by phil - May 15th, 2011 5:47 pm
Hey, remember Fukushima?
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:
This is one of the things holding down the financials as there is no way to know right now, what the real damages are going to be from this ongoing disaster for the insurance companies (and the banks that lend them money). As Gundersen observed on Friday and as is not being reported officially, two other reactors are seriously damaged. A worker at the plant dropped dead on Saturday and Japanese banks and Insurance companies are all suffering with Daiici Life’s net profit down 66% from last year due to the accident.
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…
by ilene - April 4th, 2011 1:53 pm
Courtesy of TIME
By KRISTA MAHR
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
by ilene - March 28th, 2011 5:08 pm
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.”
by ilene - March 28th, 2011 2:55 pm
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.
Keep reading here: Tokyo Electric Finds Plutonium in Soil Near Fukushima Plant – Bloomberg.
by phil - March 23rd, 2011 8:29 am
We are having yet another snow storm in New Jersey.
So much for trusting small rodents to forecast the weather but at least one of the rats at the Fed is finally seeing the shadow of inflation as Dallas Bank President, Richard Fisher said every single one of the 50 business executives he speaks with on a regular basis is looking to raise prices to consumers.
"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).
Speaking of melt-downs, the iodine in the Tokyo water supply has been deemed "unsafe for infants." While not certain, officials said they suspect that the airborne iodine had drifted over rivers that feed Tokyo’s water system and had come down in recent…