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. Read more »
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
A Fridge Full of Uranium for Honeywell Employees, In These Times, BY MIKE ELK 7 Nov 13 On Monday, a Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) team arrived at Honeywell’s Metropolis, Ill., uranium conversion plant to do a routine weeklong inspection. Recently, workers at the plant have alleged that the employee refrigerator in the control room of the main processing building has repeatedly tested positive for dangerous levels of uranium.
But because Honeywell will not allow a qualified union worker to accompany NRC representatives on their inspections if the workers are on layoff, the union claims that the company is putting them and the local community at risk.
During the last few years, the plant has faced problems with federal authorities over a series of safety issues. In March 2011, after an investigation by the Environmental Proection Agency (EPA), Honeywell pleaded guilty to one felony offense for knowingly storing hazardous radioactive waste without a permit in violation of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)” and paid an $11.9 million fine to the federal government. Two months later, OSHA officially cited the company for 17 serious violations for the accidental release of toxic hydrogen fluoride (HF) gas directly into the atmosphere outside of the plant in December 2010.
Members of United Steel Workers Local 7-699, which represents workers at the Metropolis plant, claim that having a specifically designated worker present during inspections was the key to at least some of the company’s citations in 2011. The plant, workers say, is large and complex. Though inspectors are highly trained, they may miss small but crucial details during their visits. Union representatives, they say, can point out problems known to workers that regulatory officials may otherwise overlook.
So when workers found out that the union’s elected representative, USW Local 7-699 President Stephen Lech, would not be allowed to go on the NRC inspections because he is on what the union labels a “punitive” layoff, they were outraged. As union president, they say, Lech talks to more members of the union and has a more in-depth knowledge of safety issues than anyone else…….http://inthesetimes.com/working/entry/15848/honeywell_employees_west_texas_regulation_uranium_fridge/
Fukushima: Japan’s Cut-Price Nuclear Cleanup: Human Error, Plummeting Morale and Worker Exodus 福島は割引清掃 By Global Research News Global Research, November 04, 2013
The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 11, Issue 43, No. 2, October 28, 2013. TEPCO woes continue amid human error, plummeting morale and worker exodus By Justin McCurry and David McNeill reporting from Fukushima
During a visit to Fukushima Daiichi in September, Abe Shinzo told workers: “the future of Japan rests on your shoulders. I am counting on you.”
The prime minister’s exhortation was directed at almost 6,000 technicians and engineers, truck drivers and builders who, almost three years after the plant suffered a triple meltdown, remain on the frontline of the world’s most hazardous industrial cleanup.
Yet as the challenges facing Fukushima Daiichi become clearer with every new radiation leak and mishap, the men responsible for cleaning up the plant are suffering from plummeting morale, health problems and deep anxiety about the future. Even now, at the start of a decommissioning operation that is expected to last four decades, the plant faces a shortage of workers qualified to manage the dangerous work that lies ahead, according to people with firsthand knowledge of the situation inside the facility. Read more »
‘Nuclear Slaves’ at Fukushima: Workers have debts paid off, forced to stay as ‘indentured servants’ — Foreign workers may soon be needed at plant, official reveals http://enenews.com/nuclear-slaves-at-fukushima-workers-have-debts-paid-off-forced-to-stay-as-indentured-servants-foreign-workers-may-soon-be-needed-at-plant-reveals-tepco-vp
Voice of Russia, Oct. 27, 2013: “Nuclear slaves” discovered at Fukushima [...] An in-depth journalistic investigation uncovered that thousands of unemployed Japanese were tricked into working underpaid and highly dangerous jobs on the site of Fukushima’s nuclear disaster. [...] Yakuza act as enforcers who keep the “nuclear slaves” from complaining or leaving their jobs. [...] Reuters reports that “labor brokers” [...] resort to “buying” laborers by paying off their debts and then forcing them to work in hazardous conditions until their debt to the “labor broker” is paid off. Such “employment schemes” are commonly referred to as “indentured servitude” and are a form of slavery [...] Lake Barrett, a former US nuclear regulator and an advisor to Tepco, told the news agency that existing practices won’t be changed for Fukushima decontamination: “There’s been a century of tradition of big Japanese companies using contractors, and that’s just the way it is in Japan. You’re not going to change that overnight just because you have a new job here, so I think you have to adapt.”
