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EDITORIAL: Trials of ex-TEPCO bigwigs a chance to take fresh look at disaster

Fukushima Daiichi hit by tsunami March 11, 2011The Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant is hit by tsunami on March 11, 2011.

Three former executives of Tokyo Electric Power Co. will stand trial over their criminal responsibility for the 2011 disaster at TEPCO’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

For the second time, the Tokyo No. 5 Committee for the Inquest of Prosecution has rejected an earlier decision by prosecutors not to indict the three, setting the stage for the forced prosecution of these three individuals.

They will be accused of professional negligence resulting in the deaths of people who were in hospitals when the disaster happened and other tragedies.

A report issued by the Diet’s Fukushima nuclear accident investigation committee states, “It is clear that the accident was a man-made disaster.”

But no government officials or TEPCO employees have been punished, either politically or administratively. In other words, no one has been held accountable for the nation’s worst nuclear accident.

Many Japanese citizens still feel that justice has not been meted out with regard to that harrowing disaster. Many are also concerned that a similar accident may occur again if nobody is held responsible for what happened in 2011.

A second decision by the independent judicial panel of citizens to demand the criminal prosecution of the three former TEPCO executives should be viewed as indicative of the disturbing and disquieting feelings among many citizens.

The system of forced indictment through the judgment of citizens was introduced in 2009, along with the “saiban-in” citizen judge system. Until that time, public prosecutors monopolized the power to decide whether to indict a suspect. The new system is intended to ensure that public opinion is reflected in the process of criminal prosecution, at least to a certain degree.

In reversing public prosecutors’ decision not to indict the suspects on grounds that there is no compelling case for holding them liable for negligence, the panel of citizens made a grave decision to force trials of the three individuals.

The court should, of course, consider carefully and fairly whether the former TEPCO executives should be held liable for the misfortunes of disaster victims from the viewpoint of evidence submitted.

At the same time, one question that needs to be asked is how TEPCO implemented measures to protect the nuclear plant from a possible tsunami and ensure the plant’s safety.

Collectively, the trials will offer a great opportunity to take a fresh look into the accident from a perspective that is different from those of the investigation committees set up by the government and the Diet.

There have not been many opportunities for people to talk about the disaster in public. But the three former TEPCO executives will probably be given opportunities to speak in the courtroom. The court can also order submission of specific pieces of evidence.

Future public debate on issues concerning nuclear power generation will benefit greatly if the trials uncover unknown facts in the process, such as chronological changes in the utility’s decisions concerning safety measures for its nuclear power plants and the ways the government and other public organizations influenced the company’s policy.

The nation’s judiciary has a long history of handing down rulings related to nuclear power generation. But in most of the past cases concerning the construction and operations of nuclear power plants, the courts ruled against opposing local residents.

The question is whether all these court rulings in favor of nuclear power were influenced in any way by the perception that there is no way to stop the expansion of electricity production with atomic energy based on the government’s energy policy.

The judiciary’s attitude to nuclear power generation has also been called into question by the accident.

In considering the criminal liabilities related to the Fukushima nuclear disaster, which has caused an unprecedented scale of damage, are the traditional criteria, like “specific predictability,” sufficiently effective?

The trials should prompt the judicial community to have more in-depth debate on this question.

We strongly hope the trials will be conducted in a way that lives up to people’s confidence in the judicial system.

Source: Asahi Shimbun

http://ajw.asahi.com/article/views/editorial/AJ201508010028

August 1, 2015 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Decommissioned sites need MORE protection against wildfires, not less!

