Seattle government – Seattle WTO http://seattlewto.org/ Fri, 26 Nov 2021 23:45:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.8 https://seattlewto.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/icon-3-120x120.png Seattle government – Seattle WTO http://seattlewto.org/ 32 32 German government hesitates on lockdown as COVID cases rise https://seattlewto.org/german-government-hesitates-on-lockdown-as-covid-cases-rise/ Fri, 26 Nov 2021 09:07:14 +0000 https://seattlewto.org/german-government-hesitates-on-lockdown-as-covid-cases-rise/ BERLIN (AP) – The German government refused to support calls for a quick and brutal lockdown on Friday to curb the worsening coronavirus situation in the country, which has seen daily confirmed cases reach a new peak and put hospitals on strained. Health Minister Jens Spahn said people-to-people contact should be sharply reduced, warning that […]]]>

BERLIN (AP) – The German government refused to support calls for a quick and brutal lockdown on Friday to curb the worsening coronavirus situation in the country, which has seen daily confirmed cases reach a new peak and put hospitals on strained.

Health Minister Jens Spahn said people-to-people contact should be sharply reduced, warning that “the situation is extremely serious, more serious than at any time during the pandemic.”

But he declined to say whether he would support general restrictions of the kind seen in earlier stages of the pandemic, when schools, non-essential stores and other areas of public life were closed. Austria, facing a similar increase in the number of cases, this week ordered a ten-day lockdown for everyone, renewable for an additional ten days.

A spokeswoman for outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel also declined to know whether she was in favor of triggering the so-called emergency braking measures last used in April.

Government spokesman Steffen Seibert said there were “political realities that must be recognized”, such as the new majority in parliament since the German elections on September 26 which Merkel’s party narrowly lost. His government’s junior partner, the center-left Social Democrats, negotiated the formation of a new government with two other parties.

The new government is expected to take over in early December, but the transition period – with Merkel as guardian – has been blamed for crippling Germany’s response to the pandemic.

The country’s disease control agency said an additional 76,414 cases had been reported in the past 24 hours, a new record. The Robert Koch Institute said Germany had also recorded 357 new deaths from COVID-19, bringing the total since the start of the epidemic to 100,476.

Responding to a recently discovered variant that is spreading across South Africa, Spahn said airlines from there could only carry German citizens. Travelers will need to be quarantined for 14 days whether or not they are vaccinated, he said.

“The last thing we need is to introduce a new variant which will cause even more problems,” he said.

Spahn noted that Germany had to organize large-scale transfers of patients within the country for the first time since the outbreak began in early 2020, including with help from the military.

The Defense Ministry said a Luftwaffe A310 medevac plane would transport critically ill patients from the southern city of Memmingen to the state of North Rhine-Westphalia on Friday afternoon.

Hospitals in the southern and eastern regions of Germany have warned they are running out of intensive care beds due to the large number of critically ill COVID-19 patients.

The governor of Saxony, the state with the highest per capita infection rate in Germany, has called for a meeting of federal and state officials scheduled for December 9 to be brought forward.

“The hesitation will be punished,” Michael Kretschmer told German media group RND.

“We need to reduce public and economic life as much as possible and provide financial assistance to affected businesses,” he said.

In the meantime, Germany is releasing 18 million doses of the vaccine over a ten-day period to meet the demand for boosters and first vaccines for people who have not yet had one.

About 68.3% of the country’s 83 million people are fully immunized, below the minimum threshold of 75% targeted by the government.

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Follow AP’s coverage of the coronavirus pandemic: https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic


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County supervisor arrested for embezzlement of public funds https://seattlewto.org/county-supervisor-arrested-for-embezzlement-of-public-funds/ Tue, 23 Nov 2021 20:07:26 +0000 https://seattlewto.org/county-supervisor-arrested-for-embezzlement-of-public-funds/ LAUREL, Mississippi (AP) – A county supervisor in southeast Mississippi is accused of illegally using a government-owned car and cell phone to operate his cosmetics business. Jones County District Five Supervisor Travares Comegys was arrested Monday after being indicted by a grand jury on embezzlement charges, State Auditor Shad White said in a press release. […]]]>

LAUREL, Mississippi (AP) – A county supervisor in southeast Mississippi is accused of illegally using a government-owned car and cell phone to operate his cosmetics business.