Asahi Oct. 28, 2013: TEPCO President Naomi Hirose [...] explained that it is getting difficult for the utility to secure sufficient manpower at the plant and that it was grappling with tasks the company was not familiar with.
AP,, Oct. 28, 2013: Hirose acknowledged that TEPCO is having trouble finding a stable pool of workers at the plant [...] TEPCO Vice President Zengo Aizawa said [...] that uncertainty remains over the long-term decommissioning process. “We are not sure about our long-term staffing situation during the upcoming process of debris removal, which requires different skills,” Aizawa told a news conference. Asked if the company may have to consider hiring foreign workers, he said TEPCO is open to that idea even though it’s not an immediate option. [...] [Shunichi Tanaka, chairman of the NRA] called on Hirose to implement sweeping steps to safeguard workers from high doses of radiation and other troubles [...]
UPDATE: Fukushima Worker: I was diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2012, now stomach and intestinal cancers found recently — Each developed independently, not from one spreading — Worked at plant for just 4 months in 2011
Radiation, desperation and gangsters: Inside the hidden tragedy of Fukushima The Globe and Mail , 25 Oct 13 ANTONI SLODKOWSKI AND MARI SAITO IWAKI — Reuters , Oct. 25 2013 Tetsuya Hayashi went to Fukushima to take a job at ground zero of the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl. He lasted less than two weeks.
Hayashi, 41, says he was recruited for a job monitoring the radiation exposure of workers leaving the plant in the summer of 2012. Instead, when he turned up for work, he was handed off through a web of contractors and assigned, to his surprise, to one of Fukushima’s hottest radiation zones.
He was told he would have to wear an oxygen tank and a double-layer protective suit. Even then, his handlers told him, the radiation would be so high it could burn through his annual exposure limit in just under an hour.
“I felt cheated and entrapped,” Hayashi said. “I had not agreed to any of this.” Read more »
At Fukushima, ‘nuclear gypsies’ struggle with low wages and steep risks The Verge, By Katie Drummond on October 25, 2013 ”….. the process of cleaning up that mess has become something of a disaster itself: an estimated 50,000 “nuclear gypsies” employed by the project are now grappling with poor wages, risky working conditions, and rampant labor violations. In a sweeping investigation, Reuters reports that a combination of factors like lax governmental regulations, sketchy contractors, and poor oversight is to blame for the fiasco. Some workers complain of having their wages skimmed by illegal labor rackets, while others say they were hired to do one job before being forced into a much more dangerous one. Unfortunately, the investigation notes that the Fukushima cleanup merely highlights problems that have long plagued the industry. “Working conditions in the nuclear industry have always been bad,” Saburo Murata, deputy director of Osaka’s Hannan Chuo Hospital, told Reuters. “Problems with money, outsourced recruitment, lack of proper health insurance — these have existed for decades.” http://www.theverge.com/2013/10/25/5028568/fukushima-nuclear-cleanup-low-wages-high-risks
UNIONS WANT DEDICATED PLANNING AUTHORITY SET UP FOR SELLAFIELD, TIMES AND STAR, By Julian Whittle , 30 August 2013 Sellafield unions are calling for a dedicated planning authority to be set up specifically for the nuclear site and surrounding area. This new body would rule on any proposals for a nuclear power station or underground waste repository, taking over planning powers which are currently held by local authorities.
The call is a reaction to Cumbria County Council’s decision in February to block investigations into the suitability of west Cumbria for a repository and is among 10 recommendations drawn up by the Unite union on behalf of the Sellafield Workers’ Campaign.
Unite’s report asks the Government to “begin a new search” for a suitable site for a geological disposal facility with the search taking place “within the perimeter of the proposed new planning authority”.
The report, Sellafield – at the heart of a low carbon energy future, was launched this morning at Energus at Lillyhall with Copeland MP Jamie Reed as keynote speaker.
It contains a three-point plan to secure 10,000 jobs. This involves building a nuclear power station, exploring the use of Sellafield’s plutonium stocks as fuel for power stations, and pursuing the idea of a waste repository……. http://www.timesandstar.co.uk/unions-want-dedicated-planning-authority-set-up-for-sellafield-1.1081398
Debunking the Renewables “Disinformation Campaign”, Mother Earth News, Despite vast evidence supporting the advancement of renewable energy, various media outlets insist on denying its progress, blurring the lines between inefficient reporting and deliberate lying. By Rocky Mountain Institute August 19, 2013 “……..a recent study commissioned by Germany’s Federal Environment Ministry found that the renewable energy sector provided around 382,000 jobs in 2011, up four percent in a year, and more than doubled in seven years. More jobs have been created than lost in Germany’s energy sector—plus any jobs gained as heavy industry moves to Germany for its competitive electricity.
Yet a myth persists that countries lose more jobs then they gain when they transition to renewables. This upside-down fantasy rests largely on a 2009 study from King Juan Carlos University in Spain, by an economist reportedly tied to ExxonMobil, the Heartland Institute, and the Koch brothers. His study asserted that, on average, every renewable energy job in Spain destroys 2.2 jobs in the broader Spanish economy. This story was picked up by news media around the world and is still promoted by U.S. anti-renewables groups. But its methodology and assumptions were promptly demolished by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and the Spanish government, among others. A 2012 report for the International Labour Organization (ILO) even cites Spain, which built a renewable export industry, as a counterexample: “The green economy presents a good opportunity to increase competitiveness, promote the creation of quality employment and reduce the economy’s environmental impact,” says Joaquín Nieto, who heads the ILO Office in Madrid, especially “when Spain needs to kick-start its economy.” Sure enough, despite new electricity taxes and a halt to subsidies for new renewable projects, Spain’s latest solar projects continue to be built to compete without subsidy.
The disinformation campaign about job creation is not limited to Europe. A Cato Institute article claimed that if people believe a commitment to renewables will fuel job growth “we’re in a lot of trouble.” Yet in 2012 alone, more than 110,000 new U.S. clean-energy direct jobs were created, and in 2010, the U.S. had more jobs in the “clean economy” than in the fossil-fuel industries. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that direct employment in May 2012 totaled 181,580 for oil and gas extraction, 87,520 for coal mining, and 93,200 for iron and steel production. BLS doesn’t similarly classify solar or wind jobs, but reputable analysts have determined from bottom-up industry surveys that in September 2012, for example, the U.S. had 119,016 direct solar jobs (89 percent full-time, the rest at least half-time), up 27 percent in two years—more than in steel-making or coal-mining. Had you heard that before? Why not? …….. http://www.motherearthnews.com/renewable-energy/debunking-the-renewables-disinformation-campaign-zm0z1308zsal.aspx#axzz2cYi1w7VS
9,640 Fukushima plant workers reach radiation level for leukemia compensation http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201308050104 August 05, 2013 By MIKI AOKI/ Staff Writer Nearly 10,000 people who worked at the stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant are eligible for workers’ compensation if they develop leukemia, but few are aware of this and other cancer redress programs. Read more »
For Johnson, speaking out has had consequences, as she said she ran up substantial legal bills without expectation of a resolution with TVA. But she became more concerned about the costs of not speaking out.
“I found myself in the position of becoming a whistleblower when TVA management altered root cause reports I authored to subdue their findings,” she said last week. “I hope that bringing this story to public light will force TVA to address the safety significance of altering the findings of teams of engineers and experts for the sake of protecting production and their own bonuses.”
What federal regulators have said in recent years:
• Browns Ferry failed to notice a blocked low-pressure cooling line.
• Inspectors discovered wider problems with safety culture at Browns Ferry.
What a search of TVA and Nuclear Regulatory Commission documents also shows:
• The backup low-pressure line also malfunctioned.
• The high-pressure core spray was installed incorrectly.
• The Unit 1 reactor operated for years with overlapping, malfunctioning emergency cooling systems.
What a whistleblower alleges, and paperwork supports:
• TVA ignored or obscured failing safety tests for malfunctioning equipment.
• TVA hurried to install equipment based on managerial bonuses.
What TVA acknowledges in their own paperwork:
• The plant operated for years with a bias toward power production over safety. Read more »
Some of the issues pertain to female worker’s miscarriages; [CEO] Duvenhage’s apparent failure to engage with the union; the company’s reluctance to give workers a “single cent” for an annual increment; unfair performance bonuses; nepotism and corruption.
