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By Harvey Wasserman
Humankind is now threatened by the simultaneous implosion, explosion, incineration, courtroom contempt and drowning of its most lethal industry.
We know only two things for certain: worse is yet to come, and those in charge are lying about it -- at least to the extent of what they actually know, which is nowhere near enough.
Indeed, the assurances from the nuke power industry continue to flow like the floodwaters now swamping the Missouri Valley heartland.
But major breakthroughs have come from a Pennsylvania Senator and New York’s Governor on issues of evacuation and shut-down. And a public campaign for an end to loan guarantees could put an end to the US industry once and for all.
FUKUSHIMA: The bad news continues to bleed from Japan with no end in sight. The “light at the end of the tunnel” is an out-of-control radioactive freight train, headed to the core of an endangered planet.
By Dave Lindorff
The United States Military is spending $20.2 billion a year for air-conditioning the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Read that again please: $20.2 billion just to provide air-conditioning for our troops in these two desert countries.
How much is $20.2 billion?
Well, I live in Pennsylvania, where the eighth-largest school district in the country, here in Philadelphia, is about to lose 1300 of its 11,000 teachers--that’s 12% of the teaching staff in an already overcrowded school system, because the state’s Republican governor and legislature want to cut some $500 million in education funding from the state’s $27-billion budget. That military air-conditioning bill could not only restore those teachers by closing the $400 million budget deficit facing the Philadelphia School District. It could almost fund the entire budget of the state! In fact, it could probably fund the school budget deficit in almost all the school districts in the nation.
"Fukushima is the biggest industrial catastrophe in the history of mankind," Arnold Gundersen, a former nuclear industry senior vice president, told Al Jazeera.
Japan's 9.0 earthquake on March 11 caused a massive tsunami that crippled the cooling systems at the Tokyo Electric Power Company's (TEPCO) nuclear plant in Fukushima, Japan. It also led to hydrogen explosions and reactor meltdowns that forced evacuations of those living within a 20km radius of the plant.
Gundersen, a licensed reactor operator with 39 years of nuclear power engineering experience, managing and coordinating projects at 70 nuclear power plants around the US, says the Fukushima nuclear plant likely has more exposed reactor cores than commonly believed.
"Fukushima has three nuclear reactors exposed and four fuel cores exposed," he said, "You probably have the equivalent of 20 nuclear reactor cores because of the fuel cores, and they are all in desperate need of being cooled, and there is no means to cool them effectively."
Americans are feeling the chill of economic malaise, and the policy response should be to divert part of the defense budget and to tax U.S. corporations' offshore profits to develop an alternative energy infrastructure, columnist Cate Long writes.
Jun 8, 2011 - Our nation is in a serious economic crisis. Both political parties dance around each other with varying demands for cuts in entitlement programs, tax increases and a rise in the debt ceiling. It’s a doomsday prospect and the American people are feeling the chill of economic malaise.
By Annika Breidthardt
BERLIN | Mon May 30, 2011 3:04pm EDT
(Reuters) - Germany plans to shut all nuclear reactors by 2022, Chancellor Angela Merkel's ruling coalition announced on Monday, in a policy reversal drawn up in a rush after the Fukushima disaster in Japan.
North Bay congressional candidate Norman Solomon said Monday (May 23) that his position for closure of California’s two nuclear power plants means that voters will have “a clear alternative to nuclear business as usual.”
Solomon, a longtime opponent of nuclear power, has called for closure of the state’s Diablo Canyon and San Onofre nuclear power plants.
In contrast, Solomon’s only declared opponent for Congress, Assemblyman Jared Huffman, has been equivocal about California’s nuclear power plants, saying he’d support closing them “if studies reveal that there is a risk that would warrant immediate closure” (Marin IJ, 5/8/11).
In a full-page ad that appears in the current Pacific Sun weekly newspaper, the Solomon campaign asks: “Do we really need more ‘studies’ from nuclear-friendly agencies in Washington to tell us whether nuclear power is an acceptable ‘risk’ -- particularly in earthquake country?”
DAVID SWANSON: Okay, we’re recording, this is David Swanson, I’m speaking with Harvey Wasserman, long time wonderful activist, author, author among other of wonderful books of "Solartopia," and Harvey, you were emailing me yesterday a little bit about success stories. Do you want to elaborate?