Jones County District Five Supervisor Travares Comegys was arrested Monday after being indicted by a grand jury on embezzlement charges, State Auditor Shad White said in a press release.

Comegys also received a formal notice of $ 5,719.24 from the auditor’s office.

Comegys is accused of embezzling $ 2,794.05, according to court records. The remainder of the bill represents $ 131.14 in interest and investigative costs incurred by the state auditor’s office for a total of an additional $ 2,794.05.


Speaking to The Associated Press, Comegys attorney Thomas Fortner said on Tuesday that he did not believe the auditor could prove his client had done anything wrong.

“I don’t think he can support that,” he said of White. “I think he’s just making allegations to get his name published in the newspaper.”

“It’s all about the headlines from their perspective,” he continued. “For us, it’s about protecting the reputation and character of our customers.

State Auditor spokesman Logan Reeves said on Tuesday that Fortner was “free to make this argument before a judge in court.”

Comegys is accused of using a county-issued vehicle and cell phone to operate its cosmetics business from July 2020 to April 2021, according to the auditor’s office. He is said to have used the vehicle to travel to several salons and barber shops outside of Jones County and to the New Orleans airport.

Investigators from the auditor’s office say Comegys used his county-owned cell phone “almost exclusively” to operate his personal business.

“The use of taxpayer resources or property for your personal benefit is not permitted,” White said in his statement. “This message should be clear to all elected officials in the state by now.”

Fortner said it should be noted that the auditor’s office is demanding twice as much money as the auditor claims his client is accused of embezzlement.

“I’m sure the listener is going to say publicly that every penny of public money that is poorly spent is important and I don’t disagree with them,” he said. “It appears that, on the whole, the state auditor’s investigators’ time would be better spent chasing significant unnecessary expenses than an allegation of that fairly small amount.

“But quite honestly, it doesn’t really matter to me,” he continued. “We’re going to try this case. I don’t think the auditor can prove that Mr. Comegy did anything wrong.”

Reeves said investigative costs – calculated using the actual time it takes for investigators in the state auditor’s office to work on a case – can exceed what they ask for in letters of formal notice, particularly for small amounts. Office policy is not to charge people more for investigative costs than they are accused of abusing.

If convicted on all counts, Comegys faces up to 10 years in prison and an additional $ 5,000 in fines.

The case will be continued by Jones County District Attorney Anthony Buckley.

A bond of $ 100,000 covers Comegys’ time as a member of the Jones County Supervisory Board. Bonds are similar to insurance designed to protect taxpayers from corruption. Comegys would remain liable for the entire claim, in addition to criminal proceedings.

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Leah Willingham is a member of the Associated Press / Report for America Statehouse News Initiative corps. Report for America is a national, nonprofit service program that places reporters in local newsrooms to cover undercover issues.


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New hurdle for COVID-19 home testing – the holiday season | Government and Politics https://seattlewto.org/new-hurdle-for-covid-19-home-testing-the-holiday-season-government-and-politics/ Sat, 20 Nov 2021 16:11:58 +0000 https://seattlewto.org/new-hurdle-for-covid-19-home-testing-the-holiday-season-government-and-politics/ Boxes of BinaxNow home COVID-19 tests performed by Abbott and QuickVue home tests performed by Quidel are shown for sale on Monday, November 15, 2021, at a CVS store in Lakewood, Washington, south of Seattle. After weeks of shortages, retailers like CVS say they now have a sufficient supply of rapid COVID-19 test kits, but […]]]>

By MATTHEW PERRONE Health Editor AP

WASHINGTON (AP) – Millions of more home tests for COVID-19 are coming to stores, but will there be enough for Americans hoping to get tested before holiday gatherings?

