Nuclear workers kept in dark on Fukushima hazard pay 25 CNBC Reuters 7 Oct 2014 Almost a year after Japan pledged to double hazard pay at the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant, workers are still in the dark about how much extra they are getting paid, if anything, for cleaning up the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.
Under pressure to improve working conditions at Fukushima after a series of radioactive water leaks last year, Tokyo Electric Power Co President Naomi Hirose promised in November to double the hazard pay the utility allocates to its subcontractors for plant workers. That would have increased the amount each worker at the nuclear facility is supposed to earn to about $180 a day in hazard pay.
Only one of the more than three dozen workers interviewed by Reuters from July through September said he received the full hazard pay increase promised by Tepco. Some workers said they got nothing. In cases where payslips detailed a hazard allowance, the amounts ranged from $36 to about $90 a day – at best half of what Hirose promised.
In some instances, workers said they were told they would be paid a hazard bonus based on how much radiation they absorb – an incentive to take additional risks at a dangerous work site…….
Tepco still relies on some 800 mostly small contractors to provide workers for the cleanup after the tsunami that swamped the plant on March 11, 2011 sparked meltdowns at three reactors. Subcontractors provide almost all of the 6,000 workers now employed at the plant. Tokyo Electric employs only about 250 on its own payroll at the facility.
The workforce at Fukushima has almost doubled over the past year, mostly as part of an effort to protect groundwater from being contaminated and to store water that comes in contact with melted fuel in the reactor buildings.
Some of the workers who arrived recently at the plant have been building bunkers to store highly radioactive sludge, which is a by-product of the process whereby contaminated water is treated. Others are installing equipment to freeze a ring of earth around four reactors at Fukushima to keep water from reaching the melted cores, an unprecedented effort directed by Kajima and expected to cost nearly $300 million.
Kazumitsu Nawata, a professor in the University of Tokyo’s department of technology who has researched conditions inside Fukushima, said that if workers do not receive pay that is commensurate with the risks they are taking, they will ultimately look elsewhere for employment. If more experienced workers leave for safer jobs in Tokyo where constructionprojects are accelerating ahead of the 2020 Olympic Games, it will also increase the likelihood of accidents at the plant, Nawata said in an interview.
“Until now, we have relied heavily on the goodwill of workers. But it’s already been three years since the accident. This is no longer sustainable,” he said. http://www.cnbc.com/id/102068504#.
AF approves special pay for nuclear career fields, US AirForce, October 02, 2014 WASHINGTON (AFNS) –
Assignment incentive pay and special duty assignment pay for select total force nuclear career fields became effective Oct. 1, following Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James’ recent announcement.
“The purpose of these special pays is to incentivize Airmen to volunteer for and perform duties in a particular career field, location and/or special assignment where the scope of responsibility and required skills exceed those of other Airmen in the same career field and rank,” said Brig. Gen. Brian Kelly, director of force management policy.
Select officers and enlisted members serving in eleven nuclear career fields and assignment areas will receive between $75 and $300 per month. Nuclear careers fields selected for these special pays include enlisted service members assigned to command post, nuclear aircraft maintenance, security forces, missile maintenance, aircraft armament systems, nuclear weapons and support personnel who deploy to the ICBM complex. Missile launch, security forces and missile maintenance officers will be eligible to receive special pays as well……..http://www.af.mil/News/ArticleDisplay/tabid/223/Article/503220/af-approves-special-pay-for-nuclear-career-fields.aspx
Fukushima Worker: “All sorts of troubles going on in plant”; Officials won’t tell public what really happens — People should worry, it’s not under control — Employees wear disguises over fear of retaliation — Reporter: Tour of plant “was very strange… feels completely dead… not many people” (VIDEO) http://enenews.com/fukushima-worker-all-sorts-troubles-going-inside-plant-officials-arent-disclosing-problems-public-im-concerned-safety-employees-wear-disguises-fear-retaliation-plant-control-people-be-worried-vi?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ENENews+%28Energy+News%29
NHK, Sept. 24, 2014 (at 2:15 in): [A Fukushima Daiichi worker’s attorney] warns that the current system could endanger the entire decommissioning process… “Tepco should be held accountable for turning a blind eye. It needs to improve labor conditions, otherwise the situation will make it impossible to secure enough workers to deal with the nuclear accident.” >>Watch the video here
The Guardian, Sept. 9, 2014 (emphasis added):Fukushima fallout continues… [There's an] unprecedented attempt by four Fukushima Daiichi workers to sue the utility for unpaid wages… [T]he four men… wore masks in court for fear of reprisals from their employers… “A year ago, the prime minister told the world that Fukushima was under control. But that’s not the case,” Tsuguo Hirota told Reuters… “It’s becoming a place for amateurs only, and that has to worry anyone who lives near the plant.”… “My health could suffer… I believe there are many people who can’t speak out about this kind of problem,” one of the workers told public broadcaster NHK.
