AP: Melted Fukushima fuel is 12 inches from entering ground after eating through concrete, says simulation — Study: Molten core suspected of eroding through concrete foundation — Gov’t Expert: We just can’t be sure until actually seeing inside

Published: November 20th, 2013 at 12:45 am ET
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Associated Press, Nov. 19, 2013: [...] the real challenge: removing melted or partially melted fuel from the three reactors that had meltdowns, and figuring out how to treat and store it so it won’t heat up and start a nuclear reaction again. “This is an unprecedented task that nobody in the world has achieved. We still face challenges that must be overcome,” said Hajimu Yamana, a Kyoto University nuclear engineer who heads a government-affiliated agency that is overseeing technological research and development for the cleanup. [...] Computer simulations show the melted fuel in Unit 1, whose core damage was the most extensive, has breached the bottom of the primary containment vessel and even partially eaten into its concrete foundation, coming within about 30 centimeters (one foot) of leaking into the ground. “We just can’t be sure until we actually see the inside of the reactors,” Yamana said.

‘Atomic Energy‘ Volume 114 Issue 3, July 2013 (Emphasis Added): [If there's no safety system to cool Fukushima melted fuel from Units 1-3], the accident developed rapidly: the second safety barrier (fuel element cladding) failed 2 hours after the initial event, the third one (reactor vessel) at 13 hours, and the fourth one 7 days after the easing of the dry box of the containment shell melted and through erosion of the concrete foundation occurred. These data were transmitted to the operational headquarters of Rosatom and the crisis center at the IBRAE RAN in order to estimate the possibility that the population of our country in the regions bordering with Japan would be exposed to radiation.  [...] According to the computed picture. in all power units of the Fukushima-I NPP flooding with water stopped the downward flow of melt, but because energy continued to be released in the melt it was necessary to feed water into the reactors continually. It is known that the operation of the active safety systems, with whose help the core could be cooled reliably in a closed cycle, could not be restored for another several weeks.

See also: ABC Correspondent: Nobody knows where Fukushima's melted cores are now, expert says -- Tepco admitted fuel "is actually eating through the concrete... hopefully it’s not eating through any further" (AUDIO)

Published: November 20th, 2013 at 12:45 am ET
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Related Posts

  1. Japan Nuclear Engineer: I don’t think they’ll ever get Fukushima’s melted cores; Will probably start covering reactors in concrete — German Expert: May encase areas in sarcophagus November 4, 2013
  2. Nuclear Expert: Water may NOT have stopped melted fuel from going down into concrete at Fukushima — I raised this issue years ago, but it’s too difficult for regulators to deal with (VIDEO) November 6, 2013
  3. IAEA Paper: Corium was not cooled in majority of tests using water injected from above, as done at Fukushima — Were studying how to stop molten core from melting through concrete December 26, 2013
  4. IAEA ***NOT for distribution***: Molten core is suspected to have penetrated Fukushima containment vessel — Prime Minister on 3/11: We couldn’t be in Tokyo if melted fuel went through containment vessel (VIDEO) December 18, 2013
  5. ABC Correspondent: Nobody knows where Fukushima’s melted cores are now, expert says — Tepco admitted fuel “is actually eating through the concrete… hopefully it’s not eating through any further” (AUDIO) November 4, 2013

176 comments to AP: Melted Fukushima fuel is 12 inches from entering ground after eating through concrete, says simulation — Study: Molten core suspected of eroding through concrete foundation — Gov’t Expert: We just can’t be sure until actually seeing inside

  • unincredulous unincredulous

    uh but Obama said it would not happen. Then again, stocks are almost at record levels. I guess he did what's best. NOT!


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  • J.

    An interesting article about an astronaut here

    https://medium.com/unforgettable-moments/bb9e2935ae7d

    with information about the Apollo program. The contrast between that amazing success and the nearly unmitigated failure of nuclear power is instructive. It also raises the question: if the space program could have half a million people focused on a goal, why could the world not have a similar program for dealing with the Fukushima disaster? A true political leader — there are none — could frame the issue that way, and bring the best minds to focus on ways to locate and remove the coriums.


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    • Crash2Parties Crash2Parties

      Back in the 1960's, people believed they must stand up to the Russians. In 2013, people do not believe they can stand up to Capitalism and make the slightest bit of a difference. If you think about it, the former actually led directly to the latter.


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  • Grampybone Grampybone

    I found an interesting article that has locals questioning weather water treatment plant construction is the cause of the loss of glowing plankton in the ocean. Link here:

    http://fusion.net/modern_life/story/puerto-rican-bio-bay-suddenly-stops-glowing-239141

    I have never heard of a water treatment plants construction ruining bacterial ecosystems so I can't say weather radioactive isotopes could be a cause. Perhaps those with better knowledge than "We and I and Grampybone" have answers for us.


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    • Crash2Parties Crash2Parties

      Are the plants treating water coming out of the lagoon or water going in? If the former, perhaps the lagoon was previously brackish & now has an influx of ocean water. If the latter, gee, maybe it was dumping treated sewage from two treatment plants that did the trick? That's a whole lot of man-made chemicals being added to a tiny environment, and typically a huge amount of nitrogen. Depending on how they treated it, the refuse can also remove all the oxygen from a lagoon quite easily.


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  • Sol Man

    Re:Japan's State Secrets Act: it won't matter once the grim reaper comes knocking on everybody's door. It will be obvious, but we shan't speak of it.


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  • Gradius

    More lies, we know because a REAL example of it happened before: Chernobyl. It went TRIPLE layers in just a week there!

    No way that MOX (full of Plutonium) would be entered mere 30cm in almost 3 years (over 2,8y now).

    F* sad that Puerto Rico Bio Bay.


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  • Jebus Jebus

    "Computer simulations show the melted fuel in Unit 1, whose core damage was the most extensive, has breached the bottom of the primary containment vessel and even partially eaten into its concrete foundation, coming within about 30 centimeters (one foot) of leaking into the ground."

    I have issue with that paragraph. Although I don't have access to a computer simulation and I'm not the best at math, I do have access to reality. I have two good eyes and I have reviewed the tapes again.
    Maybe the are using that new math in their computer simulations. Maybe they just missed the viewing. Maybe they are just on crack. Maybe no one has walked over by #3 reactor, but from everything that I have seen, reactor #1 exploding and reactor #3 exploding, I have to say that it is #3 reactor that has the most core damage.
    Here, what do you think? Does this look like a math problem to you? Did they do a simulation of this? Does this look bad to you?
    Does this video look like the core is intact? Is it just me?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=haUawwm7l4k

    Compare that to this.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=psAuFr8Xeqs

    Simulated is never as good as the real thing…


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      • Ian Goddard has made some excellent videos. Check out his other work including a his nicely presented theory about the exact nature of the Unit 3 explosion here: http://iangoddard.com/fukushima01.html

        His theory has withstood the test of time, unlike some others.


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        • razzz razzz

          Goddard is having a hard time with his Unit 3 theory. 1. hydrogen explosion 2. steam explosion but doesn't account for the upward mushroom cloud which takes a tremendous amount of heat to accomplish. Unit 1 is a hydrogen and then steam explosion, the steam goes in all directions and quickly dissipates.

          3's sectional concrete cap on top of the reactor containment is still in place. He might have the initial steam side venting correct but when the entire roof launches off the building with a mushroom cloud underneath it, that leaves much to be explained.

          Even when the red hot corium explodes down and out of the bottom of the reactor vessel into a pedestal full of water causing the water to flash to steam, where does it explode to from there? Access hatches then plumbing are the weak points. If the force blew the supporting pedestal apart, what's left of the reactor vessel would fall down and now be laying on the basemat of the primary containment shell. Still the explosive force has to vent out someway.

