Category: Hazmat


TEPCO accidentally floods wrong building with 200 tons of radioactive water at Fukushima plant


TEPCO accidentally floods wrong building with 200 tons of radioactive water at Fukushima plant

Approximately 200 tons of highly radioactive water were redirected to the wrong building at the disaster stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant on April 14 when pumps that were not supposed to be used were incorrectly turned on, this according to plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO). The plant’s officials assured that there were no other channels the contaminated water could leak out of from the building, but the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) ordered the utility to monitor for leakage just the same.

TEPCO said that the highly contaminated water – used for cooling the molten down reactors – has been wrongly directed to a group of buildings that house the central waste processing facilities. The embattled operator said that the basements of these buildings were supposed to function as emergency storage for contaminated water anyway, but the water was not supposed to be directed to the buildings at this point. Fukushima workers noticed something was wrong on April 10, as the water levels in buildings that should have been pumping out water were noticed to be going up instead of down.

 

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Published on Apr 14, 2014

Published on Feb 19, 2014
Nuclear Hotseat~Host Libbe HaLevy

Please REMIX and SHARE this important information with Credits to:
Libbe HaLevy and Nuclear Hotseat
http://www.NuclearHotseat.com/blog

INTERVIEWS:
Don Hancock of the Southwest Research and Information Center on the fire and radiation release at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad, NM — two separate incidents within 10 days that point to a company culture that fails to take proper precautions.
CONTACT: sricdon@earthlink.net

Indian filmmaker Pradeep Indulkar, director of “High Power,” winner of the 2013 Uranium Film Festival Yellow Oscar for Best Short Documentary. To book the film or purchase a DVD,
CONTACT: highpower@docwebs.com

NUMNUTZ OF THE WEEK:
Close this week, but we revisit the Fukushima Kids’ Cancer Seminar to learn how their slogan, “Especially because this is Fukushima, we need the best cancer education in Japan!” Learn what happens when the event’s organizer gets asked how that creepy slogan got picked and why children of Fukushima need “cancer education.”

PLUS:
*”Experts” miss possible Hanford implications in Washington state rare birth defect cluster;
*Massive cracks found at Fukushima near radioactive water storage tanks;
*Fukushima dental assn. to study radiation in baby teeth (shades of Operation Tooth Fairy);
*UK nuclear sites at risk of flooding;
*The Irish will soon be able to sue the UK for Sellafield radiation damages;
*The NRC DUCK! and Cover Report;
*Radcast w/Mimi German;
…and more!

LINKS:
Interview w/Tokyo-based physician Shigeru Mita on the need to evacuate from Tokyo, an interview by Nelson Groom for Vice.com: http://nsgroom.wordpress.com/2014/02/

Petition to support journalist Mari Takenouchi and support her effotts to protect children living in areas contaminated with radioactivity: http://www.credomobilize.com/petition

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Earth Watch Report  -  Hazmat

Radioactive lab material, which may have been sent to scrapyard, are considered low risk by nuclear safety commission. (Charla Jones/The Globe and Mail)

Radioactive lab material missing from Sunnybrook research centre

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HAZMAT Canada Province of Ontario, Toronto [Sunnybrook Research Institute] Damage level Details

 

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HAZMAT in Canada on Thursday, 10 April, 2014 at 03:36 (03:36 AM) UTC.

Description
A small amount of radioactive material has mysteriously disappeared from a Toronto research facility. The Sunnybrook Research Institute (SRI) announced Wednesday evening that a locked, lead-lined cabinet containing radioactive material went missing some time after June or July of last year. The working theory is that the cabinet was mistakenly sent to a scrapyard, said Michael Julius, the institute’s vice-president of research. Although SRI is located at Sunnybrook hospital, Dr. Julius said the missing cabinet is not a threat to patients. “There is no impact on patient safety. I really do want to underscore that,” he said. Staff at SRI first noticed the cabinet was missing during a routine audit on March 21. The cabinet, a heavy 75-cubic-centimetre object, was clearly labelled as containing radioactive material. Inside were 14 radioactive items, only one of which poses a potential health risk, Dr. Julius said. That item, about half the size of a dime and used to calibrate X-ray machines, contains the radioactive isotope Americium-241, commonly found in smoke detectors. It was encased in its own locked, lead-and-steel box inside the cabinet. “If you managed to get it out of the smaller box – which would be a feat, I have to tell you – if you were to put it in your pocket, for example, and left it in your pocket for a day or two, you could get a radiation burn,” Dr. Julius said.

 

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Radioactive lab material, which may have been sent to scrapyard, are considered low risk by nuclear safety commission. (Charla Jones/The Globe and Mail)

Radioactive lab material missing from Sunnybrook research centre

A small amount of radioactive material has mysteriously disappeared from a Toronto research facility.

The Sunnybrook Research Institute (SRI) announced Wednesday evening that a locked, lead-lined cabinet containing radioactive material went missing some time after June or July of last year. The working theory is that the cabinet was mistakenly sent to a scrapyard, said Michael Julius, the institute’s vice-president of research.

Although SRI is located at Sunnybrook hospital, Dr. Julius said the missing cabinet is not a threat to patients. “There is no impact on patient safety. I really do want to underscore that,” he said.

Staff at SRI first noticed the cabinet was missing during a routine audit on March 21. The cabinet, a heavy 75-cubic-centimetre object, was clearly labelled as containing radioactive material.

Inside were 14 radioactive items, only one of which poses a potential health risk, Dr. Julius said. That item, about half the size of a dime and used to calibrate X-ray machines, contains the radioactive isotope Americium-241, commonly found in smoke detectors. It was encased in its own locked, lead-and-steel box inside the cabinet. “If you managed to get it out of the smaller box – which would be a feat, I have to tell you – if you were to put it in your pocket, for example, and left it in your pocket for a day or two, you could get a radiation burn,” Dr. Julius said.

 

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KING 5.com

Sick Hanford workers speak out for first time

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    by SUSANNAH FRAME / KING 5 News

    Bio | Email | Follow: @SFrameK5

    Posted on April 8, 2014 at 10:49 PM

     

    Exposure to potentially harmful chemical vapors sent 26 workers at the Hanford Site to a Richland hospital or an on-site medical clinic in the two-week period starting March 19.

    For the first time, two of those workers talk on camera with KING 5 about their experience — and the symptoms and problems they continue to exhibit nearly two weeks after breathing in vapors that vented from underground tanks and pipes that hold vast amounts of toxic chemicals and radioactive isotopes.

    On March 19 health physics technician Steve Ellingson and a partner were near the AY and AZ tank farms at Hanford when they noticed a chemical smell.

    “It got really bad. We could smell it, we could taste it. It has a coppery taste,” Ellingson said. “We both started to have problems with our chest and our throats.”

    They exited the area after the smell seemed to get worse. Afterward, he said he couldn’t get the taste of out his mouth, and he began to experience nausea.

    Over the next few days, Ellingson said he was evaluated at the on-site medical clinic, at a local emergency room and by his own doctor. None could find the cause for his symptoms, which he said worsened after the first day, with lung irritation, violent coughing and fatigue continuing to this day.

    “It’s like I can’t get a good deep breath. It’s like a shallow breath all of the time,” he told KING 5 two weeks after the exposure.

    Becky Holland, also a health physics technician at Hanford, breathed chemical vapors a week later while working with a team at the T tank farm. The group was preparing to shoot video of the inside of one of the waste storage tanks.

    After a riser cover was removed, Holland said the group began to smell fumes. The group moved upwind to escape the smell, but the fumes only seemed to get worse — even workers wearing respirators reported they could smell it. An emergency evacuation order was issued.

    Holland said he began to feel bad immediately. “I started feeling kind of numb, my face, and instant headache,” Holland said. “And then I started shaking really bad and sweating. It scared me.”