No more long lines last year to get tested, thanks to nearly a year of vaccinations, increased testing supplies and faster options. But with many Americans unvaccinated and reports of infections among those who have received the vaccines, some are looking to home testing for an extra layer of protection ahead of this year’s festivities.

Janis Alpine from Seattle reunites with seven parents for Thanksgiving, including her 97-year-old father. While everyone is vaccinated, she plans to bring enough Abbott rapid tests for them to use.

“I’m just used to testing now,” said Alpine, who is retired. “Even if he’s vaccinated, getting a little sick is probably not the best thing for a 97-year-old man.”

She began testing herself regularly in September after flying to Las Vegas and the East Coast for vacation. Because local pharmacies sometimes sell tests, she usually buys five packs at a time when she finds them.

After shortage weeks, chains like CVS and Walgreens now say they have sufficient supplies and recently lifted limits on the number of products that can be purchased at one time. The change comes after test makers ramped up production, spurred by more than $ 3 billion in new purchase contracts and government aid. Home tests typically cost over $ 10 each and take about 15 minutes.


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Senate GOP blocks Gwinnett government, school board changes https://seattlewto.org/senate-gop-blocks-gwinnett-government-school-board-changes/ Tue, 16 Nov 2021 18:00:06 +0000 https://seattlewto.org/senate-gop-blocks-gwinnett-government-school-board-changes/ ATLANTA (AP) – Republicans are suspending plans to overhaul the county commission and school board for Georgia’s second most populous county after opponents said their plans trampled on local wishes and legislative rules. Sen. Clint Dixon, a Republican from Buford, said on Tuesday he wanted to study the issues and get more information on his […]]]>

ATLANTA (AP) – Republicans are suspending plans to overhaul the county commission and school board for Georgia’s second most populous county after opponents said their plans trampled on local wishes and legislative rules.

Sen. Clint Dixon, a Republican from Buford, said on Tuesday he wanted to study the issues and get more information on his proposals to add five new members to the fully Democratic Gwinnett County commission and pass the election from partisan to non-partisan county school boards. The two measures would also have redrawn the electoral district boundaries for civil servants for the next 10 years. Dixon said he now aims to return to the January regular session with a proposal to make all party-elected school boards non-partisan.

“We’re going to take some time,” Dixon said. “We are going to create a study committee. We will be holding hearings.

Dixon has repeatedly said that Republicans pushing the measures have a lot of support and a “clear path” to the passage to the special session, which is expected to end next week. But Sam Park, a Lawrenceville Democrat who chairs the Gwinnett House delegation, attributed the overthrow to “the uproar it caused among Gwinnett voters,” saying he had received hundreds of emails from disgruntled voters.

He also said it seemed Republican leaders had decided to take a step back, amid claims the GOP was trying to seize power in what has become a Democratic-majority county and that Republicans were violating legislative rules. by passing a local bill against the wishes of a majority of local lawmakers. Normally, a majority of Gwinnett’s senators would have to sign a bill for it to advance to the State Senate. Republicans had said the bill was treated as a statewide bill for the purposes of the legislative process, but as a local bill for the purposes of Gov. Brian Kemp’s special session summons, which precludes scrutiny of most statewide laws.

“I think they took seriously my concerns that they might have broken Senate rules or the governor’s proclamation,” Park said.


Republicans said the two measures would improve governance. They argued that the Gwinnett commission needs more members because suburban Atlanta has nearly a million people. They also said party politics could have adverse effects on the school system, such as the introduction of a critical race theory, an academic framework that focuses on the idea that racism is systemic in schools. institutions of the nation and that they function to maintain white domination. people. In recent months, it has become a catch-all political buzzword for teaching in schools about race and American history. Officials at Gwinnett School say the district doesn’t teach anything dangerous.

Park said that with Republicans limiting their special session push, he was ready to discuss changes to the school board and county commission.

“There will certainly be an opportunity to discuss increasing the number of seats so that all voters in Gwinnett have their voices heard,” Park said. “Of course, we also want to be aware that we are working with our local elected officials.”

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Follow Jeff Amy on Twitter at http://twitter.com/jeffamy.



