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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?”

  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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    This year I have been focused on getting a better deal for kids and families with learning needs such as dyslexia, dyspraxia, and autism spectrum. We had a Select Committee inquiry into the issues faced, but the Government was too ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    12 hours ago
  • Economy must deliver a fair go for New Zealanders
    The latest Half Yearly Economic and Fiscal Update (HYEFU) provides further evidence that the economy that the National Government and Bill English have is sitting on shifting sands and leaves many people behind, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says today. ...
    2 days ago
  • A Billion Better Things
    Earlier this week I posed some questions to Finance Minister Bill English about his support for the government’s plan to spend a billion dollars on a new prison. I was pretty disappointed in his answers, all of which flew in the face of his own ...
    GreensBy David Clendon
    2 days ago
  • Govt already in ‘holiday mode’ on $2.3b owed to Kiwi workers
    The Government is dragging its feet while working New Zealanders are still missing up to $2.3 billion collectively owed to them through underpaid holiday pay entitlements, Labour’s Economic Development spokesperson David Clark says. “The cover was blown on this issue ...
    2 days ago
  • Why is New Zealand still the exception on deposit protection?
    I took the opportunity to question the Reserve Bank Governor, Graeme Wheeler, about New Zealand’s lack of deposit protection in front of the Finance and Expenditure Select Committee in Parliament yesterday. Why does the Reserve Bank continue to oppose protecting ...
    GreensBy James Shaw
    2 days ago
  • Statement on proposed United Nations role
    “There has been a high degree of media interest in New Zealand about a possible post with the United Nations. “My name has been proposed to the United Nations Secretary General to be his Special Representative in South Sudan. ...
    2 days ago
  • David Shearer proposed for UN peacekeeping role
    Mt Albert MP David Shearer is being proposed for a demanding and exciting role heading the United Nations peacekeeping force in South Sudan, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “David has kept me fully informed about this opportunity and we are ...
    2 days ago
  • Karori Kids and Campbell Kindergarten must be saved
    The Minister of Education needs to show some leadership and secure the future of two not-for-profit early childhood education centres that could be faced with closure as the land they sit on is up for sale, Grant Robertson Labour MP ...
    2 days ago
  • Ministry reveals shocking charter school results
    NCEA results for charter schools have been massively overstated with documents revealing many students leaving school without basic NCEA level two qualifications despite this being a main educational target for the Government, says Labour Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins.  “Documents obtained ...
    2 days ago
  • Minister must protect MSD staff
      The Minister of Social Development should immediately implement safer work practices to ensure tragedies such as the Ashburton killings don’t happen again, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni.   ...
    2 days ago
  • A vote for the Māori Party is a vote for National
    Comments made by the Māori Party leadership in the wake of John Key’s surprise resignation make one thing clear: a vote for them is a vote for a fourth term National Government, and the increasing inequality and poverty for Māori ...
    3 days ago
  • Collins and English split over police funding
    The bloodletting has already begun with splits and divisions emerging after the Police Minister knifed the Finance Minister via the media, says Labour Police spokesman Stuart Nash. ...
    3 days ago
  • Next Prime Minister must tackle foreign speculators
    The public rightly puts much of the blame for the housing bubble at the feet of foreign speculators, and the next Prime Minister must listen to their concerns, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    3 days ago
  • NZ student performance slips in international study – again
    The continuing fall in Kiwi kids’ performance in the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) study shows the damage being inflicted by National’s cuts to education and one-size-fits-all approach, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. “For years, National has ...
    3 days ago
  • CYF reforms dangerous backward step
    Child protection has taken a massive step backwards today with the Government passing a Bill that will give significant powers to unspecified ‘professionals’ or contract holders, says Labour’s Acting Children’s spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. ...
    3 days ago
  • Improve workplaces, and address domestic violence
    Last week the Productivity Commission put out a report about how to grow “weak labour productivity”. These views are being criticised as being straight out of the 1980s. What is a real problem is that we have a problem of ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    4 days ago
  • Palm oil industry implicated in human rights abuses
    The Green Party has campaigned for several years for mandatory palm oil labeling to give consumers choice. Most consumers do not want to support a palm oil industry that is destroying tropical rainforests and contributing to dangerous climate change emissions. ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    4 days ago
  • Syphilis on the rise in NZ
    Cases of syphilis are increasing in Auckland. You read that right, syphilis!  RNZ reported today that rates of syphilis have increased by 71 percent (between 2013-2015). We have known about the increase in syphilis figures for a while, but nothing ...
