04 21 2015
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  • When should we use military to enforce US goals? NASHUA, N.H. (AP) — Rand Paul lashed out Saturday at military hawks in the Republican Party in a clash over foreign policy dividing the packed GOP presidential field. Paul, a first-term senator from Kentucky who favors a smaller U.S. footprint in the world, said that some of his Republican colleagues would do more harm in international affairs than would leading Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton. "The other Republicans will criticize the president and Hillary Clinton for their foreign policy, but they would just have done the same thing — just 10 times over," Paul said on the closing day of a New Hampshire GOP conference that brought about 20 presidential prospects to the first-in-the-nation primary state. "There's a group of folks in our party who would have troops in six countries right now, maybe more," Paul said. Foreign policy looms large in the presidential race as the U.S. struggles to resolve diplomatic and military conflicts across the globe. The GOP presidential class regularly rails against President Barack Obama's leadership on the world stage, yet some would-be contenders have yet to articulate their own positions, while others offered sharply different visions. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, whose brother, President George W. Bush, authorized the 2003 invasion of Iraq, declined to say whether he would have done anything different then. Yet Jeb Bush acknowledged a shift in his party against new military action abroad. "Our enemies need to fear us, a little bit, just enough for them to deter the actions that create insecurity," Bush said earlier in the conference. He said restoring alliances "that will create less likelihood of America's boots on the ground has to be the priority, the first priority of the next president." The GOP's hawks were well represented at the event, led by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who has limited foreign policy experience but articulated a muscular vision during his Saturday keynote address. Walker said the threats posed by radical Islamic terrorism won't be handled simply with "a couple bombings." "We're not going to wait till they bring the fight to us," Walker said. "We're going to bring the fight to them and fight on their soil." South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham addressed the question of putting U.S. troops directly in the battle against the Islamic State group militants by saying there is only one way to defeat the militants: "You go over there and you fight them so they don't come here." Texas Sen. Ted Cruz suggested an aggressive approach as well. "The way to defeat ISIS is a simple and clear military objective," he said. "We will destroy them." Businesswoman Carly Fiorina offered a similar outlook. "The world is a more dangerous and more tragic place when America is not leading. And America has not led for quite some time," she said. Under Obama, a U.S.-led coalition of Western and Arab countries is conducting regular airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. also has hundreds of military advisers in Iraq helping Iraqi security forces plan operations against the Islamic State, which occupies large chunks of northern and western Iraq. Paul didn't totally reject the use of military force, noting that he recently introduced a declaration of war against the Islamic State group. But in an interview with The Associated Press, he emphasized the importance of diplomacy. He singled out Russia and China, which have complicated relationships with the U.S., as countries that could contribute to U.S. foreign policy interests. "I think the Russians and the Chinese have great potential to help make the world a better place," he said. "I don't say that naively that they're going to, but they have the potential to." Paul suggested the Russians could help by getting Syrian President Bashar Assad to leave power. "Maybe he goes to Russia," Paul said. Despite tensions with the U.S., Russia and China negotiated alongside Washington in nuclear talks with Iran. Paul has said he is keeping an open mind about the nuclear negotiations. "The people who already are very skeptical, very doubtful, may not like the president for partisan reasons," he said, and "just may want war instead of negotiations."
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TOKYO (CNN) -- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has waded deep into the effort to deal with the aftermath of the world's worst nuclear accident in a quarter century.

His government said Tuesday it would spend the equivalent of $470 million to try to tackle the alarming toxic water crisis at the country's tsunami-crippled nuclear power plant.

National authorities are stepping in as Tokyo Electric Power Company struggles to cope with an array of daunting problems at its stricken Fukushima Daiichi plant.

The move is a gamble for Abe, who comfortably won elections last year and has so far remained popular.

"Today, instead of the previous stopgap countermeasures, we have put together a basic policy for countering the contaminated water issue," Abe said after a ministerial meeting Tuesday.

TEPCO has accumulated a huge volume of tainted water at the site since a massive earthquake and tsunami in 2011 set off meltdowns at three of the plant's reactors.

A litany of leaks

Last month, it said one of roughly 1,000 huge storage tanks at the site had leaked 300 tons of toxic water, prompting Japan's nuclear regulator to declare the situation a Level 3 serious incident, its gravest assessment since the meltdowns at the plant in 2011.

Now, the regulator says it suspects more leaks from other containers after the company detected high radiation levels in some parts of the water storage system over the weekend.

TEPCO is also having difficulty managing the large quantities of groundwater that flow into and out of the area around the plant each day. In July, it admitted that radioactive groundwater was leaking into the Pacific Ocean from the site, bypassing an underground barrier built to seal in the water.

Michael Friedlander, a former nuclear plant operator and engineer, described the groundwater problem as one of the biggest long-term issues at the plant.

"It's like having a leak in your basement," he told CNN Tuesday.

Government measures

Amid mounting concerns about the crisis and TEPCO's ability to deal with it, Abe said last month his government would step in.

In the plan outlined Tuesday, the government said it intends to spend roughly $320 million on a technologically challenging project to freeze the ground around the reactors to prevent groundwater from leaking into the plant and carrying radioactive particles with it as it seeps out.

The plan to freeze the ground had already been proposed by TEPCO, but the government says it is trying to speed up measures to get a grip on the water crisis.

It earmarked a further $150 million for a new, more effective processing system for the tainted water at the plant.

Authorities will also replace water storage tanks that are held together by bolts with welded tanks, which have a lower risk of leaking.

The three main elements of the government's plan are to decrease the amount of contaminated water in and underneath the reactor buildings and surrounding trenches, keep groundwater away from already toxic water and prevent tainted water from seeping into the ocean.

Frozen ground

The plan to freeze the ground around the reactors is particularly ambitious. The Japanese government has previously described the task as "unprecedented."

The technology has been used before in the construction of tunnels, but never on the massive scale that the Fukushima plant would require. It also has never been used for the years or decades that experts think will be needed at the plant.

It is likely to involve plunging tubes carrying a powerful coolant liquid deep into the ground. The liquid would freeze the ground solid so that no groundwater could pass through it.

Friedlander said that the ground freezing is "a good solution as an interim fix" until the leaks underneath the reactors are permanently sealed.

TEPCO has been grappling with water issues ever since the plant was hit by the natural disasters in 2011. The resulting meltdowns constituted the second-worst nuclear accident in history, trailing only the 1986 disaster at Chernobyl, in the former Soviet Union.

CNN's Yoko Wakatsuki reported from Tokyo and Jethro Mullen wrote from Hong Kong. CNN's Junko Ogura contributed to this report.

 

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