Hermann Missouri 175 Year Anniversary 1836-2011

Hermann Missouri 175 Year Anniversary 1836-2011
Hermann Missouri 175 Year Anniversary 1836-2011

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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Catfish Wrestling in Belarus WEB VIDEO


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New Missouri Law Drug Testing Welfare Applicants may be Unconstitutional: Simular Michigan Law Struck Down in U.S. Court of Appeals


Missouri could become the next state to require drug testing of welfare applicants

By Eric W. Dolan 
June 29th, 2011

Missouri could become the second state to require anyone applying for temporary government assistance to undergo drug screening if Democratic Governor Jay Nixon does not veto the legislation by July 14.
The Missouri General Assembly passed House Bill 73 in May. The bill would require the Missouri Department of Social Services to develop a drug screening program for applicants to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.
Those who test positive or refuse to take a drug test would be disqualified from the program for three years or until he or she completed a substance abuse treatment program.
The legislation is expected to cost the state $6.7 million if implemented.
Similar legislation was signed into law by Florida's Republican Gov. Rick Scott at the end of May.
The Missouri Association for Social Welfare has called on Nixon to veto the bill. He has until July 14 before legislation will take effect by default, but has yet to state his position.
"Drug treatment programs are currently unable to treat all the people who apply for assistance and generally have significant waiting lists," the association said in a letter (PDF) to the governor. "Therefore HB 73’s provision that TANF recipients who test positive can continue to receive benefits if they are enrolled in a drug treatment program is meaningless, or worse."
According to the American Civil Liberties Union, the drug testing of welfare recipients is likely unconstitutional and fiscally irresponsible. A Michigan law that required welfare recipients to receive random drug testing was struck down as unconstitutional by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in 2003.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Top Ten Web Searches - Tiger Woods, Kim Kardashian top 2010 Search lists

Kim Kardashian

You searched and searched. And what - or who -were you looking for?

Tiger Woods, Justin Bieber and Kate Gosselin were a few of the folks you sought out this year. But you were also intrigued by Sandra Bullock, Kim Kardashian and Lady Gaga.

According to AOL's Year End Hot Searches of 2010 list, just out, Tiger Woods, the BP oil spill, and Betty White were among the top searched terms. Here are some highlights:

Top Celebrities: Tiger Woods, Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, Sandra Bullock and Kate Gosselin

Top News: BP Oil Spill, Unemployment, Haiti Earthquake, Toyota Recall and Tea Party

Top Health: Bed Bugs, Salmonella, BPA, Celiac Disease, and Shingles

Top Movies: Alice in Wonderland, Toy Story 3, Twilight Eclipse, Shutter Island, and Iron Man 2

Top Trends: Betty White, Pants On the Ground, Vuvuzelas, Silly Bandz, Old Spice Guy, and Jeggings

Top Shopping: iPad, Brazilian Blowout, Blackberry Torch, Kindle, and Droid X

Bing.com also has released its Most Popular Overall 2010 Searches, and Kim K. tops that list:
1) Kim Kardashian
2) Sandra Bullock
3) Tiger Woods
4) Lady Gaga
5) Barack Obama
6) Hairstyles
7) Kate Gosselin
8) Wal-Mart
9) Justin Bieber
10) free

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Reciprocal links:
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LAS CONCHAS WILDFIRE ZERO PERCENT CONTAINRD: Wildfire reaches US Los Alamos nuclear facility UPDATE: New Mexico Wildfire: Los Alamos Evacuation Ordered, National Guard Called


June 28, 2011


Fire Name: Las Conchas

Time/Date Started: 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 26, 2011

Location: Jemez Ranger District, Santa Fe National Forest; approximately 12 miles southwest of Los Alamos off NM 4 at mile marker 35. The fire started on private land.

Legal Description: T18N, R4E, SEC 4

Cause: Unknown, under investigation

Fuels: Mixed Conifer, Ponderosa Pine

Size: 43,597 acres as per infrared data. The fire burned actively all day to the north/northeast. Running, crowning, and spotting up to a half a mile of the head of the fire was observed.

% Contained: 0

Resources Committed: Joe S. Reinar's Type I Incident Management Team has been ordered. Three helicopters, two Hotshot crews, nine hand crews, five dozers and thirteen engines have been fighting the fire and more are expected to arrive. This is an interagency fire fighting effort. In fire management we all work together. We are working with local, state and federal agencies.

Today's Weather: Yesterday's red flag conditions (hot temperatures, low humidity, high winds) contributed to the intense fire behavior and rapid fire growth.

Structures/threats: Structures and powerlines. Power and phone lines are down in the area. The fire is approximately 1 mile southwest of the boundary of the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). The fire has not entered Laboratory property at this time. All radioactive material is appropriately accounted for and protected.

Evacuations: The city of Los Alamos is under MANDATORY evacuation as of 1:45 pm. White Rock remains under VOLUNTARY evacuation. Cochiti Mesa, Las Conchas, Bandelier National Monument, and campgrounds near the fire were evacuated yesterday. There were approximately 100 residents evacuated from Cochiti Mesa and Las Conchas, and no evacuees reported to the evacuation center at La Cueva Fire Station.

