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Fukushima Disaster Puts Japan in ‘Nuclear Limbo’ Ahead of 2020 Tokyo Olympics – Pundit

Sputnik – September 14, 2019

On 10 September, Japanese authorities announced that Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO), the operator of the Fukushima Daiichi power plant which in 2011 experienced the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl, currently has no technology to clear its wastewater from radioactive waste, and is instead discharging it into the sea.

More than a million tonnes of wastewater is reportedly stored in tanks at the Fukushima NPP (nuclear power plant). The facility is reportedly running out of available space and expects to exhaust its capacity by summer 2022. Japanese Environment Minister Yoshiaki Harada admitted earlier that “we have no way but to release it [into the sea] and dilute it”.

Local residents reportedly have deep concerns about the potential damage this move can inflict, especially to the fishing industry, which is essential for Japan.

Christina Consolo, a nuclear expert, has shared her view on the issue.

Sputnik: It’s been reported that there’s enough room to keep the liquid (1 million tons of contaminated water) through summer 2022, but after that, there will be no space left?

Christina Consolo: It was somewhat surprising at how quickly the Environmental Ministry in Japan made a decision to release the contaminated water once their official meeting convened. I am not surprised at all however by their decision.

The situation is very serious. There is no other option then to release the contaminated water, but under the control of TEPCO’s time and choosing, or it may be released for them. An earthquake could release it, a tsunami could release it, a typhoon could release it.

But releasing the water goes far beyond just a ‘storage issue’ alone; the tanks are also under duress for a number of reasons. If you recall, at the beginning of the original water storage, the tanks were not assembled properly. Concrete slabs were hastily poured without rebar reinforcement.

TEPCO workers had to drill holes in the tops of them to release hydrogen build-up, or risk explosion and collapse of the tanks themselves.

There have also been a series of leaks, due to miles of pipes and flushing radioactive water great distances through sometimes ducted-taped hoses, with at least one reaching the official scale of a Level 3 Nuclear Accident in and of itself, in July of 2015.

And the longer this radioactive water sits in these giant metal tanks, the matrix of the metal itself at the atomic level is undergoing acceleration of entropy, known as “The Wigner Effect” – named after Professor Eugene Wigner, who discovered it at the Oak Ridge Laboratory while doing research for the US Government during World War II.

Metal exposed to radiation creates embrittlement issues and acceleration of corrosion, the same problem that caused 16,000 cracks in the nuclear reactors in Belgium.

This is problematic for the biggest reason of them all: if any of these tanks leak or break open outside of the control of TEPCO and prevents workers from being able to continue the myriad of daily maintenance involved due to spillage of radioactive water, creating no-go zones within the site itself, then TEPCO can have yet another very serious situation on their hands, on top of everything else happening over there. Anything and everything must be done to assure that workers can continue with the tremendous daily management of what is still an ongoing Level 7 Nuclear Accident.

They can not risk waiting for the tanks to empty themselves.

Sputnik: What is going to happen next? Do you think this liquid is a real threat to the ecological situation?

Christina Consolo: Any radiation released to the environment is always going to have detrimental effects… the question is how much and how far will those effects extend from the site of the release. Without knowing what exactly is in those tanks, that question is impossible to answer.

I personally have issue believing the radioactive water contained within them only contains Tritium, as I have followed this story for over eight years, and I can say without a doubt that every machine brought in to ‘filter out’ radioactive substances has failed miserably, as has every camera, robot, robot claw, robot snake, robot on rollers, etc.

TEPCO also has a history of withholding important facts that also make them very untrustworthy.

But more importantly from an ecological perspective, and a far bigger issue though which is rarely discussed, is the groundwater that moves through the Fukushima site because of the geology of the surrounding features.

The plant was built on a riverbed, where the volcanic spine of Japan funnels water down from the mountains. Groundwater experts estimate that every single day somewhere between 5-15,000 tonnes of groundwater flow underneath the plant, and out to the Pacific ocean.

Keep in mind, the only remnant of the cumulative 450 tonnes of corium or melted nuclear fuel that has been found is splatter on the insides of the reactors, or pebble-like material and drips.

TEPCO still has not located the 3 melted cores after 8 years of looking, leaving a looming question of how far these cores travelled as they melted, and how much groundwater is making contact with these cores before pouring into the Pacific each day. They are concerned enough that they are still pouring 300 tonnes of water through them daily.

Is it 10 percent – 50 percent – 80 percent? How much of this natural groundwater flow is making contact with the cores, under the plant? We have no idea. If indeed this is occurring, which some Fukushima experts believe that it is, then the 1000 tanks are a ‘drop in the bucket’ in comparison to what may be pouring into the Pacific each and every day.

We need answers to these questions. It is abhorrent and inexcusable that with today’s known technology, TEPCO does not know where the cores are, 8 years after the accident. We have powerful ground penetrating radar that could likely tell, so why are they not telling us?

Sputnik: It’s been 8 years since the Fukushima disaster. How have Japanese authorities adapted to this situation?

Christina Consolo: The Japanese authorities that were in charge at the beginning of this disaster, such as former Prime Minister Kan, have expressed a tremendous amount of regret, and even guilt, over mistakes they made withholding information about how dangerous the situation was from the Japanese people in the early part of the accident.

The fact TEPCO outright lied that meltdowns had occurred from Day 1, even though every nuclear physicist in the world was aware they had, due to the presence of neutron beams occurring in 13 different locations on the site (which indicated at least one reactor was breached), is difficult to forgive considering the US had an entire fleet of Navy ships offshore providing humanitarian aid that were getting absolutely blasted by nuclear fuel including MOX and plutonium.

PM Abe is very pro-nuclear but his wife is not, making for an ongoing and very publicized drama in Japanese news, and the pushback from massive demonstrations by the Japanese people continue to this day on a weekly basis.

The people are fighting any and all attempts at restarting reactors, in a very hardcore way. The authorities are pretending everything is fine, focusing on the Olympics in 2020, and I am certain the water will be dumped long before then.

But the tanks are going to just get filled right back up again, after some unfortunate TEPCO workers climb inside and test them for metal fatigue issues.

Sputnik: What has changed in nuclear safety since Fukushima has occurred?

Christina Consolo: In Japan a majority of the reactors still remain shutdown, which is good considering they never should have been built there in the first place.

An article in The Japan Times predicted the Fukushima disaster in 2004, and there are no guarantees that TEPCO will always be able to keep the Fukushima site under control, or another earthquake and tsunami will cause a similar, or even larger disaster at another site, as there are so many littering Japan.

Japan sits in a highly unstable zone of 4 intersecting tectonic plates and the island has an enormous amount of earthquake and volcanic activity.

The US did review some of its safety measures after 3/11 but the problem is it keeps re-issuing licenses to old plants, with ageing infrastructure.

And many plants in the US, and worldwide, are also prone to earthquakes, tsunamis, flooding, hurricanes, even tornadoes and lightning strikes.

We have been playing with this very dangerous technology despite having no safe way to dispose of the waste, and many studies done over decades that prove that illnesses and cancer are extremely high the closer that you live to a nuclear plant.

Sputnik: Despite the Fukushima explosion, the Japanese government didn’t abandon its nuclear energy program. How do you explain this decision?

Christina Consolo: I can not answer that question. There is no logical answer for it, except to decommission a plant is outrageously expensive.

TEPCO announced in the past month it will be decommissioning the Fukushima Daini plant to the south, which also sustained damage in 2011.

Right now Japan is in a nuclear limbo of sorts, with the water tank problem, the fishery pushback, the Olympics in 2020, and the somewhat surreal efforts of the Japanese government to assure the world it can handle the Olympic athletes and crowds without making them sick.

There are always economic issues to consider, and the costs of decommissioning of two huge nuclear plants, one with 3 melted cores that have never been found.

Japan has a lot of convoluted issues surrounding nuclear and there is always the dark cloud over what is truth or fiction when it comes to TEPCO, and the nuclear industry in general. I really can not explain this decision at all.

