Nuclear Power News ArticlesExcerpts of Key Nuclear Power News Articles in Media
This week, scientists gathered at the American Chemical Society's spring meeting in San Francisco to turn the spotlight on a highly unorthodox path: the effect known as cold fusion. This year's session featured nearly 50 presentations - including reports on batteries and bacteria that appear to exhibit the cold-fusion effect. Back in 1989, cold fusion was heralded as a simple, inexpensive way to get a power-generating fusion reaction on a desktop. But when the experimental results couldn't be reproduced, the researchers were driven into obscurity [and] the term "cold fusion" became synonymous with quackery. Chemists, however, have kept up their interest in the effect. Rick Nebel [has headed] up a handful of researchers following the less-traveled path to fusion at EMC2 Fusion Development Corp. EMC2 recently created a buzz in the fusion underground by reporting on its Web site that it successfully completed a series of experiments to "validate and extend" earlier results. The company is now using a $7.9 million contract from the U.S. Navy to build a bigger test machine. Nebel and his colleagues are now seeking contributions to fund the development of what they say would be a 100-megawatt fusion plant - a "Phase 3" effort projected to cost $200 million and take four years. "Successful Phase 3 marks the end of fossil fuels," the Web site proclaims.
Note: For a powerful, reliable documentary showing how promising results from cold fusion were strongly suppressed, click here. For lots of reports from reliable sources of new energy developments, click here.
A hydrogen bomb is missing from the United States' arsenal and has been, evidently, for 40 years. When last seen, the bomb was one of four aboard an Air Force B-52 bomber that crashed on a frozen bay near Thule Air Force Base in northern Greenland on Jan. 21, 1968. Two years later, the United States and Denmark reported that they agreed "that the accident caused no danger to man or animal and plant life in the area." The 96-page report of the investigation indicated that all four nuclear warheads aboard the plane had disintegrated on impact. Case closed. Well, maybe not, the BBC says this week. Declassified documents that the BBC obtained under the United States Freedom of Information Act indicate that only three of the bombs were accounted for, and that the United States searched secretly for the fourth bomb, without success. By April , a decision had been taken to send a Star III submarine to the base to look for the lost bomb, which had the serial number 78252. (A similar submarine search off the coast of Spain two years earlier had led to another weapon being recovered.) But the real purpose of this search was deliberately hidden from Danish officials. One document from July reads: "Fact that this operation includes search for object or missing weapon part is to be treated as confidential NOFORN", the last word meaning not to be disclosed to any foreign country. "For discussion with Danes, this operation should be referred to as a survey repeat survey of bottom under impact point," it continued. And what does the Pentagon have to say about all this now? It had no comment for the BBC.
Note: To read the original New York Times article from Jan. 22, 1968 on this incident, click here.
This was a difficult book for Avner Cohen to write. As an Israeli, he had to break the code of silence that surrounds the discussion of nuclear weapons in his homeland. But he has done a superb job of laying out the political history of Israel's nuclear program from its foundation in 1950 through the acceptance by the United States of Israel as a nuclear-weapon state in 1970. With "Israel and the Bomb," he has written a scholarly treatise that includes over 1,200 footnotes, yet reads like a novel. Israel was the sixth nation in the world - and the first in the Middle East - to acquire nuclear weapons. However, unlike those of the first five, its nuclear program has remained opaque, that is, shrouded in secrecy, officially unacknowledged and insulated from domestic politics. Israel's policy was also shaped by its interaction with France, the United States and Egypt. For its part, the United States realized as early as the Eisenhower Administration that it was not in a position to stop the Israeli program. At the same time, Israel could not openly defy American opposition to the spread of nuclear weapons. Opacity was the solution. Israel also did not wish to provoke the Arab nations into developing their own nuclear weapons or launching a pre-emptive attack on its Dimona reactor. As long as the Israelis kept a low profile, the Arabs, led by Egypt, played down the issue. Israel today remains the only nuclear-opaque state in the world.
