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Like the canary in a coalmine, birds tell real story of Fukushima

Like a canary in a coalmine, birds are a good indicator of the quality of an environment. A study has found that Fukushima prefecture has not been friendly to our feathered friends since that fateful day four years ago, and things are not getting better.

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Using animals as environmental indicators is not a new idea, particularly when it involves studying the after effects of radiation. The flora and fauna in and around the site of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster have been studied for years.

Now it is Fukushima’s turn to be studied. Starting a few months after March 11, 2011, when the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power plant disaster occurred, University of South Carolina biologist Tim Mousseau and his colleagues have been monitoring the avian population in and around the Fukushima plant.

Lasting three years, and studying the populations of bird species at over 400 sites around Fukushima, Dr. Mousseau’s team found that half the populations of 57 species of birds had suffered declines. But what they discovered is very interesting. The populations have continued to decline, even though the radiation threat has dropped.

“There are dramatic reductions in the number of birds that should be there based on the overall patterns,” Mousseau told CBS News. “In terms of barn swallows in Fukushima, there had been hundreds if not thousands in many of these towns where we were working. Now we are seeing a few dozen of them left. It’s just an enormous decline.”

Not only have barn swallows been hit hard, but so have the great reed warbler, Japanese bush warbler, and the meadow bunting. Researchers are working to pinpoint the exact cause of the continuing decline.

Earlier field work by Dr. Mousseau showed the nuclear disaster had severe effects on a wide range of species, causing genetic damage to butterflies, monkeys, and other creatures.

Disputing the results of Mousseau study

In 2000, Robert Baker and Ron Chesser of Texas Tech University published a paper saying the Chernobyl nuclear disaster site had turned into a marvelous “game preserve,” thanks to the absence of humans.

Both men assert that in the long term, biodiversity and the abundance of species at Chernobyl and Fukushima are not being affected by radiation. “Despite our best efforts, post-accident field studies aren’t sufficient to give us a clear picture,” says Chesser. “They offer no good controls because we aren’t working with data from before the accident.”

Mousseau found patches of bleached-white feathers on many of the birds he captured at Fukushima, and this told an important story. “The first time I went to Chernobyl in 2000 to collect birds, 20 percent of the birds [we captured] at one particularly contaminated farm had little patches of white feathers here and there—some large, some small, sometimes in a pattern and other times just irregular,” said Mousseau.

The white patches are believed to be due to radiation-induced oxidative stress. This stress depletes the bird’s reserves of the antioxidants that control the color of feathers and other body parts. It was also found and documented that birds suffered other abnormalities from radiation exposure, including cataracts, tumors, asymmetries, developmental abnormalities, reduced fertility and smaller brain size.

Mousseau thinks the studies at both Chernobyl and Fukushima are evidence of the cumulative effects of prolonged radiation exposure on wildlife at different stages after a nuclear disaster. Jim Smith, the editor and lead author of Chernobyl: Catastrophe and Consequences, says he doesn’t believe the white patches have anything to do with radiation because the levels are considered “low-dose.” He remarks, ” This would mean the white feather patches—and perhaps the overall bird declines—are being caused by something other than radiation.”

But Mousseau is sticking to his belief that something is, indeed going on. He says, “The relationship between radiation and numbers started off negative the first summer, but the strength of the relationship has actually increased each year. So now we see this really striking drop-off in numbers of birds as well as numbers of species of birds. So both the biodiversity and the abundance are showing dramatic impacts in these areas with higher radiation levels, even as the levels are declining.”

The question on many people’s minds is this: If radiation isn’t causing the decline in the bird populations at Fukushima, then what is causing the decline?

Dr. Tim Mousseau’s paper was published in the Journal of Ornithology, March 17, 2015, under the title: Cumulative effects of radioactivity from Fukushima on the abundance and biodiversity of birds

Source: http://www.digitaljournal.com/news/environment/like-the-canary-in-a-coalmine-birds-tell-real-story-of-fukushima/article/432537