text-relevantIn Light of Fast Moving Wildfires; Evacuations, US Senators call on NRC to Stop Waiving Emergency Response Measures at Decommissioned Nuclear Sites (to no avail) miningawareness51 July 15

http://cdfdata.fire.ca.gov/incidents/incidents_current

wildfire-nukeDespite calls by Senators in 2014 to stop elimination of emergency response measures at decommissioning nuclear reactors: “In June 2015, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) approved elimination of off-site emergency planning for San Onofre, even though they know the waste is extremely dangerous. This means fewer emergency planning staff, reduced funding and less radiation monitoring. … The San Onofre fire staff has been reduced. The nuclear plant’s fire and rescue vehicles will be donated to new homes soon, according to Patrick Baughman, San Onofre fire marshal. San Onofre now has an agreement that makes the Camp Pendleton Fire Department the primary firefighting force for the nuclear plant. No details were provided about how this may affect ratepayers and local emergency services in this Southern California Edison July 9, 2015…” Read the rest here: http://sanonofresafety.org/emergency-planning-resources/ Learn more here: Sanonofresafety.org

Unfortunately, the Dry Cask Storage is not the miracle solution which the Senators and many others wish for. (See more at post bottom. [in original] )…..

Unfortunately, the Dry Cask Storage is not the miracle solution which the Senators and many others wish for. This is especially true due to the thin, flimsy nature of the inner, unvented, casks, which are also of questionable quality, and are set out unprotected on parking lots. Furthermore, Holtec requests NRC exemptions which impact safety and quality on a routine basis! For more info, do a search for Holtec within our blog, and consult Sanonofresafety.org Although most of the focus has been Holtec, the other licensed dry casks do not appear better. A Manhattan-like project for nuclear waste is needed. In the meanwhile, there appears need for adding more spent fuel pools to reduce crowding, and reinforcement of the existing ones, and somehow covering them (vented) against earthquake seiche. The spent fuel must spend some time in the pools anyway. A solution must be quickly implemented. https://wordpress.com/read/post/feed/4410547/767161082

August 1, 2015 Posted by | climate change, safety, USA | Leave a comment

The long and continuing struggle of Japan’s Hibakusha against nuclear weapons

Japan’s atomic bomb survivors continue in fight against nuclear weapons
As Japan prepares to mark the 70th anniversary of the world’s first nuclear attack, survivors ponder how to continue warning of the horrors of nuclear war,
Guardian,   31 July It is not as if Sunao Tsuboi needs another reminder of his violent encounter, as a 20-year-old university student, with a “living hell on earth”. The facial scars he has carried for seven decades are proof enough. But, as if to remind himself of the day he became a witness to the horrors of nuclear warfare, he removes a a black-and-white photograph and points to the shaved head of a young man looking away from the lens.

sunao Tsuboi on Miyuki Bridge 1945

“That’s me,” he says. “We were hoping we would find some sort of medical help, but there was no treatment available, and no food or water. I thought I had reached the end.”

The location is Miyuki Bridge, Hiroshima, three hours after the Enola Gay, a US B-29 bomber, dropped a 15-kiloton nuclear bomb on the city on the morning of 6 August 1945. Between 60,000 and 80,000 people were killed instantly; in the months that followed the death toll rose to 140,000.

In the photo, one of only a handful of surviving images taken in Hiroshima that day, Tsuboi is sitting on the road with several other people, their gaze directed at the gutted buildings around them. To one side, police officers douse schoolchildren with cooking oil to help soothe the pain of their burns.

As Japan prepares to mark the 70th anniversary of the first nuclear attack in history, Tsuboi and tens of thousands of other hibakusha (atomic bomb survivors) are again confronting their own mortality.

“People like me are losing the strength to talk about their experiences and continue the campaign against nuclear weapons,” says Tsuboi, a retired school principal who has travelled the world to warn of the horrors of nuclear warfare.

The average age of the 183,000 registered survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki attacks rose just above 80 for the first time last month.

While each has a unique recollection of the morning of 6 August and its aftermath, near disbelief at the scale of destruction is a theme that runs through hibakusha testimony…..

“If the hibakusha continue to speak out against nuclear weapons, then other people will follow suit. That’s why we have to continue our campaign for as long as we are physically able.”….http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jul/31/japan-atomic-bomb-survivors-nuclear-weapons-hiroshima-70th-anniversary

August 1, 2015 Posted by | Japan, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Dispute in Spain about where to put radioactive trash

Oscar-wastesRow threatens Spain’s first nuclear graveyard, The Local,  Jul 2015 Spain’s conservative government and the central region of Castilla-La Mancha locked horns Thursday over plans to build the nation’s first-ever temporary storage facility for highly radioactive waste. The country’s nuclear security council on Monday approved a report that gives the green light for the facility to be built near the village of Villar de Cañas in Castilla-La Mancha.

Enresa, the state-owned company responsible for Spain’s nuclear facilities, in 2011 chose the site from a list that included eight other communities which bid to house the nuclear dump.

But on Tuesday the new Socialist government of Castilla-La Mancha moved to block the construction of the facility by approving the expansion of a protected area for birds so it includes land earmarked for the radioactive waste site.

“This will protect an area where endangered species live,” regional government spokesman Nacho Hernando told a news conference. The Socialists took power in the region on July 4th following May local elections, ousting the conservative Popular Party which rules at the national level.

Energy Minister Jose Manuel Soria warned on Thursday that Spain would have to abandon nuclear power if the facility is not built………The government wants to store all the spent fuel produced at Spain’s eight nuclear power stations at the site.

Each power station currently stores the spent fuel which they produce in on site storage pools that are starting to fill up.

Spain has since 2008 stored low to medium-grade nuclear waste at a facility at El Cabril in Cordoba province in the southwest……..

environmental groups including Greenpeace accuse the dump’s supporters of putting money before safety and have lobbied to have the project shelved. http://www.thelocal.es/20150731/row-over-plans-for-spains-first-nuclear-graveyard

August 1, 2015 Posted by | Spain, wastes | Leave a comment

Hartlepool, Trawsfynydd & Small Modular Reactors,

text-SMRsMeanwhile the Wall Street Journal reports that using modular construction techniques for the AP1000 reactor hasn’t worked. Building nuclear reactors out of factory-produced modules was supposed to make construction swifter and cheaper, but costly delays have shaken faith in the new construction method at the two US sites. “Modular construction has not worked out to be the solution that the utilities promised”

NuClearNews August 2015  New energy minister Andrea Leadsom has given the strongest signal flag-UKyet that the Government is looking to support a new era of factory-built, nuclear power stations – with a Newcastle company leading the way on their development in the UK. Speaking at the Nuclear Industry Association conference Ms Leadsom said: “Small Modular Reactors are an option we are investigating further. These have the potential to drive down the cost of nuclear energy and make financing easier through shorter construction times and lower initial capital investment requirements, in addition to high value commercial opportunities.” (1)

 

 

Amidst a growing sense of frustration and hand-wringing over the delays in the current nuclear programme, new hope has emerged that support is on the way for a home-grown generation of Small Modular Reactors (SMR). Continue reading

August 1, 2015 Posted by | technology, UK | Leave a comment

South Africa facing a R1-trillion nuclear financial disaster

Money down holeR1-trillion nuclear plans are simply “disastrous” for SA http://businesstech.co.za/news/energy/94677/r1-trillion-nuclear-plans-are-simply-disastrous-for-sa/ 31 July 15 Government’s R1-trillion nuclear build plans are going to turn South Africa’s energy crisis into a jobs crisis, according to the Democratic Alliance.

Earlier in July, the Department of Energy signed two memoranda of understanding with Russian state nuclear energy corporation Rosatom to implement several joint projects for education in the nuclear power industry.

Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson said that South Africa will start a nuclear build programme in 2015, in a bid to generate an additional 9,600MW of electricity.

The country will have as many as nine new nuclear power plants by 2030, with government pegging the total cost to build these at R500 million – though energy experts have stated R1 trillion was more realistic, and would likely increase.

In a statement issued on 31 July, DA leader Mmusi Maimane said the nuclear deal will drag the country’s economy back, and will cost thousands of South Africans their jobs.

According to the party, the details behind government’s nuclear plans show that the undertaking is unaffordable.

“Whichever funding model is chosen, you can rest assured that it will be paid for by the South African taxpayer, and that we can expect substantial tariff increases over many years.”

These higher prices would price the poor out of electricity usage, and would result in energy-heavy industries – like mining and manufacturing – shedding more jobs, said the DA.

