Arnie Gundersen is freaking me out! Gundersen is no tin-foil hat guy, he’s the chief engineer of energy consulting company Fairewinds Associates and a former nuclear power industry executive who served as an expert witness in the investigation of the Three Mile Island accident. Gundersen has said that the U.S. nuclear industry and regulators need to reexamine disaster planning and worst-case scenarios, especially in reactors such as Vermont Yankee, which have the same design as the crippled nuclear plant at the center of the 2011 Japanese Fukushima nuclear emergency. Vermont Yankee and similar plants are vulnerable to a similar cascade of events as in Japan.
The Nikkei had fallen down to 8,227 from 10,678 (23%) at the quake and has since recovered 10,017 on May 2nd but was back to 9,648 on Friday (3.6% off the bounce) and the 50 dma has now formed an aptly-named "death cross" below the 200 dma. Japan is already on the hook for $124Bn from the earthquake and will also have to cover TEPCO’s $31Bn (so far) liability as the alternative is let the country’s biggest energy supplier go bankrupt and that would be lights out on their economy.
Warning: Do not watch this video on a full stomach:
Accident is a funny word isn’t it? With 435 active plant and 250 more under construction, even if they are 99.9% safe, that would still mean we get an accident like this every year. Hopefully they are 99.99% safe and we only have a major catastrophe every 10 years – wouldn’t that be nice but, so far, that’s not the case as we’ve had about 16 in 50 years with 9 of those considered "major." So accident applies to this situation in the same way…
Leaked water believed contain radation in a photo released by Tokyo Electric Power Company on April 2.
Sawdust. It’s not the first thing most people would choose to put between themselves and highly contaminated radioactive water. But a mixture of sawdust — ogakuzu in Japanese — with chemicals and shredded newspaper is precisely what nuclear safety authorities and power plant officials turned to in trying to plug a 8-inch crack in a shaft near reactor 2 at the Daiichi nuclear power plant in Fukushima over the weekend.
Unfortunately, like the concrete they tried before it, the sawdust didn’t work, and as of Monday, the flow of irradiated water into the sea from the shaft continued unabated. “We have not succeeded yet,” Ken Morita, director of the international affairs office at Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA), acknowledged to TIME on Monday morning. “We will try again today.”
What will they try next? For the past three weeks, that has been the question hovering in the irradiated air above Fukushima, where each passing day seems to bring a new and unprecedented challenge for the ebattled Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) to shut down the reactors at the Fukushima nuclear power plant safely.
Since Saturday, when TEPCO announced that workers had detected radioactive water flowing directly into the ocean, the crisis of the hour has been stopping and mitigating the impact of the newly found leak. On Saturday, NISA said it had found seawater about 25 miles south of Fukushima contained twice the normal limits of radioactive iodine. Officials say dye has now been added into the water to be able to trace the movement of leaked radioactive particles, and that workers will be setting up a physical barrier near the plant to try to stop their flow out of the direct area. “There are many important things to do, but in this current situation, many people are focusing on stopping the outflow,” says Morita. “Many options are now under consideration but we have not decided on anything.”
That kind of opacity — whether a symptom of sheer improvisation or a more calculated attempt to cloak the severity of an unsolved problem — has not won TEPCO, or the Japanese authorities, any fans in the international nuclear community. Without more information about what is happening at the crippled plant, nuclear experts outside
Radiation levels that can prove fatal were detected outside reactor buildings at Japan’s Fukushima Dai-Ichi plant for the first time, complicating efforts to contain the worst disaster since Chernobyl in 1986.
Water in an underground trench outside the No. 2 reactor had levels exceeding 1 sievert an hour, a spokesman for plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. told reporters in the capital yesterday. Exposure to that dose for 30 minutes would trigger nausea and four hours might lead to death within two months, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Preventing the most-contaminated water from leaking into the ground or air is key to containing the spread of radiation beyond the plant. A partial meltdown of fuel rods in the No. 2 reactor probably caused a jump in the readings, Japan’s chief government spokesman said.
