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IAEA claims ‘no harm from Fukushima’ – they’re wrong

text ionisingWhy The IAEA Claim Of No Harm In Fukushima Is Wrong September 2nd, 2015

Portions of the new IAEA report on Fukushima have been criticized by the media and roundly slammed by Greenpeace. Much of the dispute is around a contradictory statement about the potential thyroid cancers in evacuees. IAEA admits that the exposure data being used is limited and unclear but went on to give a solid prediction there would be no thyroid cancers from Fukushima related exposures.

UNSCEAR and IAEA have been relying on outdated estimates done by the Fukushima Health Survey.  The Fukushima Health Survey adopted a dose estimate scheme created by NIRS. There are a number of problems with this dose estimate scheme.

  • The NIRS dose estimate is for external exposure only. The critical portion of any exposure related to thyroid cancer is the internal exposure. Usually by the inhalation or ingestion of iodine 131.
  • There are no actual radiation readings used for estimates made for exposures during the first three days of the accident. These first three days are also when some of the largest exposures would have happened
  • NIRS uses the source term radiation estimate provided by the Japanese government. This estimate has been proven to be extremely low by later studies including one that used CTBTO radiation monitors to back track estimate the levels of radiation released from the plant.
  • NIRS assumed most residents evacuated before radiation levels rose, for many this was not the case as not all residents evacuated early in the disaster
  • NIRS admits there is considerable uncertainty in their estimates and that recalculations may be in order if new data shows the source term or radiation levels were higher. This has never been done…………..

September 6, 2015 Posted by | Fukushima 2015, radiation | Leave a comment

How ionising radiation gets into water

water-radiationby Gordon Edwards, Ph.D.

(1) When nuclear fuel is used in a nuclear reactor or an atomic bomb, the atoms in the fuel are “split” (or “fissioned”) to produce energy.  The fission process is triggered by subatomic particles called neutrons.  In a nuclear reactor, when the neutrons are stopped, the fission process also stops.  This is called “shutting down the reactor.”

(2) But during the nuclear fission process, hundreds of new varieties of radioactive atoms are created that did not exist before.  These unwanted radioactive byproducts accumulate in the irradiated nuclear fuel — and they are, collectively, millions of times more radioactive than the original nuclear fuel.

(3) These newly created radioactive materials are classified as fission products, activation products, and transuranic elements.  Fission products — like iodine-131, cesium-137 and strontium-90 — are the broken pieces of atoms that have been split.  Activation products— like hydrogen-3 (“tritium”), carbon-14 and cobalt-60 — are the result of non-radioactive atoms being transformed into radioactive atoms after absorbing one or more stray neutrons.  Transuranic elements — like plutonium, neptunium, curium and americium — are created by transmutation after a massive uranium atom absorbs one or more neutrons to become an even more massive atom (hence “transuranic,” meaning “beyond uranium”).

(4) Because of these intensely radioactive byproducts, irradiated nuclear fuel continues to generate heat for years after the fission process has stopped.  This heat (“decay heat”) is caused by the ongoing atomic disintegration of the nuclear waste materials.  No one knows how to slow down or shut off the radioactive disintegration of these atoms, so the decay heat is literally unstoppable. But decay heat does gradually diminish over time, becoming much less intense after about 10 years.


(5) However, in the early years following a reactor shutdown, unless decay heat is continually removed as quickly as it is being produced, the temperature of the irradiated fuel can rise to dangerous levels — and radioactive gases, vapors and particles will be given off into the atmosphere at an unacceptable rate.


(6) The most common way to remove decay heat from irradiated fuel is to continually pour water on it. Tepco is doing this at the rate of about 400 tons a day. That water becomes contaminated with fission products, activation products and transuranic elements.  Since these waste materials are radiotoxic and harmful to all living things, the water cannot be released to the environment as long as it is contaminated.

(7) Besides the 400 tons of water used daily by Tepco to cool the melted cores of the three crippled reactors, another 400 tons of ground water is pouring into the damaged reactor buildings every day. This water is also becoming radioactively contaminated, so it too must be stored pending decontamination.


(8) Tepco is using an “Advanced Liquid Processing System” (ALPS) that is able to remove 62 different varieties of radioactive materials from the contaminated water — but the process is slow, removal is seldom 100 percent effective, and some varieties of radioactive materials are not removed at all.


(9) Tritium, for example, cannot be removed. Tritium is radioactive hydrogen, and when tritium atoms combine with oxygen atoms we get radioactive water molecules. No filtration system can remove the tritium from the water, because you can’t filter water from water. Released into the environment, tritium enters freely into all living things.


(10) Nuclear power is the ultimate example of the throwaway society. The irradiated fuel has to be sequestered from the environment of living things forever.  The high-quality materials used to construct the core area of a nuclear reactor can never be recycled or reused but must be perpetually stored as radioactive waste.  Malfunctioning reactors cannot be completely shut off because the decay heat continues long after shutdown.  And efforts to cool a badly crippled reactor that has melted down result in enormous volumes of radioactively contaminated water that must be stored or dumped into the environment.  No wonder some have called nuclear power “the unforgiving technology.”…….

September 6, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, radiation, Reference, water | 1 Comment

Tritium contamination of water: 9 medical implications

water-radiationby Helen Caldicott, M.D.

(1) There is no way to separate tritium from contaminated water. Tritium, a soft beta emitter, is a potent carcinogen which remains radioactive for over 100 years. It concentrates in aquatic organisms including algae, seaweed, crustaceans and fish. Because it is tasteless, odorless and invisible, it will inevitably be ingested in food, including seafood, over many decades. It combines in the DNA molecule – the gene – where it can induce mutations that later lead to cancer. It causes brain tumors, birth deformities, and cancers of many organs. The situation is dire because there is no way to contain this radioactive water permanently and it will inevitable leak into the Pacific Ocean for over 50 years or longer along with many other very dangerous isotopes including cesium 137 which lasts for 300 years and causes very malignant muscle cancers –rhabdomyosarcomas, strontium 90 which also is radioactive for 300 years and causes bone cancers and leukemia, amongst many other radioactive elements.

(2) All cancers can be induced by radiation, and because much of the land in Fukushima and beyond is contaminated, the food – tea, beef, milk, green vegetables, rice, etc. – will remain radioactive for several hundred years.

(3)  “Cleanup” is a misnomer, radioactively contaminated soil, timber, leaves, and water cannot be decontaminated, just possibly moved to another site there to contaminate it.

(4)  Incineration of radioactive waste spreads the cancer-inducing agents to other areas including non-contaminated areas of Japan.

(5) Cancers have a long incubation period – 2 to 80 years after people eat or breath radioactively contaminated food or air.

(6) The IAEA says that decommissioning of these reactors will take 50 to 60 years and some people predict that this mess will never be cleaned up and removed.

(7) Where will Japan put this highly radioactive melted fuel, fuel rods and the like? There is absolutely no safe place to store this deadly material (that must be isolated from the exosphere for one million years according to the US EPA) on an island that is riven by earthquakes.

(8) As these radioactive elements continually seep into the water and the ocean and are emitted into the air the incidence of congenital deformities, cancer and genetic defects will inevitably increase over time and into future generations.

(9) Children are 10 to 20 times more sensitive to the carcinogenic effects of radiation than adults (little girls are twice as sensitive as boys) and fetuses are thousands of times more sensitive – one X ray to the pregnant abdomen doubles the incidence of leukemia in the child.

September 6, 2015 Posted by | radiation, Reference | 2 Comments

UK govt on brink of sealing Hinkley and Sizewell nuclear deal with China

flag-UKflag-ChinaDavid Cameron gives go ahead to build Chinese nuclear reactor in ESSEX

DAVID Cameron is poised to sign a landmark deal next month to allow China to build a prototype nuclear reactor in Bradwell, Essex – which would become the first Chinese-operated facility in the West.

By SELINA SYKES Sep 6, The deal, part of a wide-ranging civil nuclear pact between Britain, France and China, may be sealed in October during the Chinese president’s state visit.

exclamation-The plant is the price Beijing wants in return for its agreement to help pay for two new plants to be built by France’s EDF Energy – one at Hinkley Point in Somerset and the other at Sizewell, Suffolk.

EDF has admitted that Hinkley Point – Britain’s first atomic power station in almost two decades – is already facing delays.  It was originally scheduled to open in 2017, but disputes over how it will be funded have held up the start of work – with EDF admitting it would not open before 2024. Problems with the EPR reactor design have also halted progress.

However, David Cameron is adamant to get the project off the ground – which is at the core of the Government’s drive to replace Britain’s ageing fossil fuel plants with low-carbon alternatives.

A similar EDF plant in Flamanville, France, has gone three times over budget and fallen six years behind schedule.

Hinkley Point, which will be twice as big, is on course to become the world’s most expensive power station.

The Chinese – who are currently have 26 nuclear power reactors in operation –  are vital to Britain’s low-carbon initiative.

Whitehall officers are said to be hammering out the final details of an agreement under which two of Beijing’s state power companies – China General Nuclear and China National Nuclear Corporation – will take a large minority stake in Hinkley Point.  They would also become junior partners, and cover part of the costs for a follow-on plant at Sizewell.