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Auburn woman accused of defrauding US government over steel produced for the Navy https://seattlewto.org/auburn-woman-accused-of-defrauding-us-government-over-steel-produced-for-the-navy/ Thu, 11 Nov 2021 00:11:00 +0000 https://seattlewto.org/auburn-woman-accused-of-defrauding-us-government-over-steel-produced-for-the-navy/ Elaine Thomas, 67, of Auburn pleaded guilty in Tacoma U.S. District Court to defrauding the United States while she was director of metallurgy at Bradken Inc., according to the Department of Justice. Bradken Inc. operates the Tacoma smelter, which supplies steel for U.S. Navy submarines, according to the Department of Justice. In order for the […]]]>

Elaine Thomas, 67, of Auburn pleaded guilty in Tacoma U.S. District Court to defrauding the United States while she was director of metallurgy at Bradken Inc., according to the Department of Justice.

Bradken Inc. operates the Tacoma smelter, which supplies steel for U.S. Navy submarines, according to the Department of Justice. In order for the Navy to purchase steel, it must pass certain strength and durability tests, according to the Justice Department.

Thomas falsified the results to hide the fact that the steel did not pass the strength and durability tests required by the US Navy, according to the Department of Justice.

Thomas falsified the results of 240 steel productions, which is a large chunk of the steel Bradken sold to the Navy, according to the Justice Department.

Thomas now faces up to 10 years in prison and a $ 1 million fine. She will be sentenced on February 14, 2022 by US District Judge Benjamin H. Settle, according to the Department of Justice.

There is no evidence that Bradken’s management was aware that Thomas was tampering with test results until 2017, according to the Justice Department. In May 2017, a lab worker discovered that Thomas’s test cards had been altered and that there were inconsistencies in his records, according to the Justice Department.

In June 2020, Bradken accepted responsibility for the breaches and agreed to resolve the issues. Bradken also paid $ 10.9 million for the sale of substandard steel to the U.S. Navy, according to the Department of Justice.

After the falsified test results were revealed, the U.S. Navy had to take action to ensure that submarines affected by substandard steel could operate safely, resulting in increased costs, according to the Ministry of Justice.



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Kuwait government resigns for second time this year https://seattlewto.org/kuwait-government-resigns-for-second-time-this-year/ Mon, 08 Nov 2021 13:39:22 +0000 https://seattlewto.org/kuwait-government-resigns-for-second-time-this-year/ DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) – The government of Kuwait resigned on Monday for the second time this year, underlining the political problems plaguing this small oil-rich country. The official KUNA news agency said Kuwaiti ruler Sheikh Nawaf Al Ahmad Al Sabah had received the government’s resignation notice. However, the report did not say whether […]]]>

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) – The government of Kuwait resigned on Monday for the second time this year, underlining the political problems plaguing this small oil-rich country.

The official KUNA news agency said Kuwaiti ruler Sheikh Nawaf Al Ahmad Al Sabah had received the government’s resignation notice. However, the report did not say whether Sheikh Nawaf would accept the resignation, presented by the country’s prime minister, Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al Hamad Al Sabah.

The government had already resigned in January. On Sunday, Sheikh Nawaf granted an amnesty to political members of the opposition in part to resolve the current stalemate in the country’s government.


Kuwait, a nation extraordinarily wealthy because of its oil reserves, has struggled in recent years to balance its budgets and encourage its people to turn to the private sector. His cradle-to-grave benefits have drained the coffers, defying the nation during a recent drop in oil prices.

The unusual combination in Kuwait of an emir-appointed government and an elected parliament often gives rise to feuds that analysts say hamper the country’s economic and social progress. Parliament can introduce laws and question ministers, although the country’s emir retains ultimate authority and members of the ruling family hold positions of responsibility.

Last year, the rating agency Moody’s downgraded Kuwait’s credit rating for the first time in its history as the coronavirus pandemic left a hole in the country’s finances.