“For a government that claims to be pro-poor – and for a country where 5.2 million people cannot find work and a further 2.4 million have given up looking – this is unfathomable.”

Maimane pointed to a number of flaws in the scheme:

  • Even if government’s estimate of R500 million was correct, South Africa cannot afford to build the nuclear reactors. This would result in private-public partnerships being formed, which would be reflected in current and future electricity prices increasing, as citizens would have to pay.
  • South Africa lacks the capacity and skills to operate eight nuclear power stations. We lack the capacity and skills to run the one we already have, said Maimane.
  • The project goes against the government’s own National Development Plan, which urges caution on nuclear, pointing rather towards gas, wind, and solar energy as a primary source of power.

To date, government has not provided solid details on the nuclear build plans.

“Until the government tells us how much the nuclear deal will cost, how we plan to pay for it, and how they intend to choose the preferred bidder, we cannot begin to entertain the notion of going down this path.”

The DA leader said that, while the party does not oppose nuclear power, the current plan is “not right” for the country, and it will do anything in its power to block the deal.

August 1, 2015 Posted by | business and costs, politics, South Africa | Leave a comment

Canada’s pro nuclear government keeps mum about the dangers of radioactive strontium 90

The government puts labels on cigarettes and warns of the danger to health. People have the right to know and the right to smoke cigarettes if they choose. People have the right to know what is in their milk and decide whether or not they want to drink it.

Could it be that the Canadian government’s involvement in the mining, processing and selling of uranium to other countries, its selling of nuclear technology to the world as well as its profiting from Canada’s own nuclear power plants and nuclear research reactors, makes it not want to draw attention to the dangers of radioactivity?

Canada’s Land of Milk and Strontium 90, Enviro reporter,  February 28, 2013 
diagram-Strontium-90We live on the Pacific Northwest coast of Canada. By many accounts, our area was particularly hard hit by the radioactive fallout that came directly over to us, in the jet stream, from the triple meltdown and hydrogen explosions at the nuclear power plant at Fukushima Daiichi, Japan, in March of 2011.

In Seattle, it was reported that the air was so contaminated after the accident that people were breathing in five “hot” radioactive particles a day!

The fallout was found to come down heavily in the rain that is so frequent in this rain forest we call home. Initially Simon Fraser University, in British Columbia, detected Iodine 131 in the rainwater on Burnaby Mountain They also found it in the seaweed on the shores of North Vancouver

Eventually we learned that the Air Monitoring Stations on Vancouver Island had picked up Radioactive Iodine 131 at levels 300 times higher than normal background.

A lab in Washington State found levels of radioactive xenon gas 40,000 times higher than normal levels.

So we knew the fallout had reached us. And we knew that there were at least 200 other radioactive substances that came along with the fallout from the nuclear plant accident. What we didn’t know was the level of contamination.

We learned that in California the tuna, milk, pistachios, naval oranges, prunes, wild mushrooms, strawberries, seaweed, beef, kale and spinach had been shown to be contaminated with radioactivity. However, having watched the jet stream patterns, we saw that our area in south western British Columbia was often missed by the atmospheric airflow from Japan.

After the initial study came out from Simon Fraser University, no more radioisotope studies were conducted by the researchers at that university So we set about trying to find out if anyone else was testing for radioactive fallout in Canada. Continue reading

August 1, 2015 Posted by | Canada, radiation | Leave a comment

Nuclear industry lobbying for tax=payer funding as a ‘carbon emissions cure’

U.S. nuclear operators try to save plants with carbon emission rule, Reuters, WASHINGTON | BY VALERIE VOLCOVICI , 31 July 15, The U.S. nuclear industry has made a last-minute push to urge the Obama administration to protect the country’s 100 nuclear units in its forthcoming carbon rule and prevent the early retirement of several plants.

cartoon-climate-con

Representatives of the Nuclear Energy Institute met on July 21 with White House officials who are currently reviewing the final version of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan. The industry contends the original version of the plan, released in mid-2014, fails to encourage states to keep some “at risk” plants from closing.

NEI and other industry officials said the final plan, which is expected as soon as Monday, should provide incentives for states to renew operating licenses and ramp up generation at nuclear plants.

The industry said eight plants – producing about 8,000 MW of generation – struggle to compete in competitive electricity markets. The lobby group argued that the loss of even one of these zero-carbon emission plants would be “a major blow to carbon reduction efforts.”

The details were posted on the White House Office of Management and Budget website.

The Clean Power Plan is the centerpiece of President Barack Obama’s climate change strategy, which seeks to slash power plant carbon emissions to 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030……..

August 1, 2015 Posted by | climate change, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Governments, scientists and industry experts can’t face the truth about Fukushima

 exclamation- Have you considered …Fukushima will never be over Karen Warnick The Independent, 31 July 15 

There are very good reasons why we aren’t being told the truth about the Fukushima disaster, but it doesn’t matter what those reasons are. The fact that we aren’t getting updated information in the “normal” media and the scant information that is coming out from them can’t be counted on to be accurate is the problem.

If we were to be told the real truth, civilization as we know it would become utter chaos. It’s hard not to be too fatalistic, or too much of a “conspiracy theorist” over this issue. The reason being that the truth is the disaster that was and is Fukushima will never be over.

There has never been a disaster of this magnitude before and the scientific community and nuclear energy experts don’t have a clue how to fix it

There has been news about Fukushima in the past four years; it’s just hard for the average person to find.

Consider some of the statements made by “experts” in various articles in scientific papers and other world media sites: “Even more ominously, Seiichi Mizuno, a former member of Japan’s House of Councillors (Upper House of Parliament, 1995-2001) in March 2015 said: “The biggest problem is the melt-through of reactor cores… We have groundwater contamination… The idea that the contaminated water is somehow blocked in the harbor is especially absurd. It is leaking directly into the ocean. There’s evidence of more than 40 known hotspot areas where extremely contaminated water is flowing directly into the ocean… We face huge problems with no prospect of solution.” (Source: Nuclear Hotseat #194)”……..

. It doesn’t matter anymore. We are never going to be over Fukushima.

We are still not “over” Chernobyl, which happened in 1986. The land around it will never be habitable again and hundreds of thousands have died, and hundreds of thousands have cancer.

It’s no wonder governments, scientists and industry experts don’t want to talk about it. There’s nothing any of them can do about it. Fukushima is not over, will never be over, and it could get a lot worse. That’s all anyone needs to know.

Karen Warnick is a reporter with The Independent. Reach her at kwarnick@wmicentral.com.    http://www.wmicentral.com/opinion/editorials/fukushima-will-never-be-over/article_908093a8-34ce-11e5-9cbe-774ed88209e0.html

August 1, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, spinbuster | Leave a comment

UK’s Slow Progress on Plutonium Stockpiles.

flag-UK

No projected cost for a new MOX plant is given by AREVA (the last estimate by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority in 2011 was around £6bn) and no mention is made of the French company’s ongoing new-build reactor fiascos in France and Finland, its financial losses that have forced its merger with state controlled EDF, its involvement with the spiralling costs and decades of delay to the AREVA design MOX plant under construction in the USA at Savannah River and – as part of the disgraced Nuclear Management Partners (NMP) consortium at Sellafield – its recent stripping of a multi £billion management contract by the NDA following spiralling budget costs and inept management of crucial projects.

 

highly-recommendedNuClear news August 2015   Since the Government confirmed in December 2011 that its preferred management option for the UK’s plutonium stockpile was to convert the ‘asset of zero value’ into Mixed Oxide (MOX) fuel, further progress on the option has been conspicuous by its absence, says Cumbrians Opposed to a Radioactive Environment (CORE). (1)

Since then the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) appears to have been concentrating its efforts on evaluating alternative projects – the GE Hitachi PRISM reactor and the Candu Energy Canmox project. Both these projects were added to the list of plutonium options as an afterthought in January 2012.

Continue reading

August 1, 2015 Posted by | - plutonium, UK | Leave a comment

Call from Iran for world nuclear disarmament

nuclear-weapons-3Iran’s foreign minister calls for world’s nuclear weapons states to disarm Mohammad Javad Zarif calls for talks on arms elimination treaty and for creation of zone free from weapons of mass destruction in Middle East, Guardian,  31 July 15, Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, has called on Israel and the world’s eight other states with nuclear weapons to begin disarming, in response to his country’s acceptance of strict curbs on its nuclear programme in anagreement reached earlier this month.

Writing in the Guardian, Zarif argues that by agreeing to the Vienna deal, titled the joint comprehensive plan of action, Iran was honouring the spirit of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT), in which states without nuclear weapons promise not to acquire them. But he says the nuclear weapons states are not keeping their side of the bargain by disarming.

“The cold war-era asymmetry between states that possess nuclear weapons and those that don’t is no longer tolerable,” the minister writes, claiming Iran had “walked the walk” on non-proliferation.

“Meanwhile, states actually possessing these destructive weapons have hardly even talked the talk, while completely brushing off their disarmament obligations under NPT and customary international law. That is to say nothing of countries outside the NPT, or Israel, with an undeclared nuclear arsenal and a declared disdain towards non-proliferation, notwithstanding its absurd and alarmist campaign against the Iranian nuclear deal.”

Israel does not officially confirm its nuclear arsenal, but it is believed to have about 80 warheads……….

Zarif makes three proposals: for negotiations to begin on a nuclear weapons elimination treaty; that this should lead initially to nuclear arsenals being taken off high alert readiness (for example, by removing warheads from missiles); and for the creation of a zone in the Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction………..

Patricia Lewis, the research director for international security at the Chatham House thinktank, said: “Most interesting to me is that Zarif is strongly linking the nuclear deal in Vienna to the WMD-free zone. Iran used to be a thought leader in this process – a role it absconded from in recent years. It looks as if once again it may be prepared to take this on as a major issue. The fascinating thing to watch will be how Israel will respond, a country that won’t even reveal its nuclear weapons capability and remains outside the NPT.” http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jul/31/iran-nuclear-weapons-states-disarm-israel?CMP=share_btn_tw

August 1, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Iran, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Japanese Government Slick Propaganda to Minimize the Fukushima Situation in the eyes of the UN

After reading that article, I believe that this kid will be a tool for the the Japanese Government, which will be using that kid testimony to minimize the desperate extent of the situation in Fukushima, to justify its non evacuation of many people, the financially forced return of the previoulsly evacuees to go back to live in contaminated villages and to promote an illusory criminal reconstruction in the eyes of the world at the UN….She has been coached to that effect…..At least that is the impression this article gives me….

 I must add that to use a victim, a youth, as agent for their propaganda, is pretty slick, sly and devious, on the Japanese government part…

 Poor kid, she is being manipulated without even be aware of it….Sad, disgusting…

“… it is not the entire area of Fukushima Prefecture, but only some regions that people cannot live in. Most of Fukushima is safe to live in.”
Unless:

1. The wind blows
2. It rains
3. You eat the food
4. You breathe
“…there is a lot of good news about Fukushima too.” Do tell!!!
Then, come back in 20 years and let us know which cancer(s) you have faced, if you have had a child with birth defects…at 16, it is so very easy to manipulate you. You want to go ‘home’…it just isn’t there anymore.

hkmmmAyumi Kikuchi, left, practices the speech she will give at a United Nations event with her English teacher, Fumi Arimura, in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, on July 23. She attends the relocated Futaba High School, now operating in the city of Iwaki.

Fukushima high school evacuee to share experiences at United Nations

IWAKI, Fukushima Prefecture–A high school student who thought she was only temporarily fleeing her home during the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster and remains an evacuee to this day, will address an event at the United Nations headquarters this month.

Ayumi Kikuchi, 16, a former resident of Futaba, Fukushima Prefecture, located near the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant that suffered a triple meltdown, was asked by school officials to give the speech in New York City.