          I think the answer is in the sound track of the explosions since TEPCO hasn't release the radionuclide fallout yet to confirm if any of the explosions were nuclear in nature or not.

          Can't rule out the SFP either as super heated steam vented from the reactor and could have heated the pool and caused its contents to freak out. You know you are having a bad day when you find your refueling crane inside your spent fuel pool along with most of the roof.


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          • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

            Yes, razzz, the exlosions at 3 and 4 leave much to be explained.
            Certainly, TEP.gov's official story, that they were hydrogen explosions, is patently false.
            Nor does Goddard's steam explosion theory fit what we see, both in the video, and in the intact concrete cap.
            Nor has Arnie Gundersen's "prompt moderated criticality" theory gained wide acceptance.
            Then, there is Jim Stone's presentation, that the explosions originated outside the reactors, outside the containment vessels, outside the spent fuel pools, and included the demolition of Unit4.

            Regardless of what really happened at Fukushima, TEPCO is well along in the destruction of the evidence, as it continues the demolition and decommission process.

            No outside agency has come forward to impartially study the origin of the Fukushima explosions.

            If the nuclear industry is able to avoid having the origin of the Fukushima explosions widely understood, then there is every likelihood of a continuation of nuclear power, and every likelihood of a repeat of the Fukushima meltdowns at other nuclear power plants elsewhere in the world.


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            • razzz razzz

              Hydrogen explosions resulting in cold shutdowns and dilution in the Pacific are the official explanations, governments really don't care about much else except to do some whining except for Germany that is proactive in shutting down its nuke plants but only by 2020. A lot could change by then, politically.


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  • Sam

    If corium hasn't already touched the earth it will someday. There is something called gravity and the power of a nuclear reaction….you cannot wish them away.


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  • Socrates

    The countries that use nuclear power all have vested interests in playing down the Fukushima disaster.

    The anti-nuke environmentalists have been telling them for years. Whistleblowers have pointed out the dangers…

    Careers and trillions in investments are at stake. Even with three more disasters of the same magnitude, the nuclear priesthood will push forward with burning heretics at the stake if "necessary."

    History repeats itself because none are as blind as those who refuse to see. Galileo was forced to repent every day of his life for his heresy. Yet, the Pope had the most advanced observatory in existence and knew Galileo was correct. The Pope was concerned about the timing of Galileo's revelations. The elite decide the timing so that they can move their assets.

    Look who owns the most stock in the uranium mines. That will reveal much.


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  • Jebus, I would wager that besides the Americans here at ENEnews, few if any others know about the Price Anderson act.
    But bad publicity for nuke industry is welcome. We have enough plutonium for bombs now so shut it all down. Personally I would relish an economic re adjustment. The money sluts have too much. As others rightly pointed out this radiation is being forced down our throat through lies and to prop up an economy that serves the masses very very poorly. Richest 300 americans have more money then the poorest 87 million. I'm all for working hard but that statistic is criminal.


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    • Jebus Jebus

      I think that anyone who knows about the truth of nuclear power, knows about the PAA, not just enenewsers. It does apply only to the US and it is the catalyst for the beginning of all these radiation plants and can be the catalyst to end nuclear power…


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      • Wyakin Wyakin

        Agreed with the prescription and sentiment.

        Laws in all countries similar to the PAA are nothing more than the socialization of nuclear corporate risk. There currently is no clear public interest in industry protection.

        There should be no indemnification at any level, and individuals should be allowed to pursue punitive damages.

        In addition to the repeal, what is also required is comprehensive liability insurance of no less than $2 trillion US dollars for all NPP activities.

        In the 1982 the NRC estimated the worst case economic cost of remediating a NPP accident was $300 billion US. "NRC Issues Report, Withhold Worst-Case Estimates," The Washington Post, November 2, 1982.

        The FU damage number currently in circulation ranges from $500B to a $1T USD, likely underestimates by 3X magnitude.

