XIAM007

Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Germany to shut down pre-1980 nuclear plants - 10 of Germany's 17 nuclear plants to stay open -

Germany to shut down pre-1980 nuclear plants - 10 of Germany's 17 nuclear plants to stay open - 


* Only 10 of Germany's 17 nuclear plants to stay open
* About a third of German nuclear capacity to be shut down
* Merkel's conservatives face defeat in regional elections
* Opposition accuses Merkel of transparent trickery
(Adds details of capacity to be shut down, share falls)
BERLIN, March 15 (Reuters) - Germany will shut down all seven of its nuclear power plants that began operating before 1980 at least till June, the government said on Tuesday, leaving open whether they will ever start up again after Japan's crisis.
Chancellor Angela Merkel announced the closures, which will leave only 10 nuclear stations still generating, under a nuclear policy moratorium imposed as Japan faced a potential catastrophe at its earthquake-crippled Fukushima complex.
"Power plants that went into operation before the end of 1980 will ... be shut down for the period of the moratorium," Merkel told a news conference, adding that the decision would be carried out by government decree as no agreement with the plants' operators had been reached.
Environment Minister Norbert Roettgen said it was not clear if the reactors to be shut down in the three-month moratorium would remain closed or be reconnected to the grid afterwards.
Merkel astonished German politicians on Monday by suspending an unpopular coalition decision taken only last autumn, under which the life of Germany's 17 nuclear power plants would be extended by years. [ID:nLDE72D1PN]
She drew accusations on Tuesday of transparent trickery for the move, with the opposition and media saying she was trying to avoid a regional election disaster later this month.
PANIC AND PARTY POLITICS
The seven ageing plants account for about a third of Germany's nuclear capacity. However, one of them has been offline since an accident in 2007, and another shut down last month for maintenance. [ID:nLDE72E0OD] [ID:nLDE72E1U0]
Business leaders urged caution when making major decisions on nuclear plants, which in total supply about a quarter of all electricity needed to power Europe's biggest economy. "Panic and party politics make bad advisers," said Hans Heinrich Driftmann, who heads the German Chamber of Industry and Trade.

U.S. Surgeon General Encourages West Coast Residents to Buy Iodide Tablets... -

U.S. Surgeon General Encourages West Coast Residents to Buy Iodide Tablets... - 

View more videos at: http://www.nbcbayarea.com.




The fear that a nuclear cloud could float from the shores of Japan to the shores of California has some people making a run on iodine tablets. Pharmacists across California report being flooded with requests.
State and county officials spent much of Tuesday trying to keep people calm by saying that getting the pills wasn't necessary, but then the United States surgeon general supported the idea as a worthy "precaution."
U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin is in the Bay Area touring a peninsula hospital. NBC Bay Area reporter Damian Trujillo asked her about the run on tablets and Dr. Benjamin said although she wasn't aware of people stocking up, she did not think that would be an overreaction. She said it was right to be prepared.
On the other side of the issue is Kelly Huston of the California Emergency Management Agency. Huston said state officials, along with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the California Energy Commission, were monitoring the situation and said people don't need to buy the pills.