    GreensBy Julie Anne Genter
    4 days ago
  • We need to work smarter not longer
    The charade of this Government’s sound economic management is unraveling. Misleading GDP figures, pumped up by property speculation and high immigration, have given the impression that all is well, masking our continued productivity decline compared to OECD countries. In fact, ...
    GreensBy Barry Coates
    4 days ago
  • Statement on John Key’s resignation
    Labour Party Leader Andrew Little has acknowledged John Key’s contribution to Government.  “John Key has served New Zealand generously and with dedication. Although we may have had our policy differences over the years, I respect the Prime Minister’s decision to ...
    5 days ago
  • Positive plan secures victory
    The victory of Labour’s newest MP, Michael Wood, in Mt Roskill is the result of a well-organised campaign run with honesty and integrity, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “I congratulate Michael Wood on his great victory. He will be a ...
    6 days ago
  • Wave of support for Kiwibuild continues to grow
    Apartment builder Ockham Residential has become the latest voice to call for the government to build affordable homes for Kiwi families to buy, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Helen O'Sullivan of Ockham has now joined prominent businesspeople like EMA ...
    1 week ago
  • Cuba Si Yankee No – Fidel Castro and the Revolution
    The death of Fidel Castro is a huge historical moment for the older generation who grew up with the toppling of Batista, the Bay of Pigs debacle, the death of Che Guevara and the US blockade against Cuba. For younger ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    1 week ago
  • Government slashes observer coverage, fails snapper fishery
    The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has more than halved the number of fisheries observers in the East Coast North Island snapper trawl fishery (SNA1). This reduction in observer days, combined with major failures in an unproven and controversial video ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    1 week ago
  • ‘Exemplar’ Māori Land Court under siege
    TheMāori Land Court, hailed as an “exemplar” by the Ministry of Justice chief executive and Secretary, Andrew Bridgman is under siege by the Government through Māori land reforms and a Ministry restructure, says Labour’s Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP Meka Whaitiri. ...
    1 week ago
  • He Poroporoaki ki a Te Awanuiārangi Black
    Kua hinga he whatukura o Tauranga Moana. Kua hinga rangatira o te iwi Māori. Ka tangi tonu ana te ngākau nā tāna wehe kei tua o te ārai. E rere haere ana ngā mihi aroha o mātou o Te Rōpū ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    1 week ago
  • CYF reforms ignoring whānau based solution
    When approximately 60 per cent of children in state care are Māori processes need to change in favour of whānau, hapū and iwi solutions, said Labour’s Whānau Ora spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta.  “Widespread concern about Government reforms of Child Youth and ...
    1 week ago
  • Hip and knees surgery takes a tumble
    The statistics for hip and knee electives under this Government make depressing reading, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.  “Under the last Labour Government we achieved a 91 per cent growth in hip and knee elective surgery. Sadly under this ...
    1 week ago
  • Parata’s spin can’t hide cuts to early childhood education
    No amount of spin from Hekia Parata can hide the fact that per-child funding for early childhood education has been steadily decreasing under the National government, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “In the 2009/10 year early childhood services received ...
    1 week ago
  • Nats will jump at chance to vote for KiwiBuild Bill
    National will welcome the chance to vote for a real solution to the housing crisis after their many, many failed attempts, says Labour MP for Te Tai Tokerau Kelvin Davis. Kelvin Davis’s Housing Corporation (Affordable Housing Development) Amendment Bill was ...
    1 week ago
  • Million dollar houses put homeownership out of reach of middle New Zealand
    35% of New Zealanders now live in places where the average house costs over a million dollars, and it’s killing the Kiwi dream of owning your own place, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. Latest QV stats show that Queenstown ...
    1 week ago
  • Opportunity for political parties to back Kiwi-made and Kiwi jobs
    The First Reading in Parliament today of his Our Work, Our Future Bill is a chance for political parties to ensure the government buys Kiwi-made more often and backs Kiwi jobs, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. The reading ...