Australian-based Paladin Energy Ltd. (TSE:PDN) owns 100% interest in the mine.
Protests hit second largest uranium mine in Namibia http://www.mining.com/protests-hit-second-largest-uranium-mine-in-namibia-85919/ Vladimir Basov | July 2, 2013 About 300 workers, including mine staff and contractor employees, picketed at Langer Heinrich Uranium (LHU) mine last Thursday over pay and working conditions, The Namibian reported.
Workers and media were barred from the minesite where the demonstration was supposed to take place although the protesters had organized the peaceful demonstration at the beginning of last week and had announced it to the mine’s management.
As a result, all day shift buses were forced to stop inside the concession area where workers then had to disembark – about five kilometres away from the actual site. To their dismay, the protesters were forced to picket at the concession area. The Mineworkers Union of Namibia (MUN) branch executives felt that the mine’s management snubbed what it termed a legal and democratic action. Read more »
Workers at U.S. nuclear site exposed — Levels “well above threshold for a High Contamination Area” #Hanford http://enenews.com/workers-at-u-s-nuclear-site-exposed-levels-well-above-threshold-for-a-high-contamination-area-hanford
Title: PNNL staffers exposed to radioactive tritium in Richland
Source: The Bellingham Herald
Author: Annette Cary
Date: June 27, 2013
Two Pacific Northwest National Laboratory employees inhaled small amounts of radioactive tritium while doing work in the Hanford 300 Area last month. [...]
Tritium inadvertently spread outside the fume hood, including along the routes to radiological trash disposal.
“Contamination levels on the floor immediately adjacent to the fume hood were well above the threshold for a High Contamination Area,” according to the defense board staff report. [...]
The event is still under investigation and it’s too soon to say if any changes will be made to laboratory procedures, [PNNL spokesman Greg Koller] said.
See also: TV: “It appears the worst case scenario has happened” at U.S. nuclear site — Most dangerous material on earth “out of control”? — A whopping 800,000 dpm measured outside tank (VIDEO) #Hanford
2012 was the second highest year ever for renewable energy investments – but being “second” doesn’t reflect installed capacity as prices for renewable energy equipment, particularly related to solar power, have plummeted.
Last year was another record year in terms of installed capacity; with 115 GW of new renewables put in place globally. However, 2012 saw the most significant change so far in the balance of renewable energy investment activity between developed and developing economies. Read more »
Red Cross radiation limit for relief workers too low, say critics Asahi Shimbun, By YURI OIWA June 13, 2013 The Japanese Red Cross Society has established a guideline for medical workers that sets an accumulated radiation dose limit of 1 millisievert for relief activities, although experts have said the ceiling is too low to allow workers to provide ample assistance to disaster victims.
“Radiation doses above 1 millisievert have no health effects,” said Yasushi Asari, a professor of emergency medical care at Hirosaki University. “There is no need for medical workers to use that threshold.”
Masahito Yamazawa, director-general of the Red Cross nuclear disaster preparedness task force, said during in-house discussions there were arguments for and against the 1-millisievert threshold. But the Red Cross determined that a 1-millisievert limit would still allow its workers to engage in relief activities in zones with high radiation levels because each relief mission usually lasts only up to a week, Yamazawa said.
One millisievert is the legal annual dose limit for members of the public during normal times.
Yamazawa added that allowances were also made for the fact that its medical relief squads include clerical workers.
“We have created the guideline out of a positive desire to help victims during a nuclear disaster,” Yamazawa said. “We will use it as a platform for further improvements if the need arises.”
Japanese Red Cross relief units fulfilled a total of 900 missions in communities ravaged by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake. However, initially they were unprepared for a nuclear disaster, and that created a vacuum of relief squads in Fukushima Prefecture during the early stages of the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
Red Cross officials said they learned from that experience and decided to create the new guideline for nuclear disaster relief activities.
The guideline says relief squad members should carry dosimeters and iodine tablets at all times, and retreat to safety whenever they are in danger of being exposed to more than 1 millisievert in accumulated radiation. It also says relief workers should keep clear of zones that are off-limits to residents……
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