Archive for April 18, 2012

A Visual Tour of the Fuel Pools of Fukushima

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Source: http://www.washingtonsblog.com

By WashingtonsBlog

Do You Know What the Fuel Pools Actually Look Like?

You already know that Fukushima’s fuel pool number 4 may be the single greatest threat, but that pool number 3 is very dangerous as well.

You’ve heard that unit 3′s fuel pool contains less radioactive material than unit 4 … but still a tremendous amount of radiation. Scientific American reported last year:

The pools at each reactor are thought to have contained the following amounts of spent fuel, according to The Mainichi Daily News:

• Reactor No. 1: 50 tons of nuclear fuel
• Reactor No. 2: 81 tons
• Reactor No. 3: 88 tons
• Reactor No. 4: 135 tons
• Reactor No. 5: 142 tons
• Reactor No. 6: 151 tons
• Also, a separate ground-level fuel pool contains 1,097 tons of fuel; and some 70 tons of nuclear materials are kept on the grounds in dry storage.

You’ve learned that unit 3′s reactor was the only one at Fukushima which burned plutonium. As Japan Times notes:

Reactor 3 … uses highly dangerous mixed oxide fuel, Tokyo Electric has reported.

***

No. 3 reactor is the only one at the crippled power station that was powered by the plutonium-uranium MOX

You’ve gotten the fact that – if the water drains out for any reason – it will cause a fire in the fuel rods, as the zirconium metal jacket on the outside of the fuel rods could very well catch fire within hours or days after being exposed to air. See this, this, this and this. (And that even a large solar flare could knock out the water-circulation systemsfor the pools.)

You’ve listened to experts say that – unless the rods are removed from the fuel pools before a major earthquake strikes (using special equipment which keeps the rods submerged in water the whole time) – they will likely catch fire and release huge amounts of radioactivity. See this and this – starting at 4 minutes into the video.

You’ve read that – after reviewing photos from several different angles – the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s initial impressions were that spent fuel pool number 3 might not be there at all, and that nuclear engineer Arnie Gundersen said a couple of days ago:

Unit 3 is worse [than No. 4]. It’s mechanically its rubble, the pool is rubble. It’s got less fuel in it. It faces the same problem. Structurally the pool has been dramatically weakened. And, god nobody has even gotten near it yet.

And you may caught the recent headline that a 35-ton machine fell into spent fuel pool 3. As Kyodo News reports:

The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on Friday found that a 35-ton machine had dropped inside the spent fuel pool of the No. 3 unit, possibly because of a hydrogen explosion that occurred in the early stage of plant’s nuclear accident last year.

Tokyo Electric Power Co., commonly known as TEPCO, reported the finding after placing a camera inside the water-filled pool the same day to prepare for removing, as part of the decommissioning process, the nuclear fuel stored there.

One photo showed part of the machine, originally located above the pool and used to insert and remove fuel, appeared to have dropped onto the nuclear fuel storage racks.

But – until you see pictures – it is hard to get a sense of what all this means.

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Mandatory ‘Big Brother’ Black Boxes In All New Cars From 2015

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Source: http://www.blacklistednews.com

Mandatory ‘Big Brother’ Black Boxes In All New Cars From 2015

Source: Economic Policy Journal

The same Senate bill, 1813, known as MAP-21, that calls for the Secretary of State to revoke or deny a passport to any US citizen that the IRS Commissioner deems as having ‘seriously delinquent tax debt’, also calls for, in section 31406 of the bill. the mandatory installation of ‘black box’ event recorders to be installed in every new passenger vehicle starting with model year 2015:

SEC. 31406. VEHICLE EVENT DATA RECORDERS.
(a) Mandatory Event Data Recorders-

(1) IN GENERAL- Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall revise part 563 of title 49, Code of Federal Regulations, to require, beginning with model year 2015, that new passenger motor vehicles sold in the United States be equipped with an event data recorder that meets the requirements under that part…

(d) Revised Requirements for Event Data Recorders- Based on the findings of the study under subsection (c), the Secretary shall initiate a rulemaking proceeding to revise part 563 of title 49, Code of Federal Regulations. The rule–

(1) shall require event data recorders to capture and store data related to motor vehicle safety covering a reasonable time period before, during, and after a motor vehicle crash or airbag deployment, including a rollover;

(2) shall require that data stored on such event data recorders be accessible, regardless of vehicle manufacturer or model, with commercially available equipment in a specified data format;

(3) shall establish requirements for preventing unauthorized access to the data stored on an event data recorder in order to protect the security, integrity, and authenticity of the data; and

(4) may require an interoperable data access port to facilitate universal accessibility and analysis.

