Nov 14 2014
More than 2,800 evacuees from a village near the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant are seeking state arbitration for a rise in compensation from Tokyo Electric Power Company, the plant’s operator.
Iitate Village is still an evacuation zone three years and eight months after the nuclear accident at the power plant. But decontamination work is proceeding across the village, which is located about 40 kilometers from the plant.
About half the village’s population, or 2,837 evacuees, filed for arbitration with the Center for Settlement of Fukushima Nuclear Damage Claims on Friday.
They say their prolonged evacuation is splitting local communities and families and threatening generations of the village’s history.
The evacuees are seeking increased compensation and an apology from TEPCO. They want the current monthly evacuation compensation per capita more than tripled to 350,000 yen, or roughly 3,000 dollars per month. They also call for around 172,000 dollars per evacuee in compensation for ruining their village lives.
The representative of the evacuees, Kenichi Hasegawa, explained why they filed for the class-action arbitration. He said the evacuees decided they must express their anger as their lives have not improved since the nuclear accident. He added that the evacuees want their village lives back.
TEPCO said in a statement it has yet to learn the details of the documents. But the company pledges a sincere response to the arbitration in line with settlement procedures
13 Nov 2014
Tokyo, Japan - “Hot spots” of nuclear radiation still contaminate parts of Fukushima Prefecture, according to findings from the latest Greenpeace radiation monitoring mission near the Daiichi nuclear power plant that experienced a melt down after an earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.
Experts from the environmental organisation also claim that authorities have consistently underestimated the amount of contamination and the health risks involved.
Greenpeace will use these results to try to persuade local governments with nuclear power plants in their districts to resist lobbying from the central government to have them reactivated. All 50 of Japan’s remaining nuclear plants were shut down following the 2011 disaster.
Greenpeace began independently monitoring radiation in Fukushima within a few days of the nuclear accident, and it has conducted field trips each year since then. The latest such trip took place from October 24-27.
Heinz Smitai, a nuclear physicist, Greenpeace campaigner and participant in the radiation monitoring mission, told foreign journalists at an October 30 press conference in Tokyo that radiation hot spots exist as far as 60 kilometres from the site of the disaster.
For instance, one street in front of a hospital in Fukushima City “is quite contaminated”, Smitai said, measuring 1.1 microsieverts of radiation per hour. Although this was one of the highest readings, Greenpeace found 70 other places in the city where the amount of radiation recorded exceeded the Ministry of Environment’s long-term target of 0.23 microsieverts per hour.
A sievert is the standard unit for measuring the risk of radiation absorbed by the body. A millisievert is equal to one-thousandth of a sievert, while a microsievert is one-millionth of a sievert. A typical CT scan can deliver from 2 to 10 millisieverts of radiation, depending on the area being scanned.
Source: Al Jazeera
November 12th, 2014
Japanese doctors threatened for revealing data on how bad Fukushima-related illnesses have become — Gundersen: We had pregnant sisters in Tokyo deliver two dead babies and one with deformities that’s alive; Gov’t refuses to disclose miscarriages or stillbirths around Fukushima
Excerpts from Nuclear Hotseat w/ Libbe HaLevy, Nov. 12, 2014 (at 33:15 in):
- Nuclear expert Arnie Gundersen, Fairewinds Energy Education: We have firsthand knowledge from at least a half dozen Japanese doctors… who have said they have been threatened… if they speak frankly to their patients about the health effects that they’re experiencing; or if they frankly speak in public about their fears — and, in fact, measurements — of how bad radioactive illnesses really are. So we know of at least a half a dozen doctors who are being ‘sat on’, and if 6 are, you can be certain that many more are as well. It’s a pressure that’s being applied up and down the spectrum… [You would now expect] exactly what we’re seeing — earlier cancers and thyroid nodules. Then over the next 15 to 20 years, increased organ cancers as well as muscular cancers… The fact of the matter is, we’re going to see cancers in that 4 to 30 year time span. And I still stand by what I’ve been saying now for 3 years. I think there will be a million extra cancers as a result of Fukushima Daiichi.
