Japan's 9.0 Earthquake Damages 4 Nuclear Reactors 2 More Threatened Fukushima

Exploded Reactor 1

Exploded Reactor 1

The 8.9 earthquake in Japan, which generated a tsunami wave that reached the west coast of the United States has resulted in severe damage to several of the reactors at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in the Daiichi prefecture. It appears that trouble started when cooling water pumps failed to operate, leading to runaway conditions within the cores of reactors #1, #2, #3, and #4. (update: reactors #5 and #6 are now threatened) These reactors are all relatively early boiling water reactor designs built in the 1970's by General Electric and Toshiba. Toshiba's reactor #3 utilized 75 TONS (150,000 pounds, or 68,182 kilograms) of MOX (recycled nuclear weapons material in the form of Uranium and Plutonium Oxides(Metal Oxide-MOX)) fuel in the core which contains Plutonium-239. Plutonium-239 has a half-life of 24,000 years so it remains in the environment for a very long time. Explosions have occurred in three reactors and several cooling ponds are now overheating leading to a release of radiation. Japanese officials have resorted to trying to cool the reactor cores and fuel rod pools with seawater which Robert Alvarez, a former senior policy adviser to the U.S. secretary of energy, considers a desperate measure (a desparate measure which promises to deliver plenty of highly contaminated water directly to the ocean waters nearby. ) According to Mr. Alvarez, sattelite imagery shows the roof blown off the fuel rod pool next to reactor #4. He and other experts are warning that any release of radioactivity from the spent-fuel pool could make the releases from the reactors themselves pale in comparison.

As the situation worsens, it is likely that crews may have to pull back and the entire complex will meltdown with the result being an unimaginable environmental catastrophe of unparallelled magnitude.

Fires in the fuel rod pools (rectangular basins about 40 feet deep, made of four- to five-foot-thick reinforced concrete lined with stainless steel) where used fuel from the reactors are stored pose a greater environmental hazard as they are not enclosed as the reactor cores are and will vent directly to the atmosphere. Each reactor has its own fuel rod pool sitting atop the main concrete structure and surrounded by thin metal roofs and walls. According to one expert, the fuel rods rest at the pool's bottom and typically rise no higher than 15 feet from the bottom. Depending on the freshness of the spent fuel, the water in an uncooled pool will start to boil in anywhere from days to a week and would boil off to a dangerous level in another week or two. Once exposed, it can catch fire. Fresh fuel rods have more of the most deadly and short lived Iodine-131. All contain Cesium-137, which still contaminates much of the land in the Ukrain around Chernoble, and has a half life of 30 years. A 1997 study by the Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island described a worst-case disaster invlolving uncovered spent fuel in a single reactor cooling pool, estimating 100 quick deaths would occur within a range of 500 miles followed by 138,000 eventual deaths. The study also found that land over 2,170 miles would be contaminated and damages would hit $546 billion.
According to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, there are almost 100 spent-fuel pools in the United States.

US Military aid forces have been pulled back from Japan's coast after encountering radioactive plumes.
If significant amounts of radioactive material is lofted into the jet stream from the damaged reactors, it could arrive on America's western coast within several days.
Japan had 54 nuclear reactors online before the quake and 8 more in construction.

According to the August 22nd, 2010 publication of Japan Today, the No. 3 reactor at the Fukushima No. 1 plant is the third in Japan to use highly toxic and long-lasting reutilized Plutonium fuel. The other two are the No. 3 reactor of Kyushu Electric Power Co's Genkai plant in Saga Prefecture and the No. 3 reactor of Shikoku Electric Power Co's Ikata plant in Ehime Prefecture.

SFSU Meteorology Pacific Jet Stream Analysis

Weatherbank West Pacific Jet Stream Projection

2011 Private Consortium to Begin Construction on Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline To Sell $300 Million Annually LNG Gas to California Through Oregon's Siskiyou Mountains

Pacific Gas Connector Pipeline

An international consortium of companies has received approval and is planning to begin construction of the huge 223 mile-long, 36 inch wide Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline this year starting with the LNG terminal in Coos Bay. This major gas conduit, being built for the sheer purpose of serving California's and to a lesser extent Nevada's projected future gas demands (as Oregon is already served by 2 major pipelines,) will traverse the ruggedly beautiful and unspoiled Siskiyou and Coastal mountain ranges to bring Liquid Natural Gas LNG fuel shipped from Alaska and off-loaded at Coos Bay to the PGE pipeline in Malin, Oregon. The planned transfer capacity of the pipeline is projected to average at 292 Billion Cubic Feet per year with a maximum annual throughput of 365 BCF.


January 13, 2011 ASTORIA, Ore. (AP) The Clatsop County Board of Commissioners has withdrawn its approval of a liquefied natural gas land-use application.
The board voted last November to accept a hearings officer's ruling that granted conditional approval to an application by Oregon Pipeline LLC to build 41 miles of pipeline to serve a proposed liquefied gas terminal in Warrenton.
The decision was appealed to the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals by project opponents led by Columbia Riverkeeper.
The Clatsop County board, with three new members, voted 4-1 Wednesday to file a notice of withdrawal with the Land Use Board of Appeals for reconsideration of the November ruling.
Clatsop County commissioners plan to re-examine the issue in a public hearing.
Note- proximity of downtown Astoria to the shipping lane caused worries of potential explosion hazard.

Marine Science Professor Finds Little Evidence of Recovery at BP Spill Site in GOM

Dr Samantha Jove, professor of Marine Sciences and leader of a team of marine scientists from University of Georgia who were among the first to report huge underwater oil plumes thousands of feet below the GOM surface, has reported that recent submarine surveys of the ocean floor in the BP Macondo spill region show little sign of recovery. As stated in a recent chat on Science Now, her journey to the sea bottom revealed a total lack of infaunal organisms (worms,) and holothurians (sea cucumbers,) as well as dead brittle stars, a few sickly crabs, and oiled, dead corals. Flocculent (oil mousse) deposits were found at every site sampled and there was a striking lack of evidence of microbial degradation leading her to conclude that, “[s]ome component of the microbial community that degrades such complex carbon structures is ‘stuck'.” In response to questions regarding the potential for dispersants to affect such microbial activity, Dr. Mandy replied, “[d]ispersants could influence microbial activity–we are trying to get dispersant from NALCO to study its impacts on pure cultures and natural microbial communities. And, I have heard that ammonium sulfate was added to the dispersant to alleviate nitrogen limitation of the oil degrading microorganisms…” Dr. Mandy, who suffers from asthma, claimed she had breathing difficulty in the area around the wellhead before it was capped, and where people were suffering burns. While sampling oily sediments, she and several team members suffered red rashes – a condition she had never experienced working in oily mud previously.

Dr. Mandy's blog is Gulf Oil Blog

International Consortium Wants Giant Mine in Pristine Alaska Bristol Bay Watershed

Bristol Bay

A consortium of international companies: Britain's Anglo American and Rio Tinto, Canada's Northern Dynasty Minerals, and Japan's Mitsubishi Corporation have plans to dig one of the world's largest open pit mines in pristine Alaska watershed above Bristol Bay. Bristol Bay, located in the Southeast corner of the Bering Sea, is home to the largest sockeye salmon run in the world. Over the last 20 years, the regional sockeye salmon harvest has averaged an impressive 25.5 million fish per year. Fingerling salmon, spawned in the vast array of surrounding tributaries spend the first year of their five-year life cycle in Bristol Bay before migrating out to sea.
The mine, as planned, would have a depth of 2000 feet and stretch for over two miles. Huge earthen dams, as high as 50 stories, would be depended upon to hold 10 Billion tons of mining waste mixed with cyanide, sulfuric acid, arsenic, and other toxic chemicals.
The region is known for seismic activity, adding to the danger of dam collapse.

Fuel Cell Overview


The great benefits of local (meaning located at the place of consumption) fuel cell design and installation are: the reduction of energy delivery cost (as there is significant loss to heat and electromagnetic radiation in long range electricity delivery,) availability, firm power (as power generation is local so hopefully not subjected to outages or overloads,) multi-fuel, bio-fuel compatibility (high temperature fuel cell designs can tolerate lower hydrogen densities such as those found in bio-fuels.)
Basic fuel cells design is Continue reading

Food Safety and Modernization Act – Excerpts

Behold, the works of sorcerers of legend do pale in comparison to the alimental powers of manifestation from the ethers commanded by Senator Harry Reid during a December 19, 2010 conjuration in the mostly empty senate chambers, behold, the dreaded 236 page FDA Food Safety Modernization Act:

Mr. REID. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the Senate proceed to Calendar No. 74, H.R. 2751.

The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report the bill by title.

The legislative clerk read as follows:
A bill (H.R. 2751) to accelerate motor fuel savings nationwide and provide incentives to registered owners of high polluting automobiles to replace such automobiles with new fuel efficient and less polluting automobiles.

Cerium Oxide Solar Reactor

Caltech is working on a second generation technology “solar reactor” using a cerium oxide catalyst. Typical solar energy “mirror farms” use many parabolic mirrors to focus the sun's energy on a central boiler unit to produce steam and thereby energy (using the steam to spin a turbine.) Caltech's design takes it several steps further by introducing a cerium oxide catalyst and carbon dioxide to the water as well as cycling the solar input to the tank. The reason the suns rays are cycled is because the cerium oxide catalyst strips oxygen from its surroundings when cooled. So, when cooling the catalyst strips oxygen from H2O and CO2 resulting in carbon monoxide and free hydrogen which can then be used as fuel.

Large Solar Energy Installation Begins Construction in Southern California Desert Brightsource

Largest Solar Energy Installation in History to Begin Construction in Southern California Desert

Brightsource Energy Inc. will begin construction soon of a large solar powered electrical generating facility in San Bernardino County near the Nevada border. The project is designed to employ over 170,000 mirrors focused on steam generating towers to develop electricity from sunlight via steam turbines. The project, now backed by a $1.37 billion loan guarantee from the US Department of Energy and known as the Ivanpah Electric Generating System will contract with Southern California Edison to provide 370 Megawatts of power by 2013. The final build output using seven towers is planned at 1300 Megawatts.

US Beef Laden with Antibiotics and Pesticides

Via: USA Today:

Beef containing harmful pesticides, veterinary antibiotics and heavy metals is being sold to the public because federal agencies have failed to set limits for the contaminants or adequately test for them, a federal audit finds.
A program set up to test beef for chemical residues �is not accomplishing its mission of monitoring the food supply for � dangerous substances, which has resulted in meat with these substances being distributed in commerce,� Continue reading

Scientific Study Shows Potential Health Risks from GM Corn

de Vend�mois JS, Roullier F, Cellier D, S�ralini GE. A Comparison of the Effects of Three GM Corn Varieties on Mammalian Health. Int J Biol Sci 2009; 5:706-726.

Published in the International Journal of Biological Sciences, the study contradicts Monsanto findings and offers evidence that ingestion of commercially available GMO corn variants can have adverse health effects. In the study, male and female rats were fed three main commercialized genetically modified (GM) maize (NK 603, MON 810, MON 863) varieties.
The results of the study showed effects associated with the kidney and liver, the dietary detoxifying organs. Other abnormal effects were also noticed in the heart, adrenal glands, spleen and haematopoietic system. Male rats in the study showed much greater changes than femaes. The scientists concluded that their data highlighted signs of hepatorenal toxicity and direct or indirect metabolic consequences, possibly due to the new pesticides specific to each GM corn.