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About the Evacuees Situation in Fukushima

23 july 2015
Fukushima has a population of a little above 2 millions people.
Out of which 118,862 have evacuated : 73,077 within the prefecture, 45,735 outside the prefecture, and current adresses unknown 50,

Four years after an earthquake and tsunami touched off the nuclear meltdown, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is pressing to lift evacuation orders by March 2017 and cut off compensation to victims of the disaster by 2018. The move would allow—and some say force—tens of thousands of refugees to go back to their homes.
The pro-nuclear prime minister says that the move, proposed in June, is aimed at speeding up Fukushima’s “reconstruction.”

Under the national government guidelines, residents in government-ordered evacuation zones and “specific spots recommended for evacuation,” where radiation dosage is regionally high, are entitled to 100,000 yen each a month under TEPCO’s compensation for mental distress.

According to a partial estimate – there is no total public estimate of the cost of Fukushima disaster so far – but a partial estimate says it’s about $100 billion. Sixty percent of that has been spent for compensation measures. So compensating people for their loss of land and jobs is very expensive to the government and since the government has bailed out the company that ran the Fukushima reactors it’s basically now the government that is liable.

Tokyo’s preparing to declare some parts of the evacuation zone around the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant, a safe place to live. Tokyo wants people back in the area as a matter of reducing the overall cost of the disaster, However environmentalists warn many areas still show radiation levels 20 times the globally accepted limit.

I don’t think it is possible to clean up in the real sense of the word, meaning that you take away the added radioactivity that has been contaminating the soil, the roofs, everything. It’s impossible. So what you can do is you can reduce the radioactive contamination in some of the areas. You can take off soil; you can decontaminate what has been done by water sprayed. But keep in mind that 80 percent of Japan is mountains and in this area as well there is a lot of mountains, there is a lot of dense forest, there is absolutely no way even to slightly decontaminate that region. So you will not have a stable situation of contamination but it will move all the time and a new radiation will wash down from the mountains and forests into the other lands.

A number of opinion polls, surveys have shown that the percentage that is decided to go back might be around a fifth of all people evacuated, many people are still undecided and about half decided not to go back. People have to imagine – besides the radiation situation – what are they going back to. We should not forget that many of the homes in Japan are made of wood and they are basically in extremely bad shape and would have to be completely redone. There is not much to go back to and on top of it there is the radiation issue. There is also the issue of going back to their homes but what about their neighbors, what about collectivity, what about the services? So there are all kinds of other social issues besides the pure health issue.

Prime Minister Abe would like the people of Japan to believe that they are decontaminating vast areas of Fukushima to levels safe enough for people to live in. The reality is that this is a policy doomed to failure. The forests of Fukushima prefecture (80% of the land) are a vast stock of radioactivity that will remain both a direct hazard and source of potential recontamination for hundreds of years. It’s impossible to decontaminate.

The elimination of compensation would effectively force people back into an environment that is dangerous for their health.
Stripping nuclear victims of their already inadequate compensation, which may force them to have to return to unsafe, highly radioactive areas for financial reasons, amounts to economic coercion. Let’s be clear: this is a political decision by the Abe Government, not one based on science, data, or public health.

Residents across Japan have staged protests and filed lawsuits to block nuclear restarts, and polls show that, in the aftermath of the 2011 disaster, a clear majority of the Japanese public opposes nuclear power. In addition, surveys reveal low public confidence in the Japanese government and the Tokyo Electric Power Co.—the company behind the Fukushima Daiichi plant that continues to release radiation into the ecosystem.

Despite public opposition, Abe is aggressively pursuing a return to nuclear power. Earlier this month, Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party revealed that it aims to have 20 percent of the country’s electricity supplied by nuclear power by 2030.
Over four years after the triple reactor core meltdowns and exploded containment buildings at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, the majority of the Japanese public has remained opposed to any nuclear restart. The country has been completely nuclear-free for nearly two years, thanks in large part to significant public opposition, in spite of the massive pressure from nuclear utilities and the Abe government on local city governments.
However, these utilities are massively powerful and the Abe government is wholly in bed with them.

In an effort to reduce public opposition, Abe has been pushing forward the pro-nuclear agenda to ‘normalize’ a nuclear disaster. If the public can be convinced that less than five years after the worst nuclear disaster in a generation, citizens can go home and return to life the way it was before the disaster – with no additional health risks – then that is a powerful argument against the majority of Japanese citizens who oppose  nuclear reactor restarts.

