Morning Bunker Report: Wednesday 5.2.2012

——————————WHAT THE REPUBLICAN PARTY STANDS FOR TODAY

FOX & FRIENDS has more important things to talk about than Rupert Murdoch – When the news broke [yesterday morning] that Rupert Murdoch had been declared by the UK Parliament unfit to lead an international company, Fox & Friends was in full swing. [...] After several segments critical of the Occupy movement and President Obama, trailers for a story about Karate Kid and a man falling off some scaffolding, Fox ran the big news about Murdoch. See the whole 32 seconds they dedicated to it, as well as the following story – a couple towing their grand-daughter’s toy car behind their SUV. — TPM 

MASSACHUSETTS SENATOR SCOTT BROWN (R) doesn’t see anything wrong with the fact that he has voted to overturn the Affordable Care Act four times, in spite of the fact that it enables him to keep his 23-year-old daughter on his Congressional health plan. Brown told The Boston Globe that his daughter Ayla’s use of the coverage is in no way inconsistent with his criticism of the ACA, which most Republicans call “Obamacare.” – Scott Brown opposes ‘Obamacare’ policy that covers his daughter

LINDSEY GRAHAM helps a nuclear plant get permits, is rewarded with cash — The $13-billion Cayce, SC-based energy company has long wanted a permit to build two new nuclear reactors at its Jenkinsville, SC, facilities. Graham, one of the Senate’s strongest supporters of nuclear power, actively backed their efforts. [...] In February, the U.S. Nuclear Research Commission voted to approve the country’s first nuclear reactor construction permits in more than 30 years. [...] On March 31, much to Graham’s delight, SCANA received its Jenkinsville permits. [...] Two weeks later, when Graham’s “Team Graham” Senate campaign committee filed its quarterly lobbying disclosure form, just one name appeared. SCANA Corporation, the committee revealed, had given the Graham $54,575 in bundled campaign contributions between January 1 and March 31 — raising money for him as he worked to secure their $10 billion project. — Think Progress

ISSUES PEOPLE ‘CARE ABOUT’ — Steve Benen has some followup questions for Romney with regard to his statement yesterday: “Of course, I would have taken out Osama bin Laden, but what’s the right course for the economy? What should we do with taxes? What should we do with regulation? What should we do with trade overseas? What should we do with our energy policy? How about our labor policy? These are important issues people care about.”

  • * When you say you’re focused on “important issues people care about,” why do you exclude counter-terrorism? Do you believe targeting the al Qaeda leader behind 9/11 is an unimportant issue people don’t care about?
  • * When you said four years ago that an Obama victory would be “a surrender to terror,” do you still think that was a sensible argument?
  • * When you say “of course” you would have launched the raid on bin Laden, do you realize that completely contradicts your campaign promises from four years ago? And do you understand the complexities and enormous risks of the decision itself?
  • * When you decided to visit New York firefighters today with Rudy Giuliani, are we to think this wasn’t a political move associated with the one-year anniversary of killing bin Laden?
  • * Republicans politicized the fear of terrorism in several recent election cycles. Why didn’t you complain then? And do you recognize a qualitative difference between politicizing fear and politicizing a victory?

MITT ROMNEY AND RUDY GIULIANI carried pizza a whole two feet for their firehouse photo op, then unloaded the pizza onto an aide — The presumptive GOP presidential nominee and his former critic emerged from a black SUV bearing gifts for some of New York’s bravest: six boxes of fresh pizza, which Romney and Giuliani personally lugged into the firehouse as a gaggle of photographers, cordoned off at a safe distance, snapped away. Moments later, the photo op complete and the press pool (mostly!) out of sight, Romney and Giuliani unloaded all six pizzas into the arms of an aide. — Daily Intel

FYI: MITT ROMNEY has always been a dick – Back in 2004, President Bush ran a smear campaign against challenger Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) which undermined his service in Vietnam and questioned Kerry’s ability and determination to protect the United States — just three years removed from the 9/11 attacks — from another terror strike. “If we make the wrong choice, then the danger is that we’ll get hit again,” then Vice President Dick Cheney said at the time. And while Romney complains about Obama’s alleged “politicization” now, he willfully participated in the Bush-Cheney smear campaign on Kerry in 2004. During an August 9, 2004 (accessed via Lexis/Nexis) interview on Fox News, Romney suggested that Kerry would “twiddle his thumbs” when dealing with terrorism and in September 2004, also on Fox News, Romney said Kerry is too much of a flip-flopper to protect the country. – Think Progress

WHAT DO SANTORUM AND GINGRICH want before they officially endorse Mitt?

PRESIDENT OBAMA / DEMOCRATS————————————————————

MARKING TWO ANNIVERSAIRES yesterday — 2003 and 2011: 

“As we emerge from a decade of conflict abroad and economic crisis at home, it’s time to renew America,” Obama said at 4 a.m. local time, the first time a sitting U.S. president has addressed the nation from inside an active war zone. “This time of war began in Afghanistan, and this is where it will end.” [...] Shortly after arriving unannounced at the military base near Kabul, Obama and Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai signed a Strategic Partnership Agreement that memorializes the relationship between the two nations for the 10-year period following the draw down of combat troops by the end of 2014. At that time, Obama said the U.S. will assume a “support” role and deliver aid to the struggling nation that will become responsible for its own security. “The agreement we signed today sends a clear message to the Afghan people: as you stand up, you will not stand alone,” Obama said. And in a statement after the meeting, Karzai stated, “By signing this document, we close the last 10 years and open a new season of equal relations.” – Obama in Afghanistan: This is Where the War Will End

IT ALL STARTED right after Team Obama debuted their new campaign’s slogan: “Forward—the long-awaited sequel to 2008′s “Hope and Change.” And in those seven letters, members of the conservative commentariat detected a whiff of totalitarianism. On Tuesday, ThinkProgress editor Alex Seitz-Wald threw together a primer on the bizarre, petty, and not entirely unexpected freak-out. For example, Bill Kristol of The Weekly Standard criticized the president for having signed off on a word so closely linked to Chairman Mao’s mass-murder-tastic Great Leap Forward. (“[P]erhaps President Obama might rethink this slightly creepy slogan,” Kristol pondered earnestly.) Breitbart.com’s Joel Pollak (this guy) wrote about how the seven-letter slogan is further proof that Obama’s political heritage belongs to a long line of Communist tyrants. Jim Hoft at Gateway Pundit took Forwardgate as his cue to yet again draw the Obama-Hitler connection. – Hitler, Obama Both Fond of Slogans

  • AND PEOPLE WONDER why our public discourse is so stunted – there’s more: National Review‘s The Corner: “I knew that sounded awfully familiar. From Wikipedia: Vorwarts (“Forward”) was the central organ of the Social Democratic Party of Germany published daily in Berlin from 1891 to 1933.” Daily Mail: “Mao, Lenin and a century of Marxist radicals: The controversial origins of Obama’s new campaign slogan ‘Forward’” The Washington Times: “New Obama slogan has long ties to Marxism, socialism” – Moving ‘forward,’ into a red scare
  • WHICH BEGS THE QUESTION — Was Richard M. Nixon a closet Marxist? “Forward Together” 

NOTE: THOUGH THE OBAMA CAMPAIGN voluntarily chooses to disclose all of its fundraising bundlers, the Romney campaign has decided to keep bundlers’ names secret.

Report: 48 of 65 U.S. nuclear stations leaked radioactive tritium

“The public health and safety impact of this is next to zero. This is a public confidence issue.” — Nuclear Energy Institute’s Tony Pietrangelo

“Radiation is actually good for you.” — Nuclear physicist and part-time brain surgeon Ann Coulter

Report: 75% of U.S. nukes sites leaked radioactive tritium

The Associated Press found that 48 of the 65 power stations in the U.S. had reported leaking tritium, a radioactive form of hydrogen.

U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) records blamed many of the leaks on corroded buried piping. At 37 of the sites, contamination to groundwater exceeded the federal drinking water standard.

While no public water supplies are known to have been contaminated, the leaks did reach the wells of homes in Illinois and Minnesota. In New Jersey, tritium was found in a discharge canal feeding Barnegat Bay… In 2007, cesium-137 was found along with tritium at the Fort Calhoun plant near Omaha, Nebraska. The Indian Point nuclear site near New York City was found to have leaked Strontium-90 two years before that.

And the problem is growing — as the AP notes:

The number and severity of the leaks has been escalating, even as federal regulators extend the licenses of more and more reactors across the nation.

List of Power Reactor Units

U.S. Commercial Nuclear Power Reactors - Years of Operation

I’m glad to see that Colorado doesn’t have a nuclear reactor.

Missouri River flooding: 1-29 closures (near both of Nebraska’s nuclear plants)

From the Iowa DOT:

But look at a close up — the road closures are adjacent to both of Nebraska’s nuclear reactors at Fort Calhoun and Brownville (Cooper Nuclear Station):

The FAA restricted air space over both plants and now the interstate is closed near both plants.

Related:

Mixed messages

“There would be many Chernobyls” vs. “it won’t be anything like Chernobyl.”

BBC’s Japan Liveblog:

Masashi Goto says,

A former nuclear power plant designer has said Japan is facing an extremely grave crisis and called on the government to release more information, which he said was being suppressed. Masashi Goto told a news conference in Tokyo that one of the reactors at the Fukushima-Daiichi plant was “highly unstable”, and that if there was a meltdown the “consequences would be tremendous”. He said such an event might be very likely indeed. So far, the government has said a meltdown would not lead to a sizeable leak of radioactive materials.

Mr Goto said the reactors at the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear plant were suffering pressure build-ups way beyond that for which they were designed. There was a severe risk of an explosion, with radioactive material being strewn over a very wide area – beyond the 20km evacuation zone set up by the authorities – he added. Mr Goto calculated that because Reactor No 3 at Fukushima-Daiichi – where pressure is rising and there is a risk of an explosion – used a type of fuel known as Mox, a mixture of plutonium oxide and uranium oxide, the radioactive fallout from any meltdown might be twice as bad.

He accused the government of deliberately withholding vital information that would allow outside experts help solve the problems. “For example, there has not been enough information about the hydrogen being vented. We don’t know how much was vented and how radioactive it was.” He also described the use of sea water to cool the cores of the reactors at Fukushima-Daiichi as highly unusual and dangerous.

He described the worst-case scenario: “It is difficult to say, but that would be a core meltdown. If the rods fall and mix with water, the result would be an explosion of solid material like a volcano spreading radioactive material. Steam or a hydrogen explosion caused by the mix would spread radioactive waste more than 50km. Also, this would be multiplied. There are many reactors in the area so there would be many Chernobyls.”

BUT, Malcolm Crick says,

At the same time, Malcolm Crick, the secretary of the UN Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation, has told the Reuters news agency: “This is not a serious public health issue at the moment. It won’t be anything like Chernobyl. There the reactor was operating at full power when it exploded and it had no containment.”

Japan’s nuclear reactors in trouble: Onagawa, Fukushima I & Fukushima II

Onagawa:

[10:39 a.m. ET, 11:39 p.m. Tokyo] A state of emergency has been declared at a nuclear power plant in Onagawa, Japan, where excessive radiation levels have been recorded following Friday’s massive earthquake, the United Nations’ atomic watchdog agency said Sunday. Authorities have told the agency that the three reactor units at the Onagawa plant “are under control.” — CNN

1456: Radiation levels at the Onagawa nuclear power plant in Miyagi prefecture are about 700 times higher than normal but are still low, the Tohoku Electric Power Company has said, according to the Maichi Shinbum website. Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency dismissed the possibility that the Onagawa plant was to blame, saying it was likely caused by the radioactive substances that scattered when a hydrogen explosion hit the troubled Fukushima plant on Saturday. — BBC

Fukushima I & II:

Japanese authorities now list six reactors at two different nuclear power plants – Fukushima I and nearby Fukushima II – in a state of emergency following the massive earthquake and Tsunami waves that hit Japan Friday. A total of 11 of the nation’s 54 reactors shut down following the quake, knocking out about 30 percent of Japan’s power. — CSM

Japanese government officials have said a partial nuclear meltdown caused by a massive earthquake is likely underway in the second of three reactors at the Fukushima nuclear complex. — WaPo

A man holds his baby as they are scanned for levels of radiation in Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan, Sunday, March 13. Friday's quake and tsunami damaged two nuclear reactors at a power plant in the prefecture, and at least one of them appeared to be going through a partial meltdown, raising fears of a radiation leak. Mark Baker/AP

Officials in protective gear check for signs of radiation on children who are from the evacuation area near the Fukushima Daini nuclear plant in Koriyama, March 13, 2011