Note: Israel refuses to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty or allow UN inspectors to inspect its opaque nuclear program. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government secrecy news articles from reliable major media sources.
Seth Ellingsworth of West Richland, Washington, says he got sick in an instant last year, when he briefly inhaled a strange odor at his job at the nearby Hanford Nuclear Site. Seventy years ago, the Hanford Site produced plutonium for America's nuclear arsenal. Today, it's run by the Department of Energy through its contractor, Washington River Protection Solutions. The contractor is managing a $110 billion cleanup of 56 million gallons of chemical and nuclear waste, stored in 177 underground tanks. But the tanks are leaking, and the vapors they emit contain toxic and radioactive chemicals. Some nuclear experts have called Hanford "the most toxic place in America" and "an underground Chernobyl waiting to happen." The DOE has acknowledged in nearly 20 studies conducted over the past 24 years that there is a safety risk to workers at Hanford. But critics say the DOE ... continues to put workers at risk. Neuropsychologist Brian Campbell says he has evaluated 29 people at Hanford with both respiratory and cognitive symptoms, including "some of the worst cases of dementia that I've seen in young people." Dr. Campbell said the DOE doesn't want to acknowledge the injuries. Workers told us that "over and over," the Department of Energy and the contractor on site told them the readings for harmful materials were safe. Former workers also said that in the past they were almost never allowed to opt for protective gear, like the supplied air tanks recommended by many experts.
Note: A Newsweek article describes the Hanford site as an "American Fukushima" that will require 50 more years and $110 billion to adequately clean up. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing nuclear power news articles from reliable major media sources.
A lawsuit filed in a US district court claims that American aid to Israel is illegal under a law passed in the 1970s that prohibits aid to nuclear powers who don’t sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Grant Smith, director of the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy, who filed the lawsuit ... said the United States has given Israel an estimated $234 billion in foreign aid since Congress in 1976 passed the International Security Assistance and Arms Export Control Act, with its stipulation regarding countries that did not sign the NPT. Though Israel is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Smith noted that it is a known nuclear power and recipient of US aid. Israel ... is widely believed to possess dozens, if not hundreds of nuclear warheads. Smith’s lawsuit comes on the eve of an aid deal that would boost US assistance to the country. Israel already gets $3 billion a year in US aid. To sustain a policy of “nuclear ambiguity” on Israel’s weapons program, Smith says the government uses improper classification and threatens federal employees and researchers with prosecution, fines and imprisonment. The gag is driven ... by a Department of Energy directive known as WNP-136, Foreign Nuclear Capabilities. “This is an Energy Department directive that demands imprisonment for any federal official or contractor who even mentions that Israel might have a nuclear weapons program,” Smith said. Foreign aid to Israel violates two amendments of the 1961 Foreign Aid Act ... which ban aid to clandestine nuclear powers.
Note: How interesting the the US press is not covering this. Consider also that $3 billion in US aid divided by Israel's population of 8.5 million means Israel receives the equivalent of about $350 in aid per person per year, far greater than any other country. Watch a good interview with Miko Peled, a former member of Israeli special forces, on this topic. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Thirty years after the world’s worst nuclear accident, the Chernobyl power plant is surrounded by both desolation and clangorous activity. Hundreds of workers labor to construct a vast ... structure that is to be the first step in removing the tons of radioactive waste that remain. The $2.3 billion New Safe Confinement project, funded by international donations and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, is a race against time. After the explosion and the fire that spewed a cloud of fallout over much of northern Europe, Soviet workers constructed a so-called sarcophagus over the reactor building ... to keep waste from escaping into the atmosphere. The rush-job construction, completed in just five months, was intended to last only about 30 years and has shown signs of serious deterioration. When the new structure, which resembles a 30-story Quonset hut, is finished, it is to be slowly moved on rails over the sarcophagus and reactor building. After that, robotic machinery inside the structure will begin dismantling the sarcophagus and the destroyed reactor and gather up the wastes to be transported to a nearby storage facility. Under current plans, that process is expected to begin in 2017. [The new structure is] planned to last 100 years. Life of a sort continues in the village of Chernobyl, where workers who maintain and monitor the plant live on a short-term basis, often two weeks on and then two weeks away to minimize their exposure to the fallout that poisoned the soil.
