Tuesday, July 31, 2012

More Fraud in the Municipal Bond Market

Another aspect of the municipal bond market is being examined for manipulation.

I posted recently on how the auctions for municipal bonds were rigged and how the big banks gauged the municipalities with interest rate swaps.

For an excellent detailed analysis of how the municipal bond market was rigged see Taibbi

Now The New York Times is announcing that the municipal market data index (MMD) is being examined for manipulation. 

I honestly cannot tell if this index is discussed by Taibbi in his account of bid rigging in the municipal market or if this is yet another type of manipulation.

Taibbi looked at how the banks were essentially divvying up the municipal bonds in fake auctions. 

The MMD discussed in The New York Times article may be the index that was used to justify the interest rates the banks payed in the rigged auctions. I cannot tell from this article or from the Taibbi one:
Muni Rates Examined for Signs of Rigging  By NATHANIEL POPPER
Published: July 30, 2012

[Excerpt] The scrutiny of the M.M.D. rates comes as a number of other events are drawing attention to the transparency and fairness of the municipal bond market. On Monday, three former bankers at UBS went on trial in Manhattan on charges that they had colluded to steer municipal bond transactions to specific banks in exchange for kickbacks

Thomson Reuters, which owns Municipal Market Data, said on Monday that it “has been involved in discussions with regulators” about the rates, which influence the prices of bonds and derivatives in the $3 trillion municipal bond market.

The company released the statement after the municipal bond industry’s self-regulator, the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board, said that its board was “concerned about the transparency” behind the creation of a few indexes used to set prices in the municipal bond market, the most important of which is the M.M.D. index.

The M.M.D. rates influence a much smaller market than Libor, but it is one that is crucial to how cities and states across America borrow money to maintain roads and bridges and provide essential services such as public education.

The rates are compiled and issued each afternoon by Thomson Reuters using a proprietary method that includes input from banks that buy and sell municipal bonds, industry participants said, though Thomson Reuters does not publicly explain its method…

Majia here: The corruption is never ending. The entire financial system is built on and operates through corruption. The entire system needs to be REPLACED.
For background on Libor see my post here:


Heat Stroke in Japan

Japan Today: "16 dead, 8,670 hospitalized for heatstroke July 23-29" http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/16-dead-8670-hospitalized-for-heatstroke-july-23-29

Majia Here: I posted on the oddly high number of people hospitalized for heat stroke in Japan on July 24 http://majiasblog.blogspot.com/2012/07/odd-what-truly-ails.html

I'm perplexed because the top temperature noted in the Japan Today article is 35 degrees, which is equivalent to 95 Fahrenheit. 

I live in the desert and our summer temperatures can reach 120 Fahrenheit so heat stroke at 95 doesn't seem highly likely for such large numbers of people unless elderly people are inside hot apartments without air conditioning.

When I posted on this subject on July 24 someone left an interesting comment that I am going to repost here:

Anonymous Comment: 

I'm a resident of Tokyo, and can assure you that the meme of "heat stroke" has been pushed quite a bit in the last few months. One big article was about how heat stroke was four times as bad this year as two years ago. Climate change, of course, so carbon indulgences owned by Tokyo Electric are the answer.

There are also a couple of relatively new NGOs/charities that deal with heat stroke, and they have the money for full-page ads in major newspapers.



Tepco Ownership?

Japan Today: TEPCO gets Y1 tril in public funds, putting it under gov't control. July 31.  http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/tepco-gets-y1-tril-in-public-funds-putting-it-under-govt-control

[Excerpted]  "(TEPCO) on Tuesday received an injection of 1 billion yen in public funds, effectively putting the utility under government control.

The 1 trillion yen is part of a 10-year restructuring aimed at preventing the vast regional power monopoly from going bankrupt. TEPCO faces a huge clean-up bill for the nuclear disaster at Fukushima, along with colossal compensation claims from those affected. The government now holds more than a 50% stake in TEPCO...."

The government stake is 50%.

Who else owns Tepco?

This is the research I found a couple of months ago:

Most of Tepco’s shares were held by Japanese firms.[i]
On Thursday, April 12, 2012 Kyodo reported that "Tokyo now top Tepco shareholder"
"The Tokyo Metropolitan Government became the largest shareholder in Tokyo Electric Power Co. at the end of March, the utility said Wednesday, after other top shareholders — Dai-ichi Life Insurance Co. and Nippon Life Insurance Co. — sold parts of their stakes..."

State Street Bank West Client Treaty, located in Boston, U.S., held 13,675 shares and a Chinese investment firm, SSBT OD05 Omnibus Account Treat Clients[ii] held 15,116 shares. [iii]

Here are the stock listing of major shareholders dated 3/2012. 

Tepco shareholders were suing the company in May. I never heard the outcome of that story. 
Reuters - Shareholders of Tokyo Electric Power Co Inc, operator of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant in northeast Japan, are suing the utility's executives for a record 5.5 trillion yen ($67.4 billion) in compensation, lawyers said.

One has to wonder who the shareholders are and what role they are playing in the cover-up of the biggest nuclear disaster in human history.

[i]               On Thursday, April 12, 2012 Kyodo reported that "Tokyo now top Tepco shareholder"http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/nb20120412a7.html: "The Tokyo Metropolitan Government became the largest shareholder in Tokyo Electric Power Co. at the end of March, the utility said Wednesday, after other top shareholders — Dai-ichi Life Insurance Co. and Nippon Life Insurance Co. — sold parts of their stakes...."
[iii]              Here are the stock listing of major shareholders: http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/corpinfo/ir/stock/stock-e.html. Background on State Street can be found here: http://www.ssga.com/webapp/glp/about.jsp?tab=1;  also State Street http://investing.businessweek.com/research/stocks/people/person.asp?personId=2863999&ticker=STT:US.


Monday, July 30, 2012

Plutonium: A Ton in Each Fukushima Reactor

Enenews Headline: Gundersen: A ton of plutonium was in each Fukushima reactor — Host stunned (VIDEO) http://enenews.com/gundersen-a-ton-of-plutonium-was-in-each-fukushima-reactor-host-stunned-video

Source: Arnold Gundersen with the latest on Fukushima: its effects on Japan, and the global risks posed by the No. 4 reactor
Source: If You Love This Planet Radio
Author: Dr. Helen Caldicott
Date: July 27, 2012

Majia Here: Plutonium poses special health risks

Plutonium is a special concern because it poses significant biological health risks as an alpha emitter. All forms of ionizing radiation – gamma, beta, and alpha – pose serious health risks, but alpha emitters such as uranium and plutonium can be especially dangerous when ingested or inhaled into the body because, once there, they decay high speed atoms and electrons that damage DNA.

Argonne National Laboratory’s fact sheet on plutonium emphasizes the dangers of ingested and inhaled plutonium, describing how it can move through the lungs, to the blood of other organs, and be deposited in the liver and skeleton where it resides, emitting genetically destructive radiation (http://www.evs.anl.gov/pub/doc/Plutonium.pdf).

The transversal of a single alpha particle can break DNA bonds.

Speaking at press conference on March 25, 2011, Dr. Yablokov, lead contributor to Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment, warned of the potential scale of the Fukushima disaster given plutonium fuel was involved[i]:

[Yablokov] We are seeing something that has never happened – a multiple reactor catastrophe including one using plutonium fuel as well as spent fuel pool accidents, all happening within 200 kilometers of a metropolis of 30 million people. Because the area is far more densely populated than around Chernobyl, the human toll could eventually be far worse in Japan… I am not optimistic about the situation at Fukushima . . .It’s especially dangerous if plutonium is released as inhalation of plutonium results in a high probability of cancer. A release of plutonium will contaminate that area forever and it is impossible to clean up.
[end quote]

The dangers of plutonium have been known for decades. The United States Atomic Energy Commission, established by the Atomic Energy Act of 1946, sponsored experiments between 1945 and 1947 that involved injecting eighteen human subjects with plutonium to calibrate body burden.[ii]

The researchers did not anticipate the subjects would benefit from the studies and deliberately withheld information about the nature of the studies from the patients.

Paul Langley studied the details of Joe Hamilton’s work on the health effects of plutonium studied as part of the Manhattan Project. The study ”The Metabolism of the Fission Products” was later presented at the Thirty-second Annual Meeting of the Radiological Society of North America, Chicago, Ill., Dec. 1–6, 1946.[iii]  http://nuclearhistory.wordpress.com/2012/05/02/the-metabolism-of-the-fission-products-hamilton-1942-on/

Hamilton’s concluded from his research that ingestion of plutonium is significantly more damaging than external exposure to beta or gamma irradiation:

[excerpt from Hamilton] The most important hazard that arises from the release of nuclear energy are radiations produced directly from fission and subsequently emitted by the resultant fission products and plutonium. The fission products can produce injury either as an external source of radiation or, if they gain entry into the body, by acting as an internal radioactive poison, quite analogous to radium poisoning. This latter consideration is a major concern, since the amounts required within the body to produce injurious effects are minute compared to the quantities necessary to induce damage by external beta and gamma irradiation. The findings were clear: ingestion of alpha emitters is a clear and demonstrable threat to health in quantities far lower than what is required to produce the same biological damage from external radiation.[iv]

[i]              Russian Chernobyl Expert Warns of Dire Consequences for Health Around Fukushima: Dense populations and risk of plutonium releases could mean Fukushima accident worse than Chernobyl, prominent Russian scientists says http://www.commondreams.org/newswire/2011/03/25-4.

[ ii]  Permissible Dose, Walker, p. 16.

[iii]       Jos. G. Hamilton, M.D.  The Metabolism of the Fission Products and the Heaviest Elements. brief version of material to be published in the Plutonium Project Record of the Manhattan Project Technical Series. Presented at the Thirty-second Annual Meeting of the Radiological Society of North America, Chicago, Ill., Dec. 1–6, 1946. The document was based on work performed under Contract No. W-7405-eng-48-A for the Manhattan Project and the Atomic Energy Commission. http://radiology.rsna.org/content/49/3/325. Paul Langley presents this information on his website  http://nuclearhistory.wordpress.com/2012/05/02/the-metabolism-of-the-fission-products-hamilton-1942-on/. Langley explains that Hamilton’s report was part of the Manhattan Project and the reports are available from 1942 at the U.S. Department Of Energy Opennet online archive.

[iv]         Eileen Welsome chronicles the details of this troubling medical experimentation in The Plutonium Files. New York, Delta, 1999.  


Why Does Japan's Stockpiling of Plutonium Matter

Nuke Pro has quite a few good articles on plutonium and uranium from Fukushima:

Uranium and Plutonium Launched into Atmosphere
Conclusion – Fukushima really blew up, launching TONS of Uranium and Plutonium into the atmosphere. http://nukeprofessional.blogspot.com/2012/03/uranium-and-plutonium-launched-into.html

Nuke Pro: Plutonium admission by the EPA
Mar 25, 2012
Well, lets see, 3 reactors blew up, the one that blow up the most was a MOX reactor which is like 5% to 10% plutonium, and all reactors produce plutonium as a natural part of the process. And of course all of the "fuel transfer ...

Mar 25, 2012
Plutonium that reaches body organs generally stays in the body for decades and continues to expose the surrounding tissue to radiation. http://www.epa.gov/radiation/radionuclides/plutonium.html. I did a few hours of research ...

Financial Times: Nuclear is 'Hard to Justify', GE Says

Financial Times Monday July 20, 2012, p. A1 by Piita Clark

"Nuclear power is so expensive compared with other forms of energy that it has become 'really hard' to justify, according to the chief executive of General Electric, one of the world's largest suppliers of atomic equipment.

'It's really a gas and wind world today,' said Jeff Immelt....

'When I talk tot he guys who run the oil companies they say look, they're finding more gas all the time. It's just hard to justify nuclear, really hard. Gas is so cheap and at some point, really economics rule,' Mr. Immelt told the Financial Times in an interview in London....

[end excerpt]

Majia Here: I am astonished by this admission. However, the article says GE's revenue from nuclear is estimated at $1bn, or less that 1% of annual global sales.

Fracking is a no-go as far as I'm concerned because it destroys water tables.

That said, I'm very grateful that Immelt is acknowleding that nuclear is not financially cost-effective.

Solar, wind, and other RENEWABLES are the way to go!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Fluoridated Water Correlated with Lower IQ

hat tip: The Watchers: http://thewatchers.adorraeli.com/2012/07/28/major-harvard-study-confirms-fluoride-lowers-childrens-iq/

Majia here: This is the second study I've seen correlating fluoride in water with lower IQs in children. When I mentioned the first study to my dentist, he could not  believe it. It is dogma among many dentists that fluoride is necessary for strong teeth. 

After reading the abstract below, you may want to get the back story on how fluoride ended up in our water supply. A good source for background on fluoride in our water:

The Fluoride Deception: How a Nuclear Waste Byproduct Made Its Way Into the Nation’s Drinking Water http://www.democracynow.org/2004/6/17/the_fluoride_deception_how_a_nuclear

Developmental Fluoride Neurotoxicity: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis
Anna L. Choi, Guifan Sun, Ying Zhang, Philippe Grandjean

[Abstract] Background: Although fluoride may cause neurotoxicity in animal models and acute fluoride poisoning causes neurotoxicity in adults, very little is known of its effects on children’s neurodevelopment.

Objective: We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of published studies to investigate the effects of increased fluoride exposure and delayed neurobehavioral development.

Methods: We searched the MEDLINE, EMBASE, Water Resources Abstracts, and TOXNET databases through 2011 for eligible studies. We also searched the China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI) database, as many studies on fluoride neurotoxicity have been published in Chinese journals only. In total, we identified 27 eligible epidemiological studies with high and reference exposures, endpoints of IQ scores or related cognitive function measures with means and variances for the two exposure groups. We estimated the standardized mean difference (SMD) between exposed and reference groups across all studies using random effects models. We conducted sensitivity analyses restricted to studies using the same outcome assessment and having drinking water fluoride as the only exposure. Cochran test for heterogeneity between studies, Begg’s funnel plot and Egger test to assess publication bias were performed. Meta-regressions to explore sources of variation in mean differences among the studies were conducted.

Results: The standardized weighted mean difference in IQ score between exposed and reference populations was -0.45 (95% CI -0.56 to -0.35) using a random-effects model. Thus, children in high fluoride areas had significantly lower IQ scores than those who lived in low fluoride areas. Subgroup and sensitivity analyses also indicated inverse associations, although the substantial heterogeneity did not appear to decrease.

Conclusions: The results support the possibility of an adverse effect of high fluoride exposure on children’s neurodevelopment. Future research should include detailed individual-level information on prenatal exposure, neurobehavioral performance, and covariates for adjustment.
Citation: Choi AL, Sun G, Zhang Y, Grandjean P 2012. Developmental Fluoride Neurotoxicity: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Environ Health Perspect :-. http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1104912

GM Crops to Avoid

Top 10 GMO Foods to Avoid By Elizabeth Renter, Natural Society 29 July 12 http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/448-farm-and-food-policy/12676-top-10-gmo-foods-to-avoid 

Majia here: The 2 most commonly genetic modifications are Bt and Round Up Ready. 

Bt is a naturally occurring soil bacteria that has anti-pest properties. The Bt bacteria is inserted into plant seeds and so the entire plant becomes a sort of factory for Bt. Thus, you are consuming quite a bit of Bt when you consume this type of genetically modified plant.

The second most common genetic modification is Round-Up ready. This modification means that the plants are impervious to Round-Up. The problem is that the plants are doused in Round-Up, which means that we are eating lots and lots of Round-Up, which happens to be an endocrine-disruptor that has been linked to birth defects in mammals.


A Comparison of the Effects of Three GM Corn Varieties on Mammalian Health. Int J Biol Sci 2009; 5:706-726. Joël Spiroux de Vendômois1, François Roullier1, Dominique Cellier1,2, Gilles-Eric Séralini http://www.biolsci.org/v05p0706.htm#headingA11
"We present for the first time a comparative analysis of blood and organ system data from trials with rats fed three main commercialized genetically modified (GM) maize (NK 603, MON 810, MON 863), which are present in food and feed in the world. NK 603 has been modified to be tolerant to the broad spectrum herbicide Roundup and thus contains residues of this formulation. MON 810 and MON 863 are engineered to synthesize two different Bt toxins used as insecticides.

Approximately 60 different biochemical parameters were classified per organ and measured in serum and urine after 5 and 14 weeks of feeding. GM maize-fed rats were compared first to their respective isogenic or parental non-GM equivalent control groups. This was followed by comparison to six reference groups, which had consumed various other non-GM maize varieties.

We applied nonparametric methods, including multiple pairwise comparisons with a False Discovery Rate approach. Principal Component Analysis allowed the investigation of scattering of different factors (sex, weeks of feeding, diet, dose and group).

Our analysis clearly reveals for the 3 GMOs new side effects linked with GM maize consumption, which were sex- and often dose-dependent. Effects were mostly associated with the kidney and liver, the dietary detoxifying organs, although different between the 3 GMOs.

Other effects were also noticed in the heart, adrenal glands, spleen and haematopoietic system. We conclude that these data highlight signs of hepatorenal toxicity, possibly due to the new pesticides specific to each GM corn. In addition, unintended direct or indirect metabolic consequences of the genetic modification cannot be excluded."
[end excerpt]

I HIGHLY RECOMMEND: Round-up and Birth Defects: Is the Public Being Kept in the Dark?

Huffington Post Lucia Graves "Roundup Birth Defects: Regulators Knew World's Best-Selling Herbicide Causes Problems, New Report Finds"

"Roundup: Birth Defects Caused By World's Top-Selling Weedkiller, Scientists Say"

Round-Up Residue in the Air http://majiasblog.blogspot.com/2011/08/round-up-residue-in-air.html

GM, Round-Up, and Health

NYT: New Herbicide Suspected in Tree Deaths

Disposable Workers Who Should Be Heroes

Fukushima disaster worker says subcontractors siphoned money from wages. The Mainichi http://mainichi.jp/english/english/newsselect/news/20120728p2a00m0na017000c.html 

[Excerpted] "A man hired to help bring the disaster at the tsunami-hit Fukushima nuclear plant under control has accused subcontractors of forcing him to work under illegal conditions and skimming off part of his wages...."

Majia here: This is yet another gross injustice against people who deserve to be treated as heroes:

Workers at the critical Fukushima plant have been treated as disposable. Many workers claimed they were not told they would be working at the plant when hired. They did not receive dosimeters to monitor their radiation exposure during the early weeks of the crisis.[i] The command center used by workers during cleanup was subsequently revealed to be contaminated, potentially causing thousands of workers to ingest radioactive particles. Testing of workers found hundreds were contaminated. A worker waded into radioactive water and was burned because he was not wearing appropriate protection. Workers were not required to wear waterproof ponchos when it rained, although rainwater is known to wash out radioactive contamination in the air.  
Ilya Perlingieri described these workers as expendable in her essay “No Protection for Fukushima’s Expendable Citizens or Us”:
On March 14, the Japanese industry of Health and Labor raised "the maximum [radiation] dose for workers to 250 mSv [milli Sieverts] a year" an increase in exposure from the previous 100 mSv.(7) These new figures are also drastically higher than those from the International Commission on Radiological Protection's guidelines stipulating a maximum of 20 mSv a year."[ii]
Workers at Fukushima’s devastated plant are clearly regarded as disposable, as are all of the Japanese citizens located within the contaminated zones. It was not therefore surprising when the Japanese news agency Mainichi reported on June 22 that the whereabouts of 30 Fukushima plant workers were unknown: "The workers' names were listed in records showing that they had been loaned dosimeters, but when the plant's operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), contacted the companies they were associated with, the companies replied that there was no record of those workers.[iii] By August, TEPCO was reporting that the whereabouts of 143 workers was unknown.[iv] Tepco also reported in August that a 40 year old worker died of acute leukemia after working at the plant for seven days.[v] .[vi] In July of 2012, it was revealed that a subcontractor at the Fukushima plant had required workers to blanket their personal radiation detection devices in lead in a fraudulent effort to keep their radiation exposure under the safety threshold.[vii]

[i]           Phred Dvorak “Japanese Nuclear Cleanup Workers Detail Lax Safety Practices at Plant,” The Wall Street Journal (2011, June 14): A1, A12.

[ii]           Ilya Perlingieri “No Protection For Fukushima's 'Expendable' Citizens Or Us,” Jeff Rense (2011, May 4): http://www.rense.com/general94/noprot.htm.

[iii]          "Whereabouts of 30 Nuclear Power Plant Subcontractors Unknown: Health Ministry" Mainichi (2011, June 21): http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20110621p2a00m0na005000c.html.

[iv]          “TEPCO Says It Has Lost Contact with 143 Nuclear Plant Workers,” Japan Today (2011, August 10): http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/tepco-says-it-has-lost-contact-with-143-nuclear-plant-workers.
[v]           Obe Mitsuru. Japan Finds Radiation Spread Over a Wide Area. The Wall Street Journal 2012 August 31, A11.

[vi]          Obe Mitsuru. Japan Finds Radiation Spread Over a Wide Area. The Wall Street Journal 2012 August 31, A11.

[vii]             Reuters. Japan probes under-reporting of Fukushima radiation dosage. The Washington Post (2012, July 21),

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Doth Protest Too Much

Majia here: I've discovered a pattern involved with too much protest by people with official titles.

Now, I start listening when authorities argue too vehemently that "no" threat exists.

I am concerned that the strong assertion that Stuxnet hasn't impacted US nuclear power plants is in fact a sign that there are concerns that it has, or may likely....

Rise Is Seen in Cyberattacks Targeting U.S. Infrastructure by David Sanger & Eric Schmitt Published: July 26, 2012. The New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/27/us/cyberattacks-are-up-national-security-chief-says.html?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=edit_th_20120727

[Excerpted] "The top American military official responsible for defending the United States against cyberattacks said Thursday that there had been a 17-fold increase in computer attacks on American infrastructure between 2009 and 2011, initiated by criminal gangs, hackers and other nations. 

The assessment by Gen. Keith B. Alexander, who heads the National Security Agency and also the newly created United States Cyber Command...

General Alexander...said that he thought the increase was unrelated to the release two years ago of a computer worm known as Stuxnet, which was aimed at taking down Iran’s uranium enrichment plant at Natanz.

When the worm inadvertently became public, many United States officials and outside experts expressed concern that it could be reverse-engineered and used against American targets. General Alexander said he saw no evidence of that...."

Majia here: RED FLAG ALERT. 

Someone whose opinion I respect has noted recently that there have been quite a few unusual events at US nuclear power plants that involve problems with the readings/instrumentation at the plants.

This person suggested that Stuxnet could possibly have infected some US nuclear power plants.

I don't know because I lack the expertise to have an informed opinion. However, it is worth noting that others are discussing this possibility, including rather mainstream sources such as NPR and the Washington Post.

U.S. power plants at risk of attack by computer worm like Stuxnet By Ellen Nakashima Friday, October 1, 2010; 2:49 PM  Washington Post
[Excerpted] "A sophisticated worm designed to infiltrate industrial control systems could be used as a blueprint to sabotage machines that are critical to U.S. power plants, electrical grids and other infrastructure, experts are warning...

...Joe Weiss, an industrial control system security specialist and managing partner at Applied Control Solutions in Cupertino, Calif., said "the really scary part" about Stuxnet is its ability to determine what "physical process it wants to blow up." Said Weiss: "What this is, is essentially a cyber weapon."

Majia here: Finally, here is a link suggesting the US lost control of Stuxnet


Majia Here: Cyberweapons like Stuxnet and Flame are insane and have the potential to unleash an ELE if we haven't already accomplished that. Here is an excellent editorial published last month in the New York Times

Op-Ed Contributor The New York Times A Weapon We Can’t Control By MISHA GLENNY
Published: June 24, 2012

THE decision by the United States and Israel to develop and then deploy the Stuxnet computer worm against an Iranian nuclear facility late in George W. Bush’s presidency marked a significant and dangerous turning point in the gradual militarization of the Internet. Washington has begun to cross the Rubicon. If it continues, contemporary warfare will change fundamentally as we move into hazardous and uncharted territory.

There is no international treaty or agreement restricting the use of cyberweapons, which can do anything from controlling an individual laptop to disrupting an entire country’s critical telecommunications or banking infrastructure. It is in the United States’ interest to push for one before the monster it has unleashed comes home to roost.
Stuxnet was originally deployed with the specific aim of infecting the Natanz uranium enrichment facility in Iran....
...Advanced cyberwar is different: a country’s assets lie as much in the weaknesses of enemy computer defenses as in the power of the weapons it possesses ...

Majia here: The danger is that cyberweapons could take down entire power grids, causing nuclear plants to meltdown everywhere affected,  producing an apocalypse.

 Related posts

Stuxnet produced by US and Israel http://majiasblog.blogspot.com/2012/06/stuxnet-work-of-us-and-israel.html

On Flame (the counterpart to Stuxnet) http://majiasblog.blogspot.com/2012/06/headline-from-jan-26-2011-if-that-is.html

On Shadow wars http://majiasblog.blogspot.com/2012/06/sojourners-shadow-wars.html

Lemmings Jumping Off a Cliff

Nuclear agency deems aging No. 1 reactor at Genkai plant safe until 2033http://mainichi.jp/english/english/newsselect/news/20120728p2a00m0na012000c.html

[excerpted] "The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) has deemed that the idled No. 1 reactor of the Genkai Nuclear Power Plant in Saga Prefecture, whose pressure vessel is feared to have deteriorated more than expected, will remain safe until 2033 -- 58 years after the start of its operations, agency officials have announced...."

Majia Here: This reactor began operating in 1975.

This is so insane I don't know what to say. Why is this happening?

I know the same insanity exists in the US as well (and probably many other places also)

We are surely lemmings jumping off a cliff....

FT: "Slowdown in Growth Adds to US Fears"

The Financial Times July 29, 2012 A1. (print edition)

[Excerpted] "The world's largest economy has suffered a worrying loss of momentum with US growth slowing to an annualised 1.5 percent in the second quarter of 2012...

'US economic growth has slowed to a crawl,' said Kathy Bostjanic...'Given the anemic  pace of consumption and investment, plus continued austerity for state and local government spending, and weak exports, it is difficult for the domestic economy to produce at a more robust pace.'

There was one bright spot. Housing investment grew at an annualised rate of 9.7 per cent."

[end excerpt]

Majia here: Housing is not sustainable. We've seen that. One important reason the economy cannot recover is because of gross misallocation of resources because of rent-seeking, corruption, and the predation upon public purpose by contractors. 

This is what Joseph Stiglitz has to say about the reason the economy cannot recover:

Inequality Undermines Prosperity By Joseph Stiglitz, Los Angeles Times  28 July 2012 http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/279-82/12655-focus-inequality-undermines-prosperity
[Excerpted] Corporate executives in the U.S. take advantage of deficiencies in our corporate governance laws to seize an increasing share of corporate revenue, enriching themselves at the expense of other stakeholders. 

 Pharmaceutical companies successfully lobbied to prohibit the federal government - the largest buyer of drugs - from bargaining over drug prices, resulting in taxpayers overpaying by an estimated half a trillion dollars in about a decade. 

 Mineral companies get resources at below competitive prices. 

