Category Archives: Environment

SpaceX Leaps to the Top with Latest Launch | Feb 08 2018

What it took for Elon Musk’s SpaceX to disrupt Boeing, leapfrog NASA, and become a serious space company

|| Quartz

“The Space Exploration Technology rocket factory is a large, white hangar-like building near Los Angeles international airport, with a parking lot filled with late-model motorcycles and Tesla electric cars. The vast metal structure once churned out 747 fuselages for Boeing. When you get through the front doors, past security and a cubicle farm stretching the width of the building, there it is: Science fiction being wrought into shape, right in front of you.

Right in front of all the workers, too. The company’s two-floor cafeteria is practically on and overlooking the manufacturing floor. Designers and accountants can eat lunch watching technicians build space capsules and rocket stages. There’s a lot to see: Rockets, like good suits, are bespoke objects, hand-made to order; a SpaceX tour guide says much of the work is too precise for robotic assembly.”

….Continue reading @  Quartz

 

Video: Falcon Heavy blasts off, boosters land at Cape Canaveral

|| Spaceflightnow.com

 

video here: spaceflightnow.com

 

“This is our family cause” – Nuclear Waste Protest in San Clemente | Dec 31 2017

Protesters hit the San Clemente streets to voice opposition for nuclear waste burial on the beach at San Onofre

|| Orange County Register

San Clemente student Jill Greene, 14, marches with dozens of others against the plan to bury toxic waste from the now defunct San Onofre Nuclear plant on the beach. They marched through downtown San Clemente on Saturday, Dec 30, 2017 after a rally.(Photo by Mindy Schauer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

“Monique and Todd Furuike can’t remember the last time they joined a protest. It definitely was the first time for their children, Blake, 13 and Presley, 11.

But when they heard about a group gathering in San Clemente on Saturday to oppose plans to bury 3.6 million pounds of nuclear waste at San Onofre State Beach, Monique and Todd knew they wanted to rally as a family.

“I think it’s important to see what we’re doing as adults, about what we feel passionate about. My kids are beach kids … we have our annual San Onofre beach day,” said Monique Furuike, who drove from Huntington Beach for the protest. “It’s important to see what’s going on around them. There’s so many different causes. This is our family cause.”

More than 100 people showed up at the San Clemente Community Center, some clutching signs with statements such as “kids should grow, not glow” and “it’s better to be active, proactive, reactive than radioactive!” before protesters marched up Avenida Del Mar and El Camino Real.

The latest protest follows similar efforts in recent weeks at Laguna Beach, then Huntington Beach, where opponents to the nuclear waste burial are trying to make a last-ditch effort before spent fuel is buried in the ground in a cliff near the ocean on Camp Pendleton land between Orange County and San Diego at the shuddered San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station .

There’s no concrete date on when the fuel is going to be placed in the canisters, but it could be as soon as mid-January, said Lori Donchak, a San Clemente council member who has followed the issue for a decade.

“If something were to go wrong with the storage, water knows no boundaries,” Donchak said. “It will go straight into the ocean and affect all of California. There’s no reason to believe this part of the country is exempt from natural disaster.”

A spokesperson for Southern California Edison, San Onofre’s operator, did not respond in time for this story’s deadline on Saturday.

Plans to transport the spent fuel to Yucca Mountain in Nevada were taken off the table years ago, and officials haven’t figured out what to do with the nuclear waste other than storing it temporarily on site, in multi-billion-dollar canisters, just a short distance from shore.

In 2015, shortly after the California Coastal Commission gave Southern California Edison the green light to build on-sight storage, the nonprofit group Citizens Oversight filed suit to stop it.

The suit claimed the commission, which must review and approve or disallow seaside projects, failed to adequately evaluate other storage spots or the Holtec system that will entomb the waste. The suit also argues that Southern California Edison presented the spot just a few hundred feet from the beach as the only option.

The Coastal Commission said it followed state law and Edison argued that the new dry storage system is an expansion of an already-existing “safe, secure facility to temporarily store the spent nuclear fuel.”

The highly radioactive fuel will be much safer in the steel-and-concrete bunker than in the pools where it currently cools, Edison said. All waste is slated to be in dry storage by 2019.

Edison has little choice, it has argued. The federal government has exclusive jurisdiction over the transport, monitoring and storage of spent nuclear fuel and has the legal obligation to permanently dispose of it – not just from San Onofre, but from every commercial reactor in the nation.