    A 28-year veteran of the Hanford Site, Holland said, “I’ve smelled things before. I’ve been exposed to things before, but never been exposed to something or been affected the way that I was [on March 26].”

    Holland was rushed to Kadlec Medical Center in Richland. “I was scared. I was shaking. I was profusely sweating and [had] a horrible headache,” she said.

    She was evaluated and released the same day. The headache continued, she said, and the next day she began to experience nosebleeds so severe and persistent that she later had the inside of her nose cauterized.

    “I’ve never experienced anything this bad,” Holland said.

    “I’ve walked through this stuff a hundred times,” said Ellingson, a 22-year Hanford veteran. “I’ve tasted it. I’ve smelled it and it’s never bothered me. But now for two weeks I’ve had trouble and I don’t like it.”

    Cleared for work

    The 586-square-mile Hanford Site is home to 177 tanks holding the waste generated by more than four decades of plutonium production — a messy process that involves using caustic chemicals to dissolve nuclear reactor fuel rods to extract small amounts of plutonium. Twenty-five years after plutonium production ceased at the site, 56 million gallons of highly radioactive chemical waste remains to be treated for long-term storage. The tanks hold chemicals such as ammonia, butanol, formaldehyde and mercury. Much of the waste actively emits gas, which is vented through filters designed to remove radioactive particles. Chemicals, however, often pass through.

    All 26 workers who reported being exposed to chemical vapors starting on March 19 were quickly cleared to return to work by the on-site clinic.

     

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    KING 5.com

    Hanford worker exposed again to airborne irritant

    Hanford worker exposed again to airborne irritant

    Credit: KING 5 News

    The HPMC Hanford Occupational Health Service clinic in Hanford’s 200-West Area.

    by SUSANNAH FRAME / KING 5 News

    Bio | Email | Follow: @SFrameK5

    Posted on April 9, 2014 at 6:41 PM

     

    A Hanford worker who was sickened by exposure to chemical vapors on March 19 was exposed to  another unknown substance Wednesday, prompting a trip to Hanford’s on-site medical clinic.

    Sources told KING 5 that the worker, who missed approximately 10 days of work after March 19 and is under a physician’s order to avoid lung irritants on the job, had trouble breathing after working in an area that was not free of aggravating substances.

    The sources said the worker was taken to HPMC, the on-site medical clinic at Hanford, where he was evaluated, released and declared fit to return to work on Thursday, despite his continued breathing problems. The medical professionals told the worker that he is to stay indoors Thursday and work at a desk, the sources said.

    Twenty-six workers have been transported to the hospital or HPMC after detecting chemical vapors in different Hanford waste tank farms. The Department of Energy and its contractors at the site have insisted that worker safety is a top priority and that the affected workers were evaluated by independent health experts before being returned to duty.

     

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    Earth Watch Report  -  Hazmat

    "James

    James Holland, hydrologist/geologist with the Kanab Field Office of the United States Bureau of Land Management, examines an oil-covered rock with the Forest Service’s Joe Harris and BLM’s Sarah Schlanger in Little Valley Wash in the Upper Valley region of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

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    April 01 2014 07:40 AM Environment Pollution USA State of Utah, [Little Valley Wash, Grand Staircase National Monument] Damage level Details

     

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    Environment Pollution in USA on Tuesday, 01 April, 2014 at 07:40 (07:40 AM) UTC.