If you live near the fire or near the Forest, you should always be ready for emergencies including evacuations, the three-step process is easy to remember and implement:

Ready - Take personal responsibility and prepare long before the threat of a wildland fire so your home is ready in case of a fire. Create defensible space by clearing brush away from your home. Use fire-resistant landscaping and harden your home with fire-safe construction measures. Assemble emergency supplies and belongings in a safe spot. Plan escapes routes. Make sure all those residing within the home know the plan of action.
Set - Act immediately. Pack your vehicle with your emergency items. Remember your six P's: people, personal computers, pets, pills, papers and pictures. Stay aware of the latest news and information on the fire from local media and your local fire department.
Go - Leave early! Follow your personal action plan. Doing so will not only support your safety, but will allow firefighters to best maneuver resources to combat the fire.

Road Closures: NM 4 is closed at Jemez Falls Campground and at NM 510.

Los Alamos National Labs: The Los Alamos National Laboratory will be closed due to the fire. All laboratory facilities will be closed for all activities, and nonessential employees are directed to remain off site. Employees that are considered nonessential should not report to work unless specifically directed by their line managers. Employees should check local news sources, the LANL Update Hotline (505.667.6622) and the LANL web page www.lanl.gov fo updates. All radioactive and hazardous material is appropriately accounted for and protected. LANL staff is coordinating the on-site response and supporting the county and federal fire response.

Bandelier National Monument: The Bandelier National Monument will be closed for at least three days due to the fire.

Summary: Active fire behavior has been observed with running and spotting on both sides of NM 4.

Smoke: A smoke plume emitting black and grey smoke was visible yesterday from Jemez Springs, Albuquerque, Bernalillo, Los Alamos, Cuba, Gallina, Santa Fe, NM 4 and I-25. This afternoon, winds from the west pushed the smoke east and north toward White Rock, Los Alamos, Santa Fe, Tesuque, Nambe, and other surrounding areas. Other areas further to the east and north may also expereinece smoke impacts.

Basic Information
Incident Type Wildfire
Cause Unknown, Under Investigation
Date of Origin Sunday June 26th, 2011 approx. 01:00 PM
Incident Commander Joe S. Reinarz
Current Situation
Size 43,597 acres


Los Alamos ensures reliability of US nuclear arms
* Officials say facility is "very well protected"

By Zelie Pollon
SANTA FE, N.M., June 27 (Reuters) - A raging wildfire on Monday briefly entered the property of the preeminent U.S. nuclear facility, Los Alamos National Laboratory, a vast complex that houses research laboratories and a plutonium facility.
A mandatory evacuation was ordered for the town of Los Alamos, which has a population of about 12,000. The speed at which the fire has grown surprised fire officials.
The laboratory, which ensures the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear stockpile, is a national security research facility located in the Jemez mountains of northern New Mexico.
It was set up in 1943 as part of the Manhattan Project to create the first atomic bomb and still maintains the nation's largest nuclear weapons arsenal.
Firefighters were able to douse flames on a one-acre (0.4 hectare) "spot fire" just inside the southwestern boundary of the lab site, about 25 miles (40 km) outside Santa Fe, authorities said.
Buildings still have not been touched by flames, and authorities said there was little threat to sensitive areas of the 28,000-acre complex (11,000 hectare).
The laboratory's plutonium facility is on the northeast side of the complex, while the fire seems to be moving south and east, said lab spokesman Kevin Roark.
"The facility is very well protected from any kind of wild land fire threat," said Roark. He said the facility survived a May 2000 wildfire that claimed some lab buildings and did more than $1 billion in damage.
Explosive materials on the laboratory's grounds are stored safely in underground bunkers made of concrete and steel, as well as earthen berms, Roark said.
"This fire is going to be with us for a while. It has the potential to double and triple in size," Los Alamos Fire Chief Doug Tucker said.
Nuclear watchdog groups are keeping a close eye on the fire, said Jay Coughlin, executive director of Nuclear Watch New Mexico. 
Jun 27, 5:12 PM EDT

Los Alamos evacuation ordered because of wildfire


LOS ALAMOS, N.M. (AP) -- - Authorities ordered Los Alamos evacuated Monday as a fast-growing and unpredictable wildfire bore down on the northern New Mexico town and its sprawling nuclear laboratory.
The blaze that began Sunday already had destroyed a number of homes south of the town, which is home to some 12,000 residents. It also forced closure of the nation's pre-eminent nuclear lab while stirring memories of a devastating blaze more than a decade ago that destroyed hundreds of homes and buildings in the area.
Los Alamos County fire chief Doug Tucker said the blaze Sunday night was the most active fire he had seen in his career, forcing residents near Cochiti Mesa and Las Conchas to flee with "nothing but the shirts on their back."
He said at 44,000-acre blaze had destroyed at least 30 structures but it wasn't clear how many were homes.
The fire has the potential to double or triple in size, Tucker said, and firefighters had no idea which direction the 60 mph-plus winds would take it.

"We are preparing for the fire to go in any direction," Tucker said.
It was not immediately clear how many people were being evacuated. Nearly 18,000 people live in Los Alamos and the bedroom community of White Rock, which is not being ordered to evacuate.
Los Alamos National Laboratory was closed Monday as the blaze burned within a mile of its southern edge.
Officials said that more than 100 residents evacuated their homes south of town Sunday as the fire swelled to 68 square miles and moved to the lab's southern edge.
The famed lab, where scientists developed and tested the first atomic bomb during World War II, activated its emergency operations center overnight and cut natural gas to some areas as a precaution.

Officials said all hazardous and radioactive materials were being protected.
The blaze started on private land about 12 miles southwest of Los Alamos. Flames and smoke could be seen from the outskirts of Albuquerque, about 80 miles away.
On Monday morning, the Pajarito plateau upon which the lab sits was awash in a thick haze, while a charred stench permeated the area. On the southwestern edge of the plateau, white smoke filled the canyons above Cochiti reservoir and on the north end heavy black columns of smokes were rising in the air.
Cars headed down the two-lane highway that snakes from Los Alamos to Pojoaque were stuffed with belongings as residents fled the blaze.
The fire was eerily similar to one of the most destructive fires in New Mexico history. That fire, the Cerro Grande, burned some 47,000 acres - 73 square miles - in May 2000 and caused more than $1 billion in property damage. About 400 homes and 100 buildings on lab property were destroyed in that fire.

That blaze also raised concerns about toxic runoff and radioactive smoke, although lab spokesman Kevin Roark said no contaminants were released in the Cerro Grande fire.
Environmental specialists from the lab were mobilized and monitoring air quality on Monday, he said, but the main concern was smoke.
Still, there were questions about whether firefighters would be prepared if the fire moved into main areas of the lab.
In 2009, the U.S. Department of Energy's inspector general issued a report that said Los Alamos County firefighters weren't sufficiently trained to handle the unique fires they could face with hazardous or radioactive materials at LANL.
Lab and fire department officials at the time said the report focused too much on past problems and not enough on what had been done to resolve them. Some problems also were noted in previous reports.
Greg Mello, with the anti-nuclear watchdog Los Alamos Study Group, said the group doesn't have enough information "to formulate any views on safety at this point."
"It is important to remind ourselves that the site has natural hazards ... and Murphy's Law is still about the best enforced law in the state," he said.
Meanwhile, the biggest blaze in Arizona history was 82 percent contained after burning through 538,000 acres in the White Mountains in northeast Arizona. The fire started May 29 and has destroyed 32 homes. It's believed to have been caused by a campfire.
And in Colorado, about 100 firefighters are battling a wildfire that broke out in a canyon northwest of Boulder.
Fire officials have put 340 homeowners on standby to evacuate. No structures are immediately threatened by the fire.
In southern Colorado, hot, windy weather has caused a wildfire that's been burning since June 12 to spread. The Duckett fire grew by about 400 acres over the weekend but it's not threatening any homes. Most the growth has been in a steep, rugged terrain in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.
The fire is burning on 7-square miles and is 80 percent contained.
Associated Press writer Jeri Clausing contributed from Albuquerque.


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CAR CAM HORROR Thru Earthquake and Tsunami JAPAN March 11 2011


Do you run or stay with the car and ride it out?   Very scary!!!
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Monday, June 27, 2011

Missouri River Projected Flood Inundation Maps

June 27, 2011

The Kansas City District of the US Corps of Engineers has released new flood inundation maps. They can be accessed here:

People also may check out the maps here: mapsrv.saj.usace.army.mil/projects/nwk_2011_flood_viewer/floodMap.html

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Nuclear Safety Outdated as Populations around US nuke plants soar

In this Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2009 picture, reactor containment domes of the Indian Point nuclear power plant in Buchanan, N.Y. rise above the homes just north of the town of Verplanck, N.Y. as seen from the Stony Point Historic Site. Populations around nuclear plants have swelled since 1980, making effective evacuations unlikely in many once-rural emergency planning zones, according to an Associated Press investigation. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
Jun 27, 2011

AP IMPACT: Populations around US nuke plants soar


BUCHANAN, N.Y. (AP) -- As America's nuclear power plants have aged, the once-rural areas around them have become far more crowded and much more difficult to evacuate. Yet government and industry have paid little heed, even as plants are running at higher power and posing more danger in the event of an accident, an Associated Press investigation has found.
Populations around the facilities have swelled as much as 4 1/2 times since 1980, a computer-assisted population analysis shows.
But some estimates of evacuation times have not been updated in decades, even as the population has increased more than ever imagined. Emergency plans would direct residents to flee on antiquated, two-lane roads that clog hopelessly at rush hour.
And evacuation zones have remained frozen at a 10-mile radius from each plant since they were set in 1978 - despite all that has happened since, including the accidents at Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima Dai-ichi in Japan.
Meanwhile, the dangers have increased.

