The Jackal: March 2011

30 Mar 2011

Steps to a Greener Future

1. Subsidize development and deployment of clean technologies.

2. Instruct manufacturers to start producing recyclable, clean tech and lower usage devices.

3. Shut down all old nuclear reactors or those situated on coasts or on fault lines immediately. Instigate less energy usage.

4. Undertake a worldwide investigation into renewable energy sources and suitable areas for deployment. Invest heavily into geothermal, wind and solar and implement huge development and construction of such technology.

5. Reach an agreement with countries to provide manufacturing resources and construct in centralized locations. Deploy into locations that utilised old nuclear energy.

6. Disencentivise the nuclear, coal, oil and gas industries. Undertake proper court action for the damage that has occurred. Utilise that money for further development of clean tech developments.

7. Incentivise localised production so that less transportation is required.

8. When clean tech is online, shut down and decommission all existing nuclear, coal and gas power plants.

9. Subsidize clean technologies for increased uptake by the public.

10. Shut down all existing coal oil and gas industries. Replace with organizations that have safety as their priority.

11. Remove all existing dangerous infrastructure and replace with small well-researched safe infrastructure. Recycle the materials.

12. Build remedial infrastructure to respond to the consequences of climate change.

27 Mar 2011

Paul Holmes - Asshole of the Week Award

OK! So we've had an allegation concerning Darren Hughes, one of the Labour ministers. The police have been informed and will appropriately look into the matter. Do we have to have a trial by media who has run the story at the beginning of every news hour for the last four nights? Do we have to have a media beat up when there are far more important things happening in the World?
Paul Holmes’ ravenous attack on Phil Goff with continued interruptions this morning was particularly disgusting! Insinuations that the issue has caused a lack of confidence in Mr Goff as Labour leader have been a complete fabrication by the media and their National party rulers. An issue that has given Phil Goff the most airtime he’s had in the past year, all built on media hype and spin to try and damage the Labour parties re-emergence as a contender in the next election.

Phil Goff’s response can only be determined as an excellent example of leadership. He even admitted he was wrong in one instance. What other politician has ever done that, even when their crimes are blatant and inexcusable? That’s the kind of man who should be leading New Zealand to a better future... Not some lying snivelling little letch that will sell us all down the river.

It is apparent that Holmes has absolutely no respect for proper debate and would rather arrogantly reside in delusional grand standing. That’s why this week the asshole award goes to… you guessed it, Paul Holmes. Hurrah!

24 Mar 2011

A Response to Disaster

Disaster-related experiences including negative life changes,  post-disaster stressors, and resource loss, which have a unique relationship with mental health. While resource loss has the strongest inverse relationship with mental health, disaster exposure has a negative interactive effect on psychological distress and anxiety.

In America, Multivariate analysis revealed that rises in AT use were positively associated with education. Females and younger evacuees were more likely to have increased AT use. ID use increase was positively associated with resource loss and leaving the city before Katrina. Decreases in AT and ID use were found to be associated with disaster-related exposure.

Another distinguishing characteristic of New Orleans compared to other US cities is that it had one of the highest drug-use prevalence rates in the country. According to the 2003 results of the Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring (ADAM) Program, 78 per cent of the adult male and 60 per cent of the adult female arrestee population in New Orleans tested positive for any of five drugs (cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamines, opiates and phenylcyclohexylpiperidine (PCP) (Zhang, 2003). African American neighbourhoods had the highest levels of crime, drug use and identified major drug distribution centres (National Drug Intelligence Center, 2001). Many of these neighbourhoods were located in areas most devastated by Katrina and the ensuing floods.

Even the psychological consequences that lead to drug dependency in relation to disasters in our mass media psychologically dependant society determine a ratio of implications that should not be underestimated. A response to the physiological trauma from disaster must be made.

There is no question that reliance on mind-altering substances is attributed with traumatic occurrences. The addict or recreational user requires a shift of consciousness to remedy the negative impact of the circumstances that surrounds them, in the present or past. This, depending on your point of view is a good or bad thing. However in relation to a copping mechanism it is usually determined in a negative light.

19 Mar 2011

The week that was

Aftershocks 11th to 16th

On March the 11th at 05:46 UTC, a massive magnitude 9 Earthquake just off the East coast of Japan triggered tsunamis up to 10 metres which breached defenses and traveled many kilometres inland. There's over 3,000 confirmed dead and petrol, food and water is now in short supply in many parts of the northeast.

Hundreds of thousands have been evacuated with 60,000 buildings destroyed or damaged, as well as 704 roads, 26 bridges and eight railways. Transportation remained paralysed, and around 371,800 people are now housed in government-established shelters. A major fire at Chiba refinery 25 miles east of Tokyo, ignited after the earthquake continues to burn. Power blackouts will affect 5 million households across Japan. Scientists believe that the Earthquake caused the Earth’s mass to shift, resulting in a small change in the planet’s wobble and rotation.

The Earthquake and tsunami caused major damage to the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant and three Reactor Units have since exploded and partially melted down with another having a serious fire in its spent fuel containment area. Japan's top nuclear regulator raised its rating of the incident on a seven-level international nuclear severity scale to five from four. However Governments around the world are criticizing Tokyo for downplaying the danger. Reports released by WikiLeaks suggest that the Japanese government has under performed in dealing with the safety of the country’s nuclear plants and their ability to survive earthquakes. The Swedish Defence Research Institute has warned radioactive fallout from Fukushima would cover the northern hemisphere in due time. So far only low levels of radiation have been reported in Canada and the United States, the two countries that will be most effected.

In America, all 31 Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee declined on Tuesday to vote in favour of a series of amendments acknowledging the scientific consensus around climate change. The Amendment stated that: Congress accepts the scientific finding that 'warming of the climate system is unequivocal' and that the scientific evidence regarding climate change "is compelling" and that "human-caused climate change is a threat to public health and welfare." Republicans, who have strongly opposed Obama’s administration efforts to regulate greenhouse gasses, have been pushing to strip the EPA of its regulatory power. The party also blocked Democratic efforts last year to pass climate change legislation. Scientists recently condemned the US as their emissions of greenhouse gases hit a record high. The US produces 16% of the Worlds greenhouse gas emissions and is one of the largest contributors to climate change.

The United Nations imposed a no-fly zone on Libya, five days after it was first discussed and after Gaddafi has regrouped and reclaimed much of the territory taken by Libyan freedom fighters. It’s reported that Gaddafi’s army has been brutal in trying to quell the uprising. Britain, France and NATO held emergency meetings on Friday to enforce the no-fly zone.  The freedom fighters have requested that the West does not invade but appreciates the no-fly zone because it has no aircraft of its own. President Barack Obama has demanded that Muammar Gaddafi halt all military attacks against civilians and said that if the Libyan leader did not stand down the United States would join in military action against him. As a missing reporter was found, Gaddafi declared a ceasefire. The uprising against Gaddafi is only one of many struggles being played out in the region. Protests in Tunisia and Egypt have led to the fall of autocratic regimes and there have been demonstrations in Yemen, Jordan and Bahrain. Protests erupted in at least three parts of Syria on Friday.

Act's Hillary Calvert expressed bigoted sentiments when debating the controversial Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Bill, which approached its final reading. Te Ururoa Flavell briefly responded to the Maori-bashing and Tariana Turia described Calvert's language as racist.

18 Mar 2011

Desperation at Fukushima

Click on image to enlarge.
By late Tuesday, the water meant to cool spent fuel rods in Unit 4 was boiling and by Wednesday, the fuel pond had caught fire and was leaking radiation directly into the atmosphere. The fuel rod fire was reportedly put out within 2 hours and it is unknown how much radiation leaked. At the time readings at the plant were extreme.

On March 14th injection of seawater was halted because all available water in the plant pools had run out. A water supply was restored at 03:20 but operators have resorted to other measures to cool the reactors. Apparently a police riot control truck has since been brought in over uneven roads to keep a spray of water on the No. 3 and No. 4 reactors (unconfirmed).

On March 17 the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) announced that twenty-three nuclear and rescue workers have been injured and another 20 have received high radiation doses from the "partial" meltdown of reactors 1, 2 and 3. Two people were still missing the Vienna-based agency said, citing government information. The IAEA did not indicate that any of the 23 injuries were due to radiation exposure.

Reputable agencies have reported that at least one crane operator was killed in the initial explosion of Unit 1 and a subsequent explosion also killed 2 workers.

Of the 20 people who were exposed to radiation or contaminated with radioactive material, one worker has 'suffered from significant exposure', the IAEA said. Today IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano stated that he was not aware of any casualties from the disaster at Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant.

The 50 people still working at Japan's stricken Fukushima reactor are not "being sacrificed", Dutch nuclear researcher Folkert Draaisma says. The unidentified technicians and emergency workers are trying to save potentially millions of their countrymen. Chernobyl workers who stayed at their stations when the Ukrainian reactor exploded in 1986 died within three months of exposure. The Christian Science Monitor today said that even Chernobyl wasn't all that bad in terms of lives lost. Similar insane statements have been made by pro nuclear supporters who continue to try and downplay the disaster.

Two Japanese military CH-47 Chinook helicopters began dumping seawater on Dai-ichi's damaged Unit 3 on Thursday morning, defence ministry spokeswoman Kazumi Toyama said. The MOX fuel in Reactor 3 is of most concern. Television footage showed much of the water dispersing in the wind. Chopper crews flew missions of about 40 minutes each to limit their radiation exposure, passing over the reactor with loads of 7,500 litres of water a time. Heavy-duty firetrucks are also available on site, but it is unclear if they have been utilized apart from a replacement to the damaged pumps. An attempt to bulldoze a road to unit 4 has been abandoned. The U.N. nuclear agency has warned that the situation is "very serious."
Radiation plume from Fukushima Dai-ichi.
On 18th March at Midday, New Zealand's One News reported that power had been restored to the facility. However the plan is to reconnect power to unit 2 once the dumping of water on the unit 3 reactor building is completed. According to Japanese representatives, engineers have been able to lay the power cable but this is not as yet supplying power to unit 2.

It has come to light that fuel tanks for the entire site were placed in an unsafe location. These powered Dai-ichi's generators counted on to pump water into reactors and spent-rod wells to keep the rods from overheating and going critical. Only a small dike separated the tanks from the the ocean.

International reaction:

China has suspended approval for new nuclear power stations. It will also carry out checks at existing reactors and those under construction. China currently gets only about 2% of its electricity from nuclear power from 13 reactors and is currently building 27 new reactors - about 40% of the total number being built around the world.

The French government has called for an audit of all 58 nuclear reactors in France.

In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that seven older plants, those that came online prior to 1980, would be shuttered until at least June while safety tests are conducted.

There is general agreement that all 143 nuclear power plants in the European Union's 27 countries should now undergo additional stress testing.

