Japan: A Different Variety of Nuclear Fallout

The Japan earthquake and subsequent tsunami, which placed its Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in jeopardy, are continuing to send shock waves throughout the world.  First, of course, are the rampant reports of plutonium leaks from the crippled plant.  Plutonium is a sensitive subject, as it was at the heart of a bomb devastating Nagasaki in 1945.  The trace amounts of plutonium reported thus far fail to alarm certain health experts, according to a recent statement made by an official of the Nuclear Industrial Safety Agency in Tokyo.  Yet, inhaling plutonium-tainted dust is a serious health hazard.  Once in the bloodstream, plutonium generally remains in the body for decades, exposing organs and tissues to cancer-causing radiation. The catastrophe is generating after-effects almost as damaging as the tsunami itself.  A review of the plant’s records show warnings and dangers pursuant to an engineering study that was downplayed by senior engineers after being presented at a nuclear conference in Miami, July 2007.  This study concludes that there is a 10% chance a tsunami could test or overrun the defenses of the plant within a 50-year span, based on the most conservative assumptions.  Tokyo Electric did nothing to change its safety planning based Read More …

Elizabeth Taylor’s End Credits

Elizabeth Taylor, one of the last great stars of Hollywood’s golden age, died today due to congestive heart failure in Los Angeles.  After her acting career subsided in the 1980s, the 79 year old icon became well known for her philanthropic efforts, most notably AIDS-related charities and fundraising. Her life was also marked by a string of unsuccessful marriages coupled with drug and alcohol abuse; the Betty Ford Rehabilitation Center in Rancho Mirage became familiar territory.  Lady Justice honors her achievements. RIP.