Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan seen leaking steam but operator TEPCO says it’s no emergency

This 2011 photo shows crippled Tokyo Electric Power Co. Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant’s unit 3 reactor building at Okuma town in Fukushima prefecture. Photo: AFP/TEPCOSteam has been spotted in a reactor building at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan, its operator says, stressing there is no sign yet of increased radiation.

The incident, which Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) said was not “an emergency situation”, is the latest underlining the plant’s continuing precariousness more than two years after it was wrecked by a tsunami.

Steam has been seen around the fifth floor of the Reactor 3 building, a TEPCO spokesman said on Thursday, adding it was “drifting thinly” and was not a large column of vapour.

“We do not believe an emergency situation is breaking out, although we are still investigating what caused this,” he said.

The roof of the building was blown off in a hydrogen explosion in the days after the March 2011 meltdowns, which were sparked when cooling systems were flooded with seawater after a huge undersea 9.0 quake and tsunami.

Tens of thousands of people were forced from their homes by the threat of radiation.

TEPCO is struggling to manage the clean-up, which scientists say could take up to four decades to complete.

The steam is the latest in a growing catalogue of mishaps that have cast doubt on the utility’s ability to fix the world’s worst atomic disaster in a generation.

A series of leaks of water contaminated with radiation have shaken confidence, as did a blackout caused by a gnawing rat that left cooling pools without power for more than a day.


The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

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The toughest job of all

The murder of six-year-old Kiesha Weippeart wasn’t the first child killing Russell Oxford has investigated – and it is unlikely to be the last.

But voice cracking and eyes glassy, the experienced detective’s reaction to her mother’s jailing on Thursday revealed the heavy burden homicide police carry in cases such as this.

“Three years ago today, a little girl called Kiesha Weippeart lay dead in a suitcase,” Detective Inspector Oxford said outside the Supreme Court.

“She was taken out in the cover of darkness, and put in a shallow grave and burnt. They’re the lasting impressions that we get out of this.”

There was no bravado, no over-statement. Just heartache for the little girl as a policeman, and as a father.

“All I can say is, just remember this little girl, this six-year-old girl, who was taken away. All kids want to do in life is to grow up to be loved, and to make their make in this world. And I think for Kiesha Weippeart, the mark she’s made in this world is, unfortunately, in death. And that’s not the way it is meant to happen.”

Abrahams was sentenced to at least 16 years jail, with a maximum of 21, for murdering her daughter, hiding her body in a suitcase and burying her in a bushland near her Mt Druitt home.

While it was clear that police were disappointed with the length of the sentence given, Detective Inspector Oxford made no comment as to its adequacy, saying that was for others to do.

Instead, he said he reflected on his own life, of his own role in it as a father, and urged others to do the same.

“I think if nothing else comes out of today, we should all take stock of where we are in this world, and go home and hug your kids,” he said, barely suppressing the emotion of the day.

“Honestly, there are so many other things going on … it’s only in matters like today that put things in perspective, that family is important to us … go home and hug our kids and look after them and let them grow up and have opportunities that this little girl didn’t have.”

Flanked by a team of up to a dozen fellow officers, Detective Inspector Oxford said what his team did in bringing Kiesha’s mother, Kristi Abrahams, to justice was nothing more than their jobs.

“That’s my team – they’re the people, the unknown faces you haven’t seen, that have worked tremendously long hours, without sleep for days,” he said.

“It’s been three years, it’s been a very, very long time … it’s taken a very emotional toll on a lot of people, it’s effected a lot of people, certainly within the police, the family and the community itself, as you can see by the attendance of people in court today. Everybody wants to know about this case.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

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Darley attacks Slipper with force of its own

Darley’s obsession and lucrative involvement in the world’s richest two-year-olds’ race – the Golden Slipper Stakes – has resulted in an incredible 155 youngsters nominated by Sheikh Mohammed for next year’s edition at Rosehill.

Darley’s sires have provided the past three Golden Slipper winners – Sepoy (Elusive Quality), Pierro (Lonhro) and Overreach (Exceed And Excel) – and is going full steam ahead to try to win again.

The Arab-owned outfit is aware of the rewards that can come from winning a Golden Slipper and stunned the racing world when buying Woodlands Stud from Bob Ingham in a mega-multimillion dollar deal.

Darley inherited several stallions which have become money spinners – Exceed And Excel, Commands and Lonhro are first, third and fourth in the sires’ race.

Because of their success, the three colonial-bred racetrack performers are commanding big service fees amid a dearth of champion shuttle sires flying to Australia for the southern breeding season.