The level of radiation has reportedly only risen slightly in Russia’s Far East. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has ordered safety inspections at Russian nuclear facilities and checks and a review of nuclear industry development plans. But none of the latter have been suspended inside Russia.

The Indonesian Muslim Intellectuals Association has raised questions over whether Indonesia should continue with its nuclear plans and now considers building a nuclear reactor as a last resort. 

The Philippines Government has been quick to say that their nuclear power plants are safe and would not meltdown in the event of a similar catastrophe. Without proper testing, this claim remains unsubstantiated.

On March the 14th the Atomic Energy Commission and the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL) leaders assured them that Indian nuclear plants are safe. However the chance of core damage from a quake at Indian Point 3 is estimated at 1 in 10,000 each year. Under NRC guidelines that's of immediate concern regarding adequate protection of the public.

South Korea, which is currently operating 21 nuclear power plants and constructing 5 more units, is not very likely to change its nuclear power policy in response to the unfolding crisis. Nuclear power is currently supplying almost 40% of national electricity. Public opinion on nuclear issues could be a key factor in the 2012 South Korean presidential election. Their president has stated the Bushehr reactor meets all necessary safety standards, and this has been confirmed by the IAEA.

The Canadian government says it is still safe for Canadians to remain in Japan, provided they avoid the area around the stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant, about 250 kilometres northeast of Tokyo.

The US has made no plans to implement safety measures concerning their many nuclear reactors. They have moved stationary radiation monitors to the West Coast. It is interesting to note that the typical nuclear reactor in the United States, has a 1 in 74,176 chance of core damage by an earthquake each year, exposing the public to radiation. Accidents, tsunamis and other natural disasters are not factored into this calculation.

The US is advising any citizens still within 80 kilometres of the badly damaged nuclear reactors to leave. Australia and South Korea have also advised this however the Japanese government has not extended the 20 km evacuated area and still advises people to remain indoors within 30 km of Fukushima Dai-ichi. No further plan has come to light and those within the affected area are running out of provisions. It appears that the Japanese are relying on a prevailing wind direction to take the radiation offshore. Although the Japanese government has not made an announcement, many people are leaving Tokyo and other areas in the event that radiation levels rise further.

Here is a very good article to read if you're within fallout countries: Urgent radiation preparedness action items for California, Oregon, Washington, B.C., Yukon and Alaska. Potassium iodide which is used as a nuclear fallout medicine, has sold out in parts of the United States and Canada.

17 Mar 2011

Fukushima’s hot wind blows

Friday's Magnitude 9 earthquake and resulting tsunami that laid waste to Japan's North Eastern coastline claiming at least 10,000 lives, has been overshadowed by Fukushima Dai-ichi, one of the worlds 15 largest nuclear power plants. A consensus of experts on Wednesday put the nuclear incident at number 6 - Serious Accident, one behind Chernobyl at number 7 - Major Accident. The Ukraine believes the "accidents" are comparable.

With the threat from Fukushima 1, many countries have now requested that their citizens return home. On Wednesday, surging radiation levels at the nuclear power plant forced emergency workers to withdraw; the operator has since ordered 50 technicians back to the site. However with the control rooms flooded and much of the site decimated from the huge tsunami that breached the plants inadequate defenses, the immense task must be difficult to say the least.

A developing low-pressure system has resulted in sometimes below zero degree temperatures with an advisory of gales and snow over the next few days, making any work to cool the reactors even more difficult. Fukushima’s wind direction has changed a number of times bringing some of the resulting radiation onshore but mainly remains North Westerly and offshore. The predominant wind direction into the North Pacific is North North Easterly, taking the radiation to Canada and the United States West coast. Reports of elevated radiation levels on the US coast have already been made on the 16th March.

An explosion of Unit 1 occurred on Saturday with an estimated 70 percent of the nuclear fuel rods damaged, however Tepco reported that the primary containment vessel appeared intact. The pumping of seawater to cool the reactor is apparently proceeding smoothly. Apart from steam releases, it is not known where the remainder of this irradiated water is going.

After exploding on Monday, Reactor 3 with the highest radiation levels was Tepco’s top priority. Attempts to drop water from helicopters have failed presumably because radiation levels are too high. US Army representatives have stated that their helicopters in the area were only for training purposes. On Tuesday the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has said that the containment vessel appears intact. However, Chief Cabinet Minister Yukio Edano said on Wednesday there is a "possibility" the vessel had been damaged.

An explosion of Unit 2 on Tuesday damaged the suppression pool where pressure from the reactor is released. The blast may have also affected the integrity of the primary containment vessel. The fuel rods have become fully exposed with an estimated 33% damaged. There is clear evidence of partial nuclear meltdowns in reactors 1, 2 and 3.

On Tuesday a pool that housed spent fuel caught fire in Unit 4. The spent fuel pool is not inside a containment facility and posses a greater threat now that the outer wall is damaged. Tepco plans to build a road to Unit 4 when radiation levels fall so that water pumping to cool the reactor can commence. It has also been reported that fires broke out due to a fuel leak near a water pump at reactor 4.

The temperature of Reactors 5 and 6 have risen slightly with cooling proceedings continuing. This will render all six reactors inoperable in the future. Reactors 4, 5 and 6 had been shut down prior to the earthquake for planned maintenance. There has been confirmation that Reactor 3 uses MOX fuel which is far more dangerous if released into the atmosphere.
Sunday, March 13, 2011, the damaged Unit 1
Tepco has reported that they have almost completed a new power line that could restore electricity to the complex. This would hopefully maintain a steady water supply to the troubled reactors and spent fuel storage ponds to keep them cool as supply lines to the fire engines currently undertaking the task have been intermittent.

