Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Archive for the ‘nukes’ Category

In memory of Hiroshima

Posted by Charles II on August 6, 2013

For everyone who has made the pilgrimage

The domed temple beneath the blast
Is a wailing wall for those whose humanity survived.
Who can ever forget the keening moans
Of the little children who walk through the museum,
Not knowing what what they see,
But knowing Abaddon instinctively.
Let the generals and the historians play God,
And tell us that it had to be,
In Hiroshima, each pilgrim palpates God,
Touching her own mortality.

(crossposted from Daily Kos)

Posted in Japan, nukes | 1 Comment »

Bookmarked for later review: organized crime and the nuclear industry

Posted by Charles II on September 2, 2012

A fascinating look inside the Japanese nuclear industry and its dependence on organized crime by Richard Wilcox.

Posted in nukes | 2 Comments »

The forgotten anniversary: Nagasaki

Posted by Charles II on August 10, 2012

Mark McDonald:

On Thursday, several thousand people attended a ceremony marking the 67th anniversary of the atomic destruction of Nagasaki during World War II. A single plutonium device, nicknamed Fat Man, almost instantly killed some 70,000 people. Countless others would later succumb to radiation illness and collateral diseases.

Three days earlier, Little Boy, a uranium bomb, had killed an estimated 140,000 people in Hiroshima. That city’s annual memorial was held on Monday.

The survivors — known in Japan as hibakusha — sometimes told their stories with tears streaming down their faces, even six decades later. Robert Jay Lifton also wrote about the post-traumatic stress of the hibakusha in “Death in Life: Survivors of Hiroshima.”

When recounting their stories, he said, the survivors were “unable to remain open to experience of this intensity for any length of time.”

“Very quickly — sometimes within minutes or even seconds — hibakusha began to undergo a process of ‘psychic closing-off’; that is, they simply ceased to feel.”

Mr. Lifton tells of a Hiroshima grocer watching stunned survivors trudging down a road right after the blast, their skin blackened, their hair burned off, “like walking ghosts” who “didn’t look like people of this world.” A history professor told of seeing “blue phosphorescent flames rising from the dead bodies — and there were plenty of them.”

Even in today’s articles about the bombing of Nagasaki, there’s a focus on Hiroshima. Nagasaki feels that its suffering has been forgotten.

Posted in historians, nukes | 2 Comments »

Excess deaths of 22,000 in US alone?

Posted by Charles II on June 21, 2012

That’s the claim in this KPFA report(starts about two-thirds in). This claim apparently traces to work by Mangano and Sherman, a study that has been vigorously attacked by the nuclear industry. As I understand it, radiation is particularly dangerous for fetuses and infants because rapid cell division makes the young especially vulnerable.

I’m sure the Catholic hierarchy will be right on this issue. Just as soon as the nuclear industry is taken over by Democrats.

Posted in Japan, nukes, politics masquerading as religion | Comments Off on Excess deaths of 22,000 in US alone?

Truthleak: Japanese ex-PM says nuclear industry is corrupt, dictatorial. A case history on the functioning of propaganda

Posted by Charles II on May 29, 2012

The former Prime Minister of Japan, Naoto Kan, has given striking testimony to Parliament, in which he accepted blame for his own poor response during the Fukushima meltdown, but also attempted to obtain some degree of absolution because of the degree of corruption of the nuclear industry. He also urged Parliament to abandon nuclear power. To my surprise, Voice of America had some of the best coverage, reporting that Kan said:

“TEPCO and the Electric Power Companies of Japan have dominated the nuclear power industry for the last 40 years. Through this nuclear clique and the rules they created, they expelled and isolated industry experts, politicians and bureaucrats who were critical, while the rest just looked on because of self-protection and an attitude of peace-at-any-cost. I’m saying this because I feel partly responsible.”

“This nuclear clique, which has been created by the vested interest, is similar to the former Imperial Japanese military. We have to totally destroy and eradicate the organizational structure of the vested interests and (the) influence it has on the public. I think this should be the first step in reforming the nuclear industry.”

Comparing the nuclear industry to the Imperial Japanese military is to call that industry a fascist state.

