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BY TRACY PFEIFFER
ANCHOR: CHRISTINA HARTMAN
You're watching multisource world video news analysis from Newsy
A week after the devastating earthquake that rocked Japan, workers are still struggling to get the country’s nuclear crisis under control. Japan’s nuclear agency has upgraded the situation from a four to a five on a 7-level scale, bringing the catastrophe on par with the 1979 Three Mile Island incident in Pennsylvania.
New aerial footage from a military helicopter paints a grim picture of the extent of the damage to Japan’s Fukushima reactor, which has seen multiple explosions since the quake and consequent tsunamis. (Video: The Telegraph)
The chopper itself was part of an initial tactic in the fight to keep spent nuclear rods from overheating, utilizing a water dumping technique commonly used to fight forest fires -- but strong winds quickly nixed that idea.
“Now the focus of the efforts by emergency workers has shifted away from airborne spraying to ground level and a more extensive use of these firetrucks to try to cool and restore power to the reactors. The aim is to get water back into the pools that house spent nuclear fool rods and avert a major radiation leak.” (BBC)
Even though the situation has been upgraded to level 5 -- defined by the IAEA as a quote -- “accident with wider consequences” -- Japanese officials say it’s due to new information about damage already done, not the current situation. (IAEA)
And Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano assures the international community, their efforts are keeping the reactors stable at least.
YUKIO EDANO, JAPANESE CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY (TRANSLATION): “As for reactor number 4, the situation is not as serious as reactors number 2 and 3, but we need to keep adding water to cool them, and be prepared. This is important.”
Meanwhile, another high priority goal is to restore power to the plant, which would enable crews to restart generators that power the reactor’s cooling systems. (Video: BBC)
The International Atomic Energy Agency says a half-mile power cord has been laid to Fukushima’s reactor number 2 building. But retired nuclear engineer Lake Barrett tells The Washington Post, it won’t be as simple as plugging in a cord.
“‘Existing cabling is probably burned,’ Barrett said, meaning crews in bulky radiation suits will have to engineer a high-voltage solution on the fly by boring through thick outer walls and connecting car-size electrical switches and relays.”
And while the world watches the battle against further nuclear catastrophe, NBC’s Ann Curry reports -- Japan is a country on edge.
ANN CURRY, REPORTER: “Passport centers around the country are full, train stations mobbed. Airlines are scrambling to fly thousands of people out of Tokyo. ... Crowds flocked aboard buses out of Sendai, a city hard-hit by the quake and tsunami, now low on basic necessities. Confusion, anger, and distrust are spreading despite the government’s reassurances about the risks of radiation.”
Experts say for now, wind currents are reportedly driving radiation away from Tokyo, Japan’s most-populated city. But a reporter from Global Radio News tells Fox News, those inside the city have been wary of exposure risks.
GAVIN BLAIR, REPORTER, GLOBAL RADIO NEWS: “Apparently the staff at the Italian embassy there weren’t trustful of the Japanese government’s pronouncements and took a Geiger counter onto the roof themselves and found that the levels of radiation were actually a fifth of what they were in Rome. So while there has been some panic in Tokyo, levels are back to normal there.”
Japan’s National Police Agency has raised the death toll to almost 7,000, and more than 10,000 are still listed as missing. ABC Australia reports there are currently around half a million people living in shelters.
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A Sneak peek at Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days being produced at the printing plant
Video by Chad W. Beckerman
Sneak peek at Diary of a Wimpy Kid Dog Days
BY CHRISTINE SLUSSER
ANCHOR: Salem Solomnon
You're watching multisource health news analysis from Newsy
While media reports say Japanese nuclear power plants are closer to stabilization, high radiation levels are causing trouble elsewhere -- in some Japanese food.
The media now points its microphones toward Japanese supermarkets. Milk and spinach are reported to read for higher levels of radiation, even up to 20 miles from the damaged Fukushima plant. (Video: BBC)
However, CNN reports no one needs to give up Japanese cuisine.
“Before people become alarmed, we need to put this in to context. You need to drink a year’s worth of this milk for it to be equivalent to a CT scan.”
...and Voice of America is on the same page as CNN. It translated a message from Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano, who says the food radiation isn’t the biggest concern for his country right now.
“He tells reporters there is no immediate health risk and the government is considering regulating shipments of farm products from the affected area.”
Despite reports trying to calm the masses, Food Safety News points out radiation news about only a few items is creating panic about all Japanese food --
“...fresh food from Japan is being refused in some areas. Some sushi restaurants in Asia have reportedly taken Japanese seafood off the menu, and Italy has banned Japanese imports altogether.”
---and NTD-TV says Thailand is also urging halt of some Japanese imports.
“Thai authorities say they will urge food importers to avoid, or at least reduce, imports of Japanese products, including meat, dairy products, seafood and seaweed.”
Finally, a writer for Dawn Wires shares the grim outlook on Japanese products.
“Is the rest of world safe? The answer is No. Anything and everything that travels through Japanese air or water is going to be contaminated. Ground water in Japan is already contaminated... It is the fact that radiation now risks basic food supply which makes the Fukushima disaster the worst ever nuclear disaster.”
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BY CHRISTINE SLUSSER
ANCHOR Megan Murphy
You're watching multisource world news analysis from Newsy
With fears of a catastrophic melt-down still resonating and the discovery of plutonium now hitting headlines -- media outlets wonder -- is the Japanese government doing all it can to battle its nuclear crisis?
“Highly radioactive water has been found for the first time outside one of the reactor buildings at the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant, adding to the mounting problems, officials have also detected plutonium in the soil at the plant.” (Video: Times Now)
The Japanese government itself -- continues to insist -- there’s nothing to fear.
“Officials insist the plutonium does not pose a health threat. In fact, some of it is decades-old residue from nuclear weapons testing. The latest setbacks are fueling a collapse of confidence in the government’s handling of the nuclear crisis.” (Video: CBS)
The New York Post says Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant managers are downplaying the discovery of plutonium.
“Plutonium breaks down very slowly and can remain dangerously radioactive for hundreds of thousands of years. The plutonium discovery, from samples taken a week ago, was the latest in a string of sky-is-falling updates that has put Japan and much of the world on edge.”
A Japanese government spokesman calls the situation a “delicate balancing act” - as workers try to cool overheating reactors, but at the same time contaminate the water. In an article in The Guardian, a nuclear safety expert says, the Japanese government is sending out mixed signals.
"What is fundamentally disturbing the public is reports of drinking water one day being above some limit, and then a day or two later it's suddenly safe to drink. People don't know if the first instance was alarmist or whether the second one was untrue...”
Japan’s Prime Minister has put the country on “maximum alert”. MSNBC reports hopes are fading.
“It’s hard because a workable solution to get control of the reactors has yet to be reached. The government spokesman simply called it a delicate balancing act, but offered little in the way of any new plan to attack the problem.”
...but the Financial Post argues the simple fear of radiation can be more damaging than the radiation itself--and reports harm in small doses is just a theory, while harm from fear is proven.
“The incalculable harm that came of the panic that accompanied Chernobyl cannot be undone. Some 336,000 people in the vicinity of Chernobyl were evacuated from their homes and workplaces, most of them becoming impoverished as a result ... with an epidemic of afflictions among the evacuees that included depression, anxiety, alcohol and drug abuse, terminations of wanted pregnancies, and suicides.”
Japan’s Prime Minister says the situation is still quote “unpredictable”.
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Website: *******MrEnergyCzar**** This is Peak Oil News for December 26th, 2012. I'm your host, MrEnergyCzar. We're covering Peak Oil, Renewable Energy, Electric Cars and everything in-between.
The updated 2013 Nissan Leaf has been released in Japan. It's getting about a 10 mile electric range increase from about 73 to 83 miles. There will also be an entry level model of the Leaf which will be cheaper than previous models. More importantly, Nissan opened it's new battery plant in Tennessee. These American made lithium battery packs will go into the electric cars that will be made in the adjacent Nissan plant. The Leaf battery upgrade, however, does not include a liquid cooling system for the batteries.
The military is researching the use of electric vehicles to provide energy security to military base micro grids. In conjunction with wind and solar, EV's can help stabilize a military bases power grid during disruptions. Hopefully this will reduce military casualties, as many soldiers have died while delivering diesel fuel across the battlefield to military bases.
It is reported that up to $52 billion a year is spent on fossil fuel subsidies. A lot of the subsidy is in the form of free overseas military services, securing of pipelines and keeping the oil shipping lanes secure. Many people don't realize that American tax dollars pay for the oil flow security that all other oil importing nations benefit from at no cost to them. If you had the oil companies pay, for the free military services they receive, gas would cost well over $10 a gallon and you wouldn't need a Bush EV $7500 tax credit to help sell plug-in cars.
Energy starved Japan has plans for a $100 billion 310 mph MAGLEV train for Toyko. It is expected to travel 160 miles in about 40 minutes. These are the types of mass transit systems we should have built in the United States many years ago. Instead, we drove our SUV's and let our railroads deteriorate as we ignored the conventional cheap oil peak. It will be difficult to build these rail systems in a contracting, no growth, post peak cheap oil economy.
A $5 LED gravity powered light has been created. It will provide light for people in third world countries saving them from having to burn expensive Kerosene for lighting. The user lifts a weight attached to the lamp and pulls a rope for about 3 seconds. This will provide lighting for about half and hour.
Nissan Leaf article: *******insideevs****/nissan-officially-announces-2013-leaf-in-japan-more-range-less-money-new-functionality/
Nissan Leaf battery plant video: *******youtu.be/HK7emGutEhc
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Military Grid Security article: *******www.tgdaily****/sustainability-features/67790-electric-vehicles-recruited-for-military-base-grid-security
Fuel Convoy video: *******youtu.be/qZhMDQSeK3o
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Gravity Light article: *******cleantechnica****/2012/12/14/5-gravity-energy-storage-system-provides-free-led-lightning/
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