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Latest Featured Reports | Thursday, July 31, 2014
FEC Commissioners at War Over Rove's Campaign Finance Violations
Deadlock vote, ignoring federal agencies own attorneys, leads to lawsuit and scathing attack of Dem Commissioners by GOP colleagues...
'Green News Report' 7/29/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Obama Admin approves sonic cannons for offshore oil exploration; Bizarre weather across U.S.; CO judge nixes fracking ban; PLUS: Neil Young wants your help in the rainforest...
Previous GNRs: 7/24/14 - 7/22/14 - Archives...
'A Kind of Propaganda War'
After U.N. denial, NBC's David Gregory apologized for use of unverified Israeli video claiming to show rockets fired from U.N. refugee shelter in Gaza where at least 15 were killed by Israel last week...
Bi-Partisan House to Obama: Get Out of Iraq
Overwhelming, if largely symbolic vote in the U.S. House, directs the President to pull U.S. troops back out of Iraq. Directive seen as stinging rebuke to GOP war haws in Senate..
'Green News Report' 7/24/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Breaking: Storm ravages VA campground; New rules for explosive oil trains; Big win against Big Oil in small Maine town; PLUS: U.S. and Rush Limbaugh lead world in denial...
Previous GNRs: 7/22/14 - 7/17/14 - Archives...
Israeli Attack on UN Shelter Kills At Least 15 in Gaza
The strategy of bombing children, but warning them first, will almost certainly result in years of peace and prosperity for the region...
The Good Fight Continues: KPFK 'BradCast'
Brad speaks with John Wellington Ennis, documentarian and activist, on his newest film and his decade-long fight for election integrity...
What We Do Now
"It took one hour and 57 minutes for the execution to be completed, and Wood was gasping for more than an hour and a half of that time"..."Wood, 55, gasped more than 600 times before he died"...
'Green News Report' 7/22/14
Record wildfires in Pacific NW; June 2014 was hottest globally on record; EPA blocks Pebble Mine; CA blocks water pollution; PLUS: To cut emmissions, cut the beef...
Aborted Statewide 'Recount' Reveals It's a Great Time to Steal an Election in California
In the closest election in state history, even a well-funded candidate couldn't afford to find out if he actually lost...
'I Never Realized Voter ID Fraud Had Not Been Proven'
A RW caller's admission to Brad on NC radio underscores unparalleled propaganda power of Fox 'News'...
John Oliver On America's Prison Problems...With Singing Muppets!
HBO's Last Week Tonight offered smarter (and certainly funnier) coverage than you're likely to see anywhere else...
No, JFK Didn't Steal 1960 From Nixon
Another Zombie Myth that just won't die gets knocked down again...for now...even as its persistence continues to fuel false Republican claims of 'voter fraud' even today...
CA Ballot Prop to Overturn 'Citizens United'
Measure calls for Amendment 'to make clear that rights protected by the U.S. Constitution are the rights of natural persons only'...
UK Deputy PM Condemns Israel's 'Deliberate Use of Disproportionate Response'
Nick Clegg calls attacks on Gaza 'collective punishment' that 'incubates next generation of extremists' and 'needs to come to an end'...
'Green News Report' 7/17/14
Australia's RW govt repeals landmark carbon tax; Obama action on global warming impacts; Record wildfire season in West; PLUS: CA gets tough on water wasters...
Kochs Radical 'Libertarianism' Broke KA
More than 100 top GOPers endorse Republican Gov. Brownback's Dem opponent after tax cuts for wealthy have busted the extremist Koch Brothers' home state...
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...
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)...

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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): 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  

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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  


TWITTER: @GreenNewsReport
VIA SMART PHONE: Stitcher Radio!

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!

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): 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?....

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

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Stoking fear of Muslims against NPR, and comparing feral hogs to 'illegal immigrants' --- Just another day in 2011 Rightwing World...
By Ernest A. Canning on 3/22/2011 7:00am PT  

Guest editorial by Ernest A. Canning

To what extent has xenophobia greased the wheels of the right-wing smear machine?

