The U.N. nuclear watchdog urged Japan to weigh dumping radioactive water from its Fukushima plant to help control the fluid’s “enormous” quantity.
Japan should consider “all options” to manage radiation-tainted fluid from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, “including the possible resumption of controlled discharges to the sea,” the International Atomic Energy Agency said in a report prepared at Japan’s request and made public on Thursday. A 2011 earthquake and tsunami led to meltdowns in three of the six reactors at the facility overseen by Tokyo Electric Power, and the plant operator has applied massive quantities of water since that time to help cool overheating components.
More than 132 million gallons of contaminated water had amassed on the facility’s grounds as of late last year, and about a fifth of that amount was inside basements and other structures, the Vienna-based U.N. agency said in its report.
Other water was being stored inside hundreds of tanks, and the report says Tokyo Electric Power is fielding more of the containers. Tank leaks have been an ongoing problem, though, and the U.N. agency said Japan would need to take steps beyond deploying additional containers and refining decontamination technology already in place.
“It is necessary to find a sustainable solution” to the water problems at the coastal complex, the U.N. agency said in its assessment.
The IAEA authors urged Tokyo Electric Power to assess what “potential radiological impact” releasing additional contaminated water into the ocean would have on “the population and the environment.” The company released more than 1,000 tons of water from the plant last September, when a typhoon flooded the site with more fluid than it could handle.
The report did not suggest how much water the site might ultimately dump, and it called for extensive discussion of the potential move with government authorities and the public.
“It is clear that final decision making will require engaging all stakeholders, including [Tokyo Electric Power], the [Japanese Nuclear Regulation Authority], the national government, Fukushima prefecture government, local communities and others,” says the report, which assesses Japan’s efforts to plan and carry out the Fukushima site’s dismantlement.
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Foreign Policy takes a look at the future of mining the estimated "100,000 near-Earth objects—including asteroids and comets—in the neighborhood of our planet. Some of these NEOs, as they’re called, are small. Others are substantial and potentially packed full of water and various important minerals, such as nickel, cobalt, and iron. One day, advocates believe, those objects will be tapped by variations on the equipment used in the coal mines of Kentucky or in the diamond mines of Africa. And for immense gain: According to industry experts, the contents of a single asteroid could be worth trillions of dollars." But the technology to get us there is only the first step. Experts say "a multinational body might emerge" to manage rights to NEOs, as well as a body of law, including an international court.
Not to be outdone by Jeffrey Goldberg's recent piece in The Atlantic about President Obama's foreign policy, the New York Times Magazine checks in with a longread on the president's economic legacy. In it, Obama is cognizant that the economic reality--73 straight months of growth--isn't matched by public perceptions. Some of that, he says, is due to a constant drumbeat from the right that "that denies any progress." But he also accepts some blame himself. “I mean, the truth of the matter is that if we had been able to more effectively communicate all the steps we had taken to the swing voter,” he said, “then we might have maintained a majority in the House or the Senate.”
Ronald Reagan's children and political allies took to the media and Twitter this week to chide funnyman Will Ferrell for his plans to play a dementia-addled Reagan in his second term in a new comedy entitled Reagan. In an open letter, Reagan's daughter Patti Davis tells Ferrell, who's also a producer on the movie, “Perhaps for your comedy you would like to visit some dementia facilities. I have—I didn’t find anything comedic there, and my hope would be that if you’re a decent human being, you wouldn’t either.” Michael Reagan, the president's son, tweeted, "What an Outrag....Alzheimers is not joke...It kills..You should be ashamed all of you." And former Rep. Joe Walsh called it an example of "Hollywood taking a shot at conservatives again."
In a sign that she’s ready to put a longer-than-expected primary battle behind her, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) is no longer going on the air in upcoming primary states. “Team Clinton hasn’t spent a single cent in … California, Indiana, Kentucky, Oregon and West Virginia, while” Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) “campaign has spent a little more than $1 million in those same states.” Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sanders’ "lone backer in the Senate, said the candidate should end his presidential campaign if he’s losing to Hillary Clinton after the primary season concludes in June, breaking sharply with the candidate who is vowing to take his insurgent bid to the party convention in Philadelphia.”
The team behind the bestselling "Clinton Cash"—author Peter Schweizer and Breitbart's Stephen Bannon—is turning the book into a movie that will have its U.S. premiere just before the Democratic National Convention this summer. The film will get its global debut "next month in Cannes, France, during the Cannes Film Festival. (The movie is not a part of the festival, but will be shown at a screening arranged for distributors)." Bloomberg has a trailer up, pointing out that it's "less Ken Burns than Jerry Bruckheimer, featuring blood-drenched money, radical madrassas, and ominous footage of the Clintons."