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Open mike 22/03/2011

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, March 22nd, 2011 - 59 comments
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Open mike is your post.

It’s open for discussing topics of interest, making announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

Comment on whatever takes your fancy.

The usual good behaviour rules apply (see the link to Policy in the banner).

Step right up to the mike…

59 comments on “Open mike 22/03/2011 ”

  1. According to Marty Mars, there’s going to be an ‘up-lifting’ ceremony on the steps of Parliament today!

    http://mars2earth.blogspot.com/2011/03/now-we-are-all-crying.html

  2. A withering description of a typical Michael Laws week by Steve Braunius is here.

    An excerpt:

    Wednesday

    God save us from the blogosphere, that bottomless cesspit of ill-informed blather, venal accusation, bigotry, hatred, spleen, bullying, and intolerance.

    Media commentators Russell Brown and Brian Edwards have had a go at me this week on their blogs. Both object to comments I made about the Christchurch looter who is afflicted with Asperger’s Syndrome.

    “What d’you reckon, listeners,” I said to my audience on Radio Live today, “should we track them down and kill them so that free speech can survive?” Adolf, of Invercargill, said: “Ja! I have a pitchfork!”

    Hermann, of Hamilton, said: “Nein! Forget the bloggers. Let’s get the looters, especially the ones afflicted with Asperger’s Syndrome. We must not let them breed.”

    Rudolf, of Nelson, said: “Ach! My head hurts! I think it may have something to do with the fact I set it on fire this morning. Does anyone know the number for 111?”

    I have one question though. Is it pure satire or is it actually based on a real Michael Laws week?

    • Tiger Mountain 2.1

      Bit of both if some of the correspondence I received from Mr Laws during the “h” debate is anything to go by.

      I turned ZB radio on by mistake this afternoon and some chap, a presenter, was lambasting the “stuff these people are spewing” in relation to the small hikoi in parliament grounds today. Didn’t catch his name as the show went straight to a Westpac infomercial! Flicked to RNZ and it was like another country, measured, space to consider, the odd fact thrown in, almost like journalism.

      This country really is becoming divided down the middle. Wilful ignorance Tea Party style is a viable political stance it seems in some quarters.

  3. On Friday 11 an earthquake later upgraded to a Richter 9.1 hit Japan. To date 18.000 people have been reported killed and whole villages have simply disappeared of the map but that was as you will see in the following just the tip of the iceberg.

    What also happened you see was the fact that during this earthquake an old and already notorious nuclear power plant consisting of 7 reactors lost its power supply.

    Yesterday the Air NZ CEO Rob Fyfe told us that the sensational newspaper covering and a lot of uneducated babble made the Nuclear accident much worse than it really was and that we should not worry about it because he was convinced that it was all a lot of rubbish and he had left his employees in Tokyo feeling confident they were going to be fine.

    I thought I’d put a couple of links here and leave you to make up your own mind but I can tell you from experience (Europe, fall out, Chernobyl) that people with a vested interested in keeping their business going such as a very lucrative destination for an aeroplane business have a tendency to, let me put this delicately, be economic with the truth.

    Here is some of the information not published in our main stream media.

    Radio active food has been found as far away as Taiwan after it was imported from Japan. To get this food to places like Taiwan aeroplanes fly through the radio active clouds currently blowing over Japan bringing with them particles of highly radio active isotopes.

    The power plant contained one reactor which was powered with MOX fuel this is a fuel which contains .Plutonium the most powerful radio active coontaminant known to man. (Read Keith Harmon Snow’s article for more indebt information)

    And that is just the beginning.

    Here is some background information from Helen Caldicott a renowned anti nuclear energy activist and Keith Harmon Snow a man who according to himself was a proponent of nuclear energy until he became a journalist and researcher investigating the nuclear lobby and industry. Here he explains how the Japanese reactors function and if you listen to Helen Caldicott explaining especially the cooling pools and the risks they post you know that Rob Fyfe is full of shit and unless we get of our arse and demand those planes and the Japanese imports to be scanned we might as well invite the US nuclear fleet to park in our harbours and be done with it.

    • apples are yum 3.1

      Yeah but didn’t Rob Fyfe do a TV ad dressed only in body paint? He’s cool and my wife likes his butt. I’m pretty sure we can trust him.

    • Lanthanide 3.2

      Where do I even start?

      “power plant consisting of 7 reactors lost its power supply”
      6 reactors with spent fuel pools, actually, and an additional separate spent fuel pool.

      “I thought I’d put a couple of links here and leave you to make up your own mind but I can tell you from experience (Europe, fall out, Chernobyl)”
      Chernobyl was a completely different type of disaster to what is currently happening in Japan. Even with the worsening of the situation (which appears to be on the path to stabilisation, but not there yet), a Chernobyl-style accident has always been very unlikely due to the numerous additional safety systems in place at Fukushima.

      “be economic with the truth.”
      No, they are being realistic with the information at hand, for the situation as it currently exists.

      For significant amounts of radiation to reach Tokyo, which is quite far away, radiation would need to reach very high into the atmosphere. This would require much more than the current hydrogen explosions, you would need something on the order of a nuclear explosion (as in, atomic weapon explosion) which requires the fuel to reach super-criticality. Weapons grade uranium, the type required for an atomic bomb, is 90% U235 enriched. The type used in nuclear fuel is only 3-4% enriched. Super-criticality simply isn’t going to happen, unless somehow all of the U235 managed to get itself together in a lump. Even so, nuclear weapons explode the way they do because of very precise engineering (perfect spheres of fuel, ‘gun’ ignition systems etc) to ensure super-criticality is reached before the fuel can blow itself apart, such a physical arrangement of fuel happening by chance in a reactor is practically nil.

      Even if somehow a Chernobyl-type explosion were to happen at the plants (which it won’t, because Chernobyl was badly designed and didn’t have proper containment), the radiation really won’t get far. Here’s an overlay of the fallout from Chernobyl transposed on Japan: http://www.theoildrum.com/files/Screen%20shot%202011-03-15%20at%208.34.50%20AM.png
      Yes, the winds and geography are different, but that gives you an idea of the sort of scale and distance we’re talking about.

      “Radio active food has been found as far away as Taiwan after it was imported from Japan. To get this food to places like Taiwan aeroplanes fly through the radio active clouds currently blowing over Japan bringing with them particles of highly radio active isotopes.”
      Are you saying that the radiation in the food has come from aeroplanes flying through clouds of radiation? Do you have any proof that “clouds of radiation” even exist, and that planes have flown through them? Planes carrying food? And that somehow this radiation has gotten into the cargo holds and into all of the food most-likely stored in vacuum sealed packaging?

      As I understand it, at the moment the contamination is known to affect water, milk and spinach from the area surrounding Fukushima.

      “The power plant contained one reactor which was powered with MOX fuel this is a fuel which contains .Plutonium the most powerful radio active coontaminant known to man. (Read Keith Harmon Snow’s article for more indebt information)”
      And? Yes? This is public knowledge. Maybe the mainstream media hasn’t bleated it all over the place (thank god), but that doesn’t mean it’s somehow secret information that is purposefully being hidden from people.

      “Here he explains how the Japanese reactors function and if you listen to Helen Caldicott explaining especially the cooling pools and the risks they post you know that Rob Fyfe is full of shit and unless we get of our arse and demand those planes and the Japanese imports to be scanned we might as well invite the US nuclear fleet to park in our harbours and be done with it.”
      Yes, the cooling pools are the biggest risk in the accident, and in the first 2-3 days after the tsunami more attention was being paid to the reactors themselves than the pools (at least from the media reports on the situation).

      Just because cooling pools are a concern, doesn’t somehow make Rob Fyfe a liar.

      • ianmac 3.2.1

        Yes Lanth. Well said. I do agree with one of Travels statements though : “…….the sensational newspaper covering and a lot of uneducated babble made the Nuclear accident (seem) much worse than it really was……….”

        • The Voice of Reason 3.2.1.1

          That’s Rob Fyfe’s analysis, ianmac, not Trav’s. It’s easy to tell the difference; Fyfe’s statement is common sense, straightforward and factually based, Trav’s contribution is a fact free paranoid spew from a brain dead bigot.

          • travellerev 3.2.1.1.1

            Hi VOR,

            Bad night I take it? LOL

            • The Voice of Reason 3.2.1.1.1.1

              Fuck off, racist.

              • ROTFL!!! Says the man who bases his judgement of an entire people on his experiences with one.

                • The Voice of Reason

                  You’re an idiot. Go back and check the comment. It was, like yourself, a joke.* If I was to base my judgement of the Dutch people just on my experience with my ex, I would think all Dutch people were tall, good looking blondes with a terrific sense of humour and a keen intellect. Clearly, on the evidence you present, the latter characteristic is just not that wide spread.

                  You remain a sad, mad bigot, Ev. Get help.

                  *From Austin Powers; Goldmember.

                  “There are only two things I can’t stand in this world: People who are intollerant of other peoples’ cultures, and the Dutch.”

                  [lprent: Regardless, I think that you two are starting to take it out of the bounds and into pointless abuse. Please desist. ]

                  • The Voice of Reason

                    LP, the problem as I see it, is that it started with pointless abuse. Travellerev calling Marty G a racist. Without reason. When I called her on it, she called me a racist. Without reason. When I asked her to justify it, she then claimed all us middle class whites were racist, as if that made a difference, even if we were, in fact, middle class whites. Something she cannot know.

                    It fucks me off. It’s deeply offensive and it deserves an apology. It’s your call as to where the line is around here, but it sure looks like it meets most of the tests in the second para of the rules. The use of words like racist, fascist or scab should be rationed to the deserved, not cheapened by idiots who can’t admit a mistake.

                    • lprent

                      I wasn’t specifically referring to you except as a participant (your comment was just the last in the sequence), but more that the discussion seemed to be heading off into being pointless abuse. The usual system that we run is that when it starts getting pointless, then we’ll warn, unless there have been warnings in the past – in which case we’d ban.

                      There was another sequence within the last few days with tev and hs. But there it appeared to be hs doing the baiting.

                      But I’ll look back at the comment, make my own judgement, and bear it in mind for the future.

                  • Tiger Mountain

                    Ev can be a spiky customer Voice but I don’t think she is wrong about Fyfe. Since when has Rob Fyfe been a physicist or nuclear energy specialist? Until he proves otherwise his utterances are just spin to keep the horses calm.

                    A while back there was a ‘dispute’ involving Zeal air which was clearly part of Air NZ ’cept they claimed it wasn’t so lesser conditions could apply to the workers there. To the credit of the Zeal workers and the EPMU this was turned around in a long running campaign full of dirty tricks from the patronising Mr Fyfe–calling ‘his’ loyal staff “Airnewzealanders”.

                    • The Voice of Reason

                      Well, I’m no fan of the man, TM, but whatever his motivations, what he said was true. There has been a lot of exaggeration in the msm and ignorance in the blogosphere, but there is no immediate risk, other than that in the area around the plant.

                      Remember the Icelandic volcano? At the first sign of an actual problem, air travel was shut down all over Europe. There’s not even a hint that IATA are considering anything like that response, because there is no threat at this point.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      The 12 mile exclusion zone around Fukushima includes civilian passenger aircraft, and the US military are avoiding all but the most necessary flights within their own 50km exclusion zone.