More than 90 of the nation's 104 operating reactors have been allowed to run at higher power levels for many years, raising the radiation risk in a major accident. In an ongoing investigative series, the AP has reported that aging plants, their lives extended by industry and regulators, are prone to breakdowns that could lead to accidents.
And because the federal government has failed to find a location for permanent storage of spent fuel, thousands of tons of highly radioactive used reactor rods are kept in pools onsite - and more is stored there all the time.
These mounting risks, though, have not resulted in more vigilant preparations for possible accidents.
The AP found serious weaknesses in plans for evacuations around the plants, including emergency drills that do not move people and fail to test different scenarios involving the weather or the time of day.
Some plans are merely on checklists, and never have been tested. In drills, responders typically go to command centers and not to their emergency posts. There is no federal requirement for how fast an evacuation must be carried out.
And disaster planners from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Federal Emergency Management Agency have made dubious assumptions about the public response to a major accident. They insist, for example, that people who are not called upon to evacuate will stay put; they're now saying that they might under some circumstances tell people to hunker down at home even in the 10-mile evacuation zone, and they believe people will do it.
That advice flies in the face of decades of science and policy, millions of dollars in planning and preparations - and common sense.
The advice also conflicts with what U.S. officials told Americans in Japan in March, when an earthquake and tsunami knocked out power to Fukushima and melted fuel in three of its six nuclear reactors.
Japanese officials ordered those living within 12 miles of the site to leave. The U.S. government's advice to its citizens? If you're within 50 miles, you should evacuate. And NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko insisted that this was nothing more than what would be recommended in a similar situation at home.
In fact, under rules in force for more than 30 years, U.S. communities must by law prepare federally reviewed evacuation plans only for those living within 10 miles of a plant. In a severe accident, most of the early deaths - those from radiation sickness, not cancer - are predicted to occur within a 10-mile radius.

Those living within 50 miles, meanwhile, are covered only by an "emergency ingestion zone," where states are required to make plans to ban contaminated food and water - but not evacuate.
After a May 10 tour at the Indian Point nuclear complex, where two reactors operate just 25 miles from New York City's northern border, Jaczko said the 10-mile rule was merely a "planning standard." He said decisions on what to do in the "unlikely event" of an accident would be based on circumstances. "So if we needed to take action beyond 10 miles, that's certainly what would be recommended."
If a 50-mile order were ever issued for Indian Point, it would take in about 17.3 million people - 6 percent of all Americans, according to an AP population analysis. That would include parts of New Jersey and Connecticut and all of New York City, except for a chunk of Staten Island.
Such a mass exodus would be an "enormous challenge" - and a historic feat, said Kelly McKinney, New York City's deputy commissioner of preparedness.
"At no time in the history of man," he said, "has anyone tried to move 17 million people in 48 hours."
When reactors were being built, starting in the 1960s, they were generally kept away from population centers. Their remote locations were viewed as a fundamental safety feature - protection aimed at "reducing potential doses and property damage in the event of a severe accident," according to federal guidelines.
However, over the decades, millions of newcomers have transformed tranquil woodland or shoreline into buzzing suburbs and bedroom communities.
The AP gathered four sets of population data starting in 1980 through 2010 and used mapping software to calculate growth as part of a yearlong investigation of aging issues at nuclear power plants.
Last week, the AP reported that federal regulators, working in concert with industry, have repeatedly weakened or failed to enforce safety standards so old reactors can keep operating. The records review included tens of thousands of pages of government and industry studies, test results, inspection reports and regulatory policy statements.
The AP found in its population analysis that over the decades, plant operators and federal regulators have given surprisingly little thought to nearby population growth.
Officials calculate plant safety margins without considering whether an accident would expose 10,000 or 100,000 people to radiation sickness and cancer. And federal regulators have set no limit for how long evacuations may take for given conditions and locations.
The NRC and FEMA acknowledge that radiation releases can happen within a half hour of an accident. Yet a 2004 study for Indian Point estimated total evacuation time from the 10-mile zone, in the snow that is common during local winters, would take 12 hours.
The federal government has not even required population updates for the evacuation zones, though that would change under a proposal expected to be adopted later this year.
The AP analysis also shows that:
-Four million people now live within 10 miles of the 65 operating sites. (Population in overlapping zones was counted only once for this part of the analysis.) Back in 1980, with 38 nuclear sites, only 1.5 million people lived that close.
-Overall, from 1980 to 2010, the average population in the 10-mile evacuation zones ballooned by 62 percent, from 39,762 to 64,363.
-Populations within the 10-mile radius have more than doubled at 12 of the 65 sites during the same 30-year period.
-The most explosive growth occurred around the two-reactor Saint Lucie complex near Fort Pierce, Fla., where the 10-mile population of 43,332 in 1980 grew 366 percent to 202,010 in 2010. Others in the top five: the two-unit Brunswick complex near the North Carolina coast, which increased 326 percent from 8,164 to 34,782; Monticello, 35 miles from Minneapolis, where population rose 314 percent from 14,130 to 58,538; the two-unit Turkey Point site, 20 miles south of Miami, up 302 percent; and the two-unit San Onofre facility in San Clemente, Calif., up 283 percent.
-Among newer reactors, the biggest jump occurred around Shearon Harris, 20 miles southwest of Raleigh, N.C., where population nearly quadrupled from 24,700 in 1990 to 94,465 in 2010. Three other facilities where populations more than doubled during the same 20-year period are the three-unit Palo Verde site, 50 miles west of Phoenix; two-unit McGuire site, 17 miles north of Charlotte, N.C., and the two-unit Catawba complex in South Carolina, 18 miles south of Charlotte.
-About 120 million people, almost 40 percent of all Americans, live within 50 miles of a nuclear plant, according to the AP's analysis of 2010 Census data.
The geography and population around Indian Point have always been a challenge for emergency planners.
Homes and businesses dot hillsides sloping to the eastern shore of the Hudson River. Along its bank, a curvy, two-lane main artery meanders past traffic lights through quaint town centers suffused with Dutch history and the lore of writer Washington Irving. At rush hour, the roadway crawls with idling cars.
Choke points are everywhere: the narrow Bear Mountain Bridge just north of the plant; the Route 202 slog through old Peekskill; and the Tappan Zee Bridge, which acts as the major river crossing to the south, beyond the 10-mile evacuation zone.
A potential destination for many evacuees, the bridge often backs up with traffic for miles during the morning and evening commutes.
Just a mile to the west across the Hudson, two-lane Route 9W snakes beneath the base of Bear Mountain State Park, offering few escape routes.
Though modest population growth of 32 percent within 10 miles of Indian Point has mirrored the nation's increase as a whole between 1980 and 2010, more people live within this evacuation zone than any other in the country: 268,906, according to the AP analysis.
Population density isn't the only concern. A 2008 Columbia University study discovered a seismic fault line near Indian Point, where another earthquake-prone zone was already known to exist. Yet a steel liner designed to be earthquake-proof has been leaking at the site since 1973.
New York state has fought relicensing. Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the area can't be evacuated in a severe nuclear accident.
Given the local topography - natural and man-made - a quick evacuation would be a challenge.
But when Jaczko's talk of a possible 50-mile evacuation in the United States is brought into the equation, the prospect is truly daunting.
In some accidents, New Yorkers would presumably head west to New Jersey using the George Washington Bridge, the Lincoln Tunnel and the Holland Tunnel - passageways that are rarely light on traffic. Any evacuation from the 10-mile zone along those routes could be complicated by a so-called shadow evacuation by those living within 50 miles who defy official instructions to stay put.
There are other fears - that some police and bus drivers would leave instead of stay to help and that parents would rush to schools instead of meeting their children at designated centers outside the evacuation zone.
As with other nuclear sites, the Indian Point emergency plan puts school reception centers outside the 10-mile zone - but not far outside.
Indian Point's lead community evacuation planner, Anthony Sutton, at the Westchester County Department of Emergency Services, acknowledged that area roads couldn't handle the traffic surge from a full-scale nuclear emergency. "I think in a perfect world, we'd all like to see the place in a different location, with all the challenges of evacuating the public around it," he said.
Paul Blanch, a nuclear safety expert who used to consult at Indian Point but now opposes its effort for a 20-year license extension, was more blunt: "No matter what they say, they're not going to be able to evacuate these areas."
John Curry, Indian Point's emergency director, said he believes people can evacuate from the 10-mile zone. But he acknowledges the depth of public skepticism: "It's very difficult, and I don't know how to make them feel any better."
Two dozen of the nuclear sites along the East Coast are within 50 miles of New York, Boston, Washington, Baltimore or Richmond, Va.
"Anyone who lives on the East Coast knows population has grown up around these reactors, and there are certain places where they should never have been built in the first place," said Jim Riccio, nuclear policy analyst for environmental group Greenpeace.
For the most part, though, the early sites were favored if they satisfied the criterion of "remoteness from heavily populated areas," according to the NRC's predecessor, the Atomic Energy Commission.
In 1998, federal guidelines said low-population areas were "generally preferred" because they limit exposure to radiation accidents. This was viewed as part of the NRC's philosophy of multiple layers of accident safeguards. NRC regulations continue to require "low population zones" around prospective nuclear sites.
But from the beginning, it was hard to use very remote sites. Sites were desirable when they were still close enough to transportation networks to haul in massive equipment and supplies and near enough to amenities to lure engineers and corporate managers.
The contradiction meant choosing places like the piney hills of Wake County, N.C., where federal regulators gave permission to build Shearon Harris in 1978.
They described the region as a "sparely populated rural area." But it was just 20 miles from Raleigh - and future commuter sprawl - which accounted for the population nearly quadrupling within the 10-mile zone from 1990 (three years after it went online) to 2010.
Complicating things nationwide, government and industry officials also tended to underestimate projected growth - picking numbers that helped win approval for favored sites.
For example, federal regulators predicted in 1973 that the 50-mile population around the Crystal River nuclear plant in Florida would expand from 155,900 to only 381,000 by 2020. "The basic rural character of the area is not expected to change in the coming 40 years," the government predicted.
