Largely absent from most mainstream media reports on the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster is the fact that a highly-dangerous "mixed-oxide" (MOX) fuel in present in six percent of the fuel rods at the plant's Unit 3 reactor. Why is MOX a big deal? According to the Nuclear Information Resource Center (NIRS), this plutonium-uranium fuel mixture is far more dangerous than typical enriched uranium -- a single milligram (mg) of MOX is as deadly as 2,000,000 mg of normal enriched uranium.
Amid widening alarm in the United States and elsewhere about Japan’s nuclear crisis, military fire trucks began spraying cooling water on spent fuel rods at the country’s stricken nuclear power station late Thursday after earlier efforts to cool the rods failed, Japanese officials said.
The development came as the authorities reached for ever more desperate and unconventional methods to cool damaged reactors, deploying helicopters and water cannons in a race to prevent perilous overheating in the spent rods of the No. 3 reactor.
Nuclear experts have thrown doubt on the accuracy of official information issued about the Fukushima nuclear accident, saying that it followed a pattern of secrecy and cover-ups employed in other nuclear accidents. "It's impossible to get any radiation readings," said John Large, an independent nuclear engineer who has worked for the UK government and been commissioned to report on the accident for Greenpeace International.
"The actions of the Japanese government are completely contrary to their words. They have evacuated 180,000 people but say there is no radiation. They are certain to have readings but we are being told nothing."
Japanese officials warned of a possible second explosion at a nuclear plant crippled by the earthquake and tsunami as they raced to stave off multiple reactor meltdowns, but they provided few details about whether they were making progress. More than 180,000 people have evacuated the area, and up to 160 may have been exposed to radiation.
Four nuclear plants in northeastern Japan have reported damage, but the danger Monday appeared to be greatest at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear complex, where one explosion occurred over the weekend and a second was feared.
British-based defense contractor BAE Systems PLC bribed Saudi officials in return for lucrative arms deals in Saudi Arabia, according to a newly released secret U.S. diplomatic cable.
Britain's anti-fraud agency told a private OECD meeting in Paris in 2007 that it had evidence that BAE, Europe's largest defense contractor, paid more than 70 million pounds ($113 million) to a Saudi prince with influence over a series of contracts for fighter jets with Saudi Arabia, said the cable from the U.S. embassy in Paris, released by WikiLeaks website on Friday.
Israel security forces may have abducted a Palestinian engineer and suspected Hamas official in the Ukraine, a UN official told the Associated Press on Thursday, adding he suspected Ukrainian security aided the operation.
Dirar Abu Sisi, 42, went missing "under unknown circumstances" in the early hours of Feb. 19 after boarding a train in the eastern city of Kharkiv bound for the capital Kiev, according to Viktoria Kushnir, a spokeswoman for the Interior Ministry. He was in Ukraine applying for citizenship.
This mountain of shredded paper taking over several rooms was found inside the Egyptian Secret Police's headquarters in Cairo last Saturday. About 2,500 angry demonstrators invaded the building in what Egyptians are now calling their Bastille Day, finding documents and tapes that may soon send shockwaves around the world.
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