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Archive for April, 2011

Population growth must stop, says Sir David Attenborough

Posted by Admin on April 24, 2011

http://talesfromthelou.wordpress.com/2011/04/23/population-growth-must-stop-says-sir-david-attenborough/

By Liz Thomas
21st April 2011

Warning: Sir David Attenborough encouraged population growth controlWarning: Sir David Attenborough encouraged population growth control

Sir David Attenborough has warned that population growth must be stopped in order to offer a ‘decent life’ for all.

The wildlife broadcaster said people were shying away from accepting that the world’s resources cannot sustain current levels of population growth.

‘There cannot be more people on this Earth than can be fed,’ he writes in the New Statesman.

‘The sooner we stabilise our numbers, the sooner we stop running up the down escalator – and we have some chance of reaching the top; that is to say, a decent life for all.’

Sir David, 84, said the global population is over six billion and will hit nine billion in 30 years, but ‘there seems to be some bizarre taboo around the subject’.

He warned of a ‘perfect storm of population growth, climate change and peak oil production’, leading to ‘insecurity in the supply of food, water and energy’.

‘We now realise that the disasters that continue increasingly to afflict the natural world have one element that connects them all – the unprecedented increase in the number of human beings on the planet,’ he added.

‘All these people, in this country and worldwide, rich or poor, need and deserve food, water, energy and space. Will they be able to get it? I don’t know.’

Sir David said there was a ‘taboo’ tackling the subject and that people shied away from stating the fact that a world’s resources cannot sustain current levels of population growth.

He said: ‘There seems to be some bizarre taboo around the subject. This taboo doesn’t just inhibit politicians and civil servants who attend the big conferences.

‘It even affects the environmental and developmental non-governmental organisations, the people who claim to care most passionately about a sustainable and prosperous future for our children.’

Crowded: The global population is now more than six billion and is predicted to hit nine billion within 30 yearsCrowded: The global population is now more than six billion and is predicted to hit nine billion within 30 years

The 84-year-old praised controversial 18th century demographer Thomas Malthus, who argued that populations increase until they are halted by ‘misery and vice’.

He added: ‘The population of the world is now growing by 80 million a year. One and a half million a week. A quarter of a million a day.

‘The government’s chief scientist and the last president of the Royal Society have both referred to the ‘perfect storm’ of population growth, climate change, and peak oil production, leading inexorably to more and more insecurity in the supply of food, water and energy.’

Expert: Wildlife presenter Chris Packham spoke of ‘too many’ people

The global population is now in excess of six billion and is predicted to hit nine billion within 30 years.

Experts have predicted that the British population – which is currently around 62million – will increase to 70million by 2029.

A report by the sustainable development group Forum For The Future said Britain would struggle to handle such growth. The increase in population would be ‘catastrophic’ and put unsustainable pressure on housing, schools and hospitals as well as natural resources.

Current trends will see a city the size of Bristol added to the population of the UK every year for the next two decades.

Sir David’s comments follow a similar warning from BBC wildlife expert Chris Packham.

The Springwatch presenter suggested offering Britons tax breaks to encourage them to have smaller families.

He effectively endorsed China’s controversial one-child policy, which sees couples who adhere to the rule given a lump sum on retirement.

But he stopped short of suggesting people should be penalised for having too many children.

Packham, 49, who has no children of his own, told Radio Times: ‘By 2020, there are going to be 70million people in Britain. Let’s face it, that’s too many.’

He added: ‘There’s no point bleating about the future of pandas, polar bears and  tigers when we’re not addressing the one single factor that’s putting more pressure on the ecosystem than any other – namely the ever-increasing size of the world’s population.’

Controversial: A woman and her child walk by a birth control propaganda poster in China, which has a one-child policyControversial: A woman and her child walk by a birth control propaganda poster in China, which has a one-child policy

Packham suggested offering couples a financial incentive as ‘a carrot’ to persuade them to have fewer – or no – children.

He said: ‘I would offer them tax breaks for having small families: say, 10 per cent off your tax bill if you decide to stick with just one child. And an even bigger financial incentive if you choose not to have a family at all.’

‘I question the way, for example, people have two children with one partner, then split up and have two with their next partner, just to even up the score.

‘Fact is, we all eat food, breathe air and require space, and the more of us there are, the less of those commodities there are for other people and, of course, for the animals.’

Population growth must stop, says Sir David Attenborough | Mail Online.

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Nuclear Power is Safe: India to Build the Biggest Reactor Ever !

Posted by Admin on April 24, 2011

Nuclear power plant in Cattenom, France

Nuclear Power Plant, Cattenom France

http://talesfromthelou.wordpress.com/2011/04/24/nuclear-power-is-safe-india-to-build-the-biggest-reactor-ever/

Nuke protester murdered in India as police open fire on peaceful crowd

Funeral procession of Tabrez Sayekar.

Rady Ananda, Contributing Writer
Activist Post

Authorities responded to peaceful protest of a proposed nuclear power plant site in India by shooting at the crowd, killing one and injuring eight. Over sixty others were arrested. Killed by police on Monday, the body of 30-year-old Tabrez Sayekar was carried through the streets at a funeral march attended by more than 2,000 people on Wednesday. No one has been charged in his murder.
The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited (NPCIL), along with the French nuclear energy giant, Areva, plan to build the world’s largest nuclear power plant complex generating nearly 10,000 megawatts of electricity in an agricultural area at Jaitapur in the Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra.
In December, the world renowned Tata Institute of Social Sciences published a social and environmental assessment of the proposed project conducted by Jamsetji Tata Centre for Disaster Management last April, calling it a potential disaster. According to DNA India, the report charges that the government has hidden and suppressed important and relevant information, and “has subverted facts” by labeling the proposed 968-hectare site as barren land that the locals use for agriculture, horticulture and grazing.

‘Farmers and horticulturists have spent lakhs of rupees to make the land cultivable over years and even the government has supported them. This includes Alfonso mangoes and cashews. Now, when the time has come for them to reap their investments, they are afraid of losing their land as the government now claims it is barren land,’ says the report. It adds that even the fisherfolk of the region are against the project.

Even the level of seismicity was changed, from a high severity earthquake zone to moderate seismic severity zone.

“‘The government is not only hiding facts, but also manipulating them,’ the report alleges.”

NPCIL, an agency of the Indian government, defends the moderate label. Seismicity is one of the key criteria in site selection for nuclear power plants and the Jaitapur site meets the requirements for siting as stipulated in the atomic energy regulatory board’s code on safety, it said in response to TISS.”
However, last month, Times of India reported:

[T]he Geological Survey of India shows that between 1985 and 2005, there were 92 earthquakes [in the area].
“The ground is unstable, say activists and geologists, and there is no guarantee that the government’s safeguards will protect the people and ecologically sensitive Konkan coast from a nuclear disaster should there be another earthquake.
Environmental activist Pradeep Indulkar said: ‘The third explosion at the Fukushima plant in Japan on Tuesday confirms that in the event of an earthquake, precautionary measures and safeguards will not avert a disaster. It is better not to have a nuclear power plant in this seismic zone region.’
At Shivane village, 20 km from Jaitapur, Chandrakant Padkar remembers the day the earth shook and the road outside his house vanished. The unreported earthquake took place two years ago, and the village still bears the scars.

Greenpeace India plans to deliver a petition to the Maharashtra Chief Minister on April 26, the 25th anniversary of the nuclear disaster in Chernobyl, Ukraine. You can sign the petition here.

Instead of ignoring and ruthlessly suppressing the protest against the Jaitapur nuclear reactor park, Prithviraj Chavan, Maharashtra Chief Minister, needs to scrap the project. The CM needs to know that he cannot build Jaitapur against the people’s will when alternatives exist.

Sane Response to Deadly Energy Source

Nuclear power is the deadliest, costliest form of energy on record, according to Dr. Benjamin Sovacool of Project Syndicate. “Not counting the Fukushima catastrophe, there has been more than one nuclear incident and $330 million in damage every year, on average, for the past three decades.”


In a policy brief published in January, Sovacool notes, “The nuclear fuel cycle involves some of the most dangerous elements known to humankind. These elements include more than 100 dangerous radionuclides and carcinogens such as strontium-90, iodine-131 and cesium-137, which are the same toxins found in the fallout of nuclear weapons.”

The damage done to Earth by nuclear accidents and waste is permanent, for a mere 20-30 years of electricity, a dirty secret that the nuclear industry has not resolved. In the U.S., for example, the waste is stored in holding pools at four to five times the pool’s capacity.

Despite the world’s clean water shortage, Sovacool reports:

Nuclear plants use 25-50% more water per unit of electricity generated than fossil fuel plants with equivalent cooling systems…. The average US plant operating on an open–loop cooling system withdraws 216 Million litres of water every day and consumes 125 Million litres of water every day.
“Nuclear plants and uranium mining also contaminate water and the methods used to draw the water and exclude debris through screens kill marine and riparian life, setting in place a destructive chain of events for ocean/river systems.

Der Spiegel writes, “The Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, for all the attention it gets, is far from the only nuclear no-go area on the planet.”  In its recent catalogue of several now-uninhabitable spots on the planet as a result of nuclear use, leaks, waste and accidents, Spiegel documents thousands of square miles in the U.S., Germany, Kazakhstan, Japan, India, Britain and Northern Africa contaminated by radiation, areas which produce high rates of birth defects and cancers. Their report doesn’t even touch the depleted uranium used in the Middle East by the U.S. and its allies.

