The Armageddon Looting Machine: The Looming Mass Destruction from Derivatives

Guest post by Ellen Brown, http://www.WebofDebt.com.

Increased regulation and low interest rates are driving lending from the regulated commercial banking system into the unregulated shadow banking system. The shadow banks, although free of government regulation, are propped up by a hidden government guarantee in the form of safe harbor status under the 2005 Bankruptcy Reform Act pushed through by Wall Street. The result is to create perverse incentives for the financial system to self-destruct.

Five years after the financial collapse precipitated by the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy on September 15, 2008, the risk of another full-blown financial panic is still looming large, despite the Dodd Frank legislation designed to contain it. As noted in a recent Reuters article, the risk has just moved into the shadows:

[B]anks are pulling back their balance sheets from the fringes of the credit markets, with more and more risk being driven to unregulated lenders that comprise the $60 trillion “shadow-banking” sector.

Increased regulation and low interest rates have made lending to homeowners and small businesses less attractive than before 2008. The easy subprime scams of yesteryear are no more. The void is being filled by the shadow banking system. Shadow banking comes in many forms, but the big money today is in repos and derivatives. The notional (or hypothetical) value of the derivatives market has been estimated to be as high as $1.2 quadrillion, or twenty times the GDP of all the countries of the world combined.

According to Hervé Hannoun, Deputy General Manager of the Bank for International Settlements, investment banks as well as commercial banks may conduct much of their business in the shadow banking system (SBS), although most are not generally classed as SBS institutions themselves. At least one financial regulatory expert has said that regulated banking organizations are the largest shadow banks.

The Hidden Government Guarantee that Props Up the Shadow Banking System

According to Dutch economist Enrico Perotti, banks are able to fund their loans much more cheaply than any other industry because they offer “liquidity on demand.” The promise that the depositor can get his money out at any time is made credible by government-backed deposit insurance and access to central bank funding.  But what guarantee underwrites the shadow banks? Why would financial institutions feel confident lending cheaply in the shadow market, when it is not protected by deposit insurance or government bailouts?

Perotti says that liquidity-on-demand is guaranteed in the SBS through another, lesser-known form of government guarantee: “safe harbor” status in bankruptcy. Repos and derivatives, the stock in trade of shadow banks, have “superpriority” over all other claims. Perotti writes:

Security pledging grants access to cheap funding thanks to the steady expansion in the EU and US of “safe harbor status”. Also called bankruptcy privileges, this ensures lenders secured on financial collateral immediate access to their pledged securities. . . .

Safe harbor status grants the privilege of being excluded from mandatory stay, and basically all other restrictions. Safe harbor lenders, which at present include repos and derivative margins, can immediately repossess and resell pledged collateral.

This gives repos and derivatives extraordinary super-priority over all other claims, including tax and wage claims, deposits, real secured credit and insurance claims. Critically, it ensures immediacy (liquidity) for their holders. Unfortunately, it does so by undermining orderly liquidation.

When orderly liquidation is undermined, there is a rush to get the collateral, which can actually propel the debtor into bankruptcy.

The amendment to the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 2005 that created this favored status for repos and derivatives was pushed through by the banking lobby with few questions asked. In a December 2011 article titled “Plan B – How to Loot Nations and Their Banks Legally,” documentary film-maker David Malone wrote:

This amendment which was touted as necessary to reduce systemic risk in financial bankruptcies . . . allowed a whole range of far riskier assets to be used . . . . The size of the repo market hugely increased and riskier assets were gladly accepted as collateral because traders saw that if the person they had lent to went down they could get [their] money back before anyone else and no one could stop them.

Burning Down the Barn to Get the Insurance

Safe harbor status creates the sort of perverse incentives that make derivatives “financial weapons of mass destruction,” as Warren Buffett famously branded them. It is the equivalent of burning down the barn to collect the insurance. Says Malone:

All other creditors – bond holders – risk losing some of their money in a bankruptcy. So they have a reason to want to avoid bankruptcy of a trading partner. Not so the repo and derivatives partners. They would now be best served by looting the company – perfectly legally – as soon as trouble seemed likely. In fact the repo and derivatives traders could push a bank that owed them money over into bankruptcy when it most suited them as creditors. When, for example, they might be in need of a bit of cash themselves to meet a few pressing creditors of their own.

The collapse of . . . Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers and AIG were all directly because repo and derivatives partners of those institutions suddenly stopped trading and ‘looted’ them instead.

The global credit collapse was triggered, it seems, not by wild subprime lending but by the rush to grab collateral by players with congressionally-approved safe harbor status for their repos and derivatives.

Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers were strictly investment banks, but now we have giant depository banks gambling in derivatives as well; and with the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act that separated depository and investment banking, they are allowed to commingle their deposits and investments. The risk to the depositors was made glaringly obvious when MF Global went bankrupt in October 2011. Malone wrote:

When MF Global went down it did so because its repo, derivative and hypothecation partners essentially foreclosed on it. And when they did so they then ‘looted’ the company. And because of the co-mingling of clients money in the hypothecation deals the ‘looters’ also seized clients money as well. . . JPMorgan allegedly has MF Global money while other people’s lawyers can only argue about it.

MF Global was followed by the Cyprus “bail-in” – the confiscation of depositor funds to recapitalize the country’s failed banks. This was followed by the coordinated appearance of bail-in templates worldwide, mandated by the Financial Stability Board, the global banking regulator in Switzerland.

The Auto-Destruct Trip Wire on the Banking System

Bail-in policies are being necessitated by the fact that governments are balking at further bank bailouts. In the US, the Dodd-Frank Act (Section 716) now bans taxpayer bailouts of most speculative derivative activities. That means the next time we have a Lehman-style event, the banking system could simply collapse into a black hole of derivative looting. Malone writes:

. . . The bankruptcy laws allow a mechanism for banks to disembowel each other. The strongest lend to the weaker and loot them when the moment of crisis approaches. The plan allows the biggest banks, those who happen to be burdened with massive holdings of dodgy euro area bonds, to leap out of the bond crisis and instead profit from a bankruptcy which might otherwise have killed them. All that is required is to know the import of the bankruptcy law and do as much repo, hypothecation and derivative trading with the weaker banks as you can.

. . . I think this means that some of the biggest banks, themselves, have already constructed and greatly enlarged a now truly massive trip wired auto-destruct on the banking system.

The weaker banks may be the victims, but it is we the people who will wind up holding the bag. Malone observes:

For the last four years who has been putting money in to the banks? And who has become a massive bond holder in all the banks? We have. First via our national banks and now via the Fed, ECB and various tax payer funded bail out funds. We are the bond holders who would be shafted by the Plan B looting. We would be the people waiting in line for the money the banks would have already made off with. . . .

. . . [T]he banks have created a financial Armageddon looting machine. Their Plan B is a mechanism to loot not just the more vulnerable banks in weaker nations, but those nations themselves. And the looting will not take months, not even days. It could happen in hours if not minutes.

Crisis and Opportunity: Building a Better Mousetrap

There is no way to regulate away this sort of risk. If both the conventional banking system and the shadow banking system are being maintained by government guarantees, then we the people are bearing the risk. We should be directing where the credit goes and collecting the interest. Banking and the creation of money-as-credit need to be made public utilities, owned by the public and having a mandate to serve the public. Public banks do not engage in derivatives.

Today, virtually the entire circulating money supply (M1, M2 and M3) consists of privately-created “bank credit” – money created on the books of banks in the form of loans. If this private credit system implodes, we will be without a money supply. One option would be to return to the system of government-issued money that was devised by the American colonists, revived by Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War, and used by other countries at various times and places around the world. Another option would be a system of publicly-owned state banks on the model of the Bank of North Dakota, leveraging the capital of the state backed by the revenues of the into public bank credit for the use of the local economy.

Change happens historically in times of crisis, and we may be there again today.

_______________

Ellen Brown is an attorney, president of the Public Banking Institute, and author of twelve books including the best-selling Web of Debt. In The Public Bank Solution, her latest book, she explores successful public banking models historically and globally. Her websites are http://WebofDebt.comhttp://PublicBankSolution.com, and http://PublicBankingInstitute.org.

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  • jadan

    We need a new way of thinking about money, and Ellen Brown is helping to change the public mind from the enlightened “selfishness” of free market ideology to a model of money in the public interest. Money is, after all, a public utility without which society cannot function. It could not function without electricity, water, clean air, highways, and other essential ingredients of our latter day world. But our laws and our public policy consider money as a plaything of the wealthy. As Ms. Brown shows, the bankruptcy laws are written by and for a minority class of speculators. The financial elite do not seem to be capable of thinking in terms of the public interest. They may utter some grubby old sentiments about an “invisible hand” regulating free markets, but they tend to think it’s their playground and they can just do what they please. If they screw up it’s called “creative destruction”. It’s time to change that undemocratic and self-destructive mindset. Banking in the public interest means that financial policy is made in the broad public interest, not for a small group of insiders.

    • Tonto

      Whenever someone starts talking about the “public interest”, beware. These people are nuts, and only prone to playing God.

      The “public interest” is what Hank Paulson came out talking about when he demanded $700 billion in TARP money. The “public interest” is what passed ObamaCare. And the “public interest” is behind every argument for everything big government does. Ellen Brown is an advocate for even bigger government, in the name of public interest as it is being divined by her own self-proclaimed genius. Brown makes me gag.

      Unlike where Brown usually ends up in her one-sided analysis, she came up short -today- of saying your deposits at a bank would be taken in a Cyprus like bail-in scheme, in the event of a derivatives triggered collapse. She mentions Cyprus. But she does not connect the dots. Though all too obviously, Brown still wants you to think that is what will happen. So she obfuscates along for some paragraphs about how these liquidation demands have super-priority. She comes up short of saying it, but not short enough for anyone to miss her point, which is, they’re going to take your money! No, they are not going to take your money.

      Your bank account balances will be left untouched by such a derivatives-triggered bank collapse. In the final analysis, in the event, and only in the event, your bank goes bankrupt and is going to cease to exist, your account balance is protected by FDIC insurance. But this is ONLY going to happen, if your bank self-destructs and is no longer going to exist. That’s why you put your money in a bank, as opposed to giving it to the government for safe-keeping in a lock-box. LoL

      Brown’s analysis is doing no one any favors today. She’s not even helping her own, bigger-government and bigger banking socialist message. The idea we should trust the government to run the banking system, and that every branch of government at every level should be able to print money at will, is preposterous. But that is Ellen Brown’s consistent message, that we can print (money) our way out of this mess. We’ll all need a wheelbarrow to replace our wallets, if we print any more money, Ellen Brown.

      Brown is not even close to a solution. The empirical solution is to tax debt instruments. If we taxed instruments of debt, they’d soon enough be corralled. It’s not likely to happen. But that is the solution. The solution is certainly not more debt, nor allowing government bodies to print debt willie-nillie as they obviously would.

  • Bev

    State Banks with Debt Money even though Interest Free cannot fix Fukushima. A true Armageddon looms in Fukushima which requires massive funding from a public/government Debt-free, Interest-free money that only national governments can achieve. And, the world’s best engineers are needed to safely/correctly fix Fukushima.

    There is a 2 Month Timeline/Deadline….

    Demand a Global Take-Over

    Arnie Gunderson and the world’s nations, politicians and best engineers need to come together to solve this dangerous problem that TEPCO cannot as it is an operating company (not a very successful one) and not an engineering company. There is a 2 month time scale to do this correctly for all of humanity.

    Arnie Gunderson’s website:
    http://fairewinds.com/

    Arnie Gunderson interviewed about what he would do to safely deal with Fukushima:

    http://fairewinds.org/media/radio/olympic-insanity-gundersen-charge-fukushima

    Start at 24:30 to hear Arnie Gunderson a nuclear engineer, a licensed reactor operator, holder of a nuclear safety patent, and former nuclear industry senior vice president

    Olympic Insanity + If Gundersen were in Charge at Fukushima
    Posted On: Sep 10, 2013

    Libbe HaLevy from Nuclear Hotseat radio interviewed Arnie Gundersen about the current state of problems at Fukushima Daiichi and asks what he would do if he were in charge of the disaster site.

    ………

    http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/09/20-1

    Published on Friday, September 20, 2013 by Common Dreams

    The Crisis at Fukushima’s Unit 4 Demands a Global Take-Over
    by Harvey Wasserman

    We are now within two months of what may be humankind’s most dangerous moment since the Cuban Missile Crisis.Fukushima’s badly damaged Unit 4.

    There is no excuse for not acting. All the resources our species can muster must be focused on the fuel pool at Fukushima Unit 4.

    Fukushima’s owner, Tokyo Electric (Tepco), says that within as few as 60 days it may begin trying to remove more than 1300 spent fuel rods from a badly damaged pool perched 100 feet in the air. The pool rests on a badly damaged building that is tilting, sinking and could easily come down in the next earthquake, if not on its own.

    Some 400 tons of fuel in that pool could spew out more than 15,000 times as much radiation as was released at Hiroshima.

    The one thing certain about this crisis is that Tepco does not have the scientific, engineering or financial resources to handle it. Nor does the Japanese government. The situation demands a coordinated worldwide effort of the best scientists and engineers our species can muster.

    Why is this so serious?

    We already know that thousands of tons of heavily contaminated water are pouring through the Fukushima site, carrying a devil’s brew of long-lived poisonous isotopes into the Pacific. Tuna irradiated with fallout traceable to Fukushima have already been caught off the coast of California. We can expect far worse.

    Tepco continues to pour more water onto the proximate site of three melted reactor cores it must somehow keep cool. Steam plumes indicate fission may still be going on somewhere underground. But nobody knows exactly where those cores actually are.

    Much of that irradiated water now sits in roughly a thousand huge but fragile tanks that have been quickly assembled and strewn around the site. Many are already leaking. All could shatter in the next earthquake, releasing thousands of tons of permanent poisons into the Pacific. (Note: A relatively small earthquake struck Fukushima prefecture on Thursday, an indication of the inevitable occurrence of larger future ones in the area.)

    The water flowing through the site is also undermining the remnant structures at Fukushima, including the one supporting the fuel pool at Unit Four.

    More than 6,000 fuel assemblies now sit in a common pool just 50 meters from Unit Four. Some contain plutonium. The pool has no containment over it. It’s vulnerable to loss of coolant, the collapse of a nearby building, another earthquake, another tsunami and more.

    Overall, more than 11,000 fuel assemblies are scattered around the Fukushima site. According to long-time expert and former Department of Energy official Robert Alvarez, there is more than 85 times as much lethal cesium on site as was released at Chernobyl.

    Radioactive hot spots continue to be found around Japan. There are indications of heightened rates of thyroid damage among local children.

    The immediate bottom line is that those fuel rods must somehow come safely out of the Unit Four fuel pool as soon as possible.

    Just prior to the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that shattered the Fukushima site, the core of Unit Four was removed for routine maintenance and refueling. Like some two dozen reactors in the US and too many more around the world, the General Electric-designed pool into which that core now sits is 100 feet in the air.

    Spent fuel must somehow be kept under water. It’s clad in zirconium alloy which will spontaneously ignite when exposed to air. Long used in flash bulbs for cameras, zirconium burns with an extremely bright hot flame.

    Each uncovered rod emits enough radiation to kill someone standing nearby in a matter of minutes. A conflagration could force all personnel to flee the site and render electronic machinery unworkable.

    According to Arnie Gundersen, a nuclear engineer with forty years in an industry for which he once manufactured fuel rods, the ones in the Unit 4 core are bent, damaged and embrittled to the point of crumbling. Cameras have shown troubling quantities of debris in the fuel pool, which itself is damaged.

    The engineering and scientific barriers to emptying the Unit Four fuel pool are unique and daunting, says Gundersen. But it must be done to 100% perfection.