Time Magazine correspondent Hannah Beech, Sept. 7, 2014: Just to get into the plant it –again — it’s like a Hollywood movie… What was very strange about walking into this place is that it feels completely dead. You don’t see that many people moving around. And those people that you do see, there’s not a palpable sense of urgency, but you realize that the work that they’re doing is so important. And they may not be getting the full of backing that they should to be able to do this. >> Full interview here
NPR, March 11, 2014: About 100 out of the 4,000 people working in the plant every day are TEPCO employees. The rest are subcontractors… Workers [are barred from] speaking to the media… I met a TEPCO worker who was on the job when the quake and tsunami hit… and talked in his car… on the condition that we not identify him and disguise his voice. He says it’s well known at the plant that shoddy work is being done… Many problems inside the Fukushima plant go unreported… The worker says that the Japanese government now needs to step in and guarantee the welfare and safety of all the workers…
TEPCO employee at Fukushima Daiichi (at 2:45 in): I’m concerned about my safety… There are things they feel they don’t have to disclose. There are all sorts of troubles going oninside the plant.
Full interview with the anonymous Fukushima worker here http://enenews.com/fukushima-worker-all-sorts-troubles-going-inside-plant-officials-arent-disclosing-problems-public-im-concerned-safety-employees-wear-disguises-fear-retaliation-plant-control-people-be-worried-vi?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ENENews+%28Energy+News%29
Feds Order Reinstatement of Nuclear Whistleblower abc news, SEATTLE — Aug 21, 2014 The U.S. Department of Labor has ordered a Hanford Nuclear Reservation contractor to reinstate a worker who the department says was fired for voicing concerns about nuclear and environmental safety, officials announced Wednesday.
Richland-based Washington River Protection Solutions, a subsidiary of URS Corporation and Energy Solutions, was also ordered to pay $220,000 in back wages and other expenses.
The company denies the allegations that the worker was fired in retaliation.
But the labor department said the contractor violated federal whistleblower provisions. The worker first blew the whistle on nuclear and environmental safety and permit and record-keeping violations in 2009, according to the labor department. The worker was fired two years later and unsuccessfully re-applied for the job in 2012. The reason for the initial firing was “poor performance.”
“The people most able to identify hazards are often the workers who are threatened by them,” Galen Lemke, the labor department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration acting regional administrator, said in a statement. “Employees must never be punished for sounding an alarm when they see a problem that could injure, sicken or kill someone, or harm the environment.”…….http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/feds-order-reinstatement-nuclear-whistleblower-25063970
Career in renewable energy? 6.5m jobs for grabs, Emirates 24/7 July 12, 2014 There may now be as many as 6.5 million direct and indirect jobs in renewable energy, according to updated data from the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena).
Earlier assessments had put the global estimate at 2.3 million jobs in 2008 (United Nations Environment Programme) and at 5 million jobs in 2012 (International Labour Organisation).
Although these estimates suggest a strong expansion in employment in renewable energy, the figures also represent successive efforts to broaden data collection across countries and sectors, reads the Worldwatch Institute’s latest Vital Signs Online trend.
The overall upward trend in renewable energy jobs has been accompanied by considerable turmoil in some industries.
Nowhere are the upheavals more noticeable than in the solar photovoltaic (PV) sector, where intensified competition, massive overcapacities, and tumbling prices have caused a high degree of turbulence in the last two to three years, but they have also triggered a boom in installations.
Global PV employment is thought to have expanded from 1.4 million jobs in 2012 to as many as 2.3 million in 2013……….
All in all, available information suggests that renewable energy has grown to become a significant source of jobs. Rising labour productivity notwithstanding, the job numbers are likely to grow in coming decades as the world’s energy system shifts toward low-carbon sources.
Solar PV has bypassed biofuels (ethanol and biodiesel) as the top renewable energy job generator……….http://www.emirates247.com/news/career-in-renewable-energy-6-5m-jobs-for-grabs-2014-07-12-1.556215
Stigmatized nuclear workers quit Japan utility. Bloomberg Business Week, By By Yuri Kageyama July 10, 2014 TOKYO (AP) — Stigma, pay cuts, and risk of radiation exposure are among the reasons why 3,000 employees have left the utility at the center of Japan’s 2011 nuclear disaster. Now there’s an additional factor: better paying jobs in the feel good solar energy industry.
Engineers and other employees at TEPCO, or Tokyo Electric Power Co., were once typical of Japan’s corporate culture that is famous for prizing loyalty to a single company and lifetime employment with it. But the March 2011 tsunami that swamped the coastal Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, sending three reactors into meltdown, changed that.
TEPCO was widely criticized for being inadequately prepared for a tsunami despite Japan’s long history of being hit by giant waves and for its confused response to the disaster. The public turned hostile toward the nuclear industry and TEPCO, or “Toh-den,” as the Japanese say it, became a dirty word.
Only 134 people quit TEPCO the year before the disaster. The departures ballooned to 465 in 2011, another 712 in 2012 and 488 last year. Seventy percent of those leaving were younger than 40. When the company offered voluntary retirement for the first time earlier this year, some 1,151 workers applied for the 1,000 available redundancy packages.
The exodus, which has reduced staff to about 35,700 people, adds to the challenges of the ongoing work at Fukushima Dai-ichi to keep meltdowns under control, remove the fuel cores and safely decommission the reactors, which is expected to take decades……
The factors pushing workers out have piled up. The financial strain of the disaster has led to brutal salary cuts while ongoing problems at Fukushima, such as substantial leaks of irradiated water, have reinforced the image of a bumbling and irresponsible organization…….http://www.businessweek.com/ap/2014-07-10/stigmatized-nuclear-workers-quit-japan-utility
Stigmatized nuclear workers quit Japan utility. Bloomberg Business Week, By By Yuri Kageyama July 10, 2014 TOKYO (AP) —”………While TEPCO is out of favor with the public, the skills and experience of its employees that span the gamut of engineers, project managers, maintenance workers and construction and financial professionals, are not.
Energy industry experience is in particular demand as the development of solar and other green energy businesses is pushed along in Japan by generous government subsidies.
Currently the government pays solar plants 32 yen ($0.31) per kilowatt hour of energy. The so-called tariff for solar power varies by states and cities in the U.S., but they are as low as several cents. In Germany, it’s about 15 cents.
Sean Travers, Japan president of EarthStream, a London-based recruitment company that specializes in energy jobs, has been scrambling to woo TEPCO employees as foreign companies do more clean energy business in Japan.
“TEPCO employees are very well trained and have excellent knowledge of how the Japanese energy sector works, making them very attractive,” he said. Two top executives at U.S. solar companies doing business in Japan, First Solar director Karl Brutsaert and SunPower Japan director Takashi Sugihara, said they have interviewed former TEPCO employees for possible posts.
Besides their experience, knowledge of how the utility industry works and their contacts, with both private industry and government bureaucracy, are prized assets.
“It’s about the human network and the TEPCO employees have all the contacts,” said Travers, who says he has recruited about 20 people from TEPCO and is hoping to get more.
Yoshikawa, the former TEPCO maintenance worker, said he has received several offers for green-energy jobs that paid far better than his salary at TEPCO of 3 million yen ($30,000) a year.
Since September 2012, all TEPCO managers have had their salaries slashed by 30 percent, while workers in non-management positions had their pay reduced 20 percent. http://www.businessweek.com/ap/2014-07-10/stigmatized-nuclear-workers-quit-japan-utility
Jobs in Renewable Energy Expand in Turbulent Process http://www.investorideas.com/news/2014/renewable-energy/07031.asp New analysis examines global trends in employment in the renewable energy sector
Ideas get bigger when you share them… Washington, D.C. – July 3, 2014 (Investorideas.com renewable energy stocks newswire) There may now be as many as 6.5 million direct and indirect jobs in renewable energy, according to updated data from theInternational Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). Earlier assessments had put the global estimate at 2.3 million jobs in 2008 (United Nations Environment Programme) and at 5 million jobs in 2012 (International Labour Organization). Although these estimates suggest a strong expansion in employment in renewable energy, the figures also represent successive efforts to broaden data collection across countries and sectors, write Worldwatch Senior Researcher Michael Renner and IRENA’s Rabia Ferroukhi, Arslan Khalid, and Alvaro Lopez-Peña in the Worldwatch Institute’s latest Vital Signs Online trend (www.worldwatch.org).
The overall upward trend in renewable energy jobs has been accompanied by considerable turmoil in some industries. Nowhere are the upheavals more noticeable than in the solar photovoltaic (PV) sector, where intensified competition, massive overcapacities, and tumbling prices have caused a high degree of turbulence in the last two to three years, but they have also triggered a boom in installations. Global PV employment is thought to have expanded from 1.4 million jobs in 2012 to as many as 2.3 million in 2013.
Solar PV has bypassed biofuels (ethanol and biodiesel) as the top renewable energy job generator. Most of the 1.45 million biofuels jobs are found in the growing and harvesting of feedstock such as sugar cane, corn, or palm oil. This involves physically demanding manual work, and workers often contend with oppressive workplace conditions. Processing of the feedstock into fuels offers far fewer jobs, but the ones created are higher skilled and they pay better.
Employment in the next-largest renewables sector, wind power, is estimated to run to some 834,000 jobs. Uncertainty about the future direction of policies in several countries weakened job creation in this field in 2013, leading to a sharp drop in new installations in the United States and to weak markets in large parts of Europe and in India. In contrast, developments in China and Canada were more positive.
Countries that are home to half of the world’s population-China, members of the European Union, Brazil, the United States, and India-account for the bulk of renewable energy employment: 5.8 million direct and indirect (supply chain) jobs out of 6.5 million worldwide.
Better information is necessary for a range of countries to generate a more complete and accurate renewable energy employment picture. Attention is also needed on the question of whether development of renewable energy leads to job loss elsewhere, including in the conventional energy industries.
All in all, available information suggests that renewable energy has grown to become a significant source of jobs. Rising labor productivity notwithstanding, the job numbers are likely to grow in coming decades as the world’s energy system shifts toward low-carbon sources.
Country Highlights from the Report:
- China is the largest employer in the renewable energy sector. The latest estimates by the country’s National Renewable Energy Center suggest almost 1.6 million jobs in the solar PV industry in 2013. Other major sources of renewables employment provide close to 1 million jobs.
- European Union member states had more than 1.2 million renewable energy jobs in 2012. Even though Germany suffered some job losses in 2013, the country remains the dominant renewable energy employer in Europe, with about 371,000 jobs. Spain’s renewables sector has been hit hard by economic crisis and a series of adverse government policy changes. The country suffered a net loss of 23,700 jobs between 2008 and 2012, or 17 percent.