While we watch Fukushima’s radiation fall on the northern hemisphere, contaminating our milk and water in the U.S., Canada and Europe, it’s notable that, like previous nuclear accidents, governments lie about the severity. Fifty years after the UK’s worst nuclear disaster, experts advise that the radiation released was twice what was originally reported.

Chernobyl was no different, as a recent book published by the New York Academy of Sciences reveals.  Government authorities reported 3,000 casualties from that disaster, but in Chernobyl:

Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment, the authors conclude that, based on now available medical data, 985,000 people died as a result of the Chernobyl disaster, as of 2004. The researchers based their conclusions on 5,000 radiological surveys, scientific reports and health data.

Because of the Fukushima nuclear meltdown, EnviroVideo released a video based on that book: “Chernobyl: A Million Casualties.” Watch it at http://blip.tv/file/4922080. The film will air nationally on Free Speech TV (freespeech.org) on April 23rd.

Neither is Japan any different. Engineer Keith Harmon Snow writes:

In a recent WikiLeaks diplomatic cable, politician Taro Kono, a high-profile member of Japan’s lower house, told U.S. diplomats that the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (MITI) — the Japanese government department responsible for nuclear energy — has been ‘covering up nuclear accidents and obscuring the true costs and problems associated with the nuclear industry.’ In 2002 ‘the chairman and four executives of TEPCO, the company that owns the stricken Fukushima plant, resigned after reports that safety records were falsified.’

Corporate-run governments will not stop destroying the planet for profit. It is up to humanity to do all in its power to end the ongoing ecocide. Sometimes this means putting your life on the line, as Tabrez Sayekar did on Monday, just short of the 25th Anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.
A version of this article first appeared at Global Research.

Rady Ananda specializes in Natural Resources and administers the sites, Food Freedom and COTO Report.

Activist Post.

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Basel III rules could spell potholes, literally

Posted by Admin on April 24, 2011

http://in.finance.yahoo.com/news/Basel-III-rules-spell-reuters-1529902422.html

On Tuesday 19 April 2011, 9:40 PM

By Greg Roumeliotis, European Infrastructure Correspondent

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Rules designed to spare the world’s taxpayers from paying for a future financial crisis could also make it more difficult to build and replace infrastructure such as the roads they drive on.

The rules, known as Basel III, will weigh on the ability of banks to provide project finance loans on which cash-strapped governments and developers of power plants, pipelines and renewable energy such as wind farms rely to fund schemes.

“Banks have been the stalwart of privately financed projects. If long-term lending requires more capital to back it, it affects the enthusiasm of banks to provide it,” said Andrew Davison, senior vice president at credit rating agency Moody’s.

In Europe, this will hamper efforts to attract private funds into transport, energy and communication networks that are key to economic growth as well as providing jobs at a time when many European countries are struggling with unemployment.

Construction accounts for 7.1 percent of Europe`s total employment, according to the European Construction Industry Federation. The European Union (EU) says Europe’s infrastructure investment needs to 2020 could be up to 2 trillion euros.

Project finance loans are also big business for banks, having grown from a $110.8 billion global industry in 2000 to $208.1 billion in 2010, according to data compiled by Thomson Reuters Project Finance International.

This rise, driven by the private sector’s increasing participation in the funding of infrastructure, is at risk under Basel III, which will make project finance loans scarcer and more expensive due to the way they are accounted for.

“There is an expectation that the volume of project finance loans will drop very significantly over the coming years under Basel III,” said Timothy Stone, chairman of the global infrastructure and projects group at accounting firm KPMG.

Under Basel III, a short-term liquidity buffer, known as the liquidity coverage ratio, will include liquid forms of debt such as government bonds and top-notch corporate paper, but not project finance loans, seen as among the most illiquid.

A second ratio, the net stable funding ratio, makes the provision of long-term debt such as project finance more expensive for banks by requiring them to match their liabilities with their assets in terms of funding.

While not all banks will abandon project finance as a result, their business will be severely affected, said Noburu Kato, EMEA head of structured finance at Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation.

“I believe project finance by banks will continue because there is an increasing need for it, from governments that need to invest in infrastructure and companies that do not want to use their balance sheet. But costs will increase,” Kato said.

Although Basel III is to be implemented between 2013 and 2018, bankers say the impact on project finance will be felt before the rules kick in as banks compete to show investors they are well positioned for the new capital requirements.

“I would expect most of the impact of Basel III on project finance to be priced in by 2014,” said KPMG’s Stone.

In the European Union (EU), project finance accounts for slightly less than ten percent of total infrastructure finance, according to a 2010 European Investment Bank study. The European Commission is exploring initiatives such as backing project bonds to compensate for any drop in project finance loans.

Bonds made up only 9 percent of global project finance activity in 2010 according to Project Finance International. The market for project bonds suffered after the woes of monolines — companies that insure bonds — in the credit crisis of 2007.

But some financiers see opportunities to create new instruments to replace the monolines that can lift a project bond’s credit rating from the BBB range into the A category, attracting a wide poll of institutional investors.

Such a market is still in its infancy but has the potential to fill the gap left by the Basel III-hit project finance industry, its advocates say. Last year, British insurer Aviva partnered with Hadrian’s Wall Capital, an advisory firm, to create a debt fund dedicated to such instruments.

“Our form of credit enhancement can help the project finance bond market take off. We are looking to raise approximately 1 billion pounds with our fund and with that we should be able to provide around 10 billion pounds in financing,” said Hadrian’s Wall Capital Chief Executive Marc Bajer.

(Editing by David Cowell)

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Comments – Prof S P Garg Wed 20 Apr 2011 12:16 AM EDT Report Abuse

Basel II requirements and their strict compliance has protected the major banks and financial institutions worldwide.International Bank for Settlement (IBS) is doing a remarkablec job by way of stipulating the necessary capital requirements ina very prudent manner.The developing countries ,in the initial years might have faced the difficulties in its implementation but results are praiseworthy. The stringent measures must go on and Basel III is a welcome step.
Infrastructure projects and other long term investments would require higher capital requirements but for maintaining the robust health of the banks it is needed.The Central banking system of each country would take necessary steps to augument their caital is these activities have to be pushed in a big way.Not only this, there is a long time gap in implementation and during this period, each institution is needed to take strong steps to boost their capital needs to cater the needs of these sectors.As such, there should be any apprehension that development process would suffer dur to Basel III.Robustness of the financial institutions is to be maintained.
In India, the regulatory framework is so strong which has given a big support to the banks in comliance matters, governance and reporting system.The RBI has shown the path to other countries,Regulatory bodies and central banks that how to grow even in difficult times alongwith maintaining strong standards of compliance.

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Libyan forces pound Misrata, 1,000 evacuated by sea

Posted by Admin on April 18, 2011

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20110418/wl_nm/us_libya

By Michael Georgy Michael Georgy 59 mins ago

BENGHAZI, Libya (Reuters) – A chartered ship evacuated nearly 1,000 foreign workers and wounded Libyans from Misrata on Monday as government artillery bombarded the besieged city that now symbolizes the struggle against Muammar Gaddafi‘s rule.

“We wanted to be able to take more people out but it was not possible,” said Jeremy Haslam, who led the International Organization for Migration (IOM) rescue mission.

“Although the exchange of fire subsided while we were boarding … we had a very limited time to get the migrants and Libyans on board the ship and then leave.”

A rebel spokesman said four civilians were killed and five wounded by government shellfire which pounded Misrata for a fifth day on Monday. He raised Sunday’s death toll to 25, mostly civilians, because several of the wounded had died, and said about 100 had been wounded.

Libya’s third-largest city, Misrata is the rebels’ main stronghold in the west and has been under siege by pro-Gaddafi forces for the past seven weeks. Evacuees say conditions there are becoming increasingly desperate and hundreds of civilians are believed to have been killed.

“The Gaddafi forces are shelling Misrata now. They are firing rockets and artillery rounds on the eastern side — the Nakl el Theqeel (road) and the residential areas around it,” Abdubasset Abu Mzeireq said on Monday morning.

The Ionian Spirit steamed out of Misrata carrying 971 people, most of them weak and dehydrated migrants mainly from Ghana, the Philippines and Ukraine, heading for the rebel stronghold of Benghazi in eastern Libya.

It was second vessel chartered by the IOM, which took out nearly 1,200 migrants from Misrata last Friday.

Among the rescued group were 100 Libyans, including a child shot in the face, the IOM said in a statement.

“We have a very, very small window to get everyone out. We do not have the luxury of having days, but hours,” said IOM Middle East representative Pasquale Lupoli.

“Every hour counts and the migrants still in Misrata cannot survive much longer like this.”

Pro-Gaddafi forces have also kept up an offensive on the rebels’ eastern frontline outpost of Ajdabiyah, which rebels want to use as a staging post to retake the oil port of Brega, 50 miles to the west.

One witness said he saw around a dozen rockets land near the western entrance to Ajdabiyah on Sunday and many fighters fled as explosions boomed across the town.

Sunday marked a month since the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution authorizing force to protect civilians in Libya, leading to an international air campaign.

Despite NATO air strikes against Gaddafi’s armor, rebels have been unable to hold gains in weeks of back-and-forth fighting over the coastal towns in eastern Libya.

With NATO troops bogged down in Afghanistan, Western countries have ruled out sending ground troops, a position reinforced by the British prime minister on Sunday.

“What we’ve said is there is no question of invasion or an occupation — this is not about Britain putting boots on the ground,” David Cameron told Sky News in an interview.

Scores of volunteer fighters and civilian cars carrying men, women and children on Sunday streamed east from Ajdabiyah up the coast road toward Benghazi, where the popular revolt against Gaddafi’s 41-year rule began in earnest on February 17.

