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Latest Featured Reports | Saturday, November 22, 2014
'Green News Report' 11/20/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Record-breaking storm breaks Buffalo; October 2014 hottest October on record; Sorry, Repubs: China to cap coal use by 2020; PLUS: Obama doubles down on climate foreign policy...
Previous GNRs: 11/18/14 - 11/13/14 - Archives...
Extreme Weather? What Extreme Weather?
Yes, scientists have been warning us about this for years. And, yes, the record breaking storm in Buffalo is tied to global warming...
We're #26! Harvard 'Electoral Integrity' Report Dings U.S.
'World's Greatest Democracy' rated worst among Western nations; Ranked just below Micronesia, just above Mexico in overall list...
Gag Order Won't Ensure Impartial Jury in Trial of 'Dark Lord of Coal Country'
WV's criminally indicted coal boss and U.S. Chamber of Comm. director Don Blankeship presents challenge for federal prosecutors...
Oxford English Dictionary's 2014 Word of the Year: 'Vape'
That small point likely underscores some very encouraging news for the health of the world...
'Green News Report' 11/18/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
US Senate fails to approve Keystone XL; Can Congress override the Prez next year?; Native Americans: KXL is 'an act of war'; PLUS: Accountability for 'The Dark Lord of Coal'...
Previous GNRs: 11/13/14 - 11/11/14 - Archives...
Sanders on Colbert: Midterms a Vote Against Both Parties
For those mad at us for asserting 'not voting IS a vote', look who just said the same thing...
Exclusive: St. Louis County Was Warned Before Election Paper Ballots Would Run Out
Email obtained by BRAD BLOG reveals County's top election official ignored warnings from election experts, leading to shortages...
Not Voting IS a Vote
Stop blaming those who didn't turn out. Americans did vote. By not turning out, they voted against the two major parties and against the system as a whole. It may have been a dumb vote, but it was a landslide...
Stephen Colbert is Really REALLY Funny
That's not a news flash, but, as this segment makes clear once again, it's very very sad that The Colbert Report is soon going away...
'Green News Report' 11/13/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Historic US-China climate agreement: The deal Repubs said couldn't be done; New hope for int'l climate treaty; Repubs freak out; Scientists say deal not enough, but a very good start...
Previous GNRs: 11/11/14 - 11/6/14 - Archives...
Crucial Moment for the FCC and 'Net Neutrality'
Will the Democratic majority commissioners support the President's clarion call and thwart GOP opposition to an open Internet?...
Brad on Thom Hartmann TV: More Election 2014 Mess
On thousands of 'missing' votes in Wisconsin, on Nate Silver and polls vs. 'results', on Rightwing 'True the Vote' voter fraud fraudsters, and on much more...
'Green News Report' 11/11/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
'Science has spoken': Final UN report - bad, good & room for hope; PLUS: Margaret Thatcher's historic climate change speech - when conservatives accepted science ...
Previous GNRs: 11/6/14 - 10/30/14 - Archives...
IN MEMORIAM:
Tomas Young, 1979-2014
On Veterans Day, we're sad to report that America has lost another casualty of the War on Iraq -- one who, after first meeting and interviewing him in 2005, we will never forget...
Early Data Suggests TX GOP Photo ID Restrictions 'Worked'
Provisional ballots doubled and turnout was down by more than a quarter-million voters, despite larger population, contested governor's race and increased voter registration...
WI Scanner Fails To Tally Thousands of Votes in 'Citizens United' Referendum
'Programming error' blamed for popular paper ballot computer tabulator recording just 16 of 5,350 votes cast in city of Stoughton, WI...
The Results Were Skewed Toward Republicans: A Response to Nate Silver
The statistics guru unhelpfully explains away mid-term's surprising outcome by presuming pre-election polling was wrong and unverified election results were all correct...
'True the Vote' Group Fails to Find 'Voter Fraud' (Again)
Laughingstock RW org's 'army' of monitors and smart phone app uncover just 18 benign 'irregularities', 0 cases of polling place impersonation...
'Green News Report' 11/6/14
Election 2014-pocalypse: Republican hegemonic hellscape!; Climate deniers now in charge; PLUS: At least one note of very good environmental election news...
About Last Night: KPFK 'BradCast'
Guest Matthew Segal of OurTime.org joins Brad to discuss whether young voters are to blame for Tuesday's election results and, if not them, then who...or what...
Day After...
Important re-re-re-reminder about when it is that probs in elections usually come to light, and a few more Election Day prob reports out of VA, NC, MI, IN & CT...
Reuters: Voting Probs Around Nation, 2,000 Missing Election Judges in Chicago
Wire service summarizes machine probs, Photo ID vote suppression and a really strange story out of Chicago...
Paper Ballots Ran Out in Ferguson, MO
Long lines at e-voting systems as St. Louis County offers both touch-screens and paper ballots. County said printing more ballots throughout day, night...
Electronic Voter ID System Fails in FL
Failure results in emergency court filing by state Democrats as Gubernatorial race between Charlie Crist and Rick Scott is deadlocked in Sunshine State...
AR Voters Illegally Asked for Photo ID
Arkansas Times reports some poll workers attempting to enforce GOP Photo ID restriction found by state Supreme Court to violate constitutional 'right to vote'...
Round-up of Reported Election Failures (So Far) in CT, NC, GA, TX, AL
'Serious problems' reported at the polls in a number of states. Here is a quick summary of just a few of them...
Touch-Screen Votes Flip in VA [VIDEO]
RWers finally become 'believers' in those 'liberal conspiracy theories' about votes flipping on 100% unverifiable voting systems...now that it affects them...
AL Bars Use of Public Housing IDs for Voting
Last minute change of rules may further disenfranchise (certain) voters in state where bloody civil rights march gave rise to the Voting Rights Act in 1965...
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