                      Obviously with those relatively small radii, commercial jets can still go around without too much hassle or time lost. But they are tracking around, make no mistake.

      • uke 3.2.2

        Yahoo News reports that the contaminated fava beans from Japan – which went to Taiwan – possibly received their dose of radiation while in transit at Tokyo’s Narita airport:

        http://ca.news.yahoo.com/taiwan-finds-radiation-fava-beans-japan-20110320-030312-750.html

        • Lanthanide 3.2.2.1

          Thanks uke.

          From reading the article, I would suggest that the radiation didn’t occur from “fly[ing] through the radio active clouds currently blowing over Japan”, as no appreciable concentration of radiation will have reached the altitudes that planes typically fly at.

          • uke 3.2.2.1.1

            Cheers Lanth.

            Of course, in some ways, the article could also be taken as suggesting there are indeed “radio active clouds”: at ground level in Tokyo.

        • wtl 3.2.2.2

          From the article: “the beans contained just 11 Becquerels (Bq) of iodine and 1.0 Bq of Caesium-137 per kilogram”.

          These amounts are very small. I think it just reinforces the idea put forward the other day that the reason people are so afraid of radioactivity is the ease at which it can be detected.

      • travellerev 3.2.3

        Dear L,

        Where do I even start?

        “power plant consisting of 7 reactors lost its power supply”
        6 reactors with spent fuel pools, actually, and an additional separate spent fuel pool.

        Yeah and? One reactor is enough.

        Chernobyl was a completely different type of disaster to what is currently happening in Japan. Even with the worsening of the situation (which appears to be on the path to stabilisation, but not there yet), a Chernobyl-style accident has always been very unlikely due to the numerous additional safety systems in place at Fukushima.

        You\’re right in Chernobyl one reactor exploded and in Fukishima we don\’t know if the reactors exploded or not. What we do know is that three (3) reactors had their outer building damaged to the point of practically not being there any more and (1) while the roof is still there damaged to the point of at least not being able to separate the inside from the outside.

        What we also know is that the spend fuel rod pools in at least two of them boiled dry and that this means the rods are in at least partial meltdown and exposed to the atmosphere. Added to that we do know that non of the pools had any other protective separation measures applied to the expect the cooling water and that the pools with 40 years worth of spent fuel rods was build under the roofs of the reactors they came out of meaning that the explosions very likely were caused by the meltdown of these unprotected spent fuel rods.

        I“be economic with the truth.”
        No, they are being realistic with the information at hand, for the situation as it currently exists.

        He told you that did he?

        For significant amounts of radiation to reach Tokyo, which is quite far away, radiation would need to reach very high into the atmosphere. This would require much more than the current hydrogen explosions, you would need something on the order of a nuclear explosion (as in, atomic weapon explosion) which requires the fuel to reach super-criticality. Weapons grade uranium, the type required for an atomic bomb, is 90% U235 enriched. The type used in nuclear fuel is only 3-4% enriched. Super-criticality simply isn’t going to happen, unless somehow all of the U235 managed to get itself together in a lump. Even so, nuclear weapons explode the way they do because of very precise engineering (perfect spheres of fuel, ‘gun’ ignition systems etc) to ensure super-criticality is reached before the fuel can blow itself apart, such a physical arrangement of fuel happening by chance in a reactor is practically nil.

        Thank you for emphasising the dire severity of the situation because if that is the case it is much worse than I thought. Here is the link to the Reuters article in which it is the Japanese government admitting that radioactive material had found its way into the water supply of Tokyo.
        And before you get your knickers in a twist; yes, it states that the amount is very low and that everybody should be safe (whatever that means). The fact is that according to you this can only happen when the situation is comparable to a nuclear explosion. This also means that according to you radio active clouds dispersal in the higher atmosphere must have taken place, a fact corroborated by the fact that nuclear material reached the California coast (according to fox not dangerous of course).

        Chernobyl had only one reactor explode which to some was a less of a risk than a fuel pool emptying and the spent rods starting to go into melt down. The reactor was covered in concrete fairly quick and the risk diminished in that fashion. The nuclear fallout covered the entirety of Europe and until today Europe has low level radioactive activity in it\’s harvests. According to a recently released report the Chernobyl disaster killed over a million people and the death toll is still rising.

        Are you saying that the radiation in the food has come from aeroplanes flying through clouds of radiation? Do you have any proof that “clouds of radiation” even exist, and that planes have flown through them? Planes carrying food? And that somehow this radiation has gotten into the cargo holds and into all of the food most-likely stored in vacuum sealed packaging?

        Here is the quote: Taiwan even reported receiving a batch of contaminated fava beans imported from Japan.

        As I understand it, at the moment the contamination is known to affect water, milk and spinach from the area surrounding Fukushima.

        See link below.

        According to this article in the Daily mail it is safe to assume that some of the contaminated produce may have left the contaminated areas. That is government speak for we don\’t know what the fuck is going on and yes there is much more contamination than we are telling you. Added to that this article also states that apart from reactor 4 all reactors have been doused in Seawater and are still being doused in seawater. That means they have been given up on and they are just doing damage control.

        By the way each of these reactors is many times bigger than the entire Chernobyl plant.

        And? Yes? This is public knowledge. Maybe the mainstream media hasn’t bleated it all over the place (thank god), but that doesn’t mean it’s somehow secret information that is purposefully being hidden from people.

        You are right for those interested this is perfectly accessible information. Do people know what this means if this stuff gets released into the atmosphere? No, hence the link to the article. And why is it \”thank god\” that this has not been talked about in the MSM. Don\’t you think we ought to know what kind of poison gets transported back on the wings of Air NZ\’s planes?