    Should the attempt fail, the rods could be exposed to air and catch fire, releasing horrific quantities of radiation into the atmosphere. The pool could come crashing to the ground, dumping the rods together into a pile that could fission and possibly explode. The resulting radioactive cloud would threaten the health and safety of all us.

    Chernobyl’s first 1986 fallout reached California within ten days. Fukushima’s in 2011 arrived in less than a week. A new fuel fire at Unit 4 would pour out a continuous stream of lethal radioactive poisons for centuries.

    Former Ambassador Mitsuhei Murata says full-scale releases from Fukushima “would destroy the world environment and our civilization. This is not rocket science, nor does it connect to the pugilistic debate over nuclear power plants. This is an issue of human survival.”

    Neither Tokyo Electric nor the government of Japan can go this alone. There is no excuse for deploying anything less than a coordinated team of the planet’s best scientists and engineers.

    We have two months or less to act.

    For now, we are petitioning the United Nations and President Obama to mobilize the global scientific and engineering community to take charge at Fukushima and the job of moving these fuel rods to safety.

    If you have a better idea, please follow it. But do something and do it now.

    The clock is ticking. The hand of global nuclear disaster is painfully close to midnight.
    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License
    Harvey Wasserman

    ………………

    Arnie Gunderson on a visit to Japan was told that Japan does not have the money to fix the problem the correct, best way. This is a world problem, not just Japan’s. We all need to help.

    In order to have the public/government Debt-free, Interest-free money to fix Fukushima, I think the American Monetary Institute at http://www.monetary.org/ headed by Stephen Zarlenga, Director, along with former U.S. Representative Dennis Kucinich and current U.S. Representative John Conyers, U.S. Senators from California, Oregon and Washington need to be called, emailed, visited about a congressional bill that needs to be re-introduced before the end of the next 2 months, HR 2990, see: http://www.monetary.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/HR-2990.pdf

    American Monetary Institute
    PO BOX 601
    VALATIE, NY 12184

    Phone
    518-392-5387
    or 224-805-2200
    E-mail
    ami@taconic.net

    This weekend is their convention ending this Sunday,

    The American Monetary Institute is pleased to announce its
    9th Annual AMI Monetary Reform Conference

    September 19-22, 2013, at University Center, Chicago

    Speakers at the conference who would work to get the public money needed to fix Fukushima and save humankind

    Confirmed Speakers for 2013

    Prof. Joseph Huber from Martin-Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg in Germany, one of Europe’s most important monetary reformers, will analyze Modern Money Theory and the associated views on money, credit, and debt.

    Dr. Michael Kumhof, Deputy Division Chief of the Modeling Division, Research Department, IMF, will present his findings when applying the Chicago Plan, basis of HR 2990, to today’s economy using computer modeling techniques.

    Prof. Kaoru Yamaguchi will give an outstanding analysis of HR 2990, placing it through his advanced systems analysis software, determining it would pay off the US national debt and provide the necessary funding for infrastructure (solving the unemployment problem) and do it without inflation.

    Prof. Steve Keen, advanced Australian banking and monetary investigator, author of the important book “Debunking Economics,” which can begin leading the way out of the economic morass which economics has undeniably created around the world.

    Prof. Richard Werner has emerged as the central figure advising monetary authorities of the European money system to cease their destructive austerity programs, and he will discuss his involvement with this issue.

    Prof. Nic Tideman of Virginia Tech (formerly Senior Economist on the President’s Council of Economic Advisors) discusses how banks will compete after monetary reforms are in place.

    Prof. Michael Hudson, UMKC professor and PBS commentator and one of the rare economists to accurately forecast the mortgage and housing debacle – in a front page Harper’s Magazine article – will share his latest important observations on what the banking establishment is up to now.

    Stephen Zarlenga is Director of the American Monetary Institute and author of The Lost Science of Money. He will highlight the progress at AMI, and the direction of monetary reform in America.

    Jamie Walton, a knowledgeable money reformer from New Zealand, describes HR 2990 and why all three elements must be put into effect. He works on monetary legislation in Washington DC.