- Gundersen: For Asahi Shimbun, a major newspaper, to basically call on people to [move] back home based on the [claim there's no increase in birth defects]… is absolutely absurd. The number they’re not giving us is how many stillbirths and how many miscarriages there’s been in relation to the rest of Japan — and those are radiation-induced. You’ll get a stillbirth or you’ll get a miscarriage when a fetus is deformed or it is already developing cancer… The Japanese are not reporting stillbirths and miscarriages in Fukushima… That’s a much better indication… There are 35 million people in the Tokyo Metropolitan Area [and] their homes are contaminated… We had two women, sisters, both pregnant at the same time — one with twins, and one with a single baby. Two of the kids were stillbirths. The other was born with a deformity. They had the metallic taste in their mouth as the babies were in [the womb]. They lived in Tokyo, 130 miles from the accident. They’re people, they’re not statistics… and they’ve got no place to run…. no place to go.
Nuclear Hotseat #177: Fukushima Update – Arnie Gundersen
November 10, 2014
Monitoring efforts along the Pacific Coast of the U.S. and Canada have detected the presence of small amounts of radioactivity from the 2011 Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant accident 100 miles (150 km) due west of Eureka, California. Scientists at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) found the trace amounts of telltale radioactive compounds as part of their ongoing monitoring of natural and human sources of radioactivity in the ocean.
In the aftermath of the 2011 tsunami off Japan, the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant released cesium-134 and other radioactive elements into the ocean at unprecedented levels. Since then, the radioactive plume has traveled west across the Pacific, propelled largely by ocean currents and being diluted along the way. At their highest near the damaged nuclear power plant in 2011, radioactivity levels peaked at more than 10 million times the levels recently detected near North America.
“We detected cesium-134, a contaminant from Fukushima, off the northern California coast. The levels are only detectable by sophisticated equipment able to discern minute quantities of radioactivity,” said Ken Buesseler, a WHOI marine chemist, who is leading the monitoring effort. “Most people don’t realize that there was already cesium in Pacific waters prior to Fukushima, but only the cesium-137 isotope. Cesium-137 undergoes radioactive decay with a 30-year half-life and was introduced to the environment during atmospheric weapons testing in the 1950s and ’60s. Along with cesium-137, we detected cesium-134 – which also does not occur naturally in the environment and has a half-life of just two years. Therefore the only source of this cesium-134 in the Pacific today is from Fukushima.”
The amount of cesium-134 reported in these new offshore data is less than 2 Becquerels per cubic meter (the number of decay events per second per 260 gallons of water). This Fukushima-derived cesium is far below where one might expect any measurable risk to human health or marine life, according to international health agencies. And it is more than 1000 times lower than acceptable limits in drinking water set by US EPA.
Scientists have used models to predict when and how much cesium-134 from Fukushima would appear off shore of Alaska and the coast of Canada. They forecast that detectable amounts will move south along the coast of North America and eventually back towards Hawaii, but models differ greatly on when and how much would be found.
“We don’t know exactly when the Fukushima isotopes will be detectable closer to shore because the mixing of offshore surface waters and coastal waters is hard to predict. Mixing is hindered by coastal currents and near-shore upwelling of colder deep water,” said Buesseler. “We stand to learn more from samples taken this winter when there is generally less upwelling, and exchange between coastal and offshore waters maybe enhanced.”
Because no U.S. federal agency is currently funding monitoring of ocean radioactivity in coastal waters, Buesseler launched a crowd-funded, citizen-science program to engage the public in gathering samples and to provide up-to-date scientific data on the levels of cesium isotopes along the west coast of North America and Hawaii. Since January 2014, when Buesseler launched the program, individuals and groups have collected more than 50 seawater samples and raised funds to have them analyzed. The results of samples collected from Alaska to San Diego and on the North Shore of Hawaii are posted on the website http://OurRadioactiveOcean.org. To date, all of the coastal samples tested in Buesseler’s lab have shown no sign of cesium-134 from Fukushima (all are less than their detection limit of 0.2 Becquerel per cubic meter).
The offshore radioactivity reported this week came from water samples collected and sent to Buesseler’s lab for analysis in August by a group of volunteers on the research vessel Point Sur sailing between Dutch Harbor, Alaska, and Eureka, California. These results confirm prior data described at a scientific meeting in Honolulu in Feb. 2014 by John Smith, a scientist at Fisheries and Oceans Canada in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, who found similar levels on earlier research cruises off shore of Canada. Buesseler and Smith are now working together on a new project, led by Jay Cullen at the University of Victoria, Canada, called InFORM (http://fukushimainform.wordpress.com/) that involves Canadian academic, government and NGO partners to determine and communicate the environmental risks posed by Fukushima for Canada’s Pacific and Arctic coasts and their inhabitants.