        Yes, the cooling pools are the biggest risk in the accident, and in the first 2-3 days after the tsunami more attention was being paid to the reactors themselves than the pools (at least from the media reports on the situation).

        This is what a worker had to say about what happened to him during the earthquake:

        Just because cooling pools are a concern, doesn’t somehow make Rob Fyfe a liar.

        LOL, I said he was full of shit and that people whose have a vested interest in keeping their business going have a tendency to be economic with the truth. I meant of course they would not be to keen releasing information which would jeopardise its survival. That is not the same as saying Rob Fyfe is lying.
        But since you mention it what do you reckon are the chances he\’s a tad worried about the events in Japan and what do you think should happen to him if it was provable that he was aware that radioactive clouds were released into the atmosphere (as we have established above) and he kept on flying to and fro Japan importing products and people from there contaminating NZ with some of the most radioactive and toxic isotopes known to mankind.

        I hope he has a good story because I for one will be right up his nose when that happens.

        The pools are not a concern. They are destroyed by the earthquake and boiled dry.

        They are no more which means that at least three and perhaps four (Including the plutonium fuelled one) are in meltdown. Each of them containing some 40 years of spent fuel. Many many times the amount f Chernobyl.

        My concern is how is our government dealing with the disaster and are they monitoring if Nuclear fall out is being brought into the country by plane or in the future by ship when the next load of cars is being imported to NZ driving contaminated vehicles is a sure way of contaminating the entirety of NZ with nuclear waste.

        Just asking; how much of Air NZ is privately owned or is there a government ownership?

        Captcha: OBVIOUS. LOL.

          • ianmac 3.2.3.1.1

            “Radioactive fall out reaches California” I did watch your Fox News clip. The monitoring science described was accurate. But what they were saying was that the contamination was so low as to be trivial. It is a billion times below risk to people. To imply that it is an indication of calamity is “…….the sensational newspaper (Travelerev)covering and a lot of uneducated babble made the Nuclear accident (seem) much worse than it really was……….”

            • travellerev 3.2.3.1.1.1

              Fox could not deny the fact that radio active waste had reached California (what with all those private paranoid citizens going out and buying those pesky Geiger counters) and did the best next thing minimise the danger.

              Denial is not just a river in Egypt ianmac.

        • Lanthanide 3.2.3.2

          I don’t have much time so I’m only going to reply to the most egregious of your errors.

          “You’re right in Chernobyl one reactor exploded and in Fukishima we don’t know if the reactors exploded or not. What we do know is that three (3) reactors had their outer building damaged to the point of practically not being there any more and (1) while the roof is still there damaged to the point of at least not being able to separate the inside from the outside. ”

          The reactor vessel exploded. In Fukushima, we know that none of the reactor vessels have exploded, because they are still getting signals about the water levels in the reactors, and have said so. If the reactor vessels had exploded, it would be quite obvious because all of their instrumentation would stop working.

          At Chernobyl the reactor vessel that exploded did not have a proper containment on it, which is a steel and concrete shield many metres thick. The outer containment buildings that have been destroyed at Fukushima at just that – outer containment. They are not the first line of defence for the reactor and were never intended to be, so their destruction is mostly irrelevant as long as the primary containment is intact (although they are for the spent fuel pools, which is a terribly stupid design and I don’t defend that all). Initially on Tuesday and Wednesday last week there was some concern that the inner, primary containment of reactor 2 had been breached, but it appears to not be the case.

          “Thank you for emphasising the dire severity of the situation because if that is the case it is much worse than I thought. Here is the link to the Reuters article in which it is the Japanese government admitting that radioactive material had found its way into the water supply of Tokyo.
          And before you get your knickers in a twist; yes, it states that the amount is very low and that everybody should be safe (whatever that means). The fact is that according to you this can only happen when the situation is comparable to a nuclear explosion. This also means that according to you radio active clouds dispersal in the higher atmosphere must have taken place, a fact corroborated by the fact that nuclear material reached the California coast (according to fox not dangerous of course).”
          What I said “significant amounts to reach Tokyo” I was meaning through the atmosphere, at levels that if you were exposed to for several hours would make you sick.

          From the rest of my description there you can clearly see that I have stated an actual atomic explosion is impossible. I therefore can only conclude that you’ve deliberately misinterpreted what I’ve said.

          “Chernobyl had only one reactor explode which to some was a less of a risk than a fuel pool emptying and the spent rods starting to go into melt down.”

          Again, at Chernobyl the reactor core was directly exposed to the atmosphere, and there was a large fire that spread radiation into the air. The reactor cores at Fukushima are shielded by a very thick concrete and steel shell, which DID NOT EXIST at Chernobyl.

          “The reactor was covered in concrete fairly quick”
          It took 6 months for the sarcophagus to be completed, and they had to do it with remote-controlled tractors and machinery. The inner containment shells at Fukushima practically serve the same purpose as the sarcophagus at Chernobyl does, except in this case they are already in place!

          “and the risk diminished in that fashion.”
          The huge amounts of radiation at Chernobyl entered the atmosphere because the core was on fire. Putting the fire out using helicopters dumping water and conventional firemen is what curtailed the dramatic nuclear fallout at Chernobyl within days, not building the sarcophagus.

          “The nuclear fallout covered the entirety of Europe and until today Europe has low level radioactive activity in it’s harvests. According to a recently released report the Chernobyl disaster killed over a million people and the death toll is still rising.”
          Yes. Chernobyl was bad. If such an event happened in Japan it would be much worse due to the density of population. But as I’ve established, such a happening is very very unlikely, and the existing disaster is nothing like what occurred at Chernobyl. The closest comparison is Three Mile Island (this disaster is worse). See if you can dig up some articles about how many people were killed as a result of that.

