Japan increasingly nervous about North Korea nukes

 

  • FILE - In this Sunday, April 15, 2012 file photo, a North Korean vehicle carries a missile during a mass military parade in Pyongyang's Kim Il Sung Square to celebrate the centenary of the birth of the late North Korean founder Kim Il Sung. Though it remains a highly unlikely scenario, Japanese officials have long feared that if North Korea ever decides to play its nuclear card it has not only the means but several potential motives for launching an attack on Tokyo or major U.S. military installations on Japan's main island. And while a conventional missile attack is far more likely, Tokyo is taking North Korea's nuclear rhetoric seriously. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder, File)

    Associated Press/David Guttenfelder, File – FILE – In this Sunday, April 15, 2012 file photo, a North Korean vehicle carries a missile during a mass military parade in Pyongyang’s Kim Il Sung Square to celebrate …more 

TOKYO (AP) — It’s easy to write off North Korea’s threats to strike the United States with a nuclear-tipped missile as bluster: it has never demonstrated the capability to deploy a missile that could reach the Pacific island of Guam, let alone the mainland U.S.

But what about Japan?

Though it remains a highly unlikely scenario, Japanese officials have long feared that if North Korea ever decides to play its nuclear card it has not only the means but several potential motives for launching an attack on Tokyo or major U.S. military installations on Japan’s main island. And while a conventional missile attack is far more likely, Tokyo is taking North Korea’s nuclear rhetoric seriously.

On Monday, amid reports North Korea is preparing a missile launch or another nuclear test, Japanese officials said they have stepped up measures to ensure the nation’s safety. Japanese media reported over the weekend that the defense minister has put destroyers with missile interception systems on alert to shoot down any missile or missile debris that appears to be headed for Japanese territory.

“We are doing all we can to protect the safety of our nation,” said chief Cabinet spokesman Yoshihide Suga, though he and Ministry of Defense officials refused to confirm the reports about the naval alert, saying they do not want to “show their cards” to North Korea.

North Korea, meanwhile, issued a new threat against Japan.

“We once again warn Japan against blindly toeing the U.S. policy,” said an editorial Monday in the Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of its ruling party. “It will have to pay a dear price for its imprudent behavior.”

Following North Korea’s third nuclear test in February, Japanese experts have increasingly voiced concerns that North Korea may already be able to hit — or at least target — U.S. bases and major population centers with nuclear warheads loaded onto its medium-range Rodong missiles.

“The threat level has jumped” following the nuclear test, said Narushige Michishita, a former Ministry of Defense official and director of the Security and International Studies Program at Tokyo’s National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies.

Unlike North Korea’s still-under-construction intercontinental ballistic missile, or ICBM, program, its arsenal of about 300 deployed Rodong missiles has been flight tested and is thought to have a range of about 1,300 kilometers (800 miles).

That is good enough to reach Tokyo and key U.S. military bases — including Yokota Air Base, which is the headquarters of the U.S. 5th Air Force; Yokosuka Naval Base, where the USS George Washington aircraft carrier and its battle group are home-based; and Misawa Air Base, a key launching point for U.S. F-16 fighters.

Michishita, in an analysis published late last year, said a Rodong missile launched from North Korea would reach Japan within five to 10 minutes and, if aimed at the center of Tokyo, would have a 50-percent probability of falling somewhere within the perimeter of Tokyo’s main subway system.

He said Japan would be a particularly tempting target because it is close enough to feasibly reach with a conventionally or nuclear-armed missile, and the persistent animosity and distrust dating back to Japan’s colonization of the Korean Peninsula in 1910 provides an ideological motive.

Also, a threat against Japan could be used to drive a wedge between Tokyo and Washington. North Korea could, for example, fire one or more Rodong missiles toward Tokyo but have them fall short to frighten Japan’s leaders into making concessions, stay out of a conflict on the peninsula or oppose moves by the U.S. forces in Japan to assist the South Koreans, lest Tokyo suffer a real attack.

“Given North Korea’s past adventurism, this scenario is within the range of its rational choices,” Michishita wrote.

Officials stress that simply having the ability to launch an attack does not mean it would be a success. They also say North Korea is not known to have actually deployed any nuclear-tipped missiles.

Tokyo and Washington have invested billions of dollars in what is probably the world’s most sophisticated ballistic missile defense shield since North Korea sent a long-range Taepodong missile over Japan’s main island in 1998. Japan now has its own land- and sea-based interceptors and began launching spy satellites after the “Taepodong shock” to keep its own tabs on military activities inside North Korea.

For the time being, most experts believe, North Korea cannot attack the United States with a nuclear warhead because it can’t yet fashion one light enough to mount atop a long-range ICBM. But Japanese analysts are not alone in believing North Korea has cleared the “miniaturization” problem for its medium-range weapons.

In April 2005, Lowell Jacoby, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that North Korea had the capability to arm a missile with a nuclear device. In 2011, the same intelligence agency said North Korea “may now have” plutonium-based nuclear warheads that it can deliver by ballistic missiles, aircraft or “unconventional means.”

The Pentagon has since backtracked, saying it isn’t clear how small a nuclear warhead the North can produce.

But David Albright, a physicist at the Institute for Science and International Security think tank, said in an email he believes the North can arm Rodong missiles with nuclear warheads weighing as much as several hundred kilograms (pounds) and packing a yield in the low kilotons.

That is far smaller than the bombs dropped on Hiroshima or Nagasaki but big enough to cause significant casualties in an urban area.

Japan also is a better target than traditional enemy South Korea because striking so close to home with a nuclear weapon would blanket a good part of its own population with the fallout.

Regardless of whom North Korea strikes — with a nuclear or conventional weapon — it can be assured of one thing: a counterattack by the United States.

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Chinese Media On War Footing

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As WSWS articles have been emphasising, a militarist atmosphere is being created in China. The theme is the imminence of war with Japan. In the past weeks, nearly every news report features the latest “provocation” by Japan over the disputed Diaoyu islands, for example, the fact that Japan discussed allowing its air force to fire warning shots to ward off Chinese aircraft. There are regular heated debates on various television “focus” programs, where participants call for war on Japan if any damage is done to Chinese vessels or aircraft.

For a number of academics, military and strategic “analysis” has become the latest boom industry. On TV shows they speculate endlessly about the various scenarios for the upcoming war with Japan, the implications of US strategic encirclement, and so on. They comment on the latest Chinese weapons and their use in such a conflict. A leading figure, Rear Admiral Zhang Shaozhong from the National Defense University, bragged on China Central Television that, if war broke out, China could “finish off Japan in 30 minutes.” During last year’s standoff with the Philippines over the Scarborough Shoal, Zhang proposed going to war with Manila because it would be a “one-sided fight”—assuming, of course, that the US did not intervene.

China’s people are being constantly bombarded by reports of new fighters, tanks and missiles. This month, the military unveiled plans to build six 20,000-tonne amphibious assault ships capable of carrying helicopters, tanks and marines, for the upcoming “island warfare” in the South China Sea or East China Sea. The media celebrated the testing of China’s first domestically-built military transport plane capable of delivering heavy tanks to a distant war. A diagram showed that the plane could reach North Africa, where thousands of Chinese nationals had to be evacuated during the Libyan war in 2011. The program also showed that the plane could drop Chinese troops in Sydney international airport in the event of a war with Australia.

On the newsstands in the street, full color magazine covers depict a dogfight with a Japanese warplane, or an anti-ship missile flying toward an American aircraft carrier. Jingoistic tabloids like the Global Times, owned by the official People’s Daily, are becoming increasing influential. Not long ago, it featured an essentially racist “analysis” explaining that pre-war Japanese militarism was rooted in Japanese culture. An ad on the Global Times site referred to the fact that in Japan a man, who beat to death a Chinese student, was only jailed for a few years. It was designed to incite anti-Japanese racism.

Militarism is also being fanned on the Internet. The same analysts have xenophobic blogs attacking “foreign enemies,” and these helped to provoke the anti-Japanese demonstrations last year over the Diaoyu islands conflict. Just as Beijing gave the green light for these sometime violent protests, so the Internet police, who are quick to crack down on any government critics, seem to be allowing the ultra-nationalists on the web to say anything they like.