Yet the plant was built in Citrus County on the state's picture-postcard west coast, 70 miles north of Tampa. And by 2010 - 10 years ahead of the predicted timetable - the population had already multiplied by six, to over 1 million, the AP analysis shows.
"These population explosions are very likely to make the evacuation plan unworkable," said anti-nuclear activist Paul Gunter at Beyond Nuclear in Takoma Park, Md., who has pressed for reviews of emergency community planning before relicensing.
Even Dana Powers, a member of the NRC's independent Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards, says his group "has had troubles with evacuation strategy assumptions."
U.S. Energy Secretary Stephen Chu recently suggested that the Japanese accident will indeed drive U.S. regulators to pick less populated areas for future nuclear plants.
Emergency readiness was supposed to account for growth and stay up to date. The joint guidance of the NRC and FEMA in 1980 stated that "evacuation time estimates should be updated as local conditions change." In fact, according to AP's review of government records, once plant turbines started humming, little was done to keep planning in step with population increases.
In 2007, then-Commissioner Jaczko acknowledged that some evacuation time estimates had not been updated "in decades."
A proposed rule would require fresh estimated evacuation times with new Census data every 10 years - and after that, with any jumps in population that would increase the time estimate by either 25 percent or 30 minutes.
The proposal also would require an annual update of the population estimate. If adopted as expected, it would be the first overhaul of emergency preparedness rules since 1980.
Given the lack of a required evacuation time, though, any updates might make little difference.
Even with increased concern among federal regulators, challenges remain in the mission to inform the public quickly and accurately.
A FEMA web page entitled "Nuclear Power Plant Emergency," last modified on April 8, states: "Nearly 3 million Americans live within 10 miles of an operating nuclear power plant." That's off by one million people.
Then there is the relatively new and sparsely publicized concession to escalating populations and roads that haven't been upgraded or widened in decades. It's called "sheltering" - if people stay put, maybe they can evacuate later, after the first wave of people has left.
A 2007 Sandia National Laboratories report said excess radiation doses could be reduced if residents simply hunkered down in their homes. However, the report acknowledged that "some contamination and radiation will enter most shelters."
Then, sending another mixed message that could prompt unofficial evacuations, the report continued: If quick evacuation is possible, leaving is "always the most appropriate recommendation."
As part of its investigation, the AP has reported that researchers' numbers and assumptions - along with NRC regulations - have been periodically adjusted to keep the reactors within stated limits for operating safety. Similarly, confronted with evacuation troubles, the NRC has minimized the presumed impact of accidents, allowing plants to stay on the power grid.
The studies date back to the early 1980s, when the NRC wanted more guidance about where to locate nuclear reactors. So the agency decided to assess the potential effects of serious accidents on surrounding communities.
Its 1982 report alarmed Congress. At Indian Point Unit 3, the study predicted 64,000 deaths and $314 billion in damages from a bad accident ($700 billion today, adjusted for inflation).
The public was so shaken that the NRC and industry avoided similar analyses for decades.
However, in its Indian Point relicensing proposal, owner Entergy Corp. finally reevaluates some of the numbers. The effects of a bad accident are minimized, according to an AP analysis of those numbers: no more than 2,130 cancer deaths and only $117 billion in economic damages.
Plant spokesman Jerry Nappi went even further when pressed. Contrary to the calculations of planners, he said he didn't "believe a scenario like this is credible or perhaps even possible" with all the protections built into the plant. As for a 50-mile evacuation encompassing New York, he said a 10-mile radius "is already a very conservative planning zone."
Nuclear planners gave similar confident reassurances about their tsunami planning in Japan. And the BP emergency plans left out Gulf of Mexico oil spill scenarios that occurred, even though they supposedly couldn't happen.
Meanwhile, the NRC's partner, Sandia National Laboratories, has again been studying the impact of accidents. The work is still under way, but researchers have tentatively concluded that reactor defenses will work way better than believed in the 1980s.
NRC officials say the conclusion stems from decades of additional research and sophisticated computer modeling. But they also wrap their equations in a ribbon of rosy assumptions:
-Accidents will develop more slowly than thought.
-Buildings designed to contain radiation leaks will hold.
-Emergency plans will work.
-Responders will do their jobs.
-Ninety percent of those told to stay put will obey.
"The magnitude of possible releases from these accidents is much smaller than originally thought," said NRC spokesman Scott Burnell in a preview of the conclusions expected to take final form by 2012.
The population boom near nuclear sites cries out for stronger evacuation standards, according to safety watchdogs. But little has been done, thus helping ensure the continued operation of the aging reactors.
While keeping evacuation zones the same size at aging plants, regulators often have allowed the units to run at higher power levels. More power means more radioactivity that could be released in an accident.
Since 1977, all the reactors collectively have upgraded their maximum power output 139 times.
In May, the two Point Beach reactors, on the Wisconsin shore of Lake Michigan, were each given permission to increase power levels by 17 percent. Meanwhile, population within 50 miles has grown by 36 percent from 573,050 to 779,140 over the past three decades.
In 2008, the NRC's policymaking commissioners even voted to give lower-level staff the authority to approve sensitive changes that would weaken emergency plans. It had been in the purview of the commission itself.
Today, government regulators verify emergency preparedness of communities essentially by checklists, not by standards for what plans must accomplish. They require that communities show the elements of a good plan, but not that the plan is effective.
For example, evacuation time estimates are required, but there is no standard for how quickly people must be able to leave. Regulators say the estimates will help planners make decisions in a real accident, even in the absence of a standard.
Jim Kish, a FEMA administrator who focuses on emergency preparedness, said in an interview that a standard would put communities in an undesirable "planning box."
"They need the flexibility to make decisions on what to evacuate, and when to evacuate, and how to evacuate," he said.
"I think the NRC wants to make sure that the evacuation side of things doesn't make plants have to close, even if the population grows quickly," said Richard Webster, an environmental lawyer who unsuccessfully fought the relicensing petition at the Oyster Creek reactor in Lacey Township, N.J.
More broadly, the government seems careful to avoid anything fully binding in its planning requirements. It sets a supposed standard that people within 10 miles must be notified of an accident within 45 minutes. But NRC rules also say that's not a guarantee early notification can be provided for everyone.
And notification of an accident within 45 minutes says nothing about how long it will take to flee.
NRC rules also concede there's no guarantee that emergency sirens, "when tested under actual field conditions, will meet the design objective in all cases."
This movable standard makes things easier for plant owners who often struggle to keep warning sirens working from their perches within the 10-mile zones.
FEMA encourages drills for rush-hour traffic, night conditions, or bad weather. But it does not require them, the agency acknowledged.
Heather Heigl, the lead community emergency planner for the area around the Brunswick site in North Carolina, said daylong drills every two years verify that the right people and resources are available, and that communications systems are working.
However, she acknowledged, the exercises don't actually send rescue workers to shelters or police officers to traffic control points. Asked for the estimated evacuation times for her site, she wasn't sure.
"The NRC rubber-stamps these evacuation plans, but they're not based on discernible performance standards," said Alex Matthiessen, president of the Riverkeeper environmental group fighting Indian Point relicensing. "If they applied any kind of meaningful standard in evaluating the emergency plans of the nation's nuclear power plants, there would be no nuclear power plants in this country, at least not in populated areas."
Attorney Webster argued that safety standards should become harder to meet as populations grow around plants like Oyster Creek. (In AP's analysis, population between 1980 and last year increased 269 percent within 10 miles of Oyster Creek, from 36,738 to 135,378.)
During an emergency there, many would be forced to leave in the same direction, away from the Atlantic Ocean, along a highway that a pro-nuclear state senator has called "a two-lane cow path."
Janet Tauro, a nuclear safety activist who lives 18 miles from the plant, wonders: "Picture me with my son on his BMX bike and my daughter at dance class, multiply me by 100,000 - and you have pandemonium."
Helen Henderson, who lives three miles from the reactor, is among the doubters. She said she repeatedly ignored the forms sent home by her children's school certifying that she has read and agrees with the Oyster Creek emergency plan.
Tired of the stream of reminders sent her way, Henderson said she finally wrote back: "Refuse to sign. Evacuation plan will not work."

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Rochester Police Ticket Supporters of Woman Arrested for Recording Cop VIDEO UPDATE: Police Arrest Woman for Video Taping in her Front Yard WEB VIDEO


Kurt Nimmo
June 26, 2011

In Rochester, New York, if you dare protest against the thuggish behavior of the local cops, you might get a big fat ticket. That’s what happened when people came out to support Emily Good, the woman arrested for recording the police.

She was completely within her rights to do so, standing on her how private property, but one of Rochester’s finest ignored her rights and trespassed and arrested her. See a video of the incident below.

Now the cops in upstate New York are going after people outraged over the incident. This is obviously political intimidation. The Rochester cops are attempting to prevent people from exercising their First Amendment right. It’s the sort of behavior one would expect in a communist country or some tin horn dictatorship, not America.
Summary: Woman was arrested for videotaping police from her front yard in Rochester, New York. On the video, she is heard voicing her property rights to the comandeering officer to which he than replies: "It doesn't matter; you're not listening to my orders."

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AMAZING MIRAGE VIDEO: China Ghost City Appears Above Xin'an River


Ghost city appears above Xin'an River



  • City appears over Chinese river
  • Residents think it's a "vortex"
  • Scientists say it's a great mirage
IT looks like any other city skyline with skyscrapers, a few mountains and trees - except it isn't real.
The giant mirage appeared across the skyline near in East China earlier this month after heavy rainfall and humid conditions along the Xin’an River.
As mist settled over the river at dusk, tall buildings appeared to rise from nowhere, leading residents in nearby Huanshan City to speculate that the vision may be a "vortex" to a lost civilisation.
Scroll down to see amazing footage of the ghost city
"It's really amazing, it looks like a scene in a movie, in a fairlyland," one resident told UK news channel ITN.
The mysterious city had vanished just as quickly as it had come.
Scientists have quashed the vortex theory and, as per usual, have a simple explanation for the incredible sight.
They believe it may have been a mirage, caused when moisture in the air becomes warmer than the temperature of the water below.
When rays of sunlight cross from the colder air into the warmer air they are refracted or bent – creating a reflection in the air that looks similar to a reflection in water.
It's a common sight for many travellers on Australian roads. But we Australians tend to see puddles of water that disappear when you get close, not entire cities floating on rivers.