- In Brazil, renewable energy is largely synonymous with sugarcane-based ethanol. A factor of rising importance is the growing mechanization of sugarcane harvesting, which has brought the number of direct jobs down from 460,000 in 2006 to 331,000 in 2012, even as ethanol processing jobs increased.
- In the United States, the number of wind and ethanol jobs has fluctuated, but solar employment has been rising fast. In the wind sector, the stop-and-go nature of the U.S. Production Tax Credit has affected employment, with the 92 percent drop in new wind installations during 2013 resulting in a decline from 80,700 jobs in 2012 to 50,500 jobs in 2013. U.S. ethanol employment fell in 2012 because of rising feedstock prices, reduced yields due to drought, and lower demand, although conditions improved and employment stabilized in 2013. Solar employment was close to 143,000 jobs in 2013, a gain of 20 percent.
- In most other countries, the number of renewable energy jobs is still limited, and often there is simply no reliable information at all.
For more information and to obtain a complimentary copy of “Jobs in Renewable Energy Expand in Turbulent Process,” please contact Gaelle Gourmelon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Worldwatch Institute:
IRENA: 6.5 M People Employed in Renewable Energy Worldwide http://dailyfusion.net/2014/05/6-5-m-employed-in-renewable-energy-28962/ May 30, 2014 In 2013, approximately 6.5 million people were already employed in the renewable energy industry worldwide, a new study by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) reveals.
“With 6.5 million people directly or indirectly employed in renewable energy, the sector is proving that it is no longer a niche, it has become a significant employer worldwide,” said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin. “The insights into shifts along segments of the value-chain revealed in the report are crucial to developing policy that strengthens job growth in this important sector of the economy.”
Renewable energy employment was shaped by regional shifts, industry realignments, growing competition and advances in technologies and manufacturing processes in 2013. The largest employers by country are China, Brazil, the United States, India, Germany, Spain and Bangladesh, while the largest employers by sector are solar photovoltaic, biofuels, wind, modern biomass and biogas.
Among other updates, the 6.5 million figure published in the annual review reflects growth in Chinese numbers, which can be attributed to a significant increase in annual installation and manufacturing activity and differences in the way employment figures are estimated. IRENA estimates a five-fold increase of solar PV installations in China from 2011 to 2013. Surging demand for solar PV in China and Japan has increased employment in the installation sector and eased some PV module over-supply concerns,” said Rabia Ferroukhi, heading the Knowledge, Policy and Finance division at IRENA and lead author of the report. “Consequently some Chinese manufacturers are now adding capacity.”
In the wind industry, China and Canada provided positive impulses while the outlook for the United States remains somewhat mixed because of political uncertainty. The offshore wind industry is still concentrated in Europe, particularly the United Kingdom and Germany.
The biofuels value chain provides the second largest number of renewable energy jobs after solar PV. The United States remains the largest biofuels producer, while Brazil remains the largest employer.
Renewable energy sector now supports over 100,000 UK jobs by ClickGreen staff. Published Wed 30 Apr 2014 The renewable energy industry has attracted nearly £30 billion of private sector investment since 2010, according to a new joint report published by the REA, Innovas and PwC.
The huge investment has enabled the industry to sustain over 100,000 jobs in 2013, generate turnover last year of £14 billion and deliver 4.2% of UK energy.
The report, REview – Renewable Energy View: 2014, builds on the REA’s 2012 report Renewable Energy: Made in Britain, the first industry-wide analysis of employment in the UK renewable energy industry.
The 116-page paper is the most complete assessment to date of the UK renewable energy market and will be formally launched this evening by Energy Minister Greg Barker in the House of Commons.
REA Chief Executive Dr Nina Skorupska said the report should provide the Government with a reminder of learning from past mistakes and provide market stability.