Edison produced electricity at the site for 40 years, creating millions of pounds of radioactive waste. The reactors were shut down in 2012 after steam generators malfunctioned.

In August, Citizens Oversight, SCE and the Coastal Commission struck a deal to take specific steps toward eventually removing nuclear waste from the region. But details about how that might happen remain vague.

Under terms of the settlement, Edison agreed to spend up to $4 million to hire a team of experts in fields such as nuclear engineering, siting, licensing, transportation, and radiation detection to develop plans to relocate San Onofre’s 3.6 million pounds of spent fuel.

One site the team is supposed to consider is the Palos Verde nuclear plant in Arizona, a site where Edison has a financial stake. The team also is supposed to explore temporary storage sites in New Mexico and Texas.

Already, some spent fuel has been sitting in storage bins – cooling for years – at San Onofre. Some experts argue the proposed dry storage, the steel-and-concrete bunkers, offer greater protection against earthquakes, fire, tsunamis and terrorist threats. And getting it into canisters for dry storage by 2019 is the first step toward transferring it off-site when a facility becomes available, proponents argue.

But concerned citizens in Orange County argue the canisters are below standards used around the world and not nearly as thick as they should be.

Placing the fuel just 100 yards from the water is risky, especially in an area that is due for a major earthquake, said Todd Furuike.

“I think it’s important the public knows of all these risks,” he said as he marched with the group. “That’s how we’ll put pressure on the federal government to respond.”

Torgen Johnson, of Solana Beach, spoke to the group gathered on a grassy lawn before they took to streets to protest.

“The waste is going to outlast recorded history by a huge amount,” he said. “We got our lights on for a few moments, now we have to babysit this fuel for eternity.”

He pointed to his four kids, Layse, 10, Enzo, 8, Coco, 6 and Del Mar, 3.

“We have to keep them safe, and their great, great, great, great grandchildren safe from this stuff,” he said. “It’s thinking about protecting your families and people who aren’t even on the planet yet.”

He was optimistic the crowd’s voice would be heard.

“It’s going to take people like you to speak up,” he said. “We have a big problem, but we have a big crowd and a lot of spirit here. I hope that all of you stay engaged in this fight.”

…Continue reading more @ OC Register

Gov Jerry Brown Missing in Action Again as Aliso Canyon Springs Another Gas Leak | Dec 27 2017

SoCal Gas Faces Violation Notice for Recent Aliso Canyon Gas Leak

||  NBC San Diego

Regulators contend that SoCalGas didn’t notify the community about the leak until more than two hours after it began.

“The South Coast Air Quality Management District issued a violation notice to Southern California Gas Co. Friday stemming from a nearly hour-long gas leak that occurred Monday at the Aliso Canyon storage facility in Porter Ranch.

The notice accuses the gas company of causing a public nuisance, and regulators contend SoCalGas didn’t notify AQMD or the community about the leak until more than two hours after it began.

.. ..

According to the AQMD, the leak was caused by the failure of a flange gasket, and SoCalGas did not notify the agency or the community about the leak until “more than two hours after it began.”

“We take all nuisance odor incidents seriously,” AQMD Executive Officer Wayne Nastri said. “SoCalGas and all facilities in our region have an obligation to protect residents from foul odors that can impact their communities.”

The Aliso Canyon facility was the site of the largest methane leak in U.S. history. That leak began in October 2015 and wasn’t capped until February 2016. Roughly8 8,000 families were forced from their homes, with many residents complaining of a variety of health issues. Many residents continue to call for the permanent closure of the facility.”

…Continue reading more @ nbc san diego

Homeless ‘Illegal Cooking’ Caused Skirball Fire in Bel Air | Dec 12 2017

Cause of Skirball fire was ‘illegal cooking’ in homeless camp, LAFD says

|| LA Daily News

“An illegal cooking fire at a homeless encampment was determined to be the cause of the Skirball fire, which began last week, authorities said Tuesday.

The illegal cooking occurred just before 5 a.m. Dec. 6 in a brush area adjacent to where Sepulveda Boulevard crosses under the 405 Freeway, the Los Angeles Fire Department said.

The LAFD’s Arson-County-Terrorism Section investigated the fire and the results were released via email Tuesday afternoon.

