Japan

Fukushima’s “Caldrons of Hell”: More than 300 Tons of Highly Radioactive Water Generated Daily

May 5, 2015

Asahi Shimbun, May 1, 2015 (emphasis added): Yauemon Sato, the ninth-generation chief of a sake brewery operating here since 1790 [and president of electric power company Aizu Denryoku] likens the crippled reactors at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant to “caldrons of hell.” In a recent interview with The Asahi Shimbun, Sato said the nuclear disaster “continues to recur every day”… Excerpts from the interview follow: Question: What drives you to be so active, including in the use of renewable energy? — Sato: You know the caldron of hell? You will be sent to hell and will be boiled in that caldron if you do evil. And there are four such caldrons in Fukushima… Andthe disaster has yet to end. It continues to recur every day. More than 300 tons of water, contaminated with intense levels of radioactive substances, are being generated every day… 11:30 – The Prime Minister [said Fukushima] had been brought to a close. My reaction on hearing his words was, ‘Stop kidding.’ Reality is, though 4 years have passed, the accident has not yet been brought to a close at all. 15:15 – What is the situation within the core? How much has melted? Where is the fuel exactly? We do not know… This is an accident

Obama Bribes Abe to Support the TPP by Unleashing Japanese Military – Yves Smith

May 5, 2015

Great minds seem to be working alike. Our resident Japan expert, Clive, had pointed out that the US Trade Representative, Michael Froman, had nothing to offer Japan to change its indifference to the proposed TransPacific Partnership. Only the State Department could serve up the needed inducements, and they were missing in action. But that changed as Obama became more eager about pushing his toxic, traitorous deal over the line. We pinged Clive Wednesday evening: I heard from a Congressional staffer today that Japan has changed its position on the TPP from being cool to being keen about it You pointed out early on that Froman couldn’t deliver a deal, that State needed to get involved. Apparently that happened. I noticed the defense pact and wondered if it had anything to do with the TPP. Apparently it did. The understanding with the “defense” agreement is that the US will let Japan go offensive. Of course, I have no idea how that squares with the Japanese constitution. Read

Move Over Shale, Solar Is Shining Brighter With Each Passing Day – Jon Queally

April 27, 2015

Move over dirty fossil fuels, the solar revolution is coming. That, at least, is the buried headline contained in new reporting from Reuters on Sunday which looks at the ability of the solar industry to upend the world’s energy system in ways similar to recent innovations which allowed oil and gas companies to squeeze previously unattainable deposits from underground shale formations. With a focus on Japan, Reuters catalogs how the rising capacity and falling prices of solar energy—even as it currently survives without contributions from a fleet of dormant nuclear plants —has led the country to turn off its “giant oil-fired power plants” one after another. The news agency reports: Japan is retiring nearly 2.4 gigawatts of expensive and polluting oil-fired energy plants by March next year and switching to alternative fuels. Japan’s 43 nuclear reactors have been closed in the wake of the 2011 meltdown at the Fukushima power plant after an earthquake and a tsunami – since then, renewable energy capacity has tripled to 25 gigawatts, with solar accounting for more than 80 percent of that. Once Japan reaches cost-revenue parity in solar energy, it will mean the technology is commercially viable in all G7 countries and 14 of the G20 economies, according to

The “Fight for $15″ and the Return of the Vanishing Worker – Richard Eskow

April 17, 2015

On April 15, perhaps as you’re reading these words, working people in 200 American cities will rally for a $15 base wage and the right to form a union. Solidarity demonstrations are planned in more than 30 cities on six continents, and have already taken place in Switzerland, the Philippines, South Korea, New Zealand, and Japan. The “fight for $15” matters – because the lives of working people matter, and because the success of this effort will help strengthen the American economy for everyone. But the significance of April 15’s action runs even deeper than that. The Worker Vanishes There were times in recent history when observers of our political and economic debates might have been forgiven for thinking that America’s working men and women – the teeming millions who built this country and were the engines of its economy during its most prosperous years – had vanished from the face of the earth. Read

One Lethal Loophole in the TPP

April 13, 2015

After spending five long years negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, the Obama administration is now pushing for the fast-track authority from Congress that would make it easier to get the final deal approved. One serious problem is that the TPP is not likely to include rules on currency, which is leading lawmakers from both parties to consider opposing the agreement. They are right to be concerned. A good deal, from the American perspective, would have rules preventing countries from strategically depressing the value of their currency. Japan, Malaysia and South Korea have all been identified as engaging in such manipulation. While this point may seem obscure, the cost of the dollar relative to other currencies is hugely important in determining the size of our trade deficit, which is in turn a major obstacle to growth and employment. To understand the relationships at work here, imagine that the dollar suddenly rose in value by 20% against the Vietnamese dong and the Japanese yen. Since we sell our goods and services in dollars, people living in Vietnam and Japan would then need 20% more of their currency to buy products from the United States. This means that a Ford or General Motors

Mysterious desert fairy circles share pattern with skin cells

April 9, 2015

“The distribution of fairy circles throughout the desert may look random, but turns out to have a pattern that very closely matches the distribution pattern of skin cells. A pattern spanning such drastically different size scales — microscopic skin cells and the desert landscape — is almost unheard of in nature.” Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) Graduate University Patterns appearing on both the very large and very small scale are extremely rare, but researchers at Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) in Japan have found a similar pattern in two apparently unrelated systems — skin cells and fairy circles in the Namibian desert. “It’s a completely amazing, strange match,” said Prof. Robert Sinclair, who heads the Mathematical Biology Unit at OIST. Desert fairy circles are considered one of nature’s greatest mysteries because no one knows how they form. Different from mushroom rings, these fairy circles are large barren patches of earth ringed by short grass dotting the desert like craters on the moon or big freckles. Several groups are racing to figure out this bizarre phenomenon. Sinclair and his collaborator, Haozhe Zhang, believe they have identified a small, but vital piece of the puzzle. The

WHY ARE WE PLANNING TO WALK ACROSS THE DEMILITARIZED ZONE (DMZ) THAT SEPARATES NORTH AND SOUTH KOREA?