She added: “This report highlights the close relationship between clear, stable policies and sustained growth and jobs in the renewable energy industry. The Government’s renewable electricity policies have incentivised nearly £28 billion of private investment since 2010, achieving annual growth rates of over 20%. The world’s first Renewable Heat Incentive is also beginning to spur positive growth in green heating. This is a tremendous success story.
“This positive message also comes with a warning. Drastic Feed-in Tariff cuts in 2011/12 led to widespread job losses in the solar industry, and the continued policy uncertainty for renewable transport has seen employment and investment opportunities in UK refineries go begging.
“Clear, stable policies create the investment, jobs and growth in renewables that the UK needs. We urge the Government to learn the lessons from past experiences, such as solar FITs and biofuels uncertainty, and engage closely with industry to resolve outstanding uncertainties, such as State Aid rules and the details of CfDs.”
Analysis by the REA reveals that:
* Renewable electricity generation has grown steadily, increasing on average by 20.3% year-on-year between 2009 and 2013………
Green energy IPPs create 14 000 jobs http://www.iol.co.za/business/companies/green-energy-ipps-create-14-000-jobs-1.1675332 April 14 2014 Independent power producers (IPPs) using renewable energy had created about 14 000 jobs over the past three years, Energy Minister Ben Martins said on Friday. “One of the imperatives of government is to ensure that all departments assist in job creation. Through the independent power producers programme, more than 14 000 have been created,” Martins said following a summit with 61 IPPs. “At the meeting, we acknowledged and expressed appreciation of the fact that to date more than R100 billion has been invested into this particular sector.” IPPs are entities which either own and or operate facilities that generate electric power. They then sell the power to a utility, central government buyer or to end users. The meeting was also attended by representatives of the Development Bank of Southern Africa, Eskom and the Public Investment Corporation. Diplomats representing Denmark, Spain, Germany, Norway, and the UK were also present at the Pretoria meeting. Martins said the IPP project had brought significant direct foreign investment. – Sapa
KPFA in Japan: I’ve learned over 800 people have disappeared from Fukushima plant — “May have been killed or died during work” — “Gov’t actually in business with the Yakuza” (AUDIO) http://enenews.com/kpfa-in-japan-ive-learned-over-800-people-missing-from-fukushima-plant-they-may-have-been-killed-or-died-during-work-govt-is-actually-in-business-with-the-yakuza-audio?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ENENews+%28Energy+News%29
KPFA Flashpoints, Mar. 10, 2014 (at 3:00 in):
Steve Zeltzer, reporting from Japan: One of the things I learned in Osaka from the president of the day laborers is that many of the day laborers being brought into the plant, they’re not being registered and they’re disappearing. There were over 800 day laborers who have disappeared from contact by the union, which means they may have been killed or died during work.
KPFA Flashpoints, Mar. 11, 2014 (at 4:00 in):
Zeltzer: The government now is in control of Tepco, which runs Fukushima plant, and they’ve allowed the use contract workers, through the Yakuza. So the government is actually in business with the Yakuza, allowing the Yakuza to bring in these workers, and we heard a report that many are not even being registered when they go into the plant so they’re not entitled to health care and also when they get sick and over-doses you can’t tell because they haven’t been registered, these are the contract workers at the plant. […] These workers are basically being used as cannon fodder. Some of them are not only day laborers but also immigrant workers who are being used as well to clean up the plant.
UK opposition to new EU green eenergy targets could risk ‘half a million jobs’ theguardian.com, Thursday 2 January 2014 Britain’s demand to keep nuclear option open to reduce emissions will mean potential job losses, leaked report shows Adam Vaughan Over half a million new jobs over the next two decades could be at risk from the UK’s opposition to new EU targets for green energy, according to a leaked official report from the European commission.
Since last spring, European countries have been battling over what new climate change targets should be set to follow the existing ones for greenhouse gas emissions, renewable energy and energy efficiency, which run out in 2020. The UK, along with the Czech Republic, is strongly opposed to setting a new renewable energy goal for 2030, favouring an overall target for greenhouse gas emissions instead – which would entail an ambitious cut of 50% on 1990 levels. They want countries to be allowed the freedom to reach the target as they choose to, for example by relying heavily on nuclear power.
