Tuesday, 15 March 2011


Baltic Dry Index. 1559 -03

LIR Gold Target by 2019: $30,000. Revised due to QE.

A spokesman for the Japanese company that runs the stricken reactors said in an interview on Monday that the spent fuel at the Fukushima Daiichi and Daini plants had been left uncooled since shortly after the quake.

From bad to worse. According to the latest reports from Japan, the radiation level in Tokyo is now some 23 times normal and rising as southerly winds send the radiation plume down towards Tokyo, a city of about 13 million and a metropolitan catchment area approaching 40 million. We are probably witnessing the death of the nuclear power industry. Below, this morning’s potentially disastrous developments. Last Thursday, nuclear energy was poised for a renaissance. This Tuesday, it’s hard to see any new nukes being built in the west.

Japan Faces Potential Nuclear Disaster as Radiation Levels Rise


TOKYO — Japan’s nuclear crisis verged toward catastrophe on Tuesday after an explosion damaged the vessel containing the nuclear core at one reactor and a fire at another spewed large amounts of radioactive material into the air, according to the statements of Japanese government and industry officials.

In a brief address to the nation at 11 a.m. Tokyo time, Prime Minister Naoto Kan pleaded for calm, but warned that radiation had already spread from the crippled reactors and there was “a very high risk” of further leakage. Fortunately, the prevailing winds were sweeping most of the plume of radioactivity out into the Pacific Ocean, rather than over populated areas.

The sudden turn of events, after an explosion Monday at one reactor and then an early-morning explosion Tuesday at yet another — the third in four days at the plant — already made the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station the worst nuclear accident since the Chernobyl reactor disaster a quarter century ago.

It diminished hopes earlier in the day that engineers at the plant, working at tremendous personal risk, might yet succeed in cooling down the most damaged of the reactors, No. 2, by pumping in sea water. According to government statements, most of the 800 workers at the plant had been withdrawn, leaving 50 or so workers in a desperate effort to keep the cores of three stricken reactors cooled with seawater pumped by firefighting equipment, while the same crews battled to put out the fire at the No. 4 reactor, which they claimed to have done just after noon on Tuesday.



In Stricken Fuel-Cooling Pools, a Danger for the Longer Term

By WILLIAM J. BROAD and HIROKO TABUCHI Published: March 14, 2011

Even as workers race to prevent the radioactive cores of the damaged nuclear reactors in Japan from melting down, concerns are growing that nearby pools holding spent fuel rods could pose an even greater danger.

The pools, which sit on the top level of the reactor buildings and keep spent fuel submerged in water, have lost their cooling systems and the Japanese have been unable to take emergency steps because of the multiplying crises.

Experts now fear that the pool containing those rods from the fourth reactor has run dry, allowing the rods to overheat and catch fire. That could spread radioactive materials far and wide in dangerous clouds.

The pools are a worry at the stricken reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant because at least two of the three have lost their roofs in explosions, exposing the spent fuel pools to the atmosphere. By contrast, reactors have strong containment vessels that stand a better chance of bottling up radiation from a meltdown of the fuel in the reactor core.

If any of the spent fuel rods in the pools did indeed catch fire, nuclear experts say, the high heat would loft the radiation in clouds that would spread the radioactivity.

“It’s worse than a meltdown,” said David A. Lochbaum, a nuclear engineer at the Union of Concerned Scientists who worked as an instructor on the kinds of General Electric reactors used in Japan. “The reactor is inside thick walls, and the spent fuel of Reactors 1 and 3 is out in the open.”



March 15, 2011, 12:45 a.m. EDT

Tokyo radiation levels 23 times normal: officials

HONG KONG (MarketWatch) -- Radiation levels in Tokyo surged to 23 times normal on Tuesday, according to reports that cited readings released by the Tokyo metropolitan government. Radiation levels of .809 micro severts were recorded in central Tokyo at 10.00 a.m. local time (9.00 p.m. U.S. Eastern time), reports said. Southerly winds are believed to be pushing a radioactive plume from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, which lies about 150 miles north of Tokyo.


A 1997 study by the Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island described a worst-case disaster from uncovered spent fuel in a reactor cooling pool. It estimated 100 quick deaths would occur within a range of 500 miles and 138,000 eventual deaths.

The study also found that land over 2,170 miles would be contaminated and damages would hit $546 billion.

In other news, Saudi action in invading Bahrain threatens to set off a religious war across the world’s largest oil exporting region. The west is becoming irrelevant in the region. Stay long precious metals.

Saudis send troops into Bahrain to quell protests

By Patrick Cockburn Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Saudi Arabia sent troops into Bahrain yesterday to quell protests by the Shia Muslim majority against the Sunni monarchy, in a move that the opposition denounced as an act of war.

Saudi armoured vehicles rolled along the 16-mile causeway linking Saudi Arabia and Bahrain in an unprecedented armed intervention likely to provoke a new crisis in the Gulf.