A nonprofit organization that deals with the issues of human rights, health and the environment contacted the prefectural Futaba High School, which now operates out of the nearby city of Iwaki. It invited a student from the prefecture to come and share their experiences of having lived through those trying events and the aftermath.

“At that time, I was a sixth-grader in my elementary school, and we were going to graduate in a few days,” Kikuchi says in her speech. “My home was 4 kilometers from the plant. At that time, I didn’t understand why we had to leave our home, and I thought we could come back home soon.”

However, she has been forced to live in various shelters over the years, including the Saitama Super Arena and one set up at the former Kisai High School in Kazo, Saitama Prefecture.

“I wondered what’s going to happen to us (at the time),” she said. She remembered watching the events unfold on the news.

“I went back to my home only once after the accident,” she wrote. “There were many houses left collapsed and roads still had cracks. Nothing seemed to have changed since the disaster. However, the inside of my house was totally different from what I remembered because of animal excreta and rain leaking in.”

The high school student said she hopes to one day work for the local government to help restore her town to what it once was.

Her school, which has a history of more than 90 years, will close after her class graduates. Four other relocated high schools are also scheduled to close.

“Many graduates are feeling very sorry and regretting that their old school is forced to close even though the school or the students have done nothing wrong themselves,” Kikuchi says in her speech.

In her message, Kikuchi will call on people to help one another in times of disaster. She also plans to ask people to share and pass on the memories that result from such devastating events.

“I want people to know about Fukushima’s situation accurately,” she wrote. “People in other countries may think that Fukushima is uninhabitable and may wonder why people don’t flee from Fukushima. In fact, however, it is not the entire area of Fukushima Prefecture, but only some regions that people cannot live in. Most of Fukushima is safe to live in. Also, various movements toward reconstruction have been made, and there is a lot of good news about Fukushima too.”

Fumi Arimura, an English teacher at Kikuchi’s school, helped her write her 10-minute speech. Kikuchi leaves for the United States on Aug. 2.

Source: Asahi Shimbun

http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201508010022

August 1, 2015 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

What Strontium 90 does to the body

diagram-Strontium-90Canada’s Land of Milk and Strontium 90, Enviro Reporter,  February 28, 2013“…….Strontium 90 never occurs naturally. It is man-made by the nuclear fission reaction. Strontium 90 is a “bone seeker.” It mimics calcium and if a bone is deficient in calcium, it will take up Strontium 90 in place of the calcium.

But whereas calcium will make your bones strong, Strontium 90 gets deposited in the bones and bone marrow and causes bone cancer and cancer of the tissues nearby. It can also get into the blood and cause leukemia.

Strontium 90 decays by practically pure beta radiation. When beta particles are ingested, they penetrate cells at the molecular level and are so strong that they can actually change the structure of the molecules they strike. If the molecule it strikes is a DNA molecule, then it can cause a spontaneous mutation.

Babies and pregnant women are the most sensitive to the effects of radiation. If a pregnant woman is drinking milk that has radioactive Strontium 90 in it, the fetus will concentrate that radioactivity. If a woman who is breastfeeding is drinking radioactive milk, the Strontium 90 will concentrate in her breast milk and thus get transferred to her baby.

Young children are the next most affected. Young girls are more affected than young boys. Women are more susceptible to the effects of radiation than men.

Strontium 90 has a half life of 28.79 years so it will be around for about 290 years before it completely decays away to a nonradioactive and risk-free form. That is, any Strontium 90 you ingest and lodges in your bones will remain in your body, decaying away, for your entire life.

There is no question about it – Strontium 90 is a man-made poison that we should never have to consume………http://www.enviroreporter.com/2013/02/canadas-land-of-milk-and-strontium-90/

August 1, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, radiation | Leave a comment

Fine – talk about nuclear power – but don’t pretend that it’s “low emissions”

The technology trap  Could new types of nuclear power station solve the problem? “Fast breeder reactors” produce more nuclear fuel than they use and so would theoretically have much lower life-cycle CO2 emissions than existing “burner” reactors. But in practice breeders are even more complex, dangerous and expensive than burners. As a result they have been stuck at the demonstration stage for decades and even some nuclear proponents admit that breeders are unlikely to be commercialized for at least another two decades, if ever.

