“The government has estimated that decontaminating the areas around the Fukushima plant, including removing radiated topsoil, buildings and trees, will cost at least 2.5 trillion yen ($24 billion).
But experts have been warning that such estimates may be too optimistic.”
Workers check storage tanks of radiation-contaminated water at tsunami-crippled Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, northern Japan, on March 24, 2015.
Japan’s estimate of dismantling the Fukushima nuclear plant is ballooning far beyond the utility’s estimate of 2 trillion yen ($19 billion).
A government study released Tuesday found decommissioning the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant already has cost 80 billion yen ($770 million) over the last three years.
The plant suffered multiple reactor meltdowns due to damage from the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
The ministry overseeing nuclear power said the decommissioning costs will continue at several hundreds of billions of yen (billions of dollars) a year.
Tokyo Electric Power Co., the utility that operated and is now decommissioning Fukushima Dai-ichi, has said decommissioning will take several decades.
Even if it were to take 30 years at an estimated annual cost at 300 billion yen ($3 billion), both conservative projections, the cost would be nearly 1 billion yen or $100 billion.
TEPCO spokesman Shinichi Nakakuki declined comment on the government projection, but he acknowledged TEPCO was still trying to determine what exactly the decommissioning effort might involve.
“It is difficult to calculate the entire cost for the decommissioning,” he said, adding that the 2 trillion yen figure had so far taken into account the effort to remove the nuclear debris, taking the example of Three Mile Island in the U.S., as well as costs and equipment needed to keep the reactors stable.
A security guard stands guard on one of the totally empty main streets in Namie, a town north of Tokyo Electric Power Company’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, Fukushima Prefecture, northern Japan, 09 March 2016.
The study did not distinguish between costs borne by the government and borne by TEPCO, which received a government bailout.
Japan has been struggling to clean up parts of the no-go zone to put the worst nuclear catastrophe since Chernobyl behind it.
The government has estimated that decontaminating the areas around the Fukushima plant, including removing radiated topsoil, buildings and trees, will cost at least 2.5 trillion yen ($24 billion).
But experts have been warning that such estimates may be too optimistic. The nuclear disaster in Fukushima displaced about 150,000 people.
Miyagi Prefecture to Request Municipalities to Dispose by Incineration the 8,000 Becquerels Below Contaminated Waste
The radioactive waste generated by the TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident will be disposed in accordance to the contaminated waste standard disposal methods of the country. All to be incinerated in the Miyagi Prefecture existing waste treatment facilities.
First of all, they plan to have incineration tests beginning next year, testing incineration in various municipalities facilities, collecting data during approximately 6 months so as to confirm the safety of the concentration in the incinerated ash. Intending to embark on full-scale incineration from the middle of next year, 2017.
The Miyagi Prefecture summarizes its disposal policy : because the procedure for the disposal of contaminated waste above 8000 becquerels takes a long time, we decided to proceed with the disposal of substandard contaminated waste first.
As a specific method, contaminated waste will be burned while mixed with general waste so as not to exceed again radioactive concentration criteria. In addition, some municipalities which stored large volumes of contaminated waste and may not be able to handle it fully on their own, will get help from other municipalities facilities for disposal.
Next month, the Miyagi Prefecture will open the municipal mayors conference, during which it will the municipalities cooperation.
The cost of cleaning up Tokyo Electric Power’s wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant may rise to several billion dollars a year, from less than US$800 million now, Japan’s industry ministry said on Tuesday.
The increased cost projections appeared in ministry documents prepared for a panel tasked with devising a viable financial plan for the utility company known as Tepco, which is struggling to cope with rising costs at its Fukushima plant nearly six years after the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.
Japan’s Minister of the Economy, Trade and Industry, Hiroshige Seko, told reporters after the panel meeting, its second, that the government will provide a firmer estimate for annual decommissioning costs for the nuclear plant by the end of the year,
Surging decommissioning costs are being addressed by the panel but it is also looking into options including a break up of Tepco, which is under state control after an earthquake and tsunami sparked meltdowns at the Fukushima reactors in March 2011.
“A combination among nuclear operators is one possibility,” Yojiro Hatakeyama, a director at the industry ministry overseeing the electricity and gas industries, told reporters.
He did not elaborate on the government’s estimate for annual decommissioning costs after repeated questioning from reporters.
Experts say any move to merge atomic operations is likely to meet strong resistance from Japan’s other nuclear operators.
