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The Standard

While Labour Burns Bright…

Written By: - Date published: 3:20 pm, November 3rd, 2013 - 47 comments
Categories: disaster, Japan - Tags: ,

This weekend, TEPCO is going to try and begin the process of removing spent fuel rods from a cooling pond at Fukushima Daiichi Unit 4. The fuel rods are about the thickness of a human thumb and 15 feet long. There are 1533 of them and they’re sitting 100 feet in the air.

Normally these fuel rods would be removed from the containment pool using computers due to the very small margins of error allowed when maneuvering them. And normally the containment pool would be free of debris. And normally, the racks that hold the rods wouldn’t be buckled. And normally, the building wouldn’t be sagging due to subsidence.

But ‘normal’ fled Fukushima quite some time back.

The whole affair of the cooling pool at Unit 4 has been likened to a packet of tailor made cigarettes that has been crumpled – with the idea being to extract the cigarettes without breaking any. If a fuel rod snaps, the Fukishima site would have to be evacuated while the snapped rod vented radioactive gases into the air. And if one contacted the air, then the zirconium alloy coating would spontaneously combust. And since water reacts with burning zirconium and all of the fuel rods are housed in water, it’s well within the realms of possibility that an unquenchable fire feeding off the radioactive fuel rods could spark at Fukushima. And it would simply burn for the weeks, months or years it would take to exhaust itself, releasing (approx) 13000 Hiroshima’s worth of radioactive poison to spread around the Northern Hemisphere.

As a side note, I lived in Northern Europe when Cherobyl spread radioactive poison throughout Europe. And I remember the instructions to remain inside if it was raining. And I remember that all dairy and fresh veg was off the menu. And I’m aware that to this day there are ‘hot spots’ from Wales to Germany and elsewhere that mean no produce from those areas can be consumed.

And the potential radiation poisoning from Fukushima is magnitudes worse than Chernobyl. Many, many millions of people and agricultural areas ranging across the whole of Asia, Europe and N. America will be severely affected if operations at Unit 4 go awry. And any wise person with the means, will probably seek to flee the Northern Hemisphere if unit 4 ‘goes down’. It’s that serious.

Here’s the thing. Given the seriousness of the situation, I just cannot get my head around the fact that the job of removing those fuel rods has been left up to TEPCO; not just because TEPCO are an operating company as opposed to an engineering company, but because it has fucked up and lied at every turn. It’s akin to not calling in a plumber and relying on a toilet cleaner – one who is insisting that the shit and the piss spreading over the floor is nothing a quick mop can’t fix – to repair a broken and leaking toilet.

Anyway. Putting aside the fact that 100% of bluefin tuna tested 18 months ago off the west coast of the US were found to be contaminated with bio-accumulating Cesium 134 and 137 from Fukishima. And putting aside the fact that you can still buy fish and seaweed in New Zealand from Japan and that none of it is being tested for poisoning. And putting aside any suspicions I might have over the likelihood that more recent Japanese second hand car imports will be harbouring radioactive particles in their air conditioning filters. Putting all that as well as the three ‘lost’ nuclear reactor cores, the catalogue of fuck-ups and cover ups (eg, dumping contaminated materials into Tokyo Bay or mixing it with uncontaminated material and then burning it in normal industrial incinerators), the virtual news blackout, the inadequate leaking tanks, the 300 odd tonnes of contaminated water flowing into the Pacific every day, the 11000 other onsite fuel rods which, along with the three ‘lost’ cores would have to be abandoned if things went wrong. Putting it all aside so I can finish on a positive note…here are the comforting words of TEPCO spokesperson, Yoshimi Hitosugi from an ABC news report.

We’re going to transfer the fuel into containers while it’s under water. Then we’ll use a crane to remove the containers and take them to a new pool… We believe it’s not dangerous, the reactor building has been reinforced and is structurally sound. We don’t believe there’ll be any accidents.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I feel a whole lot better knowing that it’s just a case of slapping some shit into new containers and hoiking everything the fuck out of there.

In fact, I’m so relieved that I recommend that you don’t peruse any of the links provided or any of the additional links they contain.

As you were.

47 comments on “While Labour Burns Bright…”

  1. When Fukishima happened I considered it a world altering event – this report and everything that’s happened since that day have not changed my thinking. I don’t trust any ‘official’ words on this and I sadly think we should prepare for the worst scenario – whether we hear about it or not.

  2. Populuxe1 2

    Fearmongering and bad science. Chernobyl remains far worse than Fukushima will ever be. As for the contamination of tuna – the measurement was 3% higher than normal background radiation – which is roughly the equivalent exposure of hugging someone or eating a banana. You are actually getting a bigger dose of radiation from your computer as you type.

    • Paul 2.1

      How do you know this is fearmongering?

    • Bill 2.2

      On bananas. (Which, incidentally was contained in one of the links you fucking lazy moron)

      Arnie Gundersen: The one that gets me and it came up in the meeting last night was the radioactive banana. You know we all have potassium and our body is in equilibrium with that potassium. Some of it is radioactive, some of it is not radioactive. So if you take potassium in, you are going to excrete potassium out because you are already in equilibrium with that potassium. And I cannot understand how we can compare the dose of a banana to flying on a plane or working at Fukushima.