The effort to minimize the impact of the disaster on the nuclear industry has been aided by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), an agency charged with the promotion of nuclear energy in its charter. The IAEA has sought to downplay the radiological risks to the population since the early days in 2011.  In fact, it produced two documents that can be said to have laid the foundation and justification for Abe’s current policy of de facto forced resettlement.

The reality is this myth making requires that the people of Fukushima prefecture be the sacrificial lambs for the nuclear industry. This is not only wholly unjust, but is a violation of their human rights.
After all, this is not the confusion that ensues after a nuclear disaster. This is a thought-out plan of forcing people back into their heavily contaminated former homes, no matter what the cost – both in wasteful, ineffective decontamination of these areas and in human health risks.

Compounding the gross injustice of the Abe Government’s forced resettlement policy, by focusing on creating a myth of a return to normalcy – and therefore investing vast amounts in expensive and futile decontamination – it is therefore utterly neglecting the contaminated areas that were never evacuated. Rather than addressing this urgent need to reduce the radiation risks to these populations, whom are currently living in contaminated areas, the government is more interested in deceiving the public in Japan and globally by creating illusions.

What is clear is that the damage done to the people of Fukushima prefecture, and especially Iitate, is irreversible and irreparable. Their entire communities and way of life were destroyed by the nuclear disaster at Fukushima Daiichi, with no prospect for a safe return in the foreseeable future.

To keep the victims of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in limbo, many crammed into tiny temporary housing cubicles, for nearly five years is inhumane. To force these citizens back into such heavily contaminated areas via the economic leverage the Government holds over them is a gross iniquity. And for the International Atomic Energy Agency to assist the Japanese Government in the propaganda war being waged on Fukushima victims not only undermines whatever credibility it may have, but amounts to it being an accomplice in a crime against the people of Japan.

Sources:
Fukushima nuclear disaster: ‘Radiation will wash down from mountains, forests into other lands’
http://www.rt.com/op-edge/310595-fukushima-nuclear-radiation-area/#.VbFcSy3oBmA.facebook
20 μSv/h still detected in Fukushima city
http://fukushima-diary.com/2015/07/video-20-%CE%BCsvh-still-detected-in-fukushima-city/
Revenir ou pas, le dilemme des évacués de Fukushima
http://www.liberation.fr/monde/2015/07/21/revenir-ou-pas-le-dilemme-des-evacues-de-fukushima_1351224
Japan Accused of Coercing Fukushima Refugees to Return to Unsafe Homes
Greenpeace: “The forests of Iitate are a vast stock of radioactivity that will remain both a direct hazard and source of potential recontamination for hundreds of years. It’s impossible to decontaminate.”
http://www.commondreams.org/news/2015/07/21/japan-accused-coercing-fukushima-refugees-return-unsafe-homes
Japanese Government – aided by the IAEA – puts nuclear victims at risk with forced resettlement scheme
http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/news/Blogs/nuclear-reaction/Fukushima-nuclear-victims-forced-resettlement-Iitate/blog/53584/
Press Release: Greenpeace investigation exposes failure of Fukushima decontamination program
http://www.greenpeace.org/japan/ja/news/press/2015/pr20150721/20150721-Press-Release-Greenpeace-investigation-exposes-failure-of-Fukushima-decontamination-program-/

July 28, 2015 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Confirmed equipment failure for ice wall – Ice wall building resumed

TEPCO confirms equipment failure for ice wall

The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant says the equipment to build an underground ice wall has stopped working due to power failure.

Tokyo Electric Power Company has been conducting trials to create a barrier of frozen soil around the reactor buildings that will keep groundwater from seeping into them.

An alarm was set off on Tuesday morning signaling trouble with a power panel at the plant. Workers then found white smoke rising from a power cable.

Officials at TEPCO also found that part of a system to send nitrogen into the containment vessels of 3 reactors had stopped working.

The equipment has been building the subsoil ice wall by pumping liquid coolant of minus 30 degrees Celsius into pipes installed in the ground around the reactor buildings.

The officials say they do not know when they can restart the equipment. But they say the ice wall will not melt for several days, even without coolant running from the equipment. 

Source: NHK 

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20150728_25.html

Ice wall building resumes

The operator of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has resumed building an underground ice wall after a brief equipment failure.

Tokyo Electric Power Company has been conducting trials to create a barrier of frozen soil around the reactor buildings to keep groundwater from seeping into them.

On Tuesday morning, workers responding to an alarm found smoke rising from a power cable.

They confirmed that all the equipment to build the ice wall had stopped working due to a power failure.

The staff found no problems with the equipment and resumed work in the afternoon using another power system.

The power failure also partially stopped a system that sends nitrogen into the containment vessels of 3 reactors. That work has been resumed as well.

TEPCO says the power cable that was emitting smoke had short-circuited.

The utility is investigating what may have triggered the problem. 

Source: NHK 

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20150728_34.html

July 28, 2015 Posted by | Japan | | Leave a comment

TEPCO removes canopy panel from Fukushima reactor N°1 building

fuk reactor n°1 canopy removal  july 28 2015The interior of the No. 1 reactor building of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant can be seen from above after a canopy panel was removed on July 28.

OKUMA, Fukushima Prefecture–Tokyo Electric Power Co. on July 28 started removing a canopy covering a damaged reactor building at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant to prepare for the eventual extraction of spent nuclear fuel inside.

Around 7 a.m., workers using a giant crane lifted away the first of six canopy panels, each measuring 40 meters long and 7 meters wide, from the No. 1 reactor building.

The 30-minute removal of the panel left a large hole in the canopy through which steel beams on the damaged upper part of structure could be seen from above. Workers closely monitored radiation levels in the surrounding areas during the removal process.

The utility plans to remove the remaining five panels from next week.

The removal of the canopy will allow TEPCO to clear debris inside the building, possibly in the latter half of fiscal 2016. That process should pave the way for the removal of nuclear fuel rods from the spent fuel pool in the building.

Before removing the canopy panel, the utility sprayed the inside of the reactor building with liquid resin through holes drilled in the cover to prevent radioactive materials from being stirred up during the dismantling work.

TEPCO initially planned to start removing the canopy panels from the No. 1 reactor building in summer 2014, but the schedule was delayed because a large amount of radioactive substances was released into the environment when the utility removed debris from the No. 3 reactor building in August 2013.

Even after the anti-scattering resin was sprayed into the No. 1 reactor building in May, removal of the canopy panel was postponed by a problem inside the building.

Source: Asahi Shimbun

http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201507280071

July 28, 2015 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima fishermen OK TEPCO plan to release decontaminated water into sea

fuk decontaminated release plan july 28 2015

SOMA, Fukushima Prefecture–Fishermen in northern Fukushima Prefecture gave Tokyo Electric Power Co. the green light on July 27 to release radioactive groundwater from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant into the ocean after it undergoes decontamination treatment.

The Soma-Futaba fisheries cooperative association approved TEPCO’s “subdrain plan” at a board member meeting after earlier approval by the Iwaki fisheries union, which brings together fishermen operating on the southern Fukushima coast, to back the plant operator’s plan.

After the decisions by the two fisheries unions, the Fukushima Prefectural Federation of Fisheries Cooperative Associations is expected to formally approve the subdrain plan in mid-August at the earliest.

To deal with the accumulation of contaminated groundwater at the plant, TEPCO and the central government implemented from May last year a “groundwater bypass” that intercepts clean groundwater before it flows into contaminated reactor buildings and reroutes it safely around the facility into the ocean.

Under the subdrain plan, the utility will pump 500 tons of water from 41 subdrain wells around the premises of the plant’s four crippled reactors each day. It expects that the amount of groundwater flowing into the reactor buildings will be drastically reduced, and the amount of contaminated water generated at the plant will be halved from the current levels.

The water will be released into the sea after it undergoes decontamination treatment to reduce cesium levels to below 1 becquerel and beta ray-emitting radioactive materials to less than 3 becquerels.

Because the decontamination equipment cannot remove tritium, water contaminated with the radioactive isotope that emits 1,500 becquerels or more of radiation will not be released into the sea.

TEPCO has sought the fisheries cooperatives’ approval of the subdrain plan.

But TEPCO’s delay in disclosing the flow of radioactive water into the ocean whenever it rained–which came to light in February–hampered negotiations with the fisheries unions, which felt the incident undermined their confidence in the utility.

At the meeting of the board members of the Soma-Futaba fisheries union, TEPCO officials explained that the subdrain plan was essential in reducing the flow of contaminated water into the ocean, according to Hiroyuki Sato, the union president.

The members who had remained strongly opposed eventually recognized the need for the subdrain plan and agreed to approve it, Sato said.

Based on requests from the two local fisheries cooperatives, the prefectural federation of fisheries unions will demand that TEPCO and the central government conduct periodic checks on waters emitted from the subdrain program.

The prefectural union will also request that a third-party watchdog monitor the process to prevent contaminated water from flowing into the ocean.