Note: 30 years later and this nuclear reactor is still far from safe. Why are we still using nuclear power? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing nuclear power news articles from reliable major media sources.
A French secret service diver who took part in the operation to sink Greenpeace ship the Rainbow Warrior 30 years ago has spoken publicly for the first time to apologise for his actions. Jean-Luc Kister ... was one of two divers serving with the French intelligence service, the Direction générale de la sécurité extérieure (DGSE), who attached limpet mines to the hull of the vessel moored in Auckland in 1985. The Rainbow Warrior was heading for the Mururoa Atoll in the South Pacific in French Polynesia where France was planning a series of nuclear tests. French agents posing as Swiss tourists had earlier visited the ship ... to gather information for the operation. The first mine ... blew a large hole in the ship. Paris initially denied any involvement in the sinking, [which killed photographer Fernando Pereira], and described it as a “terrorist attack”. Documents released in 2005 and published in the Guardian, showed that France [also] tried to blame British intelligence for the sinking. The French government’s responsibility, however, was quickly established. In 1987, under international pressure, France paid $8.2m damages to Greenpeace. It also paid an undisclosed sum to the Pereira family. Kister claims politicians in Paris turned down other suggestions for dealing with the Greenpeace protest. He said it was “an unfair clandestine operation conducted in an allied, friendly and peaceful country” ... and accused French politicians of “high treason” for having leaked his name and role in the operation after the sinking.
Note: By posing as Swiss tourists to spy on the Greenpeace ship, attacking this ship, and then blaming the attack on "terrorists", the French carried out a "false flag" attack. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in government and in the intelligence community.
Roughly 600 officers, known as missileers ... are responsible for launching America's 450 nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles. [They] have agreed to render whole cities [into] "smokin' holes." [In their training] the first requirement is signing a document committing to end the world if so ordered by the president. After a few months of key launch exercises ... "you become utterly desensitized to tending nuclear weapons," one former missileer says. Three years of sleepless nights following checklists out on the American tundra feels like a prison term. That might explain why a disproportionate number of nuclear commanders and missileers have recently been charged with criminal acts. ICBM bases [have] unusually high rates of criminality, domestic violence and security lapses. Court-martial rates ... are more than twice as high as in the overall Air Force. In October 2013, Michael Carey, a two-star general overseeing the entire nuclear command, was ousted for "misconduct" on an official trip to Moscow. A few months later [two officers] were caught sending phone messages to 11 other officers about "specific, illegal drug use that included synthetic drugs, Ecstasy, and amphetamines." Over the years, safeguards have failed so spectacularly that even an atheist might suspect divine intervention. A hydrogen bomb fell out of a plane in 1958 and leveled a South Carolina home without detonating. Another bomb accidentally parachuted towards Goldsboro, North Carolina in 1961, but failed to activate.
Note: Read about a wild incident where a UFO shut down many ICBMs seemingly as a message to humanity not to play with these toys. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on military corruption from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our War Information Center.