April 9, 2015

Almost two years ago, when Christine Ahn proposed international women peacemakers walk across the De-Militarized Zone (DMZ) which separates North and South Korea as an important action to help support Korean women and men working for reconciliation and reuniting of Korean families, I couldn’t resist. This was an important first step in establishing a peace process in which women and civil community would be included. Although many hurdles must still be jumped, including affirming support from three governments—North Korea, South Korea and the United States representing the United Nations Command. The UN command at the DMZ has said it would facilitate our crossing once South Koreas Government gives its approval —a small team of women are planning a historic walk of 30 international women peacemakers from twelve different countries to cross the DMZ on 24th May, 2015, International Women’s Disarmament Day. Some of the women participating are: Gloria Steinem, Hon.Chair,Ann Wright (USA) Suzuyo Takazato (Japan) Abigail Disney, (USA) Hyun-Kyung Chung (SouthKorea/USA),   Many people have asked ‘why are they planning to walk across the DMZ that separates North and South Korea.’?   Maybe the real question should be ‘Why not’! In many countries around the world, women are walking and calling for an

“BREAKING NEWS – Scientists detect Fukushima radiation on North American shores” — Coastal communities ‘concerned’ — Over 7 Bq/m3 of cesium from dock in Pacific Northwest — Professor: It indicates arrival of other radioactive substances

April 9, 2015

Statesman Journal, Apr 6, 2015: BREAKING NEWS Scientists detect Fukushima radiation on North American shores — Seaborne radiation from Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster has reached North America… cesium-134 and cesium-137 in a sample of seawater taken in February from a dock on Vancouver Island… It’s the first time radioactivity from the March 2011 triple meltdown has been identified on West Coast shores [see: April 2011 — California seawater squeezed from kelp sample had 400,000 Bq/m3 of Iodine-131]… sample was taken Feb. 19… It contained 1.5 becquerels per cubic meter (Bq/m3) of cesium-134, the Fukushima fingerprint, and 5 Bq/m3 of cesium-137 [actually 1.4 and 5.8, respectively]… Fukushima radiation concernscoastal communities… models have predicted that in general, the plume would hit the shore in the north first, then head south toward California… currents can be unpredictable… Woods Hole has received support from the National Science Foundation to analyze about 250 seawater samples that will be collected next month… CTVNews, Apr 6, 2015: First low-level trace of Fukushima radioactivity detected off B.C. — But the levels are so low they are likely of little concern… Still, researchers say this is the first detectable of radioactivity from Fukushima found in a water sample taken from the U.S. and Canadian West Coast… Ken Buesseler,

Push for Controversial Trade Deal Continues With Pitch From Defense Secretary

April 8, 2015

U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter on Monday trumpeted the administration’s so-called Pacific pivot and urged passage of legislative power that critics say will allow a massive corporate-friendly trade deal to be rammed through Congress. Carter made the remarks during a speech at the McCain Institute of Arizona State University ahead of his inaugural trip to Asia, which begins with visits to Japan and South Korea. He emphasized that the U.S. is forging ahead with its Asia-Pacific focus “to secure our enduring interests” and said that the region’s growth represents “an enormous opportunity” for the United States. Carter outlined how he said the U.S. would be investing in areas relevant to the the region’s “complex and dynamic security environment”: These include high-end capabilities, such as a new, long-range stealth bomber and a new, long-range anti-ship cruise missile – just to name two…[…] We’re also working on new weapons like a railgun, which uses electromagnetic forces rather than high explosives to fire rounds at much higher speeds, lower cost, and with greater effectiveness. And we’re developing new space, electronic warfare, and other advanced capabilities, including some surprising ones. Carter also mentioned U.S. arms systems currently deployed in the Asia-Pacific, like Read

TEPCO – No Technology Exists To Stop Fukushima Death

April 6, 2015

Anyone with a brain could have told you back in 2011 at the time of the Fukushima nuclear triple melt down that Tokyo Electric (Tepco) was lying about the true condition of the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant No. 1 (“Dai-ichi”). Four years later, Tepco officials have finally admitted that it may not be technologically possible to decommission the plant. The long history of the criminal insanity and negligence of the nuclear industry is revealed in our book, Fukushima: Dispossession or Denuclearization? (edited by Nadesan, Boys, McKillop & Wilcox) which was published last year, and includes detailed chapters from a number of writers who document the nuclear crimes. In the case of Tepco (Tipkill), the facts are overwhelming that not only was Fukushima an “accident waiting to happen” but rather “a foregone conclusion.” The location of the plant on soft fill soil at a low altitude near the ocean in a tsunami zone was the first big mistake of the planners, who must have graduated from the Homer Simpson school of donutology. Cost-cutting, corruption and incompetence is part of the well documented history, which ultimately led to the triple meltdowns. Will the destroyed reactors ultimately need to be buried in a sarcophagus as
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