Greg Palast: How the 2016 Election is being and will be stolen… and New Angles on Fukushima

From OpEd News

The Rob Kall Bottom Up Radio Show Podcast

Greg Palast Investigative reporter, formerly with Guardian and BBC, now with Rolling Stone

Interviewed by Rob Kall

Broadcast May 24, 2016

Excerpt:

Rob: Tell me about Fukushima

In NY I directed an investigation of nuclear plants, we found that guys who build nuclear plants lie. about the cost, about the safety.

Stone and Webster was found guilty of conspiracy, racketeering and fraud charges against.

I have the notebooks which say that the earthquake proofing had been faked.

In the case of Fukushima, one of the lies spread by the US media, like Anderson Cooper, was that no-one expected a 9.0 earthquake to hit Fukushima.

The nuclear plant at Fukushima, was well under the tolerance Fukushima was supposed to handle.

All the emergency Diesel generators failed. Same used by all the plants– most are old cruise ship engines. They are supposed to snap on when there’s an accident. But cruise ships warm up their engines for h ours before torquing. So, when the Nuclear plants need the power, they have 12 seconds to fire up. So they fail. They know they will fail. They are like Xmas decorations.

There are some “greenies” who say we should resuscitate the Nuclear industry– like Obama.

Rob: So, Stone and Webster are the ones who built Fukushima.

They are literally rebuilding Fukushima, with a new name, Shaw Construction.

They are the problem. They are the danger.

Full transcript and podcast:

http://opednews.com/Podcast/Greg-Palast-How-the-2016-by-Rob-Kall-Election-Integrity_Election-Rigging_Election-Tampering_Election-Voting-Issues-160526-790.html

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— Fukushima: they knew — Will “completely and utterly fail in an earthquake”

To financially assist this type of courageous journalism, go to http://www.gregpalast.com

From Greg Palast
Thursday, November 10, 2011

“Completely and Utterly Fail in an Earthquake”
The Fukushima story you didn’t hear on CNN

by Greg Palast
for FreePress.org

I’ve seen a lot of sick stuff in my career, but this was sick on a new level.

Here was the handwritten log kept by a senior engineer at the nuclear power plant:

Wiesel was very upset. He seemed very nervous. Very agitated. . . . In fact, the plant was riddled with problems that, no way on earth, could stand an earth- quake. The team of engineers sent in to inspect found that most of these components could “completely and utterly fail” during an earthquake.

“Utterly fail during an earthquake.” And here in Japan was the quake and here is the utter failure.

The warning was in what the investigations team called The Notebook, which I’m not supposed to have.  Good thing I’ve kept a copy anyway, because the file cabinets went down with my office building ….

WORLD TRADE CENTER TOWER 1, FIFTY-SECOND FLOOR
NEW YORK, 1986

[This is an excerpt in FreePress.org from Vultures’ Picnic: In Pursuit of Petroleum Pigs, Power Pirates and High-Finance Fraudsters, to be released this Monday.  Click here to get the videos and the book.]

Two senior nuclear plant engineers were spilling out their souls and files on our huge conference table, blowing away my government investigations team with the inside stuff about the construction of the Shoreham, New York, power station.

The meeting was secret. Very secret. Their courage could destroy their careers: No engineering firm wants to hire a snitch, even one who has saved thousands of lives. They could lose their jobs; they could lose everything. They did. That’s what happens. Have a nice day.

On March 12 this year, as I watched Fukushima melt, I knew:  the “SQ” had been faked.  Anderson Cooper said it would all be OK.  He’d flown to Japan, to suck up the radiation and official company bullshit.  The horror show was not the fault of Tokyo Electric, he said, because the plant was built to withstand only an 8.0 earthquake on the Richter scale, and this was 9.0.  Anderson must have been in the gym when they handed out the facts.  The 9.0 shake was in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, 90 miles away.  It was barely a tenth of that power at Fukushima.

I was ready to vomit.  Because I knew who had designed the plant, who had built it and whom Tokyo Electric Power was having rebuild it:  Shaw Construction.  The latest alias of Stone & Webster, the designated builder for every one of the four new nuclear plants that the Obama Administration has approved for billions in federal studies.

