3 ½ weeks to solstice – powerful healing period for Fukushima

The solstice comes twice a year – in June and December. The period leading up to it and the day and time itself are sacred and powerful times.

One of the functions of the astronomical calendars in ancient times was to chart special days appropriate for certain activities, and to engage in alignment and healing activities for self, community, and the earth. These activities could involve ceremony, singing, prayers, toning, chanting, dance, burning sage and other sacred medicinals, resolutions, reconciliation, physical and spiritual healing, making offerings, and having celebrations and feasts.

This is an important resource to bring powerful transformation, healing, and restoration to Japan, to the ocean, to the air, to the entire Earth, and to all the people and creatures of the Earth from this horrible worsening disaster.

The solstice occurs on June 21-22, depending on time zone. It is Sunday, June 21, 4:39 PM UTC/GMT.

To find your time zone, http://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/june-solstice.html

Look under “Local times for June Solstice 2015 worldwide”
Verify the times listed below.

Sunday, 6:39 AM
Honolulu

Sunday, 8:39 AM
Anchorage

Sunday, 9:39 AM
San Francisco
Seattle
Portland
Los Angeles
Vancouver

Sunday, 11:39 AM
Lima
Mexico City

Sunday 12:39 PM
La Paz

Sunday 1:39 PM
Sao Paulo

Sunday, 5:39 PM
London

Sunday, 6:39 PM
Berlin
Brussels
Zurich
Cape Town

Sunday, 7:39 PM
Kyiv
Minsk
Moscow
Helsinki
Baghdad
Istanbul
Athens

Sunday, 9:09 PM
Kabul

Sunday, 10:09 PM
New Delhi

Monday, 12:39 AM
Beijing
Perth

Monday, 1:39 AM
Tokyo
Seoul

Some of these times are summer hours, depending on the location.

 

 

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• Whale washes ashore in 12th recent death in California

This is addition to all the sea life deaths, illnesses, and anomalies,  from sea stars and sea jellies, to starving seal, sea lion pups, pelicans, and sea birds, to crashing sardine and oyster populations.

Very few marine biologists will mention Fukushima.

From KSBW, May 27, 2015

POINT REYES STATION, Calif. —Another dead whale washed ashore in Northern California, the 12th carcass that has appeared in the past few months and marks a higher-than-normal number of deaths.

The dozen whales have been found along nearly 300 miles of coastline and are of different species and various ages. In a typical year, one or two gray whales wash ashore, said Frances Gulland, the senior scientist for the Marine Mammal Center.

The most recent animal appeared Tuesday on a beach along the Point Reyes National Seashore, officials said. It’s badly decomposed and headless, making identifying the species and its age difficult, said Mary Jane Schramm, spokeswoman for the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary.

“(The condition) suggests it could be a killer whale attack,” she said. Scientists are trying to determine if there is a connection between the beached whales, The San Francisco Chronicle reported. They are considering factors such as environmental changes, food distribution, shipping and predator behavior.

“We are seeing them coming from so many different species and various causes of death,” Schramm said. “One of the reasons we are seeing such a cluster at one time is we have very strong winds that have been blowing consistently that are washing things onto shore.”

Scientists say the deaths could be part of the annual gray whale migration from Mexico to Alaska, the newspaper reported. At least one of the whales showed evidence of being hit by a ship. Two others were missing limbs, which indicates they got tangled in fishing gear or attacked by killer whales.

The latest beached whale appeared a few days after a 28-foot juvenile gray whale washed up on the Sonoma County coast. Last week, a gray whale carcass appeared in Half Moon Bay as officials buried a sperm whale and a humpback whale.

In April, two gray whales got beached in Santa Cruz County, a killer whale was found near Fort Bragg and a gray whale washed up in Monterey County.

Many of the dead were gray whales, but they were so badly decomposed that researchers have not been able to determine how they died, Gulland said.

The last large increase in whale deaths was in 1999 and 2000, when 40 dead gray whales were found on beaches in the Bay Area, she said.
http://www.ksbw.com/news/whale-washes-ashore-in-12th-recent-death-in-california/33245646

Stopping the Great Lakes radioactive dump

By John LaForge
Posted on CounterPunch, May 20, 2015

Groups Reject Canadian Panel’s Recommendation Favoring the “Big Nuclear Waste Hole” on the Shores of Lake Huron

Hundreds of environmental and public interest groups, dozens of governmental bodies and thousands of concerned residents across the Great Lakes Basin have joined in rejecting a proposal by the giant utility company Ontario Power Generation (OPG) to bury 200,000 cubic meters of its radioactive waste on the eastern shore of Lake Huron, near its Bruce Nuclear Generating Station, in Kincardine, Ontario. The proposed dump is for so-called low- and intermediate-level radioactive wastes from the company’s 20 nuclear reactors. The site is 1.2 kilometers from Lake Huron on Bruce Peninsula.