The United States, France and Britain said last week they would not stop bombing Gaddafi’s forces until he left power, although when or if that would happen was unclear.

The rebels pushed hundreds of kilometers toward the capital Tripoli in late March after foreign warplanes began bombing Gaddafi’s positions to protect civilians, but proved unable to hold territory and were pushed back as far as Ajdabiyah.

JUST LIKE IRAQ?

In Tripoli, Gaddafi’s son, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, said in an interview that the world had gone to war with Libya based on nothing more than rumor and propaganda.

“The biggest issue is the terrorists and the armed militia,” Saif Gaddafi told the Washington Post. “Once we get rid of them, everything will be solved.”

Government forces were hunting down “terrorists” in Misrata just as American forces did in Fallujah in Iraq.

“It’s exactly the same thing. I am not going to accept it, that the Libyan army killed civilians. This didn’t happen. It will never happen,” he said.

Once they were beaten, it would be time to talk of national reconciliation and democracy under a new constitution that would reduce his father’s role to a symbolic one, the Post quoted Saif Gaddafi as saying.

The London-educated son was once seen as a potential reformer but his comments indicated that Gaddafi was in no mood to compromise despite the international pressure. The rebels have rejected any solution that does not remove Gaddafi and his family from power.

The U.N. humanitarian affairs chief, Valerie Amos, speaking in Benghazi after a visit to Tripoli, said the government had given her no guarantees regarding her call for an overall cessation of hostilities to help the relief effort.

She also said she was extremely worried about the situation in Misrata. “No one has any sense of the depth and scale of what is happening there,” she said.”

(Additional reporting by Ashraf Fahim in Benghazi, Mussab Al-Khairalla in Tripoli, Mariam Karoumy in Beirut, Sami Aboudi in Cairo and Hamid Ould Ahmed in Algiers; Writing by Angus MacSwan, editing by Tim Pearce)

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OPEC worried by high oil price, patchy global recovery

Posted by Admin on April 18, 2011

http://in.finance.yahoo.com/news/OPEC-worried-high-oil-price-reuters-5695835.html

On Monday 18 April 2011, 2:37 PM

 

OPEC building is pictured in the centre Vienna September 14, 2010. REUTERS/Herwig Prammer/Files

By Eman Goma

KUWAIT (Reuters) – High oil prices represent a potentially major burden for importers with global economic recovery still fragile, leading OPEC ministers said on Monday.

Saudi Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi, a day after confirming the kingdom slashed oil production by more than 800,000 barrels per day (bpd) in March due to weak demand, warned of continued weakness in the global economy.

“The recovery remains patchy, in many countries unemployment remains at unacceptable levels,” Naimi told a meeting of Middle Eastern and Asian energy officials, according to the text of his speech obtained by Reuters.

Consuming nations have warned that rising oil prices, which earlier this month touched $127 a barrel, their highest level since July 2008, pose a threat to economic growth.

OPEC ministers for the most part have acknowledged the risk high oil prices pose but say there is little the group can do about it as demand for crude is being met with sufficient supplies.

“At these high price levels, spending on oil imports could represent a significant economic burden for many import dependent countries,” Kuwait ‘s Oil Minister Sheikh Ahmad al-Abdullah al-Sabah said in a speech at the meeting.

OPEC Secretary General Abdullah Al-Badri called on consuming nations to rein in speculators, saying they had added a $15 to $20 risk premium to the price of crude.

SAUDI SPECIAL BLEND REJECTED

Oil has been pushed higher since the start of the year by the wave of discontent that has swept through the Arab world, toppling the leaders of Tunisia and Egypt and touching off a civil war in Libya that has brought oil exports to a halt.

Saudi Arabia , Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates boosted output when Libyan supplies were lost but they have struggled to find buyers for the extra crude they are pumping.

Saudi Arabia tried to replicate Libya’s very low sulphur, high quality sweet oil with a special blend of crude, but refiners have only bought 2 million barrels of the blend.

“The market doesn’t want to change the Libyan crude, they still wait for the Libyan crude … I am surprised that nobody is buying the new ( Saudi ) crude,” Al-Badri, a former head of Libya’s OPEC delegation, told reporters.

The bulk of the crude oil produced by OPEC is sour, or high sulphur, while sweet crudes, like Libyan barrels, are highly prized for making transport fuels that have tight sulphur restrictions.

Iran ‘s OPEC Governor Mohammad Ali Khatibi told Reuters the market was well supplied with sour crude.

“There is a shortage of sweet crude, the Libyan kind, and as we enter the driving season there is higher demand for sweet crude,” he said.

(Additional reporting by Amena Bakr and Reem Shamseddine; writing by Robert Campbell; editing by James Jukwey)

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The nuclear industry’s trillion dollar question

Posted by Admin on April 18, 2011

http://in.finance.yahoo.com/news/The-nuclear-industry-trillion-reuters-3234646850.html

The Akademik Lomonosov, a floating nuclear power station, is launched at Baltiyskiy shipyard in St. Petersburg, in this handout picture taken March 25, 2011. REUTERS/Baltisky Shipyard/Handout
On Monday 18 April 2011, 2:04 PM

By Muriel Boselli and Geert De Clercq

PARIS (Reuters) – In the inbox of Petr Zavodsky, director of nuclear power plant construction at Czech power group CEZ are three sets of proposals from American, French and Russian consortiums, all angling for a $30 billion contract to build five new reactors.

State-owned CEZ, central Europe’s biggest utility group, plans to build two additional units at its Temelin plant near the Austrian border as well as up to two other units in neighbouring Slovakia and another at its Dukovany station in the east of the Czech Republic.

In the running to build the plants are Toshiba Corp unit Westinghouse, an alliance of Russia ‘s Atomstroyexport and Czech firm Skoda JS, and France’s Areva.

Unlike Germany, which has said it will hasten its exit from nuclear energy following the crisis in Japan , and Italy, which has announced a one-year moratorium on plans to relaunch atomic power, the Czech Republic has no intention of slowing its push for more nuclear power. Less than a week after the Fukushima disaster, Prime Minister Petr Necas said that he could not imagine that Prague would ever close its plants. “It would lead to economic problems on the border of an economic catastrophe.”

At the same time there’s little doubt the Fukushima crisis will change the Czech Republic’s thinking about safety in the new plants — and that could influence whose bid will ultimately be successful.

“Nuclear energy works on the basis of lessons learned from past events,” Zavodsky told Reuters. “We will analyse what happened in Japan and will surely include recommendations arising from this analysis for suppliers in the tender.”

That’s just one way the Japan crisis is already changing the game for the nuclear industry.

Before Fukushima, more than 300 nuclear reactors were planned or proposed worldwide, the vast majority of them in fast-growing developing economies. While parts of the developed world might now freeze or even reduce their reliance on nuclear, emerging markets such as China, India, the Middle East and Eastern Europe will continue their nuclear drive.

But with fewer plants to bid on, the competition for new projects is likely to grow even fiercer — and more complicated. Will concern about safety benefit Western reactor builders, or will cheaper suppliers in Russia and South Korea hold their own? And what if the crisis at Fukushima drags on as appears likely? Could it still trigger the start of another ice age for nuclear power, like Chernobyl did in 1986? Or will it be a bump, a temporary dip in an upward growth curve?

A RUSH TO REASSURE

With nuclear plants costing several billion dollars apiece, the answer to those questions may be worth a trillion dollars to the nuclear industry. Little wonder that the main players have rushed to reassure their clients that all is well.

On March 15, just three days after the first Fukushima reactor building blew up, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin flew to Belarus to revive a $9 billion plan to build a nuclear plant there, saying that Russia had a “whole arsenal” of advanced technology to ensure “accident-free” operation.

The next day, President Dmitry Medvedev met with Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan in Moscow and pledged to press ahead with a $20-billion deal to build a four-reactor Russian plant in Turkey. “The answer is clear: it can be and is safe,” Medvedev said.

It was a similar message in France, the world’s most nuclear-dependent country with 58 nuclear reactors that provide almost four-fifths of its electric power. “France has chosen nuclear energy, which is an essential element of its energy independence and the fight against greenhouse gasses,” president Nicolas Sarkozy said after his government’s first post-Fukushima cabinet meeting. ” Today I remain convinced that this was the right choice.”

The American nuclear industry has also gone on a public relations drive. The industry’s main lobby group, the Nuclear Energy Institute, has been out in force in Washington since the disaster, kicking off its response with a meeting three days after the quake in which it briefed 100 to 150 key aides to U.S. lawmakers on the crisis.

“Our objective is simply to be sure policymakers understand the facts as we understand them,” Alex Flint, vice president for governmental affairs at the institute told reporters. To appreciate how much is at stake for the industry it’s worth remembering that until Fukushima the prospects for nuclear power had been at their brightest in more than two decades, reversing a long period of stagnation sparked by the Chernobyl disaster.

The number of new reactors under construction, up to 30 or more per year in the 1970s, dropped to low single digits in the 1990s and early 2000s; by 2008 the total number of reactors in operation was 438, the same number as in 1996, International Atomic Energy Agency data show. In the past few years, that trend has reversed itself, and in 2008 construction started on 10 new reactors, the first double-digit number since 1985.

Today , there are 62 reactors under construction, mainly in the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia , India and China), with 158 more on order or planned and another 324 proposed, according to World Nuclear Association data from just before Fukushima. China, which currently has just 13 reactors in operation, has 27 more under construction and was planning or proposing another 160. India was planning or proposing 58 and Russia 44.

Anti-nuclear lobby activists argue that demand for safer designs will make nuclear power more expensive. That should help low-carbon renewables such as solar and wind, and end nuclear power’s momentum according to Greenpeace EU Policy Campaigner Jan Haverkamp. “Fukushima will end all this talk about a nuclear renaissance. The industry says nothing will change. Forget it,” Haverkamp said.

But even if Fukushima does increase public resistance to nuclear, it seems unlikely to stop the emerging market countries’ nuclear ambitions altogether. For one thing, public opinion in Asia does not drive policy like it does in the West. Even India, with a democratic tradition and a post-Bhopal sensitivity to industrial disasters, seems set to keep its nuclear plans on track.

“The global socio-political and economic conditions that appear to be driving the renaissance of civil nuclear power are still there: the price of oil, demands for energy security, energy poverty and the search for low-carbon fuels to mitigate the effects of global warming,” Richard Clegg, Global Nuclear Director at Lloyd’s Register told Reuters.

CATCHER IN THE RYE

Few companies have more at stake than France’s Areva, the world’s largest builder of nuclear reactors. Even before the Japan crisis, the state-owned firm touted its next-generation, 1,650 megawatt reactor — designed to withstand earthquakes, tsunamis or the impact of an airliner — as the safest way to go.

Now Areva’s ramping up that message whenever it can. “Low-cost nuclear reactors are not the future,” Areva CEO Anne Lauvergeon told French television just days after the first explosion at the Fukushima plant.

But Areva’s new EPR reactor is not without its own issues. Originally called the “European Pressurised Water Reactor” (EPR), Areva’s marketeers later rebaptised it the “Evolutionary Power Reactor”. Anti-nuclear activists mockingly refer to it as the “European Problem Reactor” because of its troubled building history.

Designed with multiple and redundant back-up systems to safeguard against natural disasters, the EPR’s design was updated after 9/11 to be able to withstand the impact of an airliner crashing into it. Areva’s Chief Technical Officer Alex Marincic says that the EPR’s design reduces the probability of a core meltdown to less than one in a million per reactor per year, compared to one in 10,000 for older second-generation reactors.

Even if the worst were to occur, the EPR comes with a “core catcher” below the reactor containment vessel that is designed to prevent a melting reactor from burrowing China Syndrome-style into the ground.

Marincic said that the EPR, and in particular its back-up diesel generators, would have resisted the force of the tsunami wave in Fukushima as all buildings and doors are designed to be leak tight and to withstand the force of an external explosion.

“Had the reactor in Fukushima been an EPR, it would have survived,” he said.

Construction of the first EPR started in 2005 in Olkiluoto, Finland, where Areva signed a three billion euro turn-key contract with Finnish utility TVO. But due to a string of construction problems, the project is now three years behind schedule and nearly 100 percent over budget. The reactor is not expected to come on stream before 2013 and Areva is embroiled in a bitter arbitration procedure with the Finns over who will shoulder the extra costs.

Work on a second EPR started in Flamanville, France in December 2007 and is expected to be completed in 2014, also after several years’ delay. French utility group EDF says that in 2010 the investment cost for the reactor was estimated at about five billion euros.

Areva is also building two EPRs in Taishan, southern China, due to come on stream in 2013 and 2014. Areva says that contract was worth eight billion euros.

The size of nuclear deals varies widely depending on what is included. At a minimum, a vendor can sell a reactor or a license to build it. But vendors can also take on construction of the reactor building or even the entire nuclear plant. Deals often also include long-term contracts for nuclear fuel delivery or financing by firms in the vendor country. Building costs also range enormously depending on where the plants are built.

In resource-poor India, for instance, where Areva is negotiating the sale of two EPRs, the deal could include 25 years of fuel deliveries, an Areva spokesman said. CEO Lauvergeon has referred to Areva’s strategy as the “Nespresso model” — Areva not only sells reactors, it enriches and sells uranium, and can recycle the spent fuel.

A French official told Reuters on condition of anonymity that Chinese authorities have told French partners that following the Fukushima disaster China now wants to use third-generation reactor designs for its smaller power plants.

This would be a huge boost for Areva, which is developing — with Japan ‘s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries — a new 1,100 megawatt ATMEA1 pressurized water reactor designed to supply markets with lower electricity needs.

Areva spokesman Jacques-Emmanuel Saulnier said the group is currently negotiating some twenty projects in countries including the United Kingdom, the United States, India, China and the Czech Republic. The firm still hopes to capture one third of the market for new reactors by 2030, though the Fukushima events may push back that target date.

CONVECTION AND GRAVITY

Areva’s main competitor is Toshiba Corp unit Westinghouse, which is building four of its third-generation “Active Passive” AP1000 reactors in China, with the first expected to go on-line in 2013.

Considered to be the most up-to-date technology, the AP1000, rather than focusing on multiple back-up systems like the EPR, introduces the concept of “passive safety” which relies on gravity and natural convection flows of water — instead of pumps driven by electricity — to cool down the core in case of an emergency.

One of its key features is a 300,000 gallon water tank inside the containment area, above the core. Westinghouse says the AP1000 does not require backup diesel for cooling, as all water needed for an emergency will run down from the tank and begin the cooling process without the need for electricity or human intervention. The water would boil, turn to steam and condense on the inside of the steel containment vessel and then fall back into the core.

“So you have a perpetual rain forest in there,” Westinghouse Electric spokesman Vaughn Gilbert said. Kind of. The passive system would “last for three days and with minimal additional use of a small diesel you can go four additional days,” according to the company.

Like Areva, Westinghouse claims that its new reactor would have withstood the Fukushima earthquake and tsunami. The earthquake “would have been a non-event for the AP1000,” Westinghouse chief executive officer Aris Candris told Reuters.

The firm has said it expects to finalize agreements with China this fall to build 10 power plants with Westinghouse AP1000 reactors, on top of the four already under construction. Candris says that Westinghouse is in negotiations to sell more AP1000s in other countries including the UK, the Czech Republic, Poland, Lithuania and was involved in preliminary discussions in Brazil and India.

“The share of the AP1000s in the market will go up following the events in Japan because more and more people — around the world and in China, the biggest market going forward — will see the advantages of the passive design,” he added.

Experts agree that passive safety is a good idea but urge caution.

The AP1000 design has not yet been approved by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and the company acknowledges that the NRC may require more backup generators, batteries and other features at US nuclear plants as it integrates the lessons learned from Japan .

“No reactor that I know of can indefinitely take care of itself without external intervention,” said James Acton, Associate, Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

“Fukushima was a beyond-design basis event. The earthquake and particularly the tsunami were much larger than the plant was designed to withstand. You can have the most modern sophisticated well run reactor in the world but if it is hit by a beyond basis event, then you cannot guarantee the safety of the reactor,” he said.

Acton believes that “the industry as a whole will be damaged by the crisis in Japan and presumably General Electric” — which designed the Fukushima reactors — “will be damaged the most.”

GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy, a tie-up between the two companies, has two “Advanced Boiling Water Reactors” (ABWR) third-generation plants in operation in Japan and a more recent design, the ESBWR, in the planning stages.

The firm lags some distance behind Areva and Toshiba-Westinghouse and is in no mood to look for commercial opportunities while the disaster in Japan is still unfolding. Officials refused to answer questions about how Fukushima might impact the power balance in the industry, saying that the firm remains focused on providing assistance to the people of Japan .

“Now is not the time to speculate on future sales,” GE Hitachi PR manager Michael Tetuan told Reuters.

Western firms do not have a monopoly on safety. Experts say that Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ APWR, the Korean APR-1400, the Russian VVER and the Chinese CNP1000 are all third-generation reactors, each with their own merits.

Privately, the big players all seem happy to criticise their rivals’ reactor designs demerits. If you promise not to quote them, competitors will tell you that Areva’s EPR does not have much in the way of passive safety features, for instance, while French sources rarely fail to suggest that some rival reactors are not designed to withstand the impact of an airline crash.

HIGH-LEVEL ENGAGEMENT

It’s not all about safety features and price, of course. Nuclear contracts often come down to geopolitics. The firms that sell reactors are mostly state-owned which means negotiations about nuclear deals are often done government to government.

Even the privately owned U.S. reactor builders get an extraordinary level of diplomatic support. Numerous cables obtained by WikiLeaks show that U.S. missions, with the active support of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, have led lobbying initiatives for nuclear contracts in countries such as China, Hungary, South Africa, Kuwait , Abu Dhabi and Italy.

Just one example, from a February 23, 2009 cable from the U.S. embassy in Rome illustrates the size of the stakes and how closely U.S. and French diplomats watch each other. The cable recounts how the U.S. mission orchestrated a visit by U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission officials who provided Italy with Washington’s views on nuclear power just as the Italian government prepared to reintroduce nuclear power after a twenty-year shutdown.

“U.S.-made nuclear reactors may prove to be the best technological and commercial choice for Italy, but intense French lobbying, including by President Sarkozy, could win the day for the French. The Mission will continue our efforts to provide U.S. nuclear technology firms with an opportunity to win what could be billions of dollars in contracts,” the confidential cable said.

The cable goes on to say that France was lobbying the Italian government at the highest political levels on behalf of Areva and that “all our sources conclude that a political decision by Berlusconi will likely trump any and all expert input.”

American diplomats said that the U.S. mission in Italy had been “vigorously promoting a broad effort to encourage new energy technologies”, paying special attention to the nuclear sector, “given the enormity of potential orders for U.S. firms”.