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Sunday, June 26, 2011

11 U.S. troops die in Iraq June 2011 - Highest Month Since May 2009


Two U.S. troops die in Iraq; 11 total this month

June 26, 2011

(AP)  BAGHDAD — The U.S. military says two American troops have been killed in northern Iraq while conducting operations.
The military said in a statement that the service members were killed Sunday.
No further details were immediately available, and the names of the dead are being withheld pending notification of next of kin.
The deaths bring to 4,465 the number of American troops who have died in Iraq. That's according to an Associated Press count.
Eleven American troops have died this month in combat related situations. The casualty figure is the highest number of combat related deaths since May 2009 when American forces were still operating freely in Iraqi cities.
Most of the deaths have happened in Baghdad and southern Iraq reflecting the increased threat of Shiite militias to departing U.S. forces.
Meanwhile, a suicide bomber in a wheelchair blew himself up at the entrance to a police station north of the capital Baghdad on Sunday, killing three people and wounding 18, officials said.

Two police officers were killed and 10 injured in Tarmiyah, about 30 miles north of Baghdad, two police officers and one medical official said.

The head of the Tarmiyah city council, Qassim Khalifa, told The Associated Press that it was not clear whether the bomber was really handicapped or using the wheelchair as a way to deflect attention from security personnel.

The bomber went to the police station claiming to need a letter from the police certifying he'd been maimed in a terror attack, Khalifa said. Iraqis who have been disabled from a bombing or shooting can receive compensation from the government if their injuries are documented.

"Police inspected him but not very carefully as he was handicapped or pretending to be handicapped, so they let him go inside the police reception area where the blast occurred," Khalifa said.

In Baghdad, security authorities were out in force to protect Shiite pilgrims converging from around the country to commemorate the death of Imam Moussa al-Kadhim, a revered Shiite figure. Pilgrims traditionally walk to the twin-domed shrine in the northern Baghdad neighborhood of Kazimiyah, where al-Kadhim is buried.

Predominantly Sunni militants often target the pilgrims as they are walking to and from the shrine from cities and towns across Iraq. Sunday morning a sniper shot and wounded two Iraqi soldiers near the village of Wahda, a mixed Shiite-Sunni village 20 miles (30 kilometers) south of the capital, said a police and hospital official. The soldiers were manning one of the checkpoints set up to protect pilgrims as they walk to the shrine.

All officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to release information.

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Flood Surrounds Nebraska Nuclear Plant Fort Calhoun: Missouri River Receding


Floodwaters surround nuke plant after breach

June 26, 2011


(Reuters) - A tear on Sunday in a temporary berm allowed Missouri River flood waters to surround containment buildings and other vital areas of a Nebraska nuclear plant, but reactor systems were not affected.
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) said the breach in the 2,000-foot inflatable berm around the Fort Calhoun station occurred around 1:25 a.m. local time.
More than 2 feet of water rushed in around containment buildings and electrical transformers at the 478-megawatt facility located 20 miles north of Omaha.
Reactor shutdown cooling and spent-fuel pool cooling were unaffected, the NRC said.
The plant, operated by the Omaha Public Power District, has been off line since April for refueling.
Crews activated emergency diesel generators after the breach, but restored normal electrical power by Sunday afternoon, the NRC said.
Buildings at the Fort Calhoun plant are watertight, the agency said. It noted that the cause of the berm breach is under investigation.
NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko and other officials planned to visit the site on Monday.
Jaczko will also visit the Cooper Nuclear Station near Brownville, Nebraska, another facility that has been watched closely with Missouri River waters rising from heavy rains and snow melt.
But water levels in that area 80 miles south of Omaha are receding, relieving worries that water will rise around the Brownville plant.

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Fireworks Safety Guidelines: Missourians urged to use caution


Missourians urged to take caution with firworks

June 26, 2011

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – For many, Independence Day just wouldn’t be Independence Day without fireworks. But ahead of next weekend’s 4th of July festivities, state officials are urging Missourian’s to practice caution in order to avoid injuries.
“While fireworks are exciting to see, they are potentially dangerous and when misused and can lead to serious injuries, fires, burns and even death,” said State Fire Marshal Randy Cole.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, far more fires are reported in the U.S. on a typical Independence Day than on any other day of the year, and fireworks account for more than half of those fires. According to the NFPA, fireworks caused an estimated 22,500 reported fires causing $42 million in direct property damage.
Cole said the safest bet is to attend a public show staged by professionals, noting that even handheld sparklers are known to cause injury. But for Missourians who do choose to purchase and use their own fireworks, Cole had several safety tips:
- Purchase fireworks only from a properly licensed retailer
- Always wear eye protection and earplugs if you have sensitive ears.
-  Tie back long hair and don’t wear loose fitting clothes.
- Only light one firework at a time.
- Never try to re-light fireworks that have malfunctioned.
- Never have any part of your body over fireworks.
- Keep young children away from fireworks.
- Never throw or point fireworks at other people.
- Never carry fireworks in your pocket.
- Make sure to have water nearby in case of a fire or an accident.
- Dispose of fireworks by soaking them in water and leaving them in a trash can.
- Never light fireworks indoors.
- Don’t use fireworks while consuming alcohol.  Use a “designated shooter.”
- Store fireworks in a cool, dry place. Don’t save fireworks from season to season.

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