On May 6, Canada’s Joint Review Panel submitted to Canada’s Ministry of Environment — the Honorable Leona Aglukkaq — its formal recommendation to approve the plan. Intervening parties have 120 days to submit comments on the JRP’s “environmental assessment” once its “conditions” have been made public. Aglukkaq will then make a recommendation to Ontario’s Premier, Kathleen Wynne, who will make the final decision about whether the dump should be constructed.

Most of the groups, legislators and cities opposing the so-called Deep Geologic Repository (regular folks call it a hole in the ground) have decided to ignore or to just parody the forthcoming “conditions” regulating the plan. A nit-picking analysis of them, they say, only gives the impression that permanent contamination of the Great Lakes somehow an acceptable risk under certain theoretical, computer-model-derived conditions. As Dr. Gordon Edwards, founder of Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, said May 19 over the phone, “We reject any permanent abandonment of radioactive waste deep underground near the Great Lakes. And this project, at this time, under any conditions is absurd.”

The Great Lakes is the drinking water supply for 40 million people in eight US states, two Canadian provinces, and a large number of Native American Reservations and First Nations. Great Lakes water is the lifeblood of millions, 20% of the world’s surface fresh water, and close to 90% of North America’s fresh water. As the Chernobyl and Fukushima radiation catastrophes have demonstrated, OPG’s proposed dump would put the Great Lakes and its residents at risk of radioactive ruination.

During the course of extensive public hearings, dozens of show-stopping facts were revealed that should have seen the proposal nixed. (The Joint Review Panel’s lengthy report noted each one and then dismissed them all.) Among them:

* OPG confessed to a lack of seriousness about containing the radioactive wastes, saying in a public brochure that even if all 200,000 cubic meters of it were to spread into Lake Huron, the public would not be endangered. The claim sent shock waves through the environmental community in view of the need to permanently containerize radioactive materials for hundreds of generations.

* The company grossly underestimated the level of radioactivity in much of the waste intended for the dump. Intermediate-level nuclear wastes include highly-radioactive components from reactor cores which can remain carcinogenic and mutagenic for 100,000 years or more, the Toronto Sun reported April 18, 2014. The same article noted that an “expert panel” had concluded that the “immense” waters of the Great Lakes would “greatly dilute” any radiation-bearing water that might leak from the proposed nuclear waste site.

* The company’s secretive plans to double the dump’s already gigantic capacity, once the initial plan’s been approved, and to bury highly-radioactive “decommissioning wastes” left from pending reactor shutdowns across Ontario.

* Although OPG claims that the DGR should cost $1 billion to construct and operate, the US Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) most recent cost estimate for the (cancelled) Yucca Mountain, Nevada DGR was almost $100 billion. Further, the February 2014 underground explosion and fire at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico (after which Canada’s DGR plan is modeled) — and the resulting radioactive release to the environment — will cost hundreds of millions and perhaps even $1 billion to address.

The company has repeatedly insisted that getting approval from the indigenous Saugeen Ojibway Nation (SON) would be necessary for the project to proceed. On May 8, Saugeen First Nation Chief Vernon Roote said, “Of course we are opposed to it. In our community that I represent … there are no members that are agreeable to the burial at the site at this time.” OPG spokesperson Neal Kelly responded to the Chief, telling the Toronto Sun, “We will not build this project without SON support.”

So the Joint Review Panel’s May 6 acceptance of the plan is something of a declaration of war against the First Nations, against the Precautionary Principle, and against the Great Lakes Basin itself. If the Ministry of Environment and Ontario’s Premier decide to approve the incredibly risky scheme, the bi-national grassroots coalition will have to intensify its opposition and resistance.

At least 154 cities and municipalities across eight US states and Ontario — including Toronto, Chicago and Duluth — have passed resolutions opposing the ill-advised dump. US Senators and Representatives need to hear that voters want them to support bipartisan bills in Congress demanding rejection of the DGR, and calling on President Obama to take action against it.