But I had The Notebook, the diaries of the earthquake inspector for the company.  I’d squirreled it out sometime before the Trade Center went down.  I shouldn’t have done that.  Too bad.

All field engineers keep a diary. Gordon Dick, a supervisor, wasn’t sup- posed to show his to us. I asked him to show it to us and, reluctantly, he directed me to these notes about the “SQ” tests.

SQ is nuclear-speak for “Seismic Qualification.” A seismically qualified nuclear plant won’t melt down if you shake it. A “seismic event” can be an earthquake or a Christmas present from Al Qaeda. You can’t run a nuclear reactor in the USA or Europe or Japan without certified SQ.

This much is clear from his notebook: This nuclear plant will melt down in an earthquake. The plant dismally failed to meet the Seismic I (shaking) standards required by U.S. and international rules.

Here’s what we learned: Dick’s subordinate at the nuclear plant, Robert Wiesel, conducted the standard seismic review. Wiesel flunked his company. No good. Dick then ordered Wiesel to change his report to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, change it from failed to passed. Dick didn’t want to make Wiesel do it, but Dick was under the gun himself, acting on direct command from corporate chiefs. From The Notebook:

Wiesel was very upset. He seemed very nervous. Very agitated. [He said,] “I believe these are bad results and I believe it’s reportable,” and then he took the volume of federal regulations from the shelf and went to section 50.55(e), which describes reportable deficiencies at a nuclear plant and [they] read the section together, with Wiesel pointing to the appropriate paragraphs that federal law clearly required [them and the company] to report the Category II, Seismic I deficiencies.

Wiesel then expressed his concern that he was afraid that if he [Wiesel] reported the deficiencies, he would be fired, but that if he didn’t report the deficiencies, he would be breaking a federal law. . . .

The law is clear. It is a crime not to report a safety failure. I could imagine Wiesel standing there with that big, thick rule book in his hands, The Law. It must have been heavy. So was his paycheck. He weighed the choices: Break the law, possibly a jail-time crime, or keep his job.

What did Wiesel do? What would you do?

Why the hell would his company make this man walk the line? Why did they put the gun to his head, to make him conceal mortal danger? It was the money. It’s always the money. Fixing the seismic problem would have cost the plant’s owner half a billion dollars easy. A guy from corporate told Dick, “Bob is a good man. He’ll do what’s right. Don’t worry about Bob.”

That is, they thought Bob would save his job and career rather than rat out the company to the feds.

But I think we should all worry about Bob. The company he worked for, Stone & Webster Engineering, built or designed about a third of the nuclear plants in the United States.

From the fifty-second floor we could look at the Statue of Liberty. She didn’t look back.

***

Greg Palast is the author of Vultures’ Picnic: In Pursuit of Petroleum Pigs, Power Pirates and High-Finance Carnivores.

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Fukushima: They Knew

— US Senate Bill 2795 on deregulation of the nuclear industry – the conflicts of interests of author and sponsors — Senators Inhofe, Booker, Crapo, Whitehouse, Fischer

Sen. James Inhofe, S. 2795: “The existing fleet of nuclear reactors in the United States is operating safely and securely.

From Mining Awareness

April 29, 2016

It is perfectly possible that Inhofe, Booker, Crapo et. al. are simply lazy, stupid and ignorant in pushing a bill (S. 2795) claiming that US nuclear reactors are “operating safely and securely”. Maybe they’ve just observed that the US NRC does exactly what the nuclear industry wants anyway so should indeed have funding cut. It is actually pretty funny that all the workers at US NRC that have sold their soul to the nuclear devil have their jobs on the cutting block anyway. So, the proposal to cut funding to the US NRC is actually pretty funny. Watch and learn before you sell your soul to the devil. However, many NRC workers will just go home to their countries of origin, leaving the children of the American Revolution and others who have no other home stuck with their nuclear crimes. But, why not just totally shut down the US NRC?