The Y-12 nuclear weapons plant in Oakridge, Tennessee, is supposed to be impregnable. But on July 28th 2012, an 84 year-old nun called Sister Megan Rice broke through a series of high-security fences surrounding the plant and reached a uranium storage bunker at the center of the complex. She was accompanied by Greg Boertje-Obed (57) and Michael Walli (63). The trio ... sat down for a picnic. When the security guards arrived they offered them some bread. Two years later, Rice, Walli and Boertje-Obed were sentenced to federal prison terms of between three and five years, plus restitution in the amount of $53,000 for damage done to the plant - far in excess of the estimates produced at their trial. When questioned about her actions at her trial by Judge Amul Thapar, Rice told him that her actions were intended to draw attention to the US stockpile of nuclear weapons that she and her co-defendants felt was illegal and immoral. They also wanted to expose the ineffectiveness of the security systems that were supposed to protect these weapons from theft or damage. “We were acutely mindful of the widespread loss to humanity that nuclear weapons have already caused,” wrote Rice afterwards in a letter to her supporters, “and we realize that all life on earth could be exterminated through intentional, accidental or technical error. Our action exposed the storage of weapons-making materials deliberately hidden from the general public.” All three defendants were found guilty of “sabotage of the national defense.” Just before they were sentenced, Rice made a statement to the court which ended like this: “We have to speak, and we’re happy to die for that. To remain in prison for the rest of my life is the greatest honor that you could give me. Please don’t be lenient with me. It would be an honor for that to happen.”
Note: If you would like to receive copies of Sister Rice’s letters to her supporters, please email [email protected] Mailing addresses for Sister Rice and her co-defendants can be found here and here. You can also sign a petition requesting their pardon.
A 55-gallon drum of nuclear waste, buried in a salt shaft 2,150 feet under the New Mexico desert, violently erupted late on Feb. 14 and spewed mounds of radioactive white foam. The flowing mass, ... laced with plutonium, went airborne, traveled up a ventilation duct to the surface and delivered ... radiation doses to 21 workers. The accident contaminated the nation's only dump for nuclear weapons waste ... and gave the nation's elite ranks of nuclear chemists a mystery they still cannot unravel. Six months after the accident, the exact chemical reaction that caused the drum to burst is still not understood. Indeed, the Energy Department has been unable to precisely identify the chemical composition of the waste in the drum. The accident at the facility near Carlsbad, N.M., known as the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, or WIPP, is likely to cause at least an 18-month shutdown and possibly a closure that could last several years. A preliminary Energy Department investigation found more than 30 safety lapses at the plant, including technical shortcomings and failures in the overall approach to safety. The accident raises tough questions about the Energy Department's ability to safely manage the nation's stockpiles of deadly nuclear waste. "The accident was a horrific comedy of errors," said James Conca, a scientific advisor and expert on the WIPP. "This was the flagship of the Energy Department, the most successful program it had. The ramifications of this are going to be huge. Heads will roll."
Note: For more on this, see concise summaries of deeply revealing nuclear weapons dangers news articles from reliable major media sources.
In the tense days after a powerful earthquake and tsunami crippled the Fukushima Daiichi power plant in Japan on March 11, 2011, staff at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission made a concerted effort to play down the risk of earthquakes and tsunamis to America’s aging nuclear plants, according to thousands of internal emails reviewed by NBC News. The emails, obtained via the Freedom of Information Act, show that the campaign to reassure the public about America’s nuclear industry came as the agency’s own experts were questioning U.S. safety standards and scrambling to determine whether new rules were needed to ensure that the meltdown occurring at the Japanese plant could not occur here. At the end of that long first weekend of the crisis three years ago, NRC Public Affairs Director Eliot Brenner thanked his staff for sticking to the talking points that the team had been distributing to senior officials and the public. "While we know more than these say," Brenner wrote, "we're sticking to this story for now." There are numerous examples in the emails of apparent misdirection or concealment in the initial weeks after the Japanese plant was devastated: When asked to help reporters explain what would happen during the worst-case scenario -- a nuclear meltdown -- the agency declined to address the questions. The emails pull back the curtain on the agency’s efforts to protect the industry it is supposed to regulate. The NRC officials didn't lie, but they didn't always tell the whole truth either. When someone asked about a topic that might reflect negatively on the industry, they changed the subject.
Note: For more on corruption in the nuclear power industry, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
In an extraordinary feat of subterfuge, Israel managed to assemble an entire underground nuclear arsenal – now estimated at 80 warheads, on a par with India and Pakistan – and even tested a bomb nearly half a century ago, with a minimum of international outcry or even much public awareness of what it was doing. Despite the fact that the Israel's nuclear programme has been an open secret since a disgruntled technician, Mordechai Vanunu, blew the whistle on it in 1986, the official Israeli position is still never to confirm or deny its existence. When the former speaker of the Knesset, Avraham Burg, broke the taboo last month, declaring Israeli possession of both nuclear and chemical weapons and describing the official non-disclosure policy as "outdated and childish" a rightwing group formally called for a police investigation for treason. Meanwhile, western governments have played along with the policy of "opacity" by avoiding all mention of the issue. Israel ... almost certainly broke a treaty banning nuclear tests, as well as countless national and international laws restricting the traffic in nuclear materials and technology. The list of nations that secretly sold Israel the material and expertise to make nuclear warheads, or who turned a blind eye to its theft, include today's staunchest campaigners against proliferation: the US, France, Germany, Britain and even Norway. Israeli agents charged with buying fissile material and state-of-the-art technology found their way into some of the most sensitive industrial establishments in the world.
Note: For more on government secrecy, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
The Fukushima nuclear power plant continues to spew radiation. It's 5,300 miles from Los Angeles -- and still not far enough. Fukushima is an enormous problem that's getting bigger. Nuclear Engineer Dr. Arjun Makhijani, president of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, confirmed that ocean currents are carrying the radioactive water to the West Coast. "There are several hundred tons of radioactive water that are pouring into the ocean at the site every day," Makhijani said. According to a study published in the journal Deep Sea Research 1, it will begin arriving this March . But Makhijani says there's no need to panic. The radiation will be diluted, and levels found on the West Coast are very low and not considered dangerous so far. But the question is, will we really know? "I think we should be doing a better monitoring of food. I don't think the EPA and FDA are doing a good enough job," Makhijani said. The scariest part of Fukushima is not what has already happened; it's what could still happen. Every day is a desperate effort to keep the plant from melting down. Fukushima is potentially the biggest ticking time bomb in human history. The damaged plant is in no condition to withstand another massive earthquake or tsunami. Just last week, Dr. David Suzuki, one of Canada's top environmental scientists, stunned the audience when he described what will happen if a massive quake did hit today. "It's bye bye Japan, and everybody on the West Coast of North America should evacuate," Suzuki said.
Note: For more on the Fukushima meltdowns and the dangers of nuclear power, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
There is ample reason for skepticism that anything substantial will change in Iran-US relations, [but] whatever one's views are on the prospects for improving relations, the first direct communications in more than 30 years between the leaders of those two countries is a historically significant event. Here is what NBC News anchor Brian Williams told his viewers about this event: "This is all part of a new leadership effort by Iran - suddenly claiming they don't want nuclear weapons!" Yes, Iran's claim that they don't want nuclear weapons sure is "sudden" - if you pretend that virtually everything that they've said on that question for the past ten years does not exist. The country's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, issued a 2005 religious edict banning the pursuit of nuclear weapons, and in January of this year, Iranian official Ramin Mehmanparast declared: "We are the first country to call for a Middle East free of nuclear weapons." The following month, Khamenei himself said: "We believe that nuclear weapons must be eliminated. We don't want to build atomic weapons." Iran's top leadership has been making similarly unambiguous statements for almost a full decade, even taking out a full page ad in the New York Times in 2005 to counter the growing clamor in the US for a military attack by proclaiming that Iran had no desire for nuclear weapons, was not pursuing them, and wanted transparency, accountability and peace. US intelligence agencies have repeatedly though secretly concluded that they do not believe that Iran is building a nuclear weapon, and even top Israeli military officials have expressed serious doubts that Iran is building, or will build, a nuclear weapon.