“U.S. company representatives and their Italian allies are apprehensive that absent high-level U.S. lobbying, French pressure will push the decision toward a purchase of their technology. We clearly need to engage at the highest level. Tens of billions of dollars in contracts and substantial numbers of high-technology jobs could be involved,” the cable concluded.

Areva spokesman Saulnier said that it is perfectly normal for countries to support their export industries. “In most cases we deal with private clients where the public authorities have no impact. But there are other cases, notably China, where the state-to-state relationship plays its full role and it is important that the political authorities not only give their imprimatur but work side by side with the French company,” he said.

RUSSIAN ECONOMIC LOGIC

Russia seems unworried about the impact of Fukushima, or at least determined to push on regardless, even though there is little doubt that the Fukushima fallout will hit the government’s ambitious goal to triple nuclear exports to $50 billion a year by 2030.

“The country that turns away from atomic energy today, will become dependent tomorrow on those who did not curtail it,” Sergei Kiriyenko, the head of Russia ‘s state-owned nuclear power monopoly Rosatom, said recently in an interview with state television.

Rosatom says it is now building more nuclear plants than anyone — 14 of the 62 reactors under construction worldwide — including projects in China, India and a controversial first plant for Iran . It says it has orders to build some 30 more.

Russia also possesses about 40 percent of the world’s uranium enrichment capacity, and exports some $3 billion worth of fuel a year, offering discounts to clients who buy Russian-built reactors.

Experts say that while one-third of the operating reactors in Russia are ageing Chernobyl-style nuclear plants, the current export designs meet global safety standards. Rosatom’s main export reactors are the VVER-1000 and the VVER-1200 which it describes as a third “plus” generation light-water pressurised reactor and which sell for between $3 billion and $6 billion each.

Rosatom boasts that the twin VVER-1000 reactors in a plant that opened in 2008 in Tianwan, China, are the first in the world to feature a core-catcher — a safety net invented by Russian physicists after the Chernobyl disaster.

The company also says its active and passive safety barriers will cool its reactor for at least 72 hours without intervention. If temperatures rise too high, containment sprinklers with fast-melting metal caps spray coolant on the reactor. Two other passive systems are designed to flood the reactor with water in case of an emergency, both relying only on gravity. Two more VVER-1000s under construction in Kudankulam, India, are also outfitted with vents to allow excess heat to escape from the sealed reactor and be cooled at the roof of the containment dome, capping temperatures within.

“The Fukushima accident is the result of unlearnt lessons of Chernobyl,” Rosatom spokesman Sergei Novikov said. “We have been learning our lessons for the past 25 years.”

Novikov said the fallout from Japan will force nuclear energy companies to protect against even more negligible risks. Work is already underway to protect plants in Russia against the “one-in-a million chance” of a gale-force tornado. New Russia plants to be built in Bulgaria and Turkey are designed to withstand the impact of a 400-tonne plane crashing into them.

“Chernobyl was a bad experience, but an experience nevertheless which we have learned from. Our reactors are definitely up to IAEA standards,” said Gennady Pshakin, a former International Atomic Energy Agency official who now heads a Russian institute in Obninsk.

But Norwegian environmental group Bellona, an authority on the Russian industry, has its doubts. In its latest report the group said that in order to reduce costs, Russia cuts corners on safety, from rushing licensing to using poor equipment and cheaper unskilled labour.

” Russia and Rosatom traditionally save money and beat their competitors with a quite low level of safety,” which should average about 40 percent of the capital cost, said Greenpeace energy expert Vladimir Chuprov, one of the authors of the report.

Environmentalists say that as Rosatom works to make its reactors as safe as Western models, it is becoming less competitive. “Prices are approaching those of the French EPR reactor series. If earlier Russian reactors were at least trusted to sell well because of the lower prices, this hope is now vanishing fast,” Russian environmental group Eco-Defense’s Vladimir Slivyak wrote in a comment on the Bellona site.

Russia ‘s ex-deputy minister for atomic energy Bulat Nigmatulin concedes that the Russian industry regularly scores export contracts by offering generous export credits to underbid competitors. Nigmatulin told Reuters that he had personally lobbied Putin to convince him of the importance of the nuclear industry, arguing that it is one of the few high-tech sectors in which Russia can compete globally. “It’s the only industry that we are not behind in and we must grow it, but there remains one big but: we must be governed by real economic logic,” he said.

DESERT CAMPAIGN

As customers rethink the balance between safety and price, will safety now win out?

Just over a year ago, price was still a potent factor.

In early December 2009, Areva was convinced it would win a landmark contract with Abu Dhabi to build four reactors — the first nuclear power plants in the Gulf Arab region. Also in the running were Westinghouse, GE Hitachi and a consortium of South Korean firms with no prior experience of selling reactors abroad.

The final offers, according to a WikiLeaks cable, were “followed by intense political lobbying by Korean, French, Japanese and U.S. officials, including French President Sarkozy”, and the Japanese and Korean prime ministers “who all repeatedly called the Crown Prince.” South Korean President Lee Myung-bak even flew to the United Arab Emirates to personally defend the Korean bid with UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahayan.

In the end it came down to price. The consortium led by GE Hitachi dropped its final price by “double-digit billions” according to a Wikileaks cable. But the Gulf state chose the rookie South Korean nuclear consortium, which proposed a price per kilowatt/hour that was 82 percent lower again according to a U.S. embassy cable obtained by WikiLeaks and seen by Reuters.

The winning consortium was led by state-run utility Korea Electric Power Corp (KEPCO) and included Hyundai Engineering and Construction and Samsung C&T Corp .

The Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC) said the value of the contract for the construction, commissioning and fuel loads for the four 1,400-MW APR1400 reactors was about US$20 billion, with a high percentage of the contract offered under a fixed-price arrangement.

In the end “the difference between the South Korean and the French reactors is a very safe reactor and an extremely safe reactor,” said James Acton at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

Insiders say that it was not just price or safety considerations that drove ENEC’s decision. “Areva’s schedule slippage of over three years and cost overrun of over $3 billion on Olkiluoto did not help Areva,” an industry source told Reuters.

The French still hope that Abu Dhabi might change its mind and the market has been thick with rumours about a possible review, although industry watchers say these may have been spread by French diplomats in order to test Abu Dhabi’s resolve.

A spokesperson at Emirates nuclear corporation ENEC said that the UAE will continue to work with the South Koreans and is not looking to change partners.

CHINA – FROM CUSTOMER TO COMPETITOR

The biggest prize remains China, which is buying reactors from American, French and Russian builders while working hard on developing its own.

Beijing favoured Westinghouse’s plant over Areva’s in March 2007 when the Toshiba-owned firm signed a technology transfer agreement worth about $5.3 billion that put the AP1000 at the core of China’s plans to develop its own “localized” reactors.

Industry experts say that Areva’s failure was caused by its reluctance to give away its patents. In 2007, China ditched plans to build two EPRs in Yangjiang on the southeast coast, choosing to use its own second-generation CPR1000 designs instead after growing frustrated at the pace of negotiations.

So far, the AP1000 is on budget and on schedule in China.

But Areva has fought back and has subsequently won its own deal to build two EPRs at Taishan, also in the southeast, after finally agreeing to transfer key technology to the China Guangdong Nuclear Power Corporation.

Beijing ‘s impatience over third-generation plants has led to the fast-tracking of dozens of second-generation reactors, which led to charges of corner-cutting even before the Japanese quake.

In a paper published in January, scholars at the State Council Research Office said China was moving too fast and that many regions were bucking worldwide industry trends by building less reliable second-generation reactors. It recommended that apart from plants that have already been approved, all new nuclear projects should “in principle” be based on third-generation designs.

Li Ning , a nuclear expert and director of the Energy Research Center at China’s Xiamen University, told Reuters that because of the Fukushima crisis China’s focus will now shift further to third-generation technology.

That could give Westinghouse and Areva a competitive advantage, although it may not last very long. Just as Areva precursor Framatome adopted U.S. technology in the 1960s, the Chinese are learning quickly from their Western suppliers. Li expects that in the near future China will be capable of building projects abroad.

“When China localizes technology, manufacturing and construction it will be able to export to the rest of the world, sooner rather than later because the world will demand such newer technologies. China will have the advantage in manufacturing and skills and this advantage should not be restricted to the domestic market,” Li said.

U.S.-based independent nuclear consultant John Polcyn, who has worked in the nuclear industry worldwide for utilities as well as reactor vendors, expects that the Chinese will align with both Areva and Westinghouse to sell third-generation reactors abroad.

“The Chinese have publicly stated they can build nuclear power plants, including the EPR for 30 percent less than Areva. It could help Areva to be more cost-competitive,” Polcyn said.

He believes the two big Chinese firms will also market, build and operate China’s indigenous CNP1000 reactor. “The Chinese will claim the CNP1000 as a Generation III nuclear power plant, and I cannot disagree. The plants are designed to today’s latest requirements, have state-of-the-art, world-class digital control systems and use the latest materials,” he said.

He said that a number of Chinese entities are already marketing the CNP1000, notably in South Africa, Argentina and Saudi Arabia , where Chinese companies have been meeting with top officials.

The Chinese arrival on the reactor market will put pressure on the existing reactor suppliers, forcing them to take more cost and schedule risk for plant completions. Fukushima might buy the incumbents a bit more time, as China tries to incorporate the lessons learned, but not much.

“The Chinese announced their intent to begin exporting their nuclear power plant technology starting in 2013. I expect that due to the recent events in Japan there will be some delay, to 2014 or 2015. They are looking for opportunities,” Polcyn said. Even with the crisis in Japan , those opportunities aren’t likely to vanish.