May 6, 2015 Posted by | Japan | | Leave a comment

NSB-DWM Bearded Seal and Walrus Health Assessment

15 april 2015 a

Colorado St. Univ., Apr 13, 2015 (emphasis added): CSU partners with Fukushima University to study radiation effects… Many CSU faculty and researchers are contributing to radiation research in Japan… including Thomas Johnson… professor of health physics, who is testing trace radiation samples in seal populations in the northern Pacific Ocean, where radiation from the Fukushima disaster was released.
Alaska Marine Science Symposium presentation, Raphaela Stimmelmayr (Dept. of Wildlife Management, North Slope Borough) & Gay Sheffield (Univ.of Alaska – Fairbanks Marine Advisory Program), 2014:
Incidental Gross Necropsy Findings in Subsistence-Harvested Ice Seals and Walruses
• Reproductive system: adnexal cysts [uterus], uterine and penile melanosis [darkening of skin], cliteromegaly [enlarged clitoris], cryptorchism [testicle(s) absent from scrotum], retained placenta;
• Endocrine system: thyroid cysts, adrenal nodules;
• Musculoskeletal system: synovial cyst [fluid-filled sacs in spine due to degeneration];
• Integumentary system: panniculitis [inflammation of fatty tissue], epidermal molt, skin sloughing;
• Respiratory system: lung tumor, parasitic granulomas [inflammation that forms when immune system is unable to eliminate a substance];
• Digestive system: microdontia [teeth smaller than normal], chronic interstitial pancreatitis [inflammation of pancreas], hepatic cyst [liver], cholestatic jaundice [yellowing of skin caused by thickening of bile or problems in liver], geophagia [eating dirt], and primary diffuse peritoneal tumor [membrane lining abdomen];
• A variety of the observed disease conditions are reported for the first time in ice seals and/or walruses.
• The majority of observed conditions in our material is classified as benign and are mostly inconsequential to the health of the harvested animals.

Source: http://www.north-slope.org/departments/wildlife-management/studies-and-research-projects/health-assessment-of-subsistence-resources/seal-and-walrus-health-studies

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May 6, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

C.A.N Coalition Against Nukes “TRITIUM TRUTHS” Campaign

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“GOT A NUKE FACTORY IN YOUR BACKYARD?” ** (NO SAFE DOSE!!)

** TRITIUM LEAKS FOUND AT MANY NUKE SITES (Associated Press Investigative Report: http://www.ap.org/company/awards/part-ii-aging-nukes)

“BRACEVILLE, Ill. (AP) — Radioactive tritium has leaked from three-quarters of U.S. commercial nuclear power sites, often into groundwater from corroded, buried piping, an Associated Press investigation shows.

“The number and severity of the leaks has been escalating, even as federal regulators extend the licenses of more and more reactors across the nation.

“Tritium, which is a radioactive form of hydrogen, has leaked from at least 48 of 65 sites, according to U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission records reviewed as part of the AP’s yearlong examination of safety issues at aging nuclear power plants. Leaks from at least 37 of those facilities contained concentrations exceeding the federal drinking water standard — sometimes at hundreds of times the limit.

“While most leaks have been found within plant boundaries, some have migrated offsite. But none is known to have reached public water supplies.

“At three sites — two in Illinois and one in Minnesota — leaks have contaminated drinking wells of nearby homes, the records show, but not at levels violating the drinking water standard. At a fourth site, in New Jersey, tritium has leaked into an aquifer and a discharge canal feeding picturesque Barnegat Bay off the Atlantic Ocean. …” read full report here: http://www.ap.org/company/awards/part-ii-aging-nukes

(attached photo montage by Laura Lynch)

Source: http://coalitionagainstnukes.org/c-a-n-coalition-against-nukes-tritium-truths-campaign/

May 6, 2015 Posted by | USA | | 1 Comment

Big nuclear company not interested in new nuclear power

Vattenfall: We are not interested in new nuclear power http://sverigesradio.se/sida/artikel.aspx?programid=2054&artikel=6156063 lördag 2 maj kl 15Vattenfall’s new President and CEO, Magnus Hall, a former lobbyist for the nuclear power industry, says it is no longer possible to build new nuclear power stations in Sweden, unless the state pays.

“I believe that the risk taking is so large that private investors will not want to consider it, in my opinion,” Magnus Hall tells Swedish Radio News.
bad-smell-nuke

The business community in Sweden is no longer interested in building new nuclear power. At least not if it has to pay, thinks Magnus Hall. The ongoing nuclear projects in Finland and the UK have cracked all his calculations and the Vattenfall chief does not believe there is not sufficient profitability in new reactors without state support.

Magnus Hall, who was formerly chairman of Industrial Power, a lobby organization that wanted to build new nuclear power for electricity-intensive industries, has thus changed his position today.

“Yes, I have enough, actually, because I think it has become so clear that it is the state that dictates the terms for nuclear power. Therefore, the state also take responsibility for it, and it is also linked to the infrastructure of a country, says Hall to Swedish Radio News.

Last week, the Swedish state-owned energy company announced it will cut 1,000 jobs and close two of its reactors earlier than expected due to a fall in profits. Lower energy prices and lower production levels have affected Vattenfall’s results.