    Robert Poteat, long term and meticulous monetary researcher, is certainly among the top half dozen in America in awareness of monetary systems. He is the leader of the AMI Chapters in Portland, Seattle and Central Washington. Previously he has discussed why monetary reform is largely a moral question.

    Joseph Pijanowski, the Directing Business Representative of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Union, Local 126, focuses on the monetary solution to American labor problems our country faces.

    Mark Pash is a Certified Financial Planner with a Bachelors and Masters in Business Administration, from UCLA and USC respectively. He will review his 24 reasons for monetary reform and the 13 ways to overcome the inflationary objection.

    Andrew Jackson is currently Head of Research at Positive Money in the UK. He will discuss Positive Money’s strategy for progressing the monetary reform agenda in the UK, before showing how this links into his latest research, a proposal to combine monetary and fiscal policy which will allow the state to create and spend money into circulation.

    Greg Coleridge, Director of the Northeast Ohio American Friends Service Committee. He is on the National Steering Committee of the Move to Amend/Campaign to Legalize Democracy Program on Corporations, Law & Democracy (POCLAD) national collective.

    Steven Walsh, leading Chicago educator and expert authority on New England Colonial moneys, will describe how banks create money out of thin air.

    Joe Bongiovanni
    …………

    Demand a Global Take-Over

    by Engineers, Money and Politicians who could help make this happen

    • Bev

      Above the fold: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2013/09/20-1
      Published on Friday, September 20, 2013 by Common Dreams

      The Crisis at Fukushima’s Unit 4 Demands a Global Take-Over
      by Harvey Wasserman

      We are now within two months of what may be humankind’s most dangerous moment since the Cuban Missile Crisis.Fukushima’s badly damaged Unit 4.

      There is no excuse for not acting. All the resources our species can muster must be focused on the fuel pool at Fukushima Unit 4.

      Fukushima’s owner, Tokyo Electric (Tepco), says that within as few as 60 days it may begin trying to remove more than 1300 spent fuel rods from a badly damaged pool perched 100 feet in the air. The pool rests on a badly damaged building that is tilting, sinking and could easily come down in the next earthquake, if not on its own.

      Some 400 tons of fuel in that pool could spew out more than 15,000 times as much radiation as was released at Hiroshima.

      The one thing certain about this crisis is that Tepco does not have the scientific, engineering or financial resources to handle it. Nor does the Japanese government. The situation demands a coordinated worldwide effort of the best scientists and engineers our species can muster.

      Why is this so serious?

      We already know that thousands of tons of heavily contaminated water are pouring through the Fukushima site, carrying a devil’s brew of long-lived poisonous isotopes into the Pacific. Tuna irradiated with fallout traceable to Fukushima have already been caught off the coast of California. We can expect far worse.

      Tepco continues to pour more water onto the proximate site of three melted reactor cores it must somehow keep cool. Steam plumes indicate fission may still be going on somewhere underground. But nobody knows exactly where those cores actually are.

      Much of that irradiated water now sits in roughly a thousand huge but fragile tanks that have been quickly assembled and strewn around the site. Many are already leaking. All could shatter in the next earthquake, releasing thousands of tons of permanent poisons into the Pacific. (Note: A relatively small earthquake struck Fukushima prefecture on Thursday, an indication of the inevitable occurrence of larger future ones in the area.)

      The water flowing through the site is also undermining the remnant structures at Fukushima, including the one supporting the fuel pool at Unit Four.

      More than 6,000 fuel assemblies now sit in a common pool just 50 meters from Unit Four. Some contain plutonium. The pool has no containment over it. It’s vulnerable to loss of coolant, the collapse of a nearby building, another earthquake, another tsunami and more.

      Overall, more than 11,000 fuel assemblies are scattered around the Fukushima site. According to long-time expert and former Department of Energy official Robert Alvarez, there is more than 85 times as much lethal cesium on site as was released at Chernobyl.

      Radioactive hot spots continue to be found around Japan. There are indications of heightened rates of thyroid damage among local children.

      The immediate bottom line is that those fuel rods must somehow come safely out of the Unit Four fuel pool as soon as possible.