Even with the cash flow quickly depleted, the government has no legal framework to spend the deficit beyond its current limit of $ 33 billion without parliamentary approval. Lawmakers fiercely opposed raising the debt ceiling, fearing the money could be plundered because of corruption.


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Congress passes $ 1T infrastructure bill https://seattlewto.org/congress-passes-1t-infrastructure-bill/ Sat, 06 Nov 2021 13:04:14 +0000 https://seattlewto.org/congress-passes-1t-infrastructure-bill/ (The Conversation is an independent, nonprofit source of information, analysis, and commentary from academic experts.) (THE CONVERSATION) The U.S. Congress passed an infrastructure bill that funds more than $ 1 trillion in federal spending nationwide on November 5, 2021. The bill allocates approximately US $ 240 billion to build or rebuild roads, bridges, public transit, […]]]>

(The Conversation is an independent, nonprofit source of information, analysis, and commentary from academic experts.)

(THE CONVERSATION) The U.S. Congress passed an infrastructure bill that funds more than $ 1 trillion in federal spending nationwide on November 5, 2021.

The bill allocates approximately US $ 240 billion to build or rebuild roads, bridges, public transit, airports and railroads. More than 150 billion dollars are planned for projects to fight against climate change, such as the construction of charging stations for electric vehicles, the modernization of networks and energy production to work better with renewable energies and public transport. more environmentally sustainable.

There is funding for cybersecurity, drinking water and waste treatment systems, broadband internet connections and more.

The bill is the country’s biggest infrastructure investment in decades.


So how does the government go about spending all this money?

Officials are required to follow certain procedures, regulations and guidelines for advertising and collecting offers, reviewing them and then hiring contractors to perform the work. This process is called “public procurement”.

What is interesting to me and my colleagues who study public procurement policy is how this massive influx of spending can be used as an innovative policy tool to advance government social, economic and environmental goals.

Judging by President Joe Biden’s executive orders prioritizing climate change action in contracting and procurement and ensuring fair compensation for workers employed by federal government contractors, his administration will encourage the use of the power of supply to achieve environmental, social and economic policy objectives.

To understand how public procurement can be used to improve social equity or accelerate climate action, it helps to know the basics of how it works.

How do civil servants buy infrastructure?

The process begins with a formal request from an agency such as the Department of Transport or Public Works and the selection of the best contract award procedure for a funded project.

For several decades, government infrastructure procurement processes have typically taken one of two forms: “design-bid-build” or “design-build”.

In the design-bid-build option, governments separate contracts into two parts – project design and project construction, one after the other. A major advantage of design-bid-build is that agencies are familiar with this traditional way of building things. The main downside is that this requires a three-way relationship – with the government working with both designer and builder, and designer and builder also working together – which increases the potential for conflict during the project. And that can sometimes lead to increased costs.

An example of the design-bid-build method is the Virginia Department of Transportation’s I-95 / Telegraph interchange project, which involved the construction of 11 new freeway bridges and ramps in Alexandria. A professional services firm named Dewberry designed the project – winning engineering awards as well as praise for avoiding negative impacts on residents and local businesses – and the separate construction firm was Corman Kokosing.

In the design-build procurement process, potential contractors bid to do both the design and construction of the infrastructure as one package. The main advantage of this type of contract is the direct relationship between the contractor and the government. The designer and the construction company work together as a unified project team, which can significantly reduce project completion time.

However, design-build also requires a high level of expertise in drafting design and build specifications on the part of the government, as decisions must be made early in the process and changes can lead to increased costs.

An example of the design-build methodology is the American Bridge 15 replacement project over Indian Field Swamp in Dorchester County, South Carolina.

With these two infrastructure procurement options, the process is generally competitive among contractors, and the government owns, operates, finances, and maintains the last bridge, road, transit line, or other asset.

Public-private partnerships

The Biden administration has also proposed using another type of routine procurement for infrastructure spending – public-private partnerships.

These partnerships allocate the costs of designing, constructing, operating and maintaining a project between a private sector company and the government over 25 or 30 years before the agreement expires. The private enterprise may receive some or all of the income generated by the project during this period.