May 6, 2015 Posted by | business and costs, Sweden | Leave a comment

The nuclear decommissioning problem – a financial disaster looming

Decommissioningthe coming closures could drag on for decades and place unexpected burdens on investors, consumers or taxpayers.
U.S. nuclear dilemma: Reactors aging, decommissioning cash billions short, waste site eludes, Japan Times BY ISAAC ARNSDORFBLOOMBERG MAY 5, 2015 NEW YORK – At the edge of Humboldt Bay in Northern California lies a relic from the heyday of U.S. nuclear power. The reactor was shut down in 1976. The remaining cost to decommission the plant once and for all — cleaning up lingering radiological dangers, dismantling the remains — will be about $441 million, according to its owner, PG&E Corp.

The question is who will pay — for Humboldt Bay, and for dozens of other reactors that are in the process of closing or might soon.

text-wise-owlNuclear operators like PG&E are supposed to lay up enough money to cover the costs, similar to how corporations fund pensions. Turns out, most haven’t.

PG&E’s Humboldt Bay trust fund, for instance, is currently $308 million short, according to a company filing to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. PG&E customers will shoulder the cost in the form of higher electricity bills.

“Somebody’s got to pay for it — the money doesn’t come from magic,” said Allison M. Macfarlane, a former NRC chairman. Brittany McKannay, a PG&E spokeswoman, said the company is committed to operating and decommissioning its nuclear plants safely.

The U.S. nuclear industry is feeling its age. Once touted as a source of electricity that would be “too cheap to meter,” plants need expensive upgrades to protect them from terrorism and natural disasters.

At the same time, they face growing competition from renewables and natural gas. Five new reactors are under construction, but current economics give little incentive to build more. Looming is an unprecedented wave of closures.

Yet 82 of the 117 U.S. nuclear power plants, including seven in the process of shutting down, don’t have enough cash on hand to close safely, according to NRC records. And closing tends to cost more than operators expect. Based on NRC filings, the actual combined cost may be somewhere in the neighborhood of $100 billion — $43 billion more than the current balance of the trust funds.

So the coming closures could drag on for decades and place unexpected burdens on investors, consumers or taxpayers.

“The public has a right to demand that all nuclear power plant operators are secure in their funding,” Sen. Edward J. Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee, said in a statement in response to questions from Bloomberg.

Among the underfunded plants are FirstEnergy Corp.’s Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania, site of the 1979 partial meltdown, and Entergy Corp.’s Indian Point, about 35 miles north of New York City……..http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/05/05/world/u-s-nuclear-dilemma-reactors-aging-decommissioning-cash-billions-short-permanent-waste-site-eludes/#.VUldaI6qpHw

May 6, 2015 Posted by | decommission reactor, USA | 1 Comment

As climate changes, flood danger to nuclear sites could bring meltdowns

climate-changeFlood risk to nuclear sites raises meltdown fears. http://www.dailyclimate.org/tdc-newsroom/2015/05/Flood-risk-to-nuclear-sites-raises-meltdown-fears  Sea level rise, storm surges and bursting dams all pose an increasing danger to nuclear power stations as the climate changes. By Paul Brown  Climate News Network  LONDON – Safety checks following the Fukushima disaster in Japan in March 2011, when a 10 metre-high sea wall was overtopped by a tsunami, have shown that nuclear plants are at greater risk of catastrophic flooding as a result of climate change.

 All nuclear plants need large quantities of water for cooling so all must be built close to the sea, large rivers or lakes. This makes them vulnerable to sea level rise, storm surges and to the possible collapse of large dams upstream from poor construction, floodwater or seismic activity.
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Since nuclear plants are designed to operate for as long as 60 years and need around a further century to decommission, accelerating sea level rise and more intense rainfall may present serious problems.

Continue reading

May 6, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

India’s government action may force Greenpeace to close there

6ceed-japan-government-officially-censors-truth-about-fukushima-nuclear-radiation-disasterflag-indiaGreenpeace India could close within a month due to government crackdown Guardian, , 6 May 15  Organisation faces 340 job losses in what would be the only forced closure since it was founded in 1971 because Indian government has frozen its bank accounts  Greenpeace India will be forced to close within a month with the loss of 340 jobs because of a government crackdown on its funding, the organisation’s chief has warned.

The Indian home ministry froze seven bank accounts connected with the organisation last month, the latest in a series of moves against the NGO since Narendra Modi’s government came to power.

The international group said that if it was forced to close the Indian operation, it would be the first time since it was founded in 1971 that one of its national organisations was forcibly closed down………http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/may/05/greenpeace-india-could-close-within-a-month-due-to-government-crackdown

May 6, 2015 Posted by | civil liberties, India | Leave a comment

Trident nuclear submarines – the sticky issue in UK election

ballot-boxSmflag-UKThe nuclear dimension to UK election BBC 6 Mchray 15 Anthony Zurcher  The British naval base in Faslane, Scotland, is home to four Vanguard submarines – and the source of a fierce debate that illustrates the sticky political issues presented by the rise of the Scottish National Party in this year’s general election……It’s become a common Conservative Party talking point in these last days of the campaign that the only way the Labour Party can return to power is by striking a deal with the SNP. Although it’s a charge Labour vehemently denies, the SNP will likely post major wins at Labour’s expense in Scotland’s 59 parliamentary seats. If that happens, one of the bargaining chips in any deal could become the Faslane submarines and their Trident nuclear missile systems.

The SNP wants the submarines gone not just from Scottish waters, but decommissioned entirely. “Trident is utterly irrelevant to the defence and security challenges we face in the 21st century,” SNP defence spokesperson Angus Robertson said last month.
submarine-missile

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has called defunding the Trident programme a non-negotiable “blood red line” and, in a Scottish leaders debate in Edinburgh Sunday night, refused to rule out voting down a Labour budget that includes maintaining the missiles.

Complicating all this is the fact the nuclear missile programme is aging – and will require additional moneys to stay operational. Coming on the heels of steep austerity cuts imposed after the 2008 recession, the estimated investment of at least £17.5bn is proving a bitter pill for many to swallow.

Labour leader Ed Miliband has said he wants to keep the UK a nuclear power, but he hasn’t ruled out reducing the number of submarines.

And so the Conservatives have pounced on Mr Miliband, whom they charge with threatening to forsake the protection provided by a nuclear deterrent…….
All of this is just “stale Westminster politics” and the bickering of “grey men in grey suits”, says Chris Higgins.

Higgins has a particularly unique view of the nuclear issue, as the Faslane navy base and its submarines are his neighbours. Since September, he’s been a resident of the Faslane Peace Camp, a brightly coloured collection of caravans, trailers and hand-constructed shelters that has been a permanent fixture just down the road from the base for more than 33 years………

The SNP has a plan to use its strength as a voting bloc in a fractured Parliament after Thursday’s election to finally take aim at the nuclear subs.

“No sensible UK government would develop a nuclear weapons capability now if one didn’t exist,” SNP’s Robertson said, sounding a lot like one of the Faslane peace activists. “Therefore, a strong group of SNP MPs in a hung parliament, working with other progressive political forces, can bring common sense to bear now – and halt Trident renewal in its tracks.”……http://www.bbc.com/news/32601921

May 6, 2015 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Neuropathy in Navajo children almost certainly caused by uranium mining pollution

fragile communities continue to live amid the poisoned wells and contaminated earth, and the uranium riddled sagebrush flats are home for the next generation of Navajo children.

Abandoned Uranium Mines Plague Navajo Nation, Earth Island Journal BY SONIA LUOKKALA – MAY 5, 2015 Mining companies left behind a legacy of poisoned wells and contaminated earth

We are in Diné Bikéyah, land of the Navajo. “………The incidence of Navajo neuropathy is five times
higher on the western side of the Navajo reservation than on the eastern side. Some researchers believe this discrepancy isNavajo linked to the land: On the western side, the mines were mostly tunnels, whereas in the west they were primarily open pits. After the uranium companies left, the unfilled pits started to fill with water. Some, as deep as 130 feet, eventually formed into small lakes. Unsuspecting Navajos and their livestock use the contaminated water for drinking.

A 1990 study of Navajo neuropathy ruled out water contamination as a possible cause of the disease………As the Los Angeles Times also reported, in 1986, Thomas Payne an environmental health officer for Indian Health Services, along with a National Park Service ranger, took water samples at 48 sites surrounding Cameron, AZ, a town in Navajo Nation. These samples revealed uranium levels in wells as high as 139 picocuries per liter. In abandoned pits, the levels were as high as 4,024 pinocuries. The EPA limit for safe drinking water is 20 picocuries per liter. ….. Continue reading

May 6, 2015 Posted by | health, indigenous issues, Reference, USA | Leave a comment

in sum – cheaper, more easily available energy storage helps at the scale of the power grid, and also at the level of our homes, to further advantage cleaner, renewable energy. So if the economics of storage are finally starting to line up – and its business side to ramp up – that can only be good news for the planet. 

battey TeslaTesla’s battery announcement shows the coming revolution in energy storage, Sydney Morning Herald May 2, 2015  Chris Mooney “……Tesla announced that it is offering a home battery product, which people can use to store energy from their solar panels or to back-up their homes against blackouts, and also larger scale versions that could perform similar roles for companies or even parts of the grid.

For homeowners, the Tesla Powerwall will have a power capacity of either 10 kilowatt hours or 7 kilowatt hours, at a cost of either $US3500 or $US3000………

Tesla isn’t the only company in the battery game, and whatever happens with Tesla, this market is expected to grow. A study by GTM Research and the Energy Storage Association earlier this year found that while storage remains relatively niche – the market was sized at just $US128 million in 2014 – it also grew 40 per cent last year, and three times as many installations are expected this year.

By 2019, GTM Research forecasts, the overall market will have reached a size of $US1.5 billion.

“The trend is more and more players being interested in the storage market,” says GTM Research’s Ravi Manghani. Tesla, he says, has two unique advantages – it is building a massive battery-making “gigafactory” which should drive down prices, and it is partnered with solar installer Solar City (Musk is Solar City’s chairman), which “gives Tesla access to a bigger pool of customers, both residential and commercial, who are looking to deploy storage with or without solar.”

The major upshot of more and cheaper batteries and much more widespread energy storage could, in the long term, be a true energy revolution – as well as a much greener planet. Here are just a few ways that storage can dramatically change – and green – the way we get power: Continue reading

May 6, 2015 Posted by | energy storage, USA | Leave a comment

The anti nuclear fight in Finland – JOIN THE STRUGGLE!

ANTINUCLEAR RESISTANCE IN PYHÄJOKI, FINLAND – JOIN THE STRUGGLE!
2.5.2015 HYOKYAALTO 
The Fennovoima Energy Company is starting to construct a nuclear power plant in Pyhäjoki, a nice, quiet and small municipality in the northwest of Finland. An action camp has been started in the area to stop the project.

During the second half of April, Fennovoima cut 95 hectares of very special coastal forest at the construction site. They didn’t wait for a month for the legal permission to clearcut the landscape. Instead, Fennovoima started destroying the forest on Wednesday, the 15 of April. The forest was a home for several rare birds and other species. Nests of endangered white-backed woodpeckers (Dendrocopos leucotos) were destroyed, a very rare white-tailed eagle got disturbed as dozens of machines demolished its neighborhood.

The operation was carried out by the Waste Management Company Lassila & Tikanoja. The fast start of the cutting was a shock for many people and organizations. The local nature conservation association, the bird protection association and the antinuclear organization Pro Hanhikivi that have been opposing Fennovoima complained and demanded to stop the cutting of the forest immediately. The nesting season of the birds had started already. Many antinuclear people resigned their waste management contract with Lassila & Tikanoja immediately.

In Helsinki 5 people from the Hyökyaalto Eco Action Group took necessary action and entered the headquarters of Lassila & Tikanoja, in order to distribute flyers to the workers in their offices and they refused to leave the building before the cuttings would be stopped. Three people were carried out by police and arrested. They were released on the same day.

We, the Hyökyaalto Eco Action Group, had already planned to start a camp at the forest area, but now we had to hurry. …….

n the camp all kind of little disturbing of the work process became a daily routine. The only road to the cabins goes through the clean cut area and is used by the cutting workers, so people who used the road slowed down the disturbing of the environment whenever there was a log truck or security car on the road. Soon the security company forgot that the road is a public road and started stopping cars from getting to the shore area where the cottages are and accused us as well as the locals for trespassing in the area. Fennovoima’s illegal attempts to try to occupy the cape, while it was still privately owned and public accessible land, raised even more anger amongst the residents.

On Saturday the next bigger blockade was carried out by the activists. ……..

In the last few days there has been more and more critical news about Fennovoima and their actions. There are only two months left until the deadline on June 2015, when Fennovoima needs to have 60% Finnish ownership according the government officials, and it´s still lacking investors. The Finnish state partly owns a company named Fortum and they are negotiating about Russian involvement in hydropower and are about to buy 15% of Fennovoima. If that wouldn´t happen, Fennovoima would be in deep problems. They would probably not be able to cut themselves off of the construction contracts before 1th of July when their decision in principle (permission from the government and parliament) will expire and they would need to start the whole political process again.

Many people wonder if any reasonable company would be willing to jump into the mess Fennovoima has created, or still consider if they want to confirm the old contracts……….

. This spring and summer will be a period of active resistance for us, and we don’t intend to leave the area after the summer period either. Now is the best moment to make the greedy nuclear power project fall. Still, we need help!! Join the resistance!

Right now, we have been more than successful in our fight against Fennovoima. We have supporters and several different resources to continue our resistance. We have found a vast majority of people positively supporting us through social media, email, phone, and the local supporters have been generous in providing us with clean drinking water, washing facilities and shelter.

And yet, nevertheless, more people are needed here, in Pyhäjoki. ……..

The final expropriation date has been set by Fennovoima to the end of May. This is the most important time to gather at the cape of Hanhikivi, the most beautiful place of nature that Finland has to offer for nature lovers, families and those who love to see rare species of animals in their natural environment.