        In reality, remediation can be achieved at no cost, but a requirement for the atomic mafia to obtain a $2T US insurance policy would certainly have the desired effect on existing and future NPP.

        Peace.


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    • Sam

      I have a problem with the idea of making atomic bombs in the first place. We have enough bomb grade plutonium to destroy the earth 10 times over.

      Nobody wins in the end.


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      • Sam

        Both Oppenheimer and Einstein knew the consequences of making the A-bomb, yet they continued to build one. At least Oppenheimer did. Later (after Hiroshima & Nagasaki) he calls for a complete ban on nuclear weapons. ???

        I don't understand scientists (and most women… :) )


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  • Jebus Jebus

    Spin this backwards and what do you get?

    Fukushima nuclear disaster is warning to the world, says power company boss

    The catastrophic triple meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in March 2011 was "a warning to the world" about the hazards of nuclear power and contained lessons for the British government as it plans a new generation of nuclear power stations, the man with overall responsibility for the operation in Japan has told the Guardian.

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/nov/19/uk-government-new-plant-fukushima-nuclear-disaster-warning

    The picture is interesting, but read on and see the spin…


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    • Anthony Anthony

      It is an endlessly insane idea to even consider starting even one more reactor

      BEFORE

      having solved the existing, extremely dangerous situation of handling used fuel toxic by-products. Fuku is all about what ecological disaster has in store with even one crippled, mostly fuel pools and now tanks. Its no joke. It will kill us. Even now, Fuku IS KILLING us all…so to even think someone is thinking to push non through, is just simply INSANE.

      You always post good stuff.


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  • Jebus Jebus

    Give me your tired, your downtrodden, your poor. Come to Japan, see the world and your life flash before your eyes…

    Atomic mafia: Yakuza ‘cleans up’ Fukushima, neglects basic workers' rights

    Homeless men employed cleaning up the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant, including those brought in by Japan's yakuza gangsters, were not aware of the health risks they were taking and say their bosses treated them like “disposable people.”

    "We were given no insurance for health risks, no radiation meters even. We were treated like nothing, like disposable people – they promised things and then kicked us out when we received a large radiation doze," the young man, who didn't identify himself, told RT.

    http://rt.com/news/fukushima-workers-nuclear-yakuza-006/


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  • Ron

    This might be a lame or simplistic suggestion. On the other hand, maybe it's been suggested many times before.

    I am wondering about the feasibility of digging an epic hole, wide and deep in the ground, far down as they can get it, then begin pushing these three reactors in and burying them.

    I know, it's near the ocean so that would have to be considered. Obviously. Anyway, just trying to come up with something. I still think that if there were a way to divide the blob up into tiny pieces it would be much easier to deal with.


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    • Sam

      If you dig a hole, the ocean/mountain stream will get to it.
      There is nothing one can do.


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    • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

      I tend to think there is a major blob..I also think there are corium lava tubes…and smaller blobs of corium as well…at the end of the tubes.
      I often wonder what the effects is/was on the shoreline of all the pulverized fuel pellets that was strewn along the shoreline.
      A huge hole..will not would for many reasons..the geological situation has been disturbed..the groundwater disturbed..and is already very close to surface.
      the attempt at the ice wall..shows that groundwater can not be controlled..so the chances of digging a hole would not be possible without ground water control.
      The plant itself is on a sheer zone…in an active earthquake zone.
      Permanence..is a 'fool's game'.

      Why spend billions on the eventual..
      Inundation..is eventual.


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  • Ron

    Question is, how do you turn off a nuclear reaction? How does it happen in space? Or does it only happen when the fuel runs out?


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    • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

      It can be turned off in a "controlled environment", but some of the radiation produced can not ever be turned off for thousands of years based on the decay rates established by the creators of such technology. In an "uncontrolled environment" where there is no way to control or shut it off then it will not turn off until all the fuel has burned its self out and released all its energy just like a burning star you see up in the sky and this could be for thousands of years. The radiation contamination produced will follow the predetermined designated decay rates during the process.


