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Monday, May 16, 2011

CONFIRMED: Nuclear Meltdown Occurred at Fukushima Reactor 16 hours after Quake

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Greenpeace Statement on TEPCO admission of full meltdown and reactor core breach at Fukushima-Daiichi

Tokyo, Japan, 16 May, 2011 – Greenpeace today criticised TEPCO and the Japanese government for continuing to underplay the seriousness of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear crisis, after TEPCO yesterday admitted that a partial meltdown of the reactor 1 core at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant occurred a mere five hours after the tragic March 11 earthquake and tsunami, followed by a full meltdown within 16 hours.
The environmental organisation says that TEPCO’s admission – that with temperatures reaching 2,800°C, melted fuel dropped and accumulated at the bottom of the reactor pressure vessel, which was the breached, causing radiation to leak from the core and to spread via cooling water to the ground and ocean – clearly shows that there are significant risks to the marine ecosystem along the Fukushima coast.
“That it has taken TEPCO more than two months to confirm that a full meltdown took place at Fukushima demonstrates the nuclear industry’s utter failure to deal with the severity of the crisis or the risks involved in nuclear power,” said Jan Beránek, Greenpeace International Nuclear Campaign Leader. “TEPCO should have known that water pumped into reactor vessel 1 would become highly contaminated – it is appalling that company did not do more to prevent massive volumes of contaminated water being released into the ocean, spreading long-lived radioactive contamination along Japan’s East coast.”
“The nuclear industry has claimed situations like Fukushima could not arise with this type of reactor, due to lessons learned in the past. It has taken far too long for Japan’s authorities to admit that they were wrong,” said Beránek. “This has major implications to all previous assumptions about nuclear safety, and it is clear that the public should not put their faith in the nuclear industry to protect their health and safety.”
“TEPCO must immediately make public any other information about the state of the other reactors at Fukushima.”
No data or analysis has been provided on the meltdowns that have probably taken place in units 2 and 3. Those two reactors are significantly larger than unit 1 and contain almost double amount of nuclear material.


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TEPCO admits nuclear meltdown occurred at Fukushima reactor 16 hours after quake


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Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) admitted for the first time on May 15 that most of the fuel in one of its nuclear reactors at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant had melted only about 16 hours after the March 11 earthquake struck a wide swath of northeastern Japan and triggered a devastating tsunami.
According to TEPCO, the operator of the crippled nuclear power plant, the emergency condenser designed to cool the steam inside the pressure vessel of the No. 1 reactor was working properly shortly after the magnitude-9.0 earthquake, but it lost its functions around 3:30 p.m. on March 11 when tsunami waves hit the reactor.
Based on provisional analysis of data on the reactor, the utility concluded that the water level in the pressure vessel began to drop rapidly immediately after the tsunami, and the top of the fuel began to be exposed above the water around 6 p.m. Around 7:30 p.m., the fuel was fully exposed above the water surface and overheated for more than 10 hours. At about 9 p.m., the temperature in the reactor core rose to 2,800 degrees Celsius, the melting point for fuel. At approximately 7:50 p.m., the upper part of the fuel started melting, and at around 6:50 a.m. on March 12, a meltdown occurred.
On the reason why it took over two months after the earthquake to reveal the information, TEPCO said it had only been able to start obtaining detailed data on the temperature and pressure in the reactor for analysis in early May.
Junichiro Matsumoto, a senior TEPCO official, said, "Because there is similar damage to the fuel rods at the No. 2 and 3 reactors, the bottoms of their pressure vessels could also have been damaged." He said the utility would carry out similar analysis on the two reactors.
Hiroaki Koide, professor of nuclear safety engineering at Kyoto University, was critical of TEPCO.
"They could have assumed that when the loss of power made it impossible to cool down the reactor, it would soon lead to a meltdown of the core. TEPCO's persistent explanation that the damage to the fuel had been limited turned out to be wrong," he said.
(Mainichi Japan) May 16, 2011


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U.S. TREASURY RAIDS PENSIONS TO HELP FUND GOVERNMENT

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Treasury to tap pensions to help fund government


By Zachary A. Goldfarb 

May 16, 2011

www.washingtonpost.com
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The Obama administration will begin to tap federal retiree programs to help fund operations after the government lost its ability Monday to borrow more money from the public, adding urgency to efforts in Washington to fashion a compromise over the debt.

Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner has warned for months that the government would soon hit the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling — a legal limit on how much it can borrow. With that limit reached Monday, Geithner is undertaking special measures in an effort to postpone the day when he will no longer have enough funds to pay all of the government’s bills.
Geithner, who has already suspended a program that helps state and local government manage their finances, will begin to borrow from retirement funds for federal workers. The measure won’t have an impact on retirees because the Treasury is legally required to reimburse the program.
The maneuver buys Geithner only a few months of time. If Congress does not vote by Aug. 2 to raise the debt limit, Geithner says the government is likely to default on some of its obligations, which he says would cause enormous economic harm and the suspension of government services, including the disbursal of Social Security funds.
Many congressional Republicans, however, have been skeptical that breaching the Aug. 2 deadline would be as catastrophic as Geithner suggests. What’s more, Republican leaders are insisting that Congress cut spending by as much as the Obama administration wants to raise the debt limit, without any new taxes. Obama is proposing spending cuts and tax increases to rein in the debt.
“Everything should be on the table, except raising taxes,” House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “Because raising taxes will hurt our economy and hurt our ability to create jobs in our country.”
The Obama administration has warned that it is dangerous to make a vote on raising the debt limit contingent on other proposals. But Boehner is demanding that Congress use the debt vote as a way to bring down government spending.
“I’m ready to cut the deal today,” Boehner said. “We don’t have to wait until the 11th hour. But I am not going to walk away from this moment. We have a moment, a window of opportunity to act, because if we don’t act, the markets are going to act for us.”
Geithner’s plan to tap federal retiree programs as a temporary means to avoid a government default comes as the Obama administration has shown growing interest in altering those programs to curb the debt in the long run.
Administration officials have expressed interest in raising the amount that federal employees contribute to their pensions, sources told The Washington Post.
The Republicans have suggested that the civilian workforce contribute more to its retirement in the future, effectively trimming 5 percent from salaries. The administration has not been willing to go that far in talks being led by Vice President Biden.
Treasury secretaries have tapped special programs to avoid default six times since 1985. The most protracted delay in raising the debt limit came in 1995 after congressional Republicans swept to power during the Clinton administration.
But today, the government needs far more money to cover its obligations than in the past, making the special measures less effective than they used to be. The government needs about $125 billion more a month than it takes in each month.
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Franklin County Moves to Abate Taxes to Attract Businesses

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May 14, 2011
www.emissourian.com
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Franklin County officials are moving ahead with plans to establish three adjacent enhanced enterprise zones around the cities of Sullivan, St. Clair and Pacific.
The county commission approved an order Thursday to go forward with the application process.
Each of the zones will require a separate application to the state’s Department of Economic Development, said John Griesheimer, Franklin County presiding commissioner.
The zones are designed to attract new businesses or encourage existing businesses to expand by offering real estate property tax abatements for 10 to 25 years.
The abatements can vary from at least 50 percent to 100 percent.
The abatements can be used by manufacturing, warehousing and other industries, so long as they create at least two jobs and there are investments of $100,000 or more.
Being able to grant abatements will be a “shot in the arm” for the communities, Griesheimer said.
For existing businesses, the abatements can only be used on expansions and new structures. The tax waivers can’t be applied to existing structures.
Griesheimer said the abatement amounts and lengths will have to be decided upon by the communities in each district.
He said county officials previously hoped to submit one application, but have been told by the state that each separate zone will require its own application.
Becoming enterprise zones would be somewhat bittersweet — the designation requires an area to be considered blighted and to have unemployment or median household income worse than the state’s average.
“There’s a lot to be learned with this and it is by no means a slam dunk,” Griesheimer said.
It will likely be at least six months before the zones are established because of a lengthy application process, Griesheimer said.
He also noted that once the zones are established, the boundaries are set in stone.

