Fukushima could be 15,000 times worse than Hiroshima with removal of fuel rods

Fukushima could be 15,000 times worse than Hiroshima with removal of fuel rods

JAPAN – A Yale Professor is compelling the world to wake up from its nuclear slumber and face some cold-hard facts, “All of humanity will be threatened for thousands of years” if the Fukushima Unit 4 pool can’t be kept cool. Your worries about eating cesium-contaminated fish from the Pacific Ocean are grounded in fact, but this is a world-wide disaster of the most epic proportions just waiting to happen. If nothing else, it points to the necessity of nuclear-free power to fuel the planet, but in the meantime, more than 1,535 fuel rods must be meticulously removed from Unit 4, which in all likelihood is crumbling. Charles Perrow, Professor Emeritus of Sociology from Yale University cautions: “Conditions in the unit 4 pool, 100 feet from the ground, are perilous, and if any two of the rods touch it could cause a nuclear reaction that would be uncontrollable. The radiation emitted from all these rods, if they are not continually cool and kept separate, would require the evacuation of surrounding areas including Tokyo. Because of the radiation at the site the 6,375 rods in the common storage pool could not be continuously cooled; they would fission and all of humanity will be threatened, for thousands of years.” In early stages of the Fukushima disaster Tepco, under influence of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA), tried to keep the full ramifications of Fukushima under wraps, and now the entire country faces a possible trillion dollar price tag and multiple decades of active clean up to make this go away, but that will all be a moot point if the fuel rods aren’t removed properly. All the boron between spent fuel rods has disintegrated.

This means a nuclear chain reaction could ensue if the rods get too close together in the pools, causing nuclear mayhem like we’ve never endured. In less than two months, Tepco plans to try to remove these rods, admitting that they haven’t the expertise or resources to do it perfectly – and that is what it would take – absolute perfection. According to globalreasearch.ca, “Some 400 tons of fuel in that pool could spew out more than 15,000 times as much radiation as was released at Hiroshima. More than 6,000 fuel assemblies now sit in a common pool just 50 meters from Unit Four. Some contain plutonium. The pool has no containment over it. It’s vulnerable to loss of coolant, the collapse of a nearby building, another earthquake, another tsunami and more.” Overall, more than 11,000 fuel assemblies are scattered around the Fukushima site. According to long-time expert and former Department of Energy official Robert Alvarez, there is more than 85 times as much lethal cesium on site as was released at Chernobyl.” This is no time for Tepco or the Japanese government to try to save face, or the world to turn the other cheek. If we don’t treat this as a global disaster it would be like waiting for the Russians to start nuclear war back in the 1980s – or worse. Harvey Wasserman has created a petition at NukeFree.org to alert our own president and other politicians about the extreme seriousness of this incident. All while they were planning to go to war with Syria, the nuclear disaster right under our noses was escalating to unfathomable proportions. Not to sound doom and gloom, but it’s important to recognize the ramifications if this issue isn’t taken care of – properly.



Giant NASA Balloon Mission failed to See Comet ISON due to a Telescope Glitch

Giant NASA Balloon Mission failed to See Comet ISON due to a Telescope Glitch

An ambitious one-day mission to observe the potentially dazzling Comet ISON with a telescope dangling from a colossal NASA balloon this weekend has failed due to a mechanical glitch, NASA officials say.

The mission, called the Balloon Rapid Response for ISON (BRRISON), lifted off from Fort Sumner, N.M., on Saturday (Sept. 28) in a bid to make telescope observations of Comet ISON — which some scientists have dubbed as a potential “comet of the century” if brightens on its way into the inner solar system. The telescope-toting balloon aimed to observe the comet from the Earth’s upper atmosphere in infrared and ultraviolet/visible wavelengths of light.

But roughly two and a half hours after the BRRISON balloon’s launch, the 0.8-meter telescope on its science gondola platform returned to a stowed position too rapidly. That motion drove the telescope past an internal latch, causing it to jam, mission officials said.

“The telescope was unable to be redeployed despite numerous attempts by the BRRISON team from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, which built BRRISON for NASA,” according to a NASA statement after the balloon returned to Earth.

Checking Out NASA’s Balloon Rapid Response for ISONPin It Technicians perform final checks on gondola-carried scientific gear used for NASA’s Balloon Rapid Response for ISON, a mission to observe Comet ISON from a high-altitude balloon, just before its launch from Fort Sumner, N.M.,

The in-flight problem prevented the payload from collecting its much-anticipated photos of Comet ISON. An Interim Response Team was expected to assess the BRRISON payload during recovery operations on Sunday.

The BRRISON mission flew on a zero-pressure balloon and was billed as the first NASA Planetary Science Division balloon mission ever aimed at observing a comet. The project cost totaled $11 million, but while a scientific data loss, the gondola-carried payload is in the process of being recovered and should be available for reuse as much as possible on another mission.

The fast-paced BRRISON project was sponsored by NASA, The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) and the Southwest Research Institute. It is one of several projects underway to study Comet ISON in detail during its swing through the inner solar system.

Comet ISON — officially designated C/2012 S1 (ISON) — was discovered in September 2012, by Russian amateur astronomers Vitali Nevski and Artyom Novichonok. The comet’s pass through the inner solar system has been a major source of anticipation and uncertainty among astronomers.

Giant NASA Balloon Soars Pin It A giant zero-pressure NASA balloon soars skyward carrying the Balloon Rapid Response for ISON telescope into the upper atmosphere on a mission to observe Comet ISON. The balloon took off from Fort

The comet is slated to make its closest approach to the sun on Nov. 28, when it will be about 700,000 miles (1.2 million kilometers) from the sun’s surface. If Comet ISON survives the solar close encounter, the comet could flare up brilliantly to become a dazzling object in the night sky. But the comet could also fizzle out or break apart, scientists have warned.

Prior to Saturday’s balloon liftoff BRRISON team member Eliot Young, a principal scientist at Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colo. issued an upbeat message.

Young said the late-evening launch was “probably good news for our suite of experiments: it guarantees us night time observations.” The winds at 120,000 feet had sped up towards the east, as happens in late September, he said, making flight times short before the payloads reach population centers and have to be terminated.

Young noted in his pre-launch message that the evening launch made BRRISON team members change their schedule of observations.

“We never expected to observe Comet ISON through sunrise,” Young said. “Our sunshade was installed to protect the telescope during afternoon observations of ISON. With the unusual evening launch, we have had to re-orient our sunshade.”

Did Earth’s Moon originate from Venus?

Did Earth's Moon originate from Venus?

NEW YORK: Moon may have originated from Venus, after Earth’s gravity captured its natural satellite from the planet, a new theory on lunar history suggests.

The theory is in contradiction to the belief that the Earth’s moon formed some 4.5 billion years ago when a planet-size body slammed into nascent Earth at high speed.

“I think part of the key to (understanding) the Moon may be that Venus has no moon, and we certainly have to study it (Venus) more,” said Dave Stevenson, professor of planetary science at Caltech University, who proposed the Venus idea.

The “moon capture” theory assumes that Earth used its gravity to attract a pre-formed space body into its orbit, thus making a satellite of this object.

However, the geochemical composition of the Moon and Earth likely trips up this theory, SPACE.com reported.

Analyzes of the lunar rocks brought back by Nasa’s Apollo Moon landing missions have shown that the satellite has an isotopic composition very similar to that of Earth.

If both Moon and Earth have very similar isotopes, it makes the capture theory difficult to maintain, said Alex Halliday, head of science at Oxford University.

Some aspects of the idea that the Moon may have come from Venus are however, very intriguing, he said.

“The reason why it’s interesting is that Earth and Venus are close to each other. They have similar mass, and people think they have probably formed in a similar way,” he said.

The capture theory faces a challenge when explaining the similar composition of the Moon and Earth, Stevenson said.

However, if scientists analyze rocks from Venus and they turn out to be very similar to those on Earth — that would argue in favour of the capture theory, the report said.

The giant impact idea also has trouble explaining why the Earth and the Moon are so peculiarly similar.


BREAKING: Pakistani quake area struck again

A 6.8-magnitude earthquake has struck south-west Pakistan, in a region where at least 400 people died in a quake earlier this week.

Reports said the quake hit remote Awaran district, killing at least 12 people and burying others under rubble.

An official told Pakistan television that communications already damaged by last Tuesday’s quake had been cut off.

Efforts to help thousands left homeless by the first earthquake have struggled against poor roads and separatists.

The US Geological Survey said Saturday’s tremor measured 6.8 magnitude and could be felt across Balochistan province.

Pakistan’s Meteorological Department classed it as an aftershock measuring 7.2 magnitude.

Abdul Rasheed Baloch, the deputy commissioner of Awaran district, told Pakistani television that one village, Nokjo, had suffered damage to most of its buildings, leaving people trapped under debris.

“The telephone system has been damaged and we are not able to talk to someone and find out the exact information about the losses… but we have reports of severe losses in that area,” he said, according to Associated Press.

Eight of those who died in Saturday’s tremor were from Nokjo, officials said, with another four killed in the Mashkay area.


An Agence France-Presse reporter in Awaran said hundreds of patients being treated after the last quake fled a hospital in panic as the latest tremor struck.

Saturday’s quake was felt as far away as Karachi.

An office worker there described his chair shaking: “At first I thought it was a delusion or a false feeling. But all my colleagues ran out of the office. The shakes were heavy.”

Officials have estimated that about 300,000 people were affected by the earlier, 7.7 magnitude quake which levelled mud and homemade brick homes, injuring hundreds.

Many survivors have been sleeping in the open air or in tents.

Rescue and relief efforts after the earlier quake have been hampered by the region’s poor road network.

Officials have appealed to separatist military groups operating in the area following attacks on army units involved in providing assistance.

Pakistan’s official paramilitary force, the Frontier Corps, has been leading rescue and relief operations.

It already had thousands of soldiers deployed in the area because it is fighting a long-running separatist insurgency by Baloch nationalist rebels.

The violent force of Tuesday’s 7.7-magnitude quake caused the creation of a new 200m (656ft) long island off the coast of Pakistan near the port of Gwadar.



Giant balloon to study Comet ISON

Giant balloon to study Comet ISON

(CNN) — Exploring the heavens with space ships and fancy orbiting telescopes like the Hubble is pretty routine stuff for NASA. But the space agency is going low-tech to get a good look at an eagerly anticipated comet.
The space agency plans to launch a balloon — yes, a balloon — to study Comet ISON, the much-hyped comet that many hope will put on a big sky show in coming months.
Astronomers are scrambling to figure out ways to learn more about the comet, and that’s where the balloon comes in. This isn’t the kind of balloon you buy for kids at a party store, but they do have some things in common.
NASA says its scientific balloons are made of polyethylene film like the material in plastic bags, and it will be filled with helium, just like a party balloon. But the NASA balloons can carry a payload weighing 8,000 pounds (3,600 kilograms), or about the weight of three small cars. It has a gondola to carry the instruments. Some similar balloons can fly up to 26 miles high and stay for up to two weeks.
Watch time-lapse of comet Pann-STARRS
The 671-foot-tall balloon that will monitor ISON is called BRRISON, or Balloon Rapid Response for ISON. According to NASA, it will float about 120,000 feet above Earth to observe the comet — and other science targets — using a telescope and other instruments. It’s expected to stay up from nine to 11 hours.
“By ascending above 99.5% of the Earth’s atmosphere, BRRISON will be able to study the materials within the comet,” Andy Cheng, principal investigator, said on BRISSON’s website. “It’s possible that water and organic chemicals on comets may have played an important role in the evolution of life on Earth.”
The launch, from NASA’s Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility in Fort Sumner, New Mexico, is scheduled for this weekend, perhaps as early as Saturday, depending on the weather.
Comet ISON is currently nearing Mars on its way toward the sun and will fly about 730,000 miles above the sun’s surface on November 8. If it survives, it could brighten and put on a big show as it passes Earth’s orbit on its way back to the outer reaches of the Solar System. Comet enthusiasts hope they will be able to see it without binoculars or telescopes.
Its closest approach to Earth would be December 26, and it could be visible from the Northern Hemisphere for weeks in early 2014.


Geoengineering techniques currently not subject to regulation

39. In contrast, regulatory regimes for many SMR techniques have yet to be developed.
Again the Royal Society summarised the position:
For SRM technologies there are fewer existing institutions that could manage
research and development. Land surface albedo modification could be managed
under national regulatory frameworks as there are unlikely to be major transboundary issues. The oceanic cloud brightening technologies would not fall under
national jurisdiction and no existing international institutions have a clear mandate,
so modifications and extensions of existing treaties (e.g. ENMOD) and institutions
would be required. Existing treaties governing the atmosphere and space (CLRTAP79
& OST)80 would similarly not be adequate to regulate stratospheric aerosols and
space mirrors. There is a risk that these methods could be applied by an individual
nation or corporation which highlights the need for international regulation for
deployment (and in some cases research).81
Dr Blackstock pointed out that for SRM “we do not have the appropriate regulatory
mechanisms in place, and I do not believe we have even a forum in which that discussion
has begun to occur”.82
40. The Government appeared to share this view. It told us that geoengineering was an
emerging policy area and there “were at present no international treaties or institutions
with sufficient mandate to regulate the broad range of possible geoengineering activities”


More here: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmselect/cmsctech/221/221.pdf

Geoengineering …

Water found on Mars by Nasa Curiosity rover

Water found on Mars by Nasa Curiosity rover

Water has been found on Mars, according to measurements taken by Nasa’s Curiosity rover.

The space agency’s probe found the liquid in the Martian soil. The water isn’t free-flowing but bound with materials in the dirt and made accessible after heating to high temperatures.

Analysis revealed Martian dirt is approximately 2 per cent water, meaning there are about two pints of water per cubic foot, or enough “to take to the gym.”

Nasa scientists say the water could help sustain Martian explorers in the future.

Laurie Leshin, lead author of the study, published in the journal Science, said: “This dirt on Mars is interesting because it seems to be about the same everywhere you go. If you are a human explorer, this is really good news because you can quite easily extract water from almost anywhere.

She said that if you take “a cubic foot of this dirt and you just heat it a little bit – a few hundred degrees – you’ll actually get off about two pints of water – like two water bottles you’d take to the gym.“

This was just one of the highlights from a series of five papers published in the journal Science on Thursday.

Today water only exists on the planet as ice, in the form of polar ice caps, under the shallow Martian surface. However this isn’t the first indication that there was once flowing water on Mars.

Analysis in March revealed clay minerals in the soil that suggested at one point in the planet’s history there was flowing water. Tests on the heated rocks revealed elements of sulphur, nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and carbon – all key chemicals for sustaining life as we know it.

The next step for the Rover is to drill down in these once ‘wet’ places to see if they were habitable and if there was once any life on the red planet.

The papers released yesterday also detailed further analysis of the soil and also looked at a volcanic rock called ”Jake_M“, after late Nasa engineer Jake Matijevic. The structure of the rock, which has been buffeted by the winds of Mars into the shape of a pyramid, is said to be similar to a mugearite. This is a type of rock found on islands and rift zones on Earth.