(e) Disclosure of Existence and Purpose of Event Data Recorder- The rule issued under subsection (d) shall require that any owner’s manual or similar documentation provided to the first purchaser of a passenger motor vehicle for purposes other than resale–

(1) disclose that the vehicle is equipped with such a data recorder…

(f) Access to Event Data Recorders in Agency Investigations- Section 30166(c)(3)(C) of title 49, United States Code, is amended by inserting ‘, including any electronic data contained within the vehicle’s diagnostic system or event data recorder’ after ‘equipment.’

TSA installs undercover agents on Texas busses

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Source: http://blog.alexanderhiggins.com

By Alexander Higgins

If you are one of the select few that actually enjoys riding the bus, you might have a change of heart after hearing what the TSA is doing in Houston, Texas.

RT – If you are one of the select few that actually enjoys riding the bus, you might have a change of heart after hearing what the TSA is doing in Houston, Texas.

TSA, Houston, bus, undercover, agentsBusSafeDemocratic Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee held a press conference last week to discuss the details of Houston’s newest initiatives. It is being branded as a program called “BusSafe” and the press release describes it as a necessity for enhancing safety in the city’s public transportation system. Just exactly how they are going about accomplishing that has already attracted its fair share of critics, though.

Under the program launched last week, passengers on busses run by the Houston METRO system will be subjected to random questioning and searches from “counter-terrorism experts” hired by the Transportation Security Administration. Yes, the very same TSA that has become notorious for invasive pat-downs at airports across the country are opening up a new front in their war on privacy, and it’s on Houston’s public busses.

Riders of the Houston METRO won’t be waiting in line for security checkpoints like they do before boarding flights, though. According to the press release, authorities will “ride buses, perform random bag checks and conduct K-9 sweeps, as well as place uniformed and plainclothes officers at Transit Centers and rail platforms to detect, prevent and address latent criminal activity or behavior.” Both local police and undercover TSA agents will be carrying out the city-wide searches.

“If you think you’re going to be a bad actor on buses, get ready. You are going to have a short-lived time frame,” Congresswoman Jackson Lee explained.

And if you think you’re safe from this scrutiny by being outside of Houston, think again. The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County say the searches starting in Houston are part of a national pilot program. BusSafe, it says, may be introduced in cities from coast-to-coast.

Last year the TSA hinted that they could be broadening their reach in the near future. When commenting to the Los Angeles Times on TSA’s plans to start doing pat-downs in bus and train stations, air marshal Ray Dineen put it rather simply: “We are not the Airport Security Administration. We take that transportation part seriously.”

At the time, RT reported that the TSA conducted over 9,000 unannounced checkpoints at transportation hubs across the country during 2011. As those searches — literally — board the buses in 2012, the number of people searched appear set to rise.

“I don’t want them looking through my bag. I have a lot of stuff in there,” METRO rider Dominique Guillory explains in protest to the city’s NBC affiliate, KPRC News. If Congresswoman Jackson Lee and the TSA agents have any say, however, it won’t really matter.

METRO adds that they do not plan on disclosing the routes, dates or identities of undercover officers that have already started searching passengers in Houston.

“We have one of the safest transit systems in the world in Houston,” METRO Police Chief Victor Rodriguez explains in the BusSafe press release. “One way we are able to keep it that way is through the use of deterrents such as uniformed and plainclothes officers patrolling our system and aggressively addressing suspicious and criminal activity.”

Farmers demand feds probe Monsanto and Dow over crops and chemicals

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Source: http://rt.com

A maize seedling is seen in the corn greenhouse at the Monsanto Research facility in Chesterfield, Missouri (Reuters/Peter Newcomb)

 

Over 2,000 farmers and others within the food industry are threatening to take the US government to court to make sure that feds act quickly in investigating the potential outcome of a new genetically modified crop.

A coalition of concerned members of America’s agriculture community said on Wednesday that they will take legal action to ensure that the federal government investigates what will happen if biotech companies are allowed to proceed with a space-age, man-made variant of corn.

As RT reported last week, Dow Chemical is awaiting the government’s go-ahead to start using a mutated corn crop that is resistant to a powerful pesticide produced with 2,4-D, the same compound crucial to the make-up of the notorious Vietnam War-era killer Agent Orange. Once approved, the new corn will be able to thrive as farmers douse their fields in the pesticide, eradicating unwanted weeds in the process. Opponents are concerned that the aftermath of a surge in the chemical’s use could be catastrophic for people, plants and the agriculture industry as a whole, though.