The attempt by Inhofe et. al. to stop mandatory hearings for new nuclear reactor types suggests other nefarious motives:https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2016/04/27/us-senate-efforts-to-do-away-with-mandatory-licensing-hearings-for-so-called-advanced-nuclear-reactors-small-modular-reactors/

According to the idiotic statement in the Senator Inhofe sponsored bill S2795, “the existing fleet of nuclear reactors in the United States is operating safely and securely;…” (S.2795 — 114th Congress https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/2795/all-actions?resultIndex=3&overview=closed Sponsor: Sen. Inhofe, James M. [R-OK]). Inhofe and his co-sponsors can’t read? The list of safety related problems-“incidents” reported to the US NRC appears endless: http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/event-status/event/

http://www.c-span.org/video/?408515-1/hearing-nuclear-energy&start=5937 Why is the entire panel pro-nuclear? Read about them at the bottom of this post. Second from the left is Ashley Finan who works for the so-called “
Clean Air Task Force”, but has promoted the use of nuclear power in the Canadian tar sands industry.

The electrical defects for all but one US nuclear power station are so serious that 7 brave NRC electrical engineers put themselves at risk by demanding something be done immediately. They were ignored. These brave seven were led by an American from India who loves America. And, maybe he’s just smart enough to understand that the world environment is interconnected too.

This claim about the safety and security of US Nuclear Power Stations and push for nuclear deregulation is oddly coming from a Senator (Inhofe) from Oklahoma where there are no operating nuclear power stations, though Oklahoma is the location of the infamous Kerr-McGee site where Karen Silkwood worked.

Does Inhofe’s bill have to do with campaign contributions related to Andarko? https://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/contrib.php?cycle=2012&cid=N00005582 Andarko inherited the Kerr-McGee liability:
http://www.nrc.gov/info-finder/decommissioning/complex/kerr-mcgee-cimarron-corporation-former-fuel-fabrication-facility.html

Maybe Inhofe’s bill has to do with his funding related to Honeywell International: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2015/08/04/us-nrc-launches-special-inspection-at-honeywell-uranium-hex-facility-in-metropolis-illinois/

And, funding to Inhofe related to Southern Co. with their Vogtle Nuclear Reactors, both old and under construction?https://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/contrib.php?type=C&cid=N00005582&newMem=N&cycle=2016 More overt, of course, is Inhofe’s military industrial complex funding.

Continue reading

• Comments to the NRC on Diablo Canyon relicensing

Comments submitted to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission
On Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant re-licensing
Docket Nos. 50-275 and 50-323NRC-2009-0552

Given the earthquake faults, the ongoing radioactive emissions from the plant, and the hacking risk to the plant, as well as PG&E’s deplorable safety record and culture, Diablo Canyon must be immediately shut down and decommissioned. The danger to the ocean, to the West Coast, and the world from nuclear energy has been amply demonstrated with the ongoing disaster at Fukushima.

The NRC allows Diablo Canyon to continue operating despite holding other NPPs to much higher and stricter standards. The Union of Concerned Scientists reported last year that Diablo Canyon does not comply with federal safety standards.[i]

Despite the disclosure this year that PG&E used the wrong accident and earthquake data when building safety equipment, and has failed since 1984 to use updated data, the NRC allows Diablo Canyon to remain open.[ii]

Also disclosed was that PG&E and the NRC altered Diablo Canyon’s operating license so it would conform.

Diablo Canyon discharges huge amounts of tritium, strontium and cesium into the ocean continually. PG&E stated in 2014 that Diablo Canyon regularly discharges more tritium than Fukushima NPP in its melted down state is pouring into the ocean.

That water [in 2012] contained 3,670 curies of tritium, or 136 trillion becquerels, according to the company, almost three-and- a-half times the amount released from the Fukushima plant into the ocean in the period starting May 2011. The plant also discharged cesium-137 and strontium-90, though at lower levels than Fukushima.[iii]

Since it was estimated in June 2014 that 60 PBq of cesium-137 had been released into the ocean from Fukushima[iv], and TEPCO announced that 5 billion Bq of Strontium-90 are released daily into the ocean from Fukushima[v], the questions have to be asked:

  • How much less?
  • Does it really matter how much less when we are dealing with such virulent poisons, poisons that bioaccumulate up the food chain?

Strontium mimics calcium and is known as the bone seeker.