John LaForge works for Nukewatch and lives on the Plowshares Land Trust near Luck, Wisc.

http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/05/20/stopping-the-great-lakes-radioactive-dump/

Whistleblower: Nuclear disaster in America Is more likely than the public understands

A 2012 article which is particularly timely given the deteriorating conditions at the Boone Dam in the Tennessee Valley Authority.
http://enenews.com/top-official-sinkhole-sunk-further-water-coming-dam-upstream-multiple-nuclear-plants-agencys-top-priority-section-caved-base-govt-refuses-disclose-inundation-maps-reporter-security-concerns/comment-page-1#comments

From AlterNet
By William Boardman / AlterNet
November 28, 2012

Key federal official warns that the public has been kept in the dark about safety risks.

This article was published in partnership with GlobalPossibilities.org.

The likelihood was very low that an earthquake followed by a tsunami would destroy all four nuclear reactors at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, but in March 2011, that’s what happened, and the accident has yet to be contained.

Similarly, the likelihood may be low that an upstream dam will fail, unleashing a flood that will turn any of 34 vulnerable nuclear plants into an American Fukushima.  But knowing that unlikely events sometimes happen nevertheless, the nuclear industry continues to answer the question of how much safety is enough by seeking to suppress or minimize what the public knows about the danger.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has known at least since 1996 that flooding danger from upstream dam failure was a more serious threat than the agency would publicly admit. The NRC failed from 1996 until 2011 to assess the threat even internally.  In July 2011, the NRC staff completed a report finding “that external flooding due to upstream dam failure poses a larger than expected risk to plants and public safety” [emphasis added] but the NRC did not make the 41-page report public.

Instead, the agency made much of another report, issued July 12, 2011 – “Recommendations for Enhancing Reactor Safety in the 21st Century,” sub-titled “The Near-Term Task Force Review of Insights from the Fukushima Dai-Ichi Accident.”  Hardly four months since the continuing accident began in Japan, the premature report had little to say about reactor flooding as a result of upstream dam failure, although an NRC news release in March 2012 would try to suggest otherwise.

Censored Report May Be Crime by NRC  

That 2012 news release accompanied a highly redacted version of the July 2011 report that had recommended a more formal investigation of the unexpectedly higher risks of upstream dam failure to nuclear plants and the public.  In its release, the NRC said it had “started a formal evaluation of potential generic safety implications for dam failures upstream” including “the effects of upstream dam failure on independent spent fuel storage installations.”

Six months later, in September 2012, The NRC’s effort at bland public relations went controversial, when the report’s lead author made a criminal complaint to the NRC’s Inspector General, alleging “Concealment of Significant Nuclear Safety Information by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.”  In a letter dated September 14 and made public the same day, Richard Perkins, an engineer in the NRC’s Division of Risk Analysis, wrote Inspector General Hubert Bell, describing it as “a violation of law” that the Commission:

has intentionally mischaracterized relevant and noteworthy safety information as sensitive, security information in an effort to conceal the information from the public. This action occurred in anticipation of, in preparation for, and as part of the NRC’s response to a Freedom of Information Act request for information concerning the generic issue investigation on Flooding of U.S. Nuclear Power Plants Following Upstream Dam Failure….   

Portions of the publically released version of this report are redacted citing security sensitivities, however, the redacted information is of a general descriptive nature or is strictly relevant to the safety of U.S. nuclear power plants, plant personnel, and members of the public. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff has engaged in an effort to mischaracterize the information as security sensitive in order to justify withholding it from public release using certain exemptions specified in the Freedom of Information Act. …

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission staff may be motivated to prevent the disclosure of this safety information to the public because it will embarrass the agency. The redacted information includes discussion of, and excerpts from, NRC official agency records that show the NRC has been in possession of relevant, notable, and derogatory safety information for an extended period but failed to properly act on it.

 Concurrently, the NRC concealed the information from the public.

The Inspector General has not yet acted on the complaint.

Most Media Ignore Nuclear Safety Risks

Huffington Post picked up the story immediately as did the Union of Concerned Scientists and a number of online news sites.  The mainstream media showed little or no interest in a story about yet another example of the NRC lying to the public about the safety of nuclear power plants.

An NRC spokesman suggested to HuffPo that the report’s redactions were at least partly at the behest of Homeland Security. A second NRC risk engineer, who requested anonymity, said that Homeland Security had signed off on the report with no redactions.  As HuffPo noted:

If this were truly such a security concern, however, it would be incumbent on the agency to act swiftly to eliminate that threat, the engineer stated. As it is, the engineer suggested, no increased security actions have been undertaken.

This same engineer expressed serious misgivings, shared by others in and out of the NRC, that a nuclear power plant in Greenville, South Carolina, has been at risk from upstream dam failure for years, that the NRC has been aware of the risk, and that the NRC has done nothing to mitigate the risk.   In the redacted report, the NRC blacked out passages about this plant.

Event Unlikely, Would Be Sure Disaster 

South Carolina’s Oconee plant on Lake Keowee has three reactors, located 11 miles downstream from the Jocassee Reservoir, an 8,000 acre lake.  As HuffPo put it:

…the Oconee facility, which is operated by Duke Energy, would suffer almost certain core damage if the Jocassee dam were to fail. And the odds of it failing sometime over the next 20 years, the engineer said, are far greater than the odds of a freak tsunami taking out the defenses of a nuclear plant in Japan….

“Although it is not a given that Jocassee Dam will fail in the next 20 years,” the engineer added, “it is a given that if it does fail, the three reactor plants will melt down and release their radionuclides into the environment.”

When the NRC granted an operating license to the Oconee plant in 1973, danger from upstream dam failure was not even considered, never mind considered a threat against which some protection was needed.   The NRC and the plant’s owner both say the Jocassee Dam is not an immediate safety issue.   Oconee’s initial license was for 40 years.  It is now the second plant in the U.S. that the NRC has granted an extended license for another 20 years.

Union of Concerned Scientists Are Concerned 

The Union of Concerned Scientists, which says it is neither pro-nuke nor anti-nuke, but committed to making nuclear power as safe as possible, has considered the risk factors for Oconee. The NRC wrote in 2009 that “a Jocassee Dam failure is a credible event and in 2011 wrote that “dam failures are common” – and that since 1975 there have been more than 700 dam failures, 148 of them large dams 40 feet or more high.  The Jocassee Dam is 385 feet high.

For a dam like Jocassee, the NRC calculates the chance of failure at 1 in 3,600 per year – or 1 in 180 each year for the extended license.  NRC policy, when enforced, requires nuclear plant owners to mitigate any risk that has a 1 in 250 per years chance of occurring.

Oconee has three nuclear reactors, each of which is larger than the reactors at Fukushima, and so has more lethal radioactive potential.   Duke Energy reported its own upstream dam failure calculations to the NRC no later than 1996 and the NRC has responded by requiring no safety enhancements to address the threat.

Noting that the upstream dam failure risk does not take into account possible earthquakes or terrorist attacks, the Union of Concerned Scientists wrote:

The 34 reactors of concern are downstream from a total of more than 50 dams, more than half of which are roughly the size of the Jocassee dam. Assuming the NRC’s failure rate applies to all of those dams, the probability that one will fail in the next 40 years is roughly 25 percent—a 1 in 4 chance.

List of Reactors Potentially at High Risk of Flooding due to Dam Failure

Alabama: Browns Ferry, Units 1, 2, 3

Arkansas: Arkansas Nuclear, Units 1, 2

Louisiana: Waterford, Unit 3

Minnesota: Prairie Island, Units 1, 2

Nebraska: Cooper;  Fort Calhoun

New Jersey: Hope Creek, Unit 1;  Salem, Units 1, 2

New York: Indian Point, Units 2, 3

North Carolina: McGuire, Units 1, 2

Pennsylvania: Beaver Valley, Units 1, 2; Peach Bottom, Units 2, 3; Three Mile Island, Unit 1

Tennessee: Sequoyah, Unit 1;  Watts Bar, Unit 1

Texas: South Texas, Units 1, 2

South Carolina: H.B. Robinson, Unit 2;  Oconee, Units 1, 2, 3

Vermont: Vermont Yankee

Virginia: Surrey, Units 1, 2

Washington: Columbia

(Source: Perkins, et al., “Screening Analysis,” July 2011) 

William M. Boardman has over 40 years experience in theatre, radio, TV, print journalism, and non-fiction, including 20 years in the Vermont judiciary. He has received honors from Writers Guild of America, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Vermont Life magazine, and an Emmy Award nomination from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences

Reposted under Fair Use rules.