    Description
    Hikers exploring the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument in Southern Utah last week happened upon an oil spill over four miles in length in an area known as Little Valley Wash. The spill is thought to be old, based on the dense, asphalt-like consistency of the oil, said Larry Crutchfield, Bureau of Land Management public affairs specialist. And it’s a good thing the oil is so thick, he added, because that means the spill will stay put for a while. “The good news is that there is no oil actively moving in the wash,” Crutchfield said. Because the oil in the wash is nearly as thick as asphalt, he added, it is not posing an immediate threat to surrounding areas. However, he said there is evidence suggesting it did move last September when massive monsoon rains created a violent flash flood in the wash. The area typically does receive some rain in the springtime, he said, but not nearly enough to fill the part of the wash where the oil is, which is far upstream. The BLM isn’t taking any chances, however, and plans to secure the area with booms and other equipment to help protect monument resources and water sources. Although preliminary reports last week suggested the spill may have originated from a leak that occurred last month in a nearby pipeline operated by Citation Oil, Crutchfield said the oil found in the wash is very unlikely to have come from a recent leakage.”The Citation oil line did spring a pinhole-sized leak,” Crutchfield said. That leak spilled about 10 barrels of oil before it was discovered and patched last month. The oil that flows through the pipeline has a low viscosity and would be very fluid, he said �” not the thick, viscous, asphalt-like substance found in the wash. The oil in the wash appears to have been there for some time, he said. In fact, investigators currently suspect the spill had been buried beneath the wash until it was exposed by a violent flash flood last fall, which explains why the spill hadn’t been reported in previous years. When asked who might have buried the spill, Crutchfield said it’s quite possible that it was covered by sediment deposited by an earlier flood. There is no way of knowing for sure before BLM investigators complete their assessment of the incident. “We have an idea of where the oil may have come from, but it would be entirely inappropriate for me to speculate at this point,” Crutchfield said. The first priority, he said, is to assess the danger that the oil poses to the surrounding environment. “The important thing at this stage is that we are taking action,” he said. “Citation Oil is taking action. We are working together to figure out what exactly happened.”

     

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    Sun Independent.com

    Massive oil spill discovered at Grand Staircase National Monument

     

    Monday, 03-31-2014, 08:30 PM
    Written by Michael Flynn

    Hikers exploring the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument in Southern Utah last week happened upon an oil spill over four miles in length in an area known as Little Valley Wash.

    The spill is thought to be old, based on the dense, asphalt-like consistency of the oil, said Larry Crutchfield, Bureau of Land Management public affairs specialist. And it’s a good thing the oil is so thick, he added, because that means the spill will stay put for a while.

    “The good news is that there is no oil actively moving in the wash,” Crutchfield said. Because the oil in the wash is nearly as thick as asphalt, he added, it is not posing an immediate threat to surrounding areas. However, he said there is evidence suggesting it did move last September when massive monsoon rains created a violent flash flood in the wash.

    The area typically does receive some rain in the springtime, he said, but not nearly enough to fill the part of the wash where the oil is, which is far upstream. The BLM isn’t taking any chances, however, and plans to secure the area with booms and other equipment to help protect monument resources and water sources.

     

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    Published: Friday, April 4 2014 7:46 p.m. MDT

    James Holland, hydrologist/geologist with the Kanab Field Office of the federal Bureau of Land Management, left, points to asphalt-like patches of oil in Little Valley Wash in the Upper Valley region of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument near Escalante on Friday, April 4, 2014. Holland, along with Joe Harris of the Forest Service, Mark Bing, central regional manager of Citation Oil and Gas Corp., Terry Tolbert, wildlife biologist, and Julie Sueker of Arcadis Environmental Consulting Group, hiked the 4-mile stretch of the wash where the oil was discovered.

    Laura Seitz, Deseret News

     

    ESCALANTE, Garfield County — Remnants from at least one large oil spill found by hikers on March 23 in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument has officials wondering how and when the damage occurred.

    As many as 4 miles in the Little Valley Wash now contain the aftermath of the spill, with about 1.5 miles of 6-inch thick oil flows contained in the mostly dry stream bed. Bureau of Land Management officials who manage the monument say it’s likely the leak happened decades ago.

    BLM officials hypothesize that the spill became encased in sediment deposits over time, making it difficult or impossible to see in most areas. Last September, intense floods washed down the drainage, possibly unburying the oil deposit and carrying parts of it downstream for 2.5 miles.