      Marco Kaltofen: What it comes down to is radiation comes in different flavors. Some radiation does less damage than others. We have what is called a quality factor for radiation, where we say flat out, the amount of health damage that you do, is related to the form of the radiation. So that this type of radiation might be 20 times more hazardous than that type of radiation. That is something that is happening with the banana. All radiation is not alike and to imply that it is, is probably oversimplifying, oversimplifying to the point where people fail to take steps they could to improve their health.

      http://fairewinds.org/media/fairewinds-videos/hot-particles-and-measurement-of-radioactivity

      On comparing Fukushima to Chernobyl.

      The radiation dumped by Fukushima into the environment has exceeded that of the 1986 Chernobyl catastrophe, so we may stop calling it the second worst nuclear power disaster in history. Total atmospheric releases from Fukushima so far are between 5.6 and 8.1 times that of Chernobyl, according to the 2013 World Nuclear Industry Status Report.

      http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/10/23/fukushimas-radiation-gusher/

      • Populuxe1 2.2.1

        Are we working at Fukushima you fucking moron? Probably flying is a better comparison – it is still not the end of the world despite what anti-nuclear proponents would like everyone to believe. It is interesting that the only contamination we have so far detected away from Fukushima is caesium, and yet at least one of those articles decides to promote the dangers of plutonium particles. No plutonium has breached.
        The WNISR is actually compiled by a small indepenent organisation, just in case you thought it was compiled by someone like the UN or the AEC.
        If you actually bothered to follow up the original sources of that Counterbunch article, you would know what else Prof. Ken Buesseler of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution says about Fukushima’s caesium: “Because of the dilution that occurs even a short distance from Fukushima, we do not have a concern about the levels of cesium and other radionuclides in fish off the West Coast of the U.S.” http://www.whoi.edu/page.do?cid=94989&pid=83397&tid=3622

        Confirmation bias all the way

        • Bill 2.2.1.1

          To repeat. Total atmospheric releases from Fukushima so far are between 5.6 and 8.1 times that of Chernobyl, according to the 2013 World Nuclear Industry Status Report. (emphasis added this time)

          Do you have a reliable source to counter that claim? Or any reputable source that claims (your words) Chernobyl remains far worse than Fukushima will ever be

          As for Bueseler, you appear to be suggesting he’s being conservative. I’d agree. Cesium bio-accumulates in tissue and dilution is by no means uniform, hence ‘hot spots’.

          And has it crossed your empty cranium that the reason why Cesium levels are recorded might be because, firstly they are a signature and secondly that they are easier to detect than other radioactive poisons?

          Lastly. If you still can’t get the fact that different radiations are different, then how’s about you pop a wee lump of plutonium into your pockets? I’m sure it’ll be more convenient than carrying a bunch of bananas around and, just like bananas, I’m sure will have no effect whatsoever on your fertility. And if I’m wrong, then (assuming no previous slip-ups) a service will have been provided to humanity.

          • TheContrarian 2.2.1.1.1

            Wikipedia cites the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists in saying Fukushima released 10 – 30% of the radiation of Chernobyl.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fukushima_Daiichi_nuclear_disaster

            And this page confirms that Chernobyl was worse

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_Fukushima_and_Chernobyl_nuclear_accidents

            That said, only a long-term comparison would settle it

            • Bill 2.2.1.1.1.1

              From your second link. 900PBq released over a single month (March 2011) at Fukushima compared to a total (no citation supplied) for Chernobyl of 5200PBq.

              It also claims a ‘cold shut down’ for Fukushima. And that’s complete bullshit. Three melt throughs do not equate to cold shutdowns in anyones books.

              And I can’t see any such citation by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists on the page of your first link.

              edit. Found it. But the actual article is behind a pay wall.

              edit2. okay. Found a copy of the article. And they are quoting estimates from Japan’s Regulatory body and the IEAE…hardly sources that inspire confidence given their track record.

              • TheContrarian

                Source for the 5200PBq:

                http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Safety-and-Security/Safety-of-Plants/Chernobyl-Accident/

                yes it is behind a paywall but have no reason to doubt it as many people at wikipedia could check it.

                Here is another comparison

                http://www.jsme.or.jp/pes/Event/icone19/documents/1_Tsunoyama_ICONEH23.10(Tsunoyam).pdf

                • weka

                  What? Wikipedia contains no mistakes, lies or misrepresentations?

                  • TheContrarian

                    Not at all, but the wikipedia page is confirmed by off-site resources

                  • Bill

                    I hope you’re not suggesting that wiki pages of a political nature or with political ramifications are subject to parties with vested interests peddling lines and pushing agendas!

                    Take the IEAE. They are a regulatory body. An august institution. The fact that they are also tasked with promoting the civil use of nuclear technology could only possibly constitute a conflict of interest in the most cynical of individuals. Their info is untainted and objective…their pronouncements and actions above reproach.

                    • TheContrarian

                      This is veering off topic. As it currently stands Chernobyl is the worst nuclear accident on record releasing 5200PBq compared to 900PBq for Fukusima.

                      However, at Tat points out – Fukusima is still happening so could well top 5200PBq.

                    • Bill

                      True that your comments have been somewhat off-topic. (‘Oh – honest, just to be helpful, here’s a clearly labelled diagram on the tsunami that I’m suggesting is somehow related to something in the post) Don’t know why I tolerated you doing the subtle derailing. Anyway. Final (repeated) point on the ‘my Chernobyl dick is bigger than your Fukushima dick’ playground nonsense.

                      The 900PBq for Fukushima was referring to a time period of one month. The claim pertaining to Chernobyl is a sum total.

                      And you know what? Since a lot of those poisons bio-accumulate, I don’t really give a monkey’s flying fuck how much there is. I’m simply mightily pissed that there is any of that shit circulating through various non-organic and organic systems on this world.

                    • TheContrarian

                      Are you having your period?

                    • Tat Loo (CV)

                      However, at Tat points out – Fukusima is still happening so could well top 5200PBq.

                      I also suspect that the current radioactivity release stats for Fukushima ignore the radiation in the reactor “melt throughs” which have occured, using the assumption that those materials buried themselves…albeit in a completely uncontrolled and unpredictable way.

    • Martin 2.3

      “Chernobyl remains far worse than Fukushima will ever be”
      I call BS!
      Maybe you should do some bg research on the impacts in the North Pacific first….

      This link would be a good start
      http://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/9314323/The-ocean-is-broken

      one reactor went at Chernoboyl. 3 have melted down in FD. 300 tonnes of contaminated water every day has been going unchecked into the sea since 3/11. Gunderson and Caldicott are calling this at 100x worse and I haven’t even mentioned the dangers around moving fuel rodds without automated handling technology. The plant design was GEC spec forced upon the Japanese

      There is no such thing as safe low dose as it is all cummulative. Check out what your dentist does when you get an Xray. At 5-10 msv a shot You are fine with 3 or 4 max in a year however the dentist does thousands in a year.

      the banana example is spurious.
      https://www.netc.com/bb/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=71 will take you to a good dose chart.

      regrds

  3. Populuxe1 3

    Because I actually bothered to pay attention in science class.
    The radiation leak is the equivalent to that given off by the potassium of 76 million bananas.
    There is so much crap out there on the alternative media sites – this is a good overview of the actual science

    http://skeptoid.com/blog/2013/10/28/more-fukushima-scaremongering-debunked/

    [Bill]: I’m not feeling like being a tolerant bastard today. So here’s the deal. Acknowledge, privately or otherwise, that the sources used in the post link back to the considered opinion of reputable scientists and nuclear engineers – not half baked conspiracy sites – and then make only intelligent comments based on what has has been written and the actual sources used. Or get the fuck off the thread.

    • Martin 3.1

      I also paid attention in science and history.
      The banana thing is spurious and irrelevant.
      Time will tell if Skeptoid is right. I hope he is or we are all in
      deeper trouble than we can imagine.
      I for one will not be eating tuna or sushi.

      This is a sites recording stations across the USA.
      If you want to interpret this site first do a bit of bg reading on the site which will explain the info showen. This is a useful tool but must be used mindfully.
      http://www.netc.com/

      The nuclear industy is like the fossil fuel industry and tobacco industry.
      Anyone for a cigarette? [contains Polonium 210]

  4. TheContrarian 4

    For the record, this map is often used to highlight the spread of Fukishima radiation but it is BS. It actually measures the height of the tsunami.

    Just putting it out there because I have seen it misused so many times:
    http://images.defensetech.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/NOAA-Tsunami-plot2.jpg

  5. AmaKiwi 5

    Thanks, Bill. An invaluable alert.

    I am neither a scientist nor nuclear expert, but news blackouts are strong confirmation of the threat.

    At the time of Three Mile Island I was a dairy farmer. MSM said, “All is well.” Letters to the editors in farming magazines had horrifying stories of stillborn calves, previously unknown calf deformities, cow barns with not a single fly or insect all summer long, crop mutations, etc.

    I have 100% confidence in the MSM to deny, ignore, and cover-up.

  6. johnm 6

    “David Suzuki at the University of Alberta, October 30, 2013 (At 2:45 in): Fukushima is the most terrifying situation I can imagine. You ask, what can we do? First of all you have got a government that is in total collusion with Tepco, they’re lying through their teeth. […] The fourth one has been so badly damaged that the fear is if there’s another quake of a 7 or above that that building will go, and then all hell breaks loose. And the probability of a 7 or above quake in the next 3 years is over 95%. […] They don’t know what to do. We need to get a group of international experts to go in with complete freedom to do what they suggest. Right now the Japanese government has too much pride to admit that. I’ve seen a paper which says that if in fact the fourth plant goes under an earthquake and those rods are exposed, it’s bye-bye Japan, and everybody on the West Coast of North America should evacuate. Now if that isn’t terrifying, I don’t know what is.”

