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3/18/2011  Six Ways Fukushima is Not Chernobyl
The crisis at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi has already been dubbed the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl, and the situation there continues to worsen. But along with references to the "ch-word," as one nonproliferation expert put it [1], experts have been quick to provide reasons why the Daiichi crisis will not be "the next Chernobyl." Experts have noted several key differences in the design of the reactors in question, as well as in the government's reaction to the crisis: 1. Chernobyl's reactor had no containment structure. The RBMK reactor at Chernobyl "was regarded as the workhorse of Soviet atomic energy, thrifty and reliable -- and safe enough to be built without an expensive containment building that would prevent the release of radiation in the event of a serious accident," The Guardian's Adam Higginbotham noted [2]. As a result, when a reactor exploded on April 26, 1986, the radioactive material inside went straight into the atmosphere [3]. Fukushima's reactors [4] are surrounded by steel-and-concrete containment structures [5]. However, as the New York Times reported Tuesday, the General Electric Mark 1 reactors at Fukushima have "a comparatively smaller and less expensive containment structure [6]" that has drawn criticism from American regulators. In a 1972 memo [7], a safety official suggested that the design presented serious risks and should be discontinued. One primary concern, the Times reported, was that in an incident of cooling failure -- the kind Fukushima's reactors are now undergoing -- the containment structures might burst, releasing the radioactive material they are supposed to keep in check.
(ProPublica)
posted: 4/4/11                   0       9
#1 
keywords: Adam Higginbotham, Berlarus, Cancer, Carbon Dioxide, Chernobyl, Colin Brown, Earthquakes, European Commission, Fukushima, Institution Of Mechanical Engineers, Japan, John Beddington, Lois Beckett, London Guardian, Los Angeles Times, Nieman Journalism Lab, Nikolai Titenok, Nitrogen, Nuclear Power Plants, Pripyat, Russia, Shan Nair, Sweden, The New York Times, Tsunamis, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United Nations, Uranium, Vladimir Pravik, Water Add New Keyword To Link



9/23/2010  This Year, Contractor Deaths Exceed Military Ones in Iraq and Afghanistan
More private contractors than soldiers were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan in recent months, the first time in history that corporate casualties have outweighed military losses on America’s battlefields. More than 250 civilians working under U.S. contracts died in the war zones between January and June 2010, according to a ProPublica analysis of the most recent data available from the U.S. Department of Labor, which tracks contractor deaths. In the same period, 235 soldiers died, according to Pentagon figures. This milestone in the privatization of modern U.S. warfare reflects both the drawdown in military forces in Iraq and the central role of contractors in providing logistics support to local armies and police forces, contracting and military experts said.
(ProPublica)
posted: 9/27/10                   0       8
#2 
keywords: Afghanistan, American Contractors IN Iraq And Afghanistan, Barack Obama, George Washington University, Hascall Clark, Iraq, Military, Pentagon, Police, Propublica, Robert Gates, Service Contractor, Steven Schooner, US Department Of Labor, United States Add New Keyword To Link



5/18/2010  In Gulf Spill, BP Using Dispersants Banned in U.K.
The two types of dispersants BP is spraying in the Gulf of Mexico are banned for use on oil spills in the U.K. As EPA-approved products, BP has been using them in greater quantities than dispersants have ever been used in the history of U.S. oil spills. BP is using two products from a line of dispersants called Corexit, which EPA data appear to show is more toxic and less effective on South Louisiana crude than other available dispersants, according to Greenwire.
(ProPublica)
posted: 9/23/10                   0       3
#3 



5/10/2010  EPA Approves BP’s Use of Questionable Chemicals to Break Up Oil
BP resumed spraying dispersants [1] into the Gulf of Mexico today, according to The Associated Press. The company started using the chemicals a week after the spill first occurred, but had halted their use in order to test their environmental impact. As we've reported, the chemicals -- which are intended to thin out the oil -- contain harmful toxins of their own [2]. Their exact makeup is kept secret, but they do contain a compound "associated with headaches, vomiting and reproductive problems at high doses." They're also called dispersants for a reason. The chemicals break up the oil and then disperse it, so instead of having the oil collect at the surface, dispersed droplets of oil can spread more quickly and in more directions. This means the droplets linger longer in the water, collecting on the seabed and harming the ecosystem offshore
(ProPublica)
posted: 9/24/10                   0       4
#4 



4/30/2010  Chemicals Meant To Break Up BP Oil Spill Present New Environmental Concerns
The chemicals BP is now relying on to break up the steady flow of leaking oil from deep below the Gulf of Mexico could create a new set of environmental problems. Even if the materials, called dispersants, are effective, BP has already bought up more than a third of the world’s supply. If the leak from 5,000 feet beneath the surface continues for weeks, or months, that stockpile could run out. On Thursday BP began using the chemical compounds to dissolve the crude oil, both on the surface and deep below, deploying an estimated 100,000 gallons. Dispersing the oil is considered one of the best ways to protect birds and keep the slick from making landfall. But the dispersants contain harmful toxins of their own and can concentrate leftover oil toxins in the water, where they can kill fish and migrate great distances. The exact makeup of the dispersants is kept secret under competitive trade laws, but a worker safety sheet for one product, called Corexit, says it includes 2-butoxyethanol, a compound associated with headaches, vomiting and reproductive problems at high doses. - A version of Corexit was widely used after the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill and, according to a literature review performed by the group the Alaska Community Action on Toxics, was later linked with health impacts in people including respiratory, nervous system, liver, kidney and blood disorders. But the Academy report makes clear that the dispersants used today are less toxic than those used a decade ago.
(ProPublica)
posted: 9/24/10                   0       4
#5 




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