Sepoy has been a money-making machine, winning $3.88 million on the track before being retired by Darley and fully booked at $66,000 on stud debut last year.

Pierro won $4.53 million and was bought by Coolmore for in excess of $15 million. He’s standing this year for $77,000 and has been a huge success with breeders assuring him of a full book.

Darley’s 155 rising two-year-olds entered for next year’s Slipper will be distributed to four trainers, Peter Snowden, naturally, along with Anthony Freedman, who will prepare about 15, and Guy Walter and Gai Waterhouse five each.

This means Snowden will have about 130 to be prepared at Darley’s Sydney and Melbourne bases. The 155 rising two-year-olds are by 19 different stallions with all but one – Redoute’s Choice which has two entries – by Darley stallions.

Lonhro tops the bill with 28 and Medaglia d’Oro, which began shuttling in 2010, has 25 babies, including half-relations to two of Snowden’s recent Slipper runners Guelph and Kuroshio as well as promising type Safeguard.

Commands has 22, including a half-sister to Slipper runner-up Sidestep, the same total as Street Cry, while Exceed And Excel and Shamardal have 12.

Bernardini (7), Domesday (6), Denman, New Approach and Authorized all have three, Teofilo and Street Sense have two and one apiece by shuttler Hard Spun, Reset, Von Costa De Hero, Gonski and Strategic, the latter four colonials.

Last year there was a smaller than usual number of Lonhro two-year-olds raced by Darley, but it has given him tremendous support in its next Slipper quest.

Bloodlines believes the presence of Medaglia d’Oro’s progeny in the new season will be powerful. He’s doing great things in the north, siring nine black-type winners in the past two months in the US.

His Australian yearlings were outstanding and sold accordingly in Australasia earlier this year, averaging $284,285 for seven lots.

Prize colt named

The $4 million Fastnet Rock yearling colt bought in April this year by the partnership of Emirates Park and Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa al Maktoum will race as Emaratee. The colt from River Dove was sold by Bruce Reid’s Cressfield Stud and boasts a fabulous pedigree as one would expect. He is also a tremendous individual and Emirates’ Trevor Lobb said he was one of the best he has bought. Team Hawkes is preparing Emaratee, which is at the partnership’s Flemington stables.

Coolmore’s Australiana

Coolmore Stud’s marvellous association with Australia is evident, taking into account the naming of two of their expensive and brilliantly bred gallopers racing at The Curragh this weekend. At the Irish Oaks meeting on Saturday, two horses will carry the famous Coolmore silks, namely Australia and Darwin, which will both be strongly fancied in their respective races. Australia is by Coolmore’s champion sire Galileo from the seven-time group 1-winning mare Ouija Board, which had stakes earnings in excess of $6 million. Australia finished a neck second at her debut on Derby weekend at The Curragh last month and trainer Aidan O’Brien will have her primed this weekend. Darwin is an American-bred colt by Vinery’s shuttle sire Big Brown and was a $US1.3 million yearling at the Keeneland sales when bought by Coolmore’s Demi O’Byrne. Darwin had his first two starts in the US for trainer Todd Pletcher before being moved to Ireland for O’Brien to train. Darwin was successful at his first start in Europe at Naas, in a three-horse black-type affair.

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The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

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Young hoop follows in Oliver’s irons

Damien Oliver was riding around West Australian outback tracks such as Leinster, a seven-hour drive north of Kalgoorlie, at the same stage of his career as Perth whiz-kid Chris Parnham, who is being compared with him.

With the champion jockey in the home stretch of a steward-imposed holiday, Parnham is out to follow the trail blazed by Ollie to group 1 glory, including the Melbourne Cup and the Hall Of Fame, putting him on a pedestal with the best.

Ollie did easy time, albeit eight months so far with a further two at trackwork to ready him for the spring carnival, after being found guilty of having a bet (on a winner) at Moonee Valley in 2010 in which he handled another fancied runner. It became one of the most bizarre cases of the Australian turf.

Back in Ollie’s home town, Perth, Parnham, who turned 16 early this year, is blazing a trail rarely, if ever, seen before because he started riding only last November.

He carried his L plates for a short period before the winner flow started to gush to his present figure of 74, including 30 in the city.

Problems arise for some so young and so good. However, his father Neville, a former jockey and now trainer, with a long experience with apprentices, figures the teenager can handle it.

”Maintain his form and composure,” the trainer said regarding his immediate future. He has developed several more-than-capable jockeys, including Pat Carbery and Jason Brown, as well as his two eldest sons, Stephen, 27, and Bradley, 23.