About 1,000 Saudi soldiers entered the island, a Saudi official said. Witnesses said about 150 armoured vehicles and 50 other vehicles – including jeeps, buses, ambulances and water tankers – took up positions in the district of Riffa, where the royal family lives and where there is a military hospital.

The Saudi intervention is the first time that any Arab state has acted to quell protests in another since the wave of uprisings began in the region. The Bahraini government had earlier called for support from its neighbours after fighting in the streets of the capital, Manama, on Sunday, in which demonstrators routed riot police.

On Sunday morning the police attacked a small camp of pro-democracy protesters with tear gas and rubber bullets, but the raid provoked fighting in which the protesters seized control of much of Manama's financial district. This led the ruling al-Khalifa family to request a task force from the other five members of the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC), which also includes Saudi Arabia, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Kuwait.

The Saudi rulers are worried that unrest among the Shias of Bahrain will spread to their own Shia population in the neighbouring Eastern Province. Saudi security forces have been trying to prevent protests in the kingdom from gaining momentum.

The opposition in Bahrain, including the Shia Wefaq party, issued a statement saying: "We consider the entry of Saudi Arabia or other Gulf forces into the Kingdom of Bahrain's air, sea or land territories a blatant occupation." It added that Saudi intervention threatened Bahrainis "with an undeclared war by armed troops".



Japan’s triple disaster and its willingness to instantly monetise yen in response, is highly likely to destabilize the global fiat currency system later in the year. Stay long precious metals. Between Japan and the increasingly unstable Middle East, our markets are now solely resting on central bank support (rigging.)

At the Comex silver depositories Monday, final figures were: Registered 40.98 Moz, Eligible 60.68 Moz, Total 101.66 Moz.


Crooks and Scoundrels Corner.

The bent, the seriously bent, and the totally doubled over.

Today, more on the nauseating bankster who bankrupted Royal Bank of Scotland and with it, nearly took down the UK banking system. Knighted in 2004 by the odious Blair “for services to banking”, step forward the adulterous Sir Fred Goodwin, rightly reviled in the international press, if not in the UK media, thanks to the Blair era’s ridiculous “super-injunctions”. Today, Naked Capitalism takes on Sir Fred.

March 14, 2011

Why Adulterous Failed Banker Sir Fred Goodwin’s Covered-Up Workplace Affair is a Matter of Public Interest

By Richard Smith, a recovering capital markets IT expert
We will probably see in the next few days whether the newspapers manage to get the super-injunction by Sir Fred Goodwin, the CEO of failed bank RBS, lifted. Since the facts of the matter, or “speculation” if you will, are now all over the Internet, keeping the super-injunction in place seems pretty pointless, as the Telegraph confirms in Sunday’s Links.

So what’s the real point of this circus? A demonstration of the superiority of the Web over the tabloid press as a mechanism for transmitting salacious tittle-tattle? A grandstanding MP working parliamentary privilege to get a bit of banker-bashing publicity? Naked Capitalism getting into the regulatory arbitrage game and thumbing its nose at the UK court order from the relative safety of its NYC-hosted web server? Or perhaps it is blogger Guido Fawkes sarcastically pointing out that the law is now officially an ass:

-----Indeed, the law should not be mocked; but who’s mocking it? The UK certainly needs major overhauls of its privacy (and libel) laws, rather than the current abusive shambles, but in this particular case, one might contend that it’s Sir Fred who’s doing the mocking. This part of a kieronam post calling for a proper privacy law is dead wrong:

So I hope the papers never get to publish any irrelevant details of Fred Goodwin’s private life. Instead they should write about his greed, his irresponsibility and his ultimate failure as a banker, and the harm that he has done to ordinary people. That is all worth publishing again.

Well, I’ll do that, then, by way of a reminder. In the process, you will, I hope, grasp why Fred’s sex life, and this superinjunction nonsense, is very relevant indeed to “his greed, his irresponsibility and his ultimate failure as a banker, and the harm that he has done to ordinary people”, and, indeed has a wider relevance.

Let’s recap the “ultimate failure as a banker” first, in bullet points (a couple of easy sources here and here for the following):

  • A good 90% of shareholder value was destroyed by dilution and losses during Sir Fred Goodwin’s tenure as Chief Executive 2001-2009, some of it new money introduced via a £12bn share issue in April 2008, a few months before the crisis.
  • A £24.1Bn loss, the biggest in UK corporate history, in FY 2008.
  • Cumulative losses, FY 2008-2010, £28.8Bn (~$48Bn) . They’re still coming.
  • Now RBS is 83% owned by the taxpayer.



"The first requisite of a sound monetary system is that it put the least possible power over the quantity or quality of money in the hands of the politicians."

Henry Hazlitt

The monthly Coppock Indicators finished February:

DJIA: +156 Down 05. NASDAQ: +217 Down 11. SP500: +157 Down 4.

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