For those who follow The BRAD BLOG, the pattern is all too recognizable.

A venal hard-right, operating through a pathological, race-baiting con-artist, like Andrew Breitbart, targets, for one of its deceptive smear campaigns, a group, like ACORN, or an individual, like Van Jones or Shirley Sherrod.

The smear is amplified by the propagandists at Fox "News." It reverberates throughout the right-wing echo chamber (which has usurped the majority of our public airwaves to bolster their agenda). The smear is then repeated by pliant mainstream corporate media, which will, at best, offer up a belated, chiseling, inaccurate "correction" --- too little and too late to undo the damage wrought by a Democratic "opposition" which timidly seeks to distance itself from the smeared as they scurry to hand the hard-right what it seeks (e.g., a bill stripping ACORN or NPR of public funds, or the forced resignation of the targeted individual).

There is no doubt but that some of the corporate media complicity derives from common financial interests. As Bill Moyers observed in Moyers on America, "media giants...exalt commercial values at the expense of democratic value...squeezing out the journalism that tries to get as close as possible to the verifiable truth."

But there is another issue, magnified by two recent events: (1) The matter-of-fact acceptance of the prompt resignation of two NPR officials over a secretly taped and deceptively-edited video hit piece in which two of convicted federal criminal and Republican con-man James O'Keefe's flunkies posed as members of a Muslim organization seeking to help fund NPR, and (2) The deafening corporate media silence over an outrageously racist remark by a right-wing Kansas state representative who compared "illegal immigrants" to "feral pigs"...

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By Lizz Winstead on 3/21/2011 2:08pm PT  

Guest Blogged by Lizz Winstead

[Ed Note: And now for something completely different. As a welcome distraction from the last week plus of covering the Fukushima nuclear crisis around the clock (most recently here and here and here, for example), I was delighted to catch my friend Lizz Winstead, co-creator of The Daily Show (originally hosted by Craig Kilbourne and now by Jon Stewart) and Minnesota native, distracting her own self yesterday on Twitter by answering 100 questions (more or less) from her "Tweeps". As the questions to and answers from Lizz were alternately amusing, provocative, hilarious and occasionally just inane, I asked her if she'd mind if we ran them in full here at The BRAD BLOG, typos, occasional misnumbering and all, as a guest blog today, just in case you needed the temporary distraction as much as I did. In those hopes, here's at least 99 more things to know about Lizz than you ever thought you wanted to...Oh, and for the Twitter challenged, "RT" means "Re-tweet". So you'll see the user's question re-tweeted (quoted briefly), followed by her answer to it in each tweet. If you need any more explanation than that, you're shit outta luck. I'm busy! - Brad]

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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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UPDATED TWICE: Pressure said rising again at nuclear reactor Unit 3, now stabilized after all...
By Brad Friedman on 3/19/2011 8:34pm PT  

Choosing an interesting way to 'celebrate' the 8th anniversary of the launching of Tomahawk cruise missiles into Iraq kicking off our invasion there on March 19th, 2003, the U.S. Commander-in-Chief Barack Obama approved the launching of Tomahawk cruise missiles into Libya on the anniversary today, as a five-nation coalition began to carry out a U.N.-approved No Fly Zone mandate over yet another oil rich Middle Eastern nation.

In response, the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), General Electric, The Shaw Group, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the rest of the nuclear energy lobby sent a thank you note to Libyan dictator Col. Muammar Gaddafi, as the world media quickly turned their attention en masse to the new military action in the Middle East and away from the still-pending nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan.

In related sarcastic and fake news, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R-Koch) tore off all of his clothes and danced naked with glee in celebration, by himself, in the middle of the capital rotunda in Madison. No media were there to capture the moment.

Meanwhile, in news that is neither sarcastic nor fake, but seemingly impossible upon everything else, a giant 100-mile oil slick has been spotted in the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of Louisiana near the site of last year's BP deepwater oil drilling disaster. And yet with all of that, CNN has still not announced plans to scale back the 150 staff contingent they are set to deploy to cover next month's Royal Wedding in the UK.

In still more, let's call it irony, over a 100 demonstrators, including "Pentagon Papers" whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, were arrested at the White House Saturday, protesting all the wars we were in prior to today, as well as against the reportedly deplorable conditions of detainment for 23-year old Army Private Bradley Manning, accused of leaking classified war documents and diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks. Many of the same protesters were arrested in a similar protest at the White House in December, also for failing to obey orders as they handcuffed themselves to the White House fence, though few media bothered to cover that demonstration either. Another rally is set for tomorrow in support of Manning, also sure to be ignored, at the Quantico Marine Corps Base in Virginia where he has been held in solitary confinement, reportedly, 23 out of 24 hours of each day for the last nine months.

At Fukushima today, only a bit more noticed, McClatchy reports that the spent fuel rod pool at reactor No. 3 is said to be "stabilized," with radiation levels dropping there after 13 hours of sea water was sprayed onto it with water cannon trucks [* See UPDATES below for more on Unit 3 issues.]; the Unit 4 fuel pool --- where, as we reported last night a "renewed nuclear chain reaction [was] feared" --- may in fact be cracked and leaking water, but with Unit 3 "stabilized" for now, fire fighters have turned the water cannon trucks onto that unit in hopes of cooling it down as well; and late last night, power was restored to Units 5 & 6, with pumps said to be working and the cooling ponds in both reactors cooling from their previously reported temperatures around 65C, back towards the desired temp of 25C. The readings there today were 37C and 41C respectively, in what can certainly be considered a bit of good news in a story desperate for some...

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Latest status of crippled reactors; Spent fuel rod danger; Fallout detected in S. California; Wind 'saving Japan's ass'; Coulter: Radiation is 'good for you'; Prime Minister's office tweets...
By Brad Friedman on 3/18/2011 5:20pm PT  

It was precisely one week ago last night at 9:46pm PT (2:46pm in Japan) that the worst earthquake and tsunami on record in that country hit. It was just a few hours later when Tohoku Electric Power Co. officials said that cooling at one of three reactors at their Onagawa nuclear power plant was "not going as planned

That disturbing, yet quietly reported statement certainly caught the attention of The BRAD BLOG, even as it took another 24 to 48 hours before much of the rest of the media began offering appropriate focus on what could still become the most catastrophic nuclear power disaster the world has ever seen. (Though note: CNN still has plenty of resources to spare to deploy 150 staffers --- 150 --- to cover the royal wedding next month in England, so don't worry! Luckily it's likely to be yet another slow news month in April.)

While the Onagawa plant, where a fire had broken out during the quake, was ultimately brought under control and said to be cooling properly, the alarm caused by a rise in radiation levels at that plant turned out to be due to problems at the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) six-reactor nuclear power plant at Daiichi in the neighboring Fukushima prefecture. Now, one week later, TEPCO officials, in a joint effort with the Japanese Govt. --- and finally a number of other international agencies --- are working around the clock to keep all six of the facility's nuclear reactors and/or the associated spent fuel storage pools at each, under control, to avoid complete meltdowns at any or all of them. The work is exceedingly dangerous, and the progress at this hour remains precarious at best.

Some progress is being made in restoring the power plant to the power grid, allowing for the potential restoration of cooling systems at the reactors, if the cooling systems still work at any of them, following earthquake, tsunami flood, multiple explosions, and fires.

So here is where each of those six reactors stands, at this moment (even as a trace amount of radiation is said to have now reached Southern California, where we are located), what the greatest fears still are, how the worst case-scenario still looms, and how Japan's completely undamaged wind farms are currently "saving Japan's ass," even as their nuclear power plants struggle to get back online and/or avoid epic catastrophe...

