nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

New battery technology developed by Chinese researchers

text-relevantChinese researchers develop new battery technology, EurekAlert, 25 Mar 16CHINESE ACADEMY OF SCIENCES HEADQUARTER A Chinese research team from the Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced Technology (SIAT) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences has developed a novel, environmentally friendly low-cost battery that overcomes many of the problems of lithium ion batteries (LIB). The new aluminum-graphite dual-ion battery (AGDIB) offers significantly reduced weight, volume, and fabrication cost, as well as higher energy density, in comparison with conventional LIBs. AGDIB’s electrode materials are composed of environmentally friendly low cost aluminum and graphite only, while its electrolyte is composed of conventional lithium salt and carbonate solvent.

The research, published in “A Novel Aluminum-Graphite Dual-Ion Battery,” recently appeared in Advanced Energy Materials (IF=16.146).

The discovery is particularly important given rising battery demand and existing LIB technology, which is reaching its limit in specific energy (by weight) and energy density (by volume).

LIBs are widely used in portable electronic devices, electric vehicles and renewable energy systems. Battery disposal creates major environmental problems, since most batteries contain toxic metals in their electrodes. According to the Freedonia Group, world battery demand is expected to rise 7.7% annually, reaching US$120 billion in 2019………http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-03/caos-crd032416.php

Advertisements

March 27, 2016 Posted by | China, energy storage | Leave a comment

Rockefeller to ditch oil, gas, holdings on ethical and economic grounds: criticises Exxon Mobil

Rockefeller Dumps Oil, Exxon Mobil Charity linked to the founder of Exxon Mobil’s precursor says it will ditch its oil and gas holdings. http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2016-03-24/in-a-changing-climate-rockefeller-fund-dumps-oil-exxon-mobil-holdings  March 24, 2016,Citing “morally reprehensible conduct on the part of Exxon Mobil,” the Rockefeller Family Foundation – whose namesake, John D. Rockefeller, founded Exxon’s precursor, Standard Oil – will dump its holdings in America’s largest oil conglomerate, plus coal and tar sands companies, the charity announced Wednesday.

The nonprofit pointed to both economics and ethics: Amid a huge surplus of oil and sluggish global demand, oil prices are in the middle of a 19-month slump, spurring hundreds of thousands of layoffsfrom the energy sector worldwide. Climate change, meanwhile, has created a moral imperative to decrease the planet’s reliance on fossil fuels like oil, the fund said.

“While the global community works to eliminate the use of fossil fuels, it makes little sense—financially or ethically—to continue holding investments in these companies,” the charity said in a statement. “We must keep most of the already discovered reserves in the ground if there is any hope for human and natural ecosystems to survive and thrive in the decades ahead.”

Exxon was the only company the charity singled-out by name. Last year, award-winning investigations by InsideClimate News and the Los Angeles Times reported that Exxon had known about global warming as early as 1977 and accounted for it in its financials, even as it emphasized to lawmakers and the public that the science was in doubt.

The New York Attorney General’s Office is investigating whether Exxon lied to investors, and the hashtag #ExxonKnew has become a mainstay on social media.

“The company worked since the 1980s to confuse the public about climate change’s march, while simultaneously spending millions to fortify its own infrastructure against climate change’s destructive consequences and track new exploration opportunities as the Arctic’s ice receded,” the fund said of Exxon. “As a matter of good governance, we cannot be associated with a company exhibiting such apparent contempt for the public interest.”

[ALSO: Exxon Mobil Under Investigation for Climate Change Denial]

There are also financial imperatives, especially in the firm’s decision to turn away from coal and the tar sands: While coal-fired electricity is the nation’s greatest source of greenhouse gas emissions, the sector has also been stricken by a rash of bankruptcies as power producers have switched from coal to cheap and cleaner-burning natural gas. Last week, Peabody Energy, the world’s largest coal producer, indicated it was on the brink of going under.

Likewise, extracting crude from the tar-sands – largely concentrated in western Canada – emits far more heat-trapping carbon than conventional oil and gas drilling. But the process is also far more expensive, and with both low oil prices and the Obama administration’s rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline’s northern stretch last year, companies have pulled out from the sector.

The Family Foundation’s announcement comes a year and a half after another Rockefeller charity, theRockefeller Brothers Fund, revealed it would eliminate $860 million it held in oil, coal and other fossil fuels.

“History moves on, as it must,” the Family Foundation said.