The construction and operation of both sites would be led by EDF.

In return for Beijing’s support on those plants, EDF would sell its right to a development site it owns at Bradwell.

The French, who would become a minority partner, would assist the Chinese through Britain’s approval process for a new reactor design – which the Chinese would use as a selling point as it bids to become the world leader in nuclear technology.

The Chinese design is expected to be capable of producing one gigawatt of electricity – enough to power 1m homes.

Hinkley Point will comprise of two larger EPR reactors – each with a capacity of 1.6GW – which will generate seven per cent of Britain’s electricity needs.

However, the plans for the nuclear plant have stirred controversy because of the huge subsidies the Government has agreed to pay EDF and its Chinese partners – which will be tacked on to taxpayers’ household bills and pay out until 2060.

The starting rate of £92.50 per megawatt hour of power produced is more than double the current wholesale rate and will rise every year with inflation.

A growing number of critics have begun to lobby against Hinkley Point.

September 6, 2015 Posted by | China, marketing of nuclear, politics international, UK | Leave a comment

USA’s secret plans with Japan to dump radioactive trash into oceans

Pacific-Ocean-drainUS tried to conspire with Japan to dump nuclear waste into world’s oceans, reveal documents (NaturalNews) When nuclear energy production technology first began to emerge in the US in the 1950s, neither scientists nor the US government considered what would be done with nuclear reactors once it was time for them to be put out of commission. And recently-released documents reveal that, in an effort to hastily deal with this problem after the fact, the US government actually tried to conspire with Japan to gain secret approval for dumping decommissioned nuclear reactors into the world’s oceans.

In 1972, the United Nations (UN) had proposed the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter, also known as the London Convention, to deal with the growing, global pollution problem. The agreement’s provisions sought to specifically regulate the environmental pollution that signing nations could and could not dump into the oceans, which of course included nuclear production materials.

But since a finalized version of the agreement had not yet been fully established, the US government took advantage of the situation by seeking to insert an exemption cause permitting the dumping of decommissioned nuclear reactors into the ocean. And since Japan had also been involved in developing its own nuclear energy program, the US thought it could gain additional support for the exemption clause from its Asian ally.

But Japan allegedly did not comply, according to Kumao Kaneko, 74, who was a member of the Foreign Ministry team involved in the negotiations at the time. So the US decided to go it alone in proposing its exemption clause, which was meant to be a last-resort option — and it was eventually successful in achieving its goal.

Though the US made no mention of any long-term plans to utilize the ocean as its nuclear dumping ground during the proposal, it now appears as though the country had every intention of using the ocean as a nuclear disposal facility. And since the London Convention clause still exists to this day, all other signing countries are free to dump their nuclear waste in the ocean as well.

Russia, a signing member of the London Convention, openly admitted back in 1993, for instance, that it dumps nuclear reactors and fuel into the ocean because it allegedly has no other safe way to dispose of such materials (…).

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), however, claims the US stopped dumping nuclear reactors into the ocean a long time ago. And US officials claim that decommissioned nuclear reactors are today buried in the ground rather than dumped into the ocean:

September 6, 2015 Posted by | history, oceans, USA | Leave a comment

European Pressurised nuclear Reactor (EPR) – litany of delays and cost overruns

French EPR reactor years behind schedule, billions over budget By Reuters | 3 Sep, 2015,  PARIS: French state-controlled utility EDF on Thursday announced new delays and cost overruns for the Areva-designed 1650 megawatt European pressurised reactor (EPR) reactor it is building in Flamanville, Normandy.

Flamanville 15

The EPR is set to be the first of a new series of safer “next-generation” reactors to replace France’s ageing fleet of 58 nuclear reactors. The Flamanville reactor had been scheduled to start in 2012 and was scheduled to cost 3 billion euros.

A similar EPR reactor built by ArevaBSE 1.16 % in Finland, on which construction started in 2005 and was scheduled to start up in 2009, has suffered even longer delays. Two more EPRs are under construction in China and EDF plans to build two in Hinkley Point, Britain.

Below is a timeline of the Flamanville delays and cost overruns:

July 2005: EDF says it plans to build an EPR reactor at Flamanville, which is due to start operating in 2012. The cost is estimated at 3 billion euros.

In its 2005 annual report, EDF estimates the cost at 3.3 billion euros.

May 2006: EDF says construction should begin in 2007 and be completed in 2012.

December 2007: Work starts on the Flamanville ..

December 2008: EDF says EPR is due to cost 4 billion euros.

July 2010: EDF says start of Flamanville EPR is delayed until 2014. Construction costs now seen at 5 billion euros.

July 2011: EDF delays the completion of its Flamanville reactor by another two years to 2016. It expects costs to rise to 6 billion euros.

December 2012December 2012: EDF says stricter regulation in the wake of the Fukushima disaster will bring the total cost of the EPR to 8.5 billion euros. The start-up date is still expected for 2016.

July 2013: EDF installs the dome of Flamanville reactor.

November 2014: EDF said the Flamanville reactor will start up in 2017. It says the delay is due to Areva’s difficulties with ensuring a timely delivery of certain pieces of equipment.

April 2015: EDF says weak spots have been found in the steel of the Flamanville EPR. EDF starts a series of new tests on the EPR as construction work continues. Nuclear regulator says carbon concentrations have weakened the mechanical resilience of the steel and its ability to resist the spreading of cracks.September 3 2015: EDF said the Flamanville reactor will now start in 2018 and cost 10.5 billion euros.

September 6, 2015 Posted by | business and costs, France | Leave a comment

Action needed on the threat of nuclear terrorism

terrorism-targets-2Nuclear terrorism a threat without global security co-operation YUKIYA AMANO THE AUSTRALIAN SEPTEMBER 7, 2015 

Nuclear terrorism is, in the words of US President Barack Obama, “the gravest danger we face”. But while few would dispute this characterisation, the world has unfinished business in minimising the threat. Ten years after world leaders agreed to amend the landmark 1987 Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material to make it harder for terrorists to obtain nuclear material, the new measures have yet to enter into force. The resulting vulnerability needs to be ­addressed urgently.

In July 2005, signatories to the CPPNM agreed to amend the convention to address the risk of terrorism more effectively. The new measures that were introduced would make it more difficult for terrorists to cause a widespread release of radioactive material by attacking a nuclear power plant or detonating a radioactive dispersal device — commonly known as a dirty bomb.

Before the amendment can enter into force, two-thirds of the 152 signatories to the original convention must ratify it. While significant progress has been made — in July, the US, Italy, and Turkey did so — at least 14 more countries are needed.

The fact that there has never been a major terrorist attack involving nuclear or other radio­active material should not blind us to the severity of the threat. There is evidence that terrorist groups have tried to acquire material to construct a crude nuclear explosive device, or a dirty bomb……….

Since 1995, the IAEA’s member states have reported nearly 2800 incidents involving radioactive material escaping regulatory control. Although only a handful of these incidents involved mat­erial that could be used to make a nuclear explosive device, a relatively small amount of radioactive material could be combined with conventional explosives to create a dirty bomb. Such a weapon could be capable of killing many people, contaminating large areas, and sparking mass panic.

The original convention focused only on the international transport of nuclear material, and did not cover the protection of nuclear facilities. The amendment adopted 10 years ago would oblige countries to protect nuclear facilities and any nuclear material used, stored, or transported domestically. It would expand co-operation on locating and recovering stolen or smuggled nuclear material and co-ordinate the response to any attack on a nuclear facility. It would make nuclear trafficking a criminal offence and require signatories to co-operate on national systems of physical protection and minimising the consequences of sabotage…….

Effective international co-­operation is crucial. The consequences of a security failure could be a catastrophe that transcends borders. All countries must take the threat of nuclear terrorism seriously. The most effective way to do so would be to ensure that the amendment to the CPPNM enters into force as soon as possible.

Yukiya Amano is director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Project Syndicate

September 6, 2015 Posted by | 2 WORLD, safety | 1 Comment

South Australia Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission gets some crummy Submissions

South Australia is having a Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission, with the goal of making that State the world’s nuclear toilet, and guinea pig for new experimental nukes. They invited submissions (published at Of course nuclear companies are sending them in. But the rules are that the corporate submissions don’t have to be published. So the nuclear lobby has to rely mainly on non-corporate enthusiasts for published submissions.

And boy – do some of them put in crummy submissions.

I was particularly taken with this one, and the author’s idea that falls from solar paneled roofs are  a bigger health problem than Fukushima radiation. 

scrutiny-Royal-Commission CHAINGeoff Russell, Extract from Submission to the South Australian Nuclear Fuel Chain Royal Commission “……The Royal Commission is uniquely placed to learn from the past, but it will need to deal with the drivers of nuclear fear in the community. To build confidence in the community, the Commission’s report will need to convince both sides of politics to speak with one voice about the misinformation that drove (and drives) the Fukushima evacuation.

Appeasement, in the form of more and more levels of safeguards and protocols to attempt to say that “it can’t happen here” isn’t the answer. There will always be accidents despite every effort to avoid them. Planes still crash, but people understand the relative risks and board them regardless of personal fear.

They understand that fear is their personal problem and not a function of the objective facts. So it’s time to put nuclear accidents into perspective and stop treating them as something fundamentally different.

The fear and irrationality at Fukushima saw people die to avoid a trivial risk. Governments are supposed to protect people from nutters, not act on their behalf.

All energy sources have risks and in a rational world they’d be compared according to proper measures of suffering and disability; the simple trigger sequence logic (“nuclear -> cancer -> end of civilisation”) of decades past shouldn’t be allowed to influence decision making in 2015.

In Australia in 2010-11 there were 7730 Worker’s45 Compensation claims for serious injury resulting from falls from a height. How many were associated with rooftop solar panels? As far as I can see, nobody is even counting, but a million solar rooftops means more people on ladders; many of them amateurs. This is real danger, the kind that can put you in a wheel chair for the rest of your life. A proper comparison of nuclear risks with those of other energy sources will measure and include such risks along with the considerable risks associated with not avoiding continued climate destabilisation because we acted too slowly. We need safe clean energy and climate scientists say we need it fast. The Royal Commission will need to break with past traditions and confront nuclear fear head on and call it for what it is.”

September 6, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, spinbuster | Leave a comment

St Louis suburb anger about radioactive landfill

text ionisingAnger builds at EPA over radioactive landfill, The HIll, By Timothy Cama – 08/29/15  Leaders in a St. Louis suburb are urgently calling on top Obama administration officials to quickly clean up a landfill with radioactive waste that they believe could catch fire.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been working for 25 years on the West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton, Mo., which has housed barium sulfate waste from the Manhattan Project since the 1970s.

The EPA is still studying the site and considering a wide range of actions to contain the radioactive material under its Superfund program for cleaning severe environmental contamination.

 But with an underground, smoldering fire in an adjacent landfill, residents and leaders say it’s only a matter of time before the flames hits the radioactive waste, potentially sending it airborne and spreading it in an unpredictable way.

“What we have is an emergency,” said Ed Smith, energy program director with the Missouri Coalition for the Environment. “It’s a slow-moving emergency.”

Dawn Chapman, an organize of local activist group Just Moms STL, along with Byron DeLear of Energy Equity Funding, called directly on President Obama to act in a recent St. Louis Post-Dispatch opinion piece.

Matt LaVanchy, a local fire department official, told radio station KTRS that he believes the fire could be less than 1,000 feet from the radioactive material, and is trying to train firefighters for possible outcomes.

“There’s a possibility, the potential, of radioactive material being carried away by the result of the smoldering or the combustion event,” he said.

Residents have been working closely with Sens. Claire McCaskill (D) and Roy Blunt (R) and Reps. Lacy Clay (D) and Ann Wagner (R), who have written multiple letters and taken other action to put pressure on the Obama administration to take care of the problem.

Beyond the fire risk, locals argue that the radioactive material could also be compromised by floods, tornadoes, earthquakes or other disasters.

Angered with what they see as EPA’s slow movement on the matter, local leaders want the Army Corps of Engineers to take over as the lead agency overseeing the radioactive waste……..

The Department of Energy and Exelon Corp., which used to own the company that processed the uranium thought to have produced the waste, are also potentially responsible for the cleanup.

September 6, 2015 Posted by | environment, USA | Leave a comment

$457 million legal dispute over Kewaunee nuclear plant

Judge to sort out $457 million dispute over Kewaunee nuclear plant; company sued last month, Star Tribune, Associated Press SEPTEMBER 6, 2015 MILWAUKEE — The courts may have to resolve a tax dispute over the Kewaunee Power Station, which hasn’t generated a kilowatt of power in two years and is now being dismantled.

To Dominion Resources Inc., its plant is all but worthless. But to Carlton, the Lake Michigan town where the plant pumped out electricity for four decades, it’s still worth $457 million. Those views put the two sides nearly half a billion dollars apart in valuing the facility for tax purposes, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported this weekend ( ).

 Dominion sued the town last month, seeking a refund of taxes it expects to pay later this year. A victory for the company eventually could lead to higher local property taxes. Absent a settlement, a Kewaunee County circuit judge will have to sort it all out.
 Amie Trupke, the town’s lawyer, acknowledged that the property is difficult to value. But she said the town made a valid effort to determine the value of both the land and the structures on it………

Town officials have expressed frustration that the site can’t be redeveloped until it changes hands. Dominion has up to 60 years to restore the site under federal nuclear regulations. Adding to the frustration is that the used nuclear fuel that powered the reactor remains on the site in concrete casks. Since there is no national disposal site for spent nuclear fuel, the lakefront property will continue to store the fuel indefinitely.

 Similar situations are playing out at shuttered nuclear plants elsewhere. For instance, in Zion, Illinois, property tax payments dropped 55 percent when an Exelon Corp. reactor closed in the late 1990s. Earlier this year, legislation was proposed in Illinois to assess an “impact fee” for communities required to store nuclear waste.

September 6, 2015 Posted by | Legal, USA | Leave a comment

NRC approves Maryland nuclear station, despite safety concerns

NRC says North Anna nuclear plant passes muster , The Daily Progress, Charlottesville, Virginia, September 5, 2015 By Bill McKelway, Richmond Times-Dispatch RICHMOND — The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has set aside multiple concerns raised by an anti-nuclear power group about operations at Dominion Energy’s North Anna nuclear generating facility.

In a petition filed four years ago after the meltdown of the Fukushima Dalichi facility in Japan and the 5.8-magnitude Louisa County earthquake that tripped the Louisa County nuclear facility offline, the effort by Maryland-based Beyond Nuclear came up empty-handed.

The NRC notified the group and Dominion late last month that none of 12 areas of concern reviewed by the NRC warranted changes in North Anna operations.

The group sought a re-analysis of the North Anna operation’s design basis for earthquakes, its spent fuel storage facility, its reliability of seismic activity measures, an assessment of boil-off or drain-downs of the spent fuel pool and a review of emergency evacuation plans, among other issues.

The NRC review completed late last month rejected a need for changes in 12 specific areas that the NRC agreed to look into. Beyond Nuclear had sought a suspension of operations at the plant, where a third nuclear facility is in the planning stages………

Paul Gunter, a leader with Beyond Nuclear, said the decision to close out the review “comes as no surprise.”

“The NRC continues to ignore growing concerns about high-density storage and overcrowding of high-level nuclear waste spent fuel pools on site,” he said in a written statement. Radioactivity released by a fire or explosion from a drain-down or boil-off “would produce widespread contamination that would likely overwhelm current emergency plans,” he wrote.

He said the group’s effort at least establishes a “public record for what we believe to be ‘willful negligence’ on the part of the nuclear industry and the current federal regulator.”……….

September 6, 2015 Posted by | New Zealand, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Pacific Island Forum: theme will be Australia’s Inaction on Climate CHnage

Australia’s inaction on climate change set to dominate Pacific Island talks, Guardian, 6 Sept 15  Australia and New Zealand are expected to face strong criticism from Pacific Island leaders disappointed the nations are not doing more to combat climate change.


The issue will likely dominate this week’s Pacific Islands Forum leaders summit in Port Moresby, ahead of the United Nations climate change conference in Paris later in the year.

Pacific leaders want the world to work on restricting the global warming temperature rise to 1.5C, fearing a 2C target will risk the survival of many tiny islands.

Natural disaster recovery will be fresh on their minds. The summit starts on Monday, six months after Cyclone Pam, which flattened much of Vanuatu and caused heavy flooding on Tuvalu, Kiribati and the Marshall Islands.

Host nation Papua New Guinea is grappling with the opposite problem – what could be its worst drought in 20 years and a potential food crisis.

The prime minister, Peter O’Neill, has said El Niño conditions have been exacerbated by the effects of climate change.

The Solomon Islands and Vanuatu are also experiencing a dry spell………

The Pacific Island Forum runs from 7-11 September.

September 6, 2015 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, climate change, OCEANIA | Leave a comment

Long-time residents of Naraha facing dilemma with lifting of evacuation order

jklllShukan Sakanushi, head priest of the Dairakuin temple in Naraha, performs a ceremony on Sept. 5 praying for the rebuilding of his hometown.

With the lifting of the evacuation order for the Fukushima Prefecture town of Naraha on Sept. 5, Shukan Sakanushi, head priest of the Dairakuin temple in Naraha, decided to return home.

At midnight, he chanted Buddhist sutras in a ceremony praying for the rebuilding of the town.

“Those who live in temples have to go to where the people are,” Sakanushi, 44, said. “Today is a milestone of sorts. I will return to the temple from today.”

However, because only a small number of long-time residents have returned to Naraha, many parts of the town are quiet and lonely at night. Community bonds remain severed, making a return to Naraha difficult for former residents such as Teruyuki Ishizawa, 75, who now lives in temporary housing in Iwaki.

“I want to return but cannot,” he said. “The town is so dark that I cannot allow my wife to walk outside by herself.”

The lifting of the evacuation order for residents who fled in the wake of the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant following the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami does not mean that all 7,400 residents can simply return home.

Some evacuees have established comfortable lives elsewhere and want to continue with that daily routine.

Others are discouraged by the likelihood that only a few neighbors will return to their communities even with the evacuation order lifted.

