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Tuesday
May312011

Italians say "no" to nuclear during soccer championship

Greenpeace unfurled a banner during the championship soccer game last Sunday, reading: "From Milan to Palermo, let's shut down nuclear." The tag line at the end reads, "the crazy ones are you if you don't vote to close nuclear in the referendum. The national referendum will be held June 12 and 13. In the last one in 1987, Italians voted to shut down their nuclear power program which has never since reopened.

Tuesday
May312011

Experts Say Japan Utility Failed to Disclose Scale of Radiation Leaks

"...[A]cademics warn the company has failed to disclose the scale of radiation leaks and faces a 'massive problem' with contaminated water.

Tepco has been withholding data on radiation from Dai-Ichi, Goshi Hosono, an adviser to Japan’s prime minister, said at a press briefing today. Hosono said he ordered the utility to check for any data it hasn’t disclosed and release the material as soon as possible."

Incredibly, Tepco has not updated the grand total for how much radioactivity has been released to the environment since mid April.

Officials are worried this will further add to public distrust and heightened problems already faced by the nuclear industry and Japanese federal government, which conveyed Tepco's false assurances as facts. Bloomberg

Tuesday
May312011

Gil Scott-Heron's "Shut 'em down" anthem lives on

Gil Scott-Heron who died at the weekend, (see tribute further down this page) composed his call for a nuclear shutdown back in 1980 for the MUSE concert. But it sadly remains relevant today. Germany, at least, is listening (see report below).

Listen here.

Check out the powerful (and eerily prescient, given the Fukushima earthquake-tsunami-nuclear catastophe) lyrics:

“Did you feel that rumble? Did you hear that sound,
Well It wasn’t no earthquake but it shook the ground,
Made me think about power like it or not,
Got to work for Earth for what it’s worth,
'Cause it’s the only Earth we’ve got,
 
Shut ‘em down
if that’s the only way to keep them from melting down,
Shut ‘em down
if that’s the only way to keep them from melting down,
 
I heard a lot about safety and human error,
A few dials and gauges is just a wing and a prayer,
If you need perfection and that’s what it takes,
Then you don’t need people, can’t use people,
You know people make mistakes,
 
Shut ‘em down
if that’s the only way to keep them from melting down,
Shut ‘em down
if that’s the only way to keep them from melting down
 
Did you feel that rumble? Did you hear that sound,
Well it wasn’t no earthquake but it shook the ground,
Made me think about power like it or not,
Got to work for Earth for what it’s worth,
'Cause it’s the only Earth we’ve got,
 
Shut ‘em down
if that’s the only way to keep them from melting down,
Shut ‘em down
if that’s the only way to keep them from melting down...”

Rest in Power, Gil Scott-Heron, April 1, 1949 to Infinity (from a tribute posted at the Glut Food Co-Op in Mount Rainier, Maryland)

Monday
May302011

Popular protests by parents pressure Japanese government to reinstate stronger radiation protections for children

The L.A. Times has reported that a growing movement, led by parents, protesting the Japanese federal government's decision to allow a 20-fold increase in "permissible" radiation exposures for children -- in order to enable contaminated schools downwind of the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe to stay open -- has been reversed. The Japanese Ministry of Education has announced that "permissible" radiation exposure limits for children at school will be returned from 20 milliSieverts per year (2 Rem/yr) to 1 mSv/yr (100 millirem/yr). 2 Rem/yr is equivalent to what the German federal government allows German nuclear power plant workers to receive, a level for children that Physicians for Social Responsibility has called "unconscionable."

Monday
May302011

Germany to phase out nuclear power by 2022!

"Atomic power? No thanks!" auf DeutschThe New York Times has reported that German Chancellor Angela Merkel has agreed to permanently shut down all the country's atomic reactors by 2022 at the latest. Before the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe, she had campaigned to undo an earlier Social Democratic/Green "Nuclear Consensus" that would have done just that, and to extend operating licenses at each of Germany's 17 reactors by an average of 12 years. But since the Fukushima atomic disaster, which the Chancellor has described as a "catastrophe of apocalyptic dimensions," Merkel's conservative coalition has suffered some stunning defeats at the polls. In Baden-Württemberg, the state in which Stuttgart is the capital city, the Conservative Party had ruled for 60 years; but at the end of March, the Green Party won a majority, a direct popular response to the Fukushima radioactive crisis, but also to decades of tireless anti-nuclear organizing across Germany. If the largest economy in Europe (and the fourth largest economy in the world) can do it, so can the U.S.! Especially considering that Germany had been getting 23-25% of its electricity from atomic reactors, while the U.S. currently gets about 20%. To make up for the phased out nuclear electricity, as well as to continue to meet its Kyoto climate change commitments, Germany plans major expansions of energy efficiency, as well as renewable sources, such as wind and solar -- in which it already is a world leader.