(Reporting by Muriel Boselli and Geert De Clercq in Paris, Michael Kahn in Prague, Alissa de Carbonnel in Moscow , Scott DiSavino and Martin Howell in New York, Scott Malone in Boston, Eileen O’Grady in Houston, Amena Bakr in Abu Dhabi, Cho Meeyoung in Seoul, Krittivas Mukherjee in New Delhi, and David Stanway in Beijing ; Writing by Geert De Clercq; Editing by Simon Robinson )

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Observations II

Posted by Admin on April 14, 2011

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

Greetings: We return this day with more observations of your world and projections of what is to come. We begin with those humans who live under the yoke of tyranny or are a part of the physical oppression of others. They know quite well the role of physical force. It is the threat or the actual application of physical punishment, torture, or deprivation that keeps such families, clans, societies, and countries organized for the benefit of their tyrants. It is an age-old ways of controlling humans on your planet. Fears of physical harm force all into rigid structures.

Your so-call advanced societies have a much more subtle, but equally effective means of control; it is called money. Those who have it exercise various means of domination over those who do not. The elites, who have vast wealth, exercise absolute domination over the rest of such societies.

The illuminati, amassing wealth for hundreds of years, have played a largely behind the scenes role in controlling money. In the United States they created institutions such as the Federal Reserve to lend dollars to the government and in turn to the people of the U.S. Their amassed trillions of dollars insulates them from currency fluctuations, for they will always have more money than anyone else, will always hold more land, own more corporations, and control more banking institutions.

Those who have acquired wealth by playing the money game either through their inventive skills or through climbing to the top of the corporate or banking ladder have sold out to the money controllers. Oh they may be most generous in their philanthropy, but they do not give away enough money to make them one of the middle class, or even one of the lesser wealthy. Grand movies are made about the super rich. Comedies are made about the middle class and the poor.

Money invades the life of all in the developed economies. Money controls all aspects of people’s lives. You are told how much money you can borrow from a bank. You are told how much money you will pay in taxes. You are told how much money an item will cost at the super market. Money has become so widely accepted that few stop to question how it dominates their lives.

On the new Earth there will be no need to earn money. We know this is hard to conceive of, but that is the way it will be. Banks create money to lend. The Federal Reserve creates money to lend to the U.S. government. All of this money is created from nothing. If then money can be created from nothing and accepted by all as something of value, why not create money enough for everyone? This is a glimpse of what your future holds.

It is the affect of these controlling structures on individuals that we now wish to address. If you are living under the domination of a tyrant who uses physical force to control you, you are very aware of that domination. Your every movement is monitored and proscribed by soldiers or police. Your freedoms are few. If you choose, you may become part of the regime of the tyrant, and dominate others to achieve a better life for yourself and your family. But you will pay a terrific cost by betraying who you really are: a majestic soul who has incarnated to experience life in the density of Earth. The tyrant may just as well be a religious leader, still you are selling out part of who you are if you align with his or her dominating ways, if you become part of the tyrant’s clan, a follower, or a servant to his or her cause. And conscious people will look upon you with distain because they know that you have sold out.

In the case of a society that is ruled by money, a similar situation exists. Here people believe they are part of a marvelous scheme in which they may climb the ladder to financial success by playing according to the rules. Here they sell out by making the accumulation and use of money their goal. Here the tyrant is less visible, the rules of the game more obscure, and the rewards seemingly less tainted — from a very young age almost everyone is convinced that they want to be rich, and lead a wonderful life that only wealth can bring. So with a society structured around money as its controlling factor, everyone is led to believe that having money, being a part of the system, and selling out to the money tyrant is a good thing. The media glorifies those who are rich. Products and services are offered to those who have the money to pay. Neighborhoods are delineated by those who have money and those who do not. Whereas the selling out to the physical tyrant was an obvious abandonment of your friends and family, with money as the tyrant everyone is selling out to some degree, so there is no judgment by others because everyone is playing in the same game. However, those who make money and what it buys their goal are abandoning their true nature to a tyrant just a surely as those who become part of a physical tyrant’s favored few.

The energies of change are now impacting all on your world — land, sea, air, animals, fish, and most particularly, humans — dissolving the old to make way for the new. Recently there have been three of these energies: Energies of Truth, Energies of Freedom, and Energies of Oneness. From the first of these has arisen the unveiling of the corruption and deceit from governments, corporations, bankers, and religions. Julian Assange and others involved with whistle blowing are driven by the Energies of Truth. Reactions of people to the Energies of Truth are seen in the elite as they seek to label anyone who is not a part of their scheme a terrorist, as they seek to undermine what is beneficial for the many in favor of what benefits the few. The results of the Energies of Truth can be seen in payments by the Catholic Church for abuses by priests.

The Energies of Freedom are entering the lives of all humans. It is not just the courageous people in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and other Middle East countries. It is the actions of wives who seek freedom from abusive husbands, children who seek freedom from domineering parents, and workers who seek freedom from domination by corporations.

The Energies of Oneness are the most recent. They are causing all to take a second look at who are their brothers and sisters. These energies are stirring a gratitude for Earth and all that she has provided. Oneness is exhibited by those who see poverty and hunger in a new light, see that the unfortunate are truly no different than their own family. Again the elites, the wealthy, the comfortable, and all who have used their money, power, and status to establish themselves as better than lesser humans are resisting this energy, and engaging in class warfare.

The energies of change are impacting all on Earth. This is not a temporary condition; Earth-humans will NOT return to the old ways of seeing and believing. The waves of change are seeping over all. There is no going back. All are sensing these energies of change, whether they understand them or not.

Those of you who are reading these words, and comprehend the magnitude of the changes, would do well to search within to determine how you are reacting. Are you going to fear, or embracing the light? Many of you will soon realize that you are the light bearers who others will seek out to gain understanding, and to inquire as to what they should do. Do not hide your light; let it shine by your example. You have much to give; decide how you will assist the transformation of your human sisters and brothers.

This all resolves itself then into the impact on individual humans and how they react to the many energies and changes. Do they see the changes and say, “Indeed this is the time of great change. We welcome this.” Or do they say, “I will resist these changes because I like things they way they are.” Or do they see the changes and go into fear for their personal safety? Or do they choose to ignore the changes, hoping all will return to “normal” in a short while? The choice is yours, humans of Earth, choose well for your choices impact all in the universe.

Now let us turn to those us who watch and wait. We do this because we may not interfere with your personal choices, your individual free will. We may not come to your assistance until you request it. In many of the recent “natural” disasters, the countries not affected came to the assistance of those in distress. The recent earthquake in Japan saw countries and organizations from around the world offering assistance. It was the choice of the Japanese people to ask for and accept this assistance.

So will be the case with your sisters and brothers from the stars. There will come a time in the near future when your entire world will be in a state of distress. There will be no other countries or organizations to come to the assistance of those requesting help. It is at that moment if you ask for our assistance that we will answer your call. We, your brothers and sisters from the stars, will deliver much-needed assistance — in much the same way that assistance has been provided to the people of Japan.

Despite our best efforts, we will not be able to assist every individual in a timely manner, nor will we impose ourselves on those who do not wish our assistance, nor do we wish to circumvent your opportunities to assist a neighbor or family member. Just as has been the case in Japan, people have assisted each other with food, water, and shelter. When your entire world is in distress, you too will be called upon to assist each other and we have no doubt that you will respond.

So it is wise to store some food and water and to secure shelter first for yourselves, then for your family members, friends, and neighbors. The period of distress will last for several months, until the necessities can be restored. Until electricity can once again be counted on to light your homes. Plan for such a time.

You will not be thrown back into the primitive state of your ancestors. At the same time, your major cities will become unsustainable. It is from the countryside and in smaller villages that the civilization of Earth will be reconstructed. Here we of the stars can be most effective in rendering assistance. So we say to you this day, plan well for the transformation is upon you.

Some have visualized the pending changes as the separation of the Earth into two parts. Others have seen a second Earth make an appearance and humans being transported to that sphere. In your earlier communications you foresaw such an event, Mark. What is more accurate is a separation of the Earth into different densities based on vibration.

Those who are of the 3rd vibration will experience the physical changes that Earth is projected to undergo, including earthquakes, volcanoes, and tsunamis. These will change the face of the planet, water will intrude over land, the poles will shift, and the crust of the Earth will rotate. The net result of this will be a more moderate climate and the greening of the deserts. It will take some time for the Earth to adjust to all that is new. The animals and fish will adjust quite rapidly; it is the humans who remain on the Earth of a higher vibration who will have the most difficult adjustments. Your need for shelter, food, and water will not completely disappear.

Those of you who are vibrating at a higher frequency will not experience the trauma as severely as those who are vibrating at a lower frequency. You will rise above much of the trauma, but you will see it nonetheless. Thus you will exist alongside those of the lower vibrations. You will walk among them but they will barely see you. In some cases you will be able to reach out to assist them. Entire communities will be distinguished by their combined frequencies: Individuals of the higher frequencies blending with those of the somewhat lower frequencies.

Those of you who have achieved a higher frequency will be able to see us, your sisters and brothers of the stars, as we come to assist your transition. Those of the lower frequencies will not see our assistance but they will benefit from it nonetheless.

It has always been that way. Over the centuries, we have worked with certain individuals to insure the progress of humanity. It has been seen as innovations in technology, government, and better ways to experience one another. We have been the helping hand behind the discovery of electricity and harnessing it for lighting. Many of our suggested innovations have been corrupted by those who would keep such innovations for themselves or use them to induce fear into the population, but we have seen enough good come from our urgings that we have continued.

Now it is your turn to provide assistance to those of a lower vibration. From your vantage point, you will assist the continued evolution of mankind on Earth. The greater advantage you have is that you will possess human bodies exactly like those of the humans of the lower frequencies; they will relate to you more readily than they have to us who have seemed strange. You are to be the Caretakers, not only of the Earth, but also of your human brothers and sisters.

This has not been done before: Humans who are of a slightly higher frequency assisting those of a slightly lower vibration. All who remain on Earth will slip into what you are calling higher dimensions, for none who are addicted to fear, hate, anger, war, or violence will survive what is coming. (Their dense energies will not enable them to move upward.) Those who consciously put aside lower vibrations will shift into a higher dimension and journey to the new Earth. Those of you who are vibrating at a higher frequency yet will interact with them as guides, mentors, and elders. It will be a glorious time when the new humans of Earth can vibrate at the frequencies of the animals and plants, can see the oneness of all, can relax into the beauty of Earth, and most importantly can assist each other in love and light.

The time of great change is upon you. Listen well to the various communications, and embrace the higher energies. Each must find his or her own way of being, for both your evolution and your uniqueness are valued.

As we currently see the situation, there will be continued earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, and severe weather. How impacting each will be on humans is determined by a number of factors: Earth’s desire to cleanse herself in a particular area. The fears held by the human residents of that area. The illuminati’s use of HAARP, and other methods, to increase the severity of these events.

As we have told you before, we can see the Earth in the future. We are looking at a beautiful new Earth through the perspective of our higher frequency (where there is no time and we can see without distortions), so we see her somewhat differently than do you who are looking through a 3rd dimension vibration. Earth is much the same as today (mountains, oceans, etc.); it is that we see her differently from our lighter perspectives (as will you when you achieve faster vibrations).

Let us remind you once again that your individual future is determined by your individual frequency of vibration. You have been told by various lightworkers, and by those of us from the higher vibrations, of several methods to increase your vibration. If you have not already done so, it is not too late to undertake this process. Staying in a higher vibration means avoiding fear both now and when the climax of the transformation takes place. Much like the vibration of a tuning fork that can be quelled by holding it against your hand, so can fear dampen your vibration.

Now is the time to avoid anything that reduces your ability to vibrate at the highest possible level. Practice living in higher vibration daily. Practice it with your eyes open, practice in your home, in your place of work, and as you walk in nature. Practice it as you walk tall among those who are fearful. Practice it so that others who see you notice you are oblivious to the fears of 3rd dimensional surroundings, and practice it so that others inquire of you how also to do that.

We who exist in the density without time can assure you that Earth will continue. We can assure you that humans of Earth will continue, albeit at a higher vibration. Moreover we can assure you that everything will be quite different on the new Earth — that the new Earth will be a planet of love, light, and Oneness. We have seen the brilliant new Earth as she shines like a beacon for all in the universe. And you the humans who then reside upon her will be honored as those who transformed themselves from a density of fear into beings of love and light. And there will be great joy among all in the universe as these momentous events are realized. What you do for yourselves and each other reverberates through the universe.

Once again we are pleased to communicate with you and look forward to more opportunities. We hold you in unconditional love. Until next time, I am Adrial, a celestial of this universe, I am Bren-Ton, I am Justine, and I am Moraine, all from Andromeda, and I am Zepher of the Pleiades.

_________________________________________________________

DECLARATIONS

Read archived messages from Adrial, Bren-Ton, Justine, Moraine, and others at this site or by referring to:http://www.cosmicparadigm.com/Marks_Corner/

For observations by Mark Kimmel, go to: http://www.cosmicparadigm.com/Marks_Corner/

You may make copies of this message and distribute in any media as long as you change nothing, credit the author, and include the web address.

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US police saw UFO explode in 1949: FBI secret files

Posted by Admin on April 12, 2011

http://in.news.yahoo.com/us-police-saw-ufo-explode-1949-fbi-secret-20110411-040150-592.html

By Indo Asian News Service | IANS – Mon, Apr 11, 2011 4:31 PM IST

London, April 11 (IANS) Secret FBI files that have been made public for the first time reveal that US police and army officers saw a UFO explode over Utah state in 1949.

On April 4, 1949, FBI special agents sent a cable marked ‘urgent’ to the bureau director, Edgar Hoover.

The document spoke of how an armyman, a policeman and a highway patrol, who were all miles apart, each saw a UFO, which they said exploded over mountains near Logan, north of Salt Lake City.

The memo is part of thousands of previously unreleased files that the FBI has made public in a new online resource called ‘The Vault’. according to the Daily Mail.

The document said the three men each ‘saw a silver coloured object high up approaching the mountains at Sardine Canyon’ that suddenly exploded.

An earlier UFO sighting had been investigated in Logan in September 1947. Many witnesses told the FBI they saw ‘flying discs’ in formation that were ‘circling the city at a high rate of speed’.

A memo from a special agent in charge of the Washington field office sent in 1950 says aliens landed at Roswell in New Mexico. The aliens came in flying saucers, the memo said.

 

 

‘They were described as being circular in shape with raised centres, approximately 50 feet in diameter. Each one was occupied by three bodies of human shape but only three feet tall.’

The bodies were ‘dressed in a metallic cloth of a very fine texture. Each body was bandaged in a manner similar to the blackout suits used by speed flyers and test pilots’.

Roswell in New Mexico became famous after reports that a flying saucer had crashed in the desert near a military base in July 1947.

The bodies of aliens were said to have been recovered and autopsied by the US military, but American authorities allegedly covered the incident up.

Another report said a flying disc ‘hexagonal in shape’ and ‘suspended from a balloon by a cable’ was seen in the area.

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Uruguay removing amnesty for dictatorship crimes

Posted by Admin on April 12, 2011

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Jose Mujica
In this Jan. 25, 2011 file photo, Uruguay’s President Jose Mujica attends a press conference
By RAUL O. GARCES, Associated Press Raul O. Garces, Associated Press Tue Apr 12, 2:31 am ET

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay – Uruguay’s senate is expected on Tuesday to annul an amnesty for crimes against humanity committed during the 1973-85 dictatorship, overturning the view of voters who upheld the law in two referendums.

Backed by leftist President Jose Mujica, the measure would then return to the lower house for minor changes and could become law by May 20 — the day Uruguay honors the 174 political prisoners who were kidnapped and killed during the military junta’s crackdown on leftists.

Courts could then prosecute human rights violations committed on Uruguayan soil, fulfilling a key demand of the leftist wing of the governing Broad Front coalition and complying with a 2009 Supreme Court ruling that found the amnesty unconstitutional.

Opposition parties on the right and Uruguay’s retired military are angry at the change, and the issue has roiled the governing coalition as well, challenging a common political ground this small nation has built through nearly a quarter-century of democracy.

While Argentina has made a priority of prosecuting “dirty war” crimes and Chileans are proud of the human rights prosecutions by their independent judiciary, Uruguay has largely avoided probing old wounds.

The military amnesty law — passed in 1986 as a complement to an earlier amnesty for crimes by leftists — has protected most uniformed officials ever since. Only exceptional crimes and murders of Uruguayans committed outside the country have been prosecuted, leading to prison terms for about a dozen officials.

The 75-year-old Mujica, who as a Tupamaro guerrilla leader survived imprisonment during the 12-year dictatorship when more than 100 political prisoners died behind bars, was elected president with a 53 percent majority in 2009.

In that election, Uruguayans also voted by 52 percent to uphold the amnesty — only slightly narrower than the 54 percent who favored amnesty in a plebiscite 20 years earlier.

While Mujica has ruled from the center in his presidency, he seems determined to undo the amnesty and keep his promise to the most strident leftists in the Broad Front, which brings together some 20 parties and social organizations.

Mujica’s predecessor as president, Tabare Vazquez, who didn’t challenge the amnesty even though he had congressional majorities during his tenure, also now backs the change. “Majorities aren’t always correct in matters of human rights,” Vazquez said last month.

The governing coalition believes it has at least 16 votes in the 30-member senate in favor of overturning amnesty, including the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Danilo Astori.

The only governing coalition senator committed to backing the retention of amnesty is Jorge Saravia. His view contributed to his ouster from Mujica’s Popular Participation Movement. “I respect the opinion of the people,” he said.

Saravia predicted that overturning amnesty could hurt the Broad Front.

The issue is sensitive because abuses were committed on both sides. The leftist Tupamaros declared armed insurrection in 1963 against democratic governments, and their actions led to dozens of murders, kidnappings, robberies, arsons and other attacks. Vanquished by the military a decade later, they were still one of the principal arguments for the military coup in June 1973.

Uruguay’s current army chief, Gen. Jorge Rosales, has said “there’s nervousness” that now-retired military members will be tried for murders, tortures and disappearances.

All three opposition parties — the center-right National Party, the right-wing Colorados and the Independent Party — also are against overturning the amnesty.

Despite the potential for divisiveness, analysts think Uruguayans aren’t likely to react by upending the middle-of-the-road politics they’ve built since the end of the dictatorship.

“Of course there’s uneasiness … you can’t discard the possibility of some isolated episodes,” said Adolfo Garce, a political scientist at Uruguay’s University of the Republic. But, he added, “An institutional breakdown cannot happen in this country.”

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One man’s crusade to stop toxic sludge dumping in Indonesia

Posted by Admin on April 12, 2011

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By Simon Montlake Simon Montlake Mon Apr 11, 2:57 pm ET

Gresik, Indonesia – Fish net in hand, Prigi Arisandi kicks off his sandals and wades into a shallow stream. Behind him a gaggle of uniformed high school students bend to their task: identifying the plants and bugs scooped from the waterway. Water samples are decanted into ice-cube trays and the contents are matched with textbook drawings.