Other than this information, officials have given only sparse information about the malfunctioning reactors, probably due to the recent imposition of Article 15 by the Japanese government (unconfirmed). Tepco has disabled public access to a live web cam and a certain amount of disinformation has been presented from pro nuclear representatives, the Japanese Government and Tepco.

Because of the crises, many countries have put on hold plans to build more nuclear reactors, some countries have also shut down their older power plants that use boiling water reactors BWR.

15 Mar 2011

HRC says Racism is A OK

Recently I made a formal complaint to the Human Rights Commission (HRC) concerning racist statements made by Michael Laws on RadioLive. Here is the HRC responce:

your complaint to the human rights commission
Thank you for your complaint received on 9 March 2011. You have complained that Michael Law’s comments, broadcasted on his show on RadioLive, were racist.
The Commission’s consideration of your complaint

The Commission has considered your complaint in relation to the section in the Human Rights Act 1993 that prohibits racial disharmony. This section, section 61, specifically applies (unlike most of the other provisions in the Human Rights Act) to statements that are published, broadcast, or otherwise publicly disseminated. There is no provision covering racist comment.

That last bit is obviously wrong. Here is the section we're concerned with:
61 Racial disharmony

(1) It shall be unlawful for any person:
(a) To publish or distribute written matter which is threatening, abusive, or insulting, or to broadcast by means of radio or television words which are threatening, abusive, or insulting or

(b) To use in any public place as defined in section 2(1) of the Summary Offences Act 1981, or within the hearing of persons in any such public place, or at any meeting to which the public are invited or have access, words which are threatening, abusive, or insulting or

(c) To use in any place words which are threatening, abusive, or insulting if the person using the words knew or ought to have known that the words were reasonably likely to be published in a newspaper, magazine, or periodical or broadcast by means of radio or television, being matter or words likely to excite hostility against or bring into contempt any group of persons in or who may be coming to New Zealand on the ground of the colour, race, or ethnic or national origins of that group of persons.

(2) It shall not be a breach of subsection (1) of this section to publish in a newspaper, magazine, or periodical or broadcast by means of radio or television a report relating to the publication or distribution of matter by any person or the broadcast or use of words by any person, if the report of the matter or words accurately conveys the intention of the person who published or distributed the matter or broadcast or used the words.

(3) For the purposes of this section, Newspaper means a paper containing public news or observations on public news, or consisting wholly or mainly of advertisements, being a newspaper that is published periodically at intervals not exceeding 3 months Publishes or distributes means publishes or distributes to the public at large or to any member or members of the public Written matter includes any writing, sign, visible representation, or sound recording.

I purposely made my formal complaint to encompass all of the racist statements made by Michael Laws on RadioLive. The HRC has not defined what statements of his they have dismissed as not being racist. The HRC then carries on to say... 

Racial disharmony consists in comments that are “threatening, abusive, or insulting”, and are “likely to excite hostility against or bring into contempt any group of persons in or who may be coming to New Zealand on the ground of the colour, race, or ethnic or national origins of that group of persons”.

Although a race-related comment may be offensive to you and to others, that is not on its own sufficient to put it in breach of this provision in the Human Rights Act. It must also be a probable cause of ethnic hostility or contempt.

“Hostility” and “contempt” are not clear-cut terms, and the Commission’s interpretation of them must be consistent with the right to freedom of expression set out in the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990. 

Now wait on a second HRC. Michael Laws' statements are offensive and often bring into contempt one section of the population based on their race. Besides, Hostility and contempt are very well defined terms... Here's what the Oxford dictionary says:

Hostility: hostile behaviour; unfriendliness or opposition:their hostility to all outsiders

(hostilities) acts of warfare:he called for an immediate cessation of hostilities

Contempt: The feeling that a person or a thing is worthless or deserving scorn:Pam stared at the girl with total contempt, he wouldn't answer a woman he held in such contempt

disregard for something that should be considered:this action displays an arrogant contempt for the wishes of the majority

That certainly describes what Michael Laws says on a regular basis. The HRC then says:

The right to freedom of expression includes the ability to make highly controversial or unpopular comments. The Courts have held that, only in cases where the comments would cause a serious detriment to society, will the right to freedom of expression be restricted.  This requirement underpins how a Court or the Human Rights Review Tribunal would interpret section 61 of the HRA.

A serious detriment to society is not specifically what the Human Rights Act 1993 outlines in its terms of discrimination. Anyway... since when has inciting racism not caused detrimental effects on society?

I'm all for freedom of expression and making controversial or unpopular comments, as long as it does not include repeated blatant racism that creates further disharmony. The Human Rights Act does not require a serious detriment to be caused, it states To use in any place words which are threatening, abusive, or insulting, which Michael Laws' statements clearly are. The HRC is overriding the Human Rights Act, which they are meant to uphold with a claim that racism is a freedom of expression. WTF!

This suggests that the comments about which you complain will not meet what is a relatively high threshold given the need to balance it against freedom of expression. We will not, therefore, progress the matter through our dispute resolution process and will close your complaint within that process. 

That is a default response by HRC to a complaint btw.

Although your complaint will not be progressed through the disputes resolution process, bringing this matter to the Commission’s attention assists in carrying out the broader role and functions.

The Commission’s broader role is that of advocating for and promoting human rights and harmonious race relations. It is in this capacity that the Race Relations Commissioner, and the Commission’s External Relations Team carry out their work of education and promotion of diversity, racial understanding and harmony. 

Shouldn't this include upholding the Human Rights Act 1993?

The Commission has recently selected thirty priority areas of the most pressing human rights issues. One of the issues identified was the need for a review of section 61 to ensure it fulfils its legislative purpose. 

Section 61 can only fulfill its legislative purpose if the HRC upholds the Act. What they probably intend to do is to change the Act so that there is no way to make a claim in a court of law, thus entrenching the destructive racist mindset that pervades our culture.

Further options: If you do not agree with the Commission’s response to your complaints, you are entitled to take the matter to the Human Rights Review Tribunal, either directly or by seeking representation from the Director of Human Rights Proceedings.  (Information about these agencies is attached).   In making this referral, we are not implying that the Tribunal’s opinion about this matter is likely to be different from that of the Commission.

So let me just summarize: The HRC has dismissed my complaint concerning Michael Laws' racist statements because it does not understand the meaning of the words Hostility and Contempt and places Michael Laws' freedom of expression and right to make racist statements on RadioLive, which offends thousands of people and entrenches racism in New Zealand, above the rights of the indigenous people affected by racism. How fucked is that.

Another Reactor Explosion & Meltdown

Reports are that Unit 2 at Fukushima has exploded this morning at 6:14 AM Japan time. The New York Times reported today that the explosion appeared to be more severe than the previous detonations at the other reactors.

This brings the total probable meltdowns of nuclear reactors at Fukushima Dai-ichi to four out of six. There is evidence of a partial meltdown in Unit 1, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) confirmed on 13th March that a partial meltdown at Unit 3 is likely. Today they said the explosion of unit 1 had likely damaged its containment vessel. A fire has also broken out at Unit 4 at 09:40 JST and radiation levels at the plant have risen significantly. (Update 6:39 PM) Early unconfirmed reports are that this fire has been extinguished with the help of the US Military.

Spokesman Kaoru Yoshida for Tepco said today the containment chamber on its No 2 reactor may be damaged and radiation leakage is possible. There are nine nuclear reactors at three sites that are currently under states of emergency. Three at Fukushima Dai-ichi, three at Fukushima Daini and three at Onagawa. All are northeast of Tokyo and all are boiling water reactors.

Prior to this latest explosion the US aircraft carrier (the USS Ronald Reagan) had abandoned its assistance mission to Japan in the aftermath of last week's quake due to concerns over radiation leaks from damaged power plants. It is unclear how much radiation has been released or whether the remaining three larger reactors are fully intact. The carrier had already traveled through a patch of radioactivity released from the quake-stricken Dai-ichi power plant, around 250 kilometres North-East of Tokyo. US government officials said the sailors were exposed to a month's limit of radiation within an hour.

Japanese reactor operators have little choice but to periodically release radioactive steam as part of an emergency cooling process for the malfunctioning reactors, this will most likely continue for a year or more even after fission has stopped. The plant’s operator must constantly try to flood the reactors with seawater then release the resulting radioactive steam into the atmosphere, a desperate step intended to avoid a much bigger problem: a full scale meltdown of the nuclear cores.

Previously Japanese officials have said the melting of the nuclear cores in the two plants is assumed to be “partial,” and the amount of radioactivity measured outside the plants, though twice the level Japan considers safe, has been relatively modest. Tepco representatives earlier today said that there is no radiation leakage from Fukushima Dai-ichi despite the three explosions, contradicting their earlier statements and readings from independent sources. It is apparent that plant technicians are now required to work in areas that have become contaminated with radioactivity and that Tepco is following previous nuclear incidents such as Three Mile Island and Chernobyl to deny that there is any real danger.

More steam releases also mean that the plume heading across the Pacific toward Canada and the US could continue to grow. On Sunday evening, the White House sought to waylay peoples fears, saying that modelling done by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission had concluded; “Hawaii, Alaska, the U.S. Territories and the U.S. West Coast are not expected to experience any harmful levels of radioactivity.” Potassium Iodide treatments have almost sold out.

New information concerning safety at Fukushima and other reactors has recently surfaced. Apparently Japan had to shut down 17 plants in 2003 because they'd been falsifying the records about what had been happening at them and after it emerged that Tepco had hidden accidents, including the collapse of the cooling system of Japan's first commercial fast breeder reactor. In 1995 the Monju nuclear power plant sprang a leak in its liquid sodium cooling system. The reactor had to be shut down immediately and stayed that way until the beginning of last year.
It is apparent that the fuel rods in unit 2 had become fully exposed from their coolant, causing a third large explosion. Several officials and industry experts said on Sunday that the top four to nine feet of the nuclear fuel in the core was not intact and the control rods appear to have been exposed to the air, a condition that can quickly lead to melting, and ultimately to full meltdown. Gauges in the reactor have been damaged making it impossible to know just how much cooling process is still functional within the core.

When the fuel was intact, the steam they were releasing had only modest amounts of radioactive material. With damaged fuel the steam is far more radioactive. The operators are now dumping seawater into the vessel and letting it cool the fuel by boiling. But as it boils, pressure rises too high to pump in more water, so they have to vent the vessel to the atmosphere, and feed in more water, a procedure known as “feed and bleed.” Forcing the seawater inside the containment vessels has been difficult because the pressure has become so great.