Orangutans are endangered by loss of their forest habitat. (Photo © naturepl.com / Anup Shah courtesy WWF)
April 29, 2011 (ENS) - Environmental leaders and politicians from around the world today called for an urgent move towards a global green economy in order to achieve sustainable development and wildlife conservation over the next 50 years.
Low-carbon technology, green infrastructures, investment in renewable energy and sustainable agriculture are essential in combating climate change, poverty and water shortages, said participants in the summit convened by WWF to mark the global conservation organization's 50th anniversary.
Physicians for Social Responsibility marked the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl accident (26 April 1986) by releasing a new interactive Evacuation Zone Map. It shows a person’s residence in relation to a nuclear reactor and its evacuation zone. One third of the population of the United States (over 111 million people) lives within 50 miles of a nuclear reactor.
Video by Dylan Greene
Contact information: email@example.com
Redirect Oil Company Windfall Gains To Efficient Vehicles
Washington D.C. (April 26, 2011) -- As the summer peak driving period begins and as oil companies are expected to announce record profits again while gas prices continue to rise, Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich (D-OH) announced today that he will reintroduce the Gas Price Spike Act, which would reduce the price of gasoline.
The bill will address the spike in price of gasoline by placing a windfall profits tax on oil companies; giving tax credits for the purchase of ultra efficient vehicles; and providing federal grants to reduce mass transit fares.
“Consumers are being gouged at the gas pump,” stated Kucinich. “The only thing rising faster than the price of gasoline right now is the skyrocketing profits of the oil companies.”
DR. JACK SCOTT, CALIFORNIA COMMUNITY COLLEGES CHANCELLOR, ENDORSES OIL EXTRACTION FEE TO RESCUE EDUCATION
GOVERNOR AND LEGISLATURE OFFICIALLY CUT $1.4 BILLION FROM HIGHER EDUCATION; MORE CUTS PROJECTED: $585 MILLION MORE FROM COMMUNITY COLLEGES, AND $1.1 BILLION MORE FROM CSU AND UC; MORE SEVERE CUTS OF $5 BILLION, K-12; $66 PER UNIT TUITION PROJECTED AT COMMUNITY COLLEGES
OIL EXTRACTION FEE PROPOSITION INITIATIVE WILL BRING IN $3.6 TO $4 BILLION FOR EDUCATION, K-12, College, University
Students, Professors and activists officially submit text of Proposition Initiative to Implement Fee on Crude Oil, to California Attorney General
In this I will just add a few reports I've come across this morning while waking up, might add some more as they trickle in.
In the wake of the latest revelations of what everyone always knew, the largest press conference in the history of the United States has been planned for tomorrow in the Nationals Park baseball stadium in Washington, D.C. The powerful people lining up to apologize for having claimed the ongoing War on Iraq has had nothing to do with oil were deemed too numerous to gather in any indoor facility.
Former Congressman David Obey, who screamed at Congressman Dennis Kucinich in a Democratic caucus meeting for suggesting that oil might be one factor in the war, is currenly on a plane back to Washington to MC the mass apology. The line-up includes each major television, radio, and print news outlet in the United States. Select commentators, columnists, cartoonists, and talking heads of all varieties will represent each organization apologizing.
A year ago BP began filling the Gulf of Mexico with oil.
Last week BP blocked a woman from entering its annual meeting.
Which will prove the bigger mistake?
BP may have chosen the right country to hit with the worst oil disaster in world history. If there's any population that will take seeing its land and water destroyed for corporate profit lying down, it's got to be us. We're split between gratitude and indifference: should we thank BP or just stay out of its way?
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.
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?
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!
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.
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.”
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.
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!
The no-BS info on Japan's disastrous nuclear operators
By Greg Palast
I need to speak to you, not as a reporter, but in my former capacity as lead investigator in several government nuclear plant fraud and racketeering investigations.
Texas plants planned by Tokyo Electric. Image:NINA
I don't know the law in Japan, so I can't tell you if Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) can plead insanity to the homicides about to happen.
But what will Obama plead? The Administration, just months ago, asked Congress to provide a $4 billion loan guarantee for two new nuclear reactors to be built and operated on the Gulf Coast of Texas — by Tokyo Electric Power and local partners. As if the Gulf hasn't suffered enough.
Here are the facts about Tokyo Electric and the industry you haven't heard on CNN:
The failure of emergency systems at Japan's nuclear plants comes as no surprise to those of us who have worked in the field.
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.