Japan has 10 nuclear operators and all have been hit by the political fallout from the disaster, which has undermined public faith in atomic energy. All but two of Japan’s 42 reactors are in shutdown mode.
Tepco shares were up 1 per cent by 0509 GMT, while the general market and other operators also gained.
The briefing material for the panel said the clean-up may require several hundred billion yen, or several billion US dollars, of funds every year, compared with 80 billion yen (US$766 million) now.
And these estimates are likely to surge when the company and the government decide how to extract melted uranium fuel debris at the plant in 2018 or 2019, a person with direct knowledge of discussions on restructuring Tepco said earlier this month.
The meltdowns of three reactors released radiation over a wide area, contaminating water, food and air, and forcing more than 160,000 people to evacuate.
Dismantling the reactors is expected to take about 40 years, but Tepco is still struggling to contain radioactive water from the plant and has said it can’t predict the eventual total costs of the clean-up and decommissioning.
Tepco wants the government to consider introducing rules to avoid having to book a single huge exceptional loss as soon as cost estimates for decommissioning become clearer, a person familiar with the situation said earlier.
Certificates of training in radioactive decontamination work were issued by a company in Nihonmatsu, Fukushima Prefecture, to workers who had received no such training.
NIHONMATSU, Fukushima Prefecture–A company has admitted to not giving the required special training to workers before dispatching them to carry out decontamination work in radiation-hit Fukushima city.
A subcontractor called “Zerutech Tohoku” issued at least 100 bogus certificates to its workers showing they had completed the training, when, in fact, they had done nothing, according to the Fukushima Labor Standards Inspection Office.
The office had warned the subcontractor, which is based in Nihonmatsu and decontaminates parts of nearby Fukushima city, which was affected by the 2011 nuclear disaster, that it should give special training to workers to prepare them for the task.
The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare requires decontamination operators be given at least 5.5 hours of special training to each individual in accordance with the Industrial Safety and Health Law.
The training includes a lecture on potential health hazards and how to operate decontamination equipment as their job involves handling soil polluted by radioactive materials.
The 52-year-old representative of the company admitted wrongdoing in an interview with The Asahi Shimbun.
“We had to hire a large number of workers over a short period of time since we received a contract involving a vast swath of land,” he said of the false certificates, of which between 100 and 150 have been discovered.
In addition, the company, a fourth-tier subcontractor, issued seven other kinds of certificates needed to operate an aerial vehicle or chain saw, which were required to land the cleanup contract.
For issuing false certificates, offenders could be imprisoned for up to six months or fined 500,000 yen ($4,800).
But the law has been criticized for having numerous loopholes.
One is that there is not test of workers’ knowledge after they have received the training.
The operators are also not required to register the certificates with municipal authorities.
And it is not specified what qualifications are required for the person who conducts the training.
The Labor Standards office, a regional arm of the health ministry, has been inspecting the company for breaches of the law and regulations on decontamination work since Oct. 19.
The Zerutech Tohoku representative founded the company in March last year.
FUKUSHIMA — It may be impossible to measure the radioactive contaminant concentrations of water leeching from soil and other waste produced by the Fukushima nuclear disaster cleanup at 31 temporary waste storage sites in Fukushima Prefecture due to a planning flaw, a Board of Audit inspection has found.
The cleanup waste is put in bags, put in piles and covered with a waterproof tarp at the temporary disposal sites. These piles are built atop a low convex mound of earth, which is also covered with a tarp and is supposed to funnel the water leeching out of the waste into underground tanks. Contaminant concentration measurements are then taken from these tanks.
However, though many temporary disposal sites have been built on soft ground such as agricultural land, apparently no provisions were made for land subsidence — the earth being pushed down by the pressure of the waste bags — during planning.
The Board of Audit chose 34 of the 106 disposal sites in the prefecture for inspection. The 34 sites were spread across five municipalities, had waste piles five to six bags (or about 5 meters) high, and had been established in the four years up to fiscal 2015. Of these, the earth beneath the waste stack had subsided — going from convex to concave — at 31 sites, meaning contaminated water was also not flowing into the storage tanks. It is possible the water is collecting in the tarps.
There are 15 such sites in the Fukushima Prefecture town of Kawamata, five in the town of Namie, four each in the city of Tamura and the village of Iitate, and three in the town of Naraha. The subsidence of the earth bases hasn’t been confirmed, but the Board of Audit has pointed out that if contaminated water is pooling in the tarps, it could impact future operations to move the waste to a mid-term storage site. It has also called on the Environment Ministry, which operates the sites, to take necessary measures to rectify the problem.