          “Added to that this article also states that apart from reactor 4 all reactors have been doused in Seawater and are still being doused in seawater. That means they have been given up on and they are just doing damage control. ”
          If they have given up, why have they gone about connecting electricity to the plants so they can restart the pumps? Doesn’t seem like that is “giving up” to me. Putting seawaters in the reactors is an emergency response until a better, more permanent solution is in place. They acknowledge that the reactors will never be operational again, because of the seawater. What’s the problem?

          “They are no more which means that at least three and perhaps four (Including the plutonium fuelled one) are in meltdown. Each of them containing some 40 years of spent fuel. Many many times the amount f Chernobyl.”
          Probably your worst mistake of the lot.
          1. The plutonium fuel is inside reactor #3. Not in any spent fuel pool.
          2. A pool not having water in it doesn’t automatically mean that the fuel in that pool is “in meltdown”. Note that “meltdown” isn’t actually a technical term anyway. The spent rods in pools have additional shielding and cladding around them to help prevent accidents – they aren’t the same as fuel rods in operation inside a reactor core.
          3. According to a report someone linked to here a few days ago, the spent fuel rods take 19 months to ‘cool down’ (I’m not sure to what level – probably the minimal heat output of the raw ores as they had been found in nature) when they are in the cooling pool. So although much of that fuel had been there for 40 years, the vast majority of it will be very cool and of little concern (unless it gets damaged by other hot fuel, but the additional shielding and cladding should reduce this risk considerably).

          “My concern is how is our government dealing with the disaster and are they monitoring if Nuclear fall out is being brought into the country by plane or in the future by ship when the next load of cars is being imported to NZ driving contaminated vehicles is a sure way of contaminating the entirety of NZ with nuclear waste.”

          Given how far, high and fast planes fly, there is no chance of a plane bringing fallout to the country on it’s outer hull. It would be possible for contamination that got inside the plane to end up in the country, though. Same goes for ships/cars.

          Note that radioactive particles is not really the same as “nuclear waste” as used in the vernacular. Nuclear waste is really talking about lumps of material, like the spent fuel rods, that is dangerous to go near and will continue to emit various types of ionising radiation for thousands of years. Radioactive particles so far being detected from this incident are mostly iodine and caesium. Iodine has a very short half life and is mostly harmless after 14 days or so, while caesium can stick around for a couple of hundred years. As they emit radiation, they become less and less harmful over time. Radiation is only harmful to humans in high doses.

          Really the difference between radioactive particles and so-called “nuclear waste” is illustrated like this: radioactive particles would be fine sand on a beach, while “nuclear waste” would be huge boulders. We’re not at risk of bringing huge boulders into the country via planes or boats, just sand. And the sand isn’t of huge danger to humans if it is spread out.

          This chart will also give you an appreciation for the levels of radiation we’re talking about: http://xkcd.com/radiation/

          • travellerev 3.2.3.2.1

            Lanthanide ,

            Wow there is a saying that if you are in a pit stop digging and I suggest you do just that.

            Let me spell it out for you:

            The Fukishima disaster is not a containment failure disaster

            The Fukishima disaster is a power failure disaster.

            What does that mean? No power= no cooling= meltdown.
            Also: No power= no feedback= damage unknown.

            The sequence: no electricity – no generators – no cooling = meltdown

            There is an ocean adjacent to the Fukushima complex, and yet the reactors and fuel pools cannot be kept cool. Impossible. The huge heat sink necessary to cool the melting fuel is not available. This is not about earthquakes and tsunamis — it is about loss of off-site power, backup generators and emergency systems that occur in a blackout. Do electrical outages and blackouts occur anywhere else? Blizzards? Tornadoes? Hurricanes? The world is seeing more and more extreme and unpredictable weather. Claims that a serious nuclear ‘accident’ cannot happen in the U.S., Europe or Canada are false, and nuclear executives know it. That is why corporations refused at first to get into the nuclear power business, until the U.S. Government indemnified them with Gore Bill of 1956 — later renamed the Price-Anderson Act — championed by U.S. Senator Albert Gore (Sr.). (An inconvenient truth, indeed: the Gore family is decidedly pro-nuclear.) Of course, the Price Anderson Act indemnifies nuclear utilities and reactor operators from all lawsuits, financial liability or executive responsibility. Nuke operators are subsidized from bright idea (let’s boil water with an atomic bomb!) to brain tumor (radiation killed Madame Curie!), and corporations lose nothing if they screw-up and meltdown.

            “What this [Fukushima] station suffered was a station blackout,” says Deb Katz of the Citizen’s Awareness Network, who helped shut down the dangerous Yankee Atomic Power Station, “and the backup safety systems that were supposed to keep it operational — the backup diesel generators — failed. This can happen without an earthquake. A midwest [U.S.] power company caused the northeast grid to fail a few years ago; a flood or a terrorist attack could do the same. We could then experience a similar slow motion catastrophe though not on the grand scale of the Japanese site with its 6 nukes.” keith harmon snow

            About MOX? Plutonium in al rods both in the reactors and the pools.

            You’re so full of shit my screen pukes when I open the comment section containing your garbage.

            I hope they pay you well, you’re going to need it.

            • Lanthanide 3.2.3.2.1.1

              “The Fukishima disaster is not a containment failure disaster

              The Fukishima disaster is a power failure disaster.”

              Good, we agree. Now stop talking about Chernobyl, because that is a containment failure disaster, and therefore quite different.

              “What does that mean? No power= no cooling= meltdown.”