Contrast this with Martin Fackler of The New York Times. This version excludes any reference to the Japanese Empire, substituting a milder reference to “the sickness of the system” with a comparison to Chernobyl and Soviet Communism. There are jabs and digs at Kan in the article that look like an attempt to discredit him. Mainichi Shimbun goes further and excises any reference to the corruption of the industry. The Washington Post (i.e., AP) is possibly even less useful. The Straits Times has a short but pointed piece that makes the connection between the nuclear industry and the fascists. The Guardian’s coverage is strangely muted. The Independent is missing in action. Ditto, FT. Reuters, useless. The Age, ditto. Yomiuri, ditto. Cordula Meyer of Der Spiegel has excellent background, but hasn’t commented on Kan’s testimony:

In Japan, the term “The Atomic Village” refers to an isolated elite that has formed around the country’s nuclear complex. …It’s as if Austrian writer Robert Jungk’s horrific vision of the “nuclear state” had become reality….Even many media organizations, as recipients of generous payments for the electricity industry, are part of the cartel….”Our country was literally brainwashed,” says Taro Kono, a member of the lower house of the Japanese Diet for the conservative LDP. “Atomic energy is a cult in Japan.” …Many scientists, especially at the University of Tokyo, are partial to TEPCO. The company contributes millions to the university and supports many associations, think tanks and commissions….Meanwhile, the Japanese government has begun asking Internet providers to remove “false reports” about Fukushima from the web…In Japan, the insiders who talked about the abuses at TEPCO were intimidated, as were journalists who reported on these abuses….

Of course, Germany is on a path to become nuclear free, so the nuclear industry doesn’t have much sway there. Think that the “Atomic Village” might actually be an international metropolis?

This is a major story. Japanese, at least Japanese in positions of leadership, simply do not use such direct language except in extremis. It would be as big as if George W. Bush got up in front of Congress and said that the petroleum industry, from academia to the engineering firms that build the plants to their boosters in Congress were secret Stalinists, destroying America from within.

And the biggest story is who is not covering it.

This is an excellent case history in propaganda. A propaganda system does not completely squelch stories. It is careful to tell only lies that are too big or unverifiable to be detected. Propaganda systems tell a portion of the truth, in such a way as to distort the meaning. And if one can find a portion of the information system where what they are covering up differs from what the rest of the system is covering up–like Der Spiegel’s reporting on an industry that has no political power in Germany–then occasionally the truth leaks out.

(Crossposted at Daily Kos)

Posted in Japan, Media machine, nukes, propaganda | 2 Comments »

The Fukushima next time

Posted by Charles II on March 7, 2012

It’s all very far away. Pay no attention. Build new plants near you. You are getting very sleeeeeepy:

Monticello Minneapolis, MN Nuclear Management Co. Routine testing of an emergency pump intended to prove that it was capable of performing its safety functions during an accident actually degraded the pump. The pump’s manufacturer recommended against running the pump at low speeds, but this recommendation was ignored during the tests.

Kinda lucky that they found out during testing that their policies and procedures would (predictably) lead to system failure. That’s one of the least serious incidents reported by the Union of Concerned Scientists.

More representative is this one:

Pilgrim Plymouth, MA When restarting the reactor after a refueling outage, workers overreacted to indications that the water inside the reactor was heating up too rapidly, and lost control of the reactor. The plant’s safety systems automatically kicked in to shut down the reactor.

In all, UCS reports 15 significant incidents during 2011.

Why are we building new plants instead of going full out to fix the ones we have?

Posted in energy, nukes | 6 Comments »

Heavy weather

Posted by Charles II on September 20, 2011

Makoto Miyazaki and Yurly Humber, Bloomberg:

Typhoon Roke is expected to pass through the greater Tokyo area later today and head up toward the crippled Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant after causing 1.1 million people to be evacuated in central Japan.

Roke is bringing strong gusts and dumping rain in a wide region.”

The eye of Roke, categorized as “very strong” by the agency, was about 495 kilometers (308 miles) southwest of Tokyo at 8 a.m. today. It was packing wind speeds of 162 kilometers per hour (101 miles), with gusts of 234 kilometers per hour.
…Since July, much of Tokyo Electric’s work in Fukushima has focused on decontaminating highly radiated cooling water that ran off into basements and trenches at the damaged reactors.

In addition, as much as 500 tons, or 500,000 liters, of underground water is leaking into Dai-Ichi buildings every day through cracks in walls and trenches, Tokyo Electric spokesman Hajime Motojuku said yesterday.

The utility has been injecting water into Dai-Ichi’s reactors since a March 11 earthquake and tsunami knocked out cooling systems, causing the worst nuclear accident in 25 years. Reactors need to be cooled below 100 degrees Celsius to shut down the plant.

