Top news: Japan is expected to reveal a US$62bn bailout fund for TEPCO; low water levels in Fukushima’s number 1 reactor cause fuel rods to melt; US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton arrives in Greenland for Arctic Council; New Zealand’s Green Party support protests against deepwater oil drilling; can Eurovision save the planet?
© Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert / Greenpeace. Greenpeace continues to monitor radiation off the Japanese coast, as low water levels in Fukushima's reactor 1 causes fuel rods to melt.
#Nuclear: The Japanese government is expected to reveal a $62bn bailout fund today to help TEPCO compensate the victims of the Fukushima nuclear crisis. The utility company has pushed for state aid, warning that financial markets would be destablised if it did not receive help. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano said that the scheme will force TEPCO to shoulder most of the burden, in an attempt to avoid costs being passed on to consumers through electricity bills.
Meanwhile, the crisis at Fukushima is far from over. Inaccurate water-level readings in the number 1 reactor meant that fuel rods were fully exposed, and have melted. Jan Beránek, Greenpeace International Nuclear Campaign Leader, said: “The situation is clearly far more serious than previously reported, and could escalate rapidly if the lava melts through the reactor vessel.”
# US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton has arrived in Nuuk, Greenland, for a meeting of the Arctic Council. The summit will address the challenges faced by the Arctic as climate change impacts on the delicate and largely untouched region. Clinton will be the first US Secretary of State to attend the meeting, which officials say marks Washington’s increasing interest in the growing environmental risks – and economic opportunities – in the melting Arctic.
#Oil: New Zealand’s Green Party said that they support protests against deep-sea oil drilling off the Taranaki coast. Last month, Greenpeace activists prevented oil giant Petrobras from carrying out an oil drilling survey by swimming directly in front of the survey ship. “The Green Party does support citizens taking non-violent direct action,” said Green Party MP Gareth Hughes. In the event of a deepwater well explosion he argued: “It would take literally months for a relief rig to travel to New Zealand, so we could potentially be facing months of a catastrophic oil spill.”
#Eurovision: Can Eurovision save the planet? That’s the question cheekily posed by the Guardian, after Finland’s environmentally inspired entry into Europe’s annual celebration of cheesy music. The Finnish singer, Paradise Oskar, sings about a boy called Peter who is “going out into the world to save our planet”, in front of a giant screen showing the earth rising. Is this an innovative new way to communicate about environmental issues? We’ll have to wait and see how Europe votes in Saturday’s final.
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