Buesseler believes the spread of radioactivity across the Pacific is an evolving situation that demands careful, consistent monitoring of the sort conducted from the Point Sur.
“Crowd-sourced funding continues to be an important way to engage the public and reveal what is going on near the coast. But ocean scientists need to do more work offshore to understand how ocean currents will be transporting cesium on shore. The models predict cesium levels to increase over the next two to three years, but do a poor job describing how much more dilution will take place and where those waters will reach the shore line first,” said Buesseler. “So we need both citizen scientists to keep up the coastal monitoring network, but also research vessels and comprehensive studies offshore like this one, that are too expensive for the average citizen to support,” said Buesseler.
Buesseler will be presenting his results on Nov. 13, 2014, at the SETAC conference in Vancouver (http://meetings.setac.org/frontend.php/presentation/listForPublic ). He is also responding to questions from the public on the “Ask Me Anything” forum on Reddit at 1 p.m. EST on Nov. 10 (http://www.reddit.com/r/science).
Ken Buesseler is a senior scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) who specializes in the study of natural and man-made radionuclides in the ocean. His work includes studies of fallout from atmospheric nuclear weapons testing, assessments of Chernobyl impacts on the Black Sea, and examination of radionuclide contaminants in the Pacific resulting from the Fukushima nuclear power plants. Dr. Buesseler has served as Chair of the Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry Department at WHOI, as Executive Scientist of the U.S. Joint Global Ocean Fluxes Planning and Data Management Office, and two years as an Associate Program Director at the U.S. National Science Foundation, Chemical Oceanography Program. In 2009, he was elected Fellow of the American Geophysical Union and in 2011 he was noted as the top-cited ocean scientist by the Times Higher Education for the decade 2000-2010. He is currently Director of the Center for Marine and Environmental Radioactivity at WHOI. For more info, visit his lab, Café Thorium.
Funding for the citizen monitoring effort at ourradioactiveocean.org comes from close to 400 individuals and sponsoring organizations including Alaska Ocean Observing System, Alaska SeaGrant, Bamfield Marine Science Centre, Cook Inlet Keepers, David Suzuki Foundation, Deerbrook Charitable Trust, Dominical Real Estate, Fukushima Response Campaign, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, Parks Canada, Humboldt State University Marine Lab, Idaho Section of the American Nuclear Society, Integrated Fukushima Ocean Radionuclide Monitoring (InFORM) Network, International Medcom, KUSP Santa Cruz, Lush Cosmetics, Norton Sound Economic Development Corporation, Nuxalk Nation, Onset Computer, Pacific Blue Foundation, Peaceroots Alliance, PFx, a Picture Farm Company, Point Blue Conservation Science, Prince William Sound Science Center, Resurrection Bay Conservation Alliance, San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace, Santa Barbara Channel Keeper, Say Yes! to Life Swims LLC, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Southwest Alaska Inventory and Monitoring Program National Park Service, St. Mary’s School, The Guacamole Fund, The Institute for Building Biology and Ecology, Tillamook Estuaries Partnership, Ucluelet Aquarium, Umpqua Soil & Water Conservation District, University of California Davis Marine Pollution Studies Lab, University of Hawaii, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is a private, independent organization on Cape Cod, Mass., dedicated to marine research, engineering, and higher education. Established in 1930 on a recommendation from the National Academy of Sciences, its primary mission is to understand the ocean and its interaction with the Earth as a whole, and to communicate a basic understanding of the ocean’s role in the changing global environment. For more information, please visit www.whoi.edu.
Originally published: November 10, 2014
By Marc Cherki Published 11/09/2014
Translation by D’un Renard
In Kawauchi, a small village located on both sides of of 20 kilometers division line around the Fukushima plant, many one cubic meter bags, are filled by the decontaminators with radioactive vegetal waste. Plants, grasses, lichens, shrubs that lined the road are now piled into these big bags.