Levels of contaminated water in Dai-Ichi basements have fallen more than 14 percent in the last month as Tepco sped up water decontamination by adding a system supplied by Toshiba Corp. (6502) and Shaw Group Inc. (SHAW)

The company is in the process of installing a cover for the No. 1 reactor building and aims to put similar covers over units 3 and 4 next year after debris is cleared….

Posted in Japan, nukes | Comments Off on Heavy weather

Pipe (bad) dream: the Fukushima meltdown

Posted by Charles II on August 17, 2011

David McNeill and Jake Adelstein, The London Independent:

The Independent has spoken to several workers at the [Fukushima nuclear] plant who recite the same story: serious damage, to piping and at least one of the reactors, occurred before the tsunami hit.

“Someone yelled that we all needed to evacuate. But I was severely alarmed because as I was leaving I was told and I could see that several pipes had cracked open, including what I believe were cold water supply pipes. That would mean that coolant couldn’t get to the reactor core. If you can’t sufficiently get the coolant to the core, it melts down….”

The reason for official reluctance to admit that the earthquake did direct structural damage to reactor one is obvious. Katsunobu Onda, author of Tepco: The Dark Empire, explains it this way: A government or industry admission “raises suspicions about the safety of every reactor they run. They are using a number of antiquated reactors that have the same systematic problems, the same wear and tear on the piping.” Earthquakes, of course, are commonplace in Japan.

Mitsuhiko Tanaka, a former nuclear plant designer, describes what occurred on 11 March as a loss-of-coolant accident. “The data that Tepco has made public shows a huge loss of coolant within the first few hours of the earthquake. It can’t be accounted for by the loss of electrical power. There was already so much damage to the cooling system that a meltdown was inevitable long before the tsunami came.”

Every single plant built on the Mark I design needs to be shut down. Same for every plant of any design built in an earthquake prone region. And it needs to be done now.

Posted in energy, environment, Japan, nukes | Comments Off on Pipe (bad) dream: the Fukushima meltdown

Such a relief to hear…

Posted by Charles II on July 18, 2011

Aaron Sheldrick, Bloomberg:

Tokyo Electric Power Co. is rushing to install a cover over a building at its crippled Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant to shield it from wind and rain as Typhoon Ma-on approached Japan’s coast from the south.

The cover will be placed over the turbine building of the No. 3 reactor “momentarily,” Hajime Motojuku, a Tepco spokesman, said yesterday. The utility also detached a hose from a barge docked near the plant that stores contaminated water, he said, without elaborating.

Posted in Japan, nukes | 1 Comment »

We are all hibakusha (被爆者) now, American version, part 2/updated

Posted by Charles II on June 28, 2011

DemocracyNow covered the situation in Los Alamos, New Mexico, where a fire is burning within three miles of the laboratory, and within a half a mile of large amounts of low-level waste that is being stored preparatory to transportation to the Waste Isolation Pilot facility (WIPP), where it sits below the Rustler Aquifer (specifically, the Culebra Aquifer; see here and here for full details) and West Texas’ water supply. Los Alamos is the center of plutonium processing for nuclear triggers (PITS). Fire has “spotted” (leaped) into the lab area, but without spreading. If the lab were to burn, large amounts of plutonium would be spread over the West, and probably the world. One microgram of plutonium, if inhaled, is enough to cause cancer.

Nothing to see here, folks. Nuclear technology is safe. Move along.

(also posted to FDL)
Update: At FDL, commenter Liz linked two posts (one, two) regarding Pantex, which was handling PITS, that are worth reading. Some excerpts from their sources. Here’s POGO:

For example, in 2004, while a W56 warhead – which, at 1200 kilotons (or 100 times the yield of a Hiroshima bomb), is one of the largest missile-launched warheads in our stockpile – was being disassembled, a crack was discovered in the high explosive (HE). Technicians used the equivalent of duct tape to hold the cracked high explosive together.

Then, from Liz:

One such group is an evangelical Christian hate group called Repent Amarillo. They are in the business of threatening and intimating the citizens of Amarillo, Texas who disagree with their narrow restricted viewpoint of God. As you can see from their moniker above, they model themselves after a militia. Their targets include liberal Christians, Muslims, environmentalists, and even breast cancer events such as “The Race for the Cure”.

The group is associated with Raven Ministries and its leader is David Grisham, a security guard at Pantex, a nuclear-bomb facility in Amarillo….

Liz says, at FDL that “David attempted to burn a Koran last year in Amarillo, but a local skateboarder breezed by and grabbed it out of his hands.”

Posted in nukes | 5 Comments »

%d bloggers like this: