Archive for March, 2011

Fukushima’s Informational Fallout; Obama’s Nuclear Connections; Billionaires & Salazar Push Coal in Wyoming; EJ Leaders Celebrate Halt to Cap and Trade

March 29th, 2011

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has quietly doubled what it considers “safe” exposure levels to nuclear radiation. Japan issues conflicting claims about levels of radioactivity. The French and Austrian governments are putting forth different numbers on the radiation emerging from Japan.

Joining host Daphne Wysham to discuss the reliability – or lack thereof – of claims of “safety” in the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster is Dr. Arjun Makhijani, the president of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research. Makhijani is the author of numerous reports and books, including the book “Carbon-Free and Nuclear-Free: A Roadmap for U.S. Energy Policy.”

** Update: The US EPA is testing milk for radiation contamination. **

Mary Olson is the director of the Southeast Office of the Nuclear Information and Resource Service. She explains how President Obama’s ties to the nuclear industry include some of his closest advisers, staff, and fundraisers. She also explores the challenging issues around nuclear waste storage and transport.

Earthbeat host Daphne Wysham interviewed the Institute for Policy Studies‘ Bob Alvarez about spent fuel here in the U.S. for our television partners – The Real News.

More at The Real News

The US has opened up huge swaths of public land in Wyoming to coal mining in a deal that involves billionaires Warren Buffett and Bill Gates. Jeff Biggers gives us the latest. Biggers is the author of “Reckoning at Eagle Creek: The Secret Legacy of Coal in the Heartland.”

Finally, environmental justice activists declared victory in California courts, bringing cap and trade to a halt in the state. We hear from attorney and plaintiff Angela Johnson-Meszaros on why they challenged cap and trade and what’s next.

Additional information and audio will be posted shortly.

Image by Abode of Chaos, used via a Creative Commons license from Flickr.

Our theme music is “Baladi” by Tony Anka, Bellydance Superstars vol. 2.

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US Nuclear Safety Called into Question, Oil Spill Effects Continue in the Gulf and the EPA’s New Mercury Rules

March 22nd, 2011

Spent fuel rods have come into focus as a result of the partial meltdown in Fukushima, Japan. Yet the same problem of unsafe quantities of spent fuel exists, stored at nuclear power plants, with even greater quantities of spent fuel in the US, according to Bob Alvarez, a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies – yet, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has ignored warnings on this problem. We hear from Alvarez on this issue, and we hear from Jeffrey Patterson of Physicians for Social Responsibility, who claims there is no safe level of radiation, and that it is only a matter of time before an accident similar to Fukushima’s happens in the US unless we act swiftly.

Then we hear from BBC investigative journalist Greg Palast who reveals that the same company that has allegedly covered up safety problems in the partial meltdowns of nuclear power plants in Japan – Tokyo Electric Power – is planning on helping to build two nuclear power plants in Texas, with financial backing from the Obama administration.

Earthbeat host Daphne Wysham moderated a debate over America’s nuclear industry between Arjun Makhijani, the president of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, and Eileen Supko, a vice president of Energy Resources International, a nuclear fuel consulting company in Washington, DC.

The audio and video of the debate is derived from our television partnership with The Real News Network.


More at The Real News

The US Coast Guard is investigating reports of new oil slicks in the Gulf of Mexico from a spill about 30 miles offshore. For many Gulf residents, reports of a new spill just adds to the astounding amount of oil and toxic dispersants they’re still living with from the massive BP oil disaster nearly one year ago. Rocky Kistner just returned from the Gulf and joins us to discuss the new spill and health concerns of residents along the Gulf. Rocky is a communications associate with the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Finally, some good news, for the first time, the EPA is setting a national standard for mercury and other air pollution from power plants. Mercury and other air toxics like arsenic, chromium, nickel and acid gases cause as many as 17,000 premature deaths each year and they’re likely the source for 120,000 cases of childhood asthma, says the EPA. Gabe Wisniewski, Greenpeace’s coal campaign director, joins us to discuss the new rules.

Music in this edition of the show includes ‘Excuse Me Mister’ by Ben Harper and ‘Gone’ by Jack Johnson. Our theme music is “Baladi” by Tony Anka, Bellydance Superstars vol. 2.

Image from Bigod, used via Flickr with a Creative Commons license.

If you’d like to hear this edition of Earthbeat – please send us an e-mail

Breaking News::: Nuclear Experts on Japanese Crisis & US Nuclear Industry

March 18th, 2011

Radioactive spent fuel rods – similar to those currently in crisis in Japan – are stored at US power plants in concentrations that are FOUR times what the plants were designed to hold – and those storage sites are NOT required to have nuclear-safety rated containment or backup power generators. That’s according to the Institute for Policy Studies’ Bob Alvarez.

Alvarez spoke as part of a press conference held today (Friday March 18) at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.

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Moderator: Erich Pica, President of Friends of the Earth

Peter Bradford, former member of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission and former chair of the Maine and New York utility commissions. Bradford teaches energy policy and law at the Vermont Law School and has taught at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

 

Robert Alvarez, Senior Scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies. Alvarez researches nuclear disarmament, environmental, and energy policies. He served as a senior policy adviser to the Energy Department’s secretary and deputy assistant secretary from 1993 to 1999. http://www.ips-dc.org/nuclear

 

Dr. Jeffrey Patterson, radioactive exposure expert and a board member of Physicians for Social Responsibility. Patterson is a professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Wisconsin and Public Health. He maintains an active family practice and teaches residents in family medicine. He traveled to Chernobyl in 1986 with a delegation of physicians.

Photo Above: A one-year-old boy is re-checked for radiation exposure after being decontaminated in Nihonmatsu, Fukushiima, northern Japan Monday, March 14, 2011. (AP Photo/Asahi Shimbun, Toru Nakata)

Nuclear Disaster in Japan; Human Health Consequences of Radiation Exposure; and the True Price of Oil

March 15th, 2011

Nuclear power plants in Japan are exploding as the country struggles to cool them down and recover from the massive earthquake and ensuing tsunami. Joining host Daphne Wysham to discuss the latest on the disaster is Damon Moglen. Damon is the director of the climate and energy program for the Friends of the Earth.

Doctor Ira Helfand, the past president of Physicians for Social Responsibility, tells us how the radiation released will affect people and the effects of potassium iodide pills. He advises US residents on how to prepare in case of radioactive fallout in the US.

In the light of the disaster, the French government released a memo advising its citizens to leave Tokyo.

The BP oil spill continues to kill wildlife along America’s Gulf Coast. Antonia Juhasz tells us the latest on the BP spill, the Chevron spill in Ecuador and how instability globally is affecting prices at the pump. Antonia is the director of the energy program at Global Exchange, a San Francisco-based humans rights group. She’s the author of the book The Tyranny of Oil and up forthcoming book is Black Tide: The Devastating Impact of the Gulf Oil Spill.

Samantha Joye at the University of Georgia continues to research the Gulf Oil Spill.

Music during the breaks from this week’s show is the song “Rescue” by Sanjay Mishra from the CD by the same name.

Select the image below to view Earthbeat host Daphne Wysham’s interview with author Harvey Wasserman on The Real News Network.

photo: Kim Kyung-hoon / Reuters. caption: 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, Japan, March 13.

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Women Creating Real Environmental Change

March 11th, 2011

Today on Earthbeat, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of International Women’s History month – we talk to women and girls who are making a difference.

Award-winning children’s book author Lynne Cherry focuses on environmental issues. Her latest project Young Voices on Climate Change brings her work to a new medium – film.

The bailout of Wall Street led to billions of taxpayer money going toward banks – instead of people. Nia Robinson, the former director of the Environmental Justice and Climate Change Initiative, spoke with us about how these funds could have gone toward helping African-American communities cope with climate change.

Actress Q’orianka Kilcher co-starred in the Hollywood movie ‘The New World.’ She now works to spread the message of environmental justice in her native Peru and around the world.

Niaz Dorry, Time Magazine Hero for the Planet, and director of the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance, is working to bring the ‘buy local’ food movement out to sea.

Music for this edition of Earthbeat includes Protect the World, Last Day on Earth by Kate Miller-Heidke, and Scale Down by Rising Appalachia. Our theme music is “Baladi” by Tony Anka, Bellydance Superstars vol. 2.

Photo by SIDA.

If you’d like to hear this edition of Earthbeat – please send us an e-mail

Fracking Comes Under Fire, Oil Refineries Endanger Millions & The EPA’s Embattled History

March 4th, 2011

The EPA undertakes the first national study of fracking for natural gas – while communities near so-called fracking sites find radium in their water and scientists reveal that natural gas isn’t as climate-friendly as once thought. Joining host Daphne Wysham is Abrahm Lustgarten, the author of the ongoing investigation of fracking for the non-profit journalism group – ProPublica.

Decrepit oil refineries threaten the health of at least 16 million Americans – and safer chemicals alternatives that could be used are ignored by oil companies. Reporter Jim Morris investigated the records of more than 50 oil refineries across America for the investigative journalism group – The Center for Public Integrity.

To find out if your community is located near an oil refinery – check out this interactive map by CPI.

As the US federal budget debate continues, the EPA is once again on the chopping block. A look back at the history of the EPA and look forward to new ways to stimulate the economy with Bill Drayton and Brent Blackwelder. Bill was the deputy administrator in the EPA in the Carter Administration. He’s currently the CEO of the Ashoka Foundation. Brent is the president emeritus of The Friends of the Earth.


More at The Real News

Music for this edition of Earthbeat includes Excuse Me Mr. by Ben Harper and Jump Start by Melissa Czarnik.

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