London After Midnight's official blog

This is the blog for Sean Brennan and London After Midnight. For more information please see the LAM website at


Shop at the LAM store

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Dwarfing Chernobyl; Republican Conservatism=Fascism (Maddow video); BP Oil Spill Still Killing; The Fake Black Panther Fox News Scandal ; Libya; Facebook Contributing to Climate Change

- Tell Facebook to Unfriend Coal
    ...what powers Facebook? Coal, the number-one contributor to climate change. At current growth rates, data centers and telecommunication networks—two key components of the “cloud” that Facebook depends on—will consume about 1,963 billion kilowatts hours of electricity in 2020. That’s more than triple their current consumption and more than the current electricity consumption of France, Germany, Canada and Brazil combined.
- The Fox Cycle: The New Black Panther Endgame
    Writing on The Plum Line, Adam Serwer says the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility findings make clear that the only reason the New Black Panther controversy exists is because it represented an "opportunity to inflame white resentment by leveling charges that President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder are racist against white people."
- Goldman Sachs in Japan: Don't Worry, Be Happy
    With radiation levels in Japan soaring, the enlightened executives at Goldman Sachs have made their priorities clear to employees inexplicably worried about nuclear plants exploding around them. Stay put, they say, or it will look bad for business.
- Radiation Rises in Seawater Near Fukushima Plant
    Japanese officials concede they are no closer to resolving nuclear crisis as high level of radiation is detected in ocean.
- BP Gulf Disaster Impact Could Be Much Worse Than Expected
    The death toll from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill goes far beyond the animal corpses washing ashore, says a report that warns that whale and dolphin deaths may be 50 times higher than believed.
- Ohio House Panel OKs Public Worker Union Bill
    The Republican-controlled House Commerce and Labor Committee in Ohio approved a measure Tuesday that would limit collective bargaining rights for 350,000 public workers and delivering a blow to unions...
- Billion-Plus People to Lack Water in 2050
    More than one billion urban residents will face serious water shortages by 2050 as climate change worsens effects of urbanization, with Indian cities among the worst hit, a study said Monday.
- Who are the Libyan Freedom Fighters and Their Patrons?
    he world is facing a very unpredictable and potentially dangerous situation in North Africa and the Middle East. What began as a memorable, promising, relatively nonviolent achievement of New Politics - the Revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt - has morphed very swiftly into a recrudescence of old habits: America, already mired in two decade-long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and sporadic air attacks in Yemen and Somalia, now bombing yet another Third World Country, in this case Libya.
- Republican Conservatism: Authoritarian or Libertarian? Part One (See Part Two Here)

'Worse Than Chernobyl': When the Fukushima Meltdown Hits Groundwater
by Tom Burnett
Published on Tuesday, March 29, 2011 by Hawaii News Daily

Fukushima is going to dwarf Chenobyl. The Japanese government has had a level 7 nuclear disaster going for almost a week but won’t admit it.

The disaster is occurring the opposite way than Chernobyl, which exploded and stopped the reaction. At Fukushima, the reactions are getting worse. I suspect three nuclear piles are in meltdown and we will probably get some of it.

If reactor 3 is in meltdown, the concrete under the containment looks like lava. But Fukushima is not far off the water table. When that molten mass of self-sustaining nuclear material gets to the water table it won’t simply cool down. It will explode – not a nuclear explosion, but probably enough to involve the rest of the reactors and fuel rods at the facility.

Pouring concrete on a critical reactor makes no sense – it will simply explode and release more radioactive particulate matter. The concrete will melt and the problem will get worse. Chernobyl was different – a critical reactor exploded and stopped the reaction. At Fukushima, the reactor cores are still melting down. The ONLY way to stop that is to detonate a ~10 kiloton fission device inside each reactor containment vessel and hope to vaporize the cores. That’s probably a bad solution.

A nuclear meltdown is a self-sustaining reaction. Nothing can stop it except stopping the reaction. And that would require a nuclear weapon. In fact, it would require one in each containment vessel to merely stop what is going on now. But it will be messy.

Fukushima was waiting to happen because of the placement of the emergency generators. If they had not all failed at once by being inundated by a tsunami, Fukushima would not have happened as it did – although it WOULD still have been a nuclear disaster. Every containment in the world is built to withstand a Magnitude 6.9 earthquake; the Japanese chose to ignore the fact that a similar earthquake had hit that same general area in 1896.

Anyway, here is the information that the US doesn’t seem to want released. And here is a chart that might help with perspective.

Making matters worse is the MOX in reactor 3. MOX is the street name for ‘mixed oxide fuel‘ which uses ~9% plutonium along with a uranium compound to fuel reactors. This is why it can be used.

The problem is that you don’t want to play with this stuff. A nuclear reactor means bring fissile material to a point at which it is hot enough to boil water (in a light-water reactor) and not enough to melt and go supercritical (China syndrome or a Chernobyl incident). You simply cannot let it get away from you because if it does, you can’t stop it.

The Japanese are still talking about days or weeks to clean this up. That’s not true. They cannot clean it up. And no one will live in that area again for dozens or maybe hundreds of years.