Another concern is that some Japanese reactors (as well as some in France and Germany) run on a mixed fuel known as mox, or mixed oxide, that includes reclaimed plutonium. It has been confirmed that unit 3 uses a mixed oxide (MOX) fuel containing plutoniun, which is a dangerous threat in tiny doses and is therefore, much more toxic than the fuel used in the other reactors. The steam etc this is releasing is far more toxic.

European Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said on Monday that "safety at older German nuclear power stations must be checked rigorously" and refused to rule out closures if necessary. "The crisis at a Japanese nuclear plant had changed the world and put into question what had been previously regarded as safe and manageable."

14 Mar 2011

Unit 3 at Fukushima Explodes

Japan's chief cabinet secretary says a hydrogen explosion has occurred at Unit 3 of Japan's stricken Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant. The blast was similar to an earlier one at a different unit of the facility.

Unit 1 was a boiling-water reactor, (BWR-3) produced 460 MW and was supplied by General Electric in the 70’s while Unit 3 was a 784 MW BWR-4 made and supplied by Toshiba. Unit 3 is a far larger reactor. AP journalists felt the explosion of Unit 3 30 miles (50 kilometers) away.

Unit 2 is still undergoing emergency measures to try and cool the reactor sufficiently to inhibit a meltdown. The workers have resorted to using fire engines to cool the core down with seawater and boron. This is most likely being pumped back into the ocean creating fears that the release of radiation into the atmosphere and water, could lead to widespread cancer and other health problems.

Operators had earlier halted injection of sea water into the reactor of Unit 3, resulting in a rise in radiation levels and pressure. Official reports are that unit 3's inner containment vessel holding the nuclear rods is still intact, allaying some fears of the risk to the environment and public. However this is what was reported in the earlier unit 1 explosion and then officials admitted to the fact that a partial meltdown had occurred.

Previous to this latest explosion of Unit 3, a search and rescue helicopter has detected radiation 60 miles out to sea. Radiation levels at Fukushima are dangerously high.

A massive column of smoke was seen belching from the plant's No. 3 unit. The reactor had been under emergency watch for a possible explosion as pressure built up and emergency measures were undertaken. Unfortunately they have not stopped another large explosion from occurring.

It appears that the more the officials say they're in control, the more I sense things may be out of control.

The initial Earthquake that has caused major damage and devastating tsunami has been upgraded from a 8.9 magnitude to a 9 M. With many aftershocks still happening because of tectonic instability, a 7.1 M Earthquake is predicted to occur shortly.

13 Mar 2011

Fukushima Meltdown Update.

Officials say radiation may already have been released from the Fukushim 1 Nuclear Reactor incident. Japan's US envoy on Saturday acknowledged there had been a "partial melt" of a fuel rod at the quake-hit plant.

Japan's top government spokesman Yukio Edano said Sunday that radioactive meltdowns may have occurred in two reactors of the quake-hit Fukushima nuclear plant and that there was a fresh threat of explosion from a nuclear unit at a power plant in the country's earthquake-ravaged northeast.

A hydrogen explosion could occur at Unit 3 of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear complex, said Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano. That would follow a blast that took place Saturday at the same power plant as operators attempted to prevent a nuclear meltdown of another unit by injecting sea water into it.

There should be no runway chain reaction at the Fukushima 1 nuclear power plant in Japan as a result of the powerful earthquake that hit Japan on Friday, March 11, head of the Moscow Rosatom State Nuclear Corporation Sergei Kiriyenko said on Saturday.

The fear is that a partial or complete meltdown of one or more reactor cores would send radioactive particles into the atmosphere and ocean. Prevailing winds and ocean currents generally move in a northeasterly direction from Japan.

There's currently no threat for radiation exposure in Alaska. Eddie Zingone, a senior forecaster with the National Weather Service in Anchorage, said the jet stream coming from the area around Japan is blowing significantly south of Alaska.

12 Mar 2011

Has Fukushima Killed Us?

The ceiling of Unit 1 has collapsed and an explosion has blown the entire outer structure off of the containment building at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. A controlled release has not prevented what is most likely a major meltdown. Five other reactors are situated nearby but have apparently been successfully shut down.

Several workers have been injured in the explosion and black and white smoke can be seen billowing out of the plant.

An increase of radiation levels has been confirmed following the explosion. The hourly radiation within the plant was measured at 1,045 μSv. The hourly radiation leaking from the plant is reported to be equal to the amount permitted in one year.

Currently wind direction is northerly but changes to south easterly (It appears from the picture to have already shifted) tonight and then back to north easterly on Sunday morning. It remains the same on Monday. 

It's not just air born radiation that will most likely spread over much of the top half of Japan in the next few days when the wind direction changes. Radiation contamination might also spread into the Philippine sea and North Pacific Ocean. This is because Fukushima is situated at a cross roads of sea currents.

A Japanese environmental group, has documented previous safety problems at the Fukushima reactor complex:

On June 17, 2010, the same Fukushima I-2 reactor experienced a loss-of-power accident. According to Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center, “On June 17, Tokyo Electric Power Company's Fukushima I-2 (BWR, 784MW) scrammed due to a problem with the generator. Power was lost for a time, because the switchover to the offsite power supply was unsuccessful. As a result, the feedwater pump stopped and the water level in the reactor core fell about 2meters. The emergency diesel generator started up just in time, so the Emergency Core Cooling System was not activated. The water level was restored by an alternative pump in the core isolation cooling system.” At least one reactor at the complex, Fukushima I-3, began using MOX (mixed plutonium-uranium) fuel in September 2010.