Oil companies and other corporations get "gifts" in the hundreds of billions of dollars a year in corporate welfare, through special benefits hidden in the tax code. 

Some of this rent-seeking is very subtle - our bankruptcy laws give derivatives (such as those risky products that led to the $150-billion AIG bailout) priority but say that student debt can't be discharged, even in bankruptcy.

Rent-seeking distorts the economy and makes it less efficient. When, for instance, speculation gains get taxed at a lower rate than true innovation, resources that could support productivity-enhancing activities get diverted to gambling in the stock market and other financial markets. So too, much of the income in the financial sector, including that derived from predatory lending and abusive credit card practices, derives not from making our economy more efficient but from rent-seeking...

Secrecy Around All Matters Nuclear

Cabinet Office official deleted emails on secret meetings of pro-nuclear parties. The Mainichi

[Excerpted] "An official of the Cabinet Office, who chaired secret meetings of pro-nuclear power members of the Japan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC), deleted most of the emails on such gatherings before he stepped down, sources close to the case said."

Majia Here: Secret meetings seem to be the norm with nuclear issues in Japan (and the US). 

I don't know what the deleted emails concerned but I wonder whether they are connected with a secret meeting convened in the spring of 2012 that was stacked with nuclear industry representatives.

The participants in that secret meeting recommended that the central government resume processing of plutonium, despite Japan’s huge existing stockpiles.[i] 

The decision to resume plutonium production comes after the decision to scuttle Japan’s breeder reactor program. 

Thus, the decision to resume plutonium production may be a sign to other international players that Japan intends to maintain the viability of a nuclear weapons program. This policy runs counter to popular will within Japan and would thereby signify another illustration of the subordination of democratic self-determination by the people of Japan. 

Japan’s nuclear energy program has been explicitly linked to its “national security” in recent legislation; although, the meaning of national security remains somewhat ambiguous.

On June 23, 2012, The Mainichi newspaper, argued in an editorial that a national security clause embedded into Japan’s Atomic Energy Basic Law passed on June 20, 2012 must be deleted because of its links to nuclear:

[Excerpted[ The amendment has fueled speculations about its true aim. Some wonder whether the interpretation of the clause could be stretched to open the way for nuclear weapons development. Others question whether the clause is aimed at underscoring the effectiveness of the development and use of atomic power for nuclear power plants and other purposes....[ii]

The clause was added by Japan’s largest opposition party, the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP). Mainichi reports “Some LDP legislators insist that Japan should maintain its high-level nuclear technology and demonstrate to the world its capability to develop nuclear weapons as a potential deterrent, linking atomic energy to national security.

Majia here: The point is that where nuclear is involved secrecy follows.

Nuclear is a fundamentally anti-democratic technology and the reason is that if the people (citizens) truly understood the dangers, they would not support it.

[i]      The Black Box of Japan's Nuclear Power http://www.japanfocus.org/events/view/151.

[ii]   National security clause must be deleted from law on atomic energy (Editorial). The Mainich (2012, June 23),  http://mainichi.jp/english/english/perspectives/news/20120623p2a00m0na009000c.html.


Friday, July 27, 2012

Why Incinerate Nuclear Waste???

Decontamination work begins in Fukushima Prefecture city amid concerns over incinerator plans http://mainichi.jp/english/english/newsselect/news/20120727p2a00m0na010000c.html

[excerpted] TAMURA, Fukushima -- Full-scale decontamination work under state jurisdiction began July 27 in the Miyakoji district in this Fukushima prefectural city of Tamura while an Environment Ministry plan to build a temporary incinerator is still up in the air due to opposition from local residents.

....But local residents are up in arms over the Environment Ministry's plan to install a temporary incinerator to burn decontaminated waste due to possible safety worries, and claim a briefing on the project was held only one month ago.
Majia Here: Why incinerate?:  

"Incineration does not destroy metals or reduce radioactivity of wastes" http://ieer.org/resource/factsheets/incineration-radioactive-mixed/

Find out where the US incinerates nuclear waste here