There are unknown normal airborne releases, as well as periodic high releases when the reactors are re-fueled. These releases are averaged over 365 days, rather than given as the figures per release[vi]. The rain-out amounts from Diablo Canyon emissions combined with Fukushima fallout can only be imagined.

This is very serious and ongoing radioactive contamination of the environment.

In addition, there is the hazard from the power plant’s reliance on grid power.

Arne Gundersen:

…the most likely type of a nuclear accident is caused by a loss of offsite power.  That is what happened at Fukushima:  the power system AROUND the plant broke down.  If that happens, not only will the plant not have power, but the street lights won’t work.  According to the NRC, the street lights DO work.  Not only that, but your home lighting won’t work and your radio and TV won’t work.  But according to the NRC, you will be able to contact the outside world by phones or by radio or by television.   But remember the most likely cause of a nuclear accident is loss of offsite power and that has NEVER been part of an emergency plan, assuming that all of that does not work.[vii]

There are increasing attacks to the power grid. PG&E has played a pivotal role in creating the so-called “Smart Grid”, which former CIA director James Woolsey calls a stupid grid because of its vulnerability[viii]. PG&E has also aggressively Installed wireless Smart Meters and encouraged network-connected Smart appliances, creating millions of vectors to the power grid and increasing exponentially the possibilities for hacking[ix].

These factors put the residents of the region in increased jeopardy. A hacked power grid disconnects essential power for keeping reactor cores and fuel pools cool. Without power, the power plant must rely on generators to turn on instantly at full power and sustain operation for as long as needed.

Fukushima’s troubles started before the tsunami. The earthquake cut off electrical power to the plant, and at least some of the generators failed when they were turned on. Journalist Greg Palast in Vulture’s Picnic has a long and detailed section on the vulnerability of generators as backup power.

A page from the notebook of an Emergency Diesel Generator expert, R.D. Jacobs, hired to monitor a test for a nuclear reactor’s back-up cooling system.

This is to record that on my last visit,….I pressed [a company executive] saying that we just did not know what the axial vibration of the crankshaft was doing to the [diesel] units. I was unable to impress him sufficiently.

The diesels were “tested” by turning them on for a few minutes at low power. They worked find. But R.D., a straight shooter, suspected problems. He wanted the motors opened and inspected. He was told by power company management to go to hell.

When we forced the plant builder [in Suffolk County, New York] to test the three Emergency Diesel Generators in emergency conditions, one failed almost immediately (the crankshaft snapped, as R.D.[Jacobs} predicted), then the second, then the third. We named the three diesels “Snap, Crackle, and Pop.”

…I knew that all these diesels were basically designed, or even taken from, cruise ship engine rooms or old locomotives. . I’m not an engineer, but I suspect a motor designed for a leisurely float n Bermuda is not fit for a life-and-death scramble. So, I asked [an industry insider], “They really can’t work at all, the diesels, can they?”

That’s when he introduced me to the phrase “crash start.”

On a ship, he explained, you would take half an hour to warm up the bearings, and then slowly build up to “critical” crankshaft speed, and only then add the “load.” the propeller…

That’s for sailing. But in a nuclear emergency, “the diesels have to go from stationary to taking a full load in less than ten seconds.”

Worse, to avoid having to buy additional diesels, the nuclear operators turbo-charge them, revving them to 4,000 horsepower in ten seconds when they are designed for half that output.

The result: snap, crackle, pop.

I learned that, at Fukushima, at least two of the diesels failed before the tsunami hit. What destroyed those diesels was turning them on. In other words, the diesels are junk, are crap, are not capable of getting up to full power in seconds, then run continuously for days….

”So, you saying emergency diesels can’t work in an emergency?”

“Actually, they’re just not designed for it.”

Vulture’s Picnic, p. 294-297

Scientific American had a very telling graphic with a computer keyboard, a time bomb, and a power plant[x].

I would not visit San Luis Obispo County nor would I live there because of this resident hazard.

The U.S. government is ultimately at fault for promoting these hazardous power plants in the first place. But even with safety regulations in place, the NRC clearly cannot police itself, and it certainly cannot provide even a bare minimum of safety for the nuclear power plants under its jurisdiction and the people who live in the vicinity.