              Again, “meltdown” isn’t a technical term. If you mean fuel rods melting under heat, then yes, this seems likely in a reactor core that has no water to cool it. Less likely in a spent fuel pool (as the heat the rods generate is significantly less than that in an operating, or just-finished-operating, reactor).

              “Also: No power= no feedback= damage unknown.”
              You’re assuming that they have lost complete power to everything at the plant. That’s an unwarranted assumption. Given that there are reports that they have been monitoring the water levels in the reactors, I am assuming based on that report that they have some way of monitoring the situation, and therefore do have some idea of the damage. Even if they had (or have) lost complete power, they may have ways of monitoring the situation that does not require electricity.

              “Do electrical outages and blackouts occur anywhere else? Blizzards? Tornadoes? Hurricanes?”
              Yes, of course. What did Fukushima in was the tsunami flooding the generators in the basement. The backup batteries ran out after 8 hours or so. The plant had a seawall designed to withstand a tsunami of 6m, and the one that came was 8m+. Blizzards, tornadoes and hurricanes don’t tend to destroy equipment that is underground in bunkers, so they don’t pose the same risk.

              I’m not saying all nuke plants in the US are safe from all natural disasters (especially if they use this ridiculous design for the spent fuel pools), but the three you specifically mention here would all have been less damaging to Fukushima than the tsunami was.

              “and corporations lose nothing if they screw-up and meltdown.”
              Yip, I’m sure the company that ran Chernobyl “lost nothing”. I’m sure the company that ran Three Mile Island “lost nothing”. Pure hyperbole.

              “About MOX? Plutonium in al rods both in the reactors and the pools.”
              MOX is not the same thing as “plutonium in the rods”. MOX is a specific type of fuel that deliberately includes plutonium as part of the fissile material. It is possible for there to be plutonium in all 6 reactors, but only 1 reactor has MOX in it. Subtle difference, but important. I don’t know for sure, but I would also suggest that the plutonium used in MOX is likely to be a different isotope than the by-product of the fission process, and likely to be much more dangerous than the plutonium by-product.

              Plutonium being in the rods only matters if there’s actual exposure of that material directly to the environment. At the moment this could only occur from the spent fuel pools. This is surely a very serious situation, but conflating MOX fuel with plutonium by-products in spent rods is misleading.

              “You’re so full of shit my screen pukes when I open the comment section containing your garbage.”
              I suggest you buy a new screen.

              I’m sorry if my rebuttals to your ill-informed catastrophizing and sensationalism is making you (or your computer hardware) emotional, but I’m not going to sit by silently while you spread it around and create more anxiety and worry than is justified by the facts. You should cultivate a more scientific and objective approach to these things.

              “I hope they pay you well, you’re going to need it.”
              I’m not sure who you think “they” are, or why I would “need it”?

              • Colonial Viper

                Although we should probably stop talking about what Fukushima definitively is or isn’t since we only know limited information about what has happened so far and we don’t know how it might still end up.

                By the way, if they have detected radioactive caesium and iodine in any decent amount outside the plant, some form of containment breach is likely to have occurred, no matter how minor OR spent fuel rods have melted and combusted.

                Both scenarios, if they became more severe, could be equally as bad from a radiation contamination point of view.

                • Lanthanide

                  Sure, CV, but at the moment saying Fukushima is Chernobyl waiting-to-happen is scaremongering, because the situation for a Chernobyl-style accident is really completely different from the current situation (the internal containment would have to be seriously seriously damaged, which would require more than just a few hydrogen explosions). I have never ruled the possibility out, but it is still very unlikely.

                  The caesium and iodine are known to have come from inside the reactors when they vented steam to release pressure. The presence of the hydrogen already confirms that the rods inside the reactors have at least partially melted.

                • For those of you reading this exchange let me point some things out so that I don’t have to go through every issue in order to refute L.

                  F uses a very interesting technique. He does not debate me but uses the exchange to confuse and obfuscate the issues.

                  Let me give you some examples:

                  1/ I used the word Chernobyl in my first post once to clarify why I was suspicious about the authorities and the amount of information they were prepared to share with us the citizens.

                  L responded comparing the two and trying to imply that they were not the same and therefore I did not know what I was talking about.

                  I pointed out that the amount of radio active crap from Fukushima which is far bigger would be far more devastating and again F responded with more confusing information and comparisons.

                  When I pointed out that the two were disasters originating from different sources L agreed and made out like I was the one trying to compare the two.

                  2/ L put forward that we know exactly what the state of the reactors is because the instruments could still be read.

                  When I pointed out that since Fukushima was not caused by an explosion but because there was no power hence no feedback system L changed the subject and wanted to talk about what a meltdown exactly is.

                  3/ L stated that since there was no nuclear bomb there could be no nuclear fallout in the upper atmosphere. When I was able to refute that the subject disappeared.

                  This is a nasty confusing and obfuscating technique used to make it impossible to have a straight exchange of ideas and hence my remark about him being paid because it is a typical political PR exercise.

                  It is very simple: 3 massive hydrogen explosions in three nuclear reactors who are without power with 40 years of spent fuel rods containing uranium and plutonium housed under the roof of the last containment building means that massive amounts of nuclear crap have entered our atmosphere. No matter how you call it.

                  Also L called a statement I made misleading which is an extension of the PR techniques used by L because that accusation was misleading since I put in a link for those of you wanting to understand better what was in the rods exactly.

                  And last but not least he used the you are emotional and therefore unreliable bid.

                  L. again, you are so full of shit my screen not just pukes but actually faints when I try to react to your rubbish.

                  • He Lanthanide,

                    Just googled you moniker. Interesting name.
                    Lanthanide or Lanthanoid meaning rare earth as in 14 of them, two of them able to be used as radioactive elements in say X-ray machines. Which one do you fancy yourself to be?

