The first prophetic sign to follow CNN’s irrelevant Pandora’s Promise is this: the Dallas-based Luminant Power Company has cancelled two mammoth reactors.
Pandora’s box score for atomic America 2013 is five announced early reactor closures, nine project cancellations and six ditched uprates. Today, 100 U.S. reactors operate where 1,000 were once promised. New orders are zilch.
Even more critical: For decades the nuclear industry said zero commercial reactors could explode. When Chernobyl blew, they blamed it on the Soviet design. Now, three General Electric reactors have exploded at Fukushima. Unfortunately, as they age and deteriorate, there may be more to come.
Here are some more numbers to tally. More than 1,300 fuel rods sit in a damaged fuel pool 100 feet in the air at Fukushima 4. They contain radioactive cesium equivalent to 14,000 times what was released at the bombing of Hiroshima. There are some 6,000 rods in a common fuel pool nearby. There are some 11,000 rods scattered around the site. The three melted cores from units One, Two and Three are missing. There are roughly 1,000 tanks holding billions of gallons of hot radioactive water that are leaking and will collapse in the next big earthquake.
Photo courtesy of Abbie Sophia
All 50 allegedly operable reactors in Japan remain shut. Germany is on its way to total green power.
Pandora's Promise was largely bankrolled by Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen, whose buddy Bill Gates has bet big on the mythic “new generation” reactors.
As it aired on CNN, a grassroots coalition presented more than 150,000 signatures to the United Nations, requesting a global takeover at the accursed Fukushima, where three reactors cores are missing and radiation still pours into the ocean.
Meanwhile Tokyo Electric Power postponed its potentially apocalyptic bring-down of the radioactive fuel rods at Unit Four.
“More tests” were needed, they said. This week the U.S. Department of Energy will meet on how to aid an untried engineering exercise whose failure doom the planet. But if it can be done at all, it will take the entire global community to bring this beast under control.
CNN dumped a ton of hype on Pandora's Promise, and made no real attempt to hide its own pro-nuke bias. Lead-up debates were heavily weighted toward the industry, whose push for a new generation of reactors will ultimately go nowhere.
The scenario is obvious: Gates and his fellow mega-rich will pour into various theoretical atomic technologies a few hundred million dollars. They’ll write it all off their taxes. They’ll demand immunity for any accidents. It’ll all run billions over budget and years behind schedule. Then they’ll leave yet another radioactive mess for the rest of us to clean up.
Atomic energy makes global warming worse. Its truest promise is for ever more meltdowns—in health, the ecology and economy.
This movie maker needs to revisit Fukushima and report on those fuel rods flying in the sky, the river of radiation pouring into the oceans and the lethal long-lived poisons spewing into the air we breathe. As Hesiod says, when the original Pandora opened her forbidden box, “the Earth and sea were full of evils.”
But hope did remain, now in the form of the green power revolution. The world of finance is on our side. So is the insurance industry. And, basic sanity.
On the 11th of every month, in commemoration of Fukushima, many of us will fast in solidarity with the victims in hope of a survivable outcome. You can help by signing our petitions. With our grassroots organizing and escalated resistance, a Solartopian world can be won.
Pandora’s clear promise—call it a warning—is that our survival depends on it.
Visit EcoWatch’s NUCLEAR page for more related news on this topic.
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By Aaron W Hunter
A chance discovery of a beautifully preserved fossil in the desert landscape of Morocco has solved one of the great mysteries of biology and paleontology: how starfish evolved their arms.
The Pompeii of palaeontology. Aaron Hunter, Author provided<h2></h2><p>Although starfish might appear very robust animals, they are typically made up of lots of hard parts attached by ligaments and soft tissue which, upon death, quickly degrade. This means we rely on places like the Fezouata formations to provide snapshots of their evolution.</p><p>The starfish fossil record is patchy, especially at the critical time when many of these animal groups first appeared. Sorting out how each of the various types of ancient starfish relate to each other is like putting a puzzle together when many of the parts are missing.</p><h2>The Oldest Starfish</h2><p><em><a href="https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/216101v1.full.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Cantabrigiaster</a></em> is the most primitive starfish-like animal to be discovered in the fossil record. It was discovered in 2003, but it has taken over 17 years to work out its true significance.</p><p>What makes <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> unique is that it lacks almost all the characteristics we find in brittle stars and starfish.</p><p>Starfish and brittle stars belong to the family Asterozoa. Their ancestors, the Somasteroids were especially fragile - before <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> we only had a handful of specimens. The celebrated Moroccan paleontologist Mohamed <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2016.06.041" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Ben Moula</a> and his local team was instrumental in discovering <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0031018216302334?via%3Dihub" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">these amazing fossils</a> near the town of Zagora, in Morocco.</p><h2>The Breakthrough</h2><p>Our breakthrough moment came when I compared the arms of <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> with those of modern sea lilles, filter feeders with long feathery arms that tend to be attached to the sea floor by a stem or stalk.</p><p>The striking similarity between these modern filter feeders and the ancient starfish led our team from the University of Cambridge and Harvard University to create a new analysis. We applied a biological model to the features of all the current early Asterozoa fossils in existence, along with a sample of their closest relatives.</p>
Cantabrigiaster is the most primitive starfish-like animal to be discovered in the fossil record. Aaron Hunter, Author provided<p>Our results demonstrate <em>Cantabrigiaster</em> is the most primitive of all the Asterozoa, and most likely evolved from ancient animals called crinoids that lived 250 million years before dinosaurs. The five arms of starfish are a relic left over from these ancestors. In the case of <em>Cantabrigiaster</em>, and its starfish descendants, it evolved by flipping upside-down so its arms are face down on the sediment to feed.</p><p>Although we sampled a relatively small numbers of those ancestors, one of the unexpected outcomes was it provided an idea of how they could be related to each other. Paleontologists studying echinoderms are often lost in detail as all the different groups are so radically different from each other, so it is hard to tell which evolved first.</p>
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By Daniel Raichel
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