Officials concerned ice wall to “trigger significant subsidence” and further endanger reactor buildings — Risk of more nuclear material ‘spilling out’ of basements due to dramatic change in groundwater — Numerous hazards “could undermine the plant” — “Impact on entire situation” still being studied (VIDEO)

Published: June 3rd, 2014 at 12:24 pm ET
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Asahi Shimbun, June 3, 2014: Ground broken for frozen soil wall at Fukushima nuclear plant [...] numerous risks and potential hazards exist. [...] The Nuclear Regulation Authority approved the application on the condition that the work would not damage the network of underground pipes already in place [...] [Officials] must carefully monitor construction work for possible cracks in the underground piping that could cause leaks of the freezing agent. They also must ensure that the frozen soil wall does not cause a dramatic change in the groundwater flow that could cause radiation-contaminated water in the basements of the reactor buildings to spill out. [...] But there is no assurance that the frozen wall will reduce the volume of contaminated water by the levels forecast. Groundwater could still flow under the 30-meter wall and enter the reactor buildings.

NHK WORLD, June 2, 2014: [The NRA] has yet to authorize the entire construction plan as studies on some technical issues are still underway. [...] NHK’s reporters [...] point out that the wall will also change the flow of groundwater into the plant, and this might cause radioactive water in the buildings’ basements to seep out. The utility is being urged to work out measures to prevent this from happening. They also note that the construction is taking place in a area with seaside tunnels filled with contaminated water that are linked to the reactor buildings.

NHK transcript, June 2, 2014:

  • 0:15 in — NHK: The project is being met with concerns from the public over its safety.
  • 2:00 in — Toyoshi Fuketa, NRA: We need to verify if it really works or not. We also must study to make sure the ice wall does not have a further impact on the entire situation.
  • 3:00 in — NHK: [NRA officials] haven’t authorized the entire plan yet. They’re still trying to find out if there’s any negative impacts that the wall of ice will have on the environment.

Kyodo, June 2, 2014: [Tepco eventually convinced regulators] it will not trigger significant subsidence that could further endanger the buildings. Evidence of land subsidence was seen at one of the buildings early in the crisis and more recently under some of the hundreds of water tanks set up on land overlooking the reactor buildings. [...] the utility said it still needs the [NRA's] permission for work that could undermine the plant’s safety.

Watch NHK’s broadcast here

Published: June 3rd, 2014 at 12:24 pm ET
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66 comments to Officials concerned ice wall to “trigger significant subsidence” and further endanger reactor buildings — Risk of more nuclear material ‘spilling out’ of basements due to dramatic change in groundwater — Numerous hazards “could undermine the plant” — “Impact on entire situation” still being studied (VIDEO)

  • that's right… IAEA still not explaining why they approved this stupid plan?


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    • OldFool

      TEPCO is up the creek without a canoe and they are grasping at straws.
      They had a chance 3 years ago to dig the zeolite trench to filter the ground water, but they did not want to spend the money – missed their only chance to block the radioactive water flow. Now they are totally trapped in a problem with no solution. There will not be a happy ending to this.


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      • OldFool

        The 8th Wonder of the World, the Great Ice Wall of TEPCO, will fail somehow eventually. Over the next ~130 years, the entire radioactive inventories of those melted cores are going to leach into the Pacific. Unless they build an Incredibly Expensive, Massive and Tall outer harbor wall that is tsunami and earthquake proof, with removable radioactivity filters that can work in seawater (if this is even possible), there is truly no way to stop the leaching of radioactivity into the Pacific.


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    • Bay Area Guy 2

      I don't understand this at all. If you don't eliminate the source of the water, don't you have to ultimately build an infinite sized ice wall?


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  • davidh7426 davidh7426

    It's obvious that they've at least considered the possibility that changing the flow of ground water may cause subsidence, but have they considered the possibility of 'frost heave'.

    If frost heave or something similar does occur then the ground may rise up, which would mean that even if the ice wall fails in it's original intent, then they may have to continue with the freezing or risk the ground sinking back down, along with any adjacent structures.

    There's also the possibility that should the freezing continue for any significant duration that an artificial permafrost may be generated below ground, which may well damage any adjacent subsurface structures.


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  • Nick

    I caught a glimpse of the future……

    The ICE-WALL fails during a modest 7.0 earthquake.

    If groundwater is flowing under and into the wrecked site, just how will an ice wall do much to remediate the situation?

    This is an attempt by TEPCO to deflect us from scrutinizing other ongoing issues at the FUBAR'd site.

    This is an effort to carry on with the 2020 Olympics as planned.

    Where were the efforts 3 years ago?

    Haven't we had enough dithering?

    I have a hunch that money would be better spent evacuating humans from increasingly radioactive areas.

    How come an Ice Wall is needed anyway if Cold Shutdown was announced in dec of 2011?

    Games, shell games, deadly endeavors…


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  • Down The River

    Where are they going to get the power to run this contraption?

    They say "electricity equivalent to the amount used by about 13,000 households will be needed" I heard somewhere 12 megawatts, that more like 130,000 houses.

    24/7

    One single power outage could break it. Assuming it works at all.


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  • Ontological Ontological

    Safety is such a gray zone word for FUKU. There is no safety in a huge melted/aerosolized mess of nuclear waste. These idiots certainly are full of their own shit. They need to realize that the ONLY way to dispose of this mess will be to BULLDOZE it over the edge. Time will in effect do the same thing as the aggregate below shifts eventually. Meanwhile we need to PUNISH ALL of these total idiots for their MANY CRIMES world wide! This will never happen, it seems the nuketards are in complete control. How they serve this disillusioned dinner is beyond me. It is ok to throw a teen in prison for smoking a joint forcing him to do 30 years because the Judge is heavily invested in big oil, but it is not expectable to punish these puny little pukes for anything whatsoever!


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  • Nick

    DTR…

    Word has it that the Japanese are secretly working on a scheme to use the radioactive water oozing off the awol cores to power a steam turbine to run a generator to provide electricity to the Ice Wall.

    Problem is no one has invented the technology yet, nor is it possible for 100s of years.

    After that time, the awol cores will be less hot and the robotic attempts can resume.


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  • Nick

    So go shopping, Fukushima all happy now,


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  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    By the video ..it seems they are going to begin behind reactor 1.
    Please scroll down and see fissure in the area.

    Sure ..they smoothed it out on the surface..

    http://www.wikistrike.com/article-fukushima-liquefaction-de-sols-autour-des-reacteurs-110010450.html

    Madness.


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    • Down The River

      Heart

      Nice link with the pics.

      You’re right, they did “smooth it out on the surface”.

      Looks to me like they free-poured concrete over the whole area.

      Free-poured = no forms, no rebar, no prep. Just dump it on the ground, smooth it off a little bit, walk away.

      All nice and pretty now.


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  • Nick

    "Because Sr-90 generates heat as it decays, it is used as a power source for space vehicles, remote weather stations, and navigational beacons.."
    http://www.bt.cdc.gov/radiation/isotopes/strontium.asp

    See? Heat source available for the next 100s of years!

    Go to http://enenews.com/strontium-reaches-500-billion-bqm3-in-basements-at-fukushima-record-levels-reported-at-5-locations-near-ocean-u-s-expert-we-see-strontium-becoming-more-of-concern-food-chain-will-have-to


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  • weeman

    In my opinion it is worth a try and anything is better than doing nothing as has been the case up to now, I do have a couple of reservation, one being when cesium comes in contact with cold water it becomes Cesium peroxide and is very corrosive I believe.
    I envision that eventually they are going to use directional drills to complete the full encapsulation of the site, but only time will tell where the cores are located, as always has been my hope they have not left the building and Elvis will do a encore?


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    • weeman

      But someday it is all over as things are moving in exponent motion as they expand, when something has motion it is hard to stoppppppp?
      We have the power in one, it just takes conviction and loyalty and a whole lot of bravery,
      Do you have what it takes, we do but they don't, let's change that and make them aware?
      We fight the good fight and never has so few looked after your welfare, etc.


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    • J.

      I agree that all efforts that have any potential of keeping things from getting worse must be 'on the table.' My hope as a layman is that the best scientists can, given full support and freedom, create some way to retrieve the melted fuel, from within and beneath the structures. Even if the ice wall merely buys time for such research, it should be welcomed. Even better if somehow the lower temperatures and radiation blocking of frozen water would expedite the task, and best if it makes possible measures that otherwise would not be possible.


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  • dosdos dosdos

    One thing I have not heard discussed: how do they plan to get all that pipe into the ground that is inundated with radioactive water without exposing anyone?


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  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    As if the ground water isn't going to use the opportunity to flow upwards ..outside/around the steel piping.


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  • There are obviously huge technical issues involved in cleaning up this disaster. However, this nuclear mess is being handled in the traditional way. Dump it into the ocean. Money over nature. We all live it and contribute to it every day. Money over the well being of this planet. Money is better then clean air water and food, right? They need to divert the underground river which flows under the site if they really want to stop polluting our ocean. The technical issues surrounding this disaster do not lend themselves well to 60 second newscasts. Great says the bankers. The money needed to fix this issue would bankrupt Japan and then create a global recession.
    Don't worry. Obama won't let that happen. Continue working and paying your bills, folks, the experts have it all under control. Continue contributing your time talent and energy to the economy because there is no better way, right?


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  • Shaker1

    I saw pictures yesterday of the equipment and a view of the end of what may be one of the pipes ready for the drilling. The drill portion of it was something that I imagine is rather standard, non-articulating hardened end to the pipe itself that, again, I might imagine is left there once the required depth is reached, unlike a oil drill that cuts a larger diameter than its shaft and is retrieved. The pipe stem will likely serve as a method to remove drilling debris slong with injection of some fluid to faciltate the debris' movement.

    I might have a different idea about this in some respects, particularly regarding subsidence and what may be accomplished. If they're expecting to remove water from the basements in some other method than just dilution through replacing what's removed by cleaner water, there's going to be a problem. Myself, if they simply detour some of the ground water that would flow to the sea, that's good. But without filtration devices in tandem to the ice wall, the water in the basements will continually rise in contamination. I'm still pissed that those cheap bastards couldn't figure out that demolishing and removing those turbine buildings might make things easier. I think if the reactor buildings themselves were to be isolated, they could handle the hydrology for that small area. My expectations for this are low, but if they can just keep this afloat and harmless as possible through spent fuel removal I'd be somewhat happy.


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  • I dropped a comment as TPTB propaganda proliferation site, Forbes, the Conca Shill is in action again

    Risk adverse, that is hilarious.
    Radiation leaks at multiple plants
    Dangerous deep sea drilling oil spills
    GMO crops shown to produce tumors in mice now "normal food" and Monsanto protection act rolled out
    Legalized torture
    Legalized droning of Americans without due process
    legalized unlimited bribing of politicians
    Unbridled overbudget government spending/mini-fascism
    TPTB controlled media with mass aggregation of data for perfection of propaganda
    Surveliance state
    Throw out the Bill of Rights

    The question is not whether we are rocketing towards the cliff edge, the question is only at what speeds will we launch over the edge.

    Risk adverse, pssst.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2014/06/03/state-of-new-mexico-and-doe-can-resume-nuclear-waste-disposal-if-they-want-to/


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  • The NRC are pimps of the industry. The chief Macfarlane said that "because we are not sure we can dry cask everything in 5 years, we have decided to not even try to dry cask any of the spent fuel in the US"

    I am not joking. They have disdain for us.

    http://www.neimagazine.com/news/newsus-regulator-will-not-require-expedited-transfer-of-spent-fuel-into-dry-casks-4283884


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  • Shaker1

    While I will in no uncertain terms damn the effort and management of this incident that has taken place after the first five days, and even if each day brings one an idea that little might be happening to improve the situation (and we haven't even gotten close to what I feel is at the bottom of the curve of the effects of what did happen that can't be undone), at some time or other for one reason or another the attitude and effort that wasn't displayed by Tepco's management in the recent post reporting their wish to walk away has to come to bear. I've been in situations where shit has gone wrong that can't be fixed and there is no good alternative available. One at least has to have the guts to accept what one might not like and commit, as doing nothing isn't any more or less a failure as doing something and IT failing, if that makes any sense. Anything else is just portioning blame, which I've never found too useful once failure happens. It's done by that point.


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  • Nick

    Davidh7426:

    I think I found the diapers to be shipped to FD-NPP!!!

    http://abc11.com/news/diaper-theft-leaves-charity-with-empty-shelves/90011/

    The Kitty Litter could come from the WIPP/LANL supplier.

    Sticky tape is easy to get!


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  • TheBigPicture TheBigPicture

    MUST BE ENFORCED . . .

    Ice-wall must be powered by something (( reliable and safe )), such as (( solar and wind )).