It is sometimes is hard to distinguish private opinion from government views. As the discussion was heating up about Japanese warning shots, Hefei Online, the official news portal of Anhui province’s capital city, published an article calling for nuclear attacks on Japan if China failed to defeat the Japanese air force. It boasted that China could launch “2-5 waves of nuclear strikes against Japan within 24 to 72 hours.” After discounting Japan’s anti-missiles systems, the article concluded: “In such an initial nuclear war with Japan, large cities including Tokyo will be annihilated by nuclear strikes.”

I want to point out that this type of madness has only a limited appeal. Ordinary Chinese have no enthusiasm for a war. No-one thinks of China as a superpower that can challenge Japan, and its ally, the United States. Most people have to exist on a few dollars a day, and they feel that they are living more in a Third World nation than in an advanced country.

But militarism is finding a response in some members of the new upper middle class, which has developed since the restoration of capitalism and the market in China in the 1980s. They have a dream of China becoming a world power, enriching themselves, and they regard the existing powers, especially Japan and the US, as obstacles to their ambitions. They have only contempt for the Chinese workers, and feel threatened by them. In fact, these rich Chinese have a lot in common with the very Japanese ultra-nationalists and “right-wing militarists” they denounce.

wwjjOf course, it would be wrong to think that every TV show, news program and magazine is devoted to militarism, but compared to even the recent past, there is a marked change. The voices of moderation are being sidelined. There are representatives of certain businesses who are afraid of international isolation, let alone war. But even the editorials that try to calm the most open militarists emphasize that China’s grand national strategy for rapid economic growth must include military preparedness to counter any attempt by the Western powers to change the game through “non-economic means.”

This ever-present discussion of war has another political purpose. It is trying to turn people’s attention away from the social crisis inside China and justify spending tens of billions of yuan on the military, instead of on public hospitals and schools. There are hardly any reports on strikes, protests in rural areas and street riots, which are all taking place, but it is very hard to find out about them.

Social inequality is getting worse. No one really believes that the government is serious about cracking down on corruption, which exists at every level. Rumors are spreading, for example, that thousands of officials are selling property to get cash to flee the country.

On the streets, you occasionally see a brightly-colored luxurious European-made sports car while poverty-stricken rural migrant workers stand nearby, hoping that someone will stop and give them some sort of work. Everyone knows the driver is the son or daughter of some well-connected Communist Party official or a rich businessperson.

Ordinary Chinese have new words and phrases to describe these members of the elite. They are called “the rich second generation” or the “power second generation,” who have gotten their fabulous wealth from their parents. No one sees them as the “hard working” entrepreneurs that Deng Xiaoping used to praise. Now they are regarded as aristocrats who have done nothing to deserve their extravagant life-styles.

These people will do anything to hold on to their wealth, prestige and power, including launching a war.

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Wormhole UFO Russia On Christmas Eve, Similar To 2009 Norway Spiral, And Japan, Mexico And China Wormhole Claims

russia wormhole ufoA must see declares YouTube poster TheBeginning IsNear.  Wormhole UFO appears over Russia!  December 23 / 24, 2012!

The above video is a bit reminiscent of the spiral UFO video that appeared in Norway in 2009 although there is no spiral cloud as well as a sighting in China in 2011.

This was filmed over china, July 9th and stopped the airports for 4 hours! incredible footage. i use the term wormhole because most people searching this phenomena tend to use that (wormhole) as a search term.

Between 7 and 9 o clock in the morning, december 9, 2009 this strange thing happened in the skies above Norway. Thousands of people saw this, took photos and filmed it and posted to their blogs. It appeared in the east, moving westwards.

It was described as a spiral moving light, completely silent. After about 1 minute or so, the light disappeared and seemed to dissolve, leaving a grey mist/halo expanding, then dissolving. The green/blue light trail remained for hours. People describing it as frightening/exciting and beautiful.

Norwegian defense say they don’t know what it is. Russians say they have not launched any rockets, neither have the Norwegian Andøya rocketsite.

1260348631558_532It is not Aurora borealis, and not a meteor since it remained in the skies for more than 2 minutes. Russian, Swedish and Norwegian rocket sites report they have not fired any rockets. Nobody knows what this is.

There was also a wormhole claim in Moscow in 2009 as well as similar sightings in Mexico and Japan.

 

 

 

WWIII Within Days? Food-For-Guns Program Next, Says Informant

War drums beat in the Middle East and, now, the drums suddenly beat strongly between two Asian mights. That, on top of a global financial system on the brink of entering the slide to hyperinflation has many thoughtful analysts suggesting that the so-called ‘Illuminati’ are perpetrating the blatant insults and non-stop diplomatic faux pas directed at the Muslim world in an effort to instigate, what is likely to escalate into, WWIII.

As global leaders and their populous watch the plan by Western powers in the Middle East unfold, an effort to shape a narrative of an enemy initiating an attack as the explanation for the inevitable Armageddon economic fallout of a reckless dollar-based banking system gone afoul, along with a collapsing petrodollar system, is underway.

A collapsing dollar translates to unaffordable U.S. oil imports, ergo, a total collapse of the U.S. economy, ergo, massive civil unrest among heavily-armed citizens in the streets of America.

The telltale signs of impending war is on, and the White House wants American guns—the most difficult of all missions of the ‘globalist’.

As former Governor of Minnesota and ex-Navy Seal Jesse Ventura said in a CNN interview on Sept. 17, “All wars start with a false-flag attack.”

Picking up where Ventura left off, in the opening remarks of his Sept. 19 show, TruNews’ Rick Wiles delineates the recent series of events that lend much credence to Ventura’s professional military opinion of today’s geopolitical news. After all, Navy Seals, at times, are trained for, and become involved with, vital components of a false-flag attack mission.

Rick Wiles gives his global audience a rundown of recent events and paints a picture of impending war, too obvious to miss.

Mobs in China were reported carrying signs demanding the U.S. to pay back $1 trillion owed to the Chinese for decades of trade surpluses; Ambassador Gary Locke’s car was attacked by a mob of Chinese on Monday; protesters chanting ‘The Japanese are dogs’ in the streets of China; and a French newspaper published on Tuesday a highly controversial and insulting cartoon depicting the Muslim prophet Mohammad with a star affixed to his buttocks, with the caption, “A star is born.”

“Personally, I suspect the publication of the cartoons in a French magazine is part of a deliberate strategy by the Illuminati to spark the opening shots of WWIII,” says Wiles. “Nobody in his right mind would pour gasoline on a fire at this time.”

He adds, “Furthermore, I suspect the publication of the cartoons has given France a legitimate cover to evacuate their ambassadors and embassy personnel before the war starts, very soon.”

As a conservative Christian and daily radio host, Wiles, on the surface, appears as an unlikely source of critical information. But those steeped in the history of the Christian faith know that religious beliefs always trump the propaganda and inculcation efforts by the State. Therefore, it’s no surprise that other devout Christians who have attained high levels of security clearances and positions of authority leak information to Wiles, privately, off-air.As a self-described and arguably the most vocal ‘Watchman’ of the Christian faith, there’s little doubt that, while Wiles is watching the FBI, CIA and DHS, they are, indeed, watching him. Wiles has reported unexplainable technical problems at his studio following several whistle-blower guests.

As a self-described and arguably the most vocal ‘Watchman’ of the Christian faith, there’s little doubt that, while Wiles is watching the FBI, CIA and DHS, they are, indeed, watching him.  Wiles has reported unexplainable technical problems at his studio following several whistle-blower guests.

“This is out of control, now.  I .. . I have . . . I have been given . . . let me put it like this,” as Wiles carefully formulates his dialogue of fresh information told to him from his informants, “tidbits of important information have come my way in recent weeks from various sources that clearly <pause> it was divinely ordained by God that people that I know would [over]hear a conversation, be told to someone by somebody in a high-level position to know.  It’s been a number of things.”

Wiles continues to reveal other startling information told to him by another of his legion of informants.