Thus, the radiation received by persons traveling on this path is reduced. The plants are also removed within 20 meters around houses.
With Date and Minamisoma, Kawauchi is one of the “model villages” exemplified by the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) and the Japanese government.
The committed efforts are huge . In less than a year, since the nuclear accident in March 2011, projects funded by the government were already valued at 10 billion euros only for the decontamination of soils, houses and a microscopic part of the forests.
At present, the kariokiba, the temporary storage sites, are overfull of waste.
About 43 million cubic meters (43 million tons), as plastic bags of blue, black or gray colors depending on the choice of the town, are piling into a thousand temporary sites.
The bags are half filled with plants.
The others contain the contaminated soil removed from the surface of rice fields and schoolyards, materials polluted by radioactive fallout cloud or dust collected in houses gutters,
The Japanese government has pledged to deal with the waste from 1 January 2015. But nobody believes this possible in such a short time. “We’re late,” admits Mr Ozawa, deputy director general of the department of environmental restoration in Fukushima, under the Ministry of the Environment.
As early as our first work, which started in the summer of 2012 and mobilized 17,000 people, “local authorities told us that we were too slow,” he admits.
But it is “like playing chess without having the rules. So we had to make the pieces and invent the rules. “
At the Otsube storage site in Kawauchi, Youichi Igari, 40, who works for decontamination, admits that the government should not be able to recover the waste in the time promised.
This thorny issue of waste is closely related to the return of populations. Currently, 130,000 people are still displaced, according to the Government, out of which 50,000 out of the Fukushima Prefecture. The family of Youichi Igari family is one of those who left the town of Kawauchi. “My wife is afraid to come back,” admits the technician.
Compared to our own surveys made with a Geiger counter, the measuring of the radioactivity carried by the city is minimized by a third.
A difference that their expert justified by “the margin of error of measurement” … More serious over the bags covered with a green tarp, plants began to grow. Sign that the sealing is no longer guaranteed.
And if in the kariokiba visited in Date the black bags seem tight, the official measurements of radioaction that people can find on the Internet are lower than our measurements.
Divide by ten the number of bags could improve decontamination and encourage the return of the nuclear exiles.
The Japanese government is planning to burn and store its waste on two sites in Futaba and Okuma for those highly radioactive and in Tomiaka for those weakly radioactive (8,000 Bq / kg). Three towns near the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.
The most active ash (100,000 Bq / kg) will be trapped in concrete and stored in an intermediate site for thirty years. Then to be moved after to a final repository to be stored there for more than two centuries and a half.
For already one year the Japanese government has informed the IAEA of its intentions.
“It’s good management, rather than letting the plants rot and release biogas. Burning waste is a method that we already use in France to reduce volumes.
For some of the waste, the operation in France is performed at the Centraco plant near Marcoule, a subsidiary of Socodei, which packages the ash into concrete, “says Bruno Cahen, the Andra industrial director.
This is particularly the case of technical waste containing cesium-137 which radioaction is halved every thirty years. “It is not possible to recover 100% of the fumes.
But technology can improve the collection of emissions to limit emissions into the atmosphere, “says Didier Dall’Ava, deputy director of sanitation and nuclear decommissioning at CEA.
Finally, in the case of the Japanese waste “the safety of the ashes with concrete must be confirmed from a chemical and mechanical point of view,” adds François Besnus, director of waste at the Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety.
Still, the scale of the Japanese project is extraordinary, outside the norm.
The Marcoule site has the capacity to incinerate 3,000 tons of solid waste per year, it is quite low compared to 22 million tons of radioactive waste that the Japanese government wants to eliminate. Even if Japan opts for the best technique (rejection of one radionuclide in 100,000 to 1 million, according to Areva) this operation will lead to significant emissions into the atmosphere. As to incinerate waste will not remove the radioaction . Reconquérir le territoire reste une tâche titanesque. To reconquer that territory from radiation will remain a gigantic task.
Source : Blog de Serge Angeles
Oct 31, 2014
TAIPEI – Taiwanese authorities are considering requiring production area certificates for all food imports from Japan and radiation check certificates for some, according to informed sources.
The authorities plan to implement the new policy in 2015 after gauging public opinion.
Following the nuclear accident at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant caused by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, Taiwan banned imports of food products from five prefectures, including Ibaraki, Tochigi and Chiba.
