 book, "Nuclear Madness," she said:
"As a physician, I contend that nuclear technology threatens life on our planet with extinction. If present trends continue, the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the water we drink will soon be contaminated with enough radioactive pollutants to pose a potential health hazard far greater than any plague humanity has ever experienced."
More below on the inevitable dangers from commercial nuclear power proliferation, besides added military ones.
On March 11, New York Times writer Martin Fackler headlined, "Powerful Quake and Tsunami Devastate Northern Japan," saying:
"The 8.9-magnitude earthquake (Japan's strongest ever) set off a devastating tsunami that sent walls of water (six meters high) washing over coastal cities in the north." According to Japan's Meteorological Survey, it was 9.0.