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Over-the-Counter Cold Pill Prescription Law Dies Before Senate Vote


Last Tuesday the so-called psuedoephedrine bill passed in the Missouri House of Representatives. The bill would have been up for vote in the Senate, but it never made it out of committee before the end of the legislative session on Friday, May 13th.
Sponored by local Missouri House Representative Dave Schatz of the 111th District, the bill would have eliminated the sale of tablet forms of psuedoephedrine, unless prescribed by a doctor.


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Legislature Not Likely To Pass Anti-Meth Bill

Some Senators Vow to Filibuster

 May 9, 2011
By Jason Rosenbaum, Missourian Correspondent
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Although the Missouri House initially endorsed legislation requiring a prescription to procure some forms of pseudoephedrine, even some supporters in the Franklin County legislative delegation say getting it passed this session is a long shot.
Rep. Dave Schatz's legislation was debated on Monday and part of Tuesday. On Monday, lawmakers successfully attached amendments on the bill limiting the prescription requirement to dry tablets and placed a two-year time limit as a way of monitoring the law's effectiveness.
The bill initially passed on Tuesday by a vote of 80-71. The measure needs another vote in order to go to the Senate, which it did not receive before the House adjourned for the week.

The House ended up passing the bill on Monday by a vote of 86-64. It now goes to the Missouri Senate.
Schatz said the House may go back to the bill next week. He said his goal was to pass the bill in the House this year, though he conceded getting to Gov. Jay Nixon's desk before the end of session next week could be difficult.
"It's a long shot for that to happen," Schatz said when asked if the bill would pass before the end of the session. "But there's still days left in the session and anything's possible."
Rep. Scott Dieckhaus - a Washington Republican who supported Schatz's legislation - said the prescription requirement is unlikely to pass before May 13. Even if the bill gets through the House, it would still need to get passed in the Senate, where some lawmakers there - such as Sen. Rob Schaaf, R-St. Joseph - have promised a filibuster.
"I don't think it has much of a chance in the Senate now," Dieckhaus said. "It's got to make its way through the process there and I think we're running out of time for that."
Rep. Dave Hinson, R-St. Clair, echoed Dieckhaus about the bill's overall chances, saying it probably doesn't have enough time to get through the process. But both Hinson and Dieckhaus said the bill did pass some important tests, such as getting a significant amount of lawmakers to go on record in favor of the measure.
"What we were looking for - the folks who support the legislation - was to make significant progress, get some people on the record in support of this and basically show that the Legislature is trending with the rest of the state," Dieckhaus said, adding that a number of municipalities have adopted a prescription requirement. "So I think it has a pretty bright future ahead, maybe in the course of the next session or two."
The bill is backed by many law enforcement officials across the state, including Detective Sgt. Jason Grellner of the Franklin County Sheriff's Department who has spearheaded an effort that has led to more than 30 municipalities and counties adopting local prescription laws. It also has the backing of Gov. Jay Nixon and Attorney General Chris Koster.
But the legislation sparked opposition from members of both parties.
Some lawmakers argued the requirements would provide an expensive inconvenience to individuals who need cold remedies. Rep. Nick Marshall, R-Platte County, for instance, said it could prompt people to go to surrounding states without a prescription requirement to procure drugs containing pseudoephedrine.
Marshall also said the bill would provide an undue burden on personal freedom.
"I know that meth is a scourge in this state," Marshall said. "But we do have the duty to balance the people's freedom and their safety."

Opposed
The bill was also opposed by Rep. Paul Curtman, R-Pacific. In a statement posted on his Web site, Curtman said that, among other things, he does not believe "government should involve itself in the habits of its citizens.
"This bill would punish the law-abiding citizens who just want to buy cold and flu medicine for themselves and their families all for the crimes of the few and that is bad government policy," Curtman said in his statement. "I heard one person say that if taking the freedom away from the people to freely buy medicine would possibly curb the meth production in Missouri, then we should gladly tolerate the inconvenience. When I heard this, I thought of the wise words of Benjamin Franklin when he said: ‘People willing to trade their freedom for security deserve neither and will lose both.'

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Shelby Winkelman Selected Parade All-American Basketball Team

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Winkelmann Receives National Praise

May 15, 2011

Another accolade for Hermann Student/Athlete Shelby Winkelmann. It was announced over the weekend, Winkelmann has been named to the PARADE's 35th annual girls basketball team. Winkelmann will attended Nebraska to play volleyball. She is also a very good student, maintaining a 4.0-GPA throughout high school.

Meet the 2011 All-America High School Girls Basketball Team


Name, Position, Ht. High School College*

Promise Amukamara, G, 5'8" Apollo (Ariz.) Arizona State
Kaneisha Atwater, G, 5'7" Westwood (Fla.) Old Dominion
Rachel Banham, G, 5'10" Lakeville North (Minn.) Minnesota
Taylor Brown, G, 5'7" Bishop McNamara (Md.) Georgetown
Cierra Burdick, G/F, 6'2" Butler (N.C.) Tennessee
Mariah Byard, G, 5'10" North Marion (W. Va.) Ohio University
Madison Cable, G, 6'0" Mt. Lebanon (Pa.) Notre Dame
Briyona Canty, G, 5'9" Trenton Catholic Academy (N.J.) Rutgers
Krista Donald, G, 5'11" Lake (Miss.) Georgia
Lexi Eaton, G, 5'11" Springville (Utah) BYU
Keiahnna Engel, G, 5'8" Dimond (Alaska) Boise State
Temi Fagbenle, F, 6'4" Blair Academy (N.J.) Harvard
Krystal Forthan, F, 6'4" Georgetown (Tex.) LSU
Bria Goss, G, 5'11" Ben Davis (Ind.) Kentucky
Reshanda Gray, F/C, 6'3" Washington Prep (Calif.) UC Berkeley
Sara Hammond, F, 6'2" Rockcastle County (Ky.) Louisville
Amber Henson, F/C, 6'4" Sickles (Fla.) Duke
Jasmine Hines, F/C, 6'3" Central Lake (Mich.) Michigan State
Kayla Hoohuli, G, 5'10" St. Marys (Pa.) Canisius
Sarah Imovbioh, F/C, 6'2" St. Anne's-Belfield (Va.) Virginia
Brandi Jeffrey, G, 5'8" St. James (La.) Nebraska
Erika Johnson, G/F, 6'1" Holy Names Academy (Wash.) UC Berkeley
Jamie Katuna, G, 5'7" Longmont (Colo.) San Francisco
Jordan Kelley, G, 5'10" Campbell County (Wyo.) Washington State
Betnijah Laney, G, 6'0" Smyrna (Del.) Rutgers
Samantha Logic, G/F, 5'10" Case (Wis.) Iowa
Cartaesha Macklin, G, 5'7" Lafayette (Fla.) Southern Illinois
Ally Malott, G/F, 6'3" Madison (Ohio) Dayton
Ariel Massengale, G, 5'6" Bolingbrook (Ill.) Tennessee
Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, G, 6'0" Mater Dei (Calif.) UConn
Jenzel Nash, G/F, 5'8" Worthing (Tex.) UTEP
Amber Orrange, G, 5'7" Westbury Christian (Tex.) Stanford
Cassie Peoples, G, 5'6" Cy-Fair (Tex.) Texas
Jen Reese, F, 6'2" Clackamas (Ore.) Colorado
Kiah Stokes, C, 6'3" Linn-Mar (Iowa) UConn
Alexyz Vaioletama, F, 6'1" Mater Dei (Calif.) USC
Maiki Viela, G, 5'7" Lahainaluna (Hawaii) Gonzaga
Danielle Walczak, C, 6'1" Oyster River (N.H.) Maine
Elizabeth Williams, C, 6'3" Princess Anne (Va.) Duke
Shelby Winkelmann, G, 5'9" Hermann (Mo.) Nebraska


http://www.parade.com/news/all-america/2011/high-school-girls-basketball-team.html

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