                    LOL

            • joe90 3.2.3.2.1.2

              Spent fuel cooling pools, a danger in the long term.

              The threat is considered so severe that at the start of the crisis Friday, immediately after the shattering earthquake, Fukushima plant officials focused their attention on a damaged storage pool for spent nuclear fuel at the No. 2 reactor at Daiichi, said a nuclear executive who requested anonymity because his company is not involved in the emergency response at the reactors and is wary of antagonizing other companies in the industry.

              The damage prompted the plant’s management to divert much of the attention and pumping capacity to that pool, the executive added. The shutdown of the other reactors then proceeded badly, and problems began to cascade.

              My bold and I may be jumping to the wrong conclusion but I read it as a containment failure because the cooling pools were damaged by the earthquake.

              Also, the next Chernobyl will be Chernobyl.

              • Colonial Viper

                The only detail I would clarify is that when these nuclear guys talk about containment failure they mean failure of reactor containment.

                Not failure of spent fuel storage facilities.

                It almost seems to me like the regulatory agencies have put much less emphasis on spent fuel storage, letting these plants store years worth of radioactive material in what were designed to be temporary facilities.

                • Lanthanide

                  “It almost seems to me like the regulatory agencies have put much less emphasis on spent fuel storage, letting these plants store years worth of radioactive material in what were designed to be temporary facilities.”
                  Yeah, definitely.

                  But a lot of that is to do with the never-ending bureaucratic mess about what to do with spent nuclear fuel. In Japan’s case in particular, they don’t really have anywhere better to store it. They don’t have any sparsely-populated, ecologically-unimportant and seismically-stable land to build storage facilities on.

                  I think that back in the 60’s and 70’s when these plants were first made with their temporary storage, they never imagined that a sensible solution to fuel storage wouldn’t exist by the year 1990, let alone 2011.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Japan is not the only place, the US multibillion dollar Yucca Mountain project for spent fuel storage turned out a dismal failure as well.

                    So what did the US NRC do? Allowed all these utilities to rerack their fuel storage ponds to pack them more and more full of fuel, until the ponds are full of fuel to a density approaching that of inside the reactor itself.

                    Madness.

                    With loose packing of spent fuel rods, it would take many many months for a storage pool to boil off, if ever. And of course the utilities could use dry cask storage for the older spent rods but since those cost US$1M each they prefer to keep them stacked in the pools.

                    Sad. Money over safety, again.

  4. joe90 4

    Libya: photos of the conflict from Cryptome and a pro Gadhafi site, War in Libya.

  5. prism 5

    Fascinating to watch the Great Controller of Christchurch (not) at work. All governments go on about the need for vibrant business and particularly so now we are in another recession. They all have the stats that show that most business in NZ is generated by very small businesses each with few employees. Many are of the sort that would fund their start-ups by mortgaging their houses. There was a comment on this business funding recently here I think.

    Yet Gerry the Butt cannot get off his and facilitate staff and funding to assist, more than some small businesses but all affected, to have a limited time to recover their precious goods whatever they are.

    Civil Defence’s kaupapa is to save lives and prevent infrastructure damage. It seems that another agency is needed to handle rehabilitation including recovery of assets and possessions, and assist in commercial revitalisation. This agency would work with and interact with CD which would have to be supportive, not obstructive. (There are examples of agencies adopting silo attitudes and being at loggerheads about process leading to gridlock and inefficiencies and this has to be avoided.)

    • logie97 5.1

      Sorry Prism – nothing to add except that he is just as pompous and is behaving (and looking) like the Fat Controller – as Reverend Wilbert Awdry described.

  6. prism 6

    Rob Oram said something about the task of helping businesses damaged by disaster this morning Nat Radio amongst other things. Always worth a listen – after 11 am news Tuesday.

  7. freedom 7

    amazing how a little science and a lot of ignorance can make a news story

    For those who haven’t caught up with this little gem from Fox
    http://www.thehopeforamerica.com/play.php?id=7479

    You can read the column here
    http://www.anncoulter.com/

    I wonder if Deborah Coddington is a fan?

    and, This smiler comes from comments at InfoWars

    “Just called one of the booking agents (Ryan Giffen) and asked if he was one of the people that could arrange for Anne Coulter speaking engagements. He said yes. I asked him if he was familiar with the Alex Jones Show. He said yes. He obviously hadn’t heard about this story yet. He actually sounded quite interested. I then told him that The Alex Jones Show wanted to book her first class to Fukushima so could lecture those people about the benefits of radiation.
    His enthusiasm quickly evaporated and he said dryly, “I don’t think we’ll be interested in that”.
    I asked him why? “She could deliver the “good news” to those who need it the most”.
    He didn’t have an answer for that, and quietly said “good bye”.”

    • joe90 7.1

      snap

      btw, the study about radioactive Taiwan apartment buildings Coulter cites to back up her idiocy is here

      The building materials had been accidentally contaminated with Cobalt-60 but the study found cancer mortality rates 96.4% lower than in the population as a whole.[34] However, this study compared the relatively young irradiated population with the much older general population of Taiwan, which is a major flaw.

  8. Gina 8

    Can someone please give me details re a comment I read on Voxy a while ago as to whether its true or not. Comment said Gerry Brownlee’s private company contracted to winz to get the long term unemployed into jobs. The contract was terminated as the objectives of getting long term unemployed into work were not being met but that Brownlee pocketed 10 million from it.

    How much truth is there in this and if it is true why the silence from labour and the Greens?