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    • Shaker1

      At this point, even an LNG plant would be acceptable to me over nuclear for power. If the ice wall isn't a failure right away and actually does something, something less offensive for power could be undertaken then to keep it going. Again, not too well planned, unless they figure power is available from all the non-use because of evacuation in the surrounding areas. You know, the bad part about the power is that Tepco will charge themselves for that power, then get the money back through rate increases of directly from government printing. What's their damned stock worth nowadays (which I know shouldn't be accepted as any measure of value of a corporation, but only measure of their competence at convincing others chasing some profit of what they might wish the corporation to be worth)? I should check.


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    • They said they need 4 nuclear reactors to keep the ice iced, LOL


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  • sistahawk

    ..seems like another MONTY PYTHON HUMOR , stock ..someone could crack up with laughter.. if it would not be so sad , lol to


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  • Nick

    Where did our sanity go?

    Oh yeah….gone fission, back in 3 million years….


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    • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

      Well if you are looking for sanity you are on the wrong planet. :)

      If the Nuclear Bomb testing (2053 tests) all over the world took out 60+ million people and then Chernobyl has taken a million + humans and which this number is still climbing, then Fukushima will take out a minimum of 3 million + humans through various diseases and cancers.

      The future is not looking good if another Nuclear Power Plant is going to blow at every 7-10 year intervals. The problem the general population has is that they are all being used as guinea pigs and each Nuclear Technology induced disease and cancer will need very inconvenient pain, treatment and time and lots of money (precious) until those affected pass from a horrible death from these current Nuclear Industry actions.

      Knowing such facts and then moving forward with such Nuclear Technology is/should be considered criminal and the humans on this planet should say no.

      But then the general populations would have to be sane to make such a decision and one will need to read the first line once again to understand our planet's future fate. :)


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  • West Aussie

    I can't see how it can work unless they can freeze it into a bathtub configuration with the guarantee that the melted cores are going to be contained within that configuration.
    Lot's of if's, but's, and maybe's! I read somewhere that there are imaging techniques using cosmic rays(?),
    ( http://scienceandglobalsecurity.org/archive/sgs16morris.pdf ) that could tell them where the cores are, so I suppose it's possible that they may eventually be able to seal off the plant from the rest of the environment. Then the site could be excavated and brought back under some kind of control.
    I have no idea whether that is possible or that is even a plan they have but I can see that the only possible way of stopping this genocide machine is to dig those cores out. To do that they have to, among many other things, stabilize the ground, stop the water flow into the plant and out to the Pacific, remove the spent fuel assemblies, remove the buildings, and start peeling away the earth until they uncover the core remains. All the while making sure there are no further calamities with the cores or spent fuel.
    Can it be done?
    Possibly, just as long as another natural or man-made disaster doesn't intervene.
    I just thought about this a little more and it's the time frames that are the biggest worry. This should have happened already. We're still into an ELE and running out of time to arrest it's progress. For many it' already too late. Might be too late for all of us. Crazy.


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  • steel penny steel penney

    when i was in the american war in Vietnam, there was a saying "well do something even if it wrong." i don't know if an ice wall that doesn't seal with bed road will work any better that walls sealing up the WIPP tunnels will work that will be attached to salt tunnels. corporate heads and government leaders hear only what they want to hear and if you don't tell them what they want to hear then they get someone who will. Fukushima Daiichi is the Soccer's Apprentice in real time. i'll show my ignorance again but even if the ice wall thing works, where does the water that is cooling these monsters go. i mean we're talking about decades and decades; does all of Japan become a tank farm?


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    • Shaker1

      Well, steel penney, there are many here that feel that Japan has already 'tanked'.

      I, for one, don't have any idea of where the corium might be. It could be in the ground, in the buildings (somewhere), some in the air (and scattered around the countryside) for all that I know. Some believe that there is little left inside the spent fuel pools to retrieve, and that what is going on at Unit 4 is all for show. But I do think that if there is really some measure of purpose to all this water they are throwing at the structures that it's for the preservation of the structures as best as one can, and that allowing them to fall in onto themselves will be a catastrophe that only nature will mitigate in her time, at her leisure, and to our poverty as she'll demand quite a large payment for her efforts. Going down to bedrock might be impractical, and one might have to hope the sun has a little sister that could be tapped to power such a beast. Doing something even if it's wrong might seem nonsensical, but it keeps us busy while we slowly deteriorate, and that's fine with me. You know, that apprentice has only so much blood and with the gang that is present to beat them for their error, satisfaction would be quick. What's left then is to sit on the beach in the red sunsets watching humanity slowly mimic the orb being consumed by the water? Personally, I'm hoping to be surprised that what they build might help in some small measure.


