Fukushima Keeps Staying The Worst

It’s always been /worse/. And it just keeps staying tragically the same. It’s remained a global crisis with hemispheric deadly consequences. Japan could still wind up largely uninhabitable (if it isn’t already). Canada could suffer directly a great deal.

Steam and non-water vapour has been off-gassed since the beginning.

The supporters of nuclear power have always been wrong about the extent of the damage to our environment. We have hundreds of tons of highly dangerous waste water piling up by the day at Fukushima, with no way to stop it. Can research and a better plan come soon enough to save us?

ADDED: May writes to ministers.

See Inside the Fukushima Nightmare

For the first time, I recently saw photos of the tsunami that hit the nuclear power plant Daiichi at Fukushima Japan. As I predicted soon after the disaster in March, there was going to be a meltdown. The evidence then available to me that TEPCO wasn’t being honest about the severity of the damage were the videos of the hydrogen explosions, the detection of isotopes nearby the plant that shouldn’t have existed unless the fuel was exposed to open air, and the information that corrosive seawater was desperately being applied to the hot reactors. The seawater was a dead giveaway, because if there was any hope of saving the reactors, seawater would not have been used on them.

I don’t trust the American or Canadian governments to be giving us accurate information about radioactive isotope contamination of our food in Canada. I wish I had a Geiger counter, because I’d be testing things here in Regina to see if they have an abnormal number, and eat and drink accordingly. It’s painfully obvious that nuclear power should have been an issue in the last election, but it didn’t even make a blip in the media circus of the campaign. You think they could have taken some of their crack reporters assigned to Harper, and when he told them to piss off after just 5 questions, they could have spent the rest of their day doing some coverage of the issues affecting the health and power bills of Canadians?

For those keeping morbid score at home, check out Gormley’s record, and then look at mine.

Nuclear: Issue That Wasn’t

(The following was to appear on The Real Agenda on canada.com, but due to time or editorial unhappiness with my previous rejected submissions about the state of Canada’s media as an election issue, it never appeared.)

April 26 became a famous date in 1986 for a major catastrophe that destroyed a city and ruined the lives of thousands in Ukraine and surrounding areas. The Chernobyl nuclear reactor went out of control. Decades later humans are still using nuclear power, and we’re still experiencing catastrophes related to our dependence upon high-energy lifestyles. Fukushima’s nuclear disaster in Japan could have triggered a major election issue in Canada like it did in Germany recently, but so far it has not. So too could have the Chalk River isotope reactor crisis, especially after the partisan firing of Linda Keen, the former President of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. Keen has since endorsed Elizabeth May of the Green Party. For some reason, nuclear power, and Canada’s energy strategy, was given little attention by the media in the 2011 campaign.

In 2008, the election buzzed with climate change as an issue; remember the Green Shift? Whenever you mention energy policy, climate change has to be one of the considerations, since air pollution is a major factor to much of Canada’s energy, especially in my home province of Saskatchewan where most of our power comes from coal burning. Even in 2006, the Conservatives swept to power with one of their promises being a “Made-in-Canada” climate change solution to replace the unfulfilled Kyoto Accord. Now both plans seem forgotten and unapproachable by most politicians, despite their extreme importance to our economy and ecosystems upon which our economy and life relies!

Do we develop the Tar Sands as fast as possible, while potentially missing out on higher oil prices in the future? Do we expand uranium mining in Saskatchewan; build more nuclear power plants; increase hydraulic fracturing for natural gas? Are the parties thinking about thorium reactors as an alternative? Do they have the MP candidates who understand science, and the urgency of solving Canada’s energy and climate change problems? As you can see, questions come easily, but answers do not. What I’d like to see is Canada focus on renewable energy solutions, and try to leave nuclear, coal, oil, and even natural gas in the past as much as scientifically possible.

When people tell me that I’m a dreamer, I’ve started to tell them, “I’m not the only one.” For instance, I think Canada can change its entire vehicle fleet to one that uses 50% less oil, within 5 years. During the last World War, we invented, mass produced, and scrapped entirely new (flying and armored) vehicles in that time frame, while under national pressure to succeed. The same Canadian innovation is possible again to deliver safe and efficient civilian vehicles that have the effect of doubling our transportation oil supply.