“At the time of the LAFD’s arrival there were no individuals present at the area of origin,” LAFD spokesman Peter Sanders said in the release.

No arrests have been made in connection to the blaze.

The Skirball fire has burned 422 acres, destroyed six homes and damaged 12 others in the Bel-Air community.

The fire is 85 percent contained with 69 fire personnel remaining on scene to achieve 100 percent containment, fire officials said.

According to the National Park Service, about 90 percent of wildfires nationwide are human-caused.”

…..Continue reading more @ Daily News

Dir of U.S. Forest Fire Managment Says SoCal Fires ‘Human Caused’ | Dec 08 2017

Firefighter Says California Fires Are ‘Human Caused,’ Then Backs Off

|| Daily Caller

“The raging California wildfires were started by humans, Robert Baird, the Director of Fire and Aviation Management for the U.S. Forest Service, said on Fox News Friday.

“When you have human caused fires which these all are, they’re not related to lighting or anything, then the wind whips up the fires and makes them very difficult to contain, and that causes a challenge for us on the ground,” Baird said during an interview on “America’s Newsroom.”

Baird then back pedaled his answer.

Host Bill Hemmer asked Baird for clarification on whether the fires were started intentionally.

“However they were started, accidentally is often the situation, but that’s being dealt with by law enforcement,” Baird said.

“I’m focused on getting containment,” he added. “We are focused on life and safety and protection of the public. Law enforcement is coming in to determine what the cause and origin of these fires were.”

….Continue reading more @ DailyCaller

 

Fireworks, arson fires set in Isla Vista during red-flag conditions

|| ABC TV

“Amid severe fire warnings throughout Southern California, commercial-grade fireworks were set off in Isla Vista and four items were set on fire during an impromptu gathering, Santa Barbara County officials said.

The southern part of Santa Barbara County was hit with a power outage for several hours Monday night as the Thomas Fire raged in Ventura County. During that time, someone began setting off commercial grade fireworks in the beachside community, described as both mortar style and cinder cones.

Some were set off over the ocean and others at intersections in residential areas.

The fireworks attracted thousands of college students and local residents, who began to congregate on Del Playa Drive. As they gathered, some individuals set a number of items on fire, including two couches, a chair and a dumpster, and in at least one instance used gasoline as an accelerant.

Isla Vista is known to be home to many students of the University of California, Santa Barbara as well as Santa Barbara City College. Individuals involved in setting off the fireworks and fires have not been identified.

County authorities said the incident required a diversion of resources as they were being kept busy with the Thomas Fire and the power outage.

“Fortunately, no one was hurt, but the series of events diverted resources away from other important calls for service,” the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s office said.

“The Sheriff’s Office wants to remind the public that first responders and the Santa Barbara County Public Safety Dispatch Center are extremely busy due to the Thomas Fire in Ventura County and the widespread power outages we have experienced in southern Santa Barbara County. We request your cooperation as we work together to provide safety during this crisis period.”

….Continue reading more @ ABC7.com

 

 

 

Japan Decides to Dump 770,000 Tons of Radioactive Waste Water into the Pacific Ocean | July 15, 2017

Fishermen express fury as Fukushima plant set to release radioactive material into ocean

|| Telegraph UK

Local residents and environmental groups have condemned a plan to release radioactive tritium from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean.

“Officials of Tokyo Electric Power Co., the operator of the plant, say tritium poses little risk to human health and is quickly diluted by the ocean.

In an interview with local media, Takashi Kawamura, chairman of TEPCO, said: “The decision has already been made.” He added, however, that the utility is waiting for approval from the Japanese government before going ahead with the plan and is seeking the understanding of local residents.

The tritium is building up in water that has been used to cool three reactors that suffered fuel melt-downs after cooling equipment was destroyed in the magnitude 9 earthquake and tsunami that struck north-east Japan in March 2011.

Around 770,000 tons of highly radioactive water is being stored in 580 tanks at the site. Many of the contaminants can be filtered out, but the technology does not presently exist to remove tritium from water.

“This accident happened more than six years ago and the authorities should have been able to devise a way to remove the tritium instead of simply announcing that they are going to dump it into the ocean”, said Aileen Mioko-Smith, an anti-nuclear campaigner with Kyoto-based Green Action Japan.

“They say that it will be safe because the ocean is large so it will be diluted, but that sets a precedent that can be copied, essentially permitting anyone to dump nuclear waste into our seas”, she told The Telegraph.

Fishermen who operate in waters off the plant say any release of radioactive material will devastate an industry that is still struggling to recover from the initial nuclear disaster.

“Releasing [tritium] into the sea will create a new wave of unfounded rumours, making all our efforts for naught”, Kanji Tachiya, head of a local fishing cooperative, told Kyodo News.”

….Continue reading more @ Telegraph UK

|  Question: How is it conceivable that a single nation can make such a unilater decision that can affect the entire planet? We simply don’t know what the affects will be from such major environmental decision. Yet not a peep from the MSM on this critical eco-issue.

Moreover, how is this not a form of state-sponsored form of eco-terrorism? /CJ

 

Fukushima’s tritiated water to be dumped into sea, Tepco chief says. Does Tepco and Japan owns the Pacific Ocean?

|| Nuclear-News.net

We were all just kidding when we said we would save our ocean. Besides, what’s a little bit more poison in the Pacific? Pretending to manage the unmanageable. Dumping into the ecosystem is simply standard operation. The solution to pollution is dilution.–old adage.

Should all of us, all the other countries, stay silent while Tepco and Japan are deciding on their own to dump even more radioactive contamination into our Pacific Ocean?

I would like to point out that the Pacific ocean does not belong to Japan, it belongs to all of us; as my dear friend Sheila Parks already pointed out in her excellent December 2013 article which I recommend to everyone to read, https://www.opednews.com/articles/The-Pacific-Ocean-Does-Not-by-Sheila-Parks-Energy-Nuclear_Fukushima_Fukushima-Cover-up_Japan-131215-303.html.

Now, a question: Will all the Pacific Ocean neighboring countries will stand saying nothing about Japan dumping all that accumulated contaminated water into the Pacific ocean? Mind you, in addition to all what Tepco has been already unwillingly and willingly dumping on the sly with all kinds of lousy reasons during the past 6 years…

Terrible, but tritium is actually released by all nuclear reactors. Legally and illegally, which reactor communities should point out every chance they get. Tritium (H3O) can go everywhere in your body water goes, even across the blood brain and placental barriers, and is thought to be a cause of elevated rates of childhood leukemia around nuclear reactors.

Despite the objections of local fishermen, the tritium-tainted water stored at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant will be dumped into the sea, a top official at Tokyo Electric says.

“The decision has already been made,” Takashi Kawamura, chairman of Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., said in a recent interview with the media.

Tritium typically poses little risk to human health unless ingested in high amounts, and ocean discharges of diluted volumes of tritium-tainted water are a routine part of nuclear power plant operations. This is because it is a byproduct of nuclear operations but cannot be filtered out of water.

As of July 6, about 777,000 tons were stored in about 580 tanks at the Fukushima plant, which is quickly running out of space.

Tepco’s decision has local fishermen worried that their livelihood is at risk because the radioactive material will further mar public perceptions about the safety of their catches.

Kawamura’s remarks are the first by the utility’s management on the sensitive matter. Since the March 2011 meltdowns were brought under control, the Fukushima No. 1 plant has been generating tons of toxic water that has been filling up hundreds of tanks at the tsunami-hit plant.

Kawamura’s comments came at a time when a government panel is still debating how to deal with the tritium issue, including whether to dump it all into sea.

Saying its next move is contingent on the panel’s decision, Kawamura hinted in the interview that Tepco will wait for the government’s decision before actually releasing the tainted water into the sea.

“We cannot keep going if we do not have the support of the state” as well as Fukushima Prefecture and other stakeholders, he said.

Toxic water at the plant is being treated by a complex water-processing system that can remove 62 different types of radioactive materials except tritium.

Shunichi Tanaka, chairman of the Nuclear Regulation Authority, has been urging Tepco to release the water. Kawamura says he feels emboldened to have the support of the NRA chairman.

But fishermen who make their livelihoods from sea life near the plant are opposed to the releases because of how the potential ramifications will affect their lives.

“Releasing (tritium) into the sea will create a new wave of unfounded rumors, making our efforts all for naught,” said Kanji Tachiya, head of a local fishermen cooperative.

Tachiya, of the cooperative that includes fishermen from the towns of Futaba and Okuma, which host the plant, took a swipe at Tepco’s decision, saying there has been “no explanation whatsoever from Tepco to local residents.”