Join us:
Check http://hyokyaalto.net – People Power Against Nuclear Power Action Camp – for camp info and directions for getting to Pyhäjoki.
Email: fenstop(at)riseup(dot)net
Call: +358 466 28 67 68   http://hyokyaalto.net/2015/05/02/antinuclear-resistance-in-pyhajoki-finland-join-the-struggle/

May 6, 2015 Posted by | Finland, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

more intensive medical examinations needed – for Fukushima’s children

74% chance of lymph node metastasis Not only is the number of thyroid cancers large, but also the symptoms are serious. Last year Fukushima Medical University published 55 cases of thyroid cancer in Fukushima: 2 of them were anaplastic carcinoma, and 74% of them lymph node metastasis. Normally, the prognosis of thyroid cancer among adults is good: little metastasis and slow progression. But this is not true of thyroid cancer found in Fukushima.

The Government Must Expand Medical Examinations for Victims of the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster http://www.foejapan.org/en/energy/doc/150310.html 10 March 2015

thyroid-cancer-papillary117 children in Fukushima have been suspected of having thyroid cancer: the second round of medical examination found 8 children. On February 12, 2015, the Oversight Committee for Fukushima Prefecture Health Management Survey held a meeting. According to the committee, the total number of children suspected of thyroid cancer reached 117. Of them, 86 already went through surgery and were confirmed to have suffered thyroid cancer. Since April 2014, the second round of medical examination has been conducted on 75,311 children. 8 of them had shown “no abnormality” at the first round, but they were newly suspected of thyroid cancer after the second round. One of them went through surgery and indeed had thyroid cancer.Every time a child in Fukushima was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, Fukushima Medical University and the Japanese government insisted on “screening effects” – namely, an early ultrasound scan simply detected thyroid cancer that would have been otherwise found much later. The university and the government also argue that thyroid cancer develops slowly: Since the number of paediatric thyroid cancers began to increase only five years after the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster, the cases of paediatric thyroid cancers in Fukushima so far are unlikely to have be caused by the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Disaster. But if their argument had been correct, they would not have found any thyroid cancer after the second round of medical examination. Nonetheless, Hokuto Hoshi, chairman of the oversight committee, stated, “Of course, we cannot completely preclude the possibility of causal relationship between the nuclear disaster and thyroid cancer. But, given the results of medical examinations, we don’t think it’s necessary to change our position, that is, the causal relationship is unlikely.”

74% chance of lymph node metastasis Not only is the number of thyroid cancers large, but also the symptoms are serious. Last year Fukushima Medical University published 55 cases of thyroid cancer in Fukushima: 2 of them were anaplastic carcinoma, and 74% of them lymph node metastasis. Normally, the prognosis of thyroid cancer among adults is good: little metastasis and slow progression. But this is not true of thyroid cancer found in Fukushima. Moreover, the nuclear fallout contaminated not only Fukushima but also adjacent prefectures, as suggested by UNSCEAR’s report. In light of the real extent of nuclear pollution, the government must expand the coverage of medical examinations for areas outside of Fukushima Prefecture.

Treatment for other diseases than thyroid cancer
While we tend to focus on thyroid cancer, we also should keep in mind the necessity of systematic medical examinations for thyroid malfunction and other illnesses. According to longitudinal surveys on A-bomb survivors, radiation dose exceeding 1 mSv (with regard to a particular organ) is statistically correlated with the increased likelihood of uterine fibroid, thyroid diseases, cataract, kidney and ureteral stones (among men), hypertension, and heart attack. The national report, published by the Ukraine government 25 years after the Chernobyl disaster, also describes thyroid malfunction and many other illnesses related to immune, respiratory, and digestive systems.

Problems with MOE’s “Expert Committee” and “Current Policy”
Victims of the nuclear disaster and NGOs demanded the government to (1) improve medical examinations and (2) extend them to municipalities outside of Fukushima Prefecture. The Ministry of Environment (MOE), responsible for the health of disaster victims, established the “Expert Committee” in November 2013. The committee is chaired by Shigenobu Nagataki, emeritus professor at Nagasaki University, one of the longstanding defenders of the “radioactivity-is-safe” ideology who helped to underestimate health effects of the Chernobyl disaster. The committee also includes members who received monetary contributions from the Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan, sit on radioactivity, nuclear safety, and emergency response commissions, and are responsible for the failures to distribute potassium iodine tablets and use SPEEDI in the aftermath of the nuclear disaster. Put another way, those who helped to create disaster victims deliberated on policy for victims’ health management.

The selection of committee members, as well as the way the committee’s deliberation was framed, was therefore meant to defend the foregone conclusion, not to expand the current medical examinations for disaster victims. Indeed, the mid-term report published by the expert committee in December 2014 not only failed to offer epidemiological analysis of thyroid cancer and other illnesses in Fukushima Prefecture, not to mention case studies, but also concluded that the level of radiation exposure outside the prefecture is too low to warrant any medical examination. Given this report, MOE announced its “current policy” on February 28, 2015, to promote “nationwide cancer registration” as well as “risk-communication projects” to educate citizens with “accurate” information about health effects of radioactivity, instead of expanding medical examinations for disaster victims inside and outside of Fukushima.

Conclusion
Article 13.2 in the Act on the Protection and Support for the Children and other Victims of the TEPCO Disaster guarantees lifelong medical examinations for victims residing in areas where radiation doses are estimated to exceed a certain level, whereas Article 13.3 promises to subsidize medical expenses for illnesses related to the nuclear disaster. However, these measures are yet to be implemented. At this rate, we are concerned that adequate investigation and prevention of thyroid cancer and other illnesses, both inside and outside of Fukushima, will not take place. We therefore demand that the government effectively implement the Act, given that our knowledge of health effects of radioactivity is very much incomplete at present.

Details of the 8 children suspected of thyroid cancer after the second roundSex: 4 boys and 4 girls
Age: 6 to 17 at the time of the disaster
Size of tumour: 6-17.3 mm
Residence: Namie, Date, Tamura, Ōkuma, Fukushima
Estimated dose: less than 1 mSv (2), 2.1 mSv maximum, unknown (2)
First-round results: A1 (5), A2 (3)

Contact:
Friends of the Earth Japan
1-21-9 Komone Itabashi-ku Tokyo 173-0037
TEL: (+81)3-6909-5983
FAX: (+81)3-6909-5986
E-mail: info@foejapan.org

May 6, 2015 Posted by | children, Fukushima 2015, Japan, Reference | Leave a comment

VIDEO: Fukushima nuclear plant shaken by Mag 5 earthquake

Breaking* Strong Mag 5 Quake Strikes Fukushima Nuclear Plant- 5/3/15 http://investmentwatchblog.com/breaking-strong-mag-5-quake-strikes-fukushima-nuclear-plant-5315/

Submitted by IWB, on May 3rd, 2015 Smoke (?) from Unit 4.

M5.0 – 45km E of Namie, Japan
IV
DYFI?
Location
Data Source US1
Map showing extent (w,s,e,n) = (136.5151, 32.4929, 146.5151, 42.4929)
37.493°N 141.515°E depth=42.4 km (26.4 mi)
http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquake…

Occurred at (JST) Latitude
(degree) Longitude
(degree) Depth Magnitude Region Name
13:03 JST 03 May 2015 37.5N 141.6E 40 km 4.8 Fukushima-ken Oki

http://www.jma.go.jp/en/quake/2015050…

It would appear Youtube is further censoring me by not allowing thumbnails for my videos.

May 6, 2015 Posted by | Fukushima 2015 | Leave a comment

Exelon has 60 years in which to remove Oyster Creek’s 650 metric tons of spent fuel

Oyster Creek: After 2019, what then?, asbury park press, Randy Bergmann, @appopinion10 May 3, 2015 For people who had lived in the shadow of the Oyster Creek nuclear power plant in Lacey for decades, the news in 2009 that it was to close 10 years earlier than allowed under its license extension was warmly welcomed. Finally, the health and safety threats posed by the plant would be coming to an end.

Well, not really — at least no time soon.

That “good news” has been tempered by the fact plant owner Exelon, which agreed to mothball the reactor in exchange for the state not requiring it to install cooling towers, has up to 60 years to remove the Decommissioning from its elevated spent fuel pool, totally dismantle the plant and clean up the site.

A Nuclear Regulatory Commission rule change in 2011 extended the period in which closed nuclear reactors were allowed to decommission from 30 years to 60 years. Although Exelon has yet to establish a timetable for when that will be done, the company’s president and CEO, Christopher Crane, has said it will be no sooner than 10 years, as stipulated in its agreement with the state, and up to 60 years.

In some ways, the risks posed by a closed plant that has yet to be decommissioned can be as great as one that continues to operate and is closely monitored by the NRC.

What are the odds of a disaster occurring at Oyster Creek? They’re remote. But given the nightmarish consequences of such a disaster occurring at a site around which 4.5 million people reside within a 50-mile radius, they’re not remote enough for citizens and the state to sit back and allow the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which has a well-deserved reputation as an industry lapdog, to dictate the process every step of the way……..