It is lunacy to continue this extremely toxic method for generating electricity, when the current costs to society and the environment from its continuance are so high and go on permanently into the future. Solar is coming online in increasing levels, and Californians’ energy use has been dropping. The cost is too great to allow its continuance one more day.

Shut down Diablo Canyon now.

 

[i] http://www.ucsusa.org/news/press_release/diablo-canyon-report-0381.html

[ii] http://www.foe.org/news/news-releases/2015-03-diablo-pge-secretly-used-wrong-data-for-safety-equipment#sthash.8DQl1ReI.dpuf

[iii] http://www.telegram.com/article/20140203/NEWS/302039780/1052

[iv] http://www.nature.com/srep/2014/140304/srep04276/full/srep04276.html

[v] At press conference 8/25/14 http://www.tepco.co.jp/tepconews/library/archive-j.html

[vi] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tk7xzg1T0kk&feature=player_detailpage#t=1574

[vii] http://fairewinds.com/content/white-house-nrc-recommend-50-mile-fukushima-evacuation-yet-insist-us-safe-only-10

[viii] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lF3eywqD-I

[ix] http://www.smartgridnews.com/artman/publish/End_Use_Smart_Homes/Are-smart-homes-a-security-threat-to-electric-power-utilities-5914.html

http://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2013/07/26/smart-homes-hack/

http://www.sfgate.com/technology/article/Security-lags-in-protecting-Internet-connected-5153837.php#photo-5734988

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-04-01/turkish-blackout-shows-world-power-grids-under-threat

“More and more attacks are targeting the industrial control systems that run the production networks of critical infrastructure, stealing data and causing damage,” said David Emm, a principal researcher at Moscow-based security company Kaspersky Lab Inc., which advises governments and businesses.

All power use was previously measured by mechanical meters, which were inspected and read by a utility worker. Now, utilities are turning to smart meters, which communicate live data to customers and the utility company. This opens up the systems to hackers…

“Introducing smart meters means you install access points to the electricity grid in private homes,” said Reinhard Gruenwald, an energy expert at the Office of Technology Assessment at the German Bundestag, a scientific institution advising German lawmakers. “You can’t physically protect those. If criminals are smart enough, they may be able to manipulate them.”

http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/business/tech-biz/07/16/14/smart-technology-could-make-utilities-more-vulnerable-hackers

http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/2011/1206/Cyber-security-Power-grid-grows-more-vulnerable-to-attack-report-finds

Massachusetts Institute for Technology — “Millions of new communicating electronic devices … will introduce attack vectors — paths that attackers can use to gain access to computer systems or other communicating equipment. That increase[s] the risk of intentional and accidental communications disruptions,” including “loss of control over grid devices, loss of communications between grid entities or control centers, or blackouts.”

[x] http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/power-hackers/

• Knocking on the Devil’s Door: Our Deadly Nuclear Legacy (VIDEO)

Directed by Gary Null

Excerpt:

Greg Palast (57:40 in video)

Hillary Clinton’s “big client was Entergy which now owns the Indian Point nuclear plant in New York, where Senator Clinton was very reluctant to call for the closure of this obvious danger right near New York City.”

“They [Entergy] basically own the Clinton family, and I saw this when I was working an investigation in Britain where Entergy, this little company from Little Rock, Arkansas, bought the entire London electric system because of the connection between Entergy and the Clintons and their influence with the Blair government in Britain. And then Entergy turned around and flipped the London electric company for a billion dollar profit in just a few months.

What does Entergy do for the President and for the first lady at the time? Remember that there was an investigation of her billing records? I never heard anyone say who she was supposedly billing where the billing records were faked. The company was Entergy! Entergy knows if they were deliberately overcharged. And maybe they wanted to be overcharged because it’s a way to pay the Governor [Bill Clinton] by hiring his wife for doing nothing.”

“They knew it, and they could do what they want, and today Entergy is at the forefront of the nuclear industry in the U.S., and at the forefront of buying up plants cheap and then getting extensions on the life of these plants, plants that are almost ready to be shut down, and should be; they use their political power to get an extension on the plant and then they get free money, billions of dollars for extra decades. It’s quite a game.”