Let’s say the necessary infrastructure is a new toll road. The government contracts with a private company to design, finance, build, operate and maintain this new highway for a period of time. In return, the private enterprise recovers its costs by collecting the toll revenues.

The Capital Beltway High Occupancy Toll Lanes Project in Fairfax County, Virginia, also known as the 495 Express Lanes Project, is just such a public-private partnership. The government agency is the Virginia Department of Transportation, and the private partner is a company formed specifically for this project called Capital Beltway Express LLC.

Proponents argue that public-private partnerships can help the government provide better infrastructure without increasing public debt.

[Like what you’ve read? Want more? Sign up for The Conversation’s daily newsletter.]

Public policy researchers in the Netherlands have also found that by supporting the development of trust and commitment among partners, public-private infrastructure partnerships can lead to better results in many ways, such as as effective design solutions, reduced environmental impact, lower costs and better relationships and support of local communities or organizations.

But there are also criticisms. Policy scholars have noted that these partnerships may not really save governments money. Other researchers have expressed concern that these arrangements cede too much public control over infrastructure to the private sector, which may be more eager to care about its own financial interests than those of the public.

By inserting demands into government contracts, new infrastructure spending could be used to promote fair wages, health care benefits, fair working conditions for people employed by government contractors and ensure that products are purchased in a sustainable and ethical manner. This approach can also be used to demand locally produced goods and services, support for veteran, minority and women owned businesses and stimulate market innovation for environmentally friendly products and services.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article here: https://theconversation.com/congress-passes-1t-infrastructure-bill-but-how-does-the-government-go-about-spending-that-much-money-165376.


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The US government is working to “cocoon” old nuclear reactors https://seattlewto.org/the-us-government-is-working-to-cocoon-old-nuclear-reactors/ Thu, 04 Nov 2021 20:39:05 +0000 https://seattlewto.org/the-us-government-is-working-to-cocoon-old-nuclear-reactors/ FILE – Decommissioned plutonium-producing Reactor B is shown at the Hanford nuclear reserve on April 3, 2008, seen from a bus taking visitors on a public tour near Richland, Washington. The Federal Government is moving forward with the “cocooning” savings of eight plutonium production reactors at Hanford which will place them in a state of […]]]>

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FILE – Decommissioned plutonium-producing Reactor B is shown at the Hanford nuclear reserve on April 3, 2008, seen from a bus taking visitors on a public tour near Richland, Washington. The Federal Government is moving forward with the “cocooning” savings of eight plutonium production reactors at Hanford which will place them in a state of long-term storage for decades to allow the radiation inside to dissipate until so that they can be dismantled and buried. (AP Photo / Ted S. Warren, file)

PA

The costs of cleaning up a massive nuclear weapons complex in Washington state are typically expressed in the hundreds of billions of dollars and involve decades of work.

But a project on the Hanford nuclear reserve is progressing at a much lower price.

Federal government moves forward with ‘cocooning’ eight plutonium production reactors at Hanford that will place them in long-term storage to allow radiation inside to dissipate over a period of decades , until they can be dismantled and buried.

“It’s relatively inexpensive,” said Mark French, director of the US Department of Energy, of the cocooning. “The cost of trying to dismantle the reactor and demolish the reactor core would be extremely expensive and put workers at risk.”

The federal government built nine nuclear reactors in Hanford to make plutonium for atomic bombs during World War II and the Cold War. The site along the Columbia River contains the largest amount of radioactive waste in America.

The reactors are now shut down and lie like cement fortresses near the town of Richland in southeast Washington. Six have already been cocooned for long-term storage, and two more are moving in that direction. The ninth reactor was turned into a museum as part of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park.

While World War II ended in 1945 and the Cold War in 1989, the United States continues to pay billions of dollars per year for the disposal of nuclear waste produced by atomic weapons which played a significant role in the end of these conflicts. The biggest expense is handling a massive volume of liquid waste from the production of plutonium, a key ingredient in nuclear weapons.

While the liquid waste stored in 177 underground tanks will require decades of work and hundreds of billions of dollars to clean up, efforts to secure the nine plutonium reactors are much closer to completion.