Criminal GOP Voter Registration Fraud Probe Expanding in VA
State investigators widening criminal probe of man arrested destroying registration forms, said now looking at violations of law by Nathan Sproul's RNC-hired firm...

DOJ PROBE SOUGHT AFTER VA ARREST
Arrest of RNC/Sproul man caught destroying registration forms brings official calls for wider criminal probe from compromised VA AG Cuccinelli and U.S. AG Holder...

Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
'RNC official' charged on 13 counts, for allegely trashing voter registration forms in a dumpster, worked for Romney consultant, 'fired' GOP operative Nathan Sproul...

ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
His Super-PAC, his voter registration (fraud) firm & their 'Americans for Prosperity' are all based out of same top RNC legal office in Virginia...

LATimes: RNC's 'Fired' Sproul Working for Repubs in 'as Many as 30 States'
So much for the RNC's 'zero tolerance' policy, as discredited Republican registration fraud operative still hiring for dozens of GOP 'Get Out The Vote' campaigns...

'Fired' Sproul Group 'Cloned', Still Working for Republicans in At Least 10 States
The other companies of Romney's GOP operative Nathan Sproul, at center of Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, still at it; Congressional Dems seek answers...

FINALLY: FOX ON GOP REG FRAUD SCANDAL
The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

COLORADO FOLLOWS FLORIDA WITH GOP CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION
Repub Sec. of State Gessler ignores expanding GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, rants about evidence-free 'Dem Voter Fraud' at Tea Party event...

CRIMINAL PROBE LAUNCHED INTO GOP VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL IN FL
FL Dept. of Law Enforcement confirms 'enough evidence to warrant full-blown investigation'; Election officials told fraudulent forms 'may become evidence in court'...

Brad Breaks PA Photo ID & GOP Registration Fraud Scandal News on Hartmann TV
Another visit on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture with new news on several developing Election Integrity stories...

CAUGHT ON TAPE: COORDINATED NATIONWIDE GOP VOTER REG SCAM
The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

CRIMINAL ELECTION FRAUD COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST GOP 'FRAUD' FIRM
Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

RICK SCOTT GETS ROLLED IN GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) sends blistering letter to Gov. Rick Scott (R) demanding bi-partisan reg fraud probe in FL; Slams 'shocking and hypocritical' silence, lack of action...

VIDEO: Brad Breaks GOP Reg Fraud Scandal on Hartmann TV
Breaking coverage as the RNC fires their Romney-tied voter registration firm, Strategic Allied Consulting...

RNC FIRES NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION FIRM FOR FRAUD
After FL & NC GOP fire Romney-tied group, RNC does same; Dead people found reg'd as new voters; RNC paid firm over $3m over 2 months in 5 battleground states...

EXCLUSIVE: Intvw w/ FL Official Who First Discovered GOP Reg Fraud
After fraudulent registration forms from Romney-tied GOP firm found in Palm Beach, Election Supe says state's 'fraud'-obsessed top election official failed to return call...

GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
State GOP fires Romney-tied registration firm after fraudulent forms found in Palm Beach; Firm hired 'at request of RNC' in FL, NC, VA, NV & CO...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
By Desi Doyen on 3/31/2011 1:33pm PT  


TWITTER: @GreenNewsReport
VIA SMART PHONE: Stitcher Radio!

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Obama's 'new' blueprint for energy security --- not so 'new' after all; Offshore drilling --- not actually 'safer' after all; US falls further behind in the global clean energy race; PLUS: The 'Chernobyl Option' for Japan's nuclear reactors at Fukushima, as radiation continues to spike and spread ... All those disasters and more in today's Green News Report!

Listen online here, or Download MP3 (6 mins)...

Link:
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Got comments, tips, love letters, hate mail? Drop us a line at GreenNews@BradBlog.com or right here at the comments link below. All GNRs are always archived at GreenNews.BradBlog.com.

IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): US energy efficiency gains eclipsed by new gadgets; Dead dolphins confiscated from Gulf scientists; PA enviro chief to personally approve violation citations; PA's gas drilling commission stacked with industry; Lose the 'smart' meter, but it'll cost ya; Packaged foods raise levels of BPA; Organic farmers sue Monsanto; Aircraft contrails impact climate change; Joshua Tree NP escapes nearby landfill threat; CA approves nation's strongest clean energy standard; Student's Solarball creates drinkable water ... PLUS: At least he's honest: Pawlenty Admits 'Every One Of Us' Running For President Has Flip-Flopped On Climate Change ....

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 3/30/2011 6:44pm PT  

Today on my Wednesday show on KPFK (L.A.'s Pacifica Radio affiliate) we covered - guess what?! --- the latest news on the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. Desi Doyen, my partner on the Green News Report, joins me for the latest.

Also, a very few minutes (never enough time on a 30 minute show --- have to figure out how to do these!) on Diebold's touch-screen machines now being sold for pennies on the dollar at eBay, just in time for 2012, and a bit on the latest Republican voter fraud criminal, potential 2012 Presidential contender Jon Huntsman, Jr. of Utah.

MP3 Download or listen online below [appx 28 mins]...

P.S. I should probably come up with a name for this show. Anybody have any good ideas?

P.P.S. It's no April Fools Joke! I'll be guest-hosting the nationally syndicated Mike Malloy Show again for a week starting this Friday, weeknights through next Friday (4/1 - 4/8). We'll be running our live chat rooms right here each night while the show is live from 6pm - 9pm PT (9pm - Mid ET), so please stop on by and say hey!. We'll also have links to live listening streams right here if you're not lucky enough to get Mike's show on the public airwaves where you live! Don't miss one thrilling episode!

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PLUS: A glimpse at living conditions for the heroic plant workers...
UPDATES: Sea water radiation spikes again; TEPCO to improve working conditions; Co. president now hospitalized...
By Brad Friedman on 3/29/2011 7:15pm PT  

As we noted in today's Green News Report for radio, Japan's Prime Minister Naoto Kan told Parliament on Tuesday that the country remains on "maximum alert" in regard to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear crisis as Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) workers and members of the country's Self-Defense Force continue to struggle heroically to prevent complete meltdowns at four of the plant's six reactors. They were each knocked out of commission by the March 11th magnitude 9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami.

Kan was, for the first time, publicly critical of TEPCO's inadequate safety measures for the plant where, as AP detailed in an investigative report on Sunday, the company had "dismissed important scientific evidence and all but disregarded 3,000 years of geological history," when planning safe-guards against tsunamis there.

"It's undeniable their assumptions about tsunamis were greatly mistaken," Kan explained on Tuesday. Engineers had designed the plant to withstand waves of up to 18 feet, while the wave that swamped the nuclear plant knocking out power and flooding back-up diesel generators in the basement was believed to be more than 40 feet high...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
Continuing Coverage: Japan's Fallout...
By Desi Doyen on 3/29/2011 1:50pm PT  


TWITTER: @GreenNewsReport
VIA SMART PHONE: Stitcher Radio!

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Fallout from the nuclear nightmare in Japan leads to a political shift in Germany; Plutonium found in the soil around the stricken Fukushima Daiichi plant; Americans trust the EPA more than Congress... so the GOP attacks the EPA --- again ... PLUS: Questioning America's emergency response to a Fukushima-style nuclear nightmare ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

Listen online here, or Download MP3 (6 mins)...