It will also request that TEPCO and the government to continue to provide compensation to local fishermen, while taking effective measures when the subdrain project causes harmful rumors about their products.

Source: Asahi Shimbun

http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201507280063

July 28, 2015 Posted by | Japan | | Leave a comment

Scientist: Whale deaths off Alaska island remains mystery

« Other test results also are pending, however. A muscle-tissue sample is being tested for the possibility of radionuclides from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. Scientists also have looked at other possibilities, including sonar and seismic exploration. »

55b6d49af294d.imageIn this June 8, 2015 photo, provided by the University of Alaska Fairbanks Gulf Apex Predator Prey project, a fin whale lies dead on Kodiak Island, Alaska. Researchers may never solve the recent deaths of 18 endangered whales whose carcasses were found floating near Alaska’s Kodiak Island, a scientist working on the case said Monday, July 27. (Bree Witteveen/University of Alaska Fairbanks via AP)

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Researchers may never solve the recent deaths of 18 endangered whales whose carcasses were found floating near Alaska’s Kodiak Island, a scientist working on the case said Monday.

Samples taken from one of the 10 fin whales were at least a week old, which could throw off test results, said Kate Wynne, a marine mammal specialist for the University of Alaska Sea Grant Program. The carcasses of eight humpback whales also were found.

The carcasses of the marine mammals were discovered between Memorial Day weekend and early July. Most of the animals were too decomposed for sampling.

Both species of whales feed close together, and scientists speculate the animals might have eaten something toxic in waters that were significantly warmer than average at the time. One test came back negative for one toxin that would be present in harmful algal blooms, and another test is still pending, Wynne said.

“That’s my leading hypothesis,” Wynne said of an environmental toxin as a cause. “The carcasses unfortunately are getting older and less sample-able. So we never will find out what killed those whales, in my mind.”

Other test results also are pending, however. A muscle-tissue sample is being tested for the possibility of radionuclides from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. Scientists also have looked at other possibilities, including sonar and seismic exploration.

The deaths are an unusual occurrence, Wynne said. She said she’s never heard of anything similar occurring among large baleen whales in the U.S.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration also is looking into the deaths of a slightly larger number of whales over a larger area. NOAA is requesting the deaths to be designated nationally as an unusual mortality event, which would free of federal funding for further studying the deaths, NOAA spokeswoman Julie Speegle said.

Along with the dead whales, dead birds including murres and shearwaters were reported earlier in the investigation. Tests showed the shearwaters had a high parasite count and were starving, Wynne said. The murres were not sampled, but Wynne said those deaths could be part of a die-off that occurs periodically.

Source: Tucson.com, Arizona Daily Star

http://tucson.com/news/science/scientist-whale-deaths-off-alaska-island-remains-mystery/article_f02b70c9-4c8d-5cff-8fcf-496b72a26c23.html

July 28, 2015 Posted by | USA | | Leave a comment

Construction of seawall begins in Naraha

Construction of a new seawall has begun in a town near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, as authorities prepare to lift an evacuation order covering the area in September.

The seawall in Naraha Town was seriously damaged by the March 2011 tsunami. Construction of a new one had been delayed as radiation from the nuclear accident restricted entry to the town for about a year and a half.

Local government officials took part in a groundbreaking ceremony in the town on Monday ahead of the construction. Three trucks unloaded soil at the site after the ceremony.

The new seawall will be about 1.8 kilometers long. It will be built more inland than the previous one.
Its height will be 8.7 meters above sea level. That’s 2.5 meters higher than the previous one.

The construction will cost about 67 million dollars, and will be completed by March 2018.

The town of Naraha has a population of about 7,400. The evacuation order, covering almost the entire town, is scheduled to be lifted on September 5th.

Town Mayor Yukiei Matsumoto says some residents still suffer from memories of the tsunami, but he expects the construction to give them relief about returning home.
Source : NHK
http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20150727_27.html

July 28, 2015 Posted by | Japan | | Leave a comment

“Only Just Beginning…” – Arnie Gundersen & Paul Gunter on Fukushima’s Nuclear Crisis.

These two YouTube videos give a basic overview of the severity of the current situation in the ongoing Fukushima Nuclear Catastrophe.   Recommended:

Paul Gunter of Beyond Nuclear, Fukushima June 2015:

See also: http://www.beyondnuclear.org/

Arnie Gunderson, July 2015:

See also: http://www.fairewinds.org/

July 28, 2015 Posted by | Japan | | 1 Comment