The last two reactors, shut down in 1970 and 1971, are about to enter the cocooning phase, when they are covered with steel and cement to prevent radioactivity from escaping into the environment, said French.

The cocoons are expected to last around 75 years by which time the radioactivity inside will have significantly decreased and there will likely be a plan for the final disposition of the remaining parts, French said.

Every five years, workers enter the reactor building to make sure there are no leaks or infestations from rodents or birds, he said.

The cleanup of Hanford, which has about 11,000 employees and is half the size of Rhode Island, began in the late 1980s and now costs about $ 2.5 billion a year. Work has been slowed down by technical issues, lack of funding, lawsuits from state regulators, worker exposure to radiation, and contractor turnover on complex work.

But the handling of old reactors is a positive point.

The nine reactors – called the B Reactor, C Reactor, D Reactor, DR Reactor, F Reactor, H Reactor, K-East Reactor, K-West Reactor, and N Reactor – were built from 1943 to 1965.

They were built next to the Columbia River due to the abundance of hydropower and cooling water required for the reactors while they were in operation.

All were cocooned except K-East and K-West. Cocooning work on the K-East reactor has already started and is expected to be completed by 2023, French said. Work on the K-West reactor is expected to be completed in 2026.

The cocoon plan for K-East and K-West is basically to build steel buildings around them. Each building is 158 feet (48.2 meters) long, 151 feet (46 meters) wide and 123 feet (37.5 meters) high, French said. The two steel buildings will cost less than $ 10 million each.

The government also operated five plutonium production reactors at the Savannah River site in South Carolina during the Cold War. All are also closed, although several reactor buildings are used to store radioactive materials.

Future generations will decide the final disposition of Hanford’s eight reactors, French said. They will likely be dismantled and buried in the central area of ​​the Hanford site, away from the river.

“Robots could be deployed in the future” for this work, French said.

Hanford watchdogs are generally okay with this process, said Tom Carpenter, director of the Seattle-based Hanford Challenge Watch Group.

“No one is raising concerns about cocooning,” Carpenter said. “We are all concerned about tank waste that requires immediate and urgent attention. “

The bigger question is whether future generations will be prepared to pay the huge costs of cleaning up Hanford, he said.

Carpenter said the estimated cost to completely clean only the waste from the tanks at the Hanford site is around $ 660 billion.

“It’s pretty grim. It’s multigenerational, ”he said.

“It will cost more than anyone thought possible,” Carpenter said of the tank waste and other garbage that was dumped into the ground in Hanford. “It’s a hidden cost of (nuclear) accumulation.”

By then, there could be bigger fiscal concerns such as dealing with the effects of climate change, Carpenter said.

The most intriguing of the old reactors is Reactor B, the first built during WWII. It will not be cocooned, and can be visited by tourists at the national historic park. Reactor B, which closed in 1968, has been cleaned enough to allow some 10,000 tourists to visit each year and learn about Hanford’s history. It has been designated a national historic monument.

Plutonium from Reactor B at Hanford was used to test the world’s first atomic bomb in July 1945. Called the Trinity Test, the bomb exploded in the New Mexico desert. Hanford plutonium was also used for the bomb that was dropped on Nagasaki, Japan on August 9, 1945.


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Israel seeks budget pass in major test for new government https://seattlewto.org/israel-seeks-budget-pass-in-major-test-for-new-government/ Wed, 03 Nov 2021 08:15:13 +0000 https://seattlewto.org/israel-seeks-budget-pass-in-major-test-for-new-government/ JERUSALEM (AP) – Israeli lawmakers are expected to start a marathon vote on Wednesday to try to pass the first national budget in three years, a major test for the coalition government that was sworn in earlier this year after four contentious elections. Failure to pass the budget by November 14 would result in the […]]]>

JERUSALEM (AP) – Israeli lawmakers are expected to start a marathon vote on Wednesday to try to pass the first national budget in three years, a major test for the coalition government that was sworn in earlier this year after four contentious elections.