“I’ll give you an example, we had Nathan Leal here a week or two ago,” says Wiles.  “Nathan was told by a person . . . I can’t give out the person’s position, but, he was at a party, in which, a person at that party . . . it was a birthday party for a family member . . . and that person was a retired U.S. government intelligence agency employee, who confided in Nathan’s friend that there will be a food shortage, and food will be offered in return for the surrender of firearms.

“There will be a food for guns exchange program.  And this person said, this is not a rumor, it’s not a conspiracy; I’ve seen the working documents for this plan.

“There’s been a steady flow [of information of this type].”

And yet another source, this one, unwitting.

“I’ll give our listeners another one, without giving out the source,” Wiles continues.  “I just so happened to be talking to someone who visited our office, somebody who lives here in Vero Beach, not Vero Beach, let’s say the Treasure Coast of Florida, who, not knowing what I do, what I say, what this program is about . . . but as the conversation changed, this person confided to me that her brother formally worked at the White House under a former administration at a very high level, and that he was telling her privately that many people in that former administration are concerned that Mr. Obama will not leave the White House, and that her brother is making private plans for his own protection and safety around the election.”

I’m getting information “almost daily” now; “we’re getting a picture that something ominous is underway, right now.”

Though the claim of calculated misinformation campaigns to dupe the American public seems more than a reasonable explanation for the large number of ‘leaks’ from informants at DHS, NSA, CIA, Pentagon and other arms of U.S. intelligence, an equally and more compelling explanation for the sudden increase in Wiles’ cadre of informants comes from the guest of the Sept. 19 broadcast, Aaron Brickman, a private investor and market cycles analyst.

“I suspect it will continue, continue exponentially as the days become more ominous and events pick up,” says Brickman.  “When they [White House and U.S. departments] are working behind the scenes year after year, they can keep a certain amount of secrecy [within] limited people in the loop, but as you get closer to the event, more people have to be brought in, and you get leaks like this.

Fuji Time Bomb: Volcano to Erupt Due to New Pressures

Japanese scientists predict Mt. Fuji will blow due to new tectonic pressures that are higher than when the volcano last erupted more than 300 years ago. Estimates say the eruption will affect more than 400,000 people and cost over $30 billion.

The National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention has issued a warning that Japan’s 9.0 magnitude undersea quake last year, plus an aftershock four days later near Mt. Fuji, has created large pressure on the volcano’s magma chamber, which could lead to an eruption.

Mt. Fuji has already been classified as an active volcano, but scientists revealed new readings that show that the current pressure is at 1.6 megapascals, nearly 16 times higher than that required to trigger an eruption (0.1 megapascals).

It is “not a small figure”, Kyodo News quotes lead volcanologist on the case as saying.

However, no signs of an eruption have so far been detected.

Nevertheless, “it’s possible for Mt. Fuji to erupt even several years after the 2011 earthquake, therefore we need to be careful about the development,” a team researcher stated.

Predicted damage

Japan’s tallest mountain and national symbol poses a high risk to its own population.

In 2004, the government estimated a Fuji eruption would affect more than 400,000 people around the Tokyo area and cost $31.25 billion in damages. Further, volcanic dust from Mt. Fuji is said be likely to travel more than 100 km and be able to reach Tokyo, which could lead to the national capital losing its ability to function for several months, Wired Magazine reports.

Prefectures that could potentially be affected, such as Kanagawa, Yamanashi and Shizuoka (all in between Mt. Fuji and Tokyo), are planning to test run an evacuation by 2014 and local governments will prepare shelter plans by April 2013.

Newly-detected pressure is not the only thing that could trigger an eruption. Researchers published evidence in May that Mt. Fuji might even collapse if a newly-discovered fault-line underneath it were to shift. This could be triggered by various factors, including slight tremors in the surrounding area.

Fuji’s last recorded eruption was in 1707, which lasted for just over two weeks and formed a new crater and a second peak halfway down the side of the mountain. Fuji emitted 800 million cubic meters of volcanic ash, which spread over vast areas, even reaching the ancient capital of Edo, almost 100 km away.

Many people lost their lives from starvation after the eruption since they could not obtain food from their lands or move elsewhere because of damages caused by the volcano, stated Naomichi Miyaji from Nihon University.

Source

Japanese report blames government/corporate nexus for Fukushima disaster

A major report released on Thursday into last year’s Fukushima nuclear catastrophe details the systematic collusion between government, the state bureaucracy and the nuclear industry in Japan that produced the world’s worst nuclear accident since the 1986 Chernobyl meltdown in the Ukraine.

The devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck northern Japan on March 11, 2011 rapidly led to a full-blown crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, operated by the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO). The loss of power to the plant, followed by the failure of back-up supplies, produced partial meltdowns in three reactors—units 1, 2 and 3—and hydrogen explosions that badly damaged reactor buildings and discharged radioactive material.

The report was produced by the Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission (NAIIC), which was established by parliament last year. The creation of the commission—the first of its kind—was clearly aimed at dispelling widespread public distrust and opposition to the nuclear industry, which is notorious for misinformation and cover-ups. The findings are unusually blunt.

NAIIC is scathing of the government, the industry regulators and TEPCO, declaring that “they effectively betrayed the nation’s right to be safe from nuclear accidents.” It concluded that “the accident was clearly ‘manmade’”—that is, the product of inadequate safety procedures and failure to institute measures whose necessity had been foreseen, but not put in place by TEPCO, and not insisted upon by governments or regulators.

At the Fukushima plant, engineers and workers struggled to respond to the unfolding disaster in conditions for which they had not been trained or drilled. The loss of power meant that the plant’s control rooms, lighting and communications were not functioning. Response manuals were out of date, and had key diagrams and documents missing. Emergency equipment was inferior to that used in normal operations. Debris and damage made the movement of people and equipment difficult.

“The Commission discovered that, in reality, an even worse situation could have developed at Units 2 and 3, and the situations at Units 5 and 6 could have easily worsened,” the report stated. “Damage to the spent fuel of Unit 4 could have occurred, with greater affect to the wider surrounding environment. There was a distinct potential at the time for this disastrous accident to result in an even more frightening scenario.”

TEPCO’s response had been self-serving and inadequate. Neither its chairman nor president was available at the time of the accident. Its manual for responding to a severe accident “was completely ineffective and the measures it specified did not function.” TEPCO failed to adequately communicate the situation at Fukushima to the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) or the prime minister’s office. As a result, Prime Minister Naoto Kan intervened directly, compounding the chaos at the plant.

The lack of information or a clear plan from the government, its agencies and TEPCO led to a disorderly evacuation of more than 145,000 local residents. “Evacuation orders were repeatedly revised as the evacuation zones expanded from the original 3-kilometre radius to 10 kilometres and later, 20 kilometres, all in one day,” the report stated. “Each time the evacuation zone expanded, the residents were required to relocate. Some evacuees were unaware that they had been relocated to sites with high levels of radiation. Hospitals and nursing homes in the 20-kilometre zone struggled to secure evacuation transportation and find accommodation; 60 patients died in March from complications related to the evacuation.”

The report concluded that TEPCO, the regulatory bodies (NISA and the Nuclear Safety Commission) and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) “all failed to correctly develop the most basic safety requirements—such as assessing the probability of damage, preparing for collateral damage from such a disaster, and developing evacuation plans for the public in the case of a serious radiation release.”

NAICC criticised TEPCO’s conclusion that the tsunami alone was responsible for the disaster. It pointed to evidence that the huge earthquake might have caused some damage before the wave struck. The issue is significant as TEPCO’s delays in strengthening the older reactors at Fukushima against quakes, and NISA’s failure to enforce guidelines, could lead to legal liability. As the report noted, TEPCO simply ignored a June 2009 deadline for a comprehensive anti-seismic analysis of the Fukushima facility and had made no structural reinforcements to Units 1, 2 and 3 by the time of the disaster.

According to the report, “researchers repeatedly pointed out the high possibility of tsunami levels reaching beyond the assumption made at the time of [the plant’s] construction, as well as the possibility of [reactor] core damage in the case of such a tsunami. TEPCO overlooked these warnings, and the small margins of safety that existed were far from adequate for such an emergency situation.” The regulatory authorities and TEPCO were aware that a tsunami could swamp the plant’s back-up electricity supplies, leading to a catastrophic loss of power, but did nothing.

The collusion between TEPCO and its regulators was institutionalised. NISA was part of the powerful METI ministry that was responsible for promoting the nuclear industry. The report described the relationship between the regulators and the power companies and their lobby group—the Federation of Electric Power Companies (FEPC)—as one of “regulatory capture,” in which “the oversight of the industry by regulators effectively ceases.”

The report added: “The Commission’s examination of the way safety regulations are deliberated and amended reveals a cozy relationship between the operators, regulators and academic scholars that can only be described as totally inappropriate. In essence, the regulators and the operators prioritised the interests of their organisations over the public’s safety, and decided that Japanese nuclear power plant reactor operations ‘will not be stopped’.”

While limited in its scope and recommendations, the NAICC investigation of the Fukushima disaster is a devastating indictment of the way in which the government, regulatory agencies and power companies ignored warnings and failed to implement basic safety measures.

The report’s content makes absurd the attempt of NAICC chairman Kiyoshi Kurokawa to blame “the ingrained conventions of Japanese culture: our reflexive obedience; our reluctance to question authority; our devotion to ‘sticking with the program’; our groupism; and our insularity.”

In the first instance, there has been no shortage of critics of the nuclear industry in general and TEPCO in particular. These people, particularly those employed in the industry, have been subjected to systematic harassment and bullying.

More fundamentally, the collusion between big business and government at the expense of public safety and health is not a peculiarly Japanese phenomenon, but a product of the profit system. The flouting of basic safety requirements by TEPCO and its regulators was not much different to BP’s disregard for essential safeguards that led to the Gulf of Mexico oil crisis in 2010.

The NAICC report noted: “As the nuclear power industry became less profitable over the years, TEPCO’s management began to put more emphasis on cost cutting and increasing Japan’s reliance on nuclear power. While giving lip service to a policy of ‘safety first,’ in actuality, safety suffered at the expense of other management priorities.”

Just 15 months after the Fukushima crisis, the Japanese government has given the go-ahead for the restarting of the country’s nuclear reactors, despite overwhelming public opposition. The No 3 reactor at the Oi nuclear plant recommenced operation on the same day that the NAICC report was released—that is, before any of its recommendations were discussed, let alone implemented. The decision was driven by same profit demands that produced last year’s catastrophe.

Source

Obama’s October Surprise: Largest War Games in US-Israeli History

Richard Silverstein reports on newly published accounts in the Hebrew language journal, Maariv, that the US and Israel will conduct a massive war game/military exercise “of immense importance” in October.

Silverstein interprets this war game in the context of the tension between Israel and Iran and the US presidential election.  In his first sentence, Silverstein says the war games will be “a ‘dress rehearsal’ for the aftermath of an Israeli attack on Iran.”

But further into his analysis, Silverstein examines other possibilities.  For instance, that the war game might be cancelled if Israel does, indeed, attack Iran, or that the exercise represents “tacit acceptance that Israel won’t attack Iran until the (presidential) elections.”  While Silverstein’s analysis is so broad as to be indeterminate, he is convinced that the timing of the war games is predicated on the US presidential election and the heightening tensions between Israel and Iran.  The most likely interpretation is that posited in Maariv, that the war games will represent an aftermath to an Israeli attack on Iran scheduled for September or October as originally reported in the Guardian last January.

Israel’s daily Maariv reported yesterday that the long delayed war games between U.S. and Israeli forces will take place in October. It noted that some commentators are calling it a “dress rehearsal” for the aftermath of an Israeli attack on Iran. IDF sources quoted in the article called the exercises “of immense importance.”

These will be the largest such military maneuvers in the history of the joint U.S.-Israel relationship. They were originally scheduled for several months ago but were canceled abruptly, according to some, at the behest of Ehud Barak, who wanted to send a message to the U.S. that Israel might be planning an attack and prefer not to have such an event interfere with it.

Three thousand U.S. Air Force personnel and a larger IDF contingent will focus on air warfare and missile defense. The primary goal is to prepare for the aftermath of an Israeli attack on Iran and the expected counterattack against Israel.

The date of the war games is no accident, coming only a few weeks before the presidential election. They will thus serve two purposes: shoring up Jewish support for Obama’s campaign and reassuring Israel that the U.S. will provide it every weapon money can buy to defend itself should it counterattack Iran. One expects that all this might be predicated on an Israeli commitment not to attack Iran quite yet — perhaps not until sometime after Nov. 4?

As part of the proceedings, the U.S. will bring new military hardware and technology Israel hasn’t yet seen, such as an upgraded battery of the Patriot PAC-3 missile system designed as a backup security system in case the higher-level security systems fail to shoot down Iran’s missiles and the Aegis anti-missile radar system. Israel will also demonstrate the new Arrow 2 missile, which will be able to detect missile launches even earlier than previously.

Emphasis will be placed on combating the ballistic threat from Iran. This is meant as an explicit message to Iran, which has threatened a broad response to an Israeli attack, that such an attack on Israel will fail and isn’t worth trying. Of course, the assumption behind this is that Israel believes that it can both attack Iran and face no consequences from such an attack: one of the most glaring examples of having your cake and eating it too I’ve yet seen.

Other factors that will play a role in this exercise will be the possibility that Syria and Hezbollah would join with Iran in attacking Israel. In preparation for the exercises, Lt. Gen. Craig Franklin, commander of the 3rd Air Force, visited Israel recently and launched a joint command that would conduct the war games.

Business Insider also reports that the Defense Department has awarded Raytheon a $338-million contract for 361 Tomahawk cruise missiles. Most of them will be configured for at-sea launches from guided-missile cruisers such as those patrolling with the Navy’s Fifth Fleet just outside Iranian waters. Though they won’t be delivered till 2014, they might be ordered in the expectation that current stock could be depleted in the sort of attack Israel and/or the U.S. might launch against Iran.

What is particularly disturbing in all this is that the U.S. seems to be inching ever closer to supporting an Israeli attack on Iran. While Obama and his officials have appeared to be reigning in Netanyahu, holding him back from an attack, this type of military preparation serves as a wink and a nod to such supposed efforts at restraint.

The end result is that if Israel does attack, it will be able to point to this military exercise as an example of U.S. encouragement of such an approach. Bibi will quite reasonably argue: Why did you show us all this missile defense hardware designed to protect us in the event we strike Iran, if you didn’t expect us to do so? And he will be right.

Further, military preparations of this sort indicate an acceptance by the U.S. that diplomacy can’t possibly work. Instead of serving as a threat toward Iran, as Obama might argue, that this is what lies in store if it doesn’t negotiate in good faith, it may instead be seen as a cynical statement by us that we ourselves don’t believe negotiations can work. In other words, it could be a self-fulfilling prophecy that leads to war.

Some might argue that scheduling such exercises indicates a tacit acceptance by Israel that it won’t attack Iran until the elections. But that might not be so. There is no reason Netanyahu couldn’t simply attack, causing the automatic cancellation of the war games. Some Israeli military-security insiders have told Reuters that they believe Bibi will attack before the elections in the belief that Obama will feel compelled to support Israel due to the sensitivity of a potentially close election campaign. Such projection on Israel’s part tells much more about its self-involved egoism than it does about any actual U.S. response to an attack.

Meanwhile, Kenneth Waltz, an international relations specialist at Columbia University argues in “Why Iran Should Get the Bomb” that precisely what’s needed in the Middle East is an Iranian bomb to establish a power balance in the region. He believes that, given the current status of nuclear proliferation in the world, it’s better for states not to have a regional monopoly as Israel does. A balanced standoff such as between Pakistan and Iran, the U.S. and Russia, or China and Japan (the latter has breakout capacity but hasn’t actually created a weapon) actually promotes stability rather than the opposite. It’s a provocative, contrarian approach but quite persuasive.