After a Magnitude 8.9 Earthquake at a depth of 24.4 km just off the coast of Japan that has caused extensive damage, there has been an explosion at the Fukushima Nuclear power plant at 0630 GMT. Reactor 1 had reportedly been having problems with its cooling system after damage from the quake had stopped a main valve from being operational.

Further information can be found here: Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant

11 Mar 2011

Massive Earthquake in Japan

Audio Version.

Friday, March 11, 2011 at 06:46:23 PM NZT 
A major Earthquake just off the coast of Japan has caused major damage and large tsunami. Initial estimates have been upgraded to Magnitude 8.9 at a depth of 24.4 km. Significant loss of life is predicted.

NZ Civil Defense has issued a warning: A tsunami potential threat advisory is still in effect for New Zealand. Stay away from beaches.

Initial prediction place potential waves hitting Northland in New Zealand at 6:14 AM.

The Japanese Earthquake caused 8 to 13-foot tsunami that damaged buildings, caused fires and washed away homes along the Japanese northeastern coast.

A major oil refinery is on fire in Chiba, northeast of Tokyo. Another major fire was reported at JFE Holdings steel plant in Chiba.

Aftershocks 5 M to 7 M continue to rock the region as images on Japanese television showed cars and boats being swept away by tsunami waters

Cameron Slater - Asshole of the Week Award

Now we all know Whaleoil is a bit of a twat at the best of times, but once in a while he really outdoes himself. The last moronic outbursts are to do with looters in Christchurch. After getting on his high horse to say:

"They are uncouth, they are scum who should be gut-shot and left to die. They have no respect they are opportunists and did I mention scum. I think the Police need a SOS policy Shoot on Sight for looter and thieves."
and... "They have prob­a­bly been remanded in cus­tody to pro­tect them from being tarred and feath­ered then stoned to death. Instead of cus­tody couldn’t some stocks be made from some recy­cled tim­ber that is lying around all over the place."

"These scum should be hung, drawn and quar­tered"... etc.
Whaleoil AKA Cameron Slater has this to say about Phil Goff:

"He not only suggested that looter be court-martialed and shot but also that perhaps some could be “shackled to shovels” and put to work. That is quite different from suggesting as he claims that they “should be part of the effort to clean up and help others as a form of restorative justice.”
The statements are equally wrong to right thinking people. The similarities in their sentiments are uncanny. Oil lard then follows up with:

"Of course I have also copped a flogging for suggesting that looters be gut-shot, but the reality is the case of Arie Smith-Vorkamp hardly constitutes looting and certainly wouldn’t have passed my threshold of tolerance" 
Well Arie certainly registered on somebody’s intolerance meter didn’t he fatso... But now that we know he suffers from autism, you suddenly change your tune. Dickhead! Thank god you're not a judge.

So for incitement of hate and hypocrisy, this week’s special bonus Asshole of the Week Award goes to, wait for it... Cameron Slater. Hurrah!

The week that was

Audio Version.

After 18 years of litigation, Chevron has been found guilty of polluting the Ecuadorean Amazon with billions of gallons of oil waste. Facing a historic judgment of more than $8 billion, Chevron has vowed not to pay to clean up its mess. The oil giant has enlisted a cast of crooked professionals to sabotage the justice process.

Hundreds of thousands of people have made the difficult decision to leave Libya with many of these refugees and migrants now stranded at the border between Libya and Tunisia. There’s outrage expressed by world leaders over this deplorable situation and many countries are pledging to provide humanitarian aid and resources. A decision of whether to impose a no fly zone is expected today.

The International Joint Commission, (a collaboration between the U.S. and Canadian governments) identifies eutrophication in the lakes because of climate change as its chief concern. Eutrophication is unchecked plant growth caused by the presence of excessive nutrients, such as nitrates and phosphorous, in the water. Because that growth can deplete the amount of oxygen, eutrophication poses a major threat to the quality and viability of the Great Lakes' massive water store.

Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee says Christchurch cannot afford to spend time going through ponderous processes to save its heritage buildings. Prime Minister John Key has also conceded he received no official advice that some areas of quake-stricken Christchurch may need to be abandoned. The official Civil Defence figures show that some 2198 homes in Christchurch have been deemed unliveable - far less than the 10,000 homes Mr Key has said need to be knocked down. Key has also said that Asset sales need to be made to fund the Christchurch rebuild.

The Foreshore Seabed Act 2004 receives 72 submissions all supporting its repeal. However it passes its second reading, even without the support of the majority of Maori people. Hone Harawira and the Maori party split over the Maori parties support of the bill. Te Ururoa Flavell has reportedly asked for Hone Harawira to be taken off the Maori Affairs Select Committee but because the appointment was approved by parliament the request is declined.

National Minister of Telecommunications Steven Joyce who used to own Radio Works now known as Mediaworks, deferred payment of $43.3 million in taxpayer money to cover Mediaworks' licensing fees. This money could have better been spent on rebuilding Christchurch.

Two police officers have been accused of beating a young autistic man who became "the face of looting". Cornelius Arie Smith-Voorkamp, 25, was arrested for stealing two light bulbs and an antique light fitting from a quake-damaged home in Christchurch. But Mr Smith-Voorkamp has a mental disability that compels him to take light fixtures. On the night of his arrest, he was beaten by two officers and taunted by New Zealand Army personnel, his lawyer Simon Buckingham said. 

10 Mar 2011

An Open Letter to the National Party

Audio Version.