    • prism 8.1

      Can’t see 10 million coming from it Gina if the basic story is true. But possibly more than $10,000?

      anti-spam – cheap. (Funny)

    • Bright Red 8.2

      what private company?

    • The Voice of Reason 8.3

      Well, it ain’t in the register of pecuniary interests, unless it’s in his blind trust, Minnetti:

      Hon Gerry BROWNLEE (National, Ilam)
      2: Interests (such as shares and bonds) in companies and business entities
      Minnetti Nominees (blind interest) – share club
      4: Beneficial interests in trusts
      AJ Brownlee Family Trust
      6: Real property
      Properties (x2), Havelock, Marlborough
      Property, Marlborough Sounds
      Property, Ilam, Christchurch
      Property, Bryndwr, Christchurch
      Property, Fendalton, Christchurch
      7: Superannuation schemes
      Bradnor Superannuation Scheme
      AXA Superannuation Scheme
      AXA KiwiSaver Superannuation Scheme
      8: Debtors
      Bradnor Superannuation Scheme – loan – nil interest
      9: Creditors
      Bank of New Zealand – mortgage

      • ianmac 8.3.1

        VOR: Surely Mr Brownlie would vote for a Capital Gains Tax? He would welcome that the half a dozen properties that he owns.

        • The Voice of Reason 8.3.1.1

          Yeah, its one hell of a portfolio! Hope he doesn’t have to run the dozer over any of them …

      • Gina 8.3.2

        Thanks.
        You would think someone in the labour party would know about it if it were actually true. As I said this was briefly mentioned in comments on Voxy several months ago. I wish I’d asked the commenter a few questions about it. I will let yee know if I uncover anything about it.

  9. Draco T Bastard 9

    Meanwhile…

    The total cost of the measure would be over $500 million a year – and 78% of it would flow to households earning over $70,000 a year (which is roughly the median for households consisting of a couple with children). While not mentioned in the report, that benefit will skew heavily towards the top end – in other words, the usual story of giving the most to those who need it least.

    Hmmm, more taxing the poor to give the rich tax cuts from NACT.

  10. ZeeBop 10

    Some war film had this commander demand the glider have a metal plate be welded to the floor of the glider for the Channel invasion, of course it throughout the stability of the glider and it plummeted to their deaths.

    Press employers tell us how their building had holes in it, that they told management and management were saying they had a new building but it wasn’t ready yet. The Feb 22 Earthquake killed many in the Press building.

    Seems humans do this, they just ‘do to get by’, accept the risks without actively thinking about them. Like the cooling ponds in the nuclear reactors, you’d think that if the rods were spent and useless to further fission, then they’d move them far away from the nuclear reactor core!
    But no! They put savings above safety.

    Now we have an invincible government who tell themselves the same batch of lies, that the cost savings are worth it, what risks? The government will not assess risks, will not consider the ramifications of more young kids, more gang recruiters, more wasted opportunities, more
    crime, because they cost savings are so wonderful.

    You wonder why I believe the Human Race does not stand a chance. We’ve had a generation of people who grew up, or fought in a global war, who knew that you had to dot every cost and every risk, it was only after they left the workforce, that the boomers started running the show that we saw unfettered risk taking in the name of ‘sound economics’.

    Do we really need another global crisis to grow a generation of less clueless shitty boomers
    know it alls, kings in their own life time, invincible super men and women? Yes, it seems so.
    Government is a game they have to win, ACT pretty much takes the leadeship on this, always
    playing the spin cycle for its worthlessness, while National play along indicates they either don’t know any better, or (more likely) are too deluded to care. Their invincible.

    So the curtain draws on another generation of clueless morons running the world economy into a pile of shit, just like the long depression which led inevitably to the great depression
    and global war.

    • Kevin Welsh 10.1

      “Some war film had this commander demand the glider have a metal plate be welded to the floor of the glider for the Channel invasion, of course it throughout the stability of the glider and it plummeted to their deaths.”

      Episode 2 of Band of Brothers, if memory serves me right.

      Edit: Nope, just came to me, it was Saving Private Ryan.

    • ianmac 11.1

      Centuries ago religion served the purpose of explaining the unknown and to explain the cause of minor or major disasters. It also helped the transition from life to death and a better life there after. It seems to me that the more that people are educated to be rational a realistic and scientific about life, the less relevant religion becomes. It seems to me that in poorly educated countries belief is still strong and if the Pope says begat, then get begatting more of the same and make the church strong. The church mind you not their god.

      • Colonial Viper 11.1.1

        I think people need religion. Or to be more specific, their faiths and belief systems.

        And when they don’t have religion, like in so much of the current day, some people choose to settle on things like Chicago School neoliberalism as a substitute. So you end up with belief in free markets, belief in the invisible hand of the free markets, belief in the state, belief in science providing solutions, etc.

        By the way I see the expansion of US style evangelicism in various NZ communities. The harder things get, the more people will gravitate to this stuff.

  11. wyndham 12

    Hone Harawira: http://news.tangatawhenua.com/archives/10852

    Say what you will, I believe Hone to be correctly espousing the cause of a great proportion of working New Zealanders . . . both Maori and Pakeha.

    What Hone is saying is something that the Labour Party should have taken up long ago . . . the real grass roots stuff of the Labour movement. The Party has moved too far onto that much vaunted “middle ground”.

  12. Jim Nald 13

    “Gerry Brownlee wants the country, and the world, to know Christchurch is open for business.”

    http://home.nzcity.co.nz/news/article.aspx?id=128059&fm=psp,nwl

    Hip hip hurray and congratulations, Gerry.
    It’s fine to keep ‘press releasing’, telling the media and the world.
    What’s needed is actually opening Christchurch for business.

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