The ministry told the Mainichi Shimbun, “The stacks are designed so that contaminated water won’t escape even if the land underneath subsides, and no harm has been done by the treatment of the water. The waste bags themselves have been replaced with waterproof versions, but we would still like to consider ways to reinforce the ground (under the piles), such as by using sand in the middle.”
On October 19, 2016, Governor Masao Uchibori, the Fukushima prefecture governor, took part in a seminar at the United Nations headquarters in New York, a seminar about the reconstruction of Eastern Japan from the 2011 earthquake.
He declared that though there were rumors saying that many people can’t live anymore in Fukushima since the nuclear accident in March 2011, it was not fact. The evacuation zone was only 5 % of the Fukushima prefecture. He also emphasized that life in Fukushima was back in the same way as it was before the 2011 earthquake in 95 % of the prefecture.
In Fukushima Prefecture, large quantities of contaminated soil and waste have been generated from decontamination activities. Currently, it is difficult to clarify methods of final disposal of such soil and waste. Until final disposal becomes available, it is necessary to establish an Interim Storage Facility (ISF) in order to manage and store soil and waste safely.
The only solution proposed is a storage facility of 16 km2 around the Fukushima plant for a period of 30 years. After that, time will tell, because the problems are endless.
The following materials generated in Fukushima Prefecture will be stored in the ISF.
1. Soil and waste (such as fallen leaves and branches) generated from decontamination activities, which have been stored at the Temporary Storage Sites.
2. Incineration ash with radioactive concentration more than 100,000 Bq/kg.
It is estimated that generated soil from decontamination will be approx. 16 ~22 mil. m3 after the volume reduction incineration, estimated value based on the decontamination implementation plan of July 2013. (Ref: approximately 13~18 times as much as the volume of Tokyo Dome (1.24 mil. m3) .
Transportation to Stock Yards
In order to confirm safe and secure delivery towards the transportation of a large amount of decontamination soil, MOE implemented the transportation approx. 1,000m3 each from 43 municipalities in Fukushima Prefecture from 2015-2016.
Actual achievement in 2016 as of July 30, 2016
Stored volume: 13,384m3 (58,766m3 in total)
Stock yards in Okuma: 4,883m3; stock yards in Futaba: 8,501m3
* Calculated on the assumption that the volume of a large bag is 1m3
Total number of trucks used: 2,279 (9,808 in total)
Stock yards in Okuma: 815 trucks; stock yards in Futaba:1,464 trucks
To construct facilities, it will need comprehensive area and 2/3 will be assumed to be used for facilitation. The possible volume for installation is to be 10,000m3/ha and 140,000m3/5ha for a storage facility, and will be installed from TSS to ISF sequentially.
Approximate period from contract with operators to ISF operation: 3months for TSS, 6months for delivery & classification, 12months for storage, 18months for incineration.
On the premise that infrastructure construction on roads for Okuma and Futaba IC would proceed as planned, the maximum volume of possible transportation is estimated: 2millions m3 /y before the operation of both IC, 4millions m3/y after Okuma IC & before Futaba IC, 6 millions m3/y after the both ICs operation.
Landowners are still reluctant to sell their land to put the waste. In late September 2016, according to the official data of the Ministry of Environment, only 379 owners out of 2360 had signed a contract. This represents an area of 144 ha, or about 9% of the total project.
The town of Okuma, is almost entirely classified as “difficult to return”zone, therefore it intends to offer all its municipal land to put the waste. This represents 95 hectares, or about 10% of land considered in the town. This includes schools, the Fureai Park with some sports grounds … The town has not yet decided whether it would sell or would lease its land.
Meanwhile, it is an abandoned village:
The Joban railway line was partially destroyed by the tsunami, as here in Tomioka:
Destroyed Tomioka train station and sorting facility for radioactive waste
Some parts have reopened, but not in the most contaminated areas; between Tatsuta and Namie. Japan Railway wants to fully reopen the railway before 2020, avoiding the coast. Decontamination should produce 300,000 m3 of radioactive waste. The radioactive waste bags are along the railway, but they will need to be take them away. The Environment Ministry is negotiating with landowners owning the land beside the railway, but this is not enough because few responded favorably. So it’s a game of musical chairs that is planned: use the lands where some waste is right now after they’ll freed by the transfer of the waste to the storage center located around the Fukushima Dai-ichi.