Failure to pass the budget by November 14 would result in the downfall of the government and trigger a new election, giving former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu his best opportunity to quickly return to power.

The coalition comprises eight parties from all political backgrounds and has a very narrow margin of 61 seats in the 120-member assembly. If Netanyahu and his allies can eliminate a single defector, the budget could fail, but most expect him to do so, if only because the coalition is firmly united against him.

“The moment the budget is passed it buys the stability of the government for several years, and what it means for the opposition is disintegration,” Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said earlier this week. “They desperately want to reverse the budget and get us to a fifth election, that’s their goal.”


The Knesset, Israel’s parliament, is expected to start voting on hundreds of amendments in a marathon session leading up to the final vote on Thursday or Friday. The government has given itself a 10-day window before the strict deadline in case there are any surprises.

Israel entered a protracted political crisis after the April 2019 elections, when a right-wing party that had been allied with Netanyahu refused to sit in a government with him. The next two years brought three more hotly contested elections with no clear winner, as well as indicting Netanyahu on serious corruption charges, which he denies.

The government formed in June includes parties from all political stripes united by little more than a desire to avoid another Netanyahu-led government or other elections. But the fragile coalition is set to extend its rule considerably if it passes the budget.


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Facebook cancels 937 Nicaraguan government accounts https://seattlewto.org/facebook-cancels-937-nicaraguan-government-accounts/ Mon, 01 Nov 2021 20:45:46 +0000 https://seattlewto.org/facebook-cancels-937-nicaraguan-government-accounts/ MEXICO CITY (AP) – Meta Platforms, the company that runs Facebook, announced Monday it has canceled 937 accounts linked to the Nicaraguan government and the Sandinista party of President Daniel Ortega. Meta said it also deleted 140 deceptive pages, 24 groups and 363 Instagram accounts for violating company policy against “coordinated inauthentic behavior on behalf […]]]>

MEXICO CITY (AP) – Meta Platforms, the company that runs Facebook, announced Monday it has canceled 937 accounts linked to the Nicaraguan government and the Sandinista party of President Daniel Ortega.

Meta said it also deleted 140 deceptive pages, 24 groups and 363 Instagram accounts for violating company policy against “coordinated inauthentic behavior on behalf of a foreign or government entity.”

Meta said this was a classic example of a “troll farm,” which he defines as attempts to “corrupt or manipulate public discourse by using fake accounts to … mislead people about who is behind them ”.

The firm said the network of accounts was launched after mass protests against the government in 2018. The accounts were intended to both disparage members of the opposition and praise the government. Some of the accounts were believed to be students from a Nicaraguan university which was the epicenter of the protests.

Nicaragua is due to hold elections on November 7 in which Ortega is seeking a fourth consecutive term. But these elections were made almost moot by the government arrests of critics and seven potential challengers.

From May, Ortega began arresting nearly all public figures who publicly disagreed with him, including those who fought alongside him in the 1979 revolution in the country. The families of 155 political prisoners said in a statement that their relatives had been subjected to “ill-treatment and torture” in prison.

The country’s main opposition coalitions said Ortega’s measures had “put an end to any vestige of genuine electoral competition.”

About 140,000 Nicaraguans have fled their homeland since the government cracked down on widespread protests from 2018.

Meta said the troll farm suppressed in October was operated from the postal service offices, noting that “smaller clusters of fake accounts were managed by other government offices, including the Supreme Court and the Nicaraguan Institute social security “.

“This campaign was multiplatform and intergovernmental,” the company said. “He managed a complex network of media brands on Facebook, Tiktok, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Blogspot and Telegram, as well as websites linked to these news entities. They posted positive content about the government and negative comments about the opposition, using hundreds of fake accounts to promote these posts.

Ortega says the protests that erupted in April 2018 were an attempted coup with foreign backing. And he had an argument with Roman Catholic bishops who participated as mediators in the first round of short-lived government-opposition dialogue, after which the government cracked down on the protests harshly.

At least 325 people died in clashes that year between civilians and government forces in Nicaragua, according to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.


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