Not much information comes out of Japan about Fukushima anymore, and the American MSM seems to have forgotten what watered down reporting they had done earlier. But the human suffering has begun in Japan, and even the Japanese government is trying to pretend it’s not happening.
The curtain is pulled over the total impact of this disaster to protect the nuclear power industry. The government and media blackout has become known as “plume gate” for the radioactive plume that was released from the Fukushima mishap. (http://www.naturalnews.com/035789_Fukushima_Cesium-137_Plume-Gate.html)
The Fukushima reactors were designed by General Electric, and 23 reactors of the USA’s 104 operating reactors are very similar to Fukushima’s. Lately, awareness of nuclear power’s pitfalls is growing and casting a shadow on nuclear power’s illegitimate claim of sustainability and unlimited power.
The suffering has already begun
Thousands of Japanese children from Fukushima and the nearby areas have been diagnosed with cysts and nodules on their thyroid glands. So far, 41.1 percent of 57,000 tested have shown these early warnings of potential thyroid cancer.
Even worse, four out of five Fukushima evacuees have been observed with developing thyroid abnormalities. It’s not just iodide isotopes with their relatively short radioactive half-lives that can penetrate thyroid glands, cesium-37 isotopes with longer half-lives can too. Here’s the shocking truth about radioactive half-life. (http://www.lbl.gov/abc/Basic.html#Half)
However, the official medical line from the head of this research is that maybe they’ve eaten too much seafood or taken too much iodine. It’s also an official decree that the testing be stopped before it begins in other areas of Japan.
Even in Tokyo, doctors are reporting dramatically increased incidents of incurable diarrhea, non-stop nose bleeds, and flu-like symptoms. Some parents are becoming activists in Japan to get at the truth and get their children treated properly. Children are more easily affected by radiation poisoning.
A Japanese pediatrician even put out a YouTube video asking for outside help since the Japanese government is not helping as they should. (http://enenews.com/alert-fukushima-pediatrician-we-need-outside-help-japanese-people-not-listening-we-are-now-in-very-bad-condition-especially-for-children-please-give-us-help-video)
Dr. Christopher Busby, visiting professor at the University of Ulster’s School of Biomedical Sciences and Scientific Secretary of the European Committee on Radiation Risk put out this video about Fukushima. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CdvfsBsXNS4)
He’s been attacked. But as a saying goes: “You know you’re getting close to the target when you’re getting flack.” Here’s Busby’s counter attack: http://fukushimaupdate.com/dr-chris-busby-fights-back-against-detractors-video/
Nuclear power is dangerous no matter how it’s used
Even with flawless operation, the growing problem of where to put power plants’ spent fuel rods, which are actually still very radioactive for centuries, is becoming an issue that’s swept under the rug. Using DU (depleted uranium) for ammunition has been one outlet for nuclear waste.
Depleted uranium is a misleading term. Depleted means it’s not suitable for nuclear reactor use. But it’s still highly radioactive. Uranium metal is extremely hard, and DU is used to on projectiles and bullets in modern warfare because of DU’s ability to penetrate even armor.
When the projectiles hit targets, they explode and a radioactive mist is released into the immediate environment. Even before that, those projectiles tend to ignite and release radioactive materials. These local radioactive mists get into the area’s water and soil and remain for thousands of years.
This has begun in Iraq and elsewhere. These mists can also be carried far away from the immediate areas as radioactive measurements in the UK have demonstrated. In effect, nuclear war has been practiced for decades by the U.S. and its allies by using DU ammunition, which the UN had earlier declared illegal.
A massive underground radioactive waste “tomb” is under construction in Finland. It’s known as Onkalo, and it’s featured in a documentary entitled Into Eternity. Onkalo is only for Finland’s nuclear waste. Sweden and France may follow soon. Will others follow, or is it already too late?
EPA Releases Strategy to Reduce Animal Testing on Vertebrates
We know that not only are there ethical concerns about animal testing, but also that using animals for medical research can be ineffective and unreliable. The EPA is doing something about it.
Animal testing has become a questionably effective thorn in the side of scientific progress. While it was once our best method, alternative methods are beginning to surpass animal testing in both accuracy and reliability. Fortunately, the EPA recently released a draft strategy to reduce the use of vertebrate animals in chemical testing.
This public stand against animal testing is a part of the EPA’s commitment to the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, which amended the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).
“This draft strategy is a first step toward reducing the use of animals and increasing the use of cutting-edge science to ensure chemicals are reviewed for safety with the highest scientific standards,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt in a statement. The EPA’s draft strategy is currently available for public comment, and will be for 45 days as of March 7.
The draft strategy has three relatively simple components: “identifying, developing and integrating” new approaches for Toxic Substances Control Act decisions; building confidence that these new methods are scientifically reliable, and relevant to toxic substance decisions; and implementing the new methods that are a best fit. Of course, that’s much easier said than done, and the plan notes that this “necessarily describes a multi-year process with incremental steps for adoption and integration” of new testing methods.
“We welcome the draft strategy as a progressive step to reduce and ultimately replace the use of animals to regulate chemicals in the U.S. through the implementation of TSCA reform,” said Catherine Willett, director of science policy at The Humane Society of the United States, in the EPA statement. “We have every indication that EPA intends to make good on this unprecedented opportunity to not only reduce animal use, but improve the science used to evaluate chemical safety.”