What is the likelihood of another major nuclear disaster occurring in the future?Researchers Spencer Wheatley and Didier Sornette at ETH Zurich in Switzerland and Benjamin Sovacool at Aarhus University in Denmark last month calculated that there is a 50-50 chance a Chernobyl-like event or worse will occur in the next 27 years, a 50-50 chance another Fukushima event will take place within 50 years and a 50-50 chance a Three Mile Island-type event will take place within 10 years.

Long odds, for sure. But citizens and the state must do everything they can to ensure every step that can increase the margin of safety is taken.

Here are the top six reasons citizens, state and local officials and New Jersey’s federal representatives must pay close attention to the decommissioning of Oyster Creek:

1. The soonest the plant will be decommissioned under the agreement Exelon reached with the state to close the plant early is 2029. If Exelon chooses to close at the end of 60 years, Oyster Creek, the oldest commercial reactor in the nation, would be 110 years old…..

2. Oyster Creek is one of just three nuclear plants with the identical design of Fukushima I, which was the first of three units to melt down. ….

3. Keeping spent fuel in elevated spent fuel pools, as is the case with older plants like Oyster Creek and Fukushima, is believed by some critics to pose greater risks than spent fuel kept in dry casks.

Spent fuel contained in spent fuel pools is the leading cause for concern of those worried about the safety risks of plants that are closed but not fully decommissioned

4. No public participation or input by the state is required under NRC regulations in the development of a decommissioning plan….

5. It isn’t clear whether there will be sufficient funds to provide a safe dismantling of the plant when it is ultimately decommissioned…..

6. If an accident were to occur, the experience from superstorm Sandy demonstrated that the evacuation plan would not work…..

Five steps N.J. can take to improve safety margins………http://www.app.com/story/opinion/columnists/2015/05/01/oyster-creek-nuclear-reactor-decommissioning/26735703/

May 6, 2015 Posted by | decommission reactor, USA | Leave a comment

Japan’s earthquake risk to nuclear reactors is being ignored, says seismic expert

Japan Earthquake Expert Says Nuclear Watchdog Ignoring Risk, Bloomberg,  by 3 May 15 Japan’s nuclear regulator ignored earthquake risk and its own rules in approving the safety of a nuclear power plant on the western island of Kyushu, said Kobe University professor and seismologist Katsuhiko Ishibashi.

Ishibashi, well-known in Japan for books and papers on earthquake threats that later became reality, said he has filed a formal complaint to the Nuclear Regulation Authority challenging the legality of its decision………

Ishibashi has seen his warnings of earthquake dangers come true in devastating fashion at least twice in a country that accounts for about 10 percent of the world’s quakes.

In a 1994 book “A Seismologist Warns” he said building codes were putting Japan’s cities at risk. The following year, the Kobe earthquakebuckled bridges, highways, and brought down buildings, killing more than 6,000 people.

Then in 1997, he wrote a report in Japan’s Science Journal where he coined the term “nuclear earthquake disaster.” The paper was written about 14 years before the Fukushima catastrophe, yet reads like a post-mortem of what happened: A major quake knocks out external power to the plant’s reactors and unleashes a tsunami that overruns its defenses, leading to loss of cooling and meltdowns.

Nuclear Restarts

Ishibashi says he doesn’t want his forecasts to play out again………Amid pressure from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government to process applications for nuclear plant restarts to help the economy, the NRA is under pressure to give utilities a pass, Ishibashi said. That makes the watchdog less rigorous in examining the safety assessments of utilities’ reactors, he said…..

Sendai Case

In the case of the Sendai plant, the NRA has allowed the operating company to ignore the risk of an earthquake in the tectonic slab underneath Kyushu, the seismologist said.

Kyushu Electric has also not factored in the risk from a so-called Nankai trough earthquake, Ishibashi said. A Nankai quake is one that could originate in the seas south of Japan’s main island, an eventuality that’s considered high-risk and constantly monitored by the government.

“Kyushu Electric was allowed to select their own criteria for quakes that could hit the plant and they ignored several as outliers — including a Nankai one,” Ishibashi said. “Taking the Nankai trough earthquake into account is indispensable” in modeling the dangers facing the Sendai plant, he said.

In terms of impact, a Nankai trough quake would cause tremors and ground motion that would last almost ten times as long as Kyushu Electric’s estimates applied for its Sendai plant assessment, Ishibashi said.

The government’s billing of the NRA, formed in the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster, as the world’s most stringent nuclear regulator is simply not true, Ishibashi said. The regulator feels beholden to government policy, which is pro-nuclear and supports restarts, he said.

“The NRA certainly seems to be feeling the pressure from the current administration,” Ishibashi said. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-04-30/japan-earthquake-expert-says-nuclear-watchdog-ignoring-risk

May 6, 2015 Posted by | Japan, safety | Leave a comment