Meanwhile, the waste is piling up everywhere:
Radioactive waste in Iitate
Valley of radioactive waste in Iitate mura
This storage was not expected to last as long, which is not without causing problems because the bags do not hold. Here in Tomioka, weeds grow back:
The equivalent of the Court of Accounts of Japan went to inspect some of these sites and found other problems, according to the Asahi. Those who receive contaminated soil, are elevated in the center so that the water flows over the edges where it can be harvested and controlled because the bags are not waterproof. There are up to 5 levels. With time and the weight of waste, a hollow that may appear in the center, and contaminated water accumulates there. Monitoring is difficult or impossible. See diagram of Asahi:
It is not normal that the Nuclear Regulatory Authority, the NRA does not control these storage sites for radioactive waste.
Regarding the waste from the decommissioning of nuclear power plants, the NRA wants to bury the most contaminated within 70 meters for 100 000 years. This is essentially reactor control rods. Utilities would bear responsibility for 300 to 400 years. They have not yet found where to have the sites … Read Asahi for more. http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201609020034.html
The government relies on the radioactive decay for these wastes to pass below the 8000 Bq / kg to be downgraded and utilized …
TEPCO reported on October 20th they used drones to measure radioactivity at the reactors 1 and 2 vent tower.
Vent towers are quite unstable during earthquakes and are highly contaminated, they are therefore not easy to dismantle, even with robot
When they sent a drone into the vent tower, they found out that a bar prevented the drone to go in lower than 10-20 m below.
It’s pretty amazing that Tepco did not know that this bar was there and that they can not give its position more precisely.
TEPCO only provided two pictures online with a laconic comment. No results of their radioactivity measuring was given. Transparency is progressing …
A cattle-breeding corporation in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, which was devastated by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, will begin raising about 5,000 beef cattle in Vietnam by the end of this year at the earliest, in collaboration with a state-owned company there.
The Vietnamese company will prepare a ranch and young cattle, and Japanese farmers will provide their expertise in livestock farming.
The Japanese side will be able to receive $3 million (about ¥300 million) annually in consultation fees. It will be a particularly large operation for a move overseas by farmers in a disaster-hit area (see below).
“It can be not only post-disaster reconstruction but also a new growth strategy for Japan’s agriculture,” a farming expert said in expectation.
The agricultural corporation that will begin the project in Vietnam is Ushichan Farm Co., one of the largest beef cattle breeders in the Tohoku region. The company now raises about 4,000 beef cattle in Miyagi and Iwate prefectures. It ships out beef rich in fat — called shimofuri — and red meat with less fat.
Tsunami following the tremors washed away cattle barns and about 50 cattle. Due to damage from rumors in the wake of the accident at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, sales in the year after the disaster fell by about ¥500 million. However, workers at the company have improved the quality of beef through such steps as utilizing tablet computers in breeding management.
Its Vietnamese partner is Saigon Agriculture Incorporation (SAGRI), a state-owned firm based in Ho Chi Minh City.
In Vietnam, volumes of beef consumption have been rising along with its economic growth. SAGRI paid attention to the high-level production skills of Japanese beef-producing farmers to improve the country’s production volumes and qualities of beef.
Red-meat-type beef is popular in Japan, so SAGRI asked Ushichan Farm to collaborate and the two sides signed a business partnership contract in August this year.
SAGRI will prepare a 500-hectare ranch, cattle barns and about 5,000 young cattle in Ho Chi Minh City. Ushichan Farm will provide such techniques as breeding management that uses individual identification numbers and how to mix feeds.
After conducting administrative procedures in the country, the Japanese company will begin raising the cattle by the end of this year at the earliest. Beef from the Vietnamese ranch will be sold in local supermarkets and other stores starting around 2018. Sales will be evenly shared by the two corporations.
Eyeing the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact, the Japanese side plans to import red meat from the cattle to be raised in Vietnam in the future. Ushichan Farm also aims to prepare for international competition with products from the United States and Australia.
“We want to make [the project] an opportunity to send out information about Japan’s livestock industry,” said Kazutaka Sato, 39, senior managing director of Ushichan Farm.
According to an official of the Japan External Trade Organization: “Such a large-scale investment in agriculture in Vietnam is rare. It indicates how high the Vietnamese side’s expectations are.”
Kazunuki Oizumi, a professor emeritus of Miyagi University who is an expert on agricultural economics, said, “Exporting skills and techniques can result in new growth not only in the disaster-hit areas but also in Japan’s agriculture overall.”
■ Moves overseas by farmers in disaster-hit areas
In coastal areas in Miyagi Prefecture devastated by tsunami, farmers have begun businesses overseas. For example, an agricultural production corporation in the town of Yamamoto has grown strawberries in India since autumn 2012, and farmers in the city of Iwanuma have grown rice in Vietnam since summer 2014. This is partly because exporting products from the prefecture has become difficult, as other countries’ restrictions on imports of farming products from the disaster-hit areas were made stricter in the wake of the accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
The US has finally confirmed that it has fired DU ammunition Syria, after it had earlier stated that the weapons would not be used. US Central Command (CENTCOM) has acknowledged that DU was fired on two dates – the 18 and 23 November 2015. Between the strikes on the two dates, 5,100 rounds of 30mm DU ammunition were used by A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft. This equates to 1,524kg of DU. CENTCOM said that the ammunition was selected because of the “nature of the targets”.
The news comes as governments are debating a UN General Assemblyresolution on DU weapons in New York. And, although DU use has only been admitted on two dates, ICBUW and PAX are concerned that this disclosure could be the sign that DU has, or will, be used more widely in the conflict.
In March 2015, and following the deployment of A-10s to the conflict, the US hadconfirmed to journalists that the aircraft would not be armed with DU, stating:“U.S. and Coalition aircraft have not been and will not be using depleted uranium munitions in Iraq or Syria during Operation Inherent Resolve.” Justifying the decision, CENTCOM public affairs explained that: “The ammunition is developed to destroy tanks on a conventional battlefield; Daesh does not possess large numbers of tanks.”
CENTCOM confirms DU use IRIN news finally extracted the confirmation that DU had been used from CENTCOM on October 20, and after weeks of denials. The revelations first came to light after an aide to Congresswoman Martha McSally (Rep, AZ) – herself a former A-10 combat pilot – responded to a question from DU activist, and constituent, Jack Cohen-Joppa. However a number of CENTCOM sources initially denied that the information was accurate. Confirming that the data were indeed accurate, a spokesperson for CENTCOM said earlier denials were due to “an error in reporting down range.”
“Without the chance disclosure from McSally’s office, and the dogged pursuit of CENTCOM by IRIN, the US would not have volunteered this data,” said ICBUW Coordinator Doug Weir. “Sadly this is typical of the poor transparency we have seen from the US and we urge CENTCOM and the Coalition to clarify their policy on DU use in Syria and explain how its use fits with its public claims that the ammunition is solely for use against armoured targets.”
Unclear why DU was used The US regularly states that DU ammunition is specifically used only for engaging armoured targets, in accordance with its own legal guidelines, although evidence from a number of conflicts has shown that these guidelines are commonly ignored……..http://www.bandepleteduranium.org/en/united-states-confirms-fired-du-syria
Global warming continues; 2016 will be the hottest year ever recorded http://www.skepticalscience.com/gw-continues-2016-hottest-year.html 21 October 2016 by John Abraham
We know the world is warming – no factor can explain it aside from human emissions ofgreenhouse gases. Despite this, people who deny the basic facts of climate change have tried to argue that the Earth is either not warming or is only slowly heating. Well that just isn’t true anymore. The last three years are the nail in the coffin of the deniers of climate change. We have enough data this year to call 2016 as the hottest year ever record – and we have three more months left to go.
So, just how hot is 2016? Well my early predictions are shown in the graph below. I have taken temperature data from NASA and superimposed my predictions for 2016 – it isn’t even close. And by the way, it doesn’t matter whose data you use (NASA, NOAA, JMA, Hadley Centre) the results are the same. 2016 is going to blow 2015 out of the water.
A few things to note. First, these temperatures are surface temperatures that are taken across the globe. But, you can measure temperatures elsewhere and see the same result. Most importantly, measurements in the oceans, where 93% of the extra heat is stored are the best proof of global warming. I recently coauthored an open-access paper on this very topic which interested readers can get here.
You can measure sea level rise as the heated water expands, you can measure ice loss across the globe, you can measure temperatures in the lower part of the atmosphere. It doesn’t matter where; the story is the same.
What is the big deal? Well first of all, 2016 blows away 2015 which was previously the hottest year ever and that had beaten 2014 as the hottest year ever – call this a three-peat. Three records in a row and the last two are by large margins. Does this mean global warming all of a sudden has gotten worse?
No, surface temperatures fluctuate a lot – you can see that in the figure. Temperatures will go up or down from year to year without apparent reason. This is why we are interested in the long term trends. This is also why we are interested in looking at other measures of warming (especially in the oceans). All of our measurements agree with each other – we know the Earth was warming long before this set of records began falling in 2014.
One thing these temperatures can do is enable us to compare computer models with measurements. We’ve seen that models have done an excellent job of correctly predicting the rate of heating of the Earth. My own research shows that in the oceans, the models are slightly under-predicting the rate of heating.
To compare models and measurements at the Earth’s surface, I’ve borrowed a figure from Dr. Gavin Schmidt of Nasa and I’ve overlaid the 2016 surface temperatures. A star shows where 2016 will be. The star should be compared to the three heavy dashed lines in the figure. The upper and lower dashed lines show the uncertainty in the models and the middle dashed line shows the average.
Sailors exposed to Fukushima radiation one step closer to justice, Beyond Nuclear, 23 Oct 16 Lawyers for U.S. sailors suffering illnesses associated with radiation exposure from the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe presented oral arguments before the 9th circuit court in Pasadena, CA in September. This follows two victories before the district federal court in San Diego, CA and two legal appeals by TEPCO who is being sued for compensation in this first-of-its-kind case. Determination in this case is expected within 60 days.
According to Nuclear Hotseat, present at the arguments, the sailors are experiencing a number of health impacts including, leukemia, ulcers, gall bladder removal, brain cancers and tumors, testicular cancers, thyroid illnesses, stomach complaints, dysfunctional uterine bleeding, and still births and birth defects among their children. A number of these maladies are rare for the sailors’ age and condition, and were not present before the relief operation Tomadachi, undertaken by the U.S. in the wake of the March 2011 earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown in Japan. According to statements at a press conference, filmed here by Ecological Options Network, seven people have already died including a child who was riddled with tumors. The number of sailors in the lawsuit is currently 400 and additional plantiffs continue coming forward.
Radiation diseases are so complex, the Veterans Administration cannot figure out how to treat many of the ill. As a result, they are often diagnosed with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), which is a catchall meaning they don’t know what the malady is. This type of unclear diagnosis also occurred after the atomic bomb explosions (bura-bura disease) and after the Chernobyl nuclear meltdown(vegetative distonia).
Lawyers for the sailors say any delay in the case is a delay of justice and proper health resources for these radiation-affected people. It’s been about 4 years already since the suit began and only judicial and legal wrangling has been undertaken in court. Specifics of the catastrophe, exposure scenarios and health information has not been allowed as of yet. According to plantiffs’ lawyers, this is a ploy by TEPCO to keep case from being heard………http://www.beyondnuclear.org/radiation-health-whats-new/2016/10/6/uss-reagan-sailors-one-step-closer-to-justice.html
Documentary film-makers face decades in prison for taping oil pipeline protests https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/oct/20/north-dakota-oil-pipeline-protest-film-makers-face-prison
Deia Schlosberg and Lindsey Grayzel face felony charges that first amendment advocates say are part of a growing number of attacks on freedom of the press, Guardian, Sam Levin , 23 Oct 16, Two documentary film-makers are facing decades in prison for recording US oil pipeline protests, with serious felony charges that first amendment advocates say are part of a growing number of attacks on freedom of the press.
The controversial prosecutions of Deia Schlosberg and Lindsey Grayzel are moving forward after a judge in North Dakota rejected “riot” charges filed againstDemocracy Now! host Amy Goodman for her high-profile reporting at the Dakota Access pipeline protests.
But authorities in other parts of North Dakota and in Washington state have continued to target other film-makers over their recent reporting on similar demonstrations, raising concerns that the lesser-known journalists are not getting the same kind of public support and national attention.
Schlosberg, a New York-based film-maker, is facing three felony conspiracy charges for filming protesters on 11 October at a TransCanada Keystone Pipeline site in Pembina County in North Dakota, with prosecutors alleging that she was “recruited to record the criminal activity”.
The 36-year-old – who produced a documentary called How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change – could face 45 years in prison. US whistleblower Edward Snowden recently tweeted his support of Schlosberg, writing: “This reporter is being prosecuted for covering the North Dakota oil protests. For reference, I face a mere 30 years.”
Grayzel, an independent film-maker from Portland, Oregon, was also arrested and jailed on 11 October while filming at a separate pipeline protest in Skagit County, Washington. She and her cinematographer, Carl Davis, had their footage and equipment seized and were kept behind bars for a day.
The two were filming activist Ken Ward attempting to shut down the Trans Mountain pipeline, and they now face 30 years in prison for a felony burglary charge, a felony “criminal sabotage” charge and a misdemeanor trespass offense. There were a series of pipeline protests across the US on 11 October.
“Everyone needs to be afraid when our first amendment rights are in jeopardy,” Grayzel, 41, told the Guardian on Thursday before her criminal arraignment. “This is not just about me. This is not just about Carl. This is not about Amy Goodman … This is about the public’s right to know what is going on in this country.”
Free-speech advocates said that both cases are unusual and troubling given that prosecutors have admitted that the defendants were acting as film-makers and are still pursuing aggressive felony cases.
While it’s not uncommon for journalists to face arrest and misdemeanor charges for trespassing or disorderly conduct while reporting at controversial protests, conspiracy, burglary and sabotage offenses are rare for members of the media.
“It’s outrageous. It’s an assault on the first amendment,” said Neil Fox, one of Grayzel’s attorneys. “It’s shocking, but it is the kind of climate that we’re living in right now.”
Fox cast blame on the Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump, who has made vicious attacks on the media a cornerstone of his campaign. “This is certainly the result of the toxic language that Trump brings to the election.”
Although Ward, a climate activist, had gained access to a fenced enclosure owned by the Trans Mountain Pipeline, the Skagit County sheriff’s report noted that Grayzel and her cinematographer were “just outside the enclosure … taking photographs and video”. The report said they confiscated the film-makers’ phone and “assorted camera equipment”, actions that have raised further concerns about press intimidation and free speech violations.
Washington prosecutors are relying on laws that were passed in the early 20th century to target labor rights’ protesters, Fox added. “There’s been a revival in the state of Washington of the use of these statutes against labor activists and against environmental activists.”
In Goodman’s case, a judge forced prosecutors to drop a serious “riot” charge, which was centered on Goodman’s viral coverage of the intense Native American-led protests. But prosecutors and sheriff’s officials said they may continue to pursue other charges against the critically acclaimed journalist.
In Schlosberg’s charges, North Dakota prosecutors have alleged that she was part of a conspiracy, claiming she traveled with protesters “with the objective of diverting the flow of oil”.
“I was surprised at the conspiracy charges. I never thought that would ever happen,” her attorney Robert Woods told the Guardian. “All she was doing was her job of being a journalist and covering the story.”
Prosecutors in both cases declined to comment.
The International Conference on Atomic and Nuclear Physics will be held on 17-18 November in Atlanta, Georgia,
Nonsense paper written by iOS autocomplete accepted for conference New Zealand professor asked to present his work at US event on nuclear physics despite it containing gibberish all through the copy, Guardian, Elle Hunt, 22 Oct 16 A nonsensical academic paper on nuclear physics written only by iOS autocomplete has been accepted for a scientific conference.
Christoph Bartneck, an associate professor at the Human Interface Technology laboratory at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, received an email inviting him to submit a paper to the International Conference on Atomic and Nuclear Physics in the US in November.
“Since I have practically no knowledge of nuclear physics I resorted to iOS autocomplete function to help me writing the paper,” he wrote in a blog post on Thursday. “I started a sentence with ‘atomic’ or ‘nuclear’ and then randomly hit the autocomplete suggestions.
“The text really does not make any sense.”
“The atoms of a better universe will have the right for the same as you are the way we shall have to be a great place for a great time to enjoy the day you are a wonderful person to your great time to take the fun and take a great time and enjoy the great day you will be a wonderful time for your parents and kids,” is a sample sentence from the abstract.
It concludes: “Power is not a great place for a good time.”
Bartneck illustrated the paper – titled, again through autocorrect, “Atomic Energy will have been made available to a single source” – with the first graphic on the Wikipedia entry for nuclear physics.
He submitted it under a fake identity: associate professor Iris Pear of the US, whose experience in atomic and nuclear physics was outlined in a biography using contradictory gender pronouns.
The nonsensical paper was accepted only three hours later, in an email asking Bartneck to confirm his slot for the “oral presentation” at the international conference.
“I know that iOS is a pretty good software, but reaching tenure has never been this close,” Bartneck commented in the blog post. He did not have to pay money to submit the paper, but the acceptance letter referred him to register for the conference at a cost of US$1099 (also able to be paid in euros or pounds) as an academic speaker.
The International Conference on Atomic and Nuclear Physics will be held on 17-18 November in Atlanta, Georgia, and is organised by ConferenceSeries: “an amalgamation of Open Access Publications and worldwide international science conferences and events”, established in 2007…….. https://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/oct/22/nonsense-paper-written-by-ios-autocomplete-accepted-for-conference
A Horrifying New Study Found that the Ocean is on its Way to Suffocating by 2030, The Inertia, Alexander Haro MAY 2, 2016 It seems that every week, a new study comes out showing just how much damage we’re doing to our planet. This last one’s a doozy, though: according to Matthew Long, an oceanographer at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, if we continue along the road we’re on, the ocean could begin to suffocate in about 15 years. Actually.
The study was published a few days ago in Global Biogeochemical Cycles, which is not The National Enquirer and is a publication entirely based on science. Long’s not some quack, either. He’s a dyed-in-the-wool scientist with a Ph.D. in Oceanography from Stanford University, an M.S. in Environmental Engineering (Hydrology) from Tufts University, and a B.S in Environmental Engineering. That is a man who likes facts.
According to Ocean Scientists for Informed Policy, “ocean deoxygenation refers to the loss of oxygen from the oceans due to climate change.” It’s not up for debate, either: it is a cold and hard fact that both climate change and ocean deoxygenation are happening, and no amount of climate change deniers stamping their feet will change it.
“Long-term ocean monitoring shows that oxygen concentrations in the ocean have declined during the 20th century, and the new IPCC 5th Assessment Report (AR5 WG1) predicts that they will decrease by 3-6% during the 21st century in response to surface warming,” the website explains. “While 3-6% doesn’t seem like much, this decrease will be felt acutely in hypoxic and suboxic areas, where oxygen is already limiting. […] To put this in context, a highly optimistic emissions scenario of atmospheric CO2 levels of 550 ppm by 2100 would lead to a 1.2°C warming of the upper ocean. Therefore, these declines in oxygen are changes we should be prepared to see.”
So how does climate change affect the ocean? Well, the ocean is warming up, and a warm ocean doesn’t take in as much oxygen from the atmosphere, for starters. There’s the whole sea level rising issue, which is just way too big to go into here. But possibly the most concerning part of the whole thing has to do with phytoplankton, which are one of the smallest, most prolific, and really fucking important creatures on earth. If you believe National Geographic, “fish, whales, dolphins, crabs, seabirds, and just about everything else that makes a living in or off of the oceans owe their existence to phytoplankton, one-celled plants that live at the ocean surface. Phytoplankton are at the base of what scientists refer to as oceanic biological productivity, the ability of a water body to support life such as plants, fish, and wildlife.”
Warmer water doesn’t mix well with colder water. As the surface warms, the phytoplankton that float around up there most of the time don’t get down deep as often, and those little guys are responsible for about half of the oxygen in the ocean……….
According to the predictive study, vast portions of the Pacific–Hawaii and the western edge of the Americas included–will be seriously deprived of oxygen somewhere between 2030 and 2040, which would most likely mean massive die-offs of very important creatures.
Although Long’s study is far more telling than any other before it, it’s not really anything all that new. Back in 2010, Scripps Institution of Oceanography warned about the dangers of something called “oxygen minimum zones”, which are exactly what they sound like: large portions of the ocean, usually very deep, that don’t have enough oxygen to really sustain much life. “A major concern is that these so-called oxygen minimum zones (OMZs) will expand in the future as the upper ocean warms and becomes more stratified,” wrote Scripps scientist Ralph Keeling.
What does it all come down to? Well, more and more, it seems we’re already too far gone. Every day, we’re passing tipping points. Long, who seems a little frustrated that no one in charge is listening to him or anyone else that has been screaming about a host of environmental issues, made his point very clear. “This inexorable force of human-induced warming will clearly result in widespread ocean deoxygenation in the future,” he said.
And like it or not, our lust for carbon is causing it. “This latest study adds one more item to the list of insults we are inflicting on the oceans through our continued burning of fossil fuels,” said Michael Mann, a climate scientist at Penn State University. “Ocean life and marine ecosystems must now simultaneously contend with the triple threat of warming waters, increased acidity, and now, we’re learning, lower oxygen levels. Any one of these challenges alone would be daunting. “We have yet another reason to be gravely concerned about the health of our oceans, and yet another reason to prioritize the rapid decarbonization of our economy.” http://www.theinertia.com/environment/a-horrifying-new-study-found-that-the-ocean-is-on-its-way-to-suffocating-by-2030/
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