14 Reasons Why The Economic Collapse Of Japan Has Begun -

14 Reasons Why The Economic Collapse Of Japan Has Begun -


The economic collapse of Japan has begun.  The extent of the devastation is now becoming clear and many are now projecting that this will be the most expensive natural disaster in modern human history.  The tsunami that struck Japan on March 11th swept up to 6 miles inland, destroying virtually everything in the way.  Countless thousands were killed and entire communities were totally wiped out.  So how does a nation that is already drowning in debt replace dozens of cities and towns that have suddenly been destroyed?  Many in the mainstream media are claiming that the economy of Japan will bounce right back from this, but they are wrong.  The tsunami decimated thousands of square miles.  The loss of homes, cars, businesses and personal wealth is almost unimaginable.  It is going to take many years to rebuild the roads, bridges, rail systems, ports, power lines and water systems that were lost.  There are going to be a significant number of Japanese insurance companies and financial institutions that are going to be totally wiped out as a result of this great tragedy.  Of course in the days ahead the Japanese people will band together and work hard to rebuild the nation, but the truth is that it is impossible to "bounce right back" from such a massive loss of wealth, assets and infrastructure.
Just think about what happened after Hurricane Katrina.  Did the economy of New Orleans bounce right back?  No, there are some areas of New Orleans today that still look like war zones.
Well, this disaster is much worse.
The truth is that this is going to be one of the defining moments in the history of Japan.  Hundreds of miles along the coast of Japan have been absolutely devastated.  Authorities are finding it difficult to even get food and water into some areas at this point.
Even before this great tragedy Japan was one of the nations that was on the verge of a national economic collapse.  Their economy had been in the doldrums for over a decade and their national debt was well over 200 percent of GDP.  Now the Japanese economy has experienced a shock from which it may never truly recover.
The Bank of Japan is already flooding the Japanese economy with new yen, and so we may indeed see some impressive "economic growth" statistics at the end of the year.  But just because lots more yen are being passed around does not mean that the Japanese economy is in better shape.
The truth is that a tsunami of yen is not going to undo the damage that the tsunami of water did.  A massive amount of Japanese wealth was wiped out by this disaster.  An economy that was already teetering on the brink is now very likely going to plunge into oblivion.
It is fine to be optimistic, but the cold, hard reality of the situation is that this is a knockout blow for the Japanese economy.  The extent of the devastation is just too great.  This truly is a complete and total nightmare.
The following are 14 reasons why the economic collapse of Japan has now begun....
#1 The Bank of Japan has announced that they have decided to flood the Japanese economy with 15 trillion yen.  That is the equivalent of roughly $183 billion dollars.  This is going to provide needed liquidity in the short-term, but it is also going to set Japan on a highly inflationary course.
#2 Japan’s Nikkei 225 stock average declined by more than 6 percent on Monday.  As the full extent of the damage becomes apparent more declines are likely.
#3 Oil refineries all over Japan have been severely damaged or destroyed.  For example, six refineries that combine to process 31 percent of the oil for Japan have been totally shut down at least for now.
#4 The damage to roads, bridges, ports and rail systems is estimated to be in the billions of dollars.  The damage done to power lines and water systems is almost unimaginable.  It is going to take many years to rebuild the infrastructure of Japan.
#5 Right now the flow of goods and services in many areas of northern Japan has been reduced to a crawl, and this is likely to remain the case for quite some time.
#6 Many cities and towns along the east coast of Japan have essentially been completely destroyed.
#7 Japan's nuclear industry is essentially dead in the water at this point.  Even if there is not a full-blown nuclear meltdown, the events that have transpired already have frightened people enough to cause a massive public outcry against nuclear power in Japan.
#8 Japan is going to need even more oil and natural gas in the long run to replace lost nuclear energy production.  Prior to this crisis, Japan derived 29 percent of its electricity from nuclear power.
#9 Japan is the second largest foreign holder of U.S. government debt, but that is about to change.  Japan currently has about $882 billion in U.S. Treasury bonds and they are going to have to liquidate much of that in order to fund the rebuilding of their nation.
#10 Many factories in Japan are closing down at least temporarily.  For example, Nissan has shut down four factories and Sony has shut down six factories.
#11 Toyota has shut down all production at its factories in Japan until at least March 16th.
#12 A substantial number of Japanese financial institutions and insurance companies are absolutely going to be devastated by this nightmare.
#13 Japan's budget deficit was already 9 percent of GDP even before this tragedy.  Now they are going to have to borrow lots more money to fund the rebuilding effort.
#14 Japan's national debt was already well over 200 percent of GDP even before this tragedy.  How much farther into the danger zone can they possibly go?
Sadly, as the economy of Japan goes down it is going to have a huge affect on the rest of the world as well.  For example, Japan is no longer going to be able to buy up huge amounts of U.S. Treasuries.  So who is going to pick up the slack?  Will our government officials beg China to lend us even more money?  Will the Federal Reserve just "buy" even more of our government debt?
Right now there are more questions than there are answers, but what is clear is that the Japanese economy has just been dealt an incapacitating blow.  Hopefully this tragedy will bring out the best in the Japanese people, but no matter how resilient they are, the truth is that this is something that no nation would be able to bounce back from quickly.
Let us hope that the economic damage from this tragedy will be contained and will not spread to the rest of the world.  The global economy is already in enough trouble, and hopefully this tragedy will not cause a cascade of economic failures to sweep the globe.

U.S. Drug Stores Report Sudden Increase in Potassium Iodide Sales -

U.S. Drug Stores Report Sudden Increase in Potassium Iodide Sales -



One drug supplier says it has sold a quarter million anti-radiation pills to people in the U.S. concerned about possible exposure from Japanese nuclear reactors.
Troy Jones, president of Nukepills.com, said his company sold out over the weekend of potassium iodide pills, which prevent against radiation poisoning of the thyroid gland. Jones said in an interview with FoxNews.com that the pills were sold to dozens of U.S. pharmacies, corporations, hospitals and nuclear labs.
"You name it," he said.
Jones said that he has back ordered over a million tablets is and expected to get another 10,000 of the liquid potassium iodine. He also said that he's donated about 50,000 pills to Japan, many of them going to a hospital in Tokyo.
Despite assurances from health officials that Americans are not at risk from Japanese nuclear reactors, U.S. drug stores are reporting a sudden increase in sales of the over-the-counter anti-radiation pills.

Potassium iodide pills are reportedly flying off the shelves at drug stores in at least three West Coast states -- Oregon, California and Hawaii -- according to several local press accounts.
The Wall Street Journal also reports that one Virginia-based supplier, Anbex Inc., sold out of its entire supply of 10,000 14-tablet packages on Saturday.
Alan Morris, president of the company, reportedly said that the supplier is receiving about three orders a minute for $10 packages of its Iosat pills.
"Those who don't get it are crying. They're terrified," Morris told the newspaper.
U.S. health officials have said that dangerous levels of radiation leaking from a crippled nuclear plant in Japan pose little or no risk to people on the U.S. West Coast. But the reassurances have not stopped worried Americans from clearing out potassium iodide supplies at drug stores in Hawaii, Oregon, and California.
Stores in Eugene, Ore., for example, have reported a sudden spike in sales of the pill. Janell Davis, vitamin manager at Sundance Natural Foods, told the Register-Guard that the store was sold out of the tablets by Saturday afternoon. In Redding, Calif., some store owners say they can't stock their shelves fast enough with the tablets.
“As soon as we found out people were calling and coming in and emptying our shelves this morning, I called my boss and she told me to go ahead and order a bunch," Jan Gertner, who works at Whitney's Vitamin and Herb Shop, told krcrtv.com.


Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/03/15/drug-stores-report-sudden-increase-potassium-iodide-sales/#ixzz1Ggw0NXG3

More Than 10,000 Pounds of Lean Cuisine Recalled - spaghetti with meatballs may contain foreign materials -

More Than 10,000 Pounds of Lean Cuisine Recalled - spaghetti with meatballs may contain foreign materials -



Nestle Prepared Foods Company is recalling over 10,000 pounds of Lean Cuisine Simple Favorites, spaghetti with meatballs because they may contain foreign materials.

There have been complaints of hard, plastic in the product from consumers in Minnesota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. No injuries have been reported.

The frozen dinners were sold at stores east of the Rocky Mountains.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2011/03/15/10000-pounds-lean-cuisine-recalled/#ixzz1GgBVq7UC