Tag Archives | disaster

Experts: The Technology Needed To Clean Up Fukushima Doesn’t Yet Exist

One and a half years later, the consensus seems to be that the site of the Fukushima nuclear accident cannot be cleaned up or contained until future generations invent the technology to do so, Washington’s Blog notes:

World-renowned physicist Michio Kaku said recently: “It will take years to invent a new generation of robots able to withstand the radiation.” The world leader in decommissioning nuclear reactors, and one of the main contractors hired to clean up Fukushima – EnergySolutions – made a similar point in May:

Concerning the extraction of fuel debris [at Fukushima], “There is no technology which may be directly applied,” said [top EnergySolutions executive] Morant.

A top American government nuclear expert – William D. Magwood – told the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works:

There will need to be new technologies and new methodologies created to be able to enable them to clean the site up and some of these technologies don’t exist yet, so there’s a long way to go with that…There’s a long, long way to go.

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Full Third of Fukushima Children Face Cancer Risk

 

Photo: Mononeko (PD)

According to  Russia Times, a Japanese public health organization has released grim finding: Aafter examining 38,000 children from the Fukushima Prefecture, site of the infamous nuclear disaster, the organization has estimated that a third of the prefecture’s children will be at risk for developing cancer as a result of radiation poisoning.

The Fukushima Prefecture Health Management Survey reports that over 13,000 of the children examined exhibited swollen cysts or nodules on their thyroids. Radiation penetrates soft tissues and settles in thyroids. Over time, the nodules can swell and become cancerous.

The children of the effected Prefecture will receive cancer screenings every two years until they turn 20, and will then continue to receive screenings every five years until the end of their lives.

Some physicians in the international community feel that the Japanese are not adequately publicizing the results of the study and minimizing the true danger that the children face.… Read the rest

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The DisinfoCast with Matt Staggs: Episode 16: Author and Survivalist Scott B. Williams

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Scott B. Williams is the author of several books on travel, emergency preparation and survival, including Getting Out Alive: 13 Deadly Scenarios and How Others Survived, Bug Out: The Complete Plan for Escaping a Catastrophic Disaster Before It’s Too Late, and Bug Out Vehicles and Shelters: Build and Outfit Your Lifesaving Escape. However, his most recent book is a work of fiction: The Pulse: A Novel of Survival of Surviving the Collapse of the Grid:

As massive solar flares bombard the Earth, an intense electromagnetic pulse instantly destroys the power grid throughout North America. Within hours desperate citizens panic and anarchy descends. Surrounded by chaos, Casey Drager, a student at Tulane University, must save herself from the havoc in the streets of New Orleans. Casey and two of her friends evacuate the city and travel north, where they end up in the dangerous backwaters of Mississippi, forced to use their survival skills to seek refuge and fight for their lives.

Meanwhile, thousands of miles away, Casey’s father, Artie, finds himself cut off and stranded. His Caribbean sailing vacation has turned into every parent’s nightmare. Warding off pirates and tackling storms, Artie uses the stars to guide him toward his daughter.

The Pulse is a compelling action-adventure novel that reveals what it would take to survive in a world lit only by firelight, where all the rules have changed and each person must fend for himself.

Join host Matt Staggs as he and Scott B. Williams discuss the likelihood of a mass catastrophic event, essential survival techniques and the frightening world of The Pulse.

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2 To 3 Minutes In Hell: Cleaning Chernobyl

A gripping, short documentary video of the horrifying challenge confronting the Soviet Union’s “biorobots” — soldiers, scientists, and civilians who were tasked with the emergency cleanup following the explosions at Chernobyl. Radio-controlled robotic machines were used at first, but their circuitry broke down from the radiation, leaving humans with shovels as the only option.

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BP Asks To Resume Gulf Coast Drilling

oil-rig-explosion-Deepwater-HorizonSome (who don’t speak Chinese) say that the Chinese word for “crisis” also means “opportunity”. Well, no one creates cris-portunities like BP does. Via the Boston Globe:

BP has asked US regulators for permission to resume drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, two company officials said yesterday.

The petition comes less than 15 months after a rig BP leased there exploded, causing a huge oil spill and killing 11 workers.

[One] other official said, “We’re making progress but it’s not a yes yet.’’ Both people spoke on the condition of anonymity because talks on a possible agreement were continuing.

Drilling in the Gulf of Mexico was halted last summer after the accident involving BP’s Macondo well, which spilled 4.9 million barrels of oil into the ocean. The ban was lifted in October.

Royal Dutch Shell won approval on Wednesday to drill off the coast of Louisiana on the condition that rigorous new safety standards were met.

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Suburban Sprawl: A Government Tactic Against Nuclear Annihilation And Natural Disaster

tokyoIn the aftermath of last month’s devastation, Japanese leaders have called on urban planners to make Japan decentralized and lower density so as to be less vulnerable. It wouldn’t be the first time that sprawl has been employed as a strategy against societal annihilation; during the Cold War, American planners pushed for suburbanization as a defense against nuclear disaster. BLDGBLOG enlightens:

At the height of the Cold War, the sprawling, decentralized suburban landscape of the United States was seen by many military planners as a form of spatial self-defense. As historian David Krugler explains in This Is Only a Test: How Washington D.C. Prepared for Nuclear War, “urban dispersal” was viewed as a defensive military tactic, one that would greatly increase the nation’s chance of survival in the event of nuclear attack.

Specially formatted residential landscapes such as “cluster cities” were thus proposed, “each with a maximum population of 50,000.” These smaller satellite cities would not only reshape the civilian landscape of the United States, they would make its citizens, its industrial base, and its infrastructure much harder to target.

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Beautiful Highway Crash: Massive Spill Of Rainbow Ink Outside Boston

The Boston Globe reports that a tractor-trailer hauling 16,000 pounds of red, blue, and yellow printers’ ink overturned on the highway in Peabody, Massachusetts this past month, spilling a gorgeous array of colors down Interstate 95. Sadly, the affected sections of the highway are being replaced, as authorities found removing the colors to be impossible.

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Does Safer Nuclear Power Exist?

Photo: Stefan Kühn (CC)

Photo: Stefan Kühn (CC)

Can thorium be a safer alternative to uranium? China thinks so. The Telegraph reports:

This passed unnoticed –except by a small of band of thorium enthusiasts – but it may mark the passage of strategic leadership in energy policy from an inert and status-quo West to a rising technological power willing to break the mould.

Chinese scientists claim that hazardous waste will be a thousand times less than with uranium. The system is inherently less prone to disaster.

If China’s dash for thorium power succeeds, it will vastly alter the global energy landscape and may avert a calamitous conflict over resources as Asia’s industrial revolutions clash head-on with the West’s entrenched consumption.

China’s Academy of Sciences said it had chosen a “thorium-based molten salt reactor system”. The liquid fuel idea was pioneered by US physicists at Oak Ridge National Lab in the 1960s, but the US has long since dropped the ball.

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