Energy and climate secretary, Ed Davey, has said: “We need a technology neutral approach to how individual countries meet their emissions targets … we will therefore oppose a renewable energy target at an EU level as inflexible and unnecessary.”
But a draft report, commissioned by the European commission on the impact of setting different targets and seen by the Guardian, says that including renewable energy and energy efficiency targets in addition to a greenhouse gas emissions target would create around 568,000 more jobs across Europe by 2030 than an emissions one alone. However, the cost of having renewable energy and efficiency targets would be 2.6% higher than with just an emissions target alone, the report notes.Germany, Denmark, Austria and Finland back a renewable energy target. A new energy efficiency target is considered unlikely.The wind industry said that not setting a renewable energy target would make it harder for developers to attract investment. ……
The new German government has already set a target of 40-45% of its electricity supply coming from renewable sources by 2025, higher than the 30-35% EU-wide target being discussed. By contrast, the UK has been one of the worst performers for share of energy generated by renewable sources, near the bottom of the European league table along with Malta and Luxembourg. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jan/02/uk-eu-renewables-targets
they always give the dirty jobs to indigenous people
NAU seeks Navajos for uranium cleanup training http://www.sunherald.com/2013/11/25/5146098/nau-seeks-navajos-for-uranium.html BY FELICIA FONSECA Associated PressNovember 25, 2013 FLAGSTAFF, ARIZ. — Northern Arizona University is using federal grant money to address two of the most widespread problems on the Navajo Nation — unemployment and uranium contamination.
A $200,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will allow the school’s Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals to train up to 40 people over three years to safely handle radioactive materials and to find a job in a place where the unemployment rate hovers around 50 percent.
About 4 million tons of uranium ore were mined from the reservation from 1944 to 1986 for wartime weapons, leaving a legacy of death and disease. Families still live among the contamination that the tribe and federal government are working toward cleaning up. The top priority is the former Northeast Church Rock Mine near Gallup, N.M. Continue reading
TV: Mentally disabled are working at Fukushima Daiichi, says journalist — Many men forced to go to plant — Homeless treated like ‘disposable people’ (VIDEO) http://enenews.com/tv-journalist-says-theres-mentally-disabled-workers-at-fukushima-many-men-forced-to-work-at-plant-homeless-treated-like-disposable-people-video
Atomic Mafia? Yakuza cleans up Fukushima, neglects basic worker
RT News, , Nov. 20, 2013: Homeless men employed cleaning up the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant, including those brought in by Japan’s yakuza gangsters, were not aware of the health risks they were taking and say their bosses treated them like “disposable people.” [...] While some workers voluntarily agreed to take jobs on the nuclear clean-up project, many others simply didn’t have a choice [...] many of the workers were brought into the nuclear plant by Japan’s organized crime syndicates, the yakuza. [...] Although a special task force to keep organized crime out of the nuclear clean-up project has been set up, investigators say they need first-hand reports from those forced to work by the yakuza [...]
Anonymous former Fukushima worker: We were given no insurance for health risks, no radiation meters even. We were treated like nothing, like disposable people — promised things, and then kicked us out when we received a large radiation dose.
Tomohiko Suzuki, journalist who worked at Fukushima plant: The government called Tepco to take urgent action, Tepco relayed it to subcontractors — and they, eventually, as they had a shortage of available workers, called the Yakuza for help. [...] They were given very general information about radiation and most were not even given radiation meters. They could have exposed themselves to large doses without even knowing it. Even the so-called Fukushima 50 [...] at least three of them were enrolled by the yakuza.
Aleksey Yaroshevsky, RT: : There are 25% more openings for jobs at Fukushima plant than applicants, according to government data. Gaps filled, says Suzuki, by the homeless, the desperately unemployed and even those with mental disabilities. Watch the broadcast here
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