September 14, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Environmentalism, Nuclear Power | , , | Leave a comment

Green-smearing – from Nicaragua to Bolivia

By Stephen Sefton | September 11, 2019

A fundamental dimension of contemporary psychological warfare has been dual-purpose corporate co-option of non-governmental organizations. In that psy-warfare dimension, NGOs serve both as disinformation partners with Western news media and too as false interlocutors in international forums and institutions, where they attack governments challenging the US elites and their allies. They actively subvert governments inside countries challenging the West, for example, in Latin America, Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Bolivia. But they also pervert due process in institutions like the UN, posing as civil society but in fact serving Western elite corporate imperatives, for example in international human rights and environmental mechanisms and forums.

Among these NGOs figure high profile human rights organizations like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the International Federation for Human Rights and Avaaz along with environmental organizations from 350.org and the World Resource Institute to Global Witness and Greenpeace. An increasing interrelationship has developed between corporate NGO funding and the exploitation of people’s general willingness to volunteer for and support apparently good causes. Symbolic of this is the way World Economic Forum attendees like Kumi Naidoo move readily between top management from one NGO to another, in Naidoo’s case from Greenpeace to Amnesty International. From Libya and Syria to Venezuela and Nicaragua, Amnesty International has played a key role using false reports to demonize governments resisting the US and its allies.

As Cory Morningstar has pointed out, Greenpeace is a key player in promoting the corporate driven New Deal for Nature aimed at financializing what remains of the natural world, especially its biodiversity, as a way of engineering a “Fourth Industrial Revolution”. Western corporate greed underlies the identical patterns of news media and NGO misrepresentation and outright deceit supporting regime change offensives against Libya and Syria, or Venezuela and Nicaragua. Right now, that very same pattern of media and NGO manipulation is clearly at work preparing for an intervention to prevent Evo Morales being re-elected as President of Bolivia.

Bruno Sgarzini and Wyatt Reed have noted how Western media and NGOs have falsely attacked Evo Morales blaming him for not controlling the fires in Bolivia’s Amazon. This is exactly what happened in Nicaragua immediately prior to the coup attempt in 2018 when the Nicaraguan authorities were fighting a fire in the Indio Maíz Biological Reserve. That episode softened up Nicaraguan public opinion and set in motion social media networks involving thousands of youth activists trained for that purpose beforehand over several years with US and also European government funding. In mid-April 2018, barely a week after the Indio Maiz fire was extinguished, those networks launched a social media blitzkrieg of lies and inventions marking the start of the actual coup attempt. A practically identical process is well under way now in Bolivia, which holds presidential elections next October 20th.

The timing of the fires in Bolivia’s Amazon is extremely propitious from the perspective of the US authorities and their allies. It takes almost two months for the effects to wear off of the initial psy-warfare bitzkrieg of the kind waged against Nicaragua in 2018 and against Brazil’s Worker’s Party as part of Jair Bolsonaro’s successful 2018 election campaign that same year. Bolivia will almost certainly experience the same kind of psy-warfare assault via social media prior to the October elections. The campaign will be timed to optimize the effect of mass false accusations of government wrongdoing and corruption along with false media and NGO claims of security force repression. Opposition activists are likely to exploit peaceful demonstrations on indigenous peoples and environmental issues so as to commit murderous provocations, just as they did in Nicaragua and Venezuela.

All of these tactics are likely be deployed against Bolivia so as to destroy the current prestige and high levels of support for President Evo Morales. In Bolivia, as in Nicaragua and Venezuela, the governing progressive political movement enjoys around 35-40% core electoral support, the right wing opposition have around 25-30% with 30-40% of voters uncommitted. The Western elites know they need to motivate something over half of those uncommitted voters against Evo Morales so as to get the right wing government they so desperately need in Bolivia to try and make good the unmitigated debacle of Mauricio Macri’s right wing government in Argentina.

The intensity of any Western media and NGO campaign against Morales is likely to reach similar levels as their cynical campaigns of lies and defamation against Venezuela and Nicaragua. Should that offensive go ahead, as seems probable, the difference will be that this time Evo Morales and his team are alert and unlikely to be taken by surprise as the Nicaraguan authorities were by the vicious, sudden attack against them in April 2018. A likely variation in Bolivia’s case will be a higher profile of environmentalist NGOs working in tandem with their human rights counterparts feeding misrepresentations and downright lies into Western news media. For the US and European Union elites the regional geopolitical stakes are high enough to make an attack on Bolivia imperative.

(A longer version of this piece was published at Tortilla con Sal on September 4, 2019.)

September 13, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Environmentalism | , , , , , | 1 Comment

How Japanese scientists confronted the U.S. and Japanese governments to reveal the effects of Bikini H-bomb tests

By Okuaki Satoru¹ – The Asia Pacific Journal – September 1, 2019 – Volume 17 | Issue 17 | Number 2

Introduction and translation by Steve Rabson

Introduction

The March, 1954 “Bravo Shot” H-bomb test in the Pacific dumped radioactive debris on the Marshall Islands, U.S. servicemen, and the crew of a Japanese fishing boat. The multi-megaton blast infected Marshall Islanders with radiation sickness and caused cancers in the years that followed. Their contaminated home on Bikini Atoll remains uninhabitable to this day. U.S. servicemen who had been purposely transported by the Navy into the blast zone have suffered from multiple cancers from radiation exposure. For years their claims denied were denied by the Veterans Administration. It took an act of Congress in 1990 to provide compensation for them and their children with birth defects. The crew of the Japanese fishing boat, Lucky Dragon No. 5, suffered from acute radiation poisoning. One crew member, Kuboyama Aikichi (age 40), died while in treatment for exposure.

“Bravo Shot” H-bomb test, Bikini, March 1, 1954

U.S. military forcibly evacuating Marshall Islanders from Bikini Atoll

U.S. servicemen transported under orders into the Bikini blast zone

Japanese scientists examine the hull of contaminated Lucky Dragon at Yaizu City port

Okuaki Satoru tells below how Japanese scientists confronted, and eventually overcame, roadblocks thrown up by both the U.S. and Japanese governments to obtain urgently needed information for the treatment of radiation poisoning and to determine the extent of environmental contamination. As Jacob Darwin Hamblin and Linda M. Richards explain in the journal Historia Scientarium, “Japanese perspectives influenced several American scientists to think differently about the implications of nuclear tests for humans and the natural environment . . . despite stiff resistance from offices of the U.S. government.”2

The U.S. government withholds information on lethal fallout

On March 16, 1954, the newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun first reported victims of a U.S. nuclear test in the Pacific among Japanese crew members of the fishing boat Lucky Dragon. The U.S. government acknowledged that tests had been carried out, but, insisting on secrecy, refused to provide information about them to Japanese scientists. Today it is known that they were hydrogen bomb tests, but even that wasn’t disclosed at the time. The only information Japanese scientists could obtain was from radioactive contamination of the Lucky Dragon’s hull.

Several scientists visited the fishing port at Yaizu City in Shizuoka Prefecture and recorded high levels of radioactive contamination from fallout on the boat’s hull. Okano Masaharu, a specialist in measuring radioactivity, was twenty-eight at the time and on the faculty of the Institute for Scientific Research (now known as RIKEN).

After World War II when Japan was under Allied Occupation (1945-1952), research on atomic energy was strictly prohibited. However, in 1950 permission was granted for research on radioactive isotopes. Okano traveled throughout the country giving lectures to inform Japanese about isotopes, and became skilled in handling radioactive materials. On April 16, 1954, he traveled with his supervisor, Dr. Yamazaki Fumio, to examine the hull of the Lucky Dragon. A full month had passed since fallout had contaminated the boat, but both men were astonished to see the needle of their radiation meter swing wildly up into the danger zone. This was the first time they had detected significant radiation outside their laboratories, and it exceeded one hundred times the level occurring in nature. With the discovery that radioactive fallout had contaminated the Lucky Dragon, scientists at universities in Tokyo, Kyoto, Shizuoka, Osaka and Kanazawa began their own studies, communicating their findings by telephone.

Ikeda Nobutaka conducted research on radioactive fallout in Professor Kimura Kenjirō’s research laboratory in the Chemistry Department of Tokyo University. He also visited the Lucky Dragon at Yaizu, and collected samples of fallout-contaminated material. Returning with them to the laboratory, he and about a dozen other researchers spent the next several days and nights frantically analyzing the material out of acute concern for the Lucky Dragon’s crew.

“We needed the results as soon as possible,” said Ikeda, now eighty-eight. “Without knowing the characteristics of the fallout, there would be no way to find a treatment for the crew. We were also aware that the reputation of Japanese scientists was at stake. If our results turned out to be wrong, it would be a disgrace for Japan’s scientific methods.”

Over the next month Ikeda and his colleagues found twenty-seven types of atomic radiation including Strontium (Sr) 89, Yttrium (Y) 90, and Cerium (Ce) 141. “We were overjoyed because knowing the radiation characteristics meant that it could be located in patients’ bodies and a way might be found to eliminate it. I can still remember how lovely the sunset looked the evening we finally finished the analyses.”

U.S. Atomic Energy Commission declares “no risk” from radioactive contamination

The U.S. carried out many nuclear weapons tests in the Pacific; however, the one named “Castle Bravo” on March 1, 1954, which showered fallout on the Lucky Dragon, was the most powerful conducted to that time, 1,000 times the fifteen megatons of the Hiroshima bomb. On March 31, Lewis Strauss, Chairman of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, issued a statement denying that there had been any contamination of fish or seawater.

With respect to the stories concerning widespread contamination of tuna and other fish as a result of the tests, the facts do not confirm them. The only contaminated fish discovered were in the open hold of a Japanese trawler [that had been] well within the danger zone. The Federal Drug Administration has informed us that their thorough survey found no radioactive contamination of boats or fish. The fallout dissipated rapidly in the ocean current and has posed no risk. No radioactivity has been detected in an area between five and five hundred miles of the test site.

There was a rumor last week of a danger from radioactivity falling in the United States. As with Soviet nuclear tests, there might be a small increase in natural background radiation in some local areas. However, it is only infinitesimally higher than what has been observed after previous tests in the continental United States and overseas, far too small to pose any risk to persons, animals or plants. Radioactivity dissipates rapidly after tests, and soon returns to normal levels of natural background radiation.

Did American officials deny that radioactivity had contaminated the ocean because they wanted to conceal the possibility that it had, or because they didn’t believe it would spread over a wide area beyond the test site?

Professor Higuchi Toshihiro at the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy of Georgetown University cites radioactive contamination from the Bikini tests as having initiated world-wide concern over the problem of environmental pollution; and he has studied how the governments and societies in Japan and in the United States took opposing positions over the issue of radioactive pollution.

It was known among scientists at the time that, at least in theory, radioactive contamination of the ocean from nuclear tests could be detected in seawater, plants, and animals. So when the U.S. conducted the first hydrogen bomb test in 1953, the Atomic Energy Commission began surveying seawater, tuna, and other ocean life for radioactivity. The Bikini test that contaminated the Lucky Dragon occurred the following year, but the data collected by the survey was still insufficient. Nevertheless, the Atomic Energy Commission sought first and foremost to quiet the furor over the tests at home and abroad, and issued a series of announcements for political reasons. Lacking reliable scientific data, the Commission surveyed a large area of seawater in which any trace of radiation would have been much diluted, and then claimed no contamination had been detected. Thus, it wasn’t that the Commission was trying to conceal findings of contamination, or that it was ignorant of the possibility. For strictly political reasons, it quickly declared the ocean safe.3

 Contradicting its own denials of radioactive contamination, the U.S. government banned imports of Japanese tuna

The U.S. government was greatly alarmed by news that radiation had contaminated tuna in Japan. At the time of the Bikini tests the U.S. was importing large quantities of canned tuna from Japan. Cheap and plentiful, long-finned tuna was canned in vegetable oil.

The development of Japan’s canning industry had begun before World War II in the fresh waters of Shizuoka Prefecture. In the 1950’s before Japan’s heavy industry recovered from the war, the government strongly encouraged the production of goods for export of which canned tuna was a key enterprise. Sold under the brand names “Fujiyama” and “Geisha,” high-quality and inexpensive Japanese canned tuna became so popular it dominated the American market.

Now the U.S. government became deeply concerned that contaminated tuna was being imported and distributed in America. Located by Professor Higuchi in the U.S. National Archives, an official U.S. government memo entitled “fish exports” was sent to Washington from the American Embassy in Tokyo on March 21, 1954, five days after the Yomiuri Shimbun reported contamination of the fishing boat Lucky Dragon. Higuchi described the memo:

The memo explained that embassy officials and representatives of the American fishing industry had warned the Japanese government to stop exports of contaminated fish. The government agreed that no fish would be exported to the United States in which radiation was detected.4

Subsequently, a member of the Atomic Energy Commission came to Japan and went to Yokohama Port. There, he ordered thorough monitoring tests for the fins and bellies of frozen tuna scheduled for export to the United States. People in Japan were outraged because, on the one hand, the U.S. government was denying that radiation from nuclear tests had contaminated the ocean or fish, yet it was suspiciously monitoring fish being exported to America.

The Japanese government refuses to pursue U.S. responsibility for contamination and supports continuation of nuclear tests

How, then, in the wake of radiation injuries to the Lucky Dragon’s crew and nuclear contamination of tuna, did the Japanese government deal with the U.S. government that had carried out the tests?

On March 17, with the Diet in an uproar over the Bikini tests, Foreign Minister Okazaki Katsuo came under persistent questioning in a session of the Lower House Budget Committee. Representative Imazumi Isamu, a member of the Socialist Party, severely criticized the Japanese government for failing to request crucial information from the U.S. about the nuclear tests. “America has inflicted radiation injuries on our country’s innocent fishermen. The treatment varies depending on what kind of bomb was detonated. A Japanese government that fails to seek this information for treating the victims is in no way worthy of representing our citizens. It is truly unforgivable.”5

Representative Kawasaki Hideji of the Progressive Party insisted that the Japanese government confront the U.S. government.

We have learned that the test was of either a hydrogen or a cobalt bomb. Should Japan bring the case to the International Court of Justice, world opinion would be deeply sympathetic to a nation that has been victimized three times by nuclear explosions. Our foreign policy must be courageous enough to petition the court. Does the Foreign Minister agree? Please answer the question directly.6

“We know from the information they already provided us that the Americans are very sympathetic,” replied Foreign Minister Okazaki. “They have said they will send doctors specializing in atomic bomb injuries and pay compensation no matter the cost. I am confident we can resolve the issue without going to the International Court of Justice.”7

Foreign Minister Okazaki reiterated the decision not to pursue America’s legal responsibility at a party given by the America-Japan Society in Tokyo on April 9, 1954. A tape recording of his speech before guests that included the American ambassador is available at the Society’s office in Akasaka.

Although it goes without saying that the fishing industry Japan’s economy relies on has suffered major losses as a result of the ban in the area of the ocean affected by the atomic tests, we have no intention of asking the U.S. government to stop them. We recognize that they are indispensable to the security, not only of America, but of Japan and other democratic nations. Thus, we join the other democratic nations in helping to make sure the atomic tests are successful.8

Radioactive contamination from the Bikini test occurred two years after Japan regained its independence in 1952 under the San Francisco Peace Treaty. Yet, despite the damage the test inflicted on the nation, the Japanese government supported their continuation. This attitude provoked outrage among the citizenry.

Japanese scientists respond

Japanese government leaders refused to pursue U.S. responsibility for the damages inflicted by the Bikini test. However, among all government departments, the Fisheries Agency was most acutely aware of the danger. It alone planned a survey of radiation contamination in the ocean area around the Bikini atoll where the test was conducted. “The U.S. government was entirely downplaying the test’s effects,” explained Miyake Yasuo who joined the scientific advisory group organized to carry out the survey. “The Japanese government was seeking compensation for injuries to the Lucky Dragon’s crew and the major damage to our fishing industry, but conducting a survey at the site for crucial information about the radioactive contamination was absolutely essential.”

With daily reporting in the newspapers on their expedition aboard the ship Shunkotsu Maru, the scientists were given a heroes’ welcome when they returned to Tokyo on July 4, 1954 from their fifty-one day voyage. It was their survey that first determined the extent of ocean contamination and damage to the environment from atomic tests. Though conducted for the Fisheries Agency, the results advanced knowledge in several scientific fields including radiology, oceanography, meteorology and medicine.

Notes

1From Okuaki Satoru, 海の放射能に立ち向かった日本人:ビキニからフクシマへの伝言 Radioactive Contamination of the Ocean Revealed by Japanese Scientists: From Bikini to Fukushima, Junpō-sha, Tokyo, 2017.

2Jacob Darwin Hamblin and Linda M. Richards, “Beyond the Lucky Dragon: Japanese Scientists and Fallout Discourse in the 1950s,” Historia Scientiarum, Vol. 25, No. 1 (2015), pp. 36-56.

3Okuaki, pp. 44-45.

4Ibid., p. 46.

5Ibid., p. 47.

6Ibid., pp. 47-48.

7Ibid., p. 48.

8Ibid., pp. 48-49.

Okuaki Satoru is a program director at NHK. Born in Kanagawa Prefecture, he graduated with a Masters Degree from the Life Sciences Division of Tokyo University, joining NHK in 1999. He has directed television documentaries on the work of novelist Inoue Yasushi and the massacres of Koreans following the 1923 Tokyo earthquake. He was awarded the Media Ambitious Prize in 2013 for the documentary “Radioactive Contamination of the Ocean Revealed by Japanese Scientists: the Bikini Test Nuclear Fallout and the Ship Shunkotsu Maru,” which is the subject of the excerpts below from his book.

Steve Rabson is Professor Emeritus of East Asian Studies, Brown University, and a contributing editor to the Asia-Pacific Journal. He is the author of Righteous Cause or Tragic Folly: Changing View of War in Modern Japanese Poetry (Center For Japanese Studies, University of Michigan, 1998) and The Okinawan Diaspora in Japan: Crossing the Borders Within (University of Hawaii Press, 2012). His recent articles include “Okinawa was a ‘storage location’ for nuclear weapons: published accounts,” Asia-Pacific Journal, January 7, 2013, Volume 11 | Issue 1 | Number 6 and “Nuclear Hawks in Tokyo Call for Stronger US Nuclear Posture in Japan and Okinawa,” Gregory Kulacki with a comment by Steve Rabson, Asia-Pacific Journal, June 1, 2018, Volume 16 | Issue 11 | Number 1. He was stationed as a U.S. Army draftee at a nuclear weapons storage base in Henoko, Okinawa, 1967-68.

The original Japanese text can be found here.

Related articles:

Ōishi Matashichi and Richard Falk, “The Day the Sun Rose in the West. Bikini, the Lucky Dragon and I,” Asia-Pacific Journal, June 19,2011, Vol. 9, No. 3

Steve Rabson, “Okinawa was a ‘storage location’ for nuclear weapons: Published accounts,” Asia-Pacific Journal, January 7, 2013, Volume 11 | Issue 1 | Number 6

Nuclear Hawks in Tokyo Call for Stronger US Nuclear Posture in Japan and Okinawa,” Gregory Kulacki with a comment by Steve Rabson, Asia-Pacific Journal, June 1, 2018, Volume 16 | Issue 11 | Number 1

September 2, 2019 Posted by | Environmentalism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | Leave a comment

Who is Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution? Oceanographer or defense contractor?

R/V Neil Armstrong arrives at Woods Hole Oceanographic … collectspace.com
By Richard Hugus | August 28, 2019

WHOI is the acronym for the ‘Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’, based on Cape Cod, Town of Falmouth, village of Woods Hole, Massachusettts. On August 2, 2019 WHOI applied to the town of Falmouth for the clearing of 2.7 acres of woodland and the construction of a 3 story, 50,000 square foot building on what it calls its Quissett Campus, about a mile north of Woods Hole village. Woods Hole residents, the town of Falmouth, and a regulating authority called the Cape Cod Commission are now in the position of having to evaluate the proposed project and decide on approving it. Documentation and promotion of the project provided by WHOI to the Falmouth Planning Department, and summarized by the Falmouth Enterprise, says its new building — the New Quissett Facility — “is proposed as a ‘technology accelerator . . . by creating this facility the NQF will become the epicenter of autonomous vehicle, sensor, and technology innovation at WHOI and around the world and could lead to a net increase in regional economic activity.”

Mention of “autonomous vehicle and sensor technology” brings up the question of military research into and use of underwater drone and warfare technology and WHOI’s role in developing that technology.  Though operating for years in the midst of a pleasant residential and tourist area, few people are aware that WHOI is a defense contractor. The Institution was created in 1930 and  was devoted solely to defense work during World War II.  In all available documents submitted to the Cape Cod Commission for its recent building projects, and in all currently available representations of its activities to the public, WHOI describes itself as a scientific and educational institution dedicated solely to studying the ocean. In its documentation for the Quissett project, WHOI calls itself “the world’s largest non-profit dedicated to ocean research.” The omission by WHOI of its significant military research and development amounts to deception. WHOI receives major funding from the Office of Naval Research, which  “coordinates, executes, and promotes the science and technology programs of the United States Navy and Marine Corps.” These programs are highly unlikely to be peaceful and benevolent. The US Navy and Marines are, afterall, in the business of war.

Source: slideplayer.com (C4ISR-Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance)

A July 20, 2018 Department of Defense listing of Navy/Office of Naval Research contracts states: “Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts, is awarded a $7,719,478 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for development and demonstration of advanced ocean battlespace capabilities . . . This contract was competitively procured . . . for science and technology projects for advancement and improvement of Navy and Marine Corps operations, including Ocean Battlespace Sensing . . . The Office of Naval Research, Arlington, Virginia, is the contracting activity . . .”

Ocean Battlespace Sensing has to do with submarine and mine warfare. There is no information on WHOI’s web site about this nearly $8 million grant, or about what it is doing in the area of ocean battlespace sensing and submarine warfare. On April 7, 2016 when the new research vessel Neil Armstrong first arrived in Woods Hole, Dr. Frank Herr, head of the U.S. Navy’s Ocean Battlespace Sensing department (so-called “code 32” above), was among the notables addressing a gathered crowd. WHOI Director Mark Abbott also spoke, telling him and others, “We’re very proud to have been selected by the Office of Naval Research to operate the Neil Armstrong.” Navy-owned ships and advanced ocean battlespace work are not what we normally associate with a “non-profit organization dedicated to ocean research, exploration, and education”  — WHOI’s stated activities. Defense-related activities are clearly a part of WHOI’s operations, but they are consistently edited out of the public image WHOI promotes.

The Next Level – Drone Wars,  breakfornews.com

As another example: according to an April 22, 2019 report by the DoD Defense Logistics Agency: “Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Woods Hole, Massachusetts, is awarded an $8,421,581 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for the research effort entitled, “Project Sundance.” Except for the announcement of this contract, there is no information available anywhere on the web, or at WHOI’s own web site,  about what Project Sundance is, leaving one to wonder if the project is classified — i.e., something the public is not entitled to know about.

Finally, in 1985, WHOI achieved fame when one of its scientists, Robert Ballard, discovered the wreckage of the Titanic. It wasn’t until years later that we got the full story. According to The National Geographic (November 21, 2017), the Titanic discovery only happened by the way in what was actually a top secret military operation to find two wrecked US Navy nuclear submarines. Remote sensing technology and an underwater submersible vehicle developed in Woods Hole and used aboard the WHOI research vessel, Knorr, was used in the discovery. National Geographic tells us the Knorr’s true mission: “the military wanted to know the fate of the nuclear reactors that powered the ships . . . this knowledge was to help determine the environmental safety of disposing of additional nuclear materials in the oceans.”

Ballard held the rank of Commander in the US Navy and was working as a liason to WHOI from the Office of Naval Research at the time of the discovery. Research on disposal of nuclear waste in the ocean is hardly in keeping with WHOI’s stated mission, “to advance knowledge about our planet, but also to ensure society’s long-term welfare and to help guide human stewardship of the environment.” Moreover, by making it look like this was just a fun adventure undertaken by WHOI to solve the mystery of the Titanic, a hoax was perpetrated on the public.

WHOI, the proponent of this new building project, is not being fully honest in the descriptions it gives of its mission and operations in Woods Hole. This calls WHOI’s credibility and full disclosure into question, and prompts further questions about the military-related role of the proposed new facility — “the epicenter of autonomous vehicle, sensor, and technology innovation.” The mentioned technology may well have uses in oceanographic research, but it may equally well have to do with “ocean battlespace sensing” — i.e., marine warfare. WHOI advertises itself as a humanitarian scientific institution without mentioning the clearly relevant fact that a significant part of its funding and research is from and for the US Department of Defense. It is not possible to fully evaluate a building proposal from an institution that is involved in secret projects because Cape Cod residents have no way of knowing if they are being given all the facts. Indeed, they have good reason to believe they are not being given all the facts,

The US military and its supporting contractors are the main source of wars of aggression and misery in the world today. It would be unethical to support expensive new facilities, paid for with our tax dollars and with what is left of our open space, for one of those contractors on Cape Cod. Yet war and militarization are so normalized in the American landscape, it is as if this is not even an issue.

August 29, 2019 Posted by | Deception, Environmentalism, Militarism, Nuclear Power | | Leave a comment

EU destroys 700,000 hectares of rainforest for biofuels

Rainforest Rescue | 03/07/19

The European Union wants to protect the climate and reduce carbon emissions from motor vehicles by blending fuels with increasing shares of supposedly eco-friendly “biofuels”.

Last year, 1.9 million tons of palm oil were added to diesel fuel in the EU – in addition to millions of tons of equally harmful rapeseed and soybean oils.

The plantations needed to satisfy Europes’s demand for palm oil cover an area of 700,000 hectares – land that until recently was still rainforest and the habitat of 5,000 endangered orangutans. Despite the clear-cutting, the EU has classified palm oil as sustainably produced.

This policy has now blown up in the legislators’ faces, with scientists confirming what environmentalists and development experts have long asserted: biofuels help neither people nor the environment – and they are most certainly not climate-neutral, as even studies commissioned by the EU show. Biodiesel from palm and soybean oil, but also from European-grown rapeseed, has a larger carbon footprint than diesel from fossil sources.

The EU must scrap its biofuels policy immediately, but the agri-industry is fighting hard to maintain the status quo. Not surprising, when one considers that biofuels are currently subsidized to the tune of 10 billion euros in the EU alone.

Decision making in the European Union is a long process and involves many different actors that bring in studies, reports, arguments, and numbers. Hundreds of industry lobbyists seek to influence this process and they are trying hard to protect their financial interests. Next, the European Parliament and its committees along with the Council of the European Union will need to agree on a compromise based on the proposal published in October 2012.

Please sign our petition to the EU and demand an end to biofuels.

August 28, 2019 Posted by | Corruption, Environmentalism | | Leave a comment

Panic Grips UK Beaches as Toxic Sea Incident Leaves People Coughing and Struggling to Breathe

Sputnik – 26.08.2019

Twelve days earlier a number of people on a UK beach in West Sussex suffered bouts of vomiting in the wake of a toxic plume sweeping the area, with a sunken warship investigated as a likely cause of the incident.

Three UK beaches have been on alert over a mysterious “toxic sea” incident, The Independent has reported, with emergency services in Essex summoned to Frinton, Walton, and Clacton on Sunday.

An investigation is currently underway after numerous incidents of beachgoers in Essex were reportedly left coughing and struggling to breathe after swimming, as people flocked to the seaside during a record-hot spell of bank holiday weekend weather. Authorities immediately issued a warning to families to stay out of the water.

​One of the people affected by the mysterious incident, Miram Lansdell, a mental health worker from Derbyshire, said one of her twin 10-year-old daughters told her it “hurt to breathe in”:

“My daughter started coughing. My other daughter was gasping and couldn’t form words because she couldn’t breathe well enough”.

According to the woman, after she had taken a dip in the water she also experienced difficulty breathing.

Ms Lansdell added: “My dad said he had been asked to get out of the water by a man on a boat. He asked why and the man said there had been a fuel spill. He said if anyone is having breathing difficulties they should probably call an ambulance”.

A spokesman for Tendring Disrtrict Council said: “We are aware of a number of people reporting feeling unwell at beaches in Walton, Frinton and Clacton. The advice from emergency services and health officials is to avoid going into the water at this time along this stretch of the Tendring coastline”.

The spokesperson added that ambulance teams on the scene had treated people for symptoms such as eye irritation and minor breathing difficulties.

“A very small number of people were subsequently taken to hospital for further tests but are in a stable and non-life-threatening condition”, the spokesperson said.

As the investigation is ongoing, the causes of the incident are unclear. However, some people have been speculating that the symptoms may have been caused by pollution from a fuel spill.

This has not been confirmed by police or ambulance services, who’ve said the cause is “unknown”.

​Sunday’s incident comes just 12 days after a number of people on a beach in Worthing, West Sussex, were left vomiting in the wake of a toxic cloud sweeping the area.

A sunken warship was investigated by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency as being the cause of the poisonous gas plume.

Records show dozens of cargo vessels and munitions ships containing weapons and poisonous gas were sunk in the English Channel during WWI and WWII. Experts fear the “rusting timebombs” are rupturing and causing deadly gases to rise to the surface and drift towards the coast.

August 26, 2019 Posted by | Environmentalism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular | | 1 Comment

Petitioning Against Climate Alarmism Goes Global

By Larry Bell ~ PA Pundits – International ~ August 21, 2019

A petition being submitted by hundreds of independent climate scientists and professionals from numerous countries to heads of the European Council, Commission and Parliament declares “There is No Climate Emergency.”

Briefly summarized, the request for consideration conveys five urgent messages:

  • Climate change is real and has been occurring with nature-driven cold and warm cycles for as long as the planet has existed.
  • There should be no surprise that the Earth has been warming through natural causes since the last Little Ice Age ended around 1870. Actual temperature increases, however, are far less than predicted by theoretical climate models.
  • There is no real evidence that anthropogenic (human-caused) CO2 emissions are a major or dangerous warming influence. They instead offer great benefits to agriculture, forestry and photosynthesis that is the basis for life.
  • There is also no scientific evidence that increasing CO2 levels are causing more natural disasters. However, CO2-reduction measures do have devastating impacts on wildlife (e.g. wind turbines), land use (e.g. forest clearance), and vital energy systems.
  • Energy policies must be based on scientific and economic realities — not upon a harmful and unrealistic “2050-carbon-neutral policy” driven by unfounded climate alarm.

The petition concludes by recommending the recognition of clear difference in policies addressing the Earth’s environment through good stewardship versus Earth’s climate, the latter of which “is largely caused by a complex combination of natural phenomena we cannot control.”

This recent petition to EU leaders signed by approximately 100 Italian scientists from many prominent organizations urges recognition of the same basic realities.

The Italian petition calls attention to the fact that the planet has previously been warmer than the present period, despite lower atmospheric CO2 concentrations. Warming periods have been repeated about every thousand years, including “the well-known Medieval Warm Period, the Hot Roman Period, and generally warm periods during the Optimal Holocene period.”

Most recent climate warming observed since 1850 followed the Little Ice Age – the coldest period of the last 10,000 years. “Since then, solar activity, following its [previous cooling-influence] millennial cycle, has increased by heating the Earth’s surface.”

The notification advises that climate, “the most complex system on our planet,” needs to be addressed with scientific methods that are “adequate and consistent with its level of complexity.”

This system “is not sufficiently understood. And while CO2 is indisputably a greenhouse gas, “according to [UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] IPCC itself, the climate sensitivity to its increase in the atmosphere is still extremely uncertain.”

The petition states that “In any case, many recent studies based on experimental data estimate that the climate sensitivity to CO2 is considerably lower than estimated by the IPCC models.” Accordingly, all evidence suggests that such models “overestimate the anthropic [human] contribution and underestimate the natural climatic variability, especially that induced by the sun, the moon, and ocean oscillations.”

Likewise, alarmist media claims that extreme weather events, such as hurricanes and cyclones, are increasing in frequency are entirely inaccurate and typically far more directly tied to natural ocean oscillation cycles.

Again, the Italian signatories from numerous universities and research organizations take strong issue against “deplorable propaganda” claiming that carbon dioxide is a pollutant rather than a molecule that is indispensable to life on our planet.

Accordingly, given “the crucial importance that fossil fuels have for the energy supply of humanity,” the petitioners urge that the EU should not adopt economically burdensome and unwarranted CO2 reduction policies under “the illusory pretense of governing the climate.”

The petitioners also emphasize that while credible facts must be based upon scientific methods, not determined by numbers of supporting theorists, there is no alleged “consensus” among specialists in many and varied climate disciplines suggesting that human-influenced climate change presents an imminent danger. They point out that many thousands of scientists have previously expressed dissent with alarmist anti- fossil energy conjecture.

More than 31,000 American scientists from diverse climate-related disciplines signed a Global Warming Petition Project rejecting limits on greenhouse gas emissions attached to the 1977 Kyoto Protocol and similar proposals. The list of signatories included 9,021 Ph.D.s, 6,961 at the master’s level, 2,240 medical doctors, and 12,850 carrying a bachelor of science or equivalent academic degree.

A 12-page petition attachment was introduced with a cover letter issued by Fredrick Seitz, a past president of the National Academy of Sciences and former president of Rockefeller University. It read, in part:

“This treaty is, in our opinion, based upon flawed ideas. Research data on climate change do not show that human use of hydrocarbons is harmful. To the contrary, there is good evidence that increased atmospheric carbon dioxide is environmentally helpful.”

The letter added, “The proposed agreement would have very negative effects upon the technology of nations around the world, especially those that are currently attempting to lift from poverty and provide opportunities to over 4 billion people in technologically undeveloped countries.”

Gratefully, an American Congress at that time listened to that sage advice and unanimously agreed. We can only fervently hope that more current legislators will continue to be equally wise.

Larry Bell contributes posts at the CFACT site. He heads the graduate program in space architecture at the University of Houston. He founded and directs the Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture. He is also the author of “Climate of Corruption: Politics and Power Behind the Global Warming Hoax.”

August 22, 2019 Posted by | Economics, Environmentalism, Science and Pseudo-Science | 1 Comment

When your beverage of choice is tritium

Welcome to France

By Linda Pentz Gunter | Beyond Nuclear | August 11, 2019

The headline — Police probe opened into rumours of unsafe tap water in Paris — raised hopes that nuclear operators might finally be held accountable for what appears to be routine radioactive contamination of drinking water in France.

News stories had circulated after a French radiological testing laboratory published findings on June 17, 2019, that more than six million French residents were drinking water contaminated with tritium released by the country’s nuclear power plants and other nuclear installations.

The laboratory — L’association pour le contrôle de la radioactivité dans l’Ouest or ACRO — raised the alarm because, it said, the presence of tritium implied there could be other radioactive isotopes in the water as well. None of the tritium levels they measured on this occasion, exceeded those French health authorities have established as “safe”, but research in the past has found higher levels, especially in groundwater, rivers and streams.

Nuclear Power Plant

The Tricastin nuclear site — source of multiple leaks and radioactive releases over decades. (Creative Commons/xklima)

That “acceptable” level is 100 Becquerels per liter, not quite as arbitrary as the shocking 10,000 Bq/L level set by the World Health Organization, in thrall to the nuclear power-promoting International Atomic Energy Agency through a 1959 agreement.

The cities affected included Paris and its suburbs, and other large population areas in the Loire and Vienne regions of France such Orléans, Tours and Nantes.

Unsurprisingly, the story spread like wildfire, especially across social media, causing alarm among residents in the communities cited — 268 in all.

But the police investigation in Paris was not of EDF, the country’s chief nuclear facility operator. It was to root out fear-mongering purveyors of “fake news” among the citizenry who, according to the French state, were unnecessarily spreading panic among the populace by claiming drinking water containing tritium is unsafe.

It is.

The independent radiological testing lab CRIIRAD (Commission for Independent Research and Information on Radioactivity) denounced what it called the “trivialization of tritium contamination” and warned French citizens not to be lulled by the 100 Bq/L levels set by the authorities and especially not by the WHO’s 10,000 Bq/L standard. CRIIRAD said the level for tritium in drinking water should be set between 10 and 30 Bq/L.

For context, in our report, Leak First, Fix Later, we noted that the “naturally occurring” levels of tritium found in surface and groundwater is, at its highest, 1 Bq/l. Therefore, tritium is almost non-existent in water in nature.

To CRIIRAD, it is therefore all the more outrageous that that the levels for radiological contamination in France are set at “more than 100 times higher than the maximum allowed for chemical carcinogens.”

Tritium is radioactive hydrogen and is therefore assimilated by all living things as water. It has a half life of 12.3 years. It is produced in huge quantities in nuclear reactor cores, then released into the environment as a gas or in liquid discharges. Tritium cannot be filtered out of water and tritium released into the air can return in rainfall. All nuclear power plants release tritium, and nuclear reprocessing facilities — such as the one at La Hague on the French north coast — release even larger amounts.

These releases, including into rivers, streams and the sea, are regulated by authorities but, as CRIIRAD points out, at levels that are not so much safe as unavoidable, effectively granting nuclear installations “permission to pollute.”

“The liquid and atmospheric releases of tritium cause contamination of the air, water, the aquatic and terrestrial environment and the food chain,” wrote CRIIRAD in a statement put out after the tritiated drinking water news broke.

When rumors began to fly that drinking tap water had been banned, authorities quickly stepped in to “reassure” people that the levels of tritium in the water — already not actually safe according to CRIIRAD — were of no concern.

The criminality of nuclear plants across France releasing huge amounts of tritium into the environment was quickly turned on its head. Instead, in a sinister but not entirely unpredictable turn of events, given that France is a nuclear state, it would be ordinary citizens who would be committing a “crime” if they were found to be “publicizing, spreading and reproducing false information intended to cause public disorder,” according to an AFP article.

In reality, there was genuine cause for concern. ACRO had found levels of tritium in drinking water at 30 Bq/L on five occasions, then at 55 Bq/L and finally at 310 Bq/L in the Loire river.

Water makes milk Graham Knott CC

Picture entitled “Water makes milk.” In France, is that milk radioactively contaminated? (Photo: Graham Knott/Creative Commons)

But drinking tritiated water is not the end of the story — or the danger.  Even though tritiated water may pass through the human body in about 10 days, about 10% of it binds organically inside the body. Organically bound tritium remains in the body for far longer than free tritium. According to CRIIRAD, this means that beta radiation from tritium can endure inside the body for years, causing chromosomal mutations, cancers and genetic mutations.

Tritium also binds organically to organisms in the environment such as aquatic plants present in rivers and streams into which nuclear facilities release tritiated water, or crops irrigated using water contaminated with tritium. These are in turn ingested by animals and humans — setting in motion tritium’s journey up the food chain.

The CRIIRAD statement notes the systematic downplaying of these risks by the nuclear safety regulator and other French governmental authorities.

This was never more apparent than during a law suit brought by CRIIRAD, the Sortir du nucléaire network, Stop Nucléaire 26-07 and FRAPNA Drôme in 2013 after the huge multi-unit Tricastin nuclear site leaked tritium into the groundwater at levels as high as 700 Bq/L.

EDF, Tricastin’s operator, claimed then that “tritium is a completely harmless radioactive isotope.”

Of course there is no such thing as a “safe dose.” Even the august and certainly not anti-nuclear National Academy of Sciences agrees. And as CRIIRAD points out, every dose increases the risk. “Since all living matter is made up of hydrogen atoms, a part of any tritium released will eventually be found in the cells of living organisms, including in the DNA, creating long-term internal irradiation that increases cancer risks (among others),” said the lab.

What of course got forgotten in all the dismissal and downplay by authorities — and in the attempts to criminalize those who sounded the alarm — is that some members of the population are more vulnerable than others when it comes to radiation exposure.

EURATOM Watch_Bildelement-398x400

There is an Europe-wide movement to abolish the Euratom Treaty. (Photo: PLAGE)

Even while a daily dose of tritiated drinking water is not good for anyone, it is far more dangerous for babies and young children and for women, especially pregnant women. But those already bad standards don’t take the most vulnerable into account.

So how did the 100 BQ/L limit come about? It is no surprise to learn that it was the influence of Euratom (no conflict there) that boosted it that high.

After CRIIRAD had pushed for a 10 Bq/L limit before the European Parliament in 2012-2013, that body settled on a 20 Bq/L limit. But its decision was swept aside after “experts” at Euratom insisted on the 100 Bq/L limit. That, among other issues, is what spurred a Europe-wide movement to abolish the Euratom Treaty.

Clearly, what should have happened in France is an investigation into the cause and source of the tritium in drinking water. Instead, there was a propaganda campaign to neutralize concern and vilify those who sounded the alarm on safety. In Nuclear France, it’s never plus ça change, but always la même chose.

August 12, 2019 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Environmentalism | , | 1 Comment

Brazil’s toxic pesticides ‘affecting people all over the world’ through agricultural exports

RT | July 30, 2019

“EU-banned pesticide[s are] being manufactured in the EU, and then coming back to citizens in the EU, in the food we eat,” environmental journalist and founding member of the Green Economic Institute think tank Oliver Tickell told RT, explaining that as one of the largest soy exporters in the world, Brazil supplies a significant quantity of the feed that cattle and other livestock worldwide consume. European consumers tucking into a juicy steak have no idea that the creature they’re eating might have been nourished on soy sprayed with highly toxic pesticides.

“This is not just a problem for Brazil and Brazilian people and people exposed in the countryside to these pesticides and consumers and farmers,” Tickell warned. “It is actually affecting people all over the world through Brazil’s agricultural exports.”

ANVISA, the Brazilian public health regulatory agency, relaxed pesticide regulations last week so that only those chemicals with lethal potential can be classified as “extremely toxic,” triggering a massive backlash from environmental groups, human rights organizations, and food safety advocates. The fervently pro-business government of President Jair Bolsonaro has already approved 262 pesticides this year, 82 of which are classed as “extremely toxic,” as he follows through on campaign promises to demolish environmental regulations and open up protected rainforest lands to mining and agriculture.

Dozens of pesticides banned or strictly regulated in the EU, including paraquat and chlorpyrifos, were already permitted for use in Brazil before Bolsonaro took power, and the country uses approximately 400,000 tons of pesticides per year, according to Human Rights Watch. While Agriculture Minister Tereza Cristina has flatly denied Brazil uses any more pesticides than any other country, attributing such allegations to “data manipulation” and accusing critics of “terrorism,” EcoWatch claims the country consumes more pesticides per capita than any other nation.

July 30, 2019 Posted by | Environmentalism | , , | 2 Comments

Wind Farm Back-of-the-Envelope Economic Analysis

By Larry F. Brown, PhD | Watts Up With That? | July 21, 2019

We visited a wind farm in southern Utah recently. I’ve always been curious about the costs, profitability, and physical size of these things as well as the footprint and environmental impact. I had 3 meetings with the man in charge of maintenance of the wind farm, a landowner who leases land accommodating 4 of the turbines, and a man who works in the industry in Colorado – and did some internet/newspaper research.

The maintenance superintendent told me they have 27 towers, that the installation cost was about $2 million each, and that each turbine is rated at 2.3 megawatts/hr but produces an average of 1.3 megawatts/hr (= 1,300 kW/hr). The blades are 187 ft long so the total height is nearly 400 feet high, and the tower at the base is about 13 ft in diameter encapsulated in huge quantity of concrete. The project pays about $1 million in taxes to the community each year and has a 20-year lease.

A nearly 400-foot-tall propeller-tower is a very imposing structure, especially in close proximity. They are huge. They make a whooshing noise and the turbine itself makes a little noise. The propellers appear to be moving very slowly but the tips of the blades normally travel at 180 to 200 mph. The blades can ice up, which requires deicing (with electricity) and can throw ice a significant distance – hence each tower has a flying ice danger zone clearly labeled with signage.

I pay about $.11/kWh for my electricity here in western Colorado. So, beginning the process of calculating the profitability of these things, each tower @ 1,300 kW/hr could produce an average of $143/hr = which would be $3,400/day = $1,253,000 of electricity/year. Sounds good – so far.

[Note – Germany boasts about their renewable energy effort but Germans pay about $.35/kWh on average – 3.3 times more than we do here in Grand Junction – and their rates can get as high as $.50/kWh.]

The $.11/kWhr I pay includes all the distribution costs, etc. The wind farm is not paid $.11/kWhr for their electricity. According to the ISO Wholesale Power Market Prices, the electric company sells electricity for about $.03/kWhr so instead of grossing $1.253 million, they might gross about $342,000 per year per turbine. Still sounds good – so far.

[The landowner indicated he gets a royalty for each tower that comes to an average of approximately $1,000/tower/month and gets paid separately for the power line easement across his land.]

“BUT WAIT!” (- as they say on late night TV when giving you the hard sell).

All of that income happens only if the machines produce 24/7/365. They don’t. They need to be down for periodic maintenance and for when the wind does not blow the right speed. I don’t know what percent of the time these particular turbines produce electricity, but studies show the wind only blows the right speed (the wind can blow both too soft and too hard) 18 to 19% of the time on average across the country. 18 to 19 % of $342,000/year = $65,000. MMmmm, all of a sudden, the economics don’t look very good. $65,000/year/tower is nowhere near enough to even pay the interest on a 5% loan to construct the $2 million tower.

It gets lots more complicated when you consider that the wind farms are being subsidized by the government with the Production Tax Credit (PTC). A tax credit should not be confused with a tax deduction. A deduction reduces the amount of income you pay taxes on. is paying taxes on. A credit is money back. And the PTC is a “Refundable Tax Credit” which means the company does not just get to pay fewer taxes but actually gets paid by the government even if it does not owe any taxes.

The PTC subsidy has been in effect now for 27 years. Congress has adjusted the PTC many times through the years but today the subsidy is about $.02/kWhr. So, the power company gets money back in the form of a subsidy for roughly 67% of what they produce – i.e., the company gets money back to the tune of $.02/kWhr after it sells the electricity for $.03/kWhr. If the company sells $3 million of electricity they get the $3 million plus a PTC subsidy of $2 million. That is a huge subsidy! In fact, I think it is the biggest subsidy ever given for anything.

T. Boone Pickens and Warren Buffett both have huge investments in these things and both have openly said that wind farms would not be economic without the PTC.

Note: Now, if I were the company and using the above example, I would report a gross income of $5 million. But, as a taxpayer, it’s more honest to say the wind farm has a gross income of $3 million. It would be dishonest to include a subsidy as profit. So, my back of the envelope calculations will go on from here without considering the subsidy as income.

Note: I would be surprised if these wind farms pay any income taxes. Potential taxable income can be written off against the investment for many years – probably the life of the project – without even dipping into the PTC.

Then, I don’t know for sure, but I think the turbine manufacturers also are subsidized by the government.

However, the economics get worse – much worse. The maintenance man said the towers cost about $2 million each – i.e., about $54 million for the 27 towers. Each tower probably does cost $2 million to install, but there are many other development costs associated such as land and right-of-way leases, power line construction, road construction, fencing, runoff control, revegetation, etc. Newspaper articles reported that this particular wind farm cost about $130 million, which is about $4.8 million per turbine. That means the income of $65,000/yr/turbine won’t even come close to paying the interest on a $4.8 million investment.

Note – According to the Wind Technologies Market Report, US wind turbine market prices in 2016 were just under $1,000 per kilowatt, or about $2.3 million for a 2.3-megawatt turbine (about $1,000 / kilowatt). These turbines installed cost about $4.8 million for a 2.3-megawatt turbine ($2,087 / kilowatt). An offshore turbine project recently approved off the coast of Virginia is projected to cost $25 million per megawatt ($25,000 per kilowatt). Wow.

In addition, the turbines are very technologically sophisticated and require constant maintenance. For example, the oils used in the turbines are very temperature sensitive and, when the turbines are not generating power, they must be heated – with electricity. Various articles point out that, although they produce electricity intermittently, they consume it continuously. Whether the wind is blowing in the desired range or not, they need power to keep the generator magnetized, to keep the blade and generator assembly facing the wind, to periodically spin that assembly to unwind the cables in the tower and to balance the pressure on the shaft, to heat the blades in icy conditions, to start the blades turning when the wind is not blowing fast enough to keep them going, to keep the blades pitched to spin at a regular rate, and to run the lights, internal control and communication systems.

One article I read indicated that in a worst case analysis, these large wind turbines might use as much electricity as they produce. I don’t assume the worst case and just lump electrical usage in with the many other maintenance costs.

I assume the maintenance cost for this wind farm (manpower on call 24 hours, office rental, trucks/fuel, electric consumption, security, snow removal, replacement parts, etc.) to be at least $750,000/year. Additional expenses of this particular wind farm (mentioned earlier) are the $1 million paid in taxes to the local government and the $1,000/tower/month) rent to the landowners. Together these 3 expenses add up to $2,074,000/year = about $77,000/turbine/year, so the income goes down from the $65,000 to a negative $12,000/turbine/year. For simplicities sake, let’s just call it $0/turbine/year. Said another way, this project, according to this back-of-the-envelope calculation, makes no money.

Note: I tried two times to get the company to review these calculations. They did not respond.

And, all those materials (and permits and land leases) have a life expectancy of 20 years. What happens after 20 years? There is a wind farm in northern Colorado that is no longer producing, purportedly because the maintenance cost is too high to rehabilitate the turbines. The wind farm sits abandoned. All mining companies are required to bond for reclamation of a site when mining is done. I do not think this is true for wind farms.

Another interesting thing is that the dynamics of the power market are shifting. It used to be that peak power prices occurred during the day. Now they occur at night when solar is not producing. Thus, renewables are now generating when the prices are lowest in the diurnal power price curve.

The bottom line back-of-the-envelope conclusion of this economic evaluation is that these things are not even close to being economic.

And, environmentally, they kill birds and bats – millions of them. I used to wonder how this could be happening. The propellers seem to be turning so slow. But the propeller blades are so long they only appear to be moving slowly. The tips of the blades are actually moving at 180 to 200 mph. No wonder a bird can’t see them coming. And, apparently bats don’t even have to be hit by the blade to die. The way bats are killed is that the passing blade creates a vacuum and the bat’s lungs explode even if he doesn’t come into contact with the blade. And, yes, I know that cars and windows and cats kill birds but cars and windows and cats don’t kill eagles and falcons and other protected birds and endangered species, and cars, windows, and cats don’t kill bats.

And, the stupidest, most injudicious, most reckless thing of all is that the Obama administration granted permits to wind farms to kill birds and bats, including endangered species. All other industries are fined big dollars for killing birds – not wind power. Double Standard? How crazy is this?

Then, the coup d’état – The craziest part of this whole thing is that we must keep 100% of the fossil fuel plants operating to generate electricity during the 80+ % of the time the wind is not blowing at the right speed. Wow. So, what do we save?

We continue to build thousands of these things at a cost to the taxpayer of $ billions/year. Why in the world are we doing this? I’m dumbfounded.

As indicated, each tower in this farm cost about $4.8 million. Assuming a 5% loan, each tower would have to produce $240 thousand per year to break even – i.e., even pay the interest on the loan. And, any normal investment would have to have some percent profit per year. I assume such an enterprise would have to earn at least another 5% per year as profit after taxes and interest to be a decent investment. That would mean that each tower would have to make $480,000 per year. My calculation indicates they don’t make any real money. My calculations might well be wrong. They might even be wrong by a factor of 2. But I doubt very much if my calculations are off by $480,000/turbine/year.

My conclusion: Companies are making money on these things, but the source of the profit is only (or at least mainly) coming from the Production Tax Credit – the subsidy paid by our government with our tax money for these projects. It’s obvious that T. Boone Pickens and Warren Buffett were right. Without the PTC (for the past 27 years) these things would not exist.

To make it worse, laws and regs have mandated electrical companies to produce x % of their electricity from renewable sources by such and such deadline. The renewables can’t make money so the electrical companies raise the overall price of electricity to cover these higher cost renewables. How silly is this? It’s very silly because the technology does not exist to store this electricity. Regardless of what Governor Brown or Governor Polis say or mandate, without storage, renewables will never replace other forms of electrical production.

The bottom line? A total waste of money – a total boondoggle – profitable to companies only because we, the taxpayer, are subsidizing them – and why are we subsidizing them? – because it’s green and it makes us feel good. And because a few “politicized scientists”, a whole bunch of liberal politicians, and the United Nations espouse that the burning of fossil fuels is causing global warming by adding CO2 to the atmosphere.

Well, we are indeed adding CO2 to the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels but CO2 is an insignificant greenhouse gas. CO2 has increased from 0.028% to 0.041% of the atmosphere (an increase of 0.013% percentage points) in the past 140 years. The theory says man’s 3% contribution to the 0.013% increase is causing global warming. How could only 3% of that minuscule 0.013% (i.e., a component comprising 0.00039% of the atmosphere) cause global warming? It can’t. Even more absurd, we are supposed to believe that taxing and selling carbon credits for that 0.00039% of the atmosphere will curtail the warming, slow the ocean level rise (as Obama promised), and save the planet?

It’s nonsensical. CO2 is not a pollutant. CO2 is a fundamental requirement for life and the added CO2 is actually greening the planet – vegetation worldwide is growing about 20% faster and using less water than it was because CO2 is a fertilizer for plant growth.

I think we should stop building these wind farms — tomorrow.

UPDATE:

Revision to: Wind Farm Back-of-the-Envelope Economic Analysis

July 21, 2019 Posted by | Economics, Environmentalism, Progressive Hypocrite, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | 2 Comments

Quakes Prompt Fears of Devastating Consequences of Proposed Nuclear Waste Dump in Nevada

Sputnik – July 19, 2019

Nevada state authorities have voiced fears that radioactivity could be released into the environment by powerful tremors, regularly hitting the proposed site of a nuclear waste repository, set to store thousands of tonnes of hazardous reactor fuel, according to the federal government’s plans.

Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak and the state’s six Congressmen and Congresswomen have confronted the country’s Department of Energy over plans to license a nuclear waste repository in Yucca Mountain in the Mojave Desert. The letter addressed to Energy Secretary Rick Perry followed powerful earthquakes in California in early July that hit an area just 100 miles northeast of the proposed waste dump site. It insisted that the seismic hazards in Yucca Mountain showed “one of the many geologic problems with the site as a nuclear waste repository”.

He stated that the quakes have only strengthened his “resolve to fight any continued federal effort to use Nevada as the nation’s nuclear dumping ground”.

“I’m proud to join our bipartisan group of federal representatives in once again sending the loud and clear message that Yucca has never been, and will never be, good for Nevada”, the letter from 16 July published by The Nevada Current reads.

The governor, joined by Senators and Representatives, threatened to challenge the DOE’s license application if its licensing resumes and criticised the federal government for considering proceeding with the development of the repository “at a location that evidences serious safety concerns and mounting uncertainties regarding its geological status”.

The letter cites the conclusions of the expert teams from the University of Nevada, Reno, and UNLV (University of Nevada in Las Vegas). In a separate letter to the governor from Reno’s experts, Nevada State Geologist James Faulds and Nevada State Seismologist Graham Kent noted that the proposed site “lies in a very dynamic, seismically active region, as evidenced by the Ridgecrest earthquakes as well as other historical temblors”. They insisted that more research is needed before the Yucca Mountain site can be determined as suitable for a nuclear waste storage.

The US government picked the area, stretching across the border between Nevada and California to store the by-products of reprocessing of old nuclear fuel into nuclear weapons-grade material in 2002. The state has fought these plans since then, debating whether the federal authorities are minimising seismic hazards there in their application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. In 2008, Nevada challenged the department’s conclusions during a NRC licensing hearing, and the project was put on hold two years later.

However, in March 2019, the current energy secretary decided to revive the licensing proceedings, allocating $116 million for the project.

July 19, 2019 Posted by | Environmentalism, Militarism, Nuclear Power, Timeless or most popular | | 2 Comments