March 27, 2016 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment

Former general says Israel could destory Iran’s Nuclear Program

Ex-IAF General: Israel Capable Of Destroying Iran’s Nuclear Program, Breitbart,   TEL AVIV 27 Mar 16 – The IDF is capable of destroying Iran’s nuclear facilities with a preemptive strike, the head of the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) said on Saturday.

“The Israeli Air Force can meet the challenge of destroying Iran’s nuclear reactors if necessary,” Maj Gen (ret.) Amos Yadlin said in a speech reported by Channel 10 news.

Yadlin, who served as an IAF commander as well as the IDF’s military attaché to Washington, stated that if Israel were to find itself at an “intersection where you have to choose between two alternatives: One is whether Iran will have a bomb and we do nothing … and the second is whether to conduct a preemptive action to prevent Iran from attaining a nuclear weapon,” then Israel would be capable of destroying the Islamic Republic’s nuclear facilities.

Yadlin also made reference to similar operations in the past that met with success. These include Operation Opera, in which Israel bombed Iraq’s nuclear reactor in 1981, and the destruction of a Syrian nuclear facility in 2007.

He noted that both operations drew sharp criticism of Israel, even though the country never claimed responsibility in the case of Syria……..http://www.breitbart.com/middle-east/2016/03/27/ex-iaf-general-israel-capable-of-destroying-iranian-nuclear-program/

March 27, 2016 Posted by | Israel, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Deep sleep for high level nuclear wastes

Deep sleep Warren Cornwall*, Science  10 Jul 2015: Vol. 349, Issue 6244, pp. 132-135
wastes cesium pool HanfordDOI: 10.1126/science.349.6244.132
 
One of the world’s biggest radioactive headaches sits in an aging cinderblock building in the desert near Hanford, Washington, at the bottom of a pool of water that glows with an eerie blue light. The nearly 2000 half-meter-long steel cylinders are filled with highly radioactive cesium and strontium, leftover from making plutonium for nuclear weapons. The waste has been described as the most lethal single source of radiation in the United States, after the core of an active nuclear reactor. It could cause a catastrophe if the pool were breached by an unexpectedly severe earthquake, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the waste’s owner.

For decades, the federal government has been floundering over what to do with the cylinders. They’re too hot to be easily housed with other waste. And the government’s quest to create a single permanent burial ground for all the nation’s high-level nuclear waste, from both military and civilian activities, is in disarray

Now, a deceptively simple-sounding solution is emerging: Stick the cylinders in a very deep hole. The approach, known as deep borehole disposal, involves punching a 43-centimeter-wide hole 5 kilometers into hard rock in Earth’s crust. Engineers would then fill the deepest 2 kilometers with waste canisters, plug up the rest with concrete and clay, and leave the waste to quietly decay.

The idea has been around for decades, but not long ago scientists had all but abandoned it. Over the past 5 years, however, as improved drilling technologies converged with the political and technical woes bedeviling other nuclear waste solutions, boreholes have regained their allure. DOE has gone from spending almost nothing on borehole research to planning a full-scale field test, costing at least $80 million. And earlier this year U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz gave boreholes a dash of publicity during a major speech, mentioning them as a promising way to deal with the cesium and strontium waste at DOE’s Hanford Site nuclear complex.

Boreholes have “been plan B and just missed the boat for years,” says nuclear engineer Michael Driscoll, a retired professor from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge and one of the concept’s leading advocates. “Maybe now is the time.”

Many nuclear waste veterans, however, are skeptical. The technical challenges are daunting, they argue, and boreholes won’t end political opposition to building new nuclear waste facilities. “The borehole thing to me is a red herring,” says attorney Geoff Fettus of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) in Washington, D.C., which supports underground disposal in a shallower mine, but has sued DOE over now abandoned plans to bury the waste inside Nevada’s Yucca Mountain……..

This past March, a White House policy shift opened the door further. Moniz announced that the Obama administration would abandon previous plans to put all high-level waste in one spot and instead would seek separate sites for disposing of commercial nuclear waste—about 85% of the total—and military waste. Moniz called some of the defense waste, including Hanford’s radioactive cylinders, “ideal candidates for deep borehole disposal.”………

Yet borehole disposal is not as straightforward as it might seem. The Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board, an independent panel that advises DOE, notes a litany of potential problems: No one has drilled holes this big 5 kilometers into solid rock. If a hole isn’t smooth and straight, a liner could be hard to install, and waste containers could get stuck. It’s tricky to see flaws like fractures in rock 5 kilometers down. Once waste is buried, it would be hard to get it back (an option federal regulations now require). And methods for plugging the holes haven’t been sufficiently tested. “These are all pretty daunting technical challenges,” says the board’s chair, geologