Monday, July 22, 2019

"Leadership Battle" at the International Atomic Energy Agency after Director General Passes

IAEA head Yukiya Amano dies, aged 72. He is heralded for running the IAEA for over a decade and for leading investigations of Iran’s nuclear program and the Fukushima Daiichi disaster. No cause of death has been provided but he had previously been reported as being in poor health.

The Bloomberg article cited below notes that his passing will create a power struggle for which nation’s representative leads the IAEA:
Jonathan Tirone (July 22, 2019) Yukiya Amano, Japanese Diplomat Who Led Iran Probe, Dies at 72. Bloomberg.
…His death will thrust the agency into an unexpected leadership battle as nuclear tensions with Iran increase. His deputies will assume some duties while the IAEA board organizes elections. The IAEA’s 35-member board is scheduled to convene Sept. 9 in the Austrian capital….

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Mainstream News Outlet Takes Stand on Presidential Competency

I feel like I got stuck in the Twilight Zone but am also relieved that those with influence are finally taking a stand as the US unravels domestically and internationally under a chaotic and authoritarian regime of governance organized by narcissism and hate:

USA TODAY's Editorial Board: Trump is 'unfit for the presidency.' USA Today,

Friday, July 19, 2019

The Race to Nuclear Annihilation

The price of uranium has been salvaged by political supporters after the precipitous post-Fukushima Daiichi decline:
Hoyle, Rhiannon (2019, July 18). Uranium climbs as US rejects import limits. The Wall Street Journal B11
Uranium prices jumped to a four-month high after President Trump held back from imposing limits on US imports of the nuclear fuel, saying he didn't regard it as a national security risk....

US Senators Leff and McCain in their report on Wall Street banks involvement in physical commodities documented that uranium supply-chains produced proliferation concerns and presented potential catastrophic accident hazards[xiv]. I agree.

Despite these efforts to save free flowing uranium, the commodity remains less than half the $70 pound price in early 2011 prior to the Fukushima disaster.

The solution for the bear market in uranium and for all problems nuclear is, of course, more nuclear.

Accordingly, Senator Lindsey Graham and retired General Jack Keane recommend wide-scale adoption of nuclear energy across the Middle East, with uranium fuel sold by the US, Russia, China and European states in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal titled, "Call Iran's Bluff with an Offer of Nuclear Power" (July 16, 2019 p. A17).

Although their solution might work for Iran, promoting nuclear development across the Middle East is a sure path to disaster, as this recent essay by James Dorsey demonstrates:
Dorsey, James (2019, June 25). The Middle East: Barrelling towards a nuclear and ballistic missiles arms race


Thursday, July 18, 2019

Angry Xenophobia Rising

President Trump has helped crystallize a xenophobic and angry American populism that now has escaped his direct control, at least as represented here by Reuters:
Trump disavows 'send her back' rally chant, many Republicans alarmed (2019, July 18). Reuters. Donald Trump tried to distance himself on Thursday from supporters’ chants of “send her back” at a rally where he blasted Somalia-born U.S. Representative Ilhan Omar, as Republicans worry the incendiary mantra could set the tone for the 2020 campaign.
Xenophobia is erupting overtly in public venues and the target is becoming more expansive.

What has happened here?

Henry Giroux's latest essay (June 16, 2019) is recommended reading, beginning with his encapsulation of the zeitgeist: 
America is in a state of crisis that touches every aspect of public life, extending from a crisis of economics produced by massive inequality to a crisis of ideas, agency, memory and politics, aided and abetted by controlling apparatuses that induce ubiquitous forms of historical amnesia.
Giroux points to history for lessons for the crisis that has engulfed America and much of the world.

The crumbling neoliberal order creates opportunities for authoritarian leaders who promise to restore lost national glory and economic prosperity.

However, rather than delivering imagined glory, these leaders instead amplify and scapegoat anger, never addressing institutional forces responsible for creating the conditions of possibility for crises.

Indeed, what always gets me is how authoritarians aid and abet global forces of disorder as so many, albeit not all, are imperialists.

RELATED POST:   Last Train Out of Hungary 

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Forever Nuclear Wastelands

Nuclear wastelands remain nuclear wastelands forever (at least in human terms):
Perez, Chris (2019, July 15). Radiation levels in Marshall Islands still exceed Fukushima, Chernobyl: study

Radiation levels across the Marshall Islands in the central Pacific Ocean, where the United States conducted more than 65 nuclear tests during the Cold War, are still alarmingly high — even higher than Fukushima and Chernobyl in some parts, a new study shows.

Researchers at Columbia University tested soil samples on four uninhabited isles and discovered that they contained concentrations of nuclear isotopes that are “significantly” higher than those found near the two disaster sites.
...Their findings, which were published Monday in the journal PNAS, showed that gamma radiation in some areas was “well above” the legal exposure limit established in agreements between the US and Republic of the Marshall Islands

Monday, July 15, 2019

Fukushima Daiichi in the News

Evacuation orders for Okuma partially lifted:

Evacuation order partially lifted for Fukushima plant hosting town, but challenges remain April 10, 2019 (Mainichi Japan)
TOKYO -- The government lifted an evacuation order for part of the town of Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, at the stroke of 12 a.m. on April 10, some eight years after the entire town was evacuated due to the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station disaster. The lifting of the evacuation order was the first of its kind for a host town of the nuclear plant, which straddles Okuma and the town of Futaba. 

Fukushima-derived uranium found in local environment:

University of Bristol (2019, June 26). New research identifies Fukushima reactor material in environment. PhysOrg. 
...Following the isolation of the sub-mm particulate from environmental samples obtained from localities close to the FDNPP, the team first utilised the high-resolution combined X-ray tomography and X-ray fluorescence mapping capabilities of the Coherence Imaging (I13) beamline at the Diamond Light Source. From these results, it was possible to determine the location of the various elemental constituents distributed throughout the highly-porous fallout particle, including the exact positions of micron-scale inclusions of uranium around the particles exterior.


Peter G. Martin et al. Provenance of uranium particulate contained within Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Unit 1 ejecta material, Nature Communications (2019). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-019-10937-z\

Posited effects of Fukushima radiation exposure on wild monkeys, published in 2018:
Momoko Suda (Nov 25 2018). Effects of suspected radiation exposure seen in Fukushima wild monkeys: researchers. The Mainichi.
TOKYO -- Researchers found fewer cells that become blood in the bone marrow of wild Japanese macaques living in northeastern Japan's Fukushima Prefecture along with the delayed growth of fetuses after the 2011 nuclear crisis, possibly due to radiation exposure. 
Effects on humans unknown and not investigated....

Precipitation 40% and Humidity 96% but looks like rain: