Monday, September 16, 2013

MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: The Break In Rains Help Colorado Flood Rescue Efforts - Death Toll Now At 7; About 400 Missing; Scores Of Homes, Bridges And Roads Washed Away!

September 16, 2013 - UNITED STATES - The death toll from the massive flooding along Colorado's Front Range grew to seven Monday as search-and-rescue operations intensified and the storms that have pummeled the state for a week began to subside.

A house in the path of the recent floods is destroyed in Jamestown, Colo.(Photo: Helen H. Richardson, AP)

State emergency officials did not release names or details about the latest victims. Three deaths were confirmed in Boulder County and two in El Paso County, and two are presumed dead in Larimer County.

Hundreds of residents remain unaccounted for, but the state's earlier estimate of more than 1,250 missing was expected to be significantly lowered after Larimer County officials reported about 400 missing, down from earlier state estimates of about 1,000. Exact numbers remain elusive, since many residents live in isolated or hard-to-reach mountain communities where scores of bridges and roads have been washed out and telephone, cellphone and Internet service has been disrupted for several days.

The National Weather Service expected warmer, drier conditions in the state Monday with rain ending at night. Yet officials warned there is still potential for flash flooding in and near saturated foothills late Monday afternoon into early evening, as lingering air moisture combined with warmer temperatures could cause scattered thunderstorms.

Joey Schendel searches for submerged items while helping neighbors clean their property in a flooded area
on Sept. 16 in Hygeine, Colo.  Brennan Linsley, AP

Flood victims are helped off of a military helicopter.  Ed Andrieski, AP

More than 1,200 people were rescued by vehicles and helicopters Saturday, but 16 rescue helicopters were grounded Sunday after some parts of flooded areas got up to 4 inches of new rain. After seven straight days of rain, some regions have gotten up to 20 inches of rainfall, as much as falls in a typical year.

Colorado National Guard Lt. James Goff says 19 helicopters are available for search-and-rescue. The air rescue operation is already one of the nation's largest since Hurricane Katrina, but has been hampered by steady rains and foggy conditions. As the weather breaks, officials urged those unable to communicate by phone to signal helicopters with sheets, mirrors, flares and signal fires.

The death toll from the massive flooding along Colorado's Front Range grew to seven Monday as search-and-rescue operations intensified and the storms that have pummeled the state for a week began to subside.

State emergency officials did not release names or details about the latest victims. Three deaths were confirmed in Boulder County and two in El Paso County, and two are presumed dead in Larimer County.

Mike Steinpach shovels mud from the basement of Stan McDonald's house after heavy flooding on
Sept. 15 in Longmont, Colo.  Hyoung Chang, The Denver Post, via AP

A truck rests next to a washed out railroad track in the Champion Greens neighborhood in
Longmont.  Craig F. Walker, The Denver Post, via AP

Hundreds of residents remain unaccounted for, but the state's earlier estimate of more than 1,250 missing was expected to be significantly lowered after Larimer County officials reported about 400 missing, down from earlier state estimates of about 1,000. Exact numbers remain elusive, since many residents live in isolated or hard-to-reach mountain communities where scores of bridges and roads have been washed out and telephone, cellphone and Internet service has been disrupted for several days.

The National Weather Service expected warmer, drier conditions in the state Monday with rain ending at night. Yet officials warned there is still potential for flash flooding in and near saturated foothills late Monday afternoon into early evening, as lingering air moisture combined with warmer temperatures could cause scattered thunderstorms.

 WATCH: Flooding in Larimer County.

More than 1,200 people were rescued by vehicles and helicopters Saturday, but 16 rescue helicopters were grounded Sunday after some parts of flooded areas got up to 4 inches of new rain. After seven straight days of rain, some regions have gotten up to 20 inches of rainfall, as much as falls in a typical year.

Colorado National Guard Lt. James Goff says 19 helicopters are available for search-and-rescue. The air rescue operation is already one of the nation's largest since Hurricane Katrina, but has been hampered by steady rains and foggy conditions. As the weather breaks, officials urged those unable to communicate by phone to signal helicopters with sheets, mirrors, flares and signal fires. - USA Today.

GREAT DELUGE: Precursors To A Global Coastal Event - 2 Major Storms Lash Mexico As 41 Dead Amid "Historic" Floods; Landslides Completely Bury Homes; Roads Transformed Into Raging Rivers; Two Thirds Of The Country Affected!

September 16, 2013 - MEXICO - Two powerful storms pummeled Mexico as they converged from the Pacific and the Gulf on Monday, killing at least 41 people and forcing the evacuation of tens of thousands amid some of the worst flooding in decades.

Soldiers stand on the remains of a bus after it was buried by a mountain landslide in Altotonga in
Veracruz state, along Mexico's Gulf coast, September 16, 2013.  REUTERS/Oscar Martinez

Tropical Depression Ingrid battered Mexico's northern Gulf coast, while the remnants of Tropical Storm Manuel lashed the Pacific coast, inundating the popular beach resort of Acapulco, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

Even as they weakened, the storms continued to unleash massive rains that have killed more than three dozen people in the states of Veracruz, Guerrero, Puebla, Hidalgo, Michoacan and Oaxaca, national emergency services said.

In the popular Pacific resort of Acapulco alone, at least 21 people were killed as buildings collapsed and roads were transformed into raging rivers, said Constantino Gonzalez, an official with Guerrero state emergency services.

"Unfortunately, the majority of the deaths have occurred here in Acapulco due to landslides that completely buried homes," said Gonzalez.

Officials said thousands of tourists were stranded due to canceled flights and closed highways.

State oil monopoly Pemex said it had evacuated three oil platforms and halted drilling at some wells on land due to the storms.

President Enrique Pena Nieto, who led Mexican independence day celebrations in Mexico City on Monday, was set to inspect storm damage in Guerrero state.


"The storms have affected two-thirds of the entire national territory," the interior minister, Miguel Osorio Chong, said at a news conference in Mexico City.

Chong called the flooding "historic" and said the city of Acapulco had sustained major damage. The resort's international airport remained closed due to power failure, as were two major highways, in the wake of Manuel.

In Veracruz state, along Mexico's Gulf coast, 12 people died on Monday after their bus and two nearby homes were buried by a mountain landslide near the town of Xaltepec, Governor Javier Duarte told reporters.

Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean region are pictured in this September 16, 2013 NASA satellite
handout photo, which shows the remains of Tropical Storm Ingrid on the east coast of Mexico.
REUTERS/NASA/Handout via Reuters

Across the state, 23,000 people were evacuated from their homes and 9,000 remained in emergency shelters, according to a post on Duarte's Twitter account.

Public school classes in Veracruz were canceled for Tuesday.

Ingrid, which weakened from a hurricane earlier on Monday, prompted Pemex to evacuate three platforms at its offshore Arenque field, operated by British oil services firm Petrofac, and close 24 wells in its onshore Ebano-Panuco field, a company official said.

On Pemex's Twitter page, the company said it had activated "emergency procedures" at its Francisco Madero refinery on the Gulf coast of northern Tamaulipas state, but did not provide details. The refinery has a processing capacity of 180,000 barrels per day, including crude from both the Arenque and Panuco fields.

Ingrid maintained maximum winds of 35 miles per hour and was expected to further weaken as it moved overland.

WATCH: Mexico hit by Hurricane Ingrid and Tropical Storm Manuel.

The tropical depression continued to dump heavy rains as it churned 6 miles per hour toward the west.

The NHC said isolated areas could see as much as 25 inches of rain, particularly in mountainous terrain, resulting in additional life-threatening flash floods and mud slides.

The Mexican government had discontinued all coastal warnings and watches by Monday afternoon.

Manuel's maximum sustained winds stood at 30 mph as it dissipated over west-central Mexico, although heavy rainfall is expected to continue along the country's southwestern coast. - Reuters.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Strong 4.8 Magnitude Earthquake Rattles Central Greece!

September 16, 2013 - GREECE - Seismologists say a 4.8-magnitude earthquake has rattled central Greece, but there were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.

USGS earthquake location.

The Athens Geodynamic Institute said the quake occurred at 6:01 p.m. (1501 GMT) on Monday, about 175 kilometers (110 miles) northwest of Athens, near the coastal town of Kammena Vourla.

Local government officials said there were no immediate reports of damaged homes.

On Aug. 7, a magnitude 5.1 quake hit the same region, causing damage to some 300 buildings. The extent of the damage was only clear several days later during inspections. - ABC News.

Tectonic Summary - Seismotectonics of the Mediterranean Region and Vicinity.
The Mediterranean region is seismically active due to the northward convergence (4-10 mm/yr) of the African plate with respect to the Eurasian plate along a complex plate boundary. This convergence began approximately 50 Ma and was associated with the closure of the Tethys Sea. The modern day remnant of the Tethys Sea is the Mediterranean Sea. The highest rates of seismicity in the Mediterranean region are found along the Hellenic subduction zone of southern Greece, along the North Anatolian Fault Zone of western Turkey and the Calabrian subduction zone of southern Italy.

USGS plate tectonics for the region.

Local high rates of convergence at the Hellenic subduction zone (35mm/yr) are associated with back-arc spreading throughout Greece and western Turkey above the subducting Mediterranean oceanic crust. Crustal normal faulting throughout this region is a manifestation of extensional tectonics associated with the back-arc spreading. The region of the Marmara Sea is a transition zone between this extensional regime, to the west, and the strike-slip regime of the North Anatolian Fault Zone, to the east. The North Anatolian Fault accommodates much of the right-lateral horizontal motion (23-24 mm/yr) between the Anatolian micro-plate and Eurasian plate as the Anatolian micro-plate is being pushed westward to further accommodate closure of the Mediterranean basin caused by the collision of the African and Arabian plates in southeastern Turkey. Subduction of the Mediterranean Sea floor beneath the Tyrrhenian Sea at the Calabrian subduction zone causes a significant zone of seismicity around Sicily and southern Italy. Active volcanoes are located above intermediate depth earthquakes in the Cyclades of the Aegean Sea and in southern Italy.

In the Mediterranean region there is a written record, several centuries long, documenting pre-instrumental seismicity (pre-20th century). Earthquakes have historically caused widespread damage across central and southern Greece, Cyprus, Sicily, Crete, the Nile Delta, Northern Libya, the Atlas Mountains of North Africa and the Iberian Peninsula. The 1903 M8.2 Kythera earthquake and the 1926 M7.8 Rhodes earthquakes are the largest instrumentally recorded Mediterranean earthquakes, both of which are associated with subduction zone tectonics. Between 1939 and 1999 a series of devastating M7+ strike-slip earthquakes propagated westward along the North Anatolian Fault Zone, beginning with the 1939 M7.8 Erzincan earthquake on the eastern end of the North Anatolian Fault system. The 1999 M7.6 Izmit earthquake, located on the westward end of the fault, struck one of Turkey's most densely populated and industrialized urban areas killing, more than 17,000 people. Although seismicity rates are comparatively low along the northern margin of the African continent, large destructive earthquakes have been recorded and reported from Morocco in the western Mediterranean, to the Dead Sea in the eastern Mediterranean. The 1980 M7.3 El Asnam earthquake was one of Africa's largest and most destructive earthquakes within the 20th century.

Large earthquakes throughout the Mediterranean region have also been known to produce significant and damaging tsunamis. One of the more prominent historical earthquakes within the region is the Lisbon earthquake of November 1, 1755, whose magnitude has been estimated from non-instrumental data to be about 8.0. The 1755 Lisbon earthquake is thought to have occurred within or near the Azores-Gibraltar transform fault, which defines the boundary between the African and Eurasian plates off the west coast of Morocco and Portugal. The earthquake is notable for both a large death toll of approximately 60,000 people and for generating a tsunami that swept up the Portuguese coast inundating coastal villages and Lisbon. An earthquake of approximately M8.0 near Sicily in 1693 generated a large tsunami wave that destroyed numerous towns along Sicily's east coast. The M7.2 December 28, 1908 Messina earthquake is the deadliest documented European earthquake. The combination of severe ground shaking and a local tsunami caused an estimated 60,000 to 120,000 fatalities. - USGS.

PLAGUES & PESTILENCES: Mass Bird Die-Off - Terror Grips Bhaktapur In Nepal As Crows And Pigeons Mysteriously Drop Dead?!

September 16, 2013 - NEPAL - Bird flu fear has gripped Bhaktapur people, again. The ominous signs started haunting the locals after crows and pigeons on flight dropped dead at Chnwaga Ganesh of Bhaktapur Municipality-17.

The Bhaktapur Bird Flu Control Section has asked locals to bury dead pigeons and crows well, without bothering to conduct avian influenza tests on the samples.

File photo of a recent mass bird die-off in Nepal.

Who will be responsible if they catch ‘bird flu’ after burying the birds? This is the question local people like Tulasha Shrestha are asking.

Shrestha says the section’s instruction to locals — to bury the birds on their own — has terrified the locals further. According to Shrestha, a crow dropped dead in front of her house yesterday evening. She says pigeons have died in her neighbour Indrabhakta Rajlabat’s house.

Locals fear that bird flu will make inroads into Bhaktapur, again.

“When we contacted the District Livestock Office today, officials there asked us to bury the dead birds safely. This has scared us,” Shrestha says.

No one is ready to bury the birds fearing bird flu, according to the Bhaktapur local.

“If the person burying the birds catches bird flu, who will take responsibility?” asks Indra Bhakta Rajlabat, another local.

Khagendraraj Bhatta, chief at the livestock office, says his office has urged locals to bury the dead birds on their own as the office does not need to conduct bird flu tests in the crisis-hit zone.

According to Bhatta, there’s no need to panic as other factors may have killed the birds.

The government had declared Bhaktapur a bird flu crisis-hit zone on August 15. A stamping out operation meant to destroy birds and bird-related materials is on in the district, with 7,22,814 fowls and 2,75,997 chicks from 498 farms culled so far.

The operation has also destroyed 12,89,299 eggs and 50,806 kg chicken feed. - The Himalayan Times.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Tracking Developments At The Giant Louisiana Sinkhole - Fears Of A Massive Explosion Grips Residents Of Bayou Corne As Gas Rises To The Surface In More Than 90 Bubble Sites, As Methane Is Unleashed From Natural Sources Deep Underground!

September 16, 2013 - UNITED STATES - Kathryn Brown says her New Orleans upbringing instilled in her a responsibility to take care of her property.

 Photo provided by Texas Brine Co. The white, box-like unite, center, and the gray trailer mounted equipment, left,
at the Texas Brine Co. site Saturday near Bayou Corne were used to temporarily stop a nearby bubble site
from gurgling. Experts are looking at the dual-phase vapor extraction system to suck out underground
methane endangering the Bayou Corne and Grand Bayou communities. Actual equipment placed in
the communities would be enclosed with fencing, and the white lines, seen in the
right foreground, would be buried.

While many residents have evacuated and 65 property owners have agreed to buyouts from Texas Brine Co., Kathryn and Tim Brown have not left their home of 14 years on the bayou despite the 25-acre Assumption Parish sinkhole just to the east and fears of rising methane gas.

The Browns have small air monitors in their house and a community-wide air monitor in their backyard along Bayou Corne. They also have a sinkhole display in front of their house on Sportsman Drive south of La. 70.

“That’s our way of dealing with it,” said Kathryn Brown, 64.

But scientists and officials working on the sinkhole response said they may have a way to greatly reduce the risk posed to people like the Browns by methane gas trapped under the communities near the sinkhole.

The failure of a Texas Brine Co. salt dome cavern that led to the formation of the sinkhole last year also unleashed methane from natural sources deep underground, scientists have said.

The gas has risen to the surface in more than 90 bubble sites on land and water. Fears of an explosion have been part of the motif for a more than yearlong evacuation by Bayou Corne and Grand Bayou residents, scientists and officials have said.

Methane is an odorless, invisible, flammable gas and can accumulate under slabs and in confined spaces.

Texas Brine and state scientists recently conducted tests on a bubble site, nicknamed “Stephanie and Her Sisters” which gurgles inside a pond on Texas Brine’s Bayou Corne-area site, with a form of technology often used to remove soil contaminated by petroleum from old, underground tanks.

Called dual phase vapor extraction, the system uses vacuum pumps to suck out water and gas underground.

Scientists and officials with the state Office of Conservation believe a system of dual-phase vacuum pumps and shallow wells could intercept the rising gas in a continuous layer of sand 20 to 30 feet deep, which was recently discovered after a recent round of — and at times controversial — geologic testing.

Advocate staff photo by Catherine Threlkeld - Methane bubbles up from under
water on Bayou Corne on Sunday.

Advocate staff photo by Catherine Threlkeld - Tim and Kathryn Brown have a mini sinkhole in their front yard
that they decorate according to the season or holiday. The Browns' house is one of the closest to the sinkhole.
As proof of this concept, scientists set up a pump and wells near Stephanie and Her Sisters and began running the vacuum pump Aug. 28. Within four days, the bubbles were virtually gone and could not be detected, but within 90 minutes of turning off the pump, the bubbles returned, scientists said.

Gary Hecox, senior hydrogeologist with CB&I and a leading scientist on the sinkhole response, told residents in a small meeting Thursday in Bayou Corne that the technology provides an interim level of protection.

Hecox emphasized the pumps will have to be designed to run for the long term while scientists work on removing the actual sources of gas from deeper underground, which could take years.

“It’s not, ‘I come in today, it’s fixed tomorrow.’ But this is going to make it a lot safer to be in and around your homes because were getting the gas before it gets to your homes,” Hecox, also a member of a special state commission investigating the sinkhole, said.

Advocate staff photo by Catherine Threlkeld - Texas Brine created several
canals along Bayou Corne near the sinkhole.

Advocate staff photo by Catherine Threlkeld - Tim Brown boats on Sunday on Bayou Corne with
his dachshund, Fritz. Brown's house is one of the closet houses to the sinkhole.

The technology is a shift from earlier, deeper vent wells, which are still being used and have removed 17.5 million cubic feet of gas, parish officials said.

Those wells were drilled into the swampy Louisiana earth and were aimed at hitting known gas pockets, but some have had trouble by filling with water, which blocked the natural flow of the methane.

Drilling for an initial round of testing to help design the vacuum system could start late this week, said John Boudreaux, director of the parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.

The system could be in place and running in a few months, depending on how many wells have to be drilled to cover the community, Hecox said.

Gas removed by the vacuum system would be burned inside an oxidizer unit in the communities or sent to an off-site flare, officials said.

Scientists are also working to address gas deeper underground, located at the top of the Mississippi River Alluvial Aquifer at 90 to 125 feet, and in the deep, originating source at thousands of feet.

To attack the aquifer, officials plan to drill five new wells with improved designs in the Bayou Corne community south of La. 70 along Sportsman Drive.

The wells will use a similar vacuum technology to remove water and gas, Hecox said. Work could also take several months, though wells will be brought online as they are ready.

Texas Brine plans to discharge the water pumped by shallow and deeper wells into the sinkhole through a future system of lines, officials said.

Reaction to the plan Thursday was mixed as residents worried about aesthetics of the vacuum systems and new wells and where gas will be discharged during initial testing.

Tim and Kathryn Brown saw the presentation as a positive development.

“It’s got to be done. They’ve got to get the gas out. That’s our biggest worry. I’m not worried about the sinkhole swallowing us up,” Tim Brown, 65, said.

Advocate staff photo by Catherine Threlkeld - The outdoor monitors at Tim and Kathryn Brown's
house on Bayou Corne monitors gas levels from the nearby sinkhole.

Advocate staff photo by Catherine Threlkeld - Tim Brown posted signs along Bayou Corne across
from his house after Texas Brine demolished a stretch of trees near the sinkhole.

The Browns said they are comfortable with relying on the pumps to remain in their home.

“We’re here for the duration,” Kathryn Brown said.

Hecox said the amount of gas in the aquifer is more than the 45 million cubic feet first thought and has been found to be collected heavily in a dome-like high spot under the Sportsman’s Drive area, which is under the Browns’ house.

“There’s no kidding. There’s a lot more gas than I told you three months ago,” Hecox told residents Thursday.

Gas from that area is finding its way to the shallow sands and spreading out under the community. He said the new, deeper wells in the aquifer could be removing gas and water for years.

The state Department of Environmental Quality gave Texas Brine a permit Sept. 6. to discharge into the sinkhole at two points. According to the permit request, Texas Brine expects to pump about 360,000 gallons per day from each point, which is more than enough water to fill an Olympic swimming pool each day.

Patrick Courreges, spokesman for the state Department of Natural Resources, said it would be up to parish officials along with the commission to decide whether the new vacuum system could lead to a lifting of the evacuation order. - The Advocate.

EXTREME WEATHER ANOMALIES: Scotland Experiences Four Seasons IN JUST ONE DAY - 100mph Wind Gusts Bring Chaos To The Country's Roads!

September 16, 2013 - SCOTLAND - Scotland experienced all four seasons in one day yesterday, as the first storm of autumn swept across the country, bringing chaos to the country’s roads.

A woman struggles with her umbrella on Portobello Beach due to the high winds.
Picture: Greg Macvean

Torrential rain, accompanied by gale-force winds, gave way to sunny periods, before the wet weather returned.

The Cairngorms were hit by gusts of 100mph, with snow anticipated last night, and the Forth Road Bridge was closed to high-sided vehicles after wind speeds of 69mph were recorded.

However, not everyone was bemoaning the gales. The weather was perfect for Scottish Windfest, at Barassie Beach in Troon, where windsurfers and kitesurfers were competing.

Last night, the Met Office issued a blanket “yellow” warning, forecasting blustery winds continuing into today.

They said high-altitude jetstream winds from the Atlantic pushing 200mph – almost twice the usual – triggered the storm.

It brought torrential rain yesterday morning, which flooded Nitshill Road and Thornliebank Road, in the south of Glasgow, with motorists in Dumfries suffering the worst driving conditions in the country with heavy spray on main roads.

The weather also caused severe disruption to Caledonian MacBrayne’s ferry timetable on the west coast, where dozens of sailings were either delayed or cancelled.

Worst affected were the routes between Oban, Coll and Tiree, the new link between Ardrossan and Campbeltown, and the Tarbert to Portavadie crossing.

A spokesman for Cal Mac said: “Ferry services across the network have been badly affected by high winds.

“The bad weather is expected to continue into Monday and ferry travellers are advised to check our website ( for the latest information.

“We apologise for any inconvenience and are grateful for everyone’s patience and understanding.”

Traffic Scotland warned motorists of high winds on the Skye, Friarton, Tay and Erskine bridges.

And there was rail disruption on west coast northbound routes, after a tree fell on to overhead lines between Lockerbie and Carstairs.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) issued flood warnings in Ayrshire and Arran, Dumfries and Galloway and west central Scotland.

The CairnGorm funicular railway was closed all morning yesterday as 100mph winds blasted the area, but it was opened by midday.

Paul Nixon, CairnGorm’s customer manager, said: “We’ve just been keeping a close eye on the weather today, making sure that visitors can come back down.

“We’re expecting some snow tonight, but it’s unlikely to lie and will be restricted to the very top of the mountain.

“This sort of weather usually does mark the start of winter for us really. In the past there has been skiing in October, and people are anticipating a very good season.”

Tom Morgan, of the Met Office, said: “Scotland is only half-way there with the severe wind problems.

“The rain may have turned to squally showers but most of Scotland will see a very windy day on Monday.

“The worst gales will be felt on the west coast and around the Glasgow area and will last well into the evening or night.” - Scotsman.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Global Volcano Report For September 16, 2013 - Updates On Sinabung, Etna, Bagana, Batu Tara, Ambrym, Veniaminof, Santa María, Santiaguito, Pacaya, Fuego And Reventador!

September 16, 2013 - WORLDWIDE VOLCANOES - The following constitutes the new activity, unrest and ongoing reports of volcanoes across the globe.

Sinabung (Sumatra, Indonesia): The volcano has been calm today and not produced new explosions except some weak ash venting this morning, and continues to show strong degassing. Evacuations of people living in close vicinity continue because the volcano could erupt more violently any time.

Degassing from Sinabung today.

A 3 km exclusion zone around the volcano has been put in place. Local press reports suggest that about 6,000 people have been relocated to temporary shelters. Dust masks are being distributed to the population.

WATCH: Degassing from Sinabung this evening.

Etna (Sicily, Italy): (16 Sep) A jewel on the internet - one of (if not THE) most comprehensive and informative websites about Italy's volcanoes (and beyond), Dr. Boris Behncke's Italy's Volcanoes is back on the internet, in its original version with no retouching.

Italy's Volcanoes - Dr. Boris Behncke's fantastic website about Etna and other Italian volcanoes
back on the internet at

Even though it is no longer updated, it remains a valuable resource of information about Etna and other Italian volcanoes, with exciting first-hand eye-witness accounts of most of Etna's eruptions during the late 1990's and early years of the new millennium.

Bagana (Bougainville Island, Papua New Guinea): An eruption was reported this morning, producing an ash plume rising to 8,000 ft (2.4 km) altitude and drifting 30 nautical miles to the NW (VAAC Darwin).

Batu Tara (Sunda Islands, Indonesia): Strong strombolian to vulcanian activity continues. Another ash plume could be spotted on satellite imagery this morning. The estimated elevation was 7,000 ft (2.1 km).

Ambrym (Vanuatu): Lava lakes continue to be active in Benbow and Marum craters. A large SO2 plume can be seen on today's NOAA satellite data.

SO2 plume from Ambrym volcano today (NOAA)

Veniaminof (Alaska Peninsula, USA): The eruption seems to be ending. AVO reports that "seismic tremor continues though at decreased levels compared to prior weeks. No unusual activity was observed in webcam images. These data indicate that the effusion of lava from the active vent may be ongoing though diminished."

Santa María / Santiaguito (Guatemala): Activity (both explosive and effusive) has been weak recently.

Pacaya (Guatemala): Strombolian activity has been gradually increasing during the past days. Frequent explosions, at intervals of about 5 minutes, eject glowing material to 50-100 m above the Mackenney crater, and ash plumes drift up to 3 km to the W and SW.

Current seismic recording Pacaya volcano (PCG station, INSIVUMEH).

The activity is visible from the capital Guatemala city. INSIVUMEH thinks that the appearance of a new lava flow is likely to occur soon.

Fuego (Guatemala): Explosive activity has increased a bit recently. INSIVUMEH reports explosions with incandescent tephra reaching 75-100 m above the crater and ash plumes rising up to almost 1 km during the past days.

Fuego this morning (INSIVUMEH).

Frequent incandescent avalanches occur from the ejected bombs on the upper slope of the volcano. Light gray ash fall occurred at the observatory (located to the south).

Reventador (Ecuador): An explosion was heard last evening (but could not be observed due to cloud cover). Activity, both internal (seismic) and external, remain generally at moderate to high levels, but has been lower today.

MODIS hot spot data (past 7 days) for Reventador volcano (ModVolc, Univ. Hawaii).

A hot spot continues to be visible at the summit.

Complete Earthquake list (worldwide) for September 16, 2013.

- Volcano Discovery.

GLOBAL FOOD CRISIS: Beemageddon In America - Tens Of Thousands Of Honeybees "Acting Drunk" And Dying Off This Past Week In Minneapolis?!

September 16, 2013 - UNITED STATES - Thousands of Minneapolis honey bees began dying off late last week due to apparent pesticide poisoning.

The University of Minnesota Bee Lab and the Minnesota Department of Agriculture are conducting tests to verify whether pesticides were the actual cause.

Bee Squad coordinator Becky Masterman checks on bees in a hive located in the Kenwood neighborhood of
Minneapolis on Sunday. Masterman said that increased amount of dead bees is a recent issue,
specifically in the Kenwood neighborhood.

Minneapolis resident Mark Lucas noticed the bees he and his family keeps in their back yard behaving strangely Wednesday night, shaking on the edge of the hive and falling to the ground.

“They just come spilling out of the hive like they’re drunk,” he said.

Lucas’ hive was one of at least three hit in the Kenwood neighborhood, north of Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis.

The MDA took samples from hives Friday to test for pesticide contamination. Pesticide is suspected because of the way the bees died, said Becky Masterman, co-coordinator of the University’s Bee Squad, a division of the Bee Lab that educates and mentors local beekeepers.

Beekeepers suspect that a pesticide was used in the area and bees brought it back to their colonies after pollination.

“This was in no way on our radar,” Masterman said, because the colonies were known to be healthy.

One of the Bee Squad’s colonies was also affected by the incident, said Bee Squad co-coordinator Jody Gerdts.

The Bee Lab is conducting its own tests in hopes of getting results faster than the MDA, which could take up to six months, Gerdts said.

More timely results will allow the squad to spread the word about the incident to local beekeepers, who have been vocal about the incident on social media and worry that it could affect them, she said.

“If it waits six months before we can say anything, then the story’s gone,” she said.

The Beez Kneez, a Minneapolis-based honey bee education organization that delivers honey by bike, lost one colony over the weekend and is worried more colonies could be affected.

A typical Beez Kneez colony consists of 40,000 to 50,000 bees at this time of year, said co-owner Kristy Allen. The Beez Kneez owns 45 hives in the Twin Cities area. Though losing a colony could result in revenue loss, Allen said there’s also an emotional side to the incident.

“It’s livestock, but they’re very important,” she said.

Bees are indicators of environmental health, Gerdts said, and the fact that pesticides could have potentially been used incorrectly is “scary.”

“There [are] things that are out there that are being applied to our landscape that can do more harm than perceived good,” she said.

The bee deaths are part of the bigger issue of keeping pollinators healthy, as they contribute to food production, Masterman said.

The Bee Squad is using social media to raise awareness about pesticide contamination.

Lucas said his family will get new bees if his colony is completely wiped out. When he was a child, Lucas’ grandmother kept bees in Elk River, Minn., and he said he’s been interested in them ever since.

He became a certified beekeeper through the University and started building his colony last May.

His kids were hesitant to go into the backyard with the bees at first, he said, but later became very involved in the process — taking pictures and collecting larvae alongside him.

“It was a really interesting thing for our family to experience together,” Lucas said.

In the meantime, Lucas said, he’ll be spreading the word about the “unintended consequences” of the choices people make in their yards — such as fertilizer use — and their effect on the neighborhood.

“It’s crazy how much it’s really all tied together,” he said. - Minnesota Daily.

FUK-U-SHIMA: Crippled Fukushima Nuclear Plant Braces For Typhoon Man-Yi As Japan's Endless Radiation Catastrophe Seems Virtually Unstoppable - Radiation Is Equivalent To 14,000 TIMES The Hiroshima Bomb; COULD EXCEED Radioactivity Releases Of Chernobyl A DOZEN TIMES!

September 16, 2013 - JAPAN - Workers at the Fukushima nuclear power plant have braced for a powerful incoming typhoon. Japan is struggling and failing to keep radiation leaks from the facility, crippled by the 2011 quake and tsunami, under control.

This picture shows a bridge that collapsed into a flooded river in Kyoto as torrential rain hit western Japan
on September 16, 2013.(AFP Photo / Jiji Press Japan Oot)

Typhoon Man-Yi hit southern Japan on Monday morning, bringing heavy rains and strong winds and sparking fears that it might further deteriorate the situation at Fukushima.

Workers at the site are using large weights to try and prevent cranes used to move debris from toppling over from the wind, reports Japanese broadcaster NHK. They also attached ropes to external piping and pumps, which are used to pump cooling water to and from the reactors.

WATCH: Footage of Man-yi's effects on Japan -  Courtesy of Western Pacific Weather.

Staff members have increased patrols ahead of the storm to make sure that radiation-contaminated water doesn’t overflow from storage tanks. At least one overflow has already been discovered.

The typhoon has been increasing in size and strength as it traveled over the Pacific, with wind speeds rising to as much as 162kph.

An aerial view shows residential areas flooded by the Yura river after tropical storm Man-yi, also
known locally as Typhoon No.18, hit in Fukuchiyama, Kyoto prefecture, in this photo
taken by Kyodo September 16, 2013.(Reuters / Kyodo)

Man-Yi is the 18th typhoon to hit Japan this season and is one of the strongest so far, leading officials to issue warnings of possible floods and landslides to citizens in different parts of the country. In three prefectures - Kyoto, Fukui and Shiga - the national Meteorological Agency forecaster issued highest level emergency alert.

Railways in central Japan have suspended services in response to the typhoon’s arrival. About 800,000 residential buildings were without electricity in western and central Japan.

Reporters and Tokyo Electric Power Co workers look up the unit 4 reactor building during a media tour
at TEPCO's Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant in the town of Okuma, Fukushima prefecture in Japan
on June 12, 2013.(AFP Photo / Noboru Hashimoto)

The Fukushima plant remains a source of much concern, as Japanese authorities and operator TEPCO have so far failed to prevent leakage of radioactive water used to keep reactors under control into the environment.

The disaster triggered a wave of rejection of nuclear power both in Japan and in some other countries. Japan is soon to become a nuclear-free nation after shutting down its only operational reactor on September 15.

This however is expected to be temporary situation, with facilities going back online after passing safety checks and winning approval from municipal authorities.

WATCH: Fears for Fukushima as powerful typhoon strikes Japan.

Endless Fukushima Catastrophe: 2020 Olympics Under Contamination Threat.

As the escape of radiation at Fukushima seems virtually unstoppable, there are still steps that governments all over the world should take to prevent worst case consequences. One of them would be canceling the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

Scientific estimates predict that the radioactive plume travelling east across the Pacific will likely hit the shores of Oregon, Washington State and Canada early next year. California will probably be impacted later that year. Because the ongoing flow of water from the reactor site will be virtually impossible to stop, a radioactive plume will continue to migrate across the Pacific affecting Hawaii, North America, South America and eventually Australia for many decades.

We are only talking about ocean currents, however, fish swim thousands of miles and don’t necessarily follow the currents. As noted in Part I, big fish concentrate radiation most efficiently, and tuna have already been caught off the coast of California containing cesium from Fukushima. Seaweed also efficiently concentrates radioactive elements.

As I contemplate the future at Fukushima, it seems that the escape of radiation is virtually unstoppable. The levels of radiation in buildings 1, 2 and 3 are now so high that no human can enter or get close to the molten cores. It will therefore be impossible to remove these cores for hundreds of years if ever.

Buildings 1, 2 & 3

If one of these buildings collapses, the targeted flow of cooling water to the pools and cores would cease, the cores would become red hot and possibly ignite releasing massive amounts of radiation into the air and water and the fuel in the cooling pools could ignite. It is strange that neither the US government in particular nor the global community seem to be concerned about these imminent possibilities and exhibit no urge to avert catastrophe.

Similarly the global media is strangely disconnected with the ongoing crisis. Most importantly, the Japanese government until very recently has obstinately refused to invite and collaborate with foreign experts from nuclear engineering companies and/or governments.

Building 4

This structure was severely damaged during the initial quake, its walls are bulging, and it sank 31 inches (79cm) into the ground. On the roof sits a cooling pool containing about 250 tons of hot fuel rods, most of which had just been removed from the reactor core days before the earthquake struck. This particular core did not melt because TEPCO was able maintain a continuous flow of cooling water, so the rods and their holding racks are still intact, but geometrically deformed due to the force of the hydrogen explosion.

The cooling pool contains 8,800 pounds of plutonium plus over 100 other highly radioactive isotopes. Instead of this core melting into a larval mass like the other three cores, it sits exposed to the air atop the shaky building. A large earthquake could disrupt the integrity of the building, causing it to collapse and taking the hot fuel rods with it. The cooling water would evaporate and the intrinsic heat of the radioactive rods would ignite a fire as the zirconium cladding reacted with air, releasing the radioactive equivalent of 14,000 Hiroshima-sized bombs and 10 times more cesium than Chernobyl.


Not only would the Northern Hemisphere become badly contaminated, but the Japanese government is seriously contemplating evacuating 35 million people from Tokyo should this happen. TEPCO has constructed a steel frame to strengthen the shaky building in order to place a massive crane on the roof so they can extract the hot rods by remote control. This operation is always performed by computer and a remote manually-controlled extraction has never been attempted before. If the rods are deformed, a rod could fracture releasing so much radiation that the workers would have to evacuate or, should they touch each other, a chain reaction could release huge amounts of radiation.

I defer to Arnie Gundersen, a nuclear engineer in whom I have great faith. He says that a 2-meter thick zeolite wall should be constructed some distance from the reactors on the mountainside, which would effectively absorb the cesium from the water surrounding the reactor cores so it could not get out and further pollute the pure water descending from the mountain. At the same time, channels must be constructed to pump and divert the unpolluted mountain water into the sea. Then the three molten cores and their associated buildings could be immersed in concrete as the Soviets did at Chernobyl, and the situation could possibly be neutralized for about 100 years. What our poor descendants will then decide to do with this radioactive rubbish dump is beyond my comprehension.

However, as one Japanese official said, “If we just buried them no one would look at another nuclear plant for years.” An interesting reaction, so it is perfectly obvious that despite the calamity, they still want to pursue the nuclear option.

North America and Canada the EPA should immediately start monitoring the fish routinely caught off the west coast and it must also, as a matter of urgency, establish many effective airborne monitors up and down the west coast and across the US continent, so that if there is another large release of radiation it will be effectively measured and the information rapidly passed on to the public. The same holds true for Canada.

The US and Canadian governments must forthwith ban imported food from Japan, unless each batch is monitored for contamination, and the food grown in the US and Canada needs to be effectively monitored pending another major accident. The US has allowed food measuring up to 1,200 Becquerels per kilo to be sold in the US from Japan, while the Japanese allowable concentration for food is only 100 Becquerels per kilo. What does the US government think it is doing purposely exposing people to radioactive food? This situation must be urgently amended.

An aerial view shows the Tokyo Electric Power Co.'s (TEPCO) tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear
power plant and its contaminated water storage tanks (top) in Fukushima, in this photo taken by
Kyodo August 31, 2013.(Reuters / Kyodo)

Nuclear Olympics

Given these impending problems, how can Japanese Prime Minister Abe possibly say that Tokyo will be safe for the Olympics? He actually said that “there is absolutely no problem” and “the situation is under control.” Does he not understand that parts of Tokyo are already radioactively contaminated and that his government is dumping ashes from the incineration of thousands of tons of radioactive debris from the tsunami and earthquake into Tokyo Bay? Is this what the athletes will be swimming in?

What if there is another major release of radiation before the Olympics? Young fit people who have spent years in rigorous training must, under no circumstances be exposed to radioactive air, food or water. And how can Abe possibly consider spending all that money housing people in expensive accommodation and constructing stadiums etc. when his own people - 160,000 Fukushima refugees - live in shacks and millions still live in highly radioactive zones and when the Fukushima complex is out of control? - RT.

The REAL Fukushima Danger.

WATCH: Situation at Fukushima.

The fact that the Fukushima reactors have been leaking huge amounts of radioactive water ever since the 2011 earthquake is certainly newsworthy.  As are the facts that:
But the real problem is that the idiots who caused this mess are probably about to cause a much bigger problem.
Specifically, the greatest short-term threat to humanity is from the fuel pools at Fukushima.
If one of the pools collapsed or caught fire, it could have severe adverse impacts not only on Japan … but the rest of the world, including the United States.   Indeed, a Senator called it a national security concern for the U.S.:
The radiation caused by the failure of the spent fuel pools in the event of another earthquake could reach the West Coast within days. That absolutely makes the safe containment and protection of this spent fuel a security issue for the United States.
Nuclear expert Arnie Gundersen and physician Helen Caldicott have both said that people should evacuate the Northern Hemisphere if one of the Fukushima fuel pools collapses. Gundersen said:
Move south of the equator if that ever happened, I think that’s probably the lesson there.
Former U.N. adviser Akio Matsumura calls removing the radioactive materials from the Fukushima fuel pools “an issue of human survival”.
So the stakes in decommissioning the fuel pools are high, indeed.
But in 2 months, Tepco – the knuckleheads who caused the accident – are going to start doing this very difficult operation on their own.
The New York Times reports:
Thousands of workers and a small fleet of cranes are preparing for one of the latest efforts to avoid a deepening environmental disaster that has China and other neighbors increasingly worried: removing spent fuel rods from the damaged No. 4 reactor building and storing them in a safer place.
The Telegraph notes:
Tom Snitch, a senior professor at the University of Maryland and with more than 30 years’ experience in nuclear issues, said  “[Japan officials] need to address the real problems, the spent fuel rods in Unit 4 and the leaking pressure vessels,” he said. “There has been too much work done wiping down walls and duct work in the reactors for any other reason then to do something….  This is a critical global issue and Japan must step up.”
The Japan Times writes:
In November, Tepco plans to begin the delicate operation of removing spent fuel from Reactor No. 4 [with] radiation equivalent to 14,000 times the amount released by the Hiroshima atomic bomb. …. It remains vulnerable to any further shocks, and is also at risk from ground liquefaction. Removing its spent fuel, which contains deadly plutonium, is an urgent task…. The consequences could be far more severe than any nuclear accident the world has ever seen. If a fuel rod is dropped, breaks or becomes entangled while being removed, possible worst case scenarios include a big explosion, a meltdown in the pool, or a large fire. Any of these situations could lead to massive releases of deadly radionuclides into the atmosphere, putting much of Japan — including Tokyo and Yokohama — and even neighboring countries at serious risk.
CNBC points out:
The radioactive leak at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant is far from under control and could get a lot worse, a nuclear energy expert, who compiles the annual “World Nuclear Industry Status Report” warned.
The big danger – and it was identified by Japan’s atomic energy commission – is if you lose water in one of the spent fuel pools and you get a spent fuel fire.
CNN reports:
[Mycle Schneider, nuclear consultant:]  The situation could still get a lot worse. A massive spent fuel fire would likely dwarf the current dimensions of the catastrophe and could exceed the radioactivity releases of Chernobyl dozens of times. First, the pool walls could leak beyond the capacity to deliver cooling water or a reactor building could collapse following one of the hundred  of aftershocks. Then, the fuel cladding could ignite spontaneously releasing its entire radioactive inventory.
Reuters notes:
The operator of Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear plant is preparing to remove 400 tons of highly irradiated spent fuel from a damaged reactor building, a dangerous operation that has never been attempted before on this scale.
Containing radiation equivalent to 14,000 times the amount released in the atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima 68 years ago, more than 1,300 used fuel rod assemblies packed tightly together need to be removed from a building that is vulnerable to collapse, should another large earthquake hit the area.
Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) is already in a losing battle to stop radioactive water overflowing from another part of the facility, and experts question whether it will be able to pull off the removal of all the assemblies successfully.
“They are going to have difficulty in removing a significant number of the rods,” said Arnie Gundersen, a veteran U.S. nuclear engineer and director of Fairewinds Energy Education, who used to build fuel assemblies.
The operation, beginning this November at the plant’s Reactor No. 4, is fraught with danger, including the possibility of a large release of radiation if a fuel assembly breaks, gets stuck or gets too close to an adjacent bundle, said Gundersen and other nuclear experts.
That could lead to a worse disaster than the March 2011 nuclear crisis at the Fukushima plant, the world’s most serious since Chernobyl in 1986.
No one knows how bad it can get, but independent consultants Mycle Schneider and Antony Froggatt said recently in their World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2013: “Full release from the Unit-4 spent fuel pool, without any containment or control, could cause by far the most serious radiological disaster to date.”
The utility says it recognizes the operation will be difficult but believes it can carry it out safely.
Nonetheless, Tepco inspires little confidence. Sharply criticized for failing to protect the Fukushima plant against natural disasters, its handling of the crisis since then has also been lambasted.
The process will begin in November and Tepco expects to take about a year removing the assemblies, spokesman Yoshikazu Nagai told Reuters by e-mail. It’s just one installment in the decommissioning process for the plant forecast to take about 40 years and cost $11 billion.
Each fuel rod assembly weighs about 300 kilograms (660 pounds) and is 4.5 meters (15 feet) long. There are 1,331 of the spent fuel assemblies and a further 202 unused assemblies are also stored in the pool, Nagai said.
Spent fuel rods also contain plutonium, one of the most toxic substances in the universe, that gets formed during the later stages of a reactor core’s operation.
“There is a risk of an inadvertent criticality if the bundles are distorted and get too close to each other,” Gundersen said.
He was referring to an atomic chain reaction that left unchecked could result in a large release of radiation and heat that the fuel pool cooling system isn’t designed to absorb.
“The problem with a fuel pool criticality is that you can’t stop it. There are no control rods to control it,” Gundersen said. “The spent fuel pool cooling system is designed only to remove decay heat, not heat from an ongoing nuclear reaction.”
