More on the Economic Effects of Superstorm Sandy

hurricane sandy

Superstorm Sandy's economic effects are popping up like the dark clouds of a hurricane. In The Perfect Storm we predicted Sandy would negatively impact Q4 GDP by 0.5 percentage points. The Philadelphia Federal Reserve's survey of professional forecasters recently downgraded their Q4 GDP estimates by 0.4 percentage points to 1.8% annualized Q4 GDP growth. There are some estimates which are as low as 0.5% Q4 GDP, much of the downgrades due to superstorm Sandy.

Now the data is rolling in, like the storm surge itself. Sandy hit the New Jersey coast on October 29th. Even while the damage, loss of power, business closings and economic activity would seem to go negative after that date, October industrial production was hit with a full percentage point of Hurricane Sandy related contraction.

New Scientist - Fukushima radioactive fallout nears Chernobyl levels

Michael Collins
According to an international scientific group monitoring radiation around the world, the Fukushima reactors are emitting nuclear toxins at levels approaching those seen in the "aftermath" of Chernobyl. The Chernobyl disaster began with an explosion, Fukushima is a smoldering cauldron of toxins. Chernobyl had 180 tonnes of nuclear fuel on site. Fukushima has 1700 tonnes of nuclear fuel on site. (Image)

This isn't the beginning of the end as hoped. It's looking like the end of the beginning.

CounterPunch ran an interview wit Japanese nuclear industry author Hiroshe Takashi just yesterday in which the author lamented the poor reporting of the tragedy in the Japanese press:

"Really, they talk this nonsense, trying to reassure everyone, trying to avoid panic. What we need now is a proper panic. Because the situation has come to the point where the danger is real." Hiroshe Takashi, March 22

Friday Movie Night - Chernobyl & The Atomic Cafe

hot buttered popcorn It's Friday Night! Party Time!   Time to relax, put your feet up on the couch, lay back, and watch some detailed videos on economic policy!


The events in Japan have generated renewed interest in nuclear accidents. The worse nuclear accident, not intentional, is Chernobyl and the below documentary goes into some depth.


Power Corrupts, Nuclear Power Corrupts Absolutely

Michael Collins
The Chairman of the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), Gregory Jaczko, told a US House of Representatives subcommittee that: "There is no water in the spent fuel pool [at the Fukushia I plant] and we believe that radiation levels are extremely high, which could possibly impact the ability to take corrective measures." A "utility spokesman" for Tokyo Electric responded quickly claiming that the "condition is stable." AP, March 17.

The >New York Times, China's Peoples Daily, and other outlets covered this extraordinary asymmetrical exchange between the highest nuclear regulatory official in the US government and a "utility spokesman."

The public disagreement between two close allies in the midst of a severe crisis is highly instructive on a number of levels. If chair Jaczko wrong, it is a terrible embarrassment for the US. If he's right, we can conclude that much of the information from Tokyo Electric is questionable.

Post Nuclear Japan, Pre Disaster United States

Michael Collins
The Japanese disaster at Fukushima I is a human tragedy of striking proportions. As many as ten thousand citizens may be dead from the general catastrophe, with many more at risk for radiation poisoning at levels yet to be determined. The fact that Japan is a highly organized and wealthy nation in no way diminishes the intensity of the losses and pain experienced by the victims. (Image)

Political and economic implications will emerge rapidly. As the whole world watches, the Japanese experience creates windows of opportunity to learn how to avert future meltdowns at nuclear ticking time bombs placed throughout Europe, the United States, India, and China.