PBS Takes Us on a Terrifying 'Post-Apocalyptic' Tour Inside Fukushima
Nuclear opponents are often criticized for using the term "apocalypse" to describe the triple meltdown/quadruple-explosion/endless-radiation gusher reality at Fukushima.
But PBS has now penetrated where ordinary journalists may not tread—the interior of the most radioactive place on Earth. PBS reporter Miles O'Brien shows us for the first time some of the visual reality of what has actually happened to a six-reactor facility that has turned into a trillion-dollar catastrophe.
Or, as PBS puts it, the nuclear "apocalypse" along the coast of Japan, daily pouring 300 tons of lethal isotopes into our ocean eco-system. This brave and fascinating excursion into Fukushima's innards features footage of the infamous Unit Four spent fuel pool, where Tokyo Electric is trying to bring down extremely radioactive fuel rods whose potential killing power is essentially unfathomable.
Given the "State Secrets Act" banning Japan's citizens from criticizing the government, O'Brien's footage may be the last we see inside Fukushima for quite some time. Despite 150,000 signatures delivered to the United Nations asking for a global takeover, Fukushima's builders and mis-managers remain firmly in charge. In fact, the clean-up has become a major profit center for Tepco, which showed a multi-billion-dollar windfall in 2013 while putting the entire planet in peril.
One odd note: O'Brien shows footage of Lake Barrett, a former Nuclear Regulatory Commission functionary who was integral to the cover-up at Three Mile Island, where owners falsely denied for years that any fuel had melted. Barrett advocates dumping Fukushima's tritium-laden water directly into the Pacific Ocean. Will he also pop up at nuclear power's next "post-apocalyptic" nightmare?
Visit EcoWatch’s FUKUSHIMA page for more related news on this topic.
The World Health Organization (WHO) announced Monday that 64 high-income nations have joined an effort to distribute a COVID-19 vaccine fairly, prioritizing the most vulnerable citizens, as Science reported. The program is called the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access Facility, or Covax, and it is a joint effort led by the WHO, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Gloria Oladipo
In the face of dangerous heat waves this summer, Americans have taken shelter in air conditioned cooling centers. Normally, that would be a wise choice, but during a pandemic, indoor shelters present new risks. The same air conditioning systems that keep us cool recirculate air around us, potentially spreading the coronavirus.
Toxins in water produced by cyanobacteria was likely responsible for more than 300 elephant deaths in Botswana this year, the country's wildlife department announced on Monday.
How Did Cyanobacteria Poison the Elephants?<p>Cyanobacteria are microscopic organisms common in water and sometimes found in soil. Some cyanobacteria produce neurotoxins.</p><p>The cyanobacteria "was growing in pans" or watering holes, the principal veterinary officer of the Department of Wildlife and National Parks, Mmadi Reuben, told reporters.</p><p>Reuben said the deaths had "stopped towards the end of June 2020, coinciding with the drying of pans."</p><p>"However we have many questions still to be answered such as why the elephants only and why that area only? We have a number of hypotheses we are investigating," added Reuben.</p><p>Similar elephant deaths have also been recorded in neighboring Zimbabwe.</p>
Climate Change to Blame?<p>Not all cyanobacteria are toxic but scientists say varieties dangerous to humans and animals are occurring more frequently as climate change drives up global temperatures.</p><p>Southern Africa's temperatures are rising at twice the global average, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.</p>
Elephant Paradise?<p>Africa's overall elephant population is declining due to poaching. But Botswana, home to almost a third of the continent's elephants, has seen numbers grow to around 130,000.</p><p>Botswana's government said it was continuing studies into the occurrence of the deadly bacteria. In the winter, elephants hydrate themselves mainly by eating roots and bark, especially of the baobab tree.</p>
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By Alexandra Villarreal
As West coast wildfires color the skies dystopian red and orange and an aggressive hurricane season batters the U.S. Gulf coast, college students are demanding their schools take bold action to address the climate crisis.
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The National Hurricane Center has run out of names for tropical storms this year and has now moved on to the Greek alphabet during an extremely active hurricane season. Late Monday night, Tropical Storm Beta became the ninth named storm to make landfall. That's the first time so many named storms have made landfall since 1916, when Woodrow Wilson was president, according to NBC News.
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