“There’s not much good news right now,” said Gennady Pshakin, a former IAEA official based in Obninsk, the site of Russia’s first nuclear power plant. “There’re questions arising on how much fuel will leak out, what isotopes will be carried and how quickly they will settle. It’s becoming less predictable.”
Tokyo Electric Power Co. found plutonium in soil samples taken near the stricken Fukushima Dai- Ichi nuclear plant a week ago, the company said.
The presence of plutonium outside the plant means there’s been degradation of the fuel in at least one of the six reactors, Denis Flory, deputy director general of safety at the International Atomic Energy Agency, said yesterday at a press briefing in Vienna. Tokyo Electric can’t determine which reactor emitted plutonium, Vice President Sakae Muto said in a briefing shown on a webcast.
The contamination “shouldn’t have any effect on human health,” Muto said.
Soil chemistry may determine whether the plutonium can spread from the site, Edwin Lyman, a radiological specialist for the Union of Concerned Scientists, said on a conference call. Some compounds formed by plutonium are water soluble, and some aren’t, he said.
IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said there are “mixed signals” coming from emergency repair efforts at Fukushima. “The situation continues to be very serious,” Amano said in Vienna yesterday.
"That concerns me," says one of our nation’s top monetary strategists. The regional bank chief said he personally surveys about 50 businesses, more than most of his colleagues at the Fed, and that the position on prices is “without exception, in every sector in every size, whether they’re public or private.”
While I guess we should applaud Fisher for being the first Fed Governor to recognize inflation in our economy – I suppose I should also point out to the Fed that there is a preponderance of evidence that indicates, at this point, that the Earth is not flat – just to help them get caught up with the rest of us. Still Fisher is somewhat of a prodigy among the slim pickings we have when selecting from Fed brains:
Barring some extraordinary circumstances I cannot foresee, I would vote against the QE3 or even a tapering of the current program. I don’t think it’s necessary, It’s now up to the fiscal authorities to provide the right incentives for businesses to hire more American people, Our job is done. Now the pressure and the job is in the hands of our elected representatives who have the only power to tax and to spend.
TAX and spend?!? Oh no he didn’t! That’s Liberal Commie talk if ever I heard it and, if the Fed is going to base their own policy on the assumption that this Government will either tax OR spend – then we are already doomed because the Keynesians left the building last November and are unlikely to be invited back in until we have our own nuclear melt-down to throw money at (or if the banks need money, of course).
[This article is an excerpt from a previously released Sidoxia Capital Management complementary newsletter (May 1, 2015).]
Looking back, in the race for financial dominance, the U.S. economy sprinted out to a relatively quick recovery from the 2008-2009 financial crisis injury compared to its other global competitors. The ultra-loose monetary policies implemented by the Federal Reserve (i.e., zero percent Fed Funds rate, quantitative easing – QE, Operation Twist, etc.) and the associated weakening ...
One week ago, when showing a BofA chart demonstrating the record divergence between the S&P500 and US equity flows...
... and which BofA itself prefaced by saying "big decoupling in recent weeks between US equity flows and prices ...correction risks will grow in absence of fresh inflows in coming weeks" we asked: "who is buying?"
Margin Debt of late hit all-time highs, surpassing levels reached in 2000 and 2007, should we be concerned? In the long-term, margin debt at these levels will most likely become an issue that will impact markets, possibly like it has in the past.
In the past, it wasn’t high levels that ended up being the signal to reduce exposure to stocks. So what was the signal? When should we be concerned that these levels could impact stocks?
Below looks at Margin debt on a 12-month rolling Average basis. The chart below reflects that when margin debt was expanding rapidly on a 12-month basis in 2000 and 2007; then it turned sharply lower, that is when investors sh...