    1 week ago
  • Solid Energy must open the drift
    Solid Energy is showing no moral spine and should not have any legal right to block re-entry into the Pike River drift, says Damien O’Connor MP for West Coast-Tasman.  “Todays failed meeting with  representatives from the state owned company is ...
    1 week ago
  • 20,000 at risk students “missing”
    A briefing to the Minister of Education reveals 20,000 at-risk students can’t be found, undermining claims by Hekia Parata that a new funding model would ensure additional funding reached students identified as at-risk, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. ...
    1 week ago
  • Crime continues to rise
    Overall crime is up five per cent and the Government just doesn’t seem to care, says Labour’s Police Spokesperson Stuart Nash. ...
    1 week ago
  • Treasury fritters $10 million on failed state house sell off
    The Treasury has wasted $10 million in two years on the National Government's flawed state house sell off programme, including nearly $5.5 million on consultants, says Labour Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. "New Zealand needs more state housing than ever, with ...
    1 week ago
  • National slow to learn new trade lessons post TPPA
    Yesterday, the Minister for Trade misused economic data in order to try to make the case for more so-called ‘trade agreements’ like the TPPA which are actually deregulatory straitjackets in disguise. In welcoming a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade ...
    GreensBy Barry Coates
    1 week ago
  • Skilled migrant wages plummeting under National
    Wages have plummeted for people with skilled migrant visas working in low-skilled occupations, driving down wages for workers in a number of industries, says Labour’s Immigration Spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “Documents acquired by Labour under the Official Information Act reveal that ...
    1 week ago
  • Child abuse apology needed
    The Government's failure to act on recommendations from Judge Henwood, based on years of work by the Confidential Listening and Assistance Service (CLAS) will further undermine any faith victims may have put into the process, says Labour’s Children’s Spokesperson Jacinda ...
    1 week ago
  • Reserve Bank again highlights National’s housing failure
    National’s failure to deal with the housing crisis in New Zealand is once again being exposed by the Reserve Bank today, in a scathing assessment of the Government’s response, says Labour Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson “Governor Wheeler is clearly worried ...
    1 week ago
  • Palm Oil Labelling: Possible Progress?
    On Friday, the Minister for Food Safety, along with her Australian colleagues finally looked at the issue of mandatory labelling of palm oil. We’ve been calling for mandatory labelling for years and we were hoping that the Ministers would agree ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    1 week ago
  • National: Fails to achieve
    The ineffectiveness of the National Government’s approach to schooling has been highlighted by the latest Trends in International Maths and Science Study (TIMSS) report released overnight, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. ...
    1 week ago
  • Faster into Homes – a new pathway for first home buyers
    This week Parliament will select another members’ bill from the cookie tin (I kid you not, it really is a cookie tin) and I’ve just launched a new bill I’m hoping will get pulled – to help people get into ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    1 week ago
  • Selling off our state housing stock isn’t working for NZers
    I want to end homelessness and ensure that everyone has a warm, safe, dry home. This National Government has let down New Zealanders, especially the thousands of New Zealanders who are struggling with something so basic and important as housing. ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    1 week ago
  • Government needs to ensure fair deal on EQC assessments
    Kiwis affected by earthquakes might not get a fair deal if the Government pushes ahead with secret plans to let private insurers take over the assessment of claims, says Labour’s Canterbury spokesperson Megan Woods. “Under questioning from Labour the Government ...
    1 week ago
  • Key’s priorities the real ‘load of nonsense’
    The Prime Minister’s fixation with tax cuts, despite a failure to pay down any debt and growing pressure on public services is the real ‘load of nonsense’, says Labour Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson.  “We’re getting mixed messages from National. John ...
    1 week ago
  • Free Speech and Hate Speech
    Last week we were very concerned to hear that an Auckland imam, Dr Anwar Sahib, had been preaching divisive and derogatory messages about Jewish people and women during his sermons. It was a disturbing incident coming at the end of ...
    GreensBy James Shaw
    2 weeks ago
  • Young Kiwis struggling under record mortgage debt
    The Government needs to step in and start building affordable homes for first homebuyers now more than ever, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Tairāwhiti says No Stat Oil!
    Tairāwhiti says yes to a clean environment for our mokopuna today and for generations to come. Tairāwhiti are have a responsibility to uphold their mana motuhake over their land and their peoples and are calling on the Government to honour ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    2 weeks ago