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Got comments, tips, love letters, hate mail? Drop us a line at GreenNews@BradBlog.com or right here at the comments link below. All GNRs are always archived at GreenNews.BradBlog.com.

IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): UN report: Cities ignore climate change at their peril; Study: freshwater in upper Arctic Ocean increased 20%; China 'to overtake US on science' in two years; Court OKs Air-Pollution Restrictions for Ships; TX could require disclosure of drilling chemicals; China leads clean energy ranking as U.S. falls; Massey coal mines hit with 80 citations for safety violations; Can Canada's boreal forest be saved?; Russian support for nuclear power weakens as Chernobyl anniversary nears; Trouble stalks Hanford Nuclear Waste Site, America's largest; Enviro lawyers "tied in knots" over court's ruling on CA climate law; Pittsburgh's ash, oak trees expected to die off ... PLUS: San Diego dolphin deaths linked to navy training ....

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Plant operator apologizes, again, as AP reports the company 'all but disregarded 3,000 years of geological history' in designing safe-guards at their Daiichi nuclear reactors...
By Brad Friedman on 3/27/2011 11:55pm PT  

"The number is not credible," Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) spokesman Takashi Kurita told reporters on Monday in Japan, apologizing for the error. "We are very sorry."

Kurita was referring to their alarming report on Sunday night (local time) that radiation from iodine-134 in water of the basement of the turbine building at Fukushima Daiichi's Unit 2 reactor was 10 million times higher than the normal level, leading workers to another hasty evacuation of the plant. That number, Kurita explained, turned out to have been an incorrect reading.

But just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water...Turns out the radiation levels in the flooded water at Unit 2 were actually "only" 100,000 times safe levels.

Mark McKinnon, the East Asia correspondent for Canada's The Globe and Mail may have said it best when he tweeted: "Congrats to TEPCO for finding a way to make radiation '100,000 times normal' sound almost like good news."

And with that, TEPCO confirmed the radioactive water has been detected in all four of the plant's six troubled reactors. It's "only" 10,000 times higher than normal at the those other reactor buildings...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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Rupture feared; Workers contaminated; Evacuations 'recommended'
PLUS: German study uses French data to corroborate findings from Austrian, U.S. scientists, suggesting Fukushima disaster should be reclassified as 'level 7' accident, on par with Chernobyl...
By Brad Friedman on 3/25/2011 6:20pm PT  

As we noted was likely to happen just after posting last night's update on the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, the "calm" over the last day or two that we reported was somewhat broken shortly thereafter. Japan's Prime Minister Naoto Kan took to the air for a rare press conference to discuss the situation at the crippled nuclear plant, and to mark the two weeks which have passed since an unprecedented, three-prong earthquake/tsunami/nuclear disaster rocked the country.

Kan described the situation at Fukushima as "very grave and serious", adding, "we are not in a position where we can be optimistic. We must treat every development with the utmost care."

He did not, however, offer much in the way of new information. In the meantime, other government officials have now recommended (but not ordered) that those living between 20 and 30 kilometers from the plant voluntarily leave the area. They stress that the new recommendations are due to the difficulty in supplying food and other resources to the area, not because of an increase in radiation levels.

Last week, those living within 20 kilometers of the plant were forced to evacuate from that "exclusion zone", and those within 20 to 30km of the plant were instructed to stay indoors to avoid radioactive fallout. The U.S. government has recommended a larger exclusion zone of 80 kilometers (50 miles) around the plant, though Japan has not felt it necessary to widen their own mandatory exclusion zone.

The most noteworthy hard news development since our report yesterday is the speculation --- and yes, we'll still call it speculation until there is hard confirmation --- that the containment vessel at Unit 3 has ruptured in some fashion, and that a meltdown may be occurring in the core of the reactor. Those details seem to be largely speculative still at this hour, based on the investigation into what caused the water at the reactor building to be as radioactive as it was to lead to "beta burns" on the feet and ankles of three workers yesterday who stepped in water while trying to restore electricity to the unit. Two of them were hospitalized. (See dispiriting photo at top of this article.)

Whether the extraordinarily high levels of radiation in the water is coming from a crack in the steel containment vessel housing the reactor core there, or from water leaking out of the spent fuel pool at Unit 3 --- or even from something else --- doesn't seem to be conclusively known at this point. But the radiation in the water was reportedly 10,000 times the "normal" limit, with some reports pegging the radiation at 100,000 times higher.

That's not the only disturbing news, however, as we now have more scientists ringing in on the data we discussed in detail yesterday from Austrian researchers suggesting that some 50% of the radioactive cesium-137 that spewed from Chernobyl in 1986 has already been emitted to surrounding areas in Japan from one or more of the crippled reactors at Fukushima...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 3/25/2011 2:24pm PT  

I just got off the air after doing two segments on the nationally syndicated Randi Rhodes Show, guest-hosted today by my pal Nicole Sandler of RadioOrNot.com. We discussed, as you may have guessed, the latest news (and politics) out of the continuing Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan, and the effect it may (or may not) have on the supposed "nuclear renaissance" previously scheduled here in the U.S.

In addition to summarizing some of the information from our latest detailed report on Fukushima last night, including the news we detailed about several independent scientists asserting that some 50% of the dangerous, radioactive cesium-137 emitted at Chernobyl twenty-five years ago has already leaked out of Fukushima, there are several new details breaking today. Some of them I mentioned quickly on the show. I will try to round up those, and several other new details, of course, in a new article here in a bit.

Until then, here's the audio of me and Nicole on Randi's show just now...

MP3 Download, or listen online below [appx 18 mins]...

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Progress, stabilization continues, as new data suggest 50% of the radioactive cesium released by Chernobyl may have already been released by Daiichi's crippled reactors...
By Brad Friedman on 3/24/2011 8:02pm PT  

We're just a day or so from the two week mark since disaster struck Japan on March 11th. Estimates now are that the death toll is likely to top more than 27,000 people killed in the great Tohoku Earthquake and its subsequent tsunami (with a peak wave now estimated to have 77 feet at its highest.)

Some quick math comparing the relative populations of Japan to the U.S. suggest that, had such a disaster struck this country, some 68,000 lives would have been lost in a single day. To further appreciate the size of Japan's disaster, the cost of damage is estimated to be around $300 billion. In the U.S., the cost of the damage wrought by Hurricane Katrina, one of our greatest disasters, is estimated to be "only" around $81 billion, according to Reuters.

Friday is already well under way at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, and reports last night and today suggest a calm, of sorts, at least in regard to the chain of continuing disasters we've seen there over much of the last two weeks. Though, like the photo that opens this article above, that calm may mask other problems, or be shattered in an instant, as has frequently been the case just after we post one of these "things seem to be stabilizing" articles.

Nonetheless, there does seem to be some stabilization at Fukushima's Daiichi power plant and its six troubled reactors at this moment, even as three plant workers were contaminated after stepping into 30 centimeters of radioactive water yesterday (two were sent to the hospital with burns on their skin as the radiation they came into contact with is said by TEPCO to have been 10,000 times normal levels); irradiated tap water worries ease somewhat in Tokyo, but spread to neighboring prefectures; and as scientists grapple with attempting to determine the full extent of the damage at the nuclear plant and the radiation dangers to the rest of the country, and across the globe, as data now suggests releases of dangerous radioactive cesium-137 have so far reached approximately 50% of that released at Chernobyl twenty-five years ago next month.

But first, before some of that gloomier news below, a (happily) very quick update on the latest status of each of the six crippled nuclear reactors...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
Continuing Coverage: Disaster in Japan...
By Desi Doyen on 3/24/2011 1:35pm PT  


TWITTER: @GreenNewsReport
VIA SMART PHONE: Stitcher Radio!

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Update on Japan's nuke crisis: Tap water warning lifted for Tokyo infants, but spreading elsewhere; Workers at stricken plant hospitalized for radiation exposure; Nukes now less popular in the US (for some reason); King crab invasion at the South Pole; PLUS: Japanese villages struggle to maintain tradition amidst disaster... All that and more in today's Green News Report!...

Listen online here, or Download MP3 (6 mins)...

Link:
Embed:

Got comments, tips, love letters, hate mail? Drop us a line at GreenNews@BradBlog.com or right here at the comments link below. All GNRs are always archived at GreenNews.BradBlog.com.

IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): Head exploder: GOPer wants creationism taught in school; WorldWaterDay: Which nations are most at risk?; BP Oil Disaster: Pipe piece caused blowout preventer failure; Google Maps now displaying EV charging stations; GA tree farm re-establishing American Chestnut; USDA gives GM crops boost over organics; Road salt killing Twin Cities' lakes; EU Chief: French GM maize ban illegal; HUGE lease sale for WY coal; Lead, chemicals taint some urban gardens; EPA, DOJ sue MI's largest coal plant; Canada is getting warmer: study ... PLUS: MacGyver It: $3 Emergency Solar-Powered Radio Made With an Altoids Tin! ....

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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'Neutron beams,' water 'panic,' black smoke and the responses from TEPCO, the government and the people of Japan, LIVE from Tokyo...
By Brad Friedman on 3/23/2011 6:16pm PT  

Today on my show on KPFK (L.A.'s Pacifica Radio affiliate), we covered the latest news out of Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear crisis, recent setbacks, and the reports of radioactive iodine at dangerous levels to infants now discovered in Tokyo.

We followed on The BRAD BLOG's earlier report today, updated with new details from Desi Doyen in studio, and then live from Tokyo in an interview with Voice of America's VOA News' Northeast Asia Bureau Chief, Steve Herman.

Herman, who has been reporting from the Fukushima prefecture and in Tokyo since the March 11 quake and tsunami, brings us up to date with the latest on Friday morning in Japan: including news on "panic" buying of water in Tokyo; reports of "neutron beams" --- yes, "neutron beams" --- seen near the crippled power plant, as indications that nuclear fission may be occurring within the damaged fuel rods at one or more of the reactors; the often slow, sometimes contradictory information being given by the Japanese government and Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), and whether it is to be trusted; and the way Japanese citizens from Fukushima to Tokyo are handling all of the "fallout" in the wake of this extraordinary, and ongoing disaster.

MP3 Download, or listen online below... [appx 27 mins]...

* * *

NOTE: If you missed my KPFK interview last week with BBC journalist Greg Palast on TEPCO's plan to build two new nuclear reactors on the Gulf Coast of Texas, it's right here...

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By Brad Friedman on 3/23/2011 2:44pm PT  

The first photos of the so-called "Fukushima Fift,y, the "anonymous band of lower and mid-level managers" (as described by the Daily Mail today in their photo essay) who stayed at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi plant last week, as the rest of the workers were evacuated when radiation had reached record levels there, have now been published by AP.

"Despite sweltering heat from the damaged reactors, they must work in protective bodysuits to protect their skin from the poisonous radioactive particles that fill the air around them," the Daily Mail writes, in its heartbreaking piece, "But as more radiation seeps into the atmosphere minute by minute, they know this job will be their last."

Workers were again evacuated from the Fukushima reactors 3 and 4 late on Thursday (late Wednesday US time), after black smoke once again began to emanate from Unit 3, where a dangerous mix of both uranium and plutonium fuel the reactor, as well as sit in largely unprotected spent fuel ponds in the same damaged building. The roof and walls were blown off of Unit 3 last week after venting of radioactive steam in the reactor led to a hydrogen explosion.

News reports today say that the black smoke, the cause of which is still unknown, has dissipated a bit at Unit 3, and this quick summary of the reactors' status at Fukushima (March 23, 20:00 UTC) from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) --- which has not always been as up to date as some of the actual news sources on the ground --- suggests workers have now returned to the plant.

"Crews continued today to use a concrete pump truck to deliver high volumes of water into the Unit 4 spent fuel pool, where there are concerns of inadequate water coverage over the fuel assemblies," according to the IAEA.

The biggest news last night was the announcement by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government that radioactive iodine levels in the city's municipal tap water has now increased to levels that are no longer safe for infants. That, according to VOA News' Steve Herman latest report (as well as other sources in Tokyo), has led to a "panic" and a run on bottled water at stores, many of which have now run out entirely.

As Herman reports:

City officials say the affected downtown facility supplies much of the tap water for Japan's capital and five suburban districts. They say the level recorded in the water, drawn from local rivers, is nearly double that considered safe for infants to drink, but still within limits acceptable for adults to ingest.
...
The announcement immediately prompted panic. Citizens began buying huge amounts of bottled water in Tokyo, with some purchasing it by the boxes.

Japan's government quickly asked the public to refrain from excessive purchases of water and said it is looking at ways to provide pure water to families with infants in the Tokyo Metropolitan area.

