Today's news begins with a short compilation of the good, the bad and the downright ugly, for which we have not just one single item to consider in that category and which will all be presented today with slightly lower levels of
Today, NHK World is reporting that TEPCO has plugged "the leak," or at least the one leak the whole world knows was leaking thousands of gallons of highly radioactive water into the sea from reactor 2. The question remains, how many more cracks are leaking radioactive water that they don't know about or know about but are not reporting? That's the good news. Now the bad.
According to a confidential assessment prepared by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission and reported by The New York Times, there's a fresh wave of threats that could persist "indefinitely." As to the specific reason(s) they chose to use the word "indefinitely" in describing these threats, we can only speculate. Could it be that they have determined radioactive iodine 129, which is the byproduct of Plutonium and Uranium fission and which has a half life of 15 million years has leaked into the oceans and threatens the world's aquatic life? Or worse, perhaps Plutonium, Uranium and Cesium, each which have a much longer half life, have leaked into the oceans? That could have an indefinite impact on the earth for sure.
According to the same report, reactor number 1 likely has no cooling water whatsoever and any attempts to cool it further will be hindered by the salt building up on critical parts as reported here over a week ago. It's certainly an interesting read into the NRC's take on the situation, which differs greatly from the Japanese official reports.
Interestingly, the NRC report which shows that reactor number 1 has no water, could explain the reason TEPCO has announced they will attempt to inject nitrogen into this same reactor in an effort to prevent an imminent hydrogen explosion; of course, now that we are all nuclear experts thanks in part to Fukushima, we know hydrogen gas builds up when exposed rods melt and interact with other metals, releasing that highly explosive gas. It goes without saying, 1+1=2.
Another interesting tidbit of information that can be deduced using logic says, if radiation levels are so high that even sophisticated equipment has been rendered useless and are "immeasurable," how will human workers be able to come close enough to these structures in order to install proposed radiation shielding? Now we see why the earliest these shields can be installed is still 6 months away. Until then, the environment will continue to filled with
Now that the "bad news" is out of the way, it's time for the "ugly news."
Is it just us, or does it seem like the global economy is coming to a screeching halt? Literally. With Toyota announcing North American production will be suspended due to a lack of parts, and now other manufactures around the world such as American Superconductor being decapitated as China's growth slows, we can see why super investors such as Warren Buffet are so bullish on the Japan catastrophe. It's interesting to note, AMSC got sliced on China's over stuffed inventory. Let's see how long it takes to reduce that inventory now.
Helping Japan's economy (and the global economy) during these
- India, China, others ban imports of food from Japan for at least three months
- Spain's unemployment jumps almost a full 1% to a record amount in March
- Portugal on the brink as bond yields explode to unsustainable levels (where have we seen this before? - Right. "We don't need no stinking bailout" Greece one year ago.)
- Greece on brink as they cry for help from EU
- Ireland sees a real run on banks and tries to stop it
- US mortgage applications drop 2% over week
- WTI oil now at $109 and climbing, gold at $1462, silver only 59 cents away from our initial price target of $40.
- Whoops! Health care costs for US citizens skyrocket 25-60% while top health care executives earn record bonuses - For example, United Health Care's CEO earned $102 Million in compensation in 2009, $1.7 Billion (Billion, no typo) in 2007, $125 Million in 2005 so on.
and last but not least
- US Gov't faces a shutdown in less than 72 hours. The clock's ticking.