    “David Suzuki is an award-winning scientist, environmentalist and broadcaster. […] Dr. Suzuki is a geneticist […] He held a research associateship in the Biology Division of Tennessee’s Oak Ridge National Lab […]

    Wikipedia: Suzuki was awarded the Right Livelihood Award in 2009 […] In 2004, David Suzuki was selected as the greatest living Canadian in a CBC poll.”

    http://enenews.com/top-scientist-fukushima-is-the-most-terrifying-situation-i-can-imagine-ive-seen-a-paper-which-says-its-bye-bye-japan-and-to-evacuate-n-americas-west-coast-if-unit-4-goes-after-q

    We most certainly should be random testing imported fish for radiation contamination here in NZ.Get onto it Shonkey- He may have to sell his pad in Hawaii in direct line of atmospheric and ocean radiation contamination.

  7. johnm 7

    “Fukushima Nearing Another Disaster – Humankind’s Most Dangerous Moment?”
    “Paul Gunter, Beyond Nuclear, joins Thom Hartmann. The Japanese government has let the privately-owned Tokyo Electric Power Company handle the cleanup of the Fukushima nuclear power plant. And TEPCO has failed – miserably. Would things have been different if the Japanese government was in full control of the Fukushima plant?”

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EbAHmI-F0_U

  8. johnm 8

    “Video: Fukushima is Frying The World.”

    “Cesium was found in plankton between Hawaii and California. Plankton bio-accumulates radiation. A gram of plankton has 1,000 times as much cesium as a gram of seawater. Seaweed off the coast of California tested positive both for cesium and cobalt 60.

    Canadian officials found 1,000 Becquerels (1,000 atomic disintegrations per second) in seabass. Cesium is attracted to the human heart. This has lead to heart problems and even death in athletes and race horses as far away as England.

    Dr Chris Busby tested car filters in Fukushima in April of 2011. He found radiation levels were 300 times that of Chernobyl. But Fukushima was not physically covered as was Chernobyl so we are getting new releases of radiation from the buried nuclear reactors and from Spent Fuel Pools which in recent days have produced nano-particles of cesium and other elements.

    If you believe the politicians, there is no way to turn Fukushima off. No workable plan has been put forward by international political and scientific leaders.

    At this point, 300 tons of contaminated water is pouring into the Pacific Ocean from Fukushima every single day. A senior researcher of marine chemistry at the Japan Meteorological Agency’s Meteorological Research Institute says that “30 billion becquerels of radioactive cesium and 30 billion becquerels of radioactive strontium” are being released into the Pacific Ocean from Fukushima every single day.”

    http://vidrebel.wordpress.com/2013/10/31/video-fukushima-is-frying-the-world/

  9. Tat Loo (CV) 9

    To the people claiming that Fukushima has released only a fraction of the radiation of Chernobyl, and hence is not that bad: not only is that likely to be untrue IMO, but you’ve forgotten one very simple fact:

    The Fukushima nuclear disaster is still in progress.

    • TheContrarian 9.1

      “not only is that likely to be untrue IMO”
      It is true but…

      The Fukushima nuclear disaster is still in progress.
      This is also true

  10. tricledrown 10

    Hundreds of young men are being forced to work in high radiation areas of fukushima that are well above limits claimed for longer periods than is safe.
    Japanese govt is using slave labour to try and fix unfixable problem.

  11. the pigman 11

    1) I’m not being lazy, but I want to see what the actual source is for the “300 tons of irradiated water per day into the Pacific” claim. It is utter bullshit – the couple of times they have had spills (including in a recent typhoon) it has been widely reported in Japan. I suspect it is a confusion with the tons of water that are transferred to holding tanks on a daily basis.

    2) We had a magnitude 5 earthquake this afternoon centred just a little northeast of tokyo – if the procedure was anything like as dangerous as the description suggests, and if TEPCO are as cavalier about it as suggested, then I think we’d be cooking by now.

    3) I haven’t read the material by David Suzuki but his “earthquakes in excess of 7 will bring about apocalyptic disaster at fukushima” is a little undercut by the magnitude 7.1 quake we had a week ago (centered just of the coast, right by fukushima) which was very strong here in tokyo.

    Bloody sick of watching Fukushima being used as a stick to beat Japan amd a veil for a bit of cultural-we-know-better-imperialism. Claims about the heightened radiation levels in west coast US fish have the smack of bullshit.

    • johnm 11.1

      Hi The Pigman
      You’re reflecting the denial and media blackout on the Fukushima catastrophe which is official policy in Japan. If you smile radiation won’t hurt you! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iruuJj1e3Kk

      Groundwater from the volcanic spine of Japan is flowing through the site and contacting the 3 melted down coriums and then into the sea.
      The only slap of BS here is your ignorance of the situation Mr Pigman!

      • johnm 11.1.1

        Further “The exact location and status of the melted cores from Units One, Two and Three remain uncertain. Millions of tons of water have been poured into their proximate location to keep them cool. Some of that contaminated water is being stored in more than a thousand leaky tanks that could not withstand a strong earthquake.” But that water is also escaping into the pacific contaminated by radioactivity.
        http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/11/03-7

        “Bloody sick of watching Fukushima being used as a stick to beat Japan and a veil for a bit of cultural-we-know-better-imperialism.” This statement by the pigman (Pig ignorant) Is utter rubbish. Most of the concerned World is deeply sympathetic to the terrible trauma many Japanese people are suffering and have called for International Assistance to be given.

        • the pigman 11.1.1.1

          Hmm, is immediate resort to petty ad hominem a side effect of cesium accumulation in your brain? In which case I was clearly mistaken, it seems there has been a significant poisoning of New Zealand’s food chain with radioactive waste…

          Yours,

          Pig Ignorant.

    • Bill 11.2

      1) If you are indeed not being lazy and want the source/sources for the daily flow of irradiated water into the Pacific, then read the fucking links and backtrack from there. It’s not a claim resulting from any confusion.

      2) and 3) You know damned fine well that the depth of a quake has got as much’ to do with it’s severity than it’s size.

      And you can stick that last claim about cultural imperialism right up your arse. Who are the very best of the best in terms of nuclear know-how and engineering expertise? I’d guess….just a guess mind…that such a team would have people from most, if not all, cultural/ethnic backgrounds… including, of course, Japanese engineers and scientists.

      Raised cesium levels in Tuna. GO and read the fucking link which will then link you to the actual paper.

      • the pigman 11.2.1

        Stuff like the Fairewinds site is such a mischaracterization of TEPCO and the Japanese government’s position that I actually can’t stand reading it. It makes my blood boil (you may think that’s just the cesium accumulation from all the delicious sashimi I’ve been eating).

        TEPCO and the government do not believe it’s “mission accomplished”, and ask yourself if that were even remotely true, what is the ongoing work at Fukushima about?

        Why does the government have a minister responsible for the Fukushima decommissioning?

        Why is the government committing trillions upon trillions of my taxpayer yen (not that I’m complaining) to clean up work?

        Why are they continuing to work on the site to find alternatives to continuing to build more storage tanks to contain irradiated water?

        Why are they even working to move the fuel rods, which you seem to be opposed to?

        And re: the 300 tons of water per day figure, I think its a rather eerie coincidence that “on August 20, it was announced that 300 metric tons of heavily contaminated water had leaked from a storage tank, approximately the same amount of water as one eighth (1/8) of that found in an Olympic-size swimming pool. The 300 metric tons of water was radioactive enough to be hazardous to nearby staff, and the leak was assessed as Level 3 on the International Nuclear Event Scale.”

        See a 300 ton spill is actually rather newsworthy, even in Japan where you will no doubt allege there is a total media blackout (maybe you should follow the Japan Times in English online, and see how much of a blackout there is?). The idea that groundwater from the site is flowing into the pacific is one thing, but I think there is a mischievous suggestion that it’s the water that is being cycled for the purpose of cooling the reactors (and thereby becoming irradiated) that’s being discharged, when it is of course being stored onsite.

        EDIT: Finally, about the 26 October 7.1 earthquake, that was at a depth of 10km, which if I’m not mistaken, like most quakes here, is much more shallow than the variety you get back home. And like I said, it was felt very strongly in Tokyo, despite being closer to Fukushima.

  12. Murray Olsen 12

    I’ve seen this in a few places:
    “If a fuel rod snaps, the Fukishima site would have to be evacuated while the snapped rod vented radioactive gases into the air. And if one contacted the air, then the zirconium alloy coating would spontaneously combust. And since water reacts with burning zirconium and all of the fuel rods are housed in water, it’s well within the realms of possibility that an unquenchable fire feeding off the radioactive fuel rods could spark at Fukushima.”

    I’d like to point out:
    1. Solid zirconium is very stable, and basically does not burn. Zirconium powder, on the other hand, is spontaneously combustible in air at room temperature. The zirconium alloy coating is not powder applied to the spent fuel like a crumbed lamb chop.
    2. Zirconium reacts with water to produce hydrogen gas, which is very explosive when mixed with air. This is what people have been referring to as a “zirconium cladding fire.” It happens very slowly at less than 900C and happened at Three Mile Island and near the beginning at Fukushima. Whether it will happen again depends on whether the spent fuel rods can heat to at least 900C while surrounded by steam.
    3. There has been talk of the jagged ends of a broken zirconium tube burning like the powder. This has been on blogs and I have seen no evidence of experiments to verify this. I have seen plenty of reports of studies of the powder burning and the solid metal not burning.
    4. In my view, there is no danger of a nuclear explosion at Fukushima. One of the reasons zirconium is used for storage is that it does not moderate neutrons, and nuclear fission explosions require slow, moderated neutrons. They also require a few other things.
    5. I wouldn’t eat seafood from the Pacific near Japan. If I didn’t eat something from the American coast, it would not be because it was too radioactive.
    6. I do not believe that nuclear power is a reasonable answer to our energy needs.
    7. I am a scientist. To some of you here, that will automatically mean that I am making stuff up and work for the military industrial complex. That is your problem. I am the wrong sort of doctor to help you.

    • the pigman 12.1

      Thanks Murray, and particularly agree with “6. I do not believe that nuclear power is a reasonable answer to our energy needs”, I feel like Fukushima alarmists are very quick to lash out and characterize anyone who pours cold water (ba-doom-tish) on their claims.

    • johnm 12.2

      Hi Murray
      You reflect the blinkered views of a narrow specialist (Scientist). Your downplay of the Fuku situation is contradicted by scientists who are specialists in the Nuclear Field.