For Sakanushi, March 11, 2011, was a special day, but not because of the twin disasters that changed his life. That was the day he was officially appointed head priest of Dairakuin by the headquarters of the Buzan sect of Shingon Buddhism to which the temple belongs.

He intended to take over most of the duties performed by his father, Myokan, 78, who had served as head priest of Dairakuin for 50 years.

However, after the evacuation order was issued for Naraha, Sakanushi’s family of six moved away.

Sakanushi is also an employee of the Naraha town government. He temporarily moved to Aizu-Wakamatsu where he provided support to other evacuees. Subsequently, he moved to Kita-Ibaraki, Ibaraki Prefecture, where his wife, Chisaki, 39, daughter, Mayu, 11, and son, Homare, 7, had evacuated to. Sakanushi’s parents eventually settled in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, after initially evacuating to Gunma Prefecture.

Although the evacuation order has been lifted, Sakanushi is now the only family member to return to Naraha.

No decision has yet been made about whether to have his two children return. The town government plans to resume the elementary and junior high schools in town from spring 2017. But Homare has no memories of life in Naraha, because he evacuated four and a half years ago.

“I do hold the feeling of wanting to live together as a family,” Sakanushi said. “However, the children have become accustomed to life in Ibaraki. I will think about whether we should all return by the time school resumes here.”

Many of his temple’s followers have also not returned to Naraha. Some are still concerned about the radiation, while others are worried about the inconveniences associated with returning to a community that has been deserted for more than four years.

Sakanushi plans to maintain the temple “annex” that was established in Iwaki, where about 80 percent of Naraha residents have evacuated to.

The tsunami and Fukushima nuclear accident have drastically altered the appearance of Naraha.

Homes along the coast remain flattened from the tsunami. Areas that once were rice paddies now are filled with black plastic bags holding dirt contaminated by radiation.

After the nuclear accident, lodging facilities and offices of companies involved in reactor decommissioning and decontamination work related to the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant have been constructed in Naraha. More than 1,000 workers now reside in Naraha, exceeding the number of long-time residents who returned. Those workers also frequent the temporary shopping arcade that has been set up in town.

A couple who now reside in Nagoya have all but given up hope of ever returning to Naraha.

Yoshiharu and Nobuko Matsumoto fled to Nagoya because their oldest daughter lives in Aichi Prefecture.

At first, Nobuko, 79, would say to Yoshiharu, 80, “We will return after a year or so.”

However, their lives as evacuees have now lasted for four and a half years.

Their oldest daughter, who returned temporarily to Naraha to sell off furniture and clean up, told them how their home has deteriorated.

Mold has grown on the house, which has also been damaged by rats. Shrubs have grown taller than the height of the Matsumotos.

This spring, the Matsumotos were told it would cost 10 million yen ($84,000) to repair the home.

That was when Nobuko decided, “I will remain in Nagoya.”

Yoshiharu was still determined to return to Naraha.

In early August, the entire family returned to Naraha with the intention of completing the clean-up work.

Even though he had back problems, Yoshiharu made the trip to Naraha, but he could not stop the tears from flowing when he saw his home for the first time in more than four years.

A next-door neighbor had begun destroying their home. The neighbor across the street had also decided to do the same. Of the family of five who used to live in the back of the Matsumoto home, only the grandmother in her 80s is planning to return.

In total, only one neighbor among their acquaintances was planning to return to Naraha.

“I want to return, but if I cannot farm and there are no friends, I would not be able to go on living there,” Yoshiharu said. “When I saw our home, I felt we had moved far away.”

He still has not decided whether to tear down the home because he fears that would anger his ancestors. Yoshiharu has asked his children to, at the very least, leave the family grave in Naraha.

Source: Asahi Shimbun

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

Radiation fears as report shows Fukushima fir trees to be growing strangely


TOKYO — Following the events of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami and the subsequent meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant complex, radiologists in Japan have been closely observing the area for potential changes. A new report by the National Institute of Radiological Sciences now suggests that the fir trees in Fukushima may be exhibiting strange growth patterns, with the radiation from the disaster being named as a possible factor.

The report, published on the organisation’s website on August 28, states that when comparing fir trees from within the affected zone to those from areas with lower radioactivity, the fir trees in the affected area were increasingly found to be stunted and exhibiting signs of morphological change, particularly bifurcation, the splitting of a body into two parts, i.e. “branching.”

Each year of a healthy fir tree’s growth sees it growing directly upward while also putting out two horizontal branches. Scientists have noted, however, that some of the trees in the affected areas are only branching off into two separate directions at the tip, and exhibiting lack of upward growth.