The government’s issues paper mentions the possibility of nuclear reactors based on the thorium fuel cycle, but these are also more complex than uranium-based nuclear energy and there are no commercial systems operating as yet.

To sum up, based on existing commercial technology, nuclear energy is not a solution to the global climate crisis, because it will soon become too emissions-intensive. It is also not a short-term solution, because it is a very slow technology to plan and construct. It is dangerous and very expensive.

Sure, let’s debate nuclear power – just don’t call it “low-emission”,

global warming A

miningawareness Mark DiesendorfUNSW Australia, 31 July 15  Nuclear power is back on Australia’s radar. In its recent issues paper released as a preface to September’s Energy White Paper, the Abbott government reopened the debate thus:

With environmental considerations constraining the further development of hydro-electric sources, nuclear technologies continue to present an option for future reliable energy that can be readily dispatched into the market.

This sentence appears in a passage dealing with the “move to low-emissions energy”, and although nuclear is not explicitly described as a low-emission option, it certainly looks as if the government is prepared to consider embracing nuclear power as part of an alleged move away from fossil fuels.

Is nuclear energy really low-emission?

Unfortunately, the notion that nuclear energy is a low-emission technology doesn’t really stack up when the whole nuclear fuel life cycle is considered.

In reality, the only CO2-free link in the chain is the reactor’s operation. All of the other steps – mining, milling, fuel fabrication, enrichment, reactor construction, decommissioning and waste management – use fossil fuels and hence emit carbon dioxide.

Several analyses by researchers who are independent of the nuclear industry have found that total CO2 emissions depend sensitively on the grade of uranium ore mined and milled. The lower the grade, the more fossil fuels are used, and so the higher the resulting emissions. Continue reading

August 1, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Bradwell: Handing Future UK nuclear Infrastructure to the Chinese

flag-UKflag-China NuClear News August 2015 The Government is preparing to hand over future UK nuclear infrastructure to Chinese firms, according to the GMB Union in a “total betrayal” of UK workers. The GMB raised concerns earlier this month about the prospect of the Bradwell, site in Essex, being given “lock, stock and barrel” to the Chinese National Nuclear Corporation.
 Energy Secretary Amber Rudd responded in a letter to the union: “The UK government welcomes overseas investment in the UK’s new nuclear programme. This includes investment and participation from Chinese companies in the Hinkley Point C project and progressive involvement more generally in the UK’s nuclear new build energy programme. In the future, this could include leading the development of a site in the UK and the potential deployment of a Chinese reactor technology in the UK, subject to meeting the stringent requirements of the UK’s independent nuclear regulatory regime.” (1)
 Gary Smith, GMB National Secretary for energy, said “I have studied the letter from Amber Rudd carefully and conclude that it looks that the UK Government is preparing for a hand over of the future UK nuclear infrastructure to the Chinese state. This is a total betrayal of workers in the UK and of the long term interests of the UK economy.”
 (2) Professor Andy Blowers, chairman of the Blackwater Against New Nuclear Group (BANNG), takes a rather more fundamental objection to the proposals than the union’s. He said “There shouldn’t be investment from anybody, even British investors. The idea of creating more rubbish when we don’t have any way to dispose of what we’ve already got just seems quite frankly immoral.”
(3) 1. Western Morning News 29th June 2015 http://www.westernmorningnews.co.uk/Chinese-Hinkley-Cnuclear-deal-8216-betrayal/story-26797760-detail/story.html
2. GMB 29th June 2015 http://www.gmb.org.uk/newsroom/chinese-state-role-in-new-nuclear
3. Essex Chronicle 18th June 2015 http://www.essexchronicle.co.uk/Nuclear-plan-blight-Bradwell-scommunity-200/story-26715329-detail/story.html      http://www.no2nuclearpower.org.uk/nuclearnews/NuClearNewsNo76.pdf

August 1, 2015 Posted by | politics, politics international, UK | Leave a comment