      Just prior to the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that shattered the Fukushima site, the core of Unit Four was removed for routine maintenance and refueling. Like some two dozen reactors in the US and too many more around the world, the General Electric-designed pool into which that core now sits is 100 feet in the air.

      Spent fuel must somehow be kept under water. It’s clad in zirconium alloy which will spontaneously ignite when exposed to air. Long used in flash bulbs for cameras, zirconium burns with an extremely bright hot flame.

      Each uncovered rod emits enough radiation to kill someone standing nearby in a matter of minutes. A conflagration could force all personnel to flee the site and render electronic machinery unworkable.

      According to Arnie Gundersen, a nuclear engineer with forty years in an industry for which he once manufactured fuel rods, the ones in the Unit 4 core are bent, damaged and embrittled to the point of crumbling. Cameras have shown troubling quantities of debris in the fuel pool, which itself is damaged.

      The engineering and scientific barriers to emptying the Unit Four fuel pool are unique and daunting, says Gundersen. But it must be done to 100% perfection.

      Should the attempt fail, the rods could be exposed to air and catch fire, releasing horrific quantities of radiation into the atmosphere. The pool could come crashing to the ground, dumping the rods together into a pile that could fission and possibly explode. The resulting radioactive cloud would threaten the health and safety of all us.

      Chernobyl’s first 1986 fallout reached California within ten days. Fukushima’s in 2011 arrived in less than a week. A new fuel fire at Unit 4 would pour out a continuous stream of lethal radioactive poisons for centuries.

      Former Ambassador Mitsuhei Murata says full-scale releases from Fukushima “would destroy the world environment and our civilization. This is not rocket science, nor does it connect to the pugilistic debate over nuclear power plants. This is an issue of human survival.”

      Neither Tokyo Electric nor the government of Japan can go this alone. There is no excuse for deploying anything less than a coordinated team of the planet’s best scientists and engineers.

      We have two months or less to act.

      For now, we are petitioning the United Nations and President Obama to mobilize the global scientific and engineering community to take charge at Fukushima and the job of moving these fuel rods to safety.

      If you have a better idea, please follow it. But do something and do it now.

      The clock is ticking. The hand of global nuclear disaster is painfully close to midnight.
      This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License
      Harvey Wasserman

      • Bev

        And, I do want to make the point that if government shuts down driven by the GOP’s defunding of healthcare, they are shutting down our urgent need and ability to help ourselves, our world and our future existence by crippling the every institution/way to address and reduce the great risks of a poorly funded, poorly engineered attempt at Fukushima. Then healthcare or any other topic will matter little, if we are irradiated and the outcome is genocide, specicide. The lack of a real attempt to fix this is unacceptable. Please interview as soon as possible the above people for the best efforts as we may be able to save each other.

        Another note, the near decade long building and supplying of caves by Bush/Cheney for a few to perhaps survive, but yet not even try best solutions, is not acceptable. The GOP cannot shut down government and run to caves. Where are all the politicians across the entire spectrum, and all the people across our nation, Japan, and the world who would want to solve this problem for all life on this planet?

        This would be the way to have the money to solve Fukushima. Then afterwards celebrating having saved our lives, and still having the money available from a Debt-free, Interest-free public/government money would turn this economy around fast and create jobs to solve many other pressing problems. Money would continue to do good works by permanently circulating unlike Debt money which is extinguished from existence once paid back as payments on banks loans. We can never get out of debt when our money is debt. And, we have done this six times in our past with brave Presidents like Washington, Lincoln and Kennedy. It is tried and true. Support and Protect all politicians who would do this beneficial monetary change for all of us. And, support those politicians who would fix Fukushima safely for all of us. But, we need to learn fast and act fast. Please interview those people above who are knowledgeable and care to protect everyone.

        I wish us courage, luck, the best information and best solutions for all our survival.

    • Bev

      Correction: Arnie Gundersen

    • Bev

      To be clear, the U.S. and Japan would need to remedy their lack of money with the solutions put forward by the American Monetary Institute and the re-introduction of The NEED Act, H.R. 2990 from former Rep. Dennis Kucinich.