    Boulders and tree trunks in the drainage now demonstrate the depth of the initial oil flows, with steady black lines as many as 2 feet above the stream bed. Black splotches are found in other areas, with vegetation collecting the oil as it flowed along with the flood waters.

    Long stretches of oil patches not mixed with sediment have liquified in regions exposed to the sun.

    “It’s not what we want to see here,” associate monument manager Sarah Schlanger said during an examination of the area Friday.

     

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    Monsanto under investigation for ‘illegal dumping’

    by SEAN POULTER

    Last updated at 18:04 12 February 2007

     

    Monsanto is under investigation amid allegations it sanctioned the dumping of toxic waste on sites across the country despite evidence that it would poison the landscape for generations.

    The activities of the US chemical giant, best-known in the UK for its support of GM farming, are being examined by the government’s Environment Agency and public health bodies.

    The focus of the investigation is a site in south Wales that has been called ‘one of the most contaminated’ in the country.

    It appears that toxic chemicals were dumped in the Brofiscin quarry in the 1960s and 1970s despite the fact there was no licence for these materials and the site was not lined or sealed.

    This meant a cocktail of highly poisonous chemicals has been able to escape into the environment and threatens to poison local streams and rivers.

    The quarry, which is on the edge of the village of Groesfaen, near Cardiff, first erupted in 2003, spilling fumes over the surrounding area.

    Since then surveys have found that 67 chemicals, including Agent Orange derivatives, dioxins and PCBs which could have been made only by Monsanto, are leaking from the site.

    The Environment Agency says that if the dumping were to take place today there would be a criminal prosecution and civil action to raise the money needed to clean up the site.

    However, it appears that much of the dumping was carried out during years when Britain’s regime for environmental protection was more lax.

    Consequently, there are doubts as to how far any legal action can go or which companies should be liable for clean-up costs that are expected to run into tens of millions of pounds.

    A spokesman for the Environment Agency said: “Our overall aim is to understand the current risks to ground water and surface waters and to determine the most cost-effective way forward to protect the local environment and to recover costs from those liable.”

     

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    Posted: 03/28/2014 8:27 am EDT Updated: 03/28/2014 8:59 am EDT
    In this March 22, 2014 file photo, a barge loaded with marine fuel oil sits partially submerged in the Houston Ship Channel. (AP Photo/U.S. Coast Guard, PO3 Manda Emery, File)

    In this March 22, 2014 file photo, a barge loaded with marine fuel oil sits partially submerged in the Houston Ship Channel. (AP Photo/U.S. Coast Guard, PO3 Manda Emery, File)

     

     

    AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The barge operator that spilled nearly 170,000 gallons of tar-like oil into the Houston Ship Channel, closing one of the nation’s busiest seaports for several days, will be fined by Texas regulators regardless of the outcome of state and federal investigations.

    Investigators are still trying to pinpoint the cause of last weekend’s accident involving a barge owned by Houston-based Kirby Inland Marine Corp., but Texas law considers the company carrying the oil a responsible party, said Greg Pollock, deputy director for the Texas General Land Office’s oil spill response division.

    “What that will be now I can’t say because we don’t have a closed case,” Pollock said.

    It won’t be the first fine for the company, which has paid more than $51,000 for at least 77 spills since 2008, most of which were minor incidents.

    Saturday’s accident closed the main artery linking the area’s busy ports with the largest petrochemical complex in the country. The channel in Texas City, about 45 miles southeast of Houston, typically handles about 70 ships and 300 to 400 tugboats and barges a day, and sees more than 200 million tons of cargo move through each year.

    The channel wasn’t fully reopened until late Thursday. At its height, the closure stranded some 100 vessels.

    “As long as the weather holds up, we can get caught up in a couple days,” said Capt. Clint Winegar of the Houston Pilots, an association of sea pilots.

