Stress on The Front Lines of Fukushima Cleanup, NHK, 12 March 2015 Four years ago, crews at Fukushima Daiichi in Japan were racing to keep the nuclear plant from spiraling out of control following the earthquake and tsunami. Today, that sense of urgency has dissipated. But the situation remains serious as workers juggle a host of problems as they decommission the facility. Given the risks involved, health concerns and other worries weigh heavily on their minds……Every day about 7,000 workers help decommission the reactors. In heavy protective clothing, they carry out such tasks as collecting and storing contaminated water. However, the decommissioning work is expected to take up to 40 years to complete. Keeping stress levels down and morale up is proving difficult.
Maeda says a change of mood has definitely come over his staff. He also says it’s getting harder to find new skilled workers. His company now has only one-third the number of experienced workers it had before the accident. “If it carries on like this, we’ll go out of business,” he says.
Four years after the disaster, the decontamination of land around the plant continues. But it is hard to predict when places like Maeda’s hometown of Namie will be habitable again. He says many residents are losing hope of returning home……… http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/nuclearwatch/20150312.html
French nuclear group Areva to cut up to 6,000 jobs worldwide, Yahoo 7 News May 8, 2015,
Paris (AFP) – French nuclear group Areva, which incurred massive losses last year, announced Thursday it would cut up to 6,000 jobs worldwide as it seeks to slash its costs by a billion euros by 2017. he number of job cuts will be between 5,000 and 6,000 worldwide, said the group’s human resources director Francois Nogue.Between 3,000 and 4,000 of the job losses will be in France.
Areva had earlier said it planned to reduce its labour costs by around 15 percent in France and 18 percent internationally.
The group’s labour costs currently come to between 3.5 billion and 4.0 billion euros — an unsustainable level given that revenues are only about twice that, said Nogue………….https://au.news.yahoo.com/a/27700325/french-nuclear-group-areva-to-cut-up-to-6-000-jobs-worldwide/
There was an NPP worker who died in January 2012. I did a fairly thorough investigation after I was able to obtain police report on him. We got an address for the guarantor for the deceased worker, so we went to that address. There was an apartment building at this address without a unit numbered 204 which was supposed to be where the guarantor lived. In Japan, number four could mean bad luck (Note: In Japanese, number 4 phonetically sounds just likea Japanese word for “death”). After room 203, there was room 205, skipping room 204. I asked the other occupants of the apartment building, but there was no resident there by the name of this guarantor, so it didn’t seem like I wrote down the number wrong. Even though the building could be located on a map, you have to go there to verify the room is actually there. This might have been an guarantor with an imaginary address. This is the dark side of the construction and nuclear industries, not just post-nuclear accident, that those without families, especially elderlies, are given harsh work.
Workers who were exposed to 100 mSv in 2011 are entitled to annual cancer screening and thorough medical care. However, most workers get exposure doses below 100 mSv, such as 90, 95, or 83 mSv, and they don’t qualify for thorough medical care. Workers who had been working at NPP since before the accident know what could happen to them a after reaching a certain exposure dose in one year, or what it means to get exposed to 35 mSv in 2 hours during a particular work. They talk about how they probably won’t live too long. They are determined not to have any children, and they often talk about how uncertain they are about their lives in 5 years.
In current Japan, even children are not being protected, but there are some who are determined to protect children’t health. However, there is hardly any group or individuals advocating for protecting the workers in the most dangerous environment at FDNPS. I believe that is our responsibility. My article about the deceased worker from the January 2012 investigation was actually published in a weekly magazine Shukan Bunshun. However, a singer Ayumi Hamazaki suddenly got divorced right then, and I was asked to cut 75% of the article. I think a big reason why information such as this is not publicized is because readers are not craving for such information. We are in essence not fulfilling our duty to be informed……….http://fukushimavoice-eng2.blogspot.com.au/2014/05/mako-oshidori-in-dusseldorf-hidden.html
Nuclear waste workers at Dounreay power station fear for their safety Decommissioning staff, hit by injuries and concerned about equipment, express ‘no confidence’ in management Independent UK, MARK LEFTLY SUNDAY 15 MARCH 2015 THE DECOMMISSIONING OF ONE OF THE UK’S MOST SIGNIFICANT NUCLEAR POWER STATIONS HAS RUN INTO SERIOUS PROBLEMS AFTER WORKERS RESPONSIBLE FOR DISPOSING OF RADIOACTIVE WASTE ACCUSED THEIR MANAGERS OF FAILING TO KEEP THEM SAFE.
Staff at Dounreay, on Scotland’s northern coast, have written to the site’s managing director, Mark Rouse, to raise concerns about decommissioning process.
The letter, seen by The Independent on Sunday, says workers have reported an “increasing number of injuries” and have “serious concerns” about the quality of new protective suits and other safety equipment. And they have “no confidence in senior management”.
The letter was sent to Mr Rouse last November, six weeks after a fire at the plant resulted in a serious radioactive leak. Staff warn that the situation at Dounreay is now similar to that of the mid-1990s, when a major safety audit had to be carried out.
Later this week Mr Rouse and a senior executive from the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) will address the Dounreay Stakeholder Group, but the problems will add to growing concerns around the UK’s multi-billion pound nuclear clean-up industry. Earlier this month, the National Audit Office reported that the cost of decommissioning and cleaning up the Sellafield nuclear site in Cumbria has increased by £5bn to £53bn. The private sector consortium responsible for Sellafield was sacked in January.
In September, it emerged that the overall cost of cleaning up Britain’s toxic nuclear sites has risen by £6bn, from an estimated £63bn over the next century to £69bn. The Government and regulators have been accused of “incompetence”…..
The workers’ letter claims that the focus on delivery has been “at the expense of safe processes and practices on health, safety and welfare”…….http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/nuclear-waste-workers-at-dounreay-power-station-fear-for-their-safety-10108715.html
Professor: Fukushima workers told us about “all of the deaths” happening at nuclear plant — We stayed at their dormitory and “learned a lot about what’s going on there, it really is not pretty” — Instructor who was with him on trip weeps while topic is discussed (VIDEO) http://enenews.com/professor-fukushima-workers-revealed-all-deaths-happened-nuclear-plant-stayed-dormitory-learned-lot-about-whats-going-really-pretty-instructor-during-trip-weeps-during-conversation-video?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ENENews+%28Energy+News%29
Wesleyan University, Feb. 3, 2015 (at 12:45 in):
- William Johnston, Professor of History and East Asian Studies at Wesleyan University, Feb 3, 2015: [Eiko Otake, Visiting Artist at Wesleyan’s College of East Asian Studies, and I] hopped on the train in Tokyo… then rented a car… and we went to the town of Hirono, which is fairly close to the Daiichi reactors… Eiko found a place for us to stay there which was basically a dormitory for these workers. That opened up a whole other world to us. We sat down and had dinner, and we talked…. It was fascinating… we learned a heck of a lot about what was going on there.
- Eiko Otake: (sobbing) Oh God…
- Johnston: It really is not pretty. All of the deaths which have happened with subcontractors, which allows Tepco — which basically owns the place, manages it, but they work through subcontractors – and then when somebody dies, Tepco can say, “None of our men have died, of course not.”… In summer time we also learned of other things that were going on, but we couldn’t get the same lodging.
Asahi Shimbun, Feb 17, 2015: [TEPCO] submitted its plan to provide wide-ranging training programs for workers [after] a string of accidents, some of them fatal… Nine serious accidents occurred between March 2014 and January 2015, resulting in two deaths and eight serious injuries. The labor ministry ordered TEPCO to develop measures to prevent similar incidents following the death of a 55-year-old worker in January… [TEPCO] submitted the plans on Feb. 16 to the labor ministry… outlining countermeasures against occupational injuries and deaths. The report attributed the accidents to tight schedules and a lack of experience… a TEPCO official vowed that the utility would proceed with decommissioning the reactors with the highest priority on safety, saying, “We will ascertain (the pressure on the workers imposed by tight deadlines) by enhancing communication.”… “We have to prevent a situation in which workers feel it is no longer safe to work at the Fukushima plant,” a TEPCO official said. The plant operator also intends to accelerate decommissioning and improve efficiency… so employees will be able to work longer at the plant site before reaching the annual radiation exposure limit of 50 millisieverts.
AFP, Feb 17. 2015: In its preliminary report issued yesterday the IAEA also said it “strongly encourages Tepco… to reinforce safety leadership and safety culture” at the plant, where some 7,000 workers are engaged. One man died there in January after falling into a water tank. “There is still some room to enhance this interaction between radiation safety and labour safety through more integrated plans,” [an IAEA official] said.
Report: California adds nearly 7,500 solar jobs to its nation-leading total http://www.sacbee.com/news/business/article10468988.html BY MARK GLOVER MGLOVER@SACBEE.COM 02/16/2015
California’s solar industry added nearly 7,500 jobs in 2014, boosting its nation-leading total to 54,690, according to a new report by the Washington, D.C.-based Solar Foundation.
