There's 22 million gallons of nuclear waste under a concrete dome on a Pacific Island, and it's sinking

The Los Angeles Times has a harrowing new story about Enewetak Atoll in the Marshall Islands. Japanese forces invaded the small Pacific nation and its residents during World War I, and the United States did the same during World War II under that classic guise of "liberation." But the US was hardly acting altruistically, at the time nor since then. The islands' location made it a prime strategic military base in the Pacific. It was also isolated enough to make it a convenient nuclear testing site—if you disregarded the 72,000 people who lived there, of course.

Between 1946 and 1962, US military experiments produced 108 megatons of nuclear yield in the Marshall Islands— about 80% of the country's total radioactive waste output from nuclear testing. That's the equivalent 1.6 atomic bombs dropped every day for 12 years. And after the US decided to gradually cede control of the land back to the Marshallese people, we just kind of … left it all behind.  We were kind enough to pour a bunch of concrete on top of the 22 million gallons of nuclear waste left behind on one specific island, creating the Runit Dome.

But that dome is still there. And the concrete is starting to crack. And sea levels are rising rapidly, particularly in the Pacific, further accelerating that erosion process. Now the Dome—affectionately and appropriately called "The Tomb" by the locals—is threatening to leach all of that nuclear waste into the land and the ocean.

I realize that an island-sized nuclear waste dump called "The Tomb" in the middle of the Pacific Ocean sounds like some straight-up Godzilla sci-fi shit. Read the rest

Nukemap: interactive map of potential nuclear bombing fatalities

In these troubled times, Alex Wellerstein's interactive Nukemap allows users to survey the damage of various kinds of nuclear bombs aimed at major cities worldwide. In this example, a typical Chinese nuke hitting downtown Los Angeles would kill 1.3 million and injure another 3 million. Read the rest

Kim Jong Un responds to Trump's name calling

"I will surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged U.S. dotard with fire," said glorious North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, in response to US mentally deranged dotard Donald Trump's recent threats and name calling. The world is less stable.

Via The Hill:

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Thursday fired back at President Trump's combative speech at the United Nations a day before, saying Trump will "pay dearly" for his threats.

"The mentally deranged behavior of the U.S. president openly expressing on the U.N. arena the unethical will to 'totally destroy' a sovereign state, beyond the boundary of threats of regime change or overturn of social system, makes even those with normal thinking think about discretion and composure," Kim said in statement brimming with rage and expressive language.

"His remarks which described the U.S. option through straightforward expression of his will have convinced me, rather than frightening or stopping me, that the path I chose is correct and that is one that I have to follow to the last," he continued.

Pyongyang's provocation came the same day that Trump announced new sanctions on the isolated country.

Kim referred to Trump as a "gangster fond of playing with fire, rather than a politician" in the statement, which was reported by North Korea's state news agency KCNA.

Read the rest