In addition, radiation checks have been conducted on vegetables, fruit and fisheries products imported from Japan.
Production area certificates are currently not required.
Under the envisioned policy, Taiwan would require production area certificates for all food imports from Japan and radiation check certificates by the Japanese government for those subject to current radiation checks and certain other products, such as tea and biscuits.
Consumer groups in Taiwan have been calling for stronger regulations on Japanese food imports.
Source: Japan Times
from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant crisis
October 20, 2014
Twenty-seven percent of voters in Fukushima Prefecture, home to the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, want Japan to immediately abolish nuclear energy, around double the national average, an Asahi Shimbun survey found.
About 55 percent of voters in the prefecture support a break away from nuclear power in the near future, according to the telephone survey conducted on Oct. 18-19.
The survey results showed anti-nuclear sentiment is higher in Fukushima Prefecture than in the rest of the country.
Thirteen percent of voters in Tokyo supported the immediate abolition of nuclear energy in a survey in February, while 15 percent expressed the same opinion in a nationwide survey in January.
In those earlier surveys, 61 percent of Tokyoites and 62 percent of respondents nationwide said Japan should break away from nuclear power in the near future.
The latest survey covered 1,701 voters in Fukushima Prefecture and received 1,091 valid responses.
Only 15 percent of Fukushima voters said Japan should continue relying on nuclear energy, compared with 22 percent in the survey in Tokyo and 19 percent nationwide.
The survey also revealed that 66 percent of Fukushima voters accept Governor Yuhei Sato’s decision to allow the construction of an interim facility to store radioactive waste from cleanup work in the prefecture.
Eighteen percent said they disagree with Sato’s decision.
In addition, 53 percent said they support the central government’s decision to end its policy of helping all evacuees from the nuclear disaster return to their homes and instead assist them in resettling elsewhere. Twenty-eight percent were against the decision.
Up to 56 percent of respondents said they highly evaluate the governor’s efforts to rebuild the prefecture from the damage caused by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster, compared with 25 percent who said otherwise.
Forty percent of Fukushima voters said they support Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s Cabinet, matching the 40 percent who did not support the Cabinet.
Source: Asahi Fukushima
Eleven years ago, when he was vice principal of Tomioka Dai-ichi Junior High School, he was diagnosed with malignant lymphoma, a form of blood cancer, and decided to quit to concentrate on treatment.
Although he could not return to teaching, he gave lectures at schools and community centers to convey his thoughts on the importance of life.
In March 2011, the nuclear crisis forced Sanbonsugi to flee to several places in the prefecture, including the town of Furudono and the cities of Aizuwakamatsu and Koriyama, and even to Hokkaido.
Despite his hardships, he kept thinking about all the students he had taught. He was worried they might be in the throes of despair with their futures still unclear 3½ years into the nuclear crisis, or on the verge of giving up on returning to their hometowns.
“I want to support former students who are living as evacuees as much as I can,” said Sanbonsugi, who avidly updates his blog.
“Rather than grieving over what you cannot do, just simply do something you can do. Then, quietly wait for spring to come,” he recently wrote.
Hidefumi Sanpei, 35, one of his former students, works for the Tomioka Municipal Government, which ordered a full evacuation in light of the Fukushima No. 1 meltdowns. As an official in charge of residential support, he helps evacuees deal with their worries and sometimes gets a tongue-lashing in the process.
As an evacuee himself supporting a wife and two children in new surroundings, Sanpei often got fed up with the work and his longing for his hometown.
He said Sanbonsugi’s blog gives him the courage to move forward. One phrase he always keeps in mind is: “Under the same sky, each one of us is living life to the fullest.”
Natsumi Yoshida, 33, who was one of Sanbonsugi’s students at Katsurao Junior High School, now teaches at a special needs school attached to Fukushima University. When the village of Katsurao was forced to evacuate, her former classmates were scattered all over the country.
Yoshida said she hopes to convey to her students a message she read in Sanbonsugi’s blog: “Planting seeds of kindness on the hearts of each and every one of us.”
This section, appearing every third Monday, focuses on topics and issues covered by the Fukushima Minpo, the largest newspaper in Fukushima Prefecture. The original article was published on Oct. 4.
Source: Japan Times
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