That represented a 15.8 percent gain over 47,223 reported in 2013. Nearly 60 percent of the current jobs are in the solar installation sector, according to the report.
Massachusetts was a distant second in the 2014 job rankings, with 9,400 solar industry jobs.
“California’s solar industry has once again proven to be a powerful engine of economic growth and job creation,” Andrea Luecke, foundation president and executive director, said in a statement accompanying the figures.
The report also noted that California is projected to add nearly 10,000 more solar industry jobs in 2015.
The foundation said there were 2,094 solar companies in California as of November 2014, also No. 1 nationally. The Golden State also topped the nation in the number homes powered by solar energy, at more than 2.38 million.
Nationally, the foundation said 173,807 held jobs in the solar industry near the end of 2014, up 21.8 percent from the previous year.
As the renewable industry is considered to be a relatively new source of energy and is still continuously undergoing development and investment, it opens up opportunities for females who would not normally be given a chance to work in the energy sector. Scotland are leading in the renewable sector in the UK, in 2012 almost 30% of electricity generated came from renewable sources compared to just 8% in England and Wales.
If the rest of the UK continue to develop similar to Scotland the number of careers for women within the sector will only increase. Although females are beginning to enter the energy workforce, it is questioned whether these are still mainly in sales and business based roles rather than technical. As of 2010, only 6% of the engineering workforce in the UK were female. Granting this, in 2013 16% of the graduates in engineering degrees were female, which was a small improvement from years prior.
This slight growth over the recent years can be shown through the fact in 2013 50% of the females employed by engineering industries were aged 25-30 years old. This is indication there will be a gradual influx of a younger generation of females into technical roles within the renewable sector as engineers begin to graduate and build their careers within the industry. Initiatives are in place to help encourage and support females to pursue engineering and technical roles. A survey carried out by Atkins in 2013 on females in engineering careers found over 50% of the sample felt they were put off at school for pursuing engineering as it being portrayed as ‘too difficult’ and ‘male dominated’………
Despite the renewable energy industry still being largely dominated by males, there is still huge opportunity for females to get on board not only in business support roles but technical too. With females being gradually encouraged to pursue an engineering career we can expect to see a gradual influx of women in the renewable workforce over the next few years…….https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/increasing-female-presence-renewable-energy-sarah-brooks
Only in renewable energy are jobs growing: in the power sector – job losses, especially in nuclear power
The electric power sector lost more than 5,800 jobs over the last three years, with employment is taking a hit in nearly all energy sources except for renewables, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
Non-hydro renewable electricity generation gained nearly 1,800 jobs over the period, largely in the solar sector.
Data compiled from the Bureau of Labor Statistics only reflects the jobs in electric power generation, and not the jobs associated with managing the grid. Jobs related to the construction of new facilities, processing or transportation of fuels, or behind-the-meter distributed generation installations and service were also excluded from the number set………….
recent coal plant closures caused a net decline of 1,750 fossil fuel power generation jobs since 2011. According to the EIA, the new natural gas plants are less labor-intensive than the older coal plants they’re replacing.
The nuclear industry, however, was the hardest hit. Jobs at nuclear power plants fell by 9 percent, which amounts to 4,900 positions, over the last three years.
The downward trend is on track to continue. Several U.S. nuclear power plants are slated for closure in the coming years and there are next to no plans to replace them. The International Energy Agency, a leading Washington think tank and group of conservation scientists recently made separate appeals for the U.S. to rethink its nuclear energy strategy.
Julia Pyper is a Senior Writer at Greentech Media covering utilities, grid issues, electric vehicles, the solar industry and energy storage. Find her on Twitter @JMPyper. http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/employment-drops-in-all-segments-of-the-power-sector-except-renewables
Tochigi firm warned for hiring high school student for decontamination work, Mainichi 25 Dec 14 NASU, Tochigi –– A construction company hired a high school student for work to decontaminate houses tainted with radiation from the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the Mainichi Shimbun has learned.
The Nasu Municipal Government revealed on Dec. 25 that a construction firm in the town employed a male high school student from outside the town as a part-timer for decontamination work in possible violation of the Labor Standard Act. The law prohibits engaging those under 18 for work that exposes individuals to harmful radiation. The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare has ruled that the legal ban applies to decontamination work.
The municipal government gave a verbal warning to the president of the construction company, while reporting the incident to a local labor standards inspection office in November.
According to town officials, the company hired a second-year high school student in August last year…….http://mainichi.jp/english/english/newsselect/news/20141225p2a00m0na002000c.html
TEPCO Not Disclosing Worker Injuries At Fukushima Daiichi SimplyInfo December 25th, 2014
Journalist Ryuichi Kino has documents a large number of injuries to workers in 2014 that TEPCO has not made public. The information was submitted to the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy. TEPCO’s excuse seemed to be, if the workers didn’t require an outside ambulance ride or helicopter, they were not going to disclose the injury. But some of these injuries were quite serious. Eighteen required repair of broken bones or sutures. There were also 32 cases of heat stroke, this can be quite serious and was the cause or contributor to the death of a number of workers in the first year of the disaster……..http://www.fukuleaks.org/web/?p=14246
Japanese Nation Forgetting Fukushima Plant Cleanup Workers http://sputniknews.com/asia/20141210/1015704138.html As snap elections are nearing, the Fukushima Nuclear power plant workers are urging people to understand the harsh circumstances they work under, risking their life by exposing themselves to radiation every single day. MOSCOW, December 10 (Sputnik) – As elections are nearing in Japan, many of the people working toward the decommissioning of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant say they want voters to know about their harsh working conditions, insufficient pay and worries of radiation exposure, reports The Japan Times.
There are around 6,000 people a day working in the decommissioning process at the plant and it is expected to take 30 to 40 years to complete.
“I’m single, so I can somehow manage with the pay if I don’t go out to amuse myself, but I don’t think you can make a living if you have a family,” said a man in his fifties who has worked in the plant for three years. He has been eradicating debris and setting up tanks to store radioactive water, and is now in charge of removing contaminated water from the reactor building basements. He works for a third-tier subcontractor and makes a monthly salary of less than ¥200,000 ($1650 USD).
As The Japan Times reports, due to high radiation exposure, workers must wear heavy protective clothing and a mask that covers the whole face. It is difficult for them to work more than an hour and a half at a time. The workers start at around 5 a.m. because of the time it takes to get to the plant which is about 40 kilometers away, pass entrance checks and change clothing.
According to one worker his most recent monthly radiation dosage was 1.8 millisieverts. The law states that a nuclear worker’s radiation dosage should not exceed 100 millisieverts in five years and 50 millisieverts in a year. Since the reference mark in the plant is 20 millisieverts a year, the man’s dosage is nearing its limit.
“I feel that people are gradually forgetting about the nuclear accident,” he said. “From now, our work will become even harsher because we will have to go inside the reactor buildings, where the radiation level is even higher. I want people to recognize that there are such workplaces,” he told The Japan Times.
Canada’s Green Energy Sector Now Employs More People Than Its Tar Sands, Climate Progress BY JEFF SPROSS DECEMBER 2, 2014 BETWEEN 2009 AND 2013, EMPLOYMENT IN CANADA’S CLEAN ENERGY SECTOR INCREASED BY 37 PERCENT — MEANING IT NOW SUPPLIES MORE JOBS THAN THE COUNTRY’S INFAMOUS TAR SANDS, ACCORDING TO A NEW REPORT.
“Clean energy has moved from being a small niche or boutique industry to really big business in Canada,” said Merran Smith, the director of Clean Energy Canada.
Green energy tends to be more labor intensive than energy from fossil fuels, meaning that every unit of energy produced by green sources tends to employ more people than those sources that come along with carbon emissions. In America, research suggests green jobs are more accessible to workers without a college education, that green sectors grow a bit faster than the economy as a whole, and that they more successfully weathered the 2008 recession.
The report also noted that Canada’s energy generation capacity in wind, solar, and other renewable sources has grown 93 percent over the past five years, and investors have pumped $25 billion into green energy in the country over that same time period………..http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/12/02/3598312/canada-green-energy-tar-sands/
Fukushima workers still in murky labor contracts: Tepco survey, Chicago Tribune, 27 Nov 14 The number of workers at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant on false contracts has increased in the last year, the station operator said, highlighting murky labor conditions at the site despite a pledge to improve the work environment. The survey results released by Tokyo Electric Power Co <9501.T> (Tepco) late on Thursday showed that around 30 percent of plant workers polled said that they were paid by a different company from the contractor that normally directs them at the worksite, which is illegal under Japan’s labor laws.
Many workers asked Tepco in the survey forms whether they were supposed to receive an equivalent of about $180 a day in hazard pay, the company said, adding that it did not mean each worker would necessarily see a pay increase of that amount.
Tepco said last November it would double the allocation for hazard pay to workers at Fukushima……..http://www.chicagotribune.com/bluesky/technology/sns-rt-us-fukushima-workers-20141127-story.html
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#.
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