For Mr. Prigi, an environmental activist, these weekly classes are another way to tackle river pollution, which has afflicted vital waterways in Java, Indonesia’s most densely populated island. He wants to instill in his students the need to protect the biodiversity of the 13-mile Surabaya River where he once played as a child, before factories moved in and the waters ran black.

The stream is clear and healthy. The nearby fields are planted with sugar cane. But Prigi worries that factories and houses will soon replace the fields and pose a threat to the rivers. So he’s teaching the kids to understand and cherish their environment.

“More factories and houses will come here. I want [the children] to be prepared,” he says.

Prigi’s efforts to check the dumping of toxic waste have become a personal crusade. “He never stops thinking about the river,” says Daru Setyorini, his wife and fellow activist, whom he met while studying biology at university.

In recognition of these efforts, Prigi is a recipient of the 2011 Goldman Environmental Prize, announced Monday, April 11, in San Francisco. The award is worth $150,000 and is given to six worldwide recipients in various categories.

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Together with Ms. Daru, with whom he has three children, Prigi runs Ecoton, an nongovernmental organization with a staff of nine people and an annual budget of around $57,000. The award represents a boost for its campaign against river pollution, which has led it to sue the provincial government in 2007 for failing to enforce water-quality regulations. In a landmark ruling, the court ordered the government to set maximum limits for toxic discharges by factories into the Surabaya River.

The government now monitors the discharges using river boat patrols. And the water quality has improved, according to official data. But Prigi says the government should do more.

Prigi plans to use part of his prize money to build a research and ecotourism site near the river’s pristine source, where it is known as the Brantas River. He worries that unchecked upstream development could pollute the Brantas and other waterways. His plan is to work with local villages to develop eco-friendly alternatives that generate income.

“We are rich in biodiversity, but we don’t know it,” he says.

Firsthand impact of rapid industrialization

Growing up in Gresik, outside the port city of Surabaya, Prigi saw firsthand the impact of rapid industrialization. As a student he led protests against factories that dumped untreated waste into the river. His passion for environmental causes and field research left little time for study, but with Daru’s help he graduated and plunged into full-time activism.

He began running river tours for young people and encouraging schools to add environmental programs. Some looked askance at the bespectacled activist with his wildlife posters. “They thought I was a salesman. I said, no, I want to give this to you,” he laughs.

At the same time, Prigi tried to goad local authorities into tackling water pollution. After the fall of dictator Suharto in 1998, Indonesia’s media found its voice and Prigi became adept at courting publicity for his causes. But effluents from factories and houses continued to flow into the Surabaya River, which provides drinking water for the city’s 3 million residents.

“It was black, like coffee,” says Daru.

In October 2007, it got worse. Prigi got reports of dead fish floating in the river and set off to find the cause. His investigation led him to a state-owned sugar factory that had tried to cover up a leak in its treatment plant. After Prigi went to the local media with his findings, the factory admitted its error and agreed to upgrade its plant, a legacy of Dutch colonial rule.

Koesriharto, a factory official, says the new equipment has cut the amount of effluent discharged into the river. “We want to improve our waste-water treatment with new technology,” he says.

Indonesia passed a new environmental law in 2009 that stiffens penalties for polluters, including criminal charges for company owners. But Prigi knows that some factory bosses will shrug off the risk of prosecution. That’s why he keeps putting pressure on provincial authorities to monitor water quality and keep tabs on industrial zones.

Ongoing efforts

Factories aren’t the only culprits. On a recent overcast morning, Prigi paddles his rubber boat past a swath of houses that back onto the river. Garbage floats past: plastic bags, bottles, tree branches, flip-flops, and lighters. Pipes protrude from brick outhouses, flushing waste directly into the river. Yet women still bend to wash clothes in the murky water.

After years of castigating factories for their toxic discharge, Prigi has begun to focus on the problem posed by household waste. Thousands of houses line the riverbank and there is little awareness of the health risks. “People don’t care about the river. They don’t know that the river [supplies] our drinking water,” he says.

As he scans the riverbanks, Daru scoops up water samples to test on her hand-held equipment. She shows the results to Prigi, who suspects that an upstream sluice gate has been opened, sending a cascade of waste into the river. He pulls out his mobile phone and calls the river regulatory agency, ready to do battle again.

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What Does Fukushima’s New “Level 7” Status Mean?

Posted by Admin on April 12, 2011

Internationally recognized symbol.

Warning You are repeating the same MISTAKE!

http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/20110412/wl_time/httpecocentricblogstimecom20110411whatdoesfukushimae28099snewe2809clevel7e2809dstatusmeanxidrssfullworldyahoo;_ylt=Ak4VUwEjp_Qj2Er6Ly0CkY9vaA8F;_ylu=X3oDMTVrYXBtbWdqBGFzc2V0A3RpbWUvMjAxMTA0MTIvaHR0cGVjb2NlbnRyaWNibG9nc3RpbWVjb20yMDExMDQxMXdoYXRkb2VzZnVrdXNoaW1hZTI4MDk5c25ld2UyODA5Y2xldmVsN2UyODA5ZHN0YXR1c21lYW54aWRyc3NmdWxsd29ybGR5YWhvbwRwb3MDNwRzZWMDeW5fYXJ0aWNsZV9zdW1tYXJ5X2xpc3QEc2xrA3doYXRkb2VzZnVrdQ–

By KRISTA MAHR Krista Mahr Tue Apr 12, 6:40 am ET

Japanese officials announced on Tuesday morning that they were planning to raise the event level at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant from a 5 to the maximum level of 7, the highest on the international scale for nuclear incidents and the same level assigned to the 1986 disaster at Chernobyl in the Ukraine.

The decision was made after Japan‘s nuclear safety body determined that at one point after the March 11 earthquake, the plant was releasing 10,000 terabecquerels of iodine-131 for several hours; level 7 accidents are defined as releasing tens of thousands of terabecquerels. “The INES rating itself is not an indicator of a daily phenomena, but the assessment after careful consideration and calculation on the event that happened in the past,” Ken Morita of NISA told TIME on Tuesday morning. (See inside Japan’s nuclear wasteland.)

NISA has also noted, however, that the amount of radioactive material being released at Fukushima today is less than 1 terabecquerel. The agency says that, to date, Fukushima has only released about 10% of total radiation released 25 years ago in Chernobyl, or about 1.8 million terabecquerels. About 30 people, mostly workers, died in the immediate aftermath of Chernobyl, though the UN has estimated that the long-term death toll due to exposure could eventually be as high as 4000.

The International Nuclear Event Scale (INES), designed in 1989 by the IAEA and the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) of the OECD, ranges from 1 (anomaly) to 7 (major accident). The scale is intended to help easily communicate with the public to indicate the seriousness of a nuclear event. Chernobyl is the only other nuclear accident to have been given a 7, an accident classified as having a major radioactive release with widespread impact on the environment and public health. According to INES, “Such a release would result in the possibility of acute health effects; delayed health effects over a wide area, possibly involving more than one country; long-term environmental consequences.” (Read the IAEA’s glossary of short- to long-term health effects of radiation exposure here.) (See the world’s top 10 environmental disasters.)

Besides Chernobyl, the only event that’s come close to a 7 before was a 1957 accident at a fuel processing plant (where spent nuclear fuel is recycled into new fuel) in Russia, in which an off-site release of radiation prompted preventative evacuations. The Three Mile Island accident in the U.S. in 1978, in which a reactor core was severely damage but off-site release of radioactivity was limited, was classified as a 5. Almost all reported events at nuclear facilities are a level 3 or under, according to INES.

Tuesday’s announcement comes on the back of a minor fire spotted by workers outside Fukushima’s reactor 4 on Tuesday morning, shortly after the second of three major aftershocks to hit the beleaguered northeast in the space of 24 hours. Three people in Iwaki died in landslides triggered by the 7.1 aftershock on Monday evening. The government also expanded the exclusion zone around Fukushima on Monday to include several towns within a 30-km (19-mile) radius that had formerly been told that they could remain at home, but were recommended to stay indoors. The towns now added to the mandatory evacuation zone were found to have high levels of radiation. (See the battle to hold Fukushima’s cores.)

Meanwhile, Greenpeace has said that in a survey conducted in Fukushima last week, its team of experts found radiation levels 75 times higher than the government recommendation in 11 samples of vegetables from gardens and small farms. The environmental group also announced that it found radiation levels equivalent to an annual exposure of 5 millisieverts – the evacuation threshold for Chernobyl – in a playground in Fukushima City, population 300,000. Greenpeace is urging the government to delay the start of the school year.

Though raising Fukushima’s level to 7 may not herald any immediate worsening of events, it is sure to add to many residents’ growing concern – and feelings of helplessness – over what could happen at dozens of other nuclear reactors spread across this seismic archipelago. On Sunday, over 17,000 people protested at two separate demonstrations in Tokyo against nuclear power. It was the first time that Yohei Nakamura, 45, had ever been to a protest. “For a long time I’ve been suspicious of nuclear power, but now I realize it’s a serious problem,” he said amidst the crowds carrying placards and shouting slogans. He said anti-nuclear demonstrations were undercovered in the Japanese press because of the influence of Tokyo Power and Electric Power Company, which owns Fukushima. “TEPCO is one of the most powerful companies in Japan,” Nakamura said. “They use a tremendous amount of money for adverstising. If the mass media shows anti-nuclear power activities like demonstrations, they risk losing TEPCO as an advertiser.”

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