     

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    Coast Guards Aims to Reopen Houston Ship Channel

    Nearly 170,000 gallons of tar-like oil spilled

    By Juan A. Lozano and Nomaan Merchant
    |  Monday, Mar 24, 2014  |  Updated 8:49 PM CDT

    NBC 5

    No timetable has been set to reopen a major U.S. shipping channel after nearly 170,000 gallons of tar-like oil spilled into the Texas waterway.

    As workers in bright yellow suits picked quarter-sized “tar balls” out of the sand along Galveston Bay on Monday, strong incoming tides kept washing more ashore.

    Elsewhere, crews lined up miles of oil booms to keep oil away from the shoreline and bird habitats, two days after a collision in the Houston Ship Channel dumped as many as 170,000 gallons of oil from a barge into the water along the Gulf Coast and shut down one of the nation’s busiest seaports.

    With cleanup well underway, the Coast Guard said it hoped to have the channel open to barge traffic as quickly as possible but that more tests were needed to confirm the water and the vessels traveling through the channel were free of oil.

    The closure stranded some 80 vessels on both sides of the channel. Traffic through the channel includes ships serving refineries key to American oil production.

     

    Officials believe most of the oil that spilled Saturday is drifting out of the Houston Ship Channel into the Gulf of Mexico, which should limit the impact on bird habitats around Galveston Bay as well as beaches and fisheries important to tourists.

    “This spill — I think if we keep our fingers crossed — is not going to have the negative impact that it could have had,” said Jerry Patterson, commissioner of the Texas General Land Office, the lead state agency on the response to the spill.

    The best-case scenario is for most of the slick to remain in the Gulf for at least several days and congeal into small tar balls that wash up further south on the Texas coast, where they could be picked up and removed, Patterson said. Crews from the General Land Office are monitoring water currents and the movement of the oil, he said.

     

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    seattlepi.com

    British Columbia city challenges oil pipeline: What about fire or leak?

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    Burnaby, B.C., is standing up to Big Oil.

    The Vancouver suburb wants to know where a proposed oil pipeline is going to go, especially if Burnaby fire crews are expected to handle a leak, rupture or conflagration.

    The vast Alberta oil stands project, along with oil development in North Dakota, is outstripping the capacity of North America's pipelines.  Hence, oil is increasingly being moved by rail.  A disaster in Quebec raises questions for the Northwest. (Getty Images)

    The big, Houston-based Kinder Morgan pipeline company wants to double the capacity of its existing Trans-Mountain Pipeline. The pipeline transports crude oil from Alberta beneath the city of Burnaby (population 202,000) to a refinery on the shores of Burrard Inlet.

    The pipeline expansion appears greased — Prime Minister Stephen Harper wants to turn Canada into an oil-exporting power — but Burnaby is unwilling to lie down before the carbon economy.  Its city attorney, Greg McDade, asked in a letter to Canada’s National Energy Board:

    “What would happen in the event of a fire?  What would happen in the event of a leak? There seems to be a suggestion that the city of Burnaby and its fire department can take care of all those things.”

    Tough questions from Burnaby deserve attention south of the border.  Expansion of the Trans-Mountain Pipeline has one major purpose — export of oil by tanker through international waters of the San Juan and Gulf Islands out the Strait of Juan de Fuca.  Destination: Asia.

    If the Trans-Mountain expansion is approved, oil tanker traffic out of Burnaby would increase from five to an estimated 34 ships each month.

     

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    Common Sense Canadian

    CNRL pipeline leaks 70,000 litres near Slave Lake

    Posted April 2, 2014 by Canadian Press in Energy and Resources

    CNRL pipeline leaks 70,000 litres near Slave Lake

    SLAVE LAKE, Alta. – A pipeline owned by Canadian Natural Resources Limited has spilled 70,000 litres of oil and processed water northwest of Slave Lake, Alta.

    The Alberta Energy Regulator says the breach happened on Monday and was reported by CNRL (TSX:CNQ) the same day.

    The regulator says the spill is not an emergency, the oil is not near any people, water or wildlife, and a cleanup is underway.

     

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