We can do the same with making our electrical grids more sustainable by growing our renewable power industries. Legislative support for renewable energy, and home energy efficiency is required to quickly grow the “green collar” job sector of our economy. I look forward to more parties talking about this, and more media coverage of it as well. There are cheaper and healthier alternatives to industries that leave massive tailing pools, kill indirectly with air pollution, or create $132 Billion clean-up projects for future politicians to implement fixes for.

Gormley Hypothetically Off The Mark

John Gormley spends a great deal of time carrying water for the Saskatchewan Party. He may not be doing so intentionally, his political stripe may simply lead to common ground with the conservative party in our province. Perhaps he sees their majority poll numbers, and figures that if he says things that conservatives like to hear, his radio show will have more listeners as a result, and he’ll be employed doing what he enjoys for longer. It’s just too bad that he doesn’t take his position of influence more seriously by reporting facts, especially about serious subjects like Sask’s role in the nuclear disaster unfolding in Japan.

“It is clear that this nuclear disaster falls somewhere between 1979′s Three Mile Island and the much larger 1986 disaster at Chernobyl.”

That’s not yet clear. It currently falls somewhere worse than Three Mile Island, but has not finished yet. When the radioactive dust settles, then let us conclude what Gormley claims is the hypothetical situation. It’s amusing that Gormley in the following lines chides people making predictions.
“Feel free to give little weight to anyone who expresses a point of view prefaced by the words “if,” “in the event of” or “hypothetically.””
Read more

And we hope and pray that with the best of technology, expertise, skill -and a bit of luck along the way -a major release of radioactivity will be averted.

But ratcheting down the speculation and hyperbole would be nice too.[...]

The fact is that Japan was aware of the likelihood of disaster if a strong earthquake and tsunami hit a nuclear power plant. How do we know this? WikiLeaks confirms it.

So why does Gormley come to the defense of the black sheep of the power generation family, and label it a swan? Because it makes bloggers write about how wrong he is? Because callers will phone in to contradict his nonsensical position? Or because his buddy in the Premier’s office wants to build nuclear power plants one day in Saskatchewan?

Conservatives have lost touch with what it means to “conserve”. For instance, @EzraLevant is going to look into Ethical Radiation for his next astroturf book. He can co-write with crazy Ann Coulter.

Assange Your Fears – Part 1

Nuclear Power has surged into the news, as the unfortunate consequence of an industry that was literally buffeted and swamped with both seawater and attention due to the tsunami in Japan. Partial to total meltdowns are underway in some rectors affected. It’s not safe to be within at least 30km of the Fukushima power plant, and it’s looking iffy that Japan will be able to get the reaction under control before it does so naturally after a total meltdown in some reactors.
So let me “assange” your fears. The nuclear industry cannot be trusted, not even in the highly respected industrial country of Japan.

(Yes, the real expression is “assuage” your fears, or to make them calmer and less intense. But the truth is not good, and Julian Assange’s name lends itself to this fantastic pun that I simply must use, and use again soon.)

ADDED: Take action in light of Japan’s disaster: Prepare your 72 hour emergency preparedness kit NOW! If you already have one, check and update it with fresher food, water, currency, and medicine.

Explosions – UPDATED

It seemed surreal that only hundreds would have perished in one of the largest earthquakes of recorded time. This morning I heard of an entire village in Japan that was washed away. One reason the estimates and confirmed deaths would be so low, is that when there’s no one left to report death, estimates will be way off. Entire trains and homes are missing.

Also, radiation has been released at a crippled nuclear power plant in the country. You can see a blue shockwave from the blast site, then steam or smoke rises. It will be at least days until we know if a Chernobyl level disaster is underway. If so, much of the Pacific Ocean, or country of Japan could be poisoned to some degree. Many sites I’m reading indicate that a Chernobyl style meltdown is not possible because of the differences in the reactors, but their comments are often qualified by wait and see type qualifications.

ADDED:
It’s absurd the titles the CBC are giving the story. “Radiation threat falls after Japan plant blast -
Explosion destroys building housing nuclear reactor”
“Nuclear worries decline over Japanese power plants
Last updated 11:00 AM EST

Radiation leaks from Japanese nuclear power plants damaged in Friday’s earthquake pose a low risk, says the World Health Organization.”