The rods are also vulnerable to fire should they be exposed to air, Gundersen said. [The pools have already boiled due to exposure to air.]
Tepco has shored up the building, which may have tilted and was bulging after the explosion, a source of global concern that has been raised in the U.S. Congress.
The fuel assemblies have to be first pulled from the racks they are stored in, then inserted into a heavy steel chamber. This operation takes place under water before the chamber, which shields the radiation pulsating from the rods, can be removed from the pool and lowered to ground level.
The chamber is then transported to the plant’s common storage pool in an undamaged building where the assemblies will be stored.
[Here is a visual tour of Fukushima's fuel pools, along with graphics of how the rods will be removed.]
Tepco confirmed the Reactor No. 4 fuel pool contains debris during an investigation into the chamber earlier this month.
Removing the rods from the pool is a delicate task normally assisted by computers, according to Toshio Kimura, a former Tepco technician, who worked at Fukushima Daiichi for 11 years.
“Previously it was a computer-controlled process that memorized the exact locations of the rods down to the millimeter and now they don’t have that. It has to be done manually so there is a high risk that they will drop and break one of the fuel rods,” Kimura said.
Corrosion from the salt water will have also weakened the building and equipment, he said.
And if an another strong earthquake strikes before the fuel is fully removed that topples the building or punctures the pool and allow the water to drain, a spent fuel fire releasing more radiation than during the initial disaster is possible, threatening about Tokyo 200 kilometers (125 miles) away.
ABC Radio Australia quotes  an expert on the situation (at 1:30):
Richard Tanter, expert on nuclear  power issues and professor of international relations at the University of Melbourne:
Reactor Unit 4, the one which has a very large amount of stored fuel in its fuel storage pool, that is sinkingAccording to former prime Minister Kan Naoto, that has sunk some 31 inches in places and it’s not uneven. This is really not surprising given what’s happened in terms of pumping of water, the aftermath of the earthquake and the tsunami, the continuing infusions of water into the groundwater area. This is an immediate problem, and if it is not resolved there is an extraordinary possibility we really could be back at March 2011 again because of the possibility of a fission accident in that spent fuel pond in Unit No. 4.
Xinua writes:
Mitsuhei Murata, a former Japanese ambassador to Switzerland has officially called for the withdrawalof Tokyo’s Olympic bid, due to the worsening crisis at Fukushima, which experts believe is not limited to storage tanks, but also potential cracks in the walls of the spent nuclear fuel pools.
Japan Focus points out:
The spent-fuel pool … was damaged by the earthquake and tsunami, and is in adeteriorating condition. It remains vulnerable to any further shocks, and is also at risk from ground liquefaction.
If a fuel rod is dropped, breaks or becomes entangled while being removed, possible worst case scenarios include a big explosion, a meltdown in the pool, or a large fire.
This is literally a matter of national security – another mistake by TEPCO could have incredibly costly, even fatal, consequences for Japan.
Like Pulling Cigarettes Out of a Crumpled Pack
Fuel rod expert Arnie Gundersen – a nuclear engineer and former senior manager of a nuclear power company which manufactured nuclear fuel rods – recently explained the biggest problem with the fuel rods (at 15:45):
I think they’re belittling the complexity of the task. If you think of a nuclear fuel rack as a pack of cigarettes, if you pull a cigarette straight up it will come out — but these racks have been distorted. Now when they go to pull the cigarette straight out, it’s going to likely break and release radioactive cesium and other gases, xenon and krypton, into the air. I suspect come November, December, January we’re going to hear that the building’s been evacuated, they’ve broke a fuel rod, the fuel rod is off-gassing.
I suspect we’ll have more airborne releases as they try to pull the fuel out. If they pull too hard, they’ll snap the fuel. I think the racks have been distorted, the fuel has overheated — the pool boiled – and the net effect is that it’s likely some of the fuel will be stuck in there for a long, long time.
In another interview, Gundersen provides additional details (at 31:00):
The racks are distorted from the earthquake — oh, by the way, the roof has fallen in, which further distorted the racks.
The net effect is they’ve got the bundles of fuel, the cigarettes in these racks, and as they pull them out, they’re likely to snap a few. When you snap a nuclear fuel rod, that releases radioactivity again, so my guess is, it’s things like krypton-85, which is a gas, cesium will also be released, strontium will be released. They’ll probably have to evacuate the building for a couple of days. They’ll take that radioactive gas and they’ll send it up the stack, up into the air, because xenon can’t be scrubbed, it can’t be cleaned, so they’ll send that radioactive xenon up into the air and purge the building of all the radioactive gases and then go back in and try again.
It’s likely that that problem will exist on more than one bundle. So over the next year or two, it wouldn’t surprise me that either they don’t remove all the fuel because they don’t want to pull too hard, or if they do pull to hard, they’re likely to damage the fuel and cause a radiation leak inside the building.  So that’s problem #2 in this process, getting the fuel out of Unit 4 is a top priority I have, but it’s not going to be easy. Tokyo Electric is portraying this as easy. In a normal nuclear reactor, all of this is done with computers. Everything gets pulled perfectly vertically. Well nothing is vertical anymore, the fuel racks are distorted, it’s all going to have to be done manually. The net effect is it’s a really difficult job. It wouldn’t surprise me if they snapped some of the fuel and they can’t remove it.
And Chris Harris – a, former licensed Senior Reactor Operator and engineer – notes that it doesn’t help that a lot of the rods are in very fragile condition:
Although there are a lot of spent fuel assemblies in there which could achieve criticality — there are also 200 new fuel assemblies which have equivalent to a full tank of gas, let’s call it that. Those are the ones most likely to go critical first.
Some pictures that were released recently show that a lot of fuel is damaged, so when they go ahead and put the grapple on it, and they pull it up, it’s going to fall apart. The boreflex has been eaten away; it doesn’t take saltwater very good.
Like Letting a Murderer Perform Brain Surgery On a VIP
What’s the bottom line?
Tepco has an abysmal track record:
  • Tepco just admitted that it’s known for 2 years that massive amounts of radioactive water are leaking into the groundwater and Pacific Ocean
  • Tepco’s recent attempts to solidify the ground under the reactors using chemicals has backfired horribly.  And NBC News notes: “[Tepco] is considering freezing the ground around the plant. Essentially building a mile-long ice wall underground, something that’s never been tried before to keep the water out. One scientist I spoke to dismissed this idea as grasping at straws, just more evidence that the power company failed to anticipate this problem … and now cannot solve it.”
Letting Tepco remove the fuel rods is like letting a convicted murderer perform delicate brain surgery on a VIP.

Top scientists and government officials say that Tepco should be removed from all efforts to stabilize Fukushima.   An international team of the smartest engineers and scientists should handle this difficult “surgery”.

The stakes are high … - Info Wars.