The changes can be identified in the images above left, which were included with the report. Image A shows a normal example of growth. Note the vertical central branch. Photo B shows a trunk which has entirely split into two, and photo C shows horizontal growth only, with a distinct lack of vertical growth. The red arrows indicate where bifurcation has occurred. You can see in image C how the central, vertical branch of the tree which should be growing upward is missing entirely.

The investigation was conducted in January of this year, with trees examined in Okuma, Fukushima (3.5 kilometres from the nuclear plant), and two locations in Namie, Fukushima (8.5 and 15 kilometres from the plant). Radiation levels in Okuma were recorded at 33.9 microsieverts, and in Namie, the levels were 19.6 and 6.85 microsieverts, respectively. These trees were compared against trees in the north of neighbouring Ibaraki Prefecture from an area with a microsievert reading of 0.13.

Between 100 and 200 trees in each location were examined for changes, with the effect seen more often in the areas with higher levels of radiation. 90% of the trees examined in Okuma exhibited some degree of morphological change, a number which fell to 40% and 30% in Namie, and to less than 10% in northern Ibaraki Prefecture.

The correlation between the frequency of the morphological change and the proximity to the Fukushima Daiichi site/level of radiation recorded suggests that it is likely — but as yet not confirmed — that the changes are connected to the increase in background radiation.

However, the report notes that this particular morphological change has been identified in other areas and can be attributed to a range of other factors including environmental changes and as a result of pest damage. The report states that rather than attributing this change directly to the nuclear disaster, researchers are instead presenting evidence that proves that this change is seen more often when radiation is a contributing factor.

Source: Report on Morphological Changes to Fir Trees in Areas with High Radiation, National Institute of Radiological Sciences

Source: Japan Today

September 6, 2015 Posted by | Japan | , , | 2 Comments

Japan lifts evacuation order for town near doomed nuke plant

NARAHA, Japan (AP) — Japan’s government on Saturday lifted a 4 1/2-year-old evacuation order for the northeastern town of Naraha that had sent all of the town’s 7,400 residents away following the disaster at the nearby Fukushima nuclear plant.

Naraha became the first to get the order lifted among seven municipalities forced to empty entirely due to radiation contamination following the massive earthquake and tsunami that sent the plant’s reactors into triple meltdowns in March 2011.

The central government has said radiation levels in Naraha have fallen to levels deemed safe following decontamination efforts.

According to a government survey, however, 53 percent of the evacuees from Naraha, which is 20 kilometers (12 miles) south of the nuclear plant, say they’re either not ready to return home permanently or are undecided. Some say they’ve found jobs elsewhere over the past few years, while others cite radiation concerns.

Naraha represents a test case, as most residents remain cautious amid lingering health concerns and a lack of infrastructure. In the once-abandoned town, a segment of a national railway is still out of service, with the tracks covered with grass. Some houses are falling down and wild boars roam around at night.

Only about 100 of the nearly 2,600 households have returned since a trial period began in April. Last year, the government lifted evacuation orders for parts of two nearby towns, but only about half of their former residents have returned.

Naraha Mayor Yukiei Matsumoto said that Saturday marked an important milestone.

“Our clock started moving again,” he said during a ceremony held at a children’s park. “The lifting of the evacuation order is one key step, but this is just a start.”

Matsumoto said he hoped Naraha could set a good example of a recovering town for the other affected municipalities.

About 100,000 people from about 10 municipalities around the wrecked plant still cannot go home. The government hopes to lift all evacuation orders except for the most contaminated areas closest to the plant by March 2017 — a plan many evacuees criticize as an attempt to showcase Fukushima’s recovery ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics.

Matsumoto said that fear of radiation and nuclear safety was still present, and that Naraha had a long way to go in its recovery. The town will be without a medical clinic until October, while a new prefectural hospital won’t be ready until February.

A grocery store started free delivery services in July, and a shopping center will open next year. Still, many residents, especially those who don’t drive, face limited options for their daily necessities.

Residents have been given personal dosimeters to check their own radiation levels. To accommodate their concerns, the town is also running 24-hour monitoring at a water filtration plant, testing tap water for radioactive materials.

Toshiko Yokota, a 53-year-old homemaker who had to leave her Naraha house after the disaster, said Saturday that she came back to attend the ceremony and clean her home, and that she eventually wants to move back with her husband. Their house was damaged by rats, bugs and rainwater leaks in their absence, and still needs to be fully renovated, but she hopes to return in a few years.

“My friends are all in different places because of the nuclear accident, and the town doesn’t even look the same, but this is still my hometown and it really feels good to be back,” said Yokota, who currently lives in another town in Fukushima prefecture.

“I still feel uneasy about some things, like radiation levels and the lack of a medical facility,” she said. “In order to come back, I have to keep up my hope and stay healthy.”

Source: AP

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