Beyond that, despite those setbacks at this hour, the status at the Fukushima Daiichi plant seems to be largely in the same place as it was during our previous update yesterday, as lights are slowly coming back on at the various units now that power has been restored to all of them from the grid. But pumping and cooling equipment continues to be malfunctioning in all but the 5 and 6 units at the plant, so work continues to pump water in hopes of keeping down temperatures and radiation at Units 1 to 4.

* * *

NOTE: We will be interviewing, Voice of America's Northeast Asia Bureau Chief Steve Herman --- who has been in both the Fukushima prefecture and Tokyo over the past 13 days since Japan's 9.0 earthquake and ensuing tsunami --- on the latest news out of Fukushima and Tokyo, later today during our show on Los Angeles' Pacifica Radio affiliate, KPFK 90.7FM at 3:30pm PT (6:30pm ET). You can listen live online at KPFK.org, and we'll try to post the full show later on this evening at The BRAD BLOG.

UPDATE 6:39pm PT: My KPFK interview with Herman, live from Tokyo, including the latest news on: 'Neutron beams', water 'panic', black smoke and the responses from TEPCO, the government and the people of Japan, is now posted here...

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By Brad Friedman on 3/23/2011 8:05am PT  

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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U.S. officials on U.S. nuke plants: '100 percent confidence'...
By Brad Friedman on 3/22/2011 3:55pm PT  

"On March 10 they had a multibillion-dollar asset that generated a lot of electricity," David Lochbaum, director of nuclear safety at the Massachusetts-based Union of Concerned Scientists told reporters on a conference call today. "On March 11 they had a multibillion-dollar liability that’s going to cost a lot to clean up."

"They’ve made considerable progress bringing equipment to the plant and restoring power," he said. "But they’re not out of the woods yet. They are working with razor-thin margins."

Japanese officials remain appropriately cautious at this hour as well, but positive signs for stabilization at the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant continued on Tuesday...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
Continuing Coverage: Japan's Nuclear Emergency...
By Desi Doyen on 3/22/2011 1:40pm PT  


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IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Not out of the woods yet: Japan's nuclear and humanitarian crisis continues as electricity returns to the Fukushima nuclear plant which remains precariously on edge while radiation poisoning is found in milk, vegetables and sea water --- but Japan's wind farms come to the rescue and new nuke reviews are set for US plants; PLUS: Surprise! A new 100-mile oil slick spotted in the Gulf of Mexico ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): New tech could make desalination portable, cheaper; Delay in coal plant rules cost thousands of lives; Record rains hit Phillipines, cause more flooding in Australia; German town where recycling really pays; US Chamber of Commerce: "The gang that couldn't lobby straight"; New UK plastic recycling plant takes all sorts; How not to change a climate skeptic's mind; Shipwreck threatens island's penguins; Wolves could be de-listed; King Crabs Invade Antarctica for First Time in 40 Million Years ... PLUS: World Water Day: Which nations are most at risk?....

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LATER UPDATE: Workers return to plant, resume attempts to restore electricity to Units 1 to 4 | LATE UPDATES: Gray smoke at Unit 3, workers 'temporarily evacuated' | Workers training to spray concrete to encase Unit 4...
By Brad Friedman on 3/20/2011 11:59pm PT  

It's probably too early to breathe a full sigh of relief [Update: Apparently it is. See our late UPDATES at bottom of article.], but encouraging signs continue to come from officials concerning the state of the six nuclear reactors (and their accompanying spent fuel pools) at the badly damaged Fukushima Daiichi power plant in Japan.

"We are getting closer to bringing the situation under control," Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Tetsuro Fukuyama told reporters at a presser on Sunday evening (local time).

Hiroko Tabuchi and Norimitsu Onishi at The New York Times offered a decent, up-to-date round-up of the state of the various units at the power plant on Sunday afternoon (US time), as heroic workers continue their tireless, around-the-clock efforts to stave off catastrophe following last week's 9.0 earthquake, ensuing tsunami and subsequent series of explosions at the crippled plant.

With largely just one exception at this hour (though it's an important one), the status of each unit, as reported earlier today, still seems to be holding tonight, as Monday is well under way in Japan. As well, officials have offered a few more noteworthy pieces of news in the past hour or so. We'll hit each of those points, as mercifully briefly as we can, to get you up to speed for U.S. Monday, below...

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