New Braunfels Herald Zeitung (Newspaper) - March 20, 2011, New Braunfels, Texas
Page 6A — Herald-Zeitung — Sunday, March 20, 2011
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i ! THE WIRE
From The Associated Press
Japan cites radiation in milk, spinach
FUKUSHIMA, Japan (AP) — In the first sign that contamination from Japan's stricken nuclear complex had seeped Into the food chain, officiais said Saturday that radiation levels in spinach and milk from farms near the tsunami-crippled facility exceeded government safety limits.
Minuscule amounts of radioactive iodine also were found in tap water Friday in Tokyo and elsewhere in Japan — although experts said none of those tests showed any health risks. The Health Min-
istry also said that radioactive iodine s lghily above government safety limits was found in drinking water at one point I hursday in a sampling from Fukushima prefec ture, the site of the nuclear plant, but later tests showed the level had fallen again.
Six workers trying to bring the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant back under control were exposed to more than 100 millisiev-erts of radiation — Japans normal limit lor those involved in emergency operations, according to Tokyo Electric Power
Co., which operates the complex.
The government raised that limit to 250 millisieverts on Tuesday as the crisis escalated.
Officials said the crisis at the plant appeared to be stabilizing, with nearconstant dousing of dangerously overheated reactors and uranium fuel, but the situation was still far from resolved. Japan’s military planned to start dousing one troubled reactor — Unit 4 — for the first time shortly after daybreak Sunday morning.
200: BELOVED POLAR BEAR KNUT HAS DIED
BERLIN — Berlin's beloved polar bear Knut, an international star who as a cuddly, fluffy cub graced magazine covers, movies and merchandise, died Saturday. His death at the young age of four took zookeepers and animal experts by surprise.
The celebrity bear died suddenly in his compound at the Berlin Zoo on Saturday afternoon, hear keeper Heiner Woes told T he Associated Iffess. He waded into the water in his enclosure before having a short spasm and then dying in front of hundreds of zoo visitors.
While the life expectancy of polar bear in the wild is between 15 and 20 years, animals in captivity can live even longer because they are not exposed to hunger, thirst or infections. A postmortem will be conducted on Monday to try to pinpoint the cause of death, Kloes said.
JUDGE BLOCKS CONTENTIOUS WIS. UNION LAW
MADISON, Wis. — The monthlong saga over Gov. Scott Walker’s plan to drastically curb collective bargaining rights for public workers in Wisconsin took a turn Friday that could force a dramatic rebooting of the entire legislative process.
A judge temporarily blocked the law from taking effect, raising the possibility that the Legislature may have to vote again to pass the bill that attracted protests as large as 85,000 people, motivated Senate Democrats to escape to Illinois for three weeks and made Wisconsin the focus of the national fight over union rights.
Walker's spokesman and Republican legislative leaders indicated they would press on with the court battle rather than consider passing the bill again.
CEREMONY FOR 15 KILLED IN BUS CRASH
NEW Yf )RK — Relatives of the passengers who died in the crash of a New York C rity casino bus returned to the crash site for a Buddhist ceremony.
One lane of Interstate 95 in the Bronx was closed for about an hour Saturday morning to allow for the ceremony, which was blocked from view to avoid traffic slowdowns. Fifteen people — most of them Chinese — died in the crash a week ago.
A bell tolled and family members walked in a circle as part of the ceremony.
The bus was returning March 12 to Manhattan’s Chinatown from an overnight trip to a Connecticut casino when it tipped over and was sliced in two by a pole.
ANTI-WAR PROTESTERS ARRESTED IN DC
WAS11INGT ON — More than 100 anti-war protesters, including the man who leaked the Pentagon Papers, were arrested outside the White House on Saturday in demonstrations marking the eighth anniversary of the U.S.-led war in Iraq.
Fhe protesters, some shouting anti-war slogans and singing We Shall Not Be Moved,’’ were arrested after ignoring orders to move away from the gates of the White I louse. The demonstrators cheered loudly as Daniel EUsberg, the former military analyst who in 1971 leaked the Pentagon’s secret history of the Vietnam War that was later published in major newspapers, was arrested.
‘Miracle on Hudson’ jet bound for museum
HARRISON, N.J. (AP) — To stand inside the cabin of the US Airways jet that crash landed on the Fludson River is to imagine, even briefly, some of the terror that must have overtaken the 155 people aboard as the plane descended onto the icy water.
The plane’s interior is largely undisturbed from the Jan. 15,2009, landing but is littered with reminders — and a coating of dried mud. A stethoscope from a first-aid kit lies on the floor in one row, while unused life jackets still wrapped in plastic sit on seats. Many seat cushions are gone, grabbed by passengers as they exited onto a wing. In the rear galley, food and beverages are waiting to be served.
The world will be able to relive the triumph of what has been dubbed “The Miracle on the Hudson” when the Airbus A320 is shipped this spring from a northern New Jersey warehouse to Charlotte, N.C., for an exhibit at the Carolinas Aviation Museum.
The plane’s wings are expected to be moved within the next few weeks. The 120-foot fuselage will he trucked down around mid-June, said Stephen Ryan, whose Australia-based company FRD is consulting on
the museum project.
That trip is sure to create a stir between New Jersey and North Carolina, much as it did when the plane was moved from the 1 ludson to the warehouse two years ago.
‘ We’re still working out the route," Ryan said Saturday. “There are a lot of factors to be considered.’’
The museum exhibit is scheduled to open next January and will focus on the technology that helped the plane land safely as well as the heroics of Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, who became an instant national hero. Tbe most compelling moments likely will come from taped interviews with the passengers.
Museum president Shawn Dorsch said the 19-year-old museum attracts about 30,000 visitors annually but could see that number swell to more than 100,000 once the famous jet is put on display.
Flight 1549 had just taken off from l^Guardia Airport when a flock of birds struck both engines, shutting them down. Sullenberger considered trying to land at nearby Teterboro Airport but quickly calculated that he wouldn’t be able to make it that far.
The Hudson was the only
Stark differences in Three Mile Island,
Japan nuclear crises
MTDDITTOWN, Pa. (AP) — Japan’s nuclear crisis has transported residents of central Pennsylvania hack 32 years, when the partial meltdown of the Three Mile Island nuclear plant raised fears that a massive amount of radiation could be released into the atmosphere or the Susquehanna River.
But there are stark differences between the disasters.
“It’s probably not politically correct to say it, but TMI was a piece of cake compared to what they’re facing over there in Fukushima, in terms of the problem,” said Harold Denton, the nuclear engineer who became a calming, knowledgeable voice during the height of the Three Mile Island crisis in 1979.
As it is with the Fukushima reactors, the central challenge at Three Mile Island was reversing the loss of cooling water in the reactor core that in both cases exposed the highly radioactive fuel rods, increasing the threat of a complete fuel meltdown and a catastrophic release of radiation.
But the Fukushima and
Three Mile Island parallel has its limits, experts say. Japanese engineers are facing a more complex crisis with multiple problems and challenges never faced in Pennsylvania three decades ago.
At TMI, efforts were concentrated on a single reactor. Its problems began at 4 a.m. on March 28 when a pressure relief valve failed and stayed open for two hours. Because operators thought it had closed, they shut off an emergency flow of water that had been triggered automatically, worsening the situation and exposing the fuel rods.
A presidential commission later said the TMI accident was “the result of a series of human, institutional and mechanical failures” that had implications throughout the U.S. nuclear industry.
The Japan crisis resulted from an earthquake and tsunami that knocked out critical electric power and caused damage within the plant, including to the reactors’ emergency cooling system and at least one of the water-filled fuel road pool.