Reducing and eliminating animal testing is no longer just an animal rights’ issue. Unfortunately, animal testing has been shown to produce some misleading, unreliable results, given that animals’ bodies respond to drugs and medical conditions in some significantly different ways from humans’.
Fortunately, as the EPA continues to reduce animal use in testing, alternative methods continue to develop and improve. It is possible that one day soon testing will be both animal-free and more accurate than ever before.
US Quietly Allows Import of Some Elephant Trophies
The US Fish and Wildlife Service has announced it will consider applications to import elephant trophies on a case-by-case basis. This contradicts the comments made by President Trump as recently as January 2018.
The Trump administration has decided to lift a ban on the import of African elephant trophies, allowing hunters to bring parts of the animals’ bodies back home.
The news was unexpected: The President himself, speaking with British broadcaster Piers Morgan, said that he “didn’t want elephants killed and stuffed and have the tusks brought back into this [country].”
So it’s no surprise that even when passed without fanfare, a lift on the ban on elephant trophy imports has caused quite a stir.
“The Trump administration is trying to keep these crucial trophy import decisions behind closed doors, and that’s totally unacceptable,” Tanya Sanerib, international legal director at the Center for Biological Diversity, told AP. “Elephants aren’t meant to be trophies, they’re meant to roam free.”
Through a memorandum on its website, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) has announced the news, saying that the authorities will consider requests on a case by case basis with immediate effect. It will be legal to import trophies from Zimbabwe and Zambia among others.
The ban elephant trophies was put in place by the Obama administration in 2014. In December 2017, a lawsuit filed by the National Rifle Association and Safari Club International entered the courts. It found that proper procedures weren’t followed when the regulations were enacted, including the lack of an opportunity for the public to comment on the ban.
The FWS mentioned the lawsuit’s resolution in its announcement about the ban being lifted. It also confirmed that several other measures enshrined in the Endangered Species Act, focusing on elephants, lions and bontebok are being revoked.
The agency noted that the Endangered Species Act will inform its case-by-case decisions on whether to authorize trophy imports, however it hasn’t elaborated on the criteria that will be used to determine which imports will be allowed. “The confusion is not helpful,” said Jimmiel Mandima, a conservationist at the nonprofit African Wildlife Foundation, in an interview with NBC News.
Some argued that the decision to allow trophy imports might help animal populations, as fees paid by hunters to shoot selected animals can help fund wildlife conservation initiatives. However, the strategy may not be so effective should the money be siphoned away by corrupt authorities, as some fear.
SUV Sales Rise Worldwide, Despite Their Effect on Climate
Despite their negative environmental impacts, SUV sales soared in 2017. The trend could put the brakes on global efforts to combat air pollution.
Most drivers only need a sedan to navigate the sometimes pothole-ridden, but relatively flat, big city roads. But for many consumers, larger vehicles that could nail an off-road test drive seem to remain a must. And despite the fact that these often-massive sports utility vehicles (SUVs) not only cost more, but also pollute more, SUV sales continue to climb.
According to the latest data from an automotive research firm Jato Dynamics, the global demand for SUVs hit a new record in 2017, totaling 34 percent of global car sales for the year. The vehicles were particularly popular in North America, Europe, and China, despite the fact that all three regions struggle with severe air pollution — a problem that more fuel-guzzling SUVs is unlikely to solve.
The New “Family Car”
Since the 1970s, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency tried to reduce air pollution by requiring automakers to improve vehicles’ fuel efficiency. However, for off-road vehicles and SUVs, pollution restrictions have remained lax.
SUVs are a middle-class favorite in the U.S., thanks to a marketing operation that successfully bypassed increasingly strict environmental rules. In order to penetrate consumer markets, U.S. automakers pitched SUVs as the new “family vehicle”. The rebranding was so effective that, to date, it still speaks to consumers more than modern electric or hybrid cars do.
Companies like Volkswagen continue to expand their SUV offerings — the German automaker, which currently offers only four off-road models, plans to increase those options to 20 SUV options within the next two years.
China’s Pollution Paradox
The juxtaposition between a global need to address pollution problems and consumers’ love for bigger, less fuel-efficient SUVs takes center stage in China. The pollution crisis choking Beijing and Shanghai prompted the Chinese government to drop coal in favor of solar and other clean energy sources. As the United States increasingly embraces a pro-fossil fuels agenda, China continues to champion global climate action.
Despite accounting for 43 percent of global electric vehicle (EV) production, China’s appetite for SUVs is increasing. According to the research firm McKinsey, in the last four years SUVs were responsible for 66 percent of the overall growth in China’s car sales.
One one hand, that could be because bigger vehicles are considered a status symbol, particularly among young people, but SUVs could also accommodate China’s growing family size after the government dropped its one-child policy.
A sustained growth in diesel-powered SUV sales, particularly as the vehicles’ electric counterparts struggle to take off, could significantly hamper China’s deliberate environmental conscientiousness.
Transportation accounts for 14 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Industry trends like this one — in which SUVs continue to trump EV — have the power to tip the already precarious environmental scales towards increasing urban pollution, rather than decreasing it.
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