Core damage confirmed at 3 reactors; spent fuel rods a rising concern at 4th;
U.S. urges evacuation within 80 kilometers (50 Miles) around stricken plants
March 16, 2011 (San Diego) – The United Nations has released a forecast indicating a radioactive plume from damaged Japanese nuclear reactors at Fujushima Daiichi cold reach the Aleutian Islands off Alaska on Thursday and Southern California late on Friday, then east to Nevada, Utah, Arizona, and likely points beyond.
The U.N. has not issued a statement on how much radiation the plume could contain, however numerous other experts have indicated that amounts are expected to be small and below levels likely to harm human health. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is setting up additional radiation monitors on the West Coast as a precaution. An existing monitor in San Diego is currently non-operational, according to the EPA’s RadNet real-time radiation monitoring database online.
Murray Jennex, a nuclear expert at San Diego State University, told by ECM of the non-operational monitor locally, called back a short time later to reveal, “We’re going to set up monitoring here and try to get real numbers."
March 17, 2011 (Lakeside)--Helix Water District is beginning the environmental review process for the El Monte Valley Mining, Reclamation, and Groundwater Recharge Project (El Monte Valley Project). A second public scoping meeting for the Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Assessment seeks input on what will be studied.
The second scoping meeting will be held in Lakeside, Tuesday, March 29, 2011 at 7 p.m. in the Lakeside Christian Church, 13739 El Monte Road, Lakeside, CA 92040.
By Jeremy Los & Miriam Raftery
March 17, 2011 (San Diego’s East County)—As Japan’s nuclear crisis worsens, the European Union and some Asian nations are taking steps to protect their food supplies from Japanese imported foods and fish that may be contaminated by radiation.
“FDA will be examining both food products labeled as having originated in Japan or having passed through Japan in transit,” the U.S. Food & Drug Administration said in the Bloomberg Businessweek article. “The same is true for raw ingredients.”
In a conference call today, Howard Backer, M.D., Associate Secretary of Emergency Preparedness for California Health and Human Services Agency, told ECM that the FDA is "screening all shipments that come from Japan for food products. This is not new; for anti-terrorism reasons our ports already do screening of radioactivity for all containers."
March 16, 2011 (San Diego) – CNN reports that the U.S. military has temporarily blocked access to 13 major sites including YouTube, eBay, Amazon. Sites are blocked across the Department of Defense’s .mil computer system at the request of the Pacific Fleet, which is off the Japan coast aiding in rescue and relief efforts.
The U.S.S. Ronald Reagan, based in San Diego, has been posting photos and updates on Facebook about crews' efforts to assist following the 9.0 earthquake, tsunami, and now, nuclear crisis.
The blocked sites are:
March 16, 2011 (San Diego) -- Radiation levels on the the U.S. West Coast and Hawaii are not elevated overall above normal expectations as of early this morning, according to data on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency RadNet site. Some West Coast cities showed levels below many locations in points farther east.
SALES OF POTASSIUM IODIDE PILLS SOAR AMID NUCLEAR FEARS, BUT AUTHORITIES CAUTION PILLS CAN BE HARMFUL TO YOUR HEALTH
By Miriam Raftery
March 15, 2011 – Vendors of potassium iodide pills report a rush of sales, with at least one website are sold out. Consumers are ordering the pills amid fears of nuclear fallout from Japanese reactors. Given within a short time from exposure to radiation for people close to a nuclear disaster, potassium iodide blocks absorption of radioactive iodine, preventing thyroid cancer.
But most health officials consulted warn that potassium iodide can be dangerous to pregnant women and nursing mothers, people with kidney or thyroid conditions, and anyone allergic to iodine or shellfish. It can also cause side effects and should not be taken except by doctor's orders or advice of government officials, experts said.
“VERY DANGEROUS” RADIATION LEVELS AFTER EXPLOSION AT 3RD JAPANESE NUCLEAR REACTOR; FIRE AT 4TH REACTOR
Radiation levels around the crippled reactors now high enough to cause “immediate harm to human health” Japanese authorities say, adding core containment may be breached.
“I wouldn’t be within 50 km right now. If I was not a Japanese national, I would be making plans to leave.” – Murray Jennex, nuclear expert at San Diego State University, tells ECM in exclusive interview
Updated March 15, 2011 1:40 a.m. - Russia, S. Korea on "high alert" for possible radiation poisoning
By Miriam Raftery
March 14, 2011 (San Diego) – NHK TV in Japan this evening has broadcast the latest grim twists in the nuclear crisis at plants in Fukushima. Radiation levels over 400 milisieverts--that's 1,000 times higher than the microsievert measurements earlier reported (the equivalent of 400,000 microsieverts)-- are now present following a third explosion-- this one at reactor #2 and considered more serious than two prior explosions at reactors #1 and #3.
According to a radiation expert interviewed on NHK, exposure at these levels can cause infertility. “Just in an instance you mean?” a reporter asked. “Yes,” the expert confirmed, adding that at 500 ML, lymphocytes (white cells) in blood will decrease. Anyone without protective clothing is at risk, he emphasized, adding that radiation at these levels “can affect your genes….It is very dangerous.”
SAN-DIEGO BASED AIRCRAFT CARRIER PASSES THROUGH RADIOACTIVE PLUME; CAPTAIN ASSURES ALL PERSONNEL SAFE
By Miriam Raftery
March 14, 2011 (San Diego) – The U.S. S. Ronald Reagan, an aircraft carrier based out of San Diego, has repositioned after detecting radioactive fallout from the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear power plant in Japan that has undergone a partial meltdown. According to Captain Thom Burke, commanding officer, all personnel aboard are “safe and healthy.”
The ship has been deployed to assist in relief efforts following the devastating earthquake and tsunami, which has left an estimated 10,000 dead and many more missing in Japan.
U.S., other nations issue travel warnings for Japan; France and Germany advise citizens to leave Tokyo
By Miriam Raftery
March 13, 2011 (San Diego) – Over 200,000 people have been evacuated from a 20-mile radius around nuclear plants at Fukushima, Japan, where cooling system failures have caused partial core meltdowns at two reactors and a third remains at risk. A fourth nuclear plant at Onagawa has declared a low-level emergency due to radiation detected.
Prime Minister Naoto Kan calls the combined impacts of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis the “worst since World War II.” France and Germany warn citizens to get out of Tokyo, citing radiation fears. Numerous nations include the U.S. advise against non-essential travel to Japan. The International Skating Union has announced it may cancel next week’s Worlds figure skating championships in Tokyo, 140 miles from the Fukushima reactors.
March 12, 2011 (San Diego's East County) -- Don't forget! Set your clocks forward an hour tonight for the start of daylight savings.
Disturbing videos document flights near nests, possible collision with a pair of eagles, plus an eagle now missing part of its wing and its mate
By Miriam Raftery
Video by Billy Ortiz
March 12, 2011 (Lakeside) – Helicopters from the San Diego Sheriff Department as well as SDG&E contractors working on the Sunrise Powerlink project are flying too close to protected eagles’ nests in Lakeside’s El Monte Valley, local residents contend.
Witnesses have compiled videos documenting their claims. The first appears to show two golden eagles falling below a ridgeline after encountering down draft from a Sheriff's helicopter—and possibly being struck by the aircraft. The helicopter was along a ridge with multiple nests, sources report. A second video shot the next day on the ridge shows a golden eagle with a chunk of wing or wing feathers missing. The eagle’s mate has not been seen since, say observers.
A third video shot a few days later shows a helicopter for SDG&E’s Powerlink project buzzing near two eagle nesting sites, an action that three witnesses say occurred repeatedly on March 9th.
View the videos:
JAPAN DECLARES NUCLEAR EMERGENCY; EXPLOSION AT REACTOR INJURES 4 AS AUTHORITIES RACE CLOCK TO STOP CORE MELTDOWN
MASS EVACUATIONS UNDERWAY DUE TO NUCLEAR CRISIS;
80,000 MISSING, 1,300 CONFIRMED DEAD FROM QUAKE & TSUNAMI
Update March 12, 2011 (8 a.m.) -- An explosion rocked the nuclear plant at Fukishima Daiichi during the night, sending plumes of smoke billowing forth. However Japanese authorities say the fire was at a pumping station that failed, not the reactor core.
The threat of a melt-down remains as officials try to cool reactors at two facilities damaged by the earthquake (upgraded to a 9.1), tsunami and now, fire.
March 11, 2011 (Otay Mesa) – A woman talking on her cell phone walked against a red light into the path of a tractor trailer on Paseo De Las America at Sempre Viva Road in Otay Mesa. The truck ran over the woman, 31, as the driver, 37, made a right turn.
1,000 DEAD IN JAPAN FROM QUAKE AND TSUNAMI: SAN DIEGO BEACH AREAS CLOSED; COASTAL AREAS ACROSS PACIFIC BRACE FOR IMPACTS
March 11, 2011 (San Diego) – Southern California beaches are closing this morning as a precaution following a powerful 8.9 earthquake that rocked Japan last night, killing hundreds from the temblor and a tsunami that subsequently struck Japan.
San Diego is currently under a tsunami advisory, a lower level than a tsunami warning. The tsunami's impact is expected to begin between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. locally and will continue for 10 to 12 hours after the initial wave arrival.
Tsunami warnings have been issued for countries and islands across the Pacific and much of the U.S. west coast.
TOKYO FLOODED BY TSUNAMI
TSUNAMI COULD REACH SAN DIEGO FRIDAY
AT 8:41 A.M.
TSUNAMI WATCHES/WARNINGS ISSUED FOR HAWAII, ALASKA, CALIFORNIA, OREGON, WASHINGTON, AUSTRALIA, RUSSIA, TAIWAN, GUAM, PHLIPPINES, INDONESIA, MARIANAS ISLANDS, SOUTH AMERICA, ANTARCTICA & MORE
By Miriam Raftery
Photos by Ron Logan, Miriam Raftery, and Merton Gaudette
March 10, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) – Candy Jenkins was looking forward to seeing environmental evidence presented to a federal judge in San Diego on Monday. “I live on El Capitan Mountain,” said the Lakeside resident, who alleges that SDG&E is building Sunrise Powerlink towers only 2,000 feet from an eagles’ nest. She has photos, and says the eagles are tagged and the locations documented by the County. “Towers weren’t supposed to be within 4,000 feet,” she said. “We’re bringing this out today in court.”
Told by this reporter that the hearing had been cancelled because Judge Michael Anello announced that he will be ruling on the written record only, Jenkins expressed shock. “It’s heartbreaking,” she said. “Whatever happened to democracy in America?”
March 10, 2011 (Lakeside) --After a courageous battle with cancer complicated by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Richard “Rick” Allen Smith, 67, passed away peacefully at his home in Lakeside on February 18th. He held leadership positions on Lakeside's fire and planning boards, as well as the Chamber of Commerce and other organizations.
“His dedication to the community of Lakeside will have a lasting affect for many years to come and his experience and wisdom will be sorely missed by all who knew him," said his daughter-in-law, Michelle Dimsey. "He maintained his trademark sense of humor and “can do attitude” all the way to the end.”
March 10, 2011 (Alpine) – A gardener working behind Alpine Pizza and Pasta in the vicinity of Alpine Blvd. and Arnold Way yesterday shortly before 10 a.m. was attacked by an "aggressive" swarm of bees and stung repeatedly on the head and neck, Alpine Fire Chief Bill Paskle reports.
March 10, 2011 (Lakeside) -- Lakeside Fire Department responded to a reported multi-family residential structure fire at 8810 Winter Gardens Blvd at 38 minutes past midnight. Units from El Cajon and Santee also responded, along with medics. Heartland Fire Dispatch reported to the responding units en route that the fire was located in the storage units in front of the Mountain View apartments.
“She is still the light of her Mom’s light…sunshine in the face of darkness.” – Facebook page posted by Katrina’s family
March 7, 2011 (Escondido) – Suzanne Stewart Pohlman, executive director of Interfaith Community Services in Escondido, has issued an urgent plea for a live donor willing to donate a lobe from a lung to save her daughter, Katrina "Katie" Howell. Katie lost her younger sister, Amanda, to cystic fibrosis at age 8. Though she suffers from the same disease, Katie has survived into adulthood; she is married and a college graduate. But now, she needs a live lung lobe donor immediately to live.
“The long term effects for the donors are minimal to none,” the cardiothoracic surgery center website for the University of Sothern California states. Donors for Katie must be 18-55 years old with type A+ blood, in good health, life-long non-smokers, 5 feet 8 inches or taller.
Mother says Madrid police indicate son may have been drugged, Sacramento Bee reports
March 8, 2011 (San Diego) – The body of Austin Taylor Bice, a San Diego State University exchange student studying abroad in Spain, has been found in the Manzaneres River near the Spanish nightclub where he was last seen February 25th, SDSU’s news center announced today.
“The San Diego State campus is saddened byt his tragic news which confirms our worst fears,” SDSU president Stephen Weber said in a prepared statement. “Our thoughts this morning are with Austin’s family and friends who have our deepest sympathies.”
By Miriam Raftery
March 7, 2011 (El Cajon) – A fire at a home located at 154 N. Westwind Drive in El Cajon last night caused $75,000 to $100,000 in damage, displacing three men and causing minor injury to one.
“Upon investigation, it was found that the tenants of the home had been using propane gas inside the home for lighting and heat since the electrical power had been turned off to the house,” a press release from Heartland Fire & Rescue stated. “One of the tenants, while attempting to transfer propane to smaller containers, accidentally set off the blaze.”
March 8, 2011 (San Diego) – Ignacio Manriques Sanchez, 73, was struck and killed while riding his bicycle Sunday at 7:31 a.m. The victim was pedaling westbound in the 8200 block of Skyline Drive in the Jamacha/Lomita area when a woman driving a Dodge Caravan in the same direction struck the cyclist, according to San Diego Police Officer J. Jacobsen.
March 7, 2011 (San Diego) – Foreclosure rates in San Diego County are five times higher than normal, the real estate data firm Foreclosure Radar reports, according to a March 3rd article in the North County Times.
Today, California Senator Barbara Boxer has announced a new “Resources for Struggling Homeowners” web page on the constituent services section of her Senate website at http://boxer.senate.gov/en/services/homes.cfm. The Homeowners page contains useful information and links to federal programs that assist people threatened with the loss of their home. It also includes links to the California Housing Finance Agency’s new “Keep Your Home California” program.
March 7, 2011 (San Diego) – A federal judge has cancelled a public hearing challenging Sunrise Powerlink. The trial was slated to begin today in downtown San Diego, but instead the judge has notified plaintiffs that he will be ruling based on the record. The decision comes as a disappointment to Powerlink opponents, who say they looked forward to having their day in court.
Organizers of a “stop Powerlink” march to the courthouse have announced they will still hold a rally outside SDG&E headquarters today at 12:30 at 101 Ash Street, where speakers will include Supervisor Dianne Jacob, Michael Shamas, executive director of the Utility Consumers Action Network (UCAN), and. Dave Elliot, tribal member of the Manzanita Band of Kumeyaay.
March 6, 2011(San Diego’s East County) – The National Weather Service has issued a wind warning for Monday, starting at 1 a.m. and ending at 10 p.m. A trough of low pressure moving in from the northwest behind a cold front will generate very strong west winds in the mountains and deserts, with gusts of 55-70 mph along mountain ridges and on desert slopes, extending down to the desert floor.
Strongest winds will be Monday morning and afternoon, making driving difficult for all motorists especially those driving high-profile vehicles. Motorists are advised to watch for broken tree limbs and downed power lines.
Vigil planned Monday at SDSU 6-9 p.m.
March 6, 2011 (San Diego) – On February 25, San Diego State University student Austin Taylor Bice posted on his Facebook page about his plans for the evening. “It’s in Madrid and it should be a fun night,” he wrote. Bice, 22, an exchange student studying at the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid in Spain, disappeared hours later and hasn’t been seen since.
POWERLINK TRIAL STARTS IN SAN DIEGO: OPPONENTS PLAN MARCH FROM SDG&E HEADQUARTERS TO COURTHOUSE MARCH 7
March 3, 2011 (San Diego) – “Not a done deal. We are in court,” reads a flyer published by opponents of the Sunrise Powerlink project urging the public to join a march to the federal courthouse downtown, where the first federal lawsuit against the high-voltage line will be heard on March 7th.
HELIX WATER HOLDS PUBLIC SCOPING MEETING MARCH 8 ON ENVIRONMENTAL ASPECTS OF EL MONTE VALLEY MINING, RECLAMATION & GROUNDWATER RECHARGE PROJECT
March 3, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) – Helix Water District will hold a scoping meeting on Tuesday, March 8 at 7 p.m. at the Helix Water District Board Room, 7811 University Avenue in La Mesa. The meeting will provide an overview of the proposed El Monte Valley Mining, Reclamation, and Groundwater Recharge Project in Lakeside and what will be studied as part of the environmental impact review (EIR)/environmental assessment. The public will have an opportunity to provide written comments on what they would like to see studied as part of the EIR/EA.
The project is intended to provide a new local water source in an era when outside water supplies have become increasingly scarce due to restrictions on Delta pumping and drought on the Colorado River.
$1.8 billion, the cost of the Powerlink, could fund 90,000 individual 5kW systems which would generate nearly a half million kW (450,000 kW) per hour, opponents say.
Story and photos by Ron Logan
March 1, 2011 (Alpine) – Tuesday morning, Sempra Energy and SDG&E encountered more pushback to their Sunrise Powerlink construction in downtown Alpine.
The Powerlink construction, which will take about two years to construct and is scheduled for completion in 2012, has drawn criticism at every step of the process, including hundreds of Alpine residents who have turned out at past hearings to voice overwhelming opposition to the project.