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  • rogerthat

    OldFool is right: ''Over the next ~130 years, the entire radioactive inventories of those melted cores are going to leach into the Pacific.'' Plus what's left of the spent fuel inventories. Plus, plus, plus. On the bright side, nuclear war is as obsolete as the warheads and bombs. If peace reigns for 1000 years it will make no difference, earth is FUBAR, so no need to rush to extinction, it's happening at an accelerating pace already. The countries with the biggest nuke industries, the biggest weapons stockpiles will die first. The hapless ''enemies'' of these states will die laughing. The meek will inherit the earth. Pity the meek.


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  • jackassrig

    It's all guano. TEPCO does not have a building to house the compressors, pumps, electrical switch gear. Enormous compressors. The equipment will take somewhere around (2) years to deliver if they ordered now. Somewhere TEPCO will need to reject the heat either in the sea or cooling towers. Where will the cooling towers be erected? As they drill into this soggy ground TEPCO will have water bubbling up through the holes and pipes. Where will this radioactive water be released? The bottom of the towers glow so TEPCO will need many expendable men to handle the pipe, drill, and fabricate. TEPCO will need many skilled laborers – welders, electricians, heavy equipment operators, forms and concrete men, etc. Need permanent camp for the troops. TEPCO couldn’t use that 2 lane road for workers coming and going. TEPCO will need caterers cleaning personnel. What will TEPCO do with all that sewage? TEPCO will need a wastewater plant. Roads are not beefy enough to handle all those concrete trucks and heavy equipment. No dockside cranes to offload barges. TEPCO will need to dredge around the dock so barges can get in and out. It will take tons and tons of water to mix with the concrete. Need to erect power lines to ship all that power to the compressor house….


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    • OldFool

      This is one of the more intelligent posts I have seen in many weeks. The Great Ice Wall of TEPCO is going to need substantial infrastructure to build it and maintain it, and extremely skilled people to build it and maintain it. It is extremely doubtful that their site will be able to adequately support all this material and it is extremely doubtful that the absolute dregs of Japanese society that they dragooned as a work force (to pinch pennies on labor costs) will be able to do things perfectly. But every task will need perfection on the most important work site on earth. Yet a penny pinching corporation is still in charge and still trying to save money to boost corporate profits – when the loss of the entire Pacific is in the balance. And to top it off this lunacy – to save money, there have been no precautions taken for the next earthquake and tsunami that will wash everything away.


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  • jackassrig

    TEPCO will need good-sized winch trucks to pull the heavy equipment and concrete trucks out of the muck. Concrete trucks weigh about 80000 lbs when loaded. Heaviest trucks on the road are concrete trucks. TEPCO will need warehouses to store purchased equipment until needed at site. Also drilling equipment and pile drivers. TEPCO will need a building for the engineers, CAD people, and supervisors. Every trade will have a supervisor. TEPCO needs surveyors and geologist to evaluate the soggy ground for construction. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

    TEPCO is going to do all this but they can’t keep one stinking tower from falling over. HAHAHA.


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    • I have a feeling the heaviest stuff they'll be dealing with for about 5 years is the "studies and endless paperwork" and transferring sacks of money into their *friend's* secret bank accounts…

      Gosh……makes me tired for the big wigs just thinking about it.


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    • weegokiburi weegokiburi

      Haha indeed.
      But hey you have to hope. Who else is there. Haven't we all believed them from the beginning.
      PS
      Working two jobs has been killing me.
      I need a holiday.
      Been really overdoing it a bit recently.


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    • Nigwil

      With 25 Sieverts of radiation around the tower you won't get any humans with cans of KillRust clambering on that tower anytime in the next 100,000 years. I suspect by then it may have fallen over all by itself.

      They would be better dropping a cable with a grapple on it from a helicopter, then simply dragging the thing towards the northwest with winches until it falls in a 'safe' direction.


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  • Sol Man

    it is among the largest of crisis that, among many other things, rearranges the smallest of structures. Our troubles are on an atomic level and if we can fix that, or, keep it from happening, then things may be alright.
    We can not.


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  • DUSTY SANDALS & THE 7 HILLS OF APPOLYON Yahu-Yochanan

    I'm surprised they don't fill it round with vanilla ice cream, scoop it out and sell it to the poor and needy for a profit. Isn't that what corporations do best?

    Oh there's a real change on the way and you will need more than "pumped up kicks" to avoid it.

    Have a nice new clear day.


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