      • Murray Olsen 12.2.1

        johnm – what have I downplayed? Please take the opportunity to be specific rather than just throwing out such a broad and meaningless charge. I thought I was entering a discussion, not volunteering as the victim in a Stalinist purge.

      • the pigman 12.2.2

        Right on cue! I think blinkers blinker the eyes of the beholder.

    • Bill 12.3

      On the question of zirconium – my source was Arnie Gunderson (“Arnie Gundersen has more than 40-years of nuclear power engineering experience.(…) was a licensed reactor operator, and is a former nuclear industry senior vice president. During his nuclear power industry career, Arnie also managed and coordinated projects at 70-nuclear power plants in the US”).

      Meanwhile,I wrote that there could be a fire. I didn’t mention any possibility of explosions. You say the temp would have to reach 900 degrees. Well, those fuel rods were incredibly hot. They had been removed from the core containment for servicing and (as I understand it) so that spent ones (the hottest – most radioactive of all) could be swapped out. After two years, are they capable of combusting the zirconium coating on the rods? Plenty of nuclear scientists and engineers believe so and it is, presumably, partly why they have sent an open letter to the UN imploring them to get an international team that is independent of the Japanese government, TEPCO and the IEAE.

      Here’s a link to a pdf of that letter addressed to Ban Ki Moon.

      http://www.nirs.org/fukushima/expert-ltr-bankimoon-09-2013.pdf

      • Murray Olsen 12.3.1

        I’ve been trying to get reliable information on how hot the rods are and how hot they could get. It’s not easy. If they can get to 900C or more, with steam in the vicinity, a tricky situation suddenly becomes much worse.

        I certainly think an international team should be working on this. TEPCO has shown itself totally incapable and incompetent.

        Pigman – 300 tonnes of water a day into the ocean is quite believable. In terms of volume, it’s less than an olympic sized swimming pool, and is miniscule compared to the amount of water in Tokyo Bay, let alone the Pacific. One cubic metre of water weighs one tonne. What damage it can do depends on the concentration of radioactive material in it. With this, milligrams rather than tonnes can do real damage to a person.

    • Martin 12.4

      thank you for the heads up :)
      I have heard the coming fuel pool clean up likened to the cuban miossile crisis should it go wrong. Would you agree? I wouldn’t want to be anywhere north of the Equator right now.

      Martin

  13. Rogue Trooper 13

    well, it seems alarmingly quiet along the msm Western Front, guess they are too engaged in coverage of Syria, Climate, Global Debt, Lending Rates Fixes…the stirring Bear…oh, wait…

  14. weka 14

    Very well written post Bill, and good work on responding to comments.

  15. captain hook 15

    noticed that Hooten was pretty quiet on RNZ this a.m.
    I guess he knows that National is on the way out.