Dear John Key,

I write to you to express my dismay at your Government’s conduct. This is because I see the effects of your negative policies and lack of proper governance around me on a daily basis. I would also like to request that you undertake yourself in an appropriate manner more befitting of your position.

There is a certain amount of respect that your position should hold. Clearly this respect works both ways in that the position should be given respect by yourself as well as the public.  A loss of respect by those who hold positions of power, equals a loss of respect from the public towards those positions. Without you showing due respect for your position, there is no mandate to govern. It's rather simple really; if you don't respect yourself, nobody else will either.

Before being elected into power in 2008, National made a number of promises to the public concerning their governance of this country. I succinctly recall National saying that they will reduce the numbers of beneficiaries, however beneficiary numbers have increased by 200,000 while you have been in power Mr Key. We have not even seen the effects of the GST rise or the Christchurch Earthquake on this figure yet. The 200,000 more unemployed Kiwi's is mainly due to policy changes that have given rise to many more people requiring assistance. I feel that you have manipulated the public into believing National had a plan to create jobs. Clearly you had no plan at all Mr Key and this deception is unacceptable.

I recall National saying that you would reduce the gap between New Zealand and Australia. I presumed you meant that wages would become more in line and our standard of living would improve. However this gap has widened dramatically and our standard of living has decreased while National has been in office. If there was no plan to reduce the gap, National’s statement that they would do so is essentially a lie. I also do not think that it is appropriate that you Mr Key receive $45,000 more per year than your Australian counterpart Julia Gillard, as Australia's economy is far larger and functioning way better than ours.

I’m very unhappy that the BMW’s were purchased when everybody else is tightening our belts. You stated that you had no idea that they were being purchased when later documents showed you had signed off on the deal yourself. This is not proper management and you are either a cold-faced liar or stupid! In either case you have lost my respect, which must now be earned by working hard for it. You can no longer rely on the respect your position is attributed with, through the hard work of your predecessors.

There seems to be a culture of corporate welfare within the National Governments ranks. This is inherent in the way policies are formulated to benefit private businesses. We can see such unprofessional conduct through things like the trucking laws that benefit one section of transportation at the demise of other more sustainable transportation processes. The recent deferment/loan of $43.3 million taxpayer dollars to Mediaworks, a private overseas company that used to be part owned by one of your ministers looks rather dubious. I have a feeling that such secret dealings and the corporate welfare we are aware of, is just the tip of the iceberg.

While National undertakes what I can only describe as bribes for its rich business friends, you’re more than happy Mr Key to allow a culture of Benefit Bashing to ensue and encourage this through recommendations that would have more relevance in the seventeenth century.

Our most impoverished and neglected people deserve more respect than what you are showing them. There is no retrospective fix for the pain and suffering the National Government has caused on the poor through previous archaic policies, however you can undertake a humanitarian approach in the future. You cannot be oblivious to New Zealands horrendous child poverty statistics Mr Key, even in your ivory tower. Something must change to stop the suffering of the innocent children and if a change in government is required, then so be it. Even so Mr Key, you should show some compassion towards the impoverished children through positive policies and proper goal setting. Without a dramatic change in your Government’s direction within this area, my vote is assuredly not yours.

Speaking of ignoring the will of the people, there is no mandate for the Government to seek ownership of the foreshore and seabed. It appears to me to be another form of confiscation so that mineral, oil and gas reserves can be mined without proper recompense going to the public. There is no mandate from the public for you to privatise our beaches; they belong to all of us irrespective of race. As the guardians of these areas, Maori people have also opposed the act of depriving New Zealanders from the wealth that these areas hold. Your manipulation of the Maori people Mr Key to cause a rift between their tribes is not appreciated. Only through retaining our country, can we ever hope to benefit from and safeguard our precious inheritance.

Likewise there is no mandate for you to privatise our state-owned assets. There is no evidence to show that privatisation is better for the country. It has not increased our standard of living in the past; rather it has caused many difficulties within our infrastructure and allowed our assets to be stripped with the taxpayer picking up the tab. We must in all cases try to stop the flow of money from going off shore into private hands who have no concern for New Zealands future. Their only concern is with the money they can make. The cost to the taxpayer to rectify the failure of previous privatisation is extensive. We must learn from the past, or we will be doomed to repeat it.

What we need Mr Key is strong leadership, which you are currently not exhibiting. We do not want a Government that relies on media bias to prop itself up. We do not want propaganda to try and justify negative policies and their predictable eventualities. We want facts and transparency within every area of our governance. In light of the Christchurch Earthquake, these requirements are even more relevant.

Yours sincerely,

The Jackal

9 Mar 2011

Earthquake vs Rugby

Audio Version.

So we all love rugby in this country. It’s our national sport and has been the backbone of our communities for a very long time. People like Bunce, Zinzan and Fitzpatrick are institutions, and rightly so if you ask me. These guys are dudes. I’m a seriously avid rugby supporter and like nothing better than having a cold beer and watching the AB’s or International Seven's weave their magic.

But something has happened that dwarfs sports in this country. The Christchurch Earthquake of 22 March 2011 was such a major disaster that we as a country are going to be feeling the impact for a long time to come. The humanitarian effort, which is funded by many peoples donations requires a sustained approach and is our number one priority.

We must give those effected a fighting chance to rebuild their lives. That’s what the kiwi spirit is all about… giving those in need a helping hand. Therefore I’m going to donate the money I would have spent on rugby tickets this year to the Christchurch Earthquake appeal. Some things are just bigger than sport.