IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Fallout from the nuclear nightmare in Japan leads to a political shift in Germany; Plutonium found in the soil around the stricken Fukushima Daiichi plant; Americans trust the EPA more than Congress... so the GOP attacks the EPA --- again ... PLUS: Questioning America's emergency response to a Fukushima-style nuclear nightmare ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!
IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): UN report: Cities ignore climate change at their peril; Study: freshwater in upper Arctic Ocean increased 20%; China 'to overtake US on science' in two years; Court OKs Air-Pollution Restrictions for Ships; TX could require disclosure of drilling chemicals; China leads clean energy ranking as U.S. falls; Massey coal mines hit with 80 citations for safety violations; Can Canada's boreal forest be saved?; Russian support for nuclear power weakens as Chernobyl anniversary nears; Trouble stalks Hanford Nuclear Waste Site, America's largest; Enviro lawyers "tied in knots" over court's ruling on CA climate law; Pittsburgh's ash, oak trees expected to die off ... PLUS: San Diego dolphin deaths linked to navy training ....
STORIES DISCUSSED IN TODAY'S 'GREEN NEWS REPORT'...
- GOP v. EPA: American Public Trusts EPA, So GOP Moves to Strip EPA of Authority To Protect Public Health:
- Dems Hope to Derail GOP's Climate Proposal: Senate Democrats hope to siphon votes from a GOP bid to hamstring EPA climate rules by voting first on a Democratic alternative. (Politico)
- Poll: Clean Water Tops Global Warming: Seventy-nine percent of those surveyed say they worry about clean water; 51 percent feel the same about global warming. (The Hill)
- Koch-Linked Group Serves Notice on Senate EPA Vote: A conservative group that spent heavily in the 2010 elections is pushing Senate lawmakers to vote this week in favor of stripping the EPA's power to regulate greenhouse gases.(The Hill)
- Japan Fallout: Germany's 'Nuclear Elections':
- Hundreds of Thousands Protest Against Nuclear Energy Across Germany: The biggest anti-nuclear protests Germany has ever seen (Common Dreams)
- Anti-nuke Greens sailing to power in German state (AP)
- Angela Merkel presses ahead with nuclear review after election loss: German chancellor plays down CDU's painful defeat in state poll dominated by Japan crisis, saying she will not reshuffle cabinet (Guardian UK)
- Hundreds of thousands protest against nuclear energy across Germany: Over 200,000 protesters took to the streets in Cologne, Berlin, Munich and Hamburg to pressure the government into abandoning nuclear energy generation. (Deutsche Welle)
- Japan's Nuclear Crisis Stirs German Politics (NPR)
- 'We are not a party of naysayers,' says first Green premier (Deutsche Welle)
- Greens force historic change of power in German state elections (Deutsche Welle):
Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) suffered significant political blows over the weekend following two state elections which saw the Greens make dramatic gains. The polls have been widely viewed as a referendum on nuclear energy.
- Nuclear groups to sue over idled plants (Financial Times):
Four nuclear power companies are preparing lawsuits against the German government in the wake of its decision to idle seven of the country's 17 nuclear-power stations.
- Angela Merkel switches off seven nuclear power plants: German chancellor's safety move follows government halt over extending 17 ageing nuclear stations (Gurdian UK)
- ONGOING COVERAGE: Japan's Ongoing Triple Disaster & Nuclear Nightmare:
- How to Help: Japan Earthquake and Tsunami (NY Times)
- UPDATED Coverage of Japan's Nuclear Disaster at BRAD BLOG.COM (BradBlog.com)
- Updated: Japan's Nuclear Emergency Explained (Mother Jones)
- Updated Full Coverage: JAPAN NUCLEAR CRISIS (Kyodo News)
- Updated Full Coverage Page at Reuters (Reuters)
- IAEA Update on Japan Earthquake (International Atomic Energy Agency)
- Facts: Nuclear Power Safety (Union of Concerned Scientists)
- LATEST DEVELOPMENTS: JAPAN'S ONGOING NUCLEAR CRISIS:
- Q+A - What is going on at Japan's damaged nuclear reactor? (Reuters)
- Einsteinium on the Beach: Japan's nuke crisis spreads to ocean (Grist)
- Japan may have lost race to save nuclear reactor (Guardian UK):
Fukushima meltdown fears rise after radioactive core melts through vessel - but 'no danger of Chernobyl-style catastrophe'
The radioactive core in a reactor at the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant appears to have melted through the bottom of its containment vessel and on to a concrete floor below, experts say, raising fears of a major release of radiation at the site.
Richard Lahey, who has worked on the plant at Fukushima, told the Guardian officials seemed to have "lost the race" to save the reactor, but added that there was no danger of a Chernobyl-style catastrophe.
- Japan works to stop radioactive water leaking into sea (BBC)
- Fukushima may end up as a concrete-encased ghost plant, says expert (Grist)
- US experts: significant water contamination in Japan (Reuters)
- Radioactive Plutonium Found in Soil Around Damaged Japanese Nuclear Plant (Voice of America)
- Japan on 'Maximum Alert' for Nuclear Crisis (VOA-Japan):
Japan's prime minister says the country is on "maximum alert" over its nuclear crisis as radiation continues to seep out of the disabled Fukushima nuclear plant and traces of plutonium have been found in the soil.
Prime Minister Naoto Kan on Tuesday also warned that the situation remains "unpredictable" at the earthquake-damaged plant. He said his government is giving its complete attention to halting the radiation leaks.
- Japan mulls nationalising Fukushima nuclear plant company: Doubt over Tepco's future coincides with mounting criticism of its handling of the worst nuclear accident in country's history (Guardian UK)
- Fukushima engineers hampered by lack of power in fight to cool reactors (Guardian UK)
- Japan to discuss nationalising Tepco, reports say (BBC)
- A Small Japanese Town, Swallowed By The Sea (NPR)
- Auto Graveyard Born From Japan Tsunami Wreckage (Reuters)
- Japan's Electricity Shortage to Last Months (New York Times)
- Renewable Energy a Pillar in Japan Reconstruction Vision: Edano: Renewable energy will play an important role in Japan's reconstruction, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said on Tuesday as the country struggled to bring a damaged nuclear plant under control.(Reuters)
- The IMPACT on U.S. Nuclear Policy & Industry:
- New York Says Indian Point Nuclear Plant a Fire Risk: The Indian Point nuclear plant has sought more than 100 exemptions from the fire code that could make it difficult to shut down the 40-year facility in an emergency, New York's AG said. (Reuters)
- Weekly Standard: Against A Fossil Fuel Renaissance (via NPR):
At the very least the events in Japan are going to reinforce the reluctance of Wall Street to invest in new nuclear power in the United States, deter insurance companies from covering nuclear plants, and increase resistance on Capitol Hill to extending the loan guarantees the nuclear industry says are essential to kick-starting more nuclear installations.
The big winner in the short and intermediate term will be fossil fuels - especially coal and natural gas - which will be used to fill the breach in Japan and elsewhere to generate electricity. Which means that the biggest loser is ironically the environmental community...
- Op-Ed: It Could Happen Here (NY Times):
The Fukushima crisis provides a chance to reform America's nuclear power regulations.
- Risk, Trust, and the Arrogance of Numbers (Almost Diamonds blog):
Numbers are nice and reassuring, but you need to know what's behind them too. In this case, you need to understand that at least some of your comfort relies on the energy industry stepping up and behaving.
- Japan Nuclear Crisis Revives Long U.S. Fight on Spent Fuel (NY Times):
The threat of the release of highly radioactive spent fuel at a Japanese nuclear plant has revived a debate in the United States about how to manage such waste and has led to new recriminations over a derailed plan for a national repository in Nevada.
- Union of Concerned Scientists Report: 14 'Near Misses' at US Plants Due to 'Lax Oversight' (Christian Science Monitor)
- UN Nuke Chief: Revamped Emergency Responses Needed (AP)
- The Nukes of Hazard (Climate Progress)
- Energy Secretary Steven Chu: Indian Point Nuclear Plant Near New York City Will Be Reviewed (Huffington Post Green)
- Critics question safety at San Onofre: It is designed to handle a 7.0 earthquake and is buffered from a tsunami by a barrier capable of stopping a 25-foot wave. Regulations for its construction were written with the disaster at Three Mile Island in mind. (San Diego Press Enterprise)
- What are the odds? US nuke plants ranked by quake risk (MSNBC):
So much for San Andreas: Reactors in East, Midwest, South have highest chance of damage
- VIDEO: Before Japan disaster, GOP mocked concerns about nuclear safety (MediaMatters.org)
- Taxpayer Meltdown?: Taxpayers, Not Utilities, Liable for Most of the Bill (National Journal)
- Cost, not Japan crisis, should scrub nuclear power (Grist)
'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (Stuff we didn't have time for in today's audio report)...
- UN report: Cities ignore climate change at their peril (BBC):
Urban areas are set to become the battleground in the global effort to curb climate change, the UN has warned.
While cities were energy intensive, the study also said that effective urban planning could deliver huge savings.
The authors warned of a "deadly collision between climate change and urbanisation" if no action was taken.)
- Study: Freshwater Content of Upper Arctic Ocean Increased 20% since 1990s (NOAA)
- China 'to overtake US on science' in two years (BBC):
China is on course to overtake the US in scientific output possibly as soon as 2013 - far earlier than expected.
That is the conclusion of a major new study by the Royal Society, the UK's national science academy.
The country that invented the compass, gunpowder, paper and printing is set for a globally important comeback.
An analysis of published research - one of the key measures of scientific effort - reveals an "especially striking" rise by Chinese science.
- Court OKs Air-Pollution Restrictions for Ships: A federal appeals court rejected a shipping industry challenge Monday to California's offshore air pollution rules requiring vessels to use low-sulfur fuel within 24 miles of the coast, standards that the court said would save about 3,500 lives over six years while modestly increasing shipping costs. (SF Chronicle)
- TX Could Require Disclosure of Drilling Chemicals (Texas Tribune):
Hydraulic fracturing, an increasingly common method of extracting natural gas that involves shooting a concoction of water, sand and chemicals deep underground, has sparked controversy around the country - not least because drillers mostly keep their chemical formulas secret. But Texas, the leading gas-producing state, could help change industry practices by requiring public disclosure of the chemicals used.
- China Leads Clean Energy Ranking as U.S. Falls (Reuters)
- Massey coal mines hit with 80 citations for safety violations (Huffington Post Green)
- Q&A: Can Canada's Boreal Forest Be Saved? (SolveClimate)
- Russian Support for Nuclear Power Weakens as Chernobyl Anniversary Nears (Voice of America)
- Hanford Nuclear Waste Site: From bombs to $800 handbags, trouble stalks America’s biggest clean-up (The Economist)
- Enviro Lawyers Tied in Knots Over Court's Ruling on Calif. Climate Law: A California court ruling suspending the implementation of the state's landmark climate change law came with a large dose of irony. (Greenwire)
- Pittsburgh's Ash, Oak Trees Expected to Die Off: Woodpeckers are already very busy, digging emerald ash borer larvae out of the city's ash trees and loving it (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
- San Diego Dolphin Deaths Linked to Navy Training (Huffington Post Green):
A Naval training exercise that included an underwater blast off San Diego's coast has been linked to at least three dolphin deaths earlier this month, prompting a probe into whether the military violated the federal law that protects marine mammals.
READER COMMENTS ON
"'Green News Report' - March 29, 2011"
(2 Responses so far...)
That is major that the core melted through the containment vessel and onto the concrete floor below.
Melting through the concrete floor and into the earth, water-table, etc. would be next unless they cool the molten blob of a core.
That's right, Dredd, and if true, it's extremely serious. But it should be clarified that the scientists saying that is not on the scene in Japan right now, and there is, as yet, no confirmation that the fuel has melted through the concrete floor of the containment structure ... No one is able to get IN to verify the condition of the containment structures, due to all that radiation.