Note: For more on mass media corruption, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
In his new book, Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety, award-winning investigative journalist [Eric Schlosser] challenges and expands on the U.S. government's secretive record regarding nuclear accidents. Let's get the big question out of the way: How many times have we just barely avoided nuclear armageddon in the U.S.? It's a very secretive subject, and I did my best, through interviews and through the Freedom of Information Act, to get as much information as I could on these accidents. The Pentagon lists 32 broken arrows, which are their official nuclear weapon accidents that they consider really serious. A lot of other accidents [posed the] threat of accidental detonation on American soil. For many years, there were safety flaws with our nuclear weapons which weren't being addressed and which were being covered up. We're just very, very ... fortunate that a major city has not been destroyed by a nuclear weapon since Nagasaki. But there's no guarantee that that luck will last. Very little has been written about the ordinary servicemen and women who often took great risks. I tell the story of a guy whose job it was to walk over to a nuclear weapon damaged in an accident and dismantle it – basically a bomb squad guy trained to handle nuclear weapons. That takes a lot of nerve to do. People like that put themselves at risk in order to prevent catastrophes. I think their stories are really worth telling. It was important to me to show, not just the bureaucratic incompetence in many cases, but also the incredible heroism of these ordinary servicemen. So it's not a simplistic, black-and-white anti-military thing at all.
Note: For more on the dangers of nuclear technologies, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Japan is stumbling helplessly from one crisis to the next as it battles the ongoing disaster at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. The situation at Fukushima two and a half years after the nuclear meltdown can at best be described as tenuous. Rather than implementing a clearly thought-out disaster management plan, TEPCO's approach has been a haphazard patchwork. Every day, TEPCO pumps 400 tons of contaminated cooling water and groundwater out of the radioactive wreckage of Fukushima. TEPCO stores the liquid in numerous tanks, the largest of which are 12 meters (40 feet) across and 11 meters high, hastily riveted together rather than welded. Currently, there are over 1,000 such tanks, with plans for over 2,000 of them by 2015. TEPCO is veritably drowning in contaminated water. When one of these makeshift containers recently sprang a leak, it apparently took weeks before the company's two-person foot-patrol passed by and noticed it, by which time 300 tons of highly contaminated water had seeped out of the tank. There's little question that more of these tanks will develop leaks, with a number of them approaching their expiration dates and only some of the tanks outfitted with sensors to provide early warning of leakage. "These are the wrong containers in the wrong place, made of the wrong material and built in the wrong way," declares nuclear expert Mycle Schneider, one of the lead authors of the World Nuclear Industry Status Report.
Note: For more on the grave risks of nuclear technologies, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
A nuclear expert has told the BBC that he believes the current water leaks at Fukushima are much worse than the authorities have stated. Mycle Schneider is an independent consultant who has previously advised the French and German governments. He says water is leaking out all over the site and there are no accurate figures for radiation levels. Meanwhile the chairman of Japan's nuclear authority said that he feared there would be further leaks. The ongoing problems at the Fukushima plant increased in recent days when the Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) admitted that around 300 tonnes of highly radioactive water had leaked from a storage tank on the site. The Japanese nuclear energy watchdog raised the incident level from one to three on the international scale that measures the severity of atomic accidents. This was an acknowledgement that the power station was in its greatest crisis since the reactors melted down after the tsunami in 2011. But some nuclear experts are concerned that the problem is a good deal worse than either Tepco or the Japanese government are willing to admit. "The quantities of water they are dealing with are absolutely gigantic," [said] Schneider, who has consulted widely for a variety of organisations and countries on nuclear issues. "What is worse is the water leakage everywhere else - not just from the tanks. It is leaking out from the basements, it is leaking out from the cracks all over the place. Nobody can measure that. It is much worse than we have been led to believe, much worse," said Mr Schneider, who is lead author for the World Nuclear Industry status reports.
Note: For more on the environmental devastation caused by nuclear power, see the deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources available here.
