Here is another reason to buy a mega-million-dollar apartment in a Manhattan high-rise: Earthquake forecast maps for New York City that a federal agency issued on Thursday indicate “a slightly lower hazard for tall buildings than previously thought.”
Federal seismologists based their projections of a lower hazard for tall buildings — “but still a hazard nonetheless,” they cautioned — on a lower likelihood of slow shaking from an earthquake occurring near the city, the type of shaking that typically causes more damage to taller structures.
He noted that barely a day goes by without a New York City building’s being declared unsafe, without an earthquake. “If you had 30, 40, 50 at one time, responders would be overloaded,” he said.
The city does have an earthquake building code that went into effect in 1996, and that applies primarily to new construction.
A well-maintained building would probably survive a magnitude 5 earthquake fairly well, he said. The last magnitude 5 earthquake in the city struck in 1884. Another is not necessarily inevitable; faults are more random and move more slowly than they do in, say, California. But he said the latest federal estimate was probably raised because of the magnitude of the Virginia quake.
The NRC required all U.S. nuclear power plants to perform a new evaluation of their seismic and flooding risks. Based on information developed during an initial assessment, plant owners might have had to conduct further evaluations and possibly make modifications to the facilities.
However, in January Entergy announced its intention to permanently shut down the two operating reactors at Indian Point, Units 2 and 3, in 2020 and 2021, respectively. (For stories about community issues, sign up for Patch’s daily newsletter, news alerts and updates.)
Subsequently, the company asked for a deferral of remaining seismic and flooding evaluations/changes in light of work that was already performed and the limited operational timeframe for the plant. On May 10, 2017, Entergy requested a deferral of the remaining seismic responses, including seismic probabilistic risk assessments (SPRAs) and spent fuel pool evaluations. On July 24, 2017, the company requested a deferral of the remaining flooding responses.
Among other things, this is based on:
Indian Point’s compliance with NRC post-Fukushima requirements on Mitigating Strategies for Beyond Design Basis events and enhanced spent fuel pool instrumentation. With respect to the former, the plant has acquired FLEX equipment, including portable pumps and generators, that allow it to respond to an event involving the loss of off-site power and on-site backup power. NRC inspectors are scheduled to conduct inspections in these areas before the end of 2017.
The results and pertinent risk insights of the partially completed Indian Point 2 and 3 seismic probabilistic risk assessments (SPRAs), which were audited by NRC staff as supplemented by the staff’s independent seismic risk analysis of these sites.
The expedited seismic evaluation process (ESEP) information for the plant, and the NRC staff assessment of the ESEP submittal
The seismic design margin existing in nuclear power plants
Information regarding the seismic capacity of the plant’s spent fuel pools.
The NRC staff considered Indian Point submittals which indicated that the impact to the site from the re-evaluated flooding hazards is limited and the site is able to cope with it. Interim actions to address the re-evaluated hazards have been implemented by the company, as documented in the flooding hazard re-evaluation report and have been inspected by the staff.
The limited timeframe for continued operation of Indian Point 2 and 3
If Entergy decides to continue to operate the units beyond 2020 and 2021, respectively, the company would need to provide the seismic and flooding information by the deferral dates approved by the NRC staff.
Lawyers representing the families of US soldiers killed and wounded in the Iraq war claim Astra paid cash to win lucrative drug contracts. However, the money was then used to buy weapons and explosives that were deployed against British and US troops. The claims, filed in a federal court in Washington, relate only to US troops but could pave the way for similar litigation in the UK.
Accusations: Astrazeneca is one of several firms hit by allegations it bribed health officials who were aligned with Jaysh al-Mahdi, one of the most violent insurgent groups in Iraq
Bribes paid by Astra and other drug companies to Iraq’s health ministry helped fund the militia’s activities, court papers claim.
The ministry was effectively controlled by Jaysh al-Mahdi, they say. Goods allegedly sold to Iraq include an anti-psychotic drug, hospital equipment, a birth control injection and a breast cancer drug.
An Astrazeneca spokesman said: ‘We are focused on bringing life-saving medicines to patients, and are disheartened anyone would suggest we have any connection to terrorism-related activity.
‘We take all allegations of bribery extremely seriously, and we intend to vigorously defend against them.’
The Republican president threw the issue to the US Congress, which has 60 days to decide whether to reinstate US sanctions. He warned that if „we are not able to reach a solution working with Congress and our allies, then the agreement will be terminated“.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Iran will remain committed to the multinational deal as long as it serves the country’s national interests.
Trump’s decision to decertify the deal will isolate the United States, as other signatories of the accord remained committed to it, Rouhani said in a live television address. The deal was not renegotiable, he said.
The agreement, negotiated by Trump’s Democratic predecessor Barack Obama, eased sanctions on Tehran in returns for strict limits on its nuclear program.
In Brussels, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said Washington could not unilaterally cancel the agreement.
„We cannot afford as the international community to dismantle a nuclear agreement that is working,“ said Mogherini, who chaired the final stages of the landmark talks. „This deal is not a bilateral agreement.
„The international community, and the European Union with it, has clearly indicated that the deal is, and will continue to be, in place,“ Mogherini told reporters in Brussels.
French President Emmanuel Macron’s office said he had spoken with Rouhani by telephone and assured him of France’s commitment to the deal, but that Tehran must strictly comply with it.
Russia’s foreign ministry said there was no place in international diplomacy for threatening and aggressive rhetoric, and said such methods were doomed to fail, in a statement issued after Trump’s speech.
The ministry said Trump’s decision to de-certify the deal would not have a direct impact on implementation of the agreement but that it ran counter to its spirit.
The head of the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency said Iran was complying with the accord, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, under the world’s „most robust nuclear verification regime“.
„The nuclear-related commitments undertaken by Iran under the JCPOA are being implemented,“ Yukiya Amano, director general of the IAEA said in a statement.
Trump received support from Israel, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, all of which oppose what they say are Iran’s expansionary moves in the Middle East.
„President Trump has just created an opportunity to fix this bad deal, to roll back Iran’s aggression and to confront its criminal support of terrorism,“ Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a video statement.
President Trump has called the Iran nuclear accord the „worst deal ever negotiated“, and threatened to tear it up.
It looks, though, as if he will first try to „fix“ it. He is expected to tell Congress that Iran is not meeting certain conditions set by US law; that the deal’s benefits are too meagre, for example, to justify continued sanctions relief.
Then it would be up to lawmakers to decide whether to re-impose sanctions.
Mr Trump is unlikely to advocate they do so now. Even critics of the deal fear this would isolate the US and weaken its credibility, because Iran is complying with the agreement.
Republicans have suggested they could use decertification as leverage to get the changes they want.
Foreign leaders, including UK Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron, have urged Mr Trump to keep the deal.
„We also have to tell the Americans that their behaviour on the Iran issue will drive us Europeans into a common position with Russia and China against the USA,“ German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel warned in a newspaper interview.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that US withdrawal from the nuclear deal would „damage the atmosphere of predictability, security, stability and non-proliferation in the entire world“.
Former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt said a US withdrawal from the deal would show it could not be relied upon and could have ramifications elsewhere, for example on efforts to resolve the North Korean nuclear issue.
The IAEA and Congress currently both agree Iran is complying with the terms of the nuclear agreement.
Formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, it is designed to prevent Iran developing a nuclear weapon.
It lifted some sanctions that stopped Iran from trading on international markets and selling oil.
The lifting of sanctions is dependent on Iran restricting its nuclear programme. It must curb its uranium stockpile, build no more heavy-water reactors for 15 years and allow inspectors into the country.