The only accuracy they have in their headline is that a radioactive steam release is less damaging than an outright meltdown/explosion. The explosion that has already happened has blown the top off of one building at the plant site.

Japan’s nuclear industry is no shining example of perfection. Australians are saying this is already in the top three nuclear plant disasters, and if it keeps progressing toward a full meltdown, it will move up that undistinguished list. This, during the height of a “nuclear Renaissance” that Canadian hacks were promoting in Saskatchewan and on American TV.

UPDATED 2:23 p.m. CST
A meltdown is confirmed, according to this news site. The explosion on video at CBC where you can see a blue shockwave was part of the event. Radioactive material including cesium and iodine were released and are being detected away from the plant.

Follow Jimbobbysez for more updates on Twitter.

UPDATE X 3:29 p.m.: The bad news just gets more and more confirmed as I read. Confirmation bias? Let’s hope so, but don’t get your hopes up. Flooding the reactor building with sea water is a “last ditch” effort, because it will destroy the reactor for future use. The flooding is an emergency measure to prevent a large scale explosion and release of more radioactive material like in Chernobyl’s case. Keep your fingers crossed, and your letters to politicians at home critical of any further nuclear plants – that’s the only thing you can do that’s useful in a situation like this.

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Live video of the explosive protests continuing in Wisconsin this weekend. Republicans forced through their “budget bill” that contained no money provisions in order to force it through without Democratic senators being present. (The real point of the bill was to cripple unions.) Democracy is both flourishing and floundering in Wisconsin, as it is in the rest of American and here in Canada. Wisconsinites are rising up against the anti-democratic governor.

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In local news, the URSU CFS referendum results were finally released (leaked?) by CFS. The students narrowly approved of continued membership in the left wing (and litigious) Canadian Federation of Students.

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And why is Stockwell Day (Strahl, and Cummings) stepping down after the Spring election? Jim Prentice also recently departed for greener pastures with CIBC. Will Day end up a banker too? Are they rats fleeing a sinking ship?
Holy crap, and in writing this, I looked back at the story, and another 2 Conservatives have coordinated their retirement notices too. Better to go yourself than to be asked to leave?

…Chuck Strahl — announced Saturday that they’re leaving federal politics.

Day and Strahl, both members of Parliament from B.C., said they won’t run in the next election, which many observers expect is coming soon.

A third Conservative MP from the province, John Cummings…

Common Sense, Japan’s Quake Ripples

I was up late last night, not only trying to spread word of the news in Japan and the Pacific Rim, but counter reports that there were “no advisories” for BC and North America on NOAA.gov (a website that last night was incorrectly reporting the preliminary magnitude wrong at 7.9, when everyone on Twitter already knew it was 8.9), and therefore no danger. Ha! I don’t want the last laugh in a disaster, but an hour after Stephen Taylor and some random tweeter in BC who got RTed by Miss604, there was an advisory of a watch. Then this morning that watch was upgraded to a warning (for many North American areas although not B.C.).

I agree, crying wolf isn’t a good idea, but actively telling people it’s okay and there’s no danger is irresponsible (like Conservative Minister level irresponsible) when an 8.9 magnitude earthquake is sending tsunami waves into the east coast of Japan, and there’s no land standing in the way of the quake and the North American coastline. Use some common sense! The website was not up to date, and a prediction of an advisory, after watching the Boxing Day Tsunami unfold half a decade ago, prepared me to calculate that some sort of detectable wave would impact B.C. I asked my Twitter followers to monitor news reports, and not accept that there was simply no danger because none had been calculated yet by a US government agency.

On the radio this morning, they explained that low tide was experienced on the Canadian west coast around when the first tsunami waves started to roll in around 7:00 a.m. local time.

In Japan there are photos and videos of cars, buses, planes, ships, semi trucks, and homes being swept away (some buildings on fire), like bugs in a bathtub. Hawaii will see some damages too today, and hopefully no deaths there. Hundreds are killed in Japan already, and the death toll could be in the thousands, or tens of thousands if the missing are not found alive.