Fukushima Daiichi: From Nuclear Power Plant to Nuclear Weapon

“Our world is faced with a crisis that has never before been envisaged in its whole existence… The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking, and thus we drift towards unparalleled catastrophe.” Albert Einstein, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, May, 1946.
Albert Einstein’s Warning and the Ominous Fate of Fukushima Daiichi

As the bad news gradually spreads that the debacle at Fukushima nuclear power plant #1 is becoming more perilous rather than less so, the words of Albert Einstein come to mind. Recall that the legendary physicist, Einstein, helped to set in motion the Manhattan Project whose personnel designed and built the first atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. In his letter to US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1939 Einstein warned that if the United States did not enter and win the race to harness the destructive potential of atomic weaponry, Germany would almost certainly do so.

The Manhattan Project became a primary prototype for the Research and Development–R and D– partnerships linking the US government and for-profit corporations in what a Dwight D. Eisenhower would later describe as “the military-industrial complex.” Einstein himself did not directly participate in this huge initiative aimed at defeating the Axis powers linking Japan with Germany and Italy. One of the twentieth century’s most iconographic thinkers watched from the sidelines as other physicists and technologists applied many of Einstein’s theories to the building of atomic weaponry.

After Japan lay in ruins, not only from the atomic destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki but also from the massive carpet bombing of Tokyo and several other urban centers, Einstein went public with his fears and anxieties. In famous passages that have been subject to various translations and paraphrasing Einstein observed, “Our world is faced with a crisis that has never before been envisaged in its whole existence… The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking, and thus we drift towards unparalleled catastrophe.”

Japan as Laboratory

There have been many previews of the catastrophe anticipated by Einstein in the period after 1945 and before the March 3, 2011, 3/3/11, the day an earthquake and tsunami set in motion a chain reaction of interconnected crises that ruined Japan’s oldest operating nuclear power plant. The evidence grows every day that this local incident extends to national, regional and global chain reactions that one way or another will end Japan as we have known it and will transform our world in ways that are difficult even to imagine at this early stage of the crisis.

The direction and quality of this transformation depends very much on whether we can transform our way of thinking to adapt to the transformations brought about by our explorers of science and the innovators of technology that travel in their wake. By charting a course heading deep into inner space and tapping the volatile energy sources emanating from matter’s molecular constitution our civilization has been altered in ways that put us face to face with Einstein’s prophecy.

The four-decades-old installation on Japan’s eastern coast was at the moment of Fukushima #1’s destruction a virtual museum of nuclear technology. The design of the six GE Mark I reactors had been lifted from that of the power plant developed in the early 1950s for the US Navy’s first nuclear submarine.

As the tsunami hit, one of these antique GE reactors, number 3, was filled with the newest generation of plutonium-laced Aveda MOX fuel rods. A basic ingredient of nuclear bombs, plutonium isotypes are sprinkled among the 500 or so radionuclides currently being spread into air, ocean and groundwater from the massive explosions that transformed the Fukushima Daiichi power plant into the world’s largest and most menacing nuclear weapon.

In Japanese daiichi means number one. Fukushimi nuclear power plant #2, Fukushima Daini, is also situated on the Pacific coast about seven miles closer to Tokyo than Fukushima #1. Fukushima #2 also incurred major damage on 3/3/11. Presently all 54 nuclear power plants in Japan save one are completely shut down.

There is every reason to suspect that the vital information about the full extent of the nuclear disaster in Japan is still being kept from the public; that the life-threatening damage to Japan’s nuclear infrastructure does not end with Fukushima #1. The lack of public trust in an industry notorious for its lies, secrecy, military underpinnings, and lack of credible regulation is infusing resolve into the growing movement within Japan and around the world demanding that the nuclear power grid in one of the world’s most unstable geological regions should never be switched back on.

The growing evidence of increased frequency and severity of earthquakes in Japan with attending tsunami dangers adds urgency to the argument for the permanent decommissioning of nuclear installations that should never have been built in the first place. Some fundamental shift seems to taken place in the tectonic plates underlying this unstable region.

The Fukushima Debacle is Only in Its Infantcy

The growing realization that the worst of the Fukushima debacle lies in the future rather than in the past puts in sharp relief the pertinence of Einstein’s observation. Indeed, the prophetic nature of Einstein’s warning is starkly reflected in the failure of so many in government, in the media, in the academy, and especially in the richly-funded inner sanctums of the nuclear industry to respond appropriately to the terrifying implications of what is going so terribly wrong at Japan’s spewing Fukushima #1 power plant.

Rooted in old and outmoded motifs of perception, officialdom’s failure to identify the proliferating menaces in this unprecedented convergence of circumstances has extremely grave implications. What is being done and, more importantly, what is not being done at Fukushima nuclear plant #1 tragically illustrates Albert Einstein’s pivotal observation that the unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our old ways of thinking.

A major obstacle blocking proper perception of the Fukushima debacle’s true nature has its origins in a propaganda meme going back to the 1950s. Initiated by US President Dwight D. Eisenhower with his “Atoms for Peace” speech at the United Nations in late 1953, this propaganda meme seeks to disassociate entirely the dual compartments within the nuclear industry.

While the global public has been fooled into thinking that the supposedly civilian branch of the nuclear industry is totally separate from its dominant military branch, this distinction is really a phantom.From its inception the deployment of nuclear energy to generate electricity was designed to give PR cover to the hugely lucrative and totally immoral business of building nuclear weapons. Indeed, to this day the bomb builders draw some of their ingredients such as tritium for their weapons of mass destruction for the operation of nuclear power plants.

http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2010/feb/03/sequoyah-to-produce-bomb-grade-material/

The façade of duality makes it difficult to see what is really transpiring at Fukushima. At Fukushima we are witnessing an installation built for the seemingly benign purpose of generating electric power suddenly transformed into a stationary weapon piled high with fissionable material with far more potential for mass    destruction than a vast arsenal of large nuclear bombs.

Radioactivity as a Slow But Sure Weapon of Mass Destruction

In order to face squarely the hard truths of what is transpiring at Fukushima, it is necessary to possess some understanding of the powerful effects that many different forms of nuclear radioactivity have on life’s cyclical renewal. While radiation itself is as old as the universe, the capacity of human beings to generate this force of nature through the power of nuclear technology is something new under the sun.

Humanity’s new means of unleashing energies with godlike agency to alter life’s genetic blueprints, the very DNA of existence, forms by far the most consequential of the changes that Einstein warned us about. The stunning failure of Japanese and international responses so far to Fukushima’s radioactive emissions—emissions that could skyrocket at any moment beyond the wallop of what would be emitted from a full-fledged nuclear war — constitutes a tragic confirmation of Einstein’s worst fears. More than any other crisis to date, the nuclear debacle at Fukushima illustrates the failure of our species, but especially those who put themselves forward as our leaders, to adapt old ways of thinking to the changes ushered in by the splitting of the atom.

The science of measuring and understanding the effects of radioactivity on biological transformations is still in its infancy. Nevertheless since 1945 the tendency has been for promoters of applied nuclear power to deny, negate, or downplay the effects of radioactivity on life’s natural patterns of renewal. This culture of denial has its origins in the official response of US government officials to the radioactive contamination of all people, plants and animals that survived the first wave of destruction from the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This unwillingness to contend with the effects of radioactivity on the public health of large population groups was captured in a headline in The New York Times on September 13, 1945. That headline proclaimed, “No Radioactivity in Hiroshima Ruin.”

http://japanfocus.org/-Gayle-Greene/3672

Through the decades that followed the inception of the Nuclear Age in the A-bombing by the US government of Japanese civilians, the formal position of officialdom has hardly shifted at all. Again and again we have been reassured that the public health effects of industrially-generated radioactivity are negligible no matter what the source. Again and again public funding has been directed to convincing us that there is no need to fear, for instance, nuclear testing in the atmosphere; the mining, processing and manufacturing of nuclear products including nuclear weapons; the deployment of nuclear energy for the generation of electricity and for the propulsion of ships and submarines.

Not surprisingly this same pattern of disinformation is being tragically repeated in the failure to depict the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe as the true monstrosity of an emergency it really is. The system of professional malfeasance originated in 1945 is being extended to the Fukushima cover-up by nuclear industry officials as well as those in government, media and the academy who have allowed themselves to become their criminal accomplices. What are the legal implications of withholding from the public the information we need to do the best we can to protect ourselves, our families and our communities from potentially lethal assaults on our health?

This ongoing propensity of officialdom to downplay the effects of nuclear contamination is similar to the decades-long history of the tobacco industry’s stonewalling. Who can any longer be blind to the tobacco industry’s efforts to deny the mountains of evidence proving that smoking has major deleterious effects on human health?

A more recent equivalent is the campaign of the old, entrenched and sumptuously-funded lobby of Big Oil to deny that the massive burning of its main product over generations is affecting the global atmosphere. The other side of this same coin involves the suspicion that some of the big backers of the nuclear industry have covertly contributed to overinflating the political balloon of global warming in order to make nuclear power plants look like the green alternative to the fossil fuel industry.

Who Are the Credible Sources?

Although the mainstream media has been largely AWOL on the Fukushima story, a number of conscientious authorities in the field of nuclear energy have come forward to explain the emergency in venues like Russia Today. These learned experts include Arnold Gundersen, Christopher Busby, Helen Caldicott, and Michio Kaku. Other officials, including at least two Japanese ambassadors and the Japanese emperor himself, have added their voices to point out the severity and unremedied character of the ongoing Fukushima crisis. For instance Akio Matsumuru, who regularly represents Japan at UN-sponsored conferences, issued a report dated June 11, 2012. Among the many alarm bells he rings, Matsumuru calls attention to the possibility that the phenomenon known colloquially as the China Syndrome is close at hand if it is not already occurring. Matsumuru observes,

1.      In reactors 1, 2 and 3, complete core meltdowns have occurred.  Japanese authorities have admitted the possibility that the fuel may have melted through the bottom of the reactor core vessels. It is speculated that this might lead to unintended criticality (resumption of the chain reaction) or a powerful steam explosion – either event could lead to major new releases of radioactivity into the environment.

2.      Reactors 1 and 3 are sites of particularly intense penetrating radiation, making those areas unapproachable.  As a result, reinforcement repairs have not yet been done since the Fukushima accident.  The ability of these structures to withstand a strong aftershock earthquake is uncertain.

This Number 3 hulk at Fukushima #1 has been the site of both a nuclear meltdown and a hydrogen explosion. It is also the installation that was loaded with plutonium-laced nuclear fuel rods on 3/3/11.

http://akiomatsumura.com/2012/06/what-is-the-united-states-government-waiting-for.html

While more and more very serious crises are identified every day, the chorus of voices keeps growing pointing to the catastrophe of catastrophes poised to happen at reactor number 4. Mitsuhei Murata, the former Japanese Ambassador to Switzerland, minced no words in pointing out what he considers to be the main impending danger to the UN General Secretary. Murata asserted “It is no exaggeration to say that the fate of Japan and the whole world depends on No. 4 reactor


The three images above are all of structure number 4, the ruin containing one of the 7 damaged cooling pool holding over 4,000 tons of highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel rods at Fukushima #1. This hulk of a structure is not expected to survive another significant earthquake. If the shock of another earthquake results in the spilling of this already-decimated structure’s radioactive cargo into the open air, it is predicted by a number of experts in the field that a radioactive bonfire will ensue that will be the slow-motion equivalent of a major nuclear war. Notice the large round bright yellow structure that appears in all four photographs, including the first one taken of the cooling pool above reactor number 4 before 3/3/11. Consider the obvious design stupidity that situates the cooling pool for spent nuclear fuel rods 100 feet in the air. 

The diplomat was commenting on the precarious state of the spent waste pool held 100 feet in the air by a blown-out structure that quite likely would collapse along with many tons of nuclear waste if another earthquake was to occur. The further break up of the already severely damaged “cooling pool” would lead to a huge radioactive fire that would burn for perhaps a century releasing dozens of the most toxic radionuclides known to science into air, ocean and groundwater.

Ron Wyden, a Senator representing the US state of Oregon, echoed similar sentiments after having himself inspected the Fukushima site. He observed,

The scope of damage to the plants and to the surrounding area was far beyond what I expected and the scope of the challenges to the utility owner, the government of Japan, and to the people of the region are daunting. The precarious status of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear units and the risk presented by the enormous inventory of radioactive materials and spent fuel in the event of further earthquake threats should be of concern to all and a focus of greater international support and assistance.

http://www.naturalnews.com/035813_Ron_Wyden_Fukushima_radiation.html#ixzz1xWqfblUu

Since the first days of the crisis Alexander Higgins has been one of the most persistent, precise, and attentive bloggers regularly reporting on and interpreting the growing body of evidence that something is worse than rotten is happening in Fukushima #1. One of his headlines reports that the Fukushima catastrophe has already released into air, ocean and groundwater 4023 times the amount of deadly radioactive cesium than the fallout from the Hiroshima attack. Another headline reads, “Fukushima is Continually Blasting All of Us With High Levels of Cesium, Strontium and Plutonium and Will Slowly Kill Millions for Years to Come.”

http://blog.alexanderhiggins.com/2011/06/16/scientific-experts-fukushima-potentially-worse-20-chernobyl-governments-hiding-truth-28221/

http://blog.alexanderhiggins.com/2012/05/25/fukushima-cesium-nuclear-fallout-equals-4023-hiroshima-bombs-138001

http://blog.alexanderhiggins.com/2011/09/01/fukushima-continually-blasting-high-levels-cesium-strontium-plutonium-slowly-kill-millions-years-66941

The assault of radionuclides on human beings includes air-born, alpha-ray emitting nuclear particles that can find their way into our lungs, bones, muscles, and blood. The same forces of nuclear contamination assaulting us is are concurrently attacking our plant and animal relatives, some of whom we eat. The process of bigger creatures eating smaller creatures tends to increase the concentration of toxic contamination, including nuclear contamination, the higher one gets up in the food chain all the way to the lordly place inhabited by human omnivores.

The massive nuclear contamination of the Pacific Ocean is perhaps the wildest of the wild cards being dealt to us by the Fukushima debacle . The aquatic life in the Pacific Ocean has been an especially huge and prolific source of food for some of the most densely-populated zones of human habitation on the planet including Japan, China, Indochina, Australasia, and the Western Hemisphere. The discovery of radioactive tuna and radioactive kelp in California, not to mention weird sickness showing up among seals and walruses in Alaska, is without doubt but a small signal of bigger and badder things to come.

Like so much of the front line work of necessary investigation these days, most of the discovery of the awkward truths on the frontiers of Fukushima’s creeping effects on the ecology of life are being made private citizens rather than government officials. By and large the response to the Fukushima debacle of most governments, including my own Canadian government, has been to shut down monitoring programs and to lower the bar of minimal standards so a false patina of normalcy can be maintained.

The contamination in the oceans is matched by discoveries of traces of radionuclides in milk, eggs, meat, vegetables and fruit products. Even the fall of sweet rains have been contaminated. What happens to our inner sources of spiritual renewal when we can no longer seek without worry the healing forces of cleansing walks in the spring rains or the dawn mists?

Higgins tends to be especially quick to draw attention to those many instances when the Toyko Electric Power Corporation, TEPCO, revises data released in its own previous reports. Almost always these revisions reveal that TEPCO was initially lowballing its assessment of the extent of the interconnected catastrophes.

TEPCO was Fukushima #1’s “owner” prior to the 3/3/11 catastrophe. In spite of all the many well-documented instances of fraud and malfeasance in the lead-up to the Fukushima disaster, TEPCO inexplicably remains in charge of the supposed remedial operations at the devastated facility.  So far TEPCO continues to prohibit third-party scientific observers from monitoring on site what is or is not being done. The company will not allow such observers to conduct their own independent studies of the true state of conditions at Fukushima #1.

Significantly Bloomberg News reported shortly after 3/3/11 that TEPCO’s level of liability to citizens and companies effected by the disaster goes only as high as $2.1 billion, a pittance under these horrific circumstances. As it now stands this amount could be reduced to zero if TEPCO can convince a Japanese judge that the debacle arises from an act of God.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-03-23/nuclear-cleanup-cost-goes-to-japan-s-taxpayers-may-spur-liability-shift.html

As is so often the case when it comes to socializing the risk of dangerous industrial and military activities even as profits are privatized, the unwillingness of insurance companies to cover the corporate operators of nuclear power plants makes the governments and people of the host countries the real carriers of the huge risks accompanying the generation of electricity through nuclear fission.

Scientific Rationality Meets Insane-Asylum Irrationality

In one of Higgins’ early corrections he points out that TEPCO’s estimate that there is 1,760 tons of fresh and spent nuclear fuel at Fukushima is off the mark by over 200%. The subsequent figure released by TEPCO indicates that Fukushima #1 holds 4,277 tons of nuclear fuel rods, most of it nuclear waste stored in 7 cooling pools. All these cooling pools are now damaged and crippled to greater or lesser extents. After the earthquake and tsunami the whole industrial catastrophe at Fukushima #1 started with the breakdown of the systems to pump flows of cooling water through pools of spent fuel rods. Without this procedure these highly radioactive rods overheat, catch on fire, and blow up in a chain reactions of nuclear criticality. These chain reactions are already far advanced and taking place, at least for those of us who are attentive, right before our eyes..

http://blog.alexanderhiggins.com/2011/03/19/the-amount-of-radioactive-fuel-at-fukushima-dwarfs-chernobyl-9281/

It is the magnitude of the vast pools of nuclear waste stored at Fukushima #1 and at many other nuclear power plants that give these installations the potential to become far more destructive than nuclear weapons. The so-called “pay loads “ of nuclear bombs are tiny compared with the thousands of tons of fissionable material stored not only at Fukushima but at most of the 500 or so nuclear power plants throughout the world. An awareness of the threat to public health– indeed to the health of all living creatures– posed by the release of even miniscule specks of this nuclear waste into air or water requires a genre of understanding that Einstein rightfully predicted would be in tragically short supply in a world where the stuff of human consciousness continues to fall far behind leaps in scientific discovery and technological transformation.

The tight juxtaposition at Fukushima #1 of so many separate facilities for burning nuclear fuel, processing nuclear waste, and storing nuclear waste embodies the weird marriage of scientific rationality and insane-asylum irrationality that is the hallmark of an industry founded in the military drive to expand the industrial frontiers of mass murder.

This convoluted traffic jam of the most dangerous industrial procedures known to humankind is a formula for projecting chain reactions through thresholds of nuclear holocaust. The creation at Fukushima #1 of an environment tailor made for the transformation of small problems into huge problems through chain reactions reflects perhaps the core phenomena on which the nuclear industry is ultimately based. The key to releasing nuclear energy in both bombs or nuclear power plants is to start the proliferation of chain reactions at the molecular level of inner space.

In the the case of the six GE Mark I reactors at Fukushima #1 and at the 23 similar installations in the United States, this insanity extends to putting the devices for burning nuclear fuel literally underneath elevated cooling pools for storing the nuclear waste.

This design concept might make some limited sense in the context of the tight confines of nuclear submarines. In retrospect GE’s decision simply to inflate the basic prototype of the power plant developed in the 1950s for the Nautilus nuclear submarine, and to use this design in land-based stations for the transformation of nuclear power into electrical power, must surely rank as one of the most dubious cost-cutting measures of all time.

The heritage of the Fukushima catastrophe in the technology of nuclear submarines speaks to the constitution of much larger phenomena. So much of what passes for the so-called civilian economy is based on mere industrial spin-offs from the military political economy whose preeminence was entrenched in the course of the Cold War and is now accelerating in the further militarization of society in the name of fighting the all-purpose boogeyman of “terrorism.”

Sadly the thoroughly preventable catastrophe at Fukushima helps clarify the real sources of the most devastating terrors presently facing humankind. The transformation of Fukushima #1 into nuclear weapon #1 does not require a delivery system. The natural currents of the winds and the oceans are disseminating the radioactive toxicity more effectively that any missile, submarine, or secret Star Wars device.

The startling images of the holding pools for nuclear waste at Fukushima #1 lethally exposed to the open atmosphere in the upper levels of the blasted-out hulks of wrecked nuclear containment sheds puts in clear public view the intellectual, technological and ethical poverty of an industry that has become a maniac of unnecessary risk taking. These images can be viewed as a terrifying caricatures of the outlandish extremes of deregulation combined with the privatization of society’s core public utilities. Here is stark evidence to suggest that Einstein may have not gone far enough in anticipating the madness of what would transpire after the genie of nuclear power was released from the lantern.

Nuclear Waste: The “Back End” of the Nuclear Cycle

Spent nuclear fuel rods emerge from the process of generating nuclear power in nuclear reactors. These rods contain thousands of pellets that contain many varieties of radioactive isotypes, some of which continue to be highly radioactive for millions or even billions of years. Among the most toxic and long-lived are some of the isotypes of cesium, strontium, uranium, americium, curium, and neptunium. Clearly there are vast technical problems entailed in isolating such varieties of nuclear waste from life’s fragile ecologies of interaction with earth, air, and water for periods of far longer than all of recorded human history. These problems have combined in ways that have long been recognized as the so-called Achilles heal of the nuclear energy industry.

http://coto2.wordpress.com/2011/03/26/us-stores-spent nuclear-fuel-rods-at-4-times-pool-capacity/

There are no valid reasons for using the sites where nuclear power is generated for the long-term storage of nuclear waste, the most dangerous genre of which is spent nuclear fuel rods. Indeed, the terrible catastrophe at Fukushima #1 demonstrates graphically the compelling reasons for not mixing these functions. This practice of combining the different stages in the industrial cycle of nuclear fuel developed not as a result of any properly conceived plan. It evolved, rather, as an ad hoc political expedient derived from the near-inevitable propensity of local inhabitants to mobilize public opinion against the building of facilities for permanent storage of nuclear waste in their regions, communities, and neighborhoods. This pattern gave rise to the development of a short-form term acronym used frequently and with disdain by some officials in the nuclear industry.  That term is NIMBY—Not In My Backyard.

In my view there are deeper dimensions to the virtual abandonment by the nuclear industry (except, perhaps, in China) of initiatives to design, locate and build facilities specifically devoted to the task of permanently storing nuclear waste. Almost invariably any mobilization of citizens that starts with a NIMBY approach expands to provide a focus of public education and popular organization aimed at addressing the broader set of dangers connected to virtually every facet of the industry the produces both nuclear weapons and nuclear power plants.

One of the strategies for avoiding the problem of having to deal with an organized opposition of informed citizens has been for the embattled nuclear industry to try to keep a low profile by letting nuclear waste accumulate out of sight and out of the public’s collective mind at nuclear power plants. The lack of enthusiasm within the nuclear industry to find viable and safe ways to dispose of nuclear waste goes back to the origins of the nuclear energy industry as a spin-off of military R and D. As Carol L. Wilson, the first General Manager of the US Atomic Energy Commission observed when he looked back at the beginnings of the industry from the perspective of 1979,

Chemists and chemical engineers were not interested in nuclear waste. It was not glamorous; there were no careers; it was messy; nobody got brownie points for caring about nuclear waste… There was no real interest or profit for dealing with the back end of the fuel cycle.

(Carrol L. Wilson, “Nuclear Energy: What Went Wrong?” Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, Vol. 35, June, 1979, 15)

Extending the Frontiers of Nuclear Energy

This multiplication and compounding of dangers by making the sites of operating nuclear reactors double as storage facilities for nuclear waste, including spent nuclear fuel rods that require constant cooling, finds its epicenter in the United States and particularly in the earthquake/tsunami zone of California. The spewing mess of simmering criticality at Fukushima #1 draws attention to other highly nuclearized jurisdictions like France and Ontario where nuclear power plants also double as storage facilities for the most dangerous varieties of nuclear waste.

The Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant is even older and more antique than the Fukushima #1. Almost 20,000,000 New Yorkers live within a 50 mile radius of the installation. The nuclear waste stored on the site has been the subject of litigation with significant ramification for the US nuclear industry .

Officials admit to the storage of over 70,000 tons of spent nuclear fuel rods spread among the 104 “civilian” nuclear power plants in the United States. The continuation of this pattern of storing nuclear waste indefinitely at nuclear power plants has been called into question by a recent court ruling in New York.  This court case arose from growing public antagonism to the operation of the Indian Point nuclear power plant in the midst of the urban megopolis  of  surrounding New York City. Almost 20 million people live within a 50-mile radius of this antique nuclear installation that is even older than Fukushima #1.

In the United States especially the military context of the so-called civilian branch of the nuclear industry is very clear. One of the biggest known accumulations of nuclear waste in the world is at the Hanover military reserve in Washington state where the assembly took place of the Fat Man and Little Boy bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Hanford reservation is the site of the storage facility for at least 53 million gallons of high-level nuclear waste.

The ongoing experimentation with nuclear energy continues by the US Armed Forces and its favoured stable of military contractors. This experimentation and the sometimes secret applications of its outcomes no doubt has large, if largely unacknowledged, consequences for the public health of many populations throughout the world but especially those in Eurasia. Elevated rates of cancer and human deformities imposed on humanity by the incursions of the military branch of the nuclear energy industry are most evident among the victims of depleted uranium attacks in Iraq.  The tragedy inflicted on people there and in other afflicted populations will soon be showing up with more regularity as the short and long-term health effects of the Fukushima catastrophe begin to appear with more regularity in Japan, East Asia, North America, throughout the Northern Hemisphere, and across the world.

Some believe that the huge dark budgets directed towards the most covert branches of the national security state have given rise to the discovery of new scientific principles that have not yet been made public. Some of these discoveries may involve new ways of deploying nuclear energy in more targeted and covert ways.  These new principles and the applied technologies flowing from them may, for instance, have been a factor in the near-instant transformation of the steel-framed Twin Towers into vapor and fine dust particles on 9/11. The obviously specious official cover story of the events of 9/11 has been instrumental in helping to infuse new life into old alignments of privilege and power that coalesced in the course of the Cold War.

Chernobyl, Fukushima, and the Dissolution of Empires

The nuclear catastrophe at Chernobyl in 1986 was without doubt was a contributing factor to the end of the Cold War. The disaster was one of several factors that contributed significantly to the implosion of public confidence within the Soviet Union to the pretensions of its governors. This loss of confidence and prestige translated into the tarnishing of USSR’s reputation and viability in the international community as well. Moreover, the nuclear explosion at Chernobyl undermined the self-justifying mythology of the Soviet state as a bastion of scientific reason expressing the dialectical materialism that Hegel and Karl Marx had characterized as the principal animating force of human history. The nuclear accident was perceived even within the Soviet government as a telling indictment of the Soviet system.

From the perspective of those who styled themselves as leaders of the “free world” the demise of the Soviet state entailed the sudden disappearance of enemy #1 with its accompanying justifications for the huge power, influence, and affluence of those overseeing the activities of the national security state and its attending military-industrial complex. The official 9/11 cover story quickly returned to old elites all the advantages of a global enemy to manufacture and fight even as it gave new elites the means of transforming local enemies into generic enemies of the so-called “West.”

It is instructive to compare the responses to the destruction of the nuclear power plants at Chernobyl and Fukushima. The mobilization of 800,000 Soviet citizens inside and outside the Armed Forces to put quite literally a lid on the massive devastation done in the heartland the the Ukrainian bread basket stands as one of the Soviet Union’s finest hours. A huge sarcophagus was constructed on the site of maximum radioactivity to put some obstacles in the way of a terrible plague of nuclear sickness, death, and intergenerational deformities that has probably extended to millions even as it is. How many more millions or tens of millions would have been contaminated if the sarcophagus had not been built?

The Soviet reaction to the sudden explosion of a nuclear reactor at Chernobyl in 1986 was monumental. The Soviet state mobilized 800,000 workers inside and outside the Armed Forces to respond to the crisis. Part of the response was to cover the maimed toxic structure with a massive sarcophagus shown here. The huge effort to contain the unprecedented menace to the public health of hundreds of millions of potential victims contrasts eerily with the tepid response to the nuclear catastrophe in Japan.

So far the response to the Fukushima debacle has been entirely different. In the days following 3/3/11 the instant diagnosis of the nuclear industry’s spin doctors was that the accident was “more than Three Mile Island but less than Chernobyl.” Another spin was that some “partial meltdowns” might be taking place. I remember thinking that the idea of a partial meltdown made about as much sense as the idea of a partial pregnancy. Mostly the mainstream media swept the Fukushima story to the margins of coverage with many venues parroting the Japanese government’s disinformation that the Fukushima #1 had been put into “cold storage” sometime around December of 2011.

As already noted, in some branches of the alternative media the coverage has been quite solid and quite equal to the magnitude of the Fukushima catastrophe. There the assertions have gradually become more certain and confident that Fukushima’s potential for cataclysmic destruction vastly exceeds the extent of the Chernobyl debacle.  Part of what makes the Fukushima crisis so menacing is the puny, incompetent, and frightened approach of those who keep TEPCO in the forefront, at least publically, of the official response to the worsening crisis. This is not to say that there has not been some heroic displays of courage, intelligence, innovation and self-sacrifice on the part of some individuals who tried to hold back the deluge of disaster. It is difficult to even imagine what it would mean to be in the their shoes.

But this ode to the best of the best of the first responders at Fukushima #1 does not in any substantial way mitigate my larger thesis that TEPCO’s corporate response to the crisis manifests the same malfeasance that created the conditions of the disaster in the first place. This unparalleled crisis, however, is about much more than TEPCO’s corporate inadequacies.

Ultimately I am saving my most concerted and targeted criticisms for those at the very top of the US-based nuclear industry, including officials in the US executive branch. These government and corporate officials cynically manoeuvred America’s most obedient formal and then informal colony to accept the nuclear energy spin-offs of American military technology when the Japanese people on their idyllic but earthquake-prone islands should never have been pressured to do so. It is in those circles of imperial power where real responsibility for the cataclysm resides even as it is in these same centres of authority from whence the major initiatives to contain the disaster should emanate.

The contrast between the Soviet response to Chernobly crisis and the corporatist response to the Fukushima crisis is therefore huge, telling and, ultimately, tremendously menacing for the future of human civilization let alone for the future of all life on earth. A small consolation is the lessons one can learn about the extent of the abandonment of any commitment to the public interest and the common good on the part of those who claim to be our leaders. Does the worsening mess of mayhem and meltdown at Fukushima #1  embody the ailing American Empire’s Chernobyl moment?

A big part of the problem is that the response to the Fukushima debacle should be international in scope. Alternatively, the crisis should not be treated as a matter primarily for Japan’s domestic politics. This domestication of control over nuclear power plants, when the effects of what happens in them is so obviously transnational in nature, goes back to Albert Einstein’s fear that most human beings would not be able to adapt proactively to the vast transformations that would come from splitting of the atom.

The Atoms for Peace initiative was promoted particularly aggressively in Japan, a country whose people had and still have ample cause to reject anything associated with the atomic power given the attacks they have endured at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. These obstacles were overcome by the frontiersman of both the formal and informal empire of the United States.

The US promotion of nuclear energy as a way of generating electricity became deeply integrated into the anti-communism that preoccupied US policy makers and their corporate clients like GE in that era. As planned, Japan was shaped into a bastion of containment to fend of the influences of Chinese Maoism. The presidency of former GE media spokesperson Ronald Reagan and the six GE nuclear reactors at Fukushima #1 were outgrowths of this saga.

Every Time you produce radiation you produce something that has a certain half-life, in some cases billions of years. I think the human race is going to wreck itself, and it is important to try to get control of this horrible force and try to eliminate it.. I do not believe that nuclear power is worth it if it creates radiation. 

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