Read a little. Learn a lot. • Tightly-written news, views and stuff • Follow us on TwitterBe a Facebook FanTumble us!

28 Dec 2011 11:37


World: Iran threatens major waterway in fight against U.S. sanctions

  • Closing the Strait of Hormuz is very easy for Iranian naval forces. Iran has comprehensive control over the strategic waterway.
  • Iranian Adm. Habibollah Sayyari • Claiming that Iran has the ability to close the Strait of Hormuz, a major waterway that’s extremely important for the distribution of one-sixth of the world’s oil. Sayyari’s threats come as Iran worries that the U.S. and its allies will start to sanction Iran’s all-important oil supply out of frustration with the country’s controversial nuclear program. Congress recently passed a bill to sanction the country’s central bank, which Obama plans to sign despite having misgivings about the effects it might have. As tensions continue to rise over Iran’s nuclear program, could military action become an option for the U.S.? source

04 Sep 2011 11:55


World: Big news: Iran’s energy grid officially includes nuclear power

  • what Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power plant has just connected to the country’s grid for the first time, making it the first time the Middle East has produced its own nuclear power.
  • when The plant “joined the national grid” at 11:29 p.m. last night (that was 2:59 p.m. Eastern), and will have a ceremony to inaugurate the plant on September 12. source

28 Jun 2011 10:39


World: Wildfire gets a little to close to Los Alamos’ nuclear waste

  • These drums are designed to a safety standard that would withstand a wildland fire worse than this one.
  • Los Alamos National Laboratory spokeswoman Lisa Rosendorf • Attempting to reassure people that, even as a large wildfire gets close to the birthplace of the atomic bomb — which has about 30,000 55-gallon drums of Cold War-era nuclear waste on the premises, located less than four miles away from the fire — that things are safe. Rosendorf says that it’s located in a place with few trees nearby, meaning that the fire would be unlikely to spread into that particular area, and if it did, it would not affect the drums. Let’s hope she’s right. source

17 Mar 2011 10:21


World: Japan, out of options, tries crop-dusting Fukushima

Know how bad things have gotten at Fukushima? Well, now the Japanese military is dumping seawater out of a helicopter onto the nuclear plant. This seems unfortunate. source

16 Mar 2011 10:41


Biz, World: The single most cringe-worthy quote on Japan you’ll see today

  • Japan has some of its industry curtailed, like auto and steel — but that’s not going to last too long. People are starting to realize that there [sic] economy is not going to be shut down for long — and they’re going to have to start to look for alternative fuel sources.
  • INFA Energy Brokers CEO Brad Schaeffer • Suggesting that Japan will have to switch its energy sources to an alternative source. But Schaeffer means “alternative” in the way one might call a band like Nickelback “alternative” — see, he thinks that Japan should move to oil. “Remember, they need to get their nation back on their feet,” he says. “They aren’t worrying about their carbon footprint so much. They’re thinking we need to get oil here now – so we can get our generators up and running.” While there’s some grain of truth here, we wonder how much of what he’s saying is wishful thinking, seeing that he’s the CEO of an energy-brokering company. Quotes like these? They seriously make us cringe. source

15 Mar 2011 23:39


World: Fukushima update: Radiation briefly reaches one sievert an hour

  • 1,000 the level the radioactivity reached near the Fukushima reactor, in milli-sieverts per hour – which is a new high, by far
  • 800-600 the level the radioactivity fell to not much longer after that, in milli-sieverts per hour; this is still far more than average source
  • » For context: Please check out our various updates here, here, here, and here.

15 Mar 2011 22:58


U.S.: Back in the States, Americans raiding geiger counter stockpile

  • cause After last week’s earthquake, a series of nuclear troubles hit the Fukushima reactors and other nuclear reactors throughout Japan. Fukushima most seriously, as we’re sure you’ve read.
  • reaction In the United States, even though the odds are slim to none that the crisis will affect them, sales of geiger counters and potassium iodide have skyrocketed. Has there been a run on tinfoil hats? source

15 Mar 2011 10:56


World: Tracking radiation levels in Tokyo: A minorly scary photo

  • Photo of the day: “A radiation detector marks 0.6 micro-sieverts, exceeding normal levels Tuesday, near Shibuya train station in Tokyo. Concern over possible radiation exposure has increased after a fourth reactor released radiation, Tuesday.” To compare – this level is higher than average, but only a tiny percentage of what’s happening at the plant. 1,000 micro-sieverts per hour equals one milli-sievert per hour. So this is high, but still minor. (Kyodo News/AP) source

15 Mar 2011 10:28


World: UPDATE: Fukushima’s radiation levels drop significantly

  • 11.9 the current peak radiation count, in milli-sieverts per hour
  • 400 the peak radiation count in milli-sieverts per hour – which was hit last night
  • 300k the peak mSv/hour count at Chernobyl – to keep things in check source
  • » It’s no longer at its peak, and that’s a good thing: The International Atomic Energy Agency says that the decrease happened over a six-hour period. And the IAEA makes a good point that you should keep in mind. “This is a high dose-level value, but it is a local value at a single location and at a certain point in time,” they say. In other words, even if you’re within the 20-mile radius where radiation is likely to hit, the level will most assuredly be far lower than these peak levels. It’s still high, though – one milli-sievert per hour is equal to the yearly legal limit of radiation you’re supposed to get. (see our earlier posts about this topic here and here)

14 Mar 2011 23:40


World: UPDATE: What does “400 times annual legal limit” mean?

  • 400 the amount of radiation in the air, in milli-sieverts per hour, according to the given estimate
  • 40 the amount of radiation that is, in roentgen per hour – which, don’t get us wrong, is very high
  • 30k the amount of radiation in Chernnobyl had – which Fukushima doesn’t touch source
  • » This is an extremely large jump: One milli-sievert per hour is the legal annual limit for radiation in a year. Our earlier estimate showed a level of 8,217 micro-sieverts. 1,000 micro-sieverts equals 1 milli-sievert. So we went from 8,000 to 400,000 in a couple of hours. This is still no Chernobyl, but this is a huge jump. If it jumps to 1,000,000 micro-sieverts, it leads to radiation sickness – and then we’re in trouble.