Honestly, if the consequences weren’t potentially so dire, the ongoing struggles to clean up the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in northern Japan would be the stuff of comedy. In March, an extended blackout disabled power to a vital cooling system for days. The cause: a rat that had apparently been chewing on cables in a switchboard. Another dead rat was found in the plant’s electrical works just a few weeks ago, which led to another blackout. The dead rats were just the latest screwups in a series of screwups by Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO). But it’s not funny, not really, because the consequences of the meltdown and TEPCO’s mismanagement are very real. The latest threat comes from nearby groundwater that is pouring into the damaged reactor buildings. Once the water reaches the reactor it becomes highly contaminated by radioactivity. TEPCO workers have to pump the water out of the reactor to avoid submerging the important cooling system. TEPCO can’t simply dump the irradiated groundwater into the nearby sea ... so the company has been forced to jury-rig yet another temporary solution, building hundreds of tanks, each able to hold 112 Olympic-size pools worth of liquid, to hold the groundwater. So TEPCO finds itself in a race: Can its workers build enough tanks and clear enough nearby space to store the irradiated water — water that keeps pouring into the reactor at the rate of some 75 gal. a minute? More than two years after the tsunami, TEPCO is still racing against time — and just barely staying ahead.
Note: For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the grave risks from the nuclear power industry, click here.
Workers have raised the first section of a colossal arch-shaped structure that eventually will cover the exploded nuclear reactor at the Chernobyl power station. Upon completion, the shelter will be moved on tracks over the building containing the destroyed reactor, allowing work to begin on dismantling the reactor and disposing of radioactive waste. The shelter, shaped like a gargantuan Quonset hut, will be 257 meters by 150 meters (843 feet by 492 feet) when completed and at its apex will be higher than the Statue of Liberty. The shelter is to be moved over the reactor building by the end of 2015 — a deadline that no one wants to miss given that the so-called sarcophagus hastily built over the reactor building after the 1986 explosion has an estimated service life of about 30 years. The arch now under construction is only one of two segments that will eventually form the shelter, and so far it's only been raised to a height of 22 meters (72 feet). More structural elements have to be added before it reaches its full height of 108 meters (354 feet), and the work so far has taken seven months. The overall shelter project is budgeted at €1.54 billion ($2 billion) — €1 billion ($1.3 billion) of that for the structure itself — and much uncertainty lies ahead. Even when the shelter is in place, the area around the reactor building will remain hazardous.
Note: It is now over 25 years since the massive Chernobyl disaster and the site is still not safe. Why are we gambling our own health and the health of the planet with such risky technology when there are other alternatives that are much safer and more friendly to the environment? For deeply revealing reports from reliable major media sources on the environmental and health impacts of nuclear power, click here.
Japan's prime minister acknowledged Saturday the government failed in its response to last year's earthquake and tsunami, being too slow in relaying key information and believing too much in "a myth of safety" about nuclear power. "We can no longer make the excuse that what was unpredictable and outside our imagination has happened," Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said. "Crisis management requires us to imagine what may be outside our imagination." Noda was speaking to reporters at his official residence ahead of the anniversary of the March 11 disaster that killed nearly 20,000 people in northeastern Japan and set off the worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl. The phrase "soteigai," or "outside our imagination," was used repeatedly by Tokyo Electric Power Co., the utility that ran the plant, as the reason why it was not prepared for the giant tsunami that hit after the magnitude-9.0 quake. Although some scholars had warned about such tsunami risks, both the utility and regulators did little and kept backup generators in basements where they could be flooded. Japan has also drawn criticism as having been slow with information about the meltdowns and about radiation leaks into the air and the ocean. "We can say in hindsight that the government, business and scholars had all been seeped in a myth of safety," Noda said of the oversights in the accident. "The responsibility must be shared."
Note: For lots more from reliable sources on the corruption in the nuclear power industry, click here.
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