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By Brad Friedman on 3/17/2011 6:50pm PT  

I'm now doing a weekly thirty-minute show on Wednesday's at 3:30pm PT on KPFK, Los Angeles' Pacifica Radio affiliate. (Right! Public radio! No commercials! On our public airwaves! Come and get me, O'Keefe!) My first show yesterday was, by necessity, largely coverage of the breaking Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant crisis, but also included a brief interview with Greg Palast, the BBC journalist, my fellow muckraking pal and author of the New York Times best-sellers Armed Madhouse and The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, Greg Palast.

Earlier this week, Palast wrote about the Obama-endorsed $4 billion plan to build two new nuclear reactors on the Gulf Coast of Texas by... wait for it ... TEPCO! That's right, the Tokyo Electric Power Co. responsible for the failing systems now at Fukushima Daiichi, as well as a number of local partners.

Palast offers insight from his pre-journalist days "as lead investigator in several government nuclear plant fraud and racketeering investigations" during the 1980's, and explains how the same "bankrupt, corrupt and criminal companies" who were busted during his work investigating the Shoreham nuclear plant in New York are still in business, and ready to get to work again on nukes in Texas and elsewhere in the U.S.

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

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Helicopter water drops, water cannon trucks reportedly having little success at lowering temperature, radiation levels at plant...
By Brad Friedman on 3/17/2011 2:41pm PT  

New aerial footage released by Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) today details even more of the extensive damage to numerous reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant following explosions at reactor Units 1 through 4 which occurred in the days following last weekend's record earthquake and tsunami.

Early word so far today is that yesterday's dangerous helicopter water drops onto Unit 3 have not succeeded in lowering the radiation levels at the crippled plant, as much of the water may have missed its target in the four drops. Radiation levels were so high that helicopter crews, outfitted in special protective gear, were forced to keep flying as they made their drops, rather than hovering over the No. 3 reactor.

As we reported yesterday, Japan's Defense Minister said during a pres conference following the missions that, despite risks to both the fuel rods at the reactors and the safety of the helicopter crews that forced them to scrap plans for a similar drop the previous day, the severity of the situation had increased such that they "could not delay further."

Water cannon trucks, normally used by Tokyo Police for crowd control, were dispatched to the plant after the air drops, but those efforts as well, reportedly, have been less than successful at lowering the temperature at the stricken nuclear reactors or the radiation levels at the plant itself.

As the UK's Guardian reports today...

Attempts to cool down a stricken reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in Japan have suffered a further setback with radiation levels rising rather than falling after attempts to douse it with high-pressure hoses.

Six fire engines and a police water cannon were sent in on Thursday evening to spray the plant's No 3 reactor. But afterwards radiation emissions rose from 3,700 microsieverts per hour to 4,000 per hour, the Kyodo news agency quoted Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) as saying.

An earlier attempt in which military helicopters dropped thousands of litres of water on the plant also appeared to have failed.

We will continue our coverage of noteworthy developments in Japan's nuclear crisis as warranted here at The BRAD BLOG, as well as via our Twitter account 24/7. You can follow us there at: @TheBradBlog.

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With Brad Friedman & Desi Doyen...
Ongoing Special Coverage: Japan's Nuclear Emergency...
By Desi Doyen on 3/17/2011 1:36pm PT  


TWITTER: @GreenNewsReport
VIA SMART PHONE: Stitcher Radio!

IN TODAY'S RADIO REPORT: Crisis in Japan: Compounding natural disaster, humanitarian disaster, and spiraling nuclear disaster --- desperate measures to hold off a nuclear nightmare ... All that and more in today's Green News Report!