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     A special monument to one of our greatest war heroes should be a priority for the new Pukeahu National War Memorial Park, Labour Leader Andrew Little says.  “This will honour the spirit of Lieutenant Colonel William Malone, who led 760… ...
    2 days ago
  • Minister for who? Women, or Team Key?
    Louise Upston yesterday broke her silence on John Key’s repeated unwanted touching of a woman who works at his local café, to jump to the defence of her Boss. Upston repeated Key’s apology but, according to media reports “she refused… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    2 days ago
  • Taxpayer bucks backing US billionaire
    Kiwis will be horrified to know they are backing a Team Oracle subsidiary owned by a US billionaire, Labour’s Sports and Recreation spokesperson Trevor Mallard says. It has been revealed today that a Warkworth boat building company, which is wholly… ...
    3 days ago
  • English’s sins of omission: ‘Nothing left to be done’ on housing
    When Bill English said ‘there is nothing left to be done’ on the Auckland housing crisis he had overlooked a few things – a few things, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says.  “He’s right if you ignore: ...
    3 days ago
  • Climate change now hurts Kiwis
    Kiwis have twice been given timely and grave warnings on how climate change will hit them in their hip pockets this week, says Climate Change spokesperson Megan Woods.  “The first is the closure of the Sanford mussel plant and the… ...
    3 days ago
  • Clean, green and chocolate!
    Like many people I absolutely love chocolate! But until recently I hadn’t given much thought to how it was grown and produced. Fair trade and ethical food production are core Green Party principles, so yesterday Steffan Browning and I were… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers MP
    3 days ago
  • National admits loan shark law not up to it
    National has admitted new laws to crack down on loan sharks, truck shops and dodgy credit merchants aren’t up to the task of protecting vulnerable consumers, Labour’s Commerce spokesperson Kris Faafoi says. “Paul Goldsmith has acknowledged the laws might just… ...
    3 days ago
  • Power and the Prime Minister
    I’d like to acknowledge the young woman* who has publically told her story. It was a very brave thing to do. She kept her story very simple and focussed on her experience of what happened. It told of unwanted attention… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    3 days ago
  • Extra holiday offers time to reflect
    The Mondayisation of Anzac Day provides New Zealanders with an opportunity to spend more time with their families and their communities, Dunedin North Labour MP David Clark says. “This is the first time legislation I introduced, to have Anzac and… ...
    3 days ago
  • More angst and anguish for red zone locals
    Local residents will be bitterly disappointed by the Government’s cherry picking of the Supreme Court’s decision regarding compensation for red zoned property owners, Labour Canterbury Earthquake Recovery spokesperson and Port Hills MP Ruth Dyson says. “Home owners have taken all… ...
    4 days ago
  • Australia shows why we need a sovereign wealth fund now
    Australia has not managed its great mining boom well, says HSBC’s chief economist for Australia and New Zealand, Paul Bloxham. When times are good, governments need to save for the bad times that will inevitably follow, and this can be… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    4 days ago
  • Pure Water- pure rip off
    New Zealanders’ rights to fresh water must be protected before commercial allocations are given, but the Government is allowing resources to be taken, says Kelvin Davis MP for Te Tai Tokerau.  “The Government needs to resolve the issue of water… ...
    4 days ago
  • Cabinet paper reveals weak case for Iraq deployment
    A heavily redacted copy of a Cabinet paper on New Zealand’s military deployment to Iraq reveals how weak the case is for military involvement in that conflict, says Labour’s Defence spokesperson Phil Goff.  The paper warns that given the failure… ...
    4 days ago
  • Malaysia’s booty is Kiwis’ lost homeownership dream
    It’s unsurprising the Auckland property market is so overheated when Malaysians are being told they can live large on Kiwi’s hard-earned rent money, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “A Malaysian property website lists nearly 4000 New Zealand houses and… ...
    4 days ago
  • Ministry’s food safety resources slashed to the bone
    The Ministry for Primary Industries’ failure to monitor toxic and illegal chemicals in red meat is a dereliction of duty, Labour’s Primary Industries and Food Safety spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “MPI compliance officer Gary Orr today admitted National’s much-vaunted super… ...
    4 days ago
  • Ministry must protect organic food industry
    The Ministry for Primary Industries must take urgent action to protect New Zealand’s $150 million organic food and beverage industry by establishing a certification regime, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “Despite working with Organics Aotearoa on the issue… ...
    5 days ago
  • Tony Abbott, indigenous rights, and refugees
    This week, Tony Abbott has visited Aotearoa New Zealand, bringing with him his racist policies against indigenous Australians and his appalling record on refugee detention camps. Abbott has launched a policy “to close” remote aboriginal communities, which is about as… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    5 days ago
  • PM’s housing outburst bizarre
    Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford has described the Prime Minister’s latest comments on the Auckland housing crisis as bizarre. “John Key is deep in denial. He must be one of the only people left who are not concerned about the risk… ...
    6 days ago
  • Deflation: Another economic headache linked to housing crisis
    National’s housing crisis is causing even further damage with the second consecutive quarter of deflation a genuine concern the Reserve Bank can do little about, as it focusses on Auckland house prices, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “This is… ...
    6 days ago
  • Pot calling the kettle black over fossil fuel subsidies.
    Over the weekend alongside nine other countries the New Zealand Government has endorsed a statement that supports eliminating inefficient subsidies on fossil fuels. Fossil fuel subsidies are a big driver of increasing emissions. Good on the Government for working internationally… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    6 days ago
  • At last – a common sense plan for Christchurch
    The Common Sense Plan for Christchurch released by The People’s Choice today is a welcome relief from the shallow debate about rates rises versus asset sales, Labour’s Christchurch MPs say. "Local residents – who have spent weeks trawling through the… ...
    1 week ago
  • National must lead by example on climate change
    The National Government must meet its own climate change obligations before it preaches to the rest of the world, Labour's Climate Change spokesperson Megan Woods says. "Calls today by Climate Change Minister Tim Groser for an end to fossil fuel… ...
    1 week ago
  • Biosecurity rethink a long time
    The Government has opened New Zealand’s borders to biosecurity risks and its rethinking of bag screening at airports is an admission of failure, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. Nathan Guy today announced a review of biosecurity systems in… ...
    1 week ago
  • Chinese rail workers must be paid minimum wage
    KiwiRail must immediately stop further Chinese engineers from working here until they can guarantee they are being paid the New Zealand minimum wage, Labour’s MP for Hutt South Trevor Mallard says. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment today released… ...
    1 week ago
  • Better consultation needed on Christchurch asset sales
    The Christchurch City Council (CCC) should be promoting wide and genuine public consultation on its draft ten year budget and plan given the serious implications for the city’s future of its proposed asset sales, outlined in the plan. Instead, it… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    1 week ago
  • ‘Healthy Families’ a good start but not enough to tackle obesity relate...
    Today the Government is making a the meal out of the launch of its ‘Healthy Families’ package to promote ‘healthier decisions’ and ‘changing mindsets’ over nutrition, physical activity and obesity. Great! The programme is based on a successful model from… ...
    GreensBy Kevin Hague MP
    1 week ago
  • ‘Healthy Families’ a good start but not enough to tackle obesity relate...
    Today the Government is making a the meal out of the launch of its ‘Healthy Families’ package to promote ‘healthier decisions’ and ‘changing mindsets’ over nutrition, physical activity and obesity. Great! The programme is based on a successful model from… ...
    GreensBy Kevin Hague MP
    1 week ago
  • No more sweet talk on obesity
    The Government should be looking at broader measures to combat obesity rather than re-hashing pre-announced initiatives, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says.  “While it is encouraging to see the Government finally waking from its slumber and restoring a focus on… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government two-faced on zero-hour contracts
    The Government should look to ban zero-hour contracts in its own back yard before getting too high and mighty about other employers using them, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Information collated by Labour shows at least three district health… ...
    1 week ago
  • Scrutiny of battlefield deaths should continue
    As New Zealand troops head to Iraq under a shroud of secrecy, the Government is pushing ahead with legislation to remove independent scrutiny of incidents where Kiwi soldiers are killed in hostile action overseas, Labour’s Defence spokesperson Phil Goff says.… ...
    1 week ago
  • Damp-free homes a right for tenants
    Labour is urging tenants to use a little known rule which gives them the right to live in damp-free rental homes. Otago University researchers have today highlighted the Housing Improvement Regulations 1947 as a way tenants can force landlords to… ...
    1 week ago
  • National must take action on speculators
    The Government must take action on property speculators who are damaging the housing market and shutting families and young people out of the home ownership dream, Labour Leader Andrew Little says.  “There are a number of options the Government could… ...
    1 week ago
  • Milk price halves: A $7b economic black hole
    Global milk prices have halved since the peak last year, creating an economic black hole of almost $7 billion that will suck in regions reliant on dairy, crucial industries and the Government’s books, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson. “The… ...
    1 week ago
  • Kitchen plan set to swallow up health boards’ funds
    The financial impacts of implementing a proposal to outsource hospital food, forced on them by a crown-owned company which is now facing an auditor-general’s inquiry, are being felt by district health boards across the country, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Reserve Bank scathing of Government
    The Reserve Bank’s most scathing critique to date of National’s inability to handle the housing crisis shows the Bank is sick of having to pick up the pieces, Labour Leader Andrew Little says.  “John Key continues to deny there is… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Time for McDonald’s to upsize work hours
    Labour is calling on McDonald’s to have more respect for their workers and offer them more guaranteed work hours. McDonald’s is proposing to guarantee its workers 80 per cent of their rostered hours, Labour’s spokesperson for Labour Issues Iain Lees-Galloway… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Brownlee misses the boat on asbestos
    Gerry Brownlee has once again missed an opportunity to improve the lives of Cantabrians post-earthquakes, Labour’s Canterbury Earthquake Recovery spokesperson Ruth Dyson says. A new report from the Royal Society of New Zealand and the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Adviser,… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government must come clean on troop deployment and protections
    New Zealanders deserve more than to hear about their troops’ deployment overseas from Australian media, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “News from Australia that Kiwi troops are on their way to Iraq this week is another example of the culture… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Cancer prevention calls gain momentum
    Research showing bowel cancer treatment sucks up more public health dollars than other cancers once again highlights the need for a national screening programme, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. A study by Otago University, which found colon cancer is… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Burger King shows zero-hour contracts not needed
    The abandonment of zero-hour contracts by Burger King is further evidence good employers do not need to use them, Labour’s spokesperson on Labour Issues Iain Lees-Galloway says. "Congratulations to the Unite Union and Burger King for settling an employment agreement… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Kiwis deserve more than reheats
    The Government looks set to rely on regurgitated announcements for this year’s Budget if today’s speech is anything to go by, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “National has been building up to this Budget for seven long years, promising a… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Landlords not cashing in on insulation schemes
    The fact so few landlords have taken up the generous taxpayer subsidy for retrofitting shows it is time to legislate minimum standards, says Labour’s Associate Housing spokesperson Poto Williams. “Many landlords aren’t using Government insulation schemes because they don’t want… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Zero excuses, end zero hour contracts now
    It’s time Workplace Relations Minister Michael Woodhouse cut the weasel words and banned zero hour contracts, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “Michael Woodhouse today acknowledged zero hour contracts are unfair. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • We’ve reached Peak Key with ‘artificial target’
    John Key’s attempt to redefine his cornerstone promise of two election campaigns as an artificial target suggests his other promises are works of fiction, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “For seven years and two election campaigns, John Key has… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Top 10 need to know facts on climate change
    All the numbers and stats around climate change can be confusing, so we’ve put together a handy list of the top 10 numbers about climate change that we should all know- and then do something about. You can sign up here to… ...
    GreensBy Frog
    2 weeks ago
  • Campbell Live a bastion of investigative journalism
    The announcement that current affairs programme Campbell Live is under review and may be axed has sparked outrage from the New Zealand public, for good reason, says Labour’s Broadcasting Spokesperson Clare Curran. “Investigative journalism is a precious resource in today’s… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Ground Zero for ‘disastrous’ contracts
    Yesterday the Green Party called on the Government to follow the leadership of Restaurant Brands and ditch zero-hour contracts. Currently it looks like the Government is a large part of the zero-hours problem. It allows these types of “non-jobs” to… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Trust in National will disappear with deficit
    Bill English is set to break his promise to get the books back in the black this year and lose the trust of Kiwis who have had to do it too hard for too long, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Dorothy Jelicich passes away
    It is with sincere sadness that the Labour Party conveys its sympathies and condolences to the bereaved family of Dorothy Jelicich who passed away last night at the age of 87 years, says the MP for Mangere, Su’a William Sio.… ...
    2 weeks ago

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