”They are all top riders today,” he said. ”I’ve had others who have been talented kids but had difficulties being too young and stupid, and getting too much money too quick, I suppose. That’s the pitfall of being a successful young rider.

”With this kid, money doesn’t worry him in the slightest. I said to him, ‘You’ve accumulated quite a bit of money.’ Four hundred rides, multiply that by $155, apart from percentages, et cetera.

”He’s unfazed, doesn’t interest him, all he wants to know is what he’ll be on next Saturday, ride horses. That’s why he even goes to Kalgoorlie on a Sunday.”

Ollie left at a similar age for Melbourne and Lee Freedman but with only 58 winners on his scorecard.

”I haven’t had offers from the east but with the claim [apprentice allowance] here he is eagerly sought after in the winter months,” Parnham snr said. ”Usually within 20 minutes of weights being released on Tuesday, he has a full book of rides for Saturday. It’s quite incredible really. We would be interested in him going to Sydney or Melbourne just to give it a shot. But with the spring carnival coming up, it’s highly unlikely he would be sought after at that time. We’ll look at what is presented and if there is an opportunity, even if he goes around the provincials and gets more experience.”

Like Ollie, Parnham has saddle pedigree on both sides of his family. ”My wife’s father was a jockey, her brothers were jockeys,” Parnham snr said. ”Christopher has always wanted to be a jockey. You can imagine being in a household that’s quite big in racing with his two brothers riding. Anyway, he was exposed to it quite young and the fact the other boys were riding sort of got to him.

”From a very early age they had him dressed in jockey silks and boots. We had a mechanical horse, so he went from pulling the whip on the corner of a lounge to the mechanical horse. Before, when he went to school, his head space would be watching replays, and his mother would be carting him off to here, there and everywhere when the other boys started.

”That’s been the difference, he’s lived and breathed it all. My other two boys did other sports, didn’t do much horse stuff before they started riding. But Christopher has been an instant success; his rise has surprised us all.

”It took him a while to ride his first winner but it was a good thing. He began to work harder at it. He realised it just wasn’t a matter of sitting on a horse and steering it around. Now he’s going super. Last week Christopher rode five [winners] at Northam, 10 for the week.”

Young Parnham is involved in a premiership battle for the local apprentices’ title with Ben Paterson.

Meanwhile, Ollie is on the way back. Like Darren Beadman and Jim Cassidy, often sidelined for reasons other than health, the spell will benefit him. The issue of being a successful punter – one bet, one winner – won’t keep him out of heaven. The scandal was the way Racing Victoria handled it, being kind in the extreme to Ollie then laying into trainer Robert Smerdon, fined $10,000 for handing over the pelf without knowing from whence and why it came.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

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Veteran Atomic Force capable of nuking opponents again, says Smith

Exhibition gallop: trainer Darren Smith says Atomic Force is in good touch. Photo: Darren PatemanTrainer Darren Smith believes stable star Atomic Force, which resumes at stakes level at Rosehill on Saturday, is still able to beat the best.

Despite not saluting since New Zealand’s group 1 Railway Stakes in January last year, Smith is confident the gelding still has life left in his career. ”He is up to racing at any level if he keeps telling us he wants to race,” he said. ”We just have to put him in the right race where he is going to be competitive rather than just keep throwing him off the deep end.”

The seven-year-old returns after a three-month lay-off in the benchmark 95 (1100 metres) after being scratched from the listed Sir John Monash Stakes at Caulfield last weekend because of a poor barrier draw. A dramatic drop in class from his past five starts will bring the son of Danehill Dancer right into contention if he returns to his best form.

Lester Grace’s claim will ensure his 63 kilogram impost is reduced to 60kg in Saturday’s sprint.

‘There is no reason why he won’t be very competitive,” Smith said. ”The trial at Gosford was a nice trial and he had a gallop in between races at Newcastle a week or two prior to that. He is very well in himself, jumping around.”

This was not the case with Atomic Force’s three starts in the autumn. He looked far from his best throughout the Sydney carnival in three unsuccessful runs at group level. ”He wasn’t right, something was just niggling there, so that wasn’t him,” Smith said. ”He is getting older, so we are not kidding ourselves. All we are doing is taking it race by race with him; he will let us know about his racing future after each race.”

Atomic Force is an $11 outsider with TAB Sportsbet for the last leg of the quaddie behind equal favourites Choice Words and Whitlam ($4.20).

Earlier on the card, Smith’s Dynamic Syndications partnership begins with Excellent Point in the third race. The six-year-old, along with stablemate The Gallows, will contest the benchmark 80 (1200m).

His mare Oakfield Comet will line up in the 1350m fifth event.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

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