On March 11, 2011, tsunami inundated the six-reactor plant, situated 10 meters above sea level, and flooded the power supply, causing a station blackout. The cooling systems of reactors 1, 2 and 3 were thus crippled, leading to core meltdowns that became the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986.

Water is being constantly injected into the leaking reactors to keep the molten fuel cool, creating tons of extremely toxic water 24/7. Although it is filtered through a complex processing system, extracting the tritium is virtually impossible.

More @

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/?post_type=news&p=1208906

Continue reading more @ Nuclear-news.net

 

DHS Warns questionably legal DACA Heading for Termination | July 14, 2017

DHS’ Kelly Warns Lawmakers DACA Might Not Be Around For Much Longer

|| Daily Caller

“A potential lawsuit from Republican state attorneys general might force the Trump administration to enact a campaign trail promise.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and Republican attorneys general in nine other states sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions that said that they will sue the federal government if it does not begin to phase out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

The DACA program, which was started by former President Obama, protects around 790,000 illegal immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as minors. Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly told members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Wednesday that he can’t assure them that the administration would prevail over this legal challenge.

DHS spokesman David Lapan told The Washington Post, “This is what he’s being told by different attorneys, that if it goes to court it might not survive.”

President Trump said on the campaign trail that he would “immediately terminate” the DACA program that was started through an executive order. He has reneged on this promise and an estimated 98,000 illegal immigrants have received protection from deportation and work permits during the first few months of Trump’s tenure in office.

However, with this lawsuit looming Trump’s promise seems poised to be implemented.

“Jeff Sessions is going to say, ‘Deport them,’” Democratic Illinois Rep. Luis Gutierrez told the Post. “If you’re going to count on Jeff Sessions to save DACA, then DACA is ended.”

….Continue reading more @ Daily Caller

 

CIA Defends the Muslim Brotherhood as Western Intel Agencies Warn of Dangers, Links to Terror

|| PJ Media

“As the CIA continues to defend their investment in the Muslim Brotherhood to bring “moderate Islamist democracy” to the Middle East, much of the Middle East and our European allies are moving against the group.

I noted here at PJ Media last month that many of America’s Arab allies (Egypt, UAE, Bahrain, Jordan, Saudi Arabia), as well as Israel, had moved well ahead of the U.S. in addressing the group’s toxic influence:

In fact, the Muslim Brotherhood is one of the central issues in the current Qatar crisis, where these Arab nations are taking active measures against Qatar for its support of the the Brotherhood:

Just last week the foreign minister of Bahrain, whose legislature includes representatives from the Muslim Brotherhood, said that the group is a terrorist organizations and its sympathizers must be prosecuted:

Back in February, I reported that the CIA and the National Intelligence Council (NIC) provided the funds to support Nixon Center researchers Robert Leiken and Steven Brooke to create the “moderate Muslim Brotherhood” narrative during the Bush administration. That became the basis for their Foreign Affairs article of that same title:

Yet across Europe, intelligence agencies are warning about the group’s operations in their respective countries — and some are taking action.

Here’s a rundown of the actions being taken by our European allies and our Arab allies against the Muslim Brotherhood….”

…..Continue reading more @ PJ Media

 

 

Kamala Harris Vows to Block Trump Border Wall: ‘Waste of Money’

|| Breitbart

“On Wednesday, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) said she will try to block funding for President Donald Trump’s border wall because it is a “waste of money.”

The House Appropriations Committee allocated $1.6 billion to fund the wall this week, and House Freedom Caucus chairman Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) told Breitbart News this week that the next spending bill must fund Trump’s border wall if Congress wants to avoid a government shutdown.

“There is nothing more critical that has to be funded than funding the border wall for two reasons,” Meadows said. “One is it is a commitment that the president made to the American people and one that he intends on keeping, but the second part of that is for our national security we must secure our borders. And the American people will accept no less.”

It is worth noting that in 2015, an illegal immigrant murdered Kate Steinle in Harris’ sanctuary city of San Francisco while Harris, the former San Francisco district attorney, was California’s attorney general. The illegal immigrant murderer told authorities that he specifally came to San Francisco because he knew it was a sanctuary city. Harris, after reportedly initially tweeting about soccer, reacted to Steinle’s tragic death by pushing for comprehensive amnesty legislation.”

….Continue reading more @ Breitbart