“These are the most dangerous chemicals out there,” attorney John Bode tells Reuters. Bode is fighting on behalf of the Save Our Crops Coalition to have Washington intervene and is no stranger to how the government goes about these matters — he served as assistant secretary of agriculture in the Reagan administration.

While The Natural Resources Defense Council has tied 2,4-D to cases of cancer, genetic mutations and neurotoxicity, it’s not even just humans that are expected to be affected by the pesticide. “These herbicides have been known to drift and volatilize to cause damage to plants over 10 miles away from the point of application,” the Save Our Crops Coalition pleads.

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Banned in Germany, But You’re Probably Still Eating It

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Source: http://articles.mercola.com

monsanto, gmo roundup, Germany, bannedBy Dr. Mercola

Monsanto, the world leader in genetically modified (GM) crops and seeds, has been named the worst company of 2011 by Natural Society — for “threatening both human health and the environment.”

I couldn’t agree more. I have long designated Monsanto the most dangerous corporation on the planet, and clearly this is a growing sentiment …

According to Forbes:

“Monsanto is so despised by environmentalists that Google’s first suggested search term for the St. Louis company is ‘Monsanto evil.’

Readers… voted Monsanto the world’s most evil corporation in a January poll, giving the corporation a whopping 51 percent of the vote.”

What’s Wrong With Monsanto?

You may be wondering what Monsanto — the world’s largest seed company whose net income for the first quarter of fiscal year 2012 totaled $126 million (up from $9 million in 2011) — has done to have earned such ire.

The list is long, easily enough for a novel, but to sum it up, biotech giant Monsanto has created some of the most dangerous products on the planet, including Agent Orange, dioxin, recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH)… and genetically modified seeds.

The latter is one of the most pressing concerns because GM crops are now a mainstay of American agriculture.

Ninety percent or more of all US-grown corn, soybeans, canola, and sugar beets are genetically modified versions, which means that virtually all processed food items contain at least one or more genetically modified ingredients.

GM foods are, from what I perceive, one of the most significant threats that we have against the very sustainability of the human race. Why? In a nutshell, these toxins are being linked to a growing repertoire of assaults against human health and the environment — and they are already migrating into fetal blood, which means future generations are now at risk.

Monsanto is Destroying the Food System Via Their GMO Crops

Virtually all of the claims of benefit of GM crops – increased yields, more food production, controlled pests and weeds, reductions in chemical use in agriculture, drought-tolerant seeds – have not materialized.

The Global Citizens’ Report on the State of GMOs states:

  • Contrary to the claim of feeding the world, genetic engineering has not increased the yield of a single crop.
  • Herbicide tolerant (Roundup Ready) crops were supposed to control weeds and Bt crops were intended to control pests. Instead of controlling weeds and pests, GE crops have led to the emergence of super weeds and super pests … Herbicide resistant crops such as Roundup Ready cotton can create the risk of herbicide resistant “superweeds” by transferring the herbicide resistance to weeds.
  • Despite claims that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) will lower the levels of chemicals (pesticides and herbicides) used, quite the opposite has occurred, with 1.6 billion pounds of glyphosate (the active in ingredient in Roundup) being applied to American soil in 2007 alone. This is of great concern both because of the negative impacts of these chemicals on ecosystems and humans, and because there is the danger that increased chemical use will cause pests and weeds to develop resistance, requiring even more chemicals in order to manage them.
  • Monsanto has been claiming that through genetic engineering it can breed crops for drought tolerance and other climate-resilient traits. This is a false promise.
  • Among the false claims made by Monsanto and the Biotechnology industry is that GE foods are safe. However, there are enough independent studies to show that GE foods can cause severe health damage.

Thanks to glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s non-selective, broad-spectrum herbicide Roundup, that is sprayed on massive acreages of GM Roundup Ready soybeans, cotton, and corn grown in the United States each and every year, super weeds are growing at an alarming rate. It’s estimated that more than 130 types of weeds spanning 40 U.S. states are now herbicide-resistant, and the superweeds are showing no signs of stopping. In fact, the situation is getting progressively worse.

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Monsanto taking over global agriculture

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Monsanto has been on a mission to control US agriculture. With the help of politicians and regulation agencies, the biotechnology company has been putting many farmers out of business. Many critics of the company believe it is the right of the people to know if they are consuming genetically-modified food. Jeffrey Smith, author of Seeds of Deception, joins us with more on the Monsanto.

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