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Note from dshort: This commentary has been updated to incorporate some extrapolations for estimating the latest Q Ratio.
The Q Ratio is a popular method of estimating the fair value of the stock market developed by Nobel Laureate James Tobin. It's a fairly simple concept, but laborious to calculate. The Q Ratio is the total price of the market divided by the replacement cost of all its companies. Fortunately, the government does the work of accumulating the data for the calculation. The numbers are supplied in the Federal Reserve Z.1 Financial Accounts of the United States of the United States, which is released quarterly.
The first chart shows Q Ratio from 1900 to the present. The ratio subsequent to the latest Fed data (through 2014 Q4) i...
Back in December, I wrote a post on my blog where I compared the performances of various ETFs related to the oil industry. I was looking for the best possible proxy to match the moves of oil prices if you didn't want to play with futures. At the time, I concluded that for medium term trades, USO and the leveraged ETFs UCO and SCO were the most promising. Longer term, broader ETFs like OIH and XLE might make better investment if oil prices do recover to more profitable prices since ETF linked to futures like USO, UCO and SCO do suffer from decay. It also seemed that DIG and DUG could be promising if OIH could recover as it should with the price of oil, but that they don't make a good proxy for the price of oil itself.
Last week, stocks cycled bullish yet again. In fact, the S&P 500, NYSE Composite, and NASDAQ each closed at record highs as investors positioned for the heart of earnings season in the wake of strong reports from some of the Tech giants. Notably, Utilities stocks got some renewed traction as yield-starved investors returned to the sector. Although our trend-following sector rotation model remains bullish, strong overhead technical resistance and neutral rankings in our SectorCast quant model indicate that caution is in order, and this might not be the moment for a major upside breakout, particularly given the expected softne...
Here's an interesting argument by Felix Salmon, although I think he is taking two correct observations and mistakenly attributing a cause-and-effect relationship to them: Bitcoin is going nowhere because women are not involved.
More likely, in my opinion, women are not involved in bitcoin because bitcoin is going nowhere (and they know it). Or maybe, simply, bitcoin is going nowhere and women are not involved.
Nathaniel Popper’s new book, Digital Gold, is as close as you can get to being the definitive account of the history of Bitcoin. As its subtitle proclaims, the book tells the story of the “misfits” (the first generation of hacker-l...
Kim Parlee interviews Phil on Money Talk. Be sure to watch the replays if you missed the show live on Wednesday night (it was recorded on Monday). As usual, Phil provides an excellent program packed with macro analysis, important lessons and trading ideas. ~ Ilene
The replay is now available on BNN's website. For the three part series, click on the links below.
Part 1 is here (discussing the macro outlook for the markets)
Part 2 is here. (discussing our main trading strategies)
Part 3 is here. (reviewing our pick of th...
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PSW Members - well, what a year for biotechs! The Biotech Index (IBB) is up a whopping 40%, beating the S&P hands down! The healthcare sector has had a number of high flying IPOs, and beat the Tech Sector in total nubmer of IPOs in the past 12 months. What could go wrong?
Phil has given his Secret Santa Inflation Hedges for 2015, and since I have been trying to keep my head above water between work, PSW, and baseball with my boys...it is time that something is put together for PSW on biotechs in 2015.
Cancer and fibrosis remain two of the hottest areas for VC backed biotechs to invest their monies. A number of companies have gone IPO which have drugs/technologies that fight cancer, includin...
This is a non-trading topic, but I wanted to post it during trading hours so as many eyes can see it as possible. Feel free to contact me directly at email@example.com with any questions.
Last fall there was some discussion on the PSW board regarding setting up a YouCaring donation page for a PSW member, Shadowfax. Since then, we have been looking into ways to help get him additional medical services and to pay down his medical debts. After following those leads, we are ready to move ahead with the YouCaring site. (Link is posted below.) Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated; not only to help aid in his medical bill debt, but to also show what a great community this group is.
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