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

Link:
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IN 'GREEN NEWS EXTRA' (see links below): EPA moves to curb toxic mercury pollution; Battle-proof wind farms survive Japan disasters; Op-ed: 'Save US children from toxic mercury'; End of cheap food in US?; Koch Bros: property rights only for polluters; Gov. Kasich (R) wants fracking in OH state parks; Sec. Chu: Clean energy puts U.S. ahead; PA: Coal Exec Given Vast Environmental Authority; WV considering geothermal future; Google backs biofuel startup; If President Obama calls it safe, watch out; Germany's Merkel plans faster shift to clean energy ... PLUS: Irish scientists help Guinness go green...

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Dangerous operation indicates situation's increasing severity; Water cannon trucks from Tokyo Police dispatched to plant as well
UPDATE: Contrary to earlier reports, officials say water still in fuel storage pool at Unit 4, so water drops prioritized for Unit 3...
By Brad Friedman on 3/16/2011 8:08pm PT  

At 9:48am local time, after authorities determined the situation at Fukushima's crippled and quickly over-heating nuclear reactors Unit 3 and 4 was bad enough to warrant it, they began dropping water from CH-47 Chinook helicopters onto the nuclear reactors, despite the considerable risks (to both crew and to the fuel rods in the reactor.) As of now, four drops have been made.

[Update: See video at bottom of article.]

This is a very very bad disaster movie. Water cannon trucks, usually used for crowd control, are now headed into the facility to spray water from a distance into the gaping holes previously blown out of the sides of the Unit 4 reactor where spent fuel rods are currently stored. Unit 4 was off-line for maintenance when last Friday's earthquake/tsunami struck, with highly volatile fuel rods being held in a fuel storage pool. That pool, usually filled with circulating water, is feared to have gone dry, potentially allowing the rods to heat, burn, and release enormous amounts of radioactivity into the atmosphere.

Yesterday, chief government spokesman Yukio Edano said during his press conference that plans for similar helicopter water drops were canceled after it was determined they would be too dangerous. It was feared that quickly dropping large amounts of water could further destabilize the fuel rods and that slower, gradual pumping of water from the ground was preferred. Also, radiation exposure to helicopter crews was a concern as well.

That officials decided to go ahead with the helicopter drops today is likely an indication of the increasing severity of the growing crisis.

In an article today about the "Fukushima 50," the small crew currently left at the plant to tirelessly keep its six reactors from complete meltdown, the New York Times notes today that "helicopter pilots who flew through radiation-laden smoke spewing from the [Chernobyl] reactor to drop fire-extinguishing chemicals on it," were exposed to particularly high levels of radiation during that disaster 25 years ago next month.

Officials at Fukushima are saying that helicopter crews dropping water are outfitted in protective gear and may fly missions for a maximum of only 40 minutes each day to minimize their exposure. The drops are made more difficult, NHK World reports, by the need for the helicopters to keep moving as the water is being dropped, rather than hovering above the plants, as might otherwise be done during such drops.

Japanese Defense Minister Toshimi Katazawa held a press conference within the past hour following completion off the four planned drops. He said that radiation levels were too high yesterday to carry out the plan, but that early today, in consultation with Prime Minister Natao Kan, the decision was made to carry out the drops. "We could not delay further, so we decided to execute the plan," NHK World's translators reported him as saying.

In a competing press conference at the same moment, Chief government spokesman Yukio Edano offered little new information other than to say President Obama and Kan had a thirty minute conversation earlier today. The President offered sympathy and support, including for the nuclear crisis. Edano said investigators are working to determine how successful the water drops were, and he confirmed that water cannon trucks from the Tokyo Police were en route to the nuclear plant. Fukushima is located some 180 miles north of Tokyo.

* * *

UPDATE 8:20pm PT: About thirty minutes after Edano finished, officials from Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) spoke at their own news conference. They said that, contrary to earlier reports, they were able to determine that there was still some water left in the spent fuel storage ponds at Unit 4 and so it was decided to prioritize the initial water drops today onto reactor Unit 3.

UPDATE 9:42pm PT The Defense Minister has said there will be no more water drop attempts today.

UPDATE 11:08pm PT Video of the helicopter water drops now follows below...

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