Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Send In The Egyptian Army? Japanese Reactor Design Recommended Being Banned In 1972, One Term Good for Hillary

David Ignatius

"They say that Japan's rigorous building codes and regulations saved thousands of lives. Or as Republican here saw it, it fostered a socialist anti-business environment that's worse than being dead." –Bill Maher

"It turns out that the Republican budget that they submitted for next year slashes funding for the agency that issues tsunami warnings and organizes responses to the tsunami. In their defense, Republicans say that tsunamis are just a theory, they are not a real threat like ACORN, the Black Panthers, NPR, and math teachers in Wisconsin." –Bill Maher
"Due to the recession, there are now 15,000 fewer lawyers in the U.S. No one ever talks about the good things that come from a recession." –Jay Leno

"Al-Qaida is now publishing a magazine for women. They already have one for men, called 'Car Bomb and Driver.'" –David Letterman

There are four NY Times journalists who have disappeared inside of Libya, including the Pulitzer Prize winning author, Anthony Shadid. Anthony's articles were always among the best, he had a clearer picture of what was going on in the Middle East, and his articles were always illuminating. Here's hoping that none of them are harmed and some Libyan jailer will set them free...

One of the questions that has been asked during the Libyan crisis, is why doesn't the Egyptian Army invade Libya to support the rebels? After all, they would have a more legitimate excuse than Saudi Arabia does for entering Bahrain and setting off a state of emergency. The reason why is pretty simple: for all of their bluster and preening, the armies of the Middle Eastern countries haven't been to war. The last time the Egyptian army engaged someone was in 1967, and they lost. Since then, most of the army personnel in Egypt, Syria, and Iran, have become the merchant middle class, more intent on trade agreements than military contracts. But they had better come up to speed real quick, because Qaddafi's mercenaries may not be content to rout the rebels inside the borders, and follow them as they escape into Tunisia, Algeria, and Egypt...

And Iran keeps on trying to smuggle arms and munitions into Gaza. Israel stopped a ship last week that had come from the Syrian port that the two iranian warships visited. It's thought that they unloaded the weapons in Syria, which were then put on the cargo ship, which sailed to Turkey, on its way to Egypt. It was stopped and boarded by the Israeli navy in international waters, which meant they were tracking it since it first left port... I remember reading an op-ed piece last week, where the author asked an Iranian diplomat why they spent so much time, energy, and money on disrupting the region, when they could have used that same amount of money and sent Palestinian children to schools and colleges, built libraries and hospitals, and generally improved their lives. The Iranian diplomat looked puzzled, then replied, "But, what would be in it for us?"

Double--click on image to enlarge
Most of the damage from the tsunami happened to rural areas in Japan, that the rescue workers haven't been able to reach yet. The incredible amount of rubble poses a problem, where to put it all? Cities are running out of body bags, and that is one item you don't want to make a call for as a charity. Blankets, clothes, powdered milk, yes, body bags, no...

Looking at the plans of the reactors, I'm struck by how old and archaic the technology seems to be. The reactor design hasn't changed in over 40 years, and this particular one has had criticisms since 1972...: "In 1972, Stephen H. Hanauer, then a safety official with the Atomic Energy Commission, recommended that the Mark 1 system be discontinued because it presented unacceptable safety risks. Among the concerns cited was the smaller containment design, which was more susceptible to explosion and rupture from a buildup in hydrogen — a situation that may have unfolded at the Fukushima Daiichi plant. Later that same year, Joseph Hendrie, who would later become chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, a successor agency to the atomic commission, said the idea of a ban on such systems was attractive. But the technology had been so widely accepted by the industry and regulatory officials, he said, that “reversal of this hallowed policy, particularly at this time, could well be the end of nuclear power.”

Thanks, Joseph. Because you were such a shill for the industry, this type of reactor became popular because it was cheaper to build. Because you didn't ban this type of reactor, it may mean the death of the nuclear industry as a whole (along with the silly idea of clean coal technology), and the island of Japan may become uninhabitable if the worst-case scenario occurs. Right now, it looks like at least one of the four problem reactors is sliding towards meltdown.

So, if you have any friends who are physicists, and they are supposed to be among the smartest among us, ask them why they have been sitting on their thumbs for the last forty years and haven't come up with a safe way to build and maintain a nuclear reactor, much less find a safe way to dispose of the uranium pellets after they have been used. Currently, we bury them in the ground and hope that nobody will stumble across them in the next 10,000 years. Europe used to put them in leaky 55 gallon drums and dump them off the coast of Somalia, but the growing pirate industry put a stop to that...

Well, I'm pretty much lifting this next article from TPM, who got it from CNN's Wolf Blitzer, when he was interviewing Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton: "Q- Would you like to be president of the United States?


Q- Why not?

Because I have the best job I could ever have. This is a moment in history where it is almost hard to catch your breath. There are both the tragedies and disasters that we have seen from Haiti to Japan and there are the extraordinary opportunities and challenges that we see right here in Egypt and in the rest of the region. So I want to be part of helping to represent the United States at this critical moment in time, to do everything I can in support of the president and our government and the people of our country to stand for our values and our ideals, to stand up for our security, which has to remain first and foremost in my mind and to advance America's interests. And there isn't anything that I can imagine doing after this that would be as demanding, as challenging or rewarding.

Q- President of the United States?

You know, I had a wonderful experience running and I am very proud of the support I had and very grateful for the opportunity, but I'm going to be, you know, moving on." Cue the music, A Place in the Sun, by Stevie Wonder:

Like a long lonely stream
I keep runnin' towards a dream
Movin' on, movin' on
Like a branch on a tree
I keep reachin' to be free
Movin' on, movin' on

'Cause there's a place in the sun
Where there's hope for ev'ryone
Where my poor restless heart's gotta run
There's a place in the sun
And before my life is done
Got to find me a place in the sun

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