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  • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

    Nothing is lame or simplistic and they might have to do exactly what you are suggesting before it's all said and done. It appears we have an "out of control" sitting star that is throwing radiation contamination endlessly everywhere and we humans are now dealing inside/approaching the Unknown/Twilight Zone/Outer Limits… :(


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    • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

      We have 3 Rogue Nuclear Reactors, obewanspeaks. Well stated post. :)
      There are no fuel assemblies, no control rods, no control room, and no human operators. There is no reactor pressure vessel, no shroud, no containment vessel, and no tall chimney for "controlled releases". These Rogue Nuclear Reactors will never be shut down, nor decommissioned.
      Humankind: Fukushima was your final warning, IMHO. Nuclear power is a stupid bet against poor odds. Ignore this warning at your peril. Persist in your nuclear power folly, and you will meet your fate. The presence of the human race will be lost forever. It's your choice.

      Let us hope that the corium is now several miles down, below the deep aquifer, and that it has come to rest.
      Let us hope that TEP.gov builds a deep wall around the site to block groundwater from flowing through the corium lava tubes, and becoming heavily contaminated.
      Let is hope that TEP.gov builds a well reinforced sarcophagus to entomb Nuclear Plant Ruins1-4.
      Let us hope that the contamination stops, and that the destruction of the Pacific Ocean Ecosystem is ended.
      Let us hope that the human genome hasn't been so compromised by corporate greed, that a viable human culture on Planet Earth can no longer be sustained.


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  • unincredulous unincredulous

    This video, published in Aiugust 2012: Fukushima NHK Documentary: "The Truth Behind the Chain of Meltdowns"
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpA0TOgB9-o

    This video goes into detail about the specific actions going on, in reactor number two, on March 14, 2011. Sounds like the operators were doing their best to cope with a myriad of design flaws at the plant. The plant was most likely damaged by the earthquake.
    If simulators were used to test plant design, either they were worthless or someone was diddling the secretary instead of paying attention to business. Heat, pressure and radiation were building.
    First, the safety relief valves, which decompress the reactor (reduce steam pressure) wouldn't open because the pressure in the containment was too high- 6 to 7 atmospheres (faulty design). They could not add cooling water because of that. Second, emergency venting would not work because lower grade pneumatic pipes were damaged by the earthquake (Tepco said there was not proof of that yet) .The pipes delivered air pressure to actuate the vent. Venting was the last resort. A loud bang reduced the pressure to zero.
    At reactor three, the workers used batteries from their own cars. !000 were available at a warehouse 50 miles away. The tsunami damage made delivery impossible.

    Simulator? I guess they didn't think of it.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpA0TOgB9-o


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  • micsam

    I have watched these videos and my common sense tells me it would be very difficult for any water to remain in the spent fuel pools IMO most of the the fuel is in the atmosphere circling the earth.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tN-EJCP23Jo&list=PLDFD72006168F615B

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zWVEhjl53I8

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6oQAyunXqk

    How could all this water be left in the R4 pool after these explosion I don’t get it.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QVqfPCsl2AA


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  • Kahlon

    Is it possible that it is not too late for humanity if sulfur does do away with radiation. Look at this http://www.sott.net/article/225895-DMSO-The-Antidote-for-Radiation-Poisoning . And look at what happened near Japan. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/21/volcano-japan-new-island-china


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    • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

      Kahlon, You are thinking, and yes, I saw/read the same article and yes sulfur may help.

      Here we have alarms about H2S increasing all around the world and it may actually help reduce the radiation contamination harm naturally? That would be a neat balancing act of/by Mother Nature.

      I have my doubts though, since the cancer/disease rates are now and have been skyrocketing/going through the roof worldwide since we let this vile Dark Force Nuclear Genie out of the bottle around 1900. The disease/cancer/deformities/mutation rates follow the expansion of the Nuclear Industry..


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  • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

    More photos have been released by TEPCO of the removal of the cask from SFP4.
    The cask is now at the CSFP.
    Removal of the spent fuel from the cask will take place on Friday.
    I hope they have more than one cask on hand, or the defueling process at SQFP4 is going to take a long, long time.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/simplyinfo/sets/72157637484080604/

    Observation: During the decommission of the Big Rock NPP, casks were transported on a flatbed truck in an upright position. Keeping the cask upright avoids josteling the fuel assemblies unnecessarily during transportation.
    At Fukushima, the cask must be turned on its side, then lowered onto the truck bed for transportation. Then, at the CSFP, the cask is tipped upright, and then lowered into the pool. This tipping puts extra stress on already compromised fuel assemblies. Glad to see those great TEPCO engineers still doing their best to create brand new design flaws for their systems. Hope this works out real well for ya, TEPCO. ;)


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  • Socrates

    It's raining today. Just imagine the adverse health effects of this shower of radionuclides!

    Seems as if we are racing to the precipice of ecological collapse caused by the destruction of nature, dams, pollution, overdevelopment, chemical plants, power plants, predatory resource extraction, imposition of GMOs, privatization of remaining common lands, water and public services, unemployment…

    History ended with the fall of communism and the triumph of crony capitalism, yet what we needed was eco-socialism. The corporations cannot help themselves; they must make a profit for the shareholders.

    World population has increased from 2.5 billion to 6 billion from 1950 to 2000, mowing down forests, sweeping oceans of life, extracting minerals, deepsea drilling, fracking, and destroying fragile global ecologies.

    Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson tells us that half the world's great forests have already been leveled and half the world's plant and animal species may be gone by the end of this century.

    The problem is rooted in the requirement of capitalist production. Capitalism is the main driver of planetary ecological.collapse. Economic growth has to take priority over ecological concerns or else the economic system would collapse.

    We cannot stop this process because we are all locked into an economic system in which companies have to grow to compete- profits and jobs.


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    • VanneV anne

      I read on this blog that the ELE would be a slow death by cancer. I think it will be by suffocation because there is no longer any oxygen and huge temperature spikes when the ice is all melted.

      I am growing plants in my house this winter, and I feel a lot better.


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      • Socrates

        Anne,

        The lungs of the planet are the oceans and the great forests.

        Life on earth is threatened from every aspect of conspicuous consumption.

        I.assume that you have lived for enough decades to bear witness to the decline in the ecosystem upon which we depend.


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    • Socrates

      Yet even as the world economies struggle.to avoid economic collapse, we are facing an absolute certainty of ecological collapse that will destroy the economy!

      Technology is not going to "save" us. Nor will building thorium reactors. Caron credits and carboc taxes are lipstick on a pig.

      Most of us environmental activists don't really want to face up to the environmental implications.of the science we defend. Only an emergency contraction in the industrialized countries could even begin to reverse the trends. Obama wants to save the planetbut given capitalism's number one concern is growing the economy, growing jobs, economic growth will always be the overriding priority until we barrel right over the cliff to collapse.

      Herein is the necessity of denial and delusion. We live in denial, believe in the delusions but look around : what do you see?

      Economic systems come and go. Capitalism has had a 300.year run. Will humanity stand by and let the world be destroyed to save the profit system? Here lies the answer: the eco-socialist system. Capitalism has no solution to the ecological crisis it created, no way to stop collapse because its answer to every problem is more of the same growth that's killing us.


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    • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

      Socrates you are a very powerful Jedi! :)


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    • VanneV anne

      For 7 pages of studies of population decline:

      http://www.scribd.com/doc/104585200/What-Population-Growth

      Link provided by MaidenHeaven.


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  • micsam

    PhilipUpNorth this video may show SFP 4 in April 2011 if you can believe any info from tepco.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QVqfPCsl2AA

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zWVEhjl53I8


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  • nuclear_genie nuclear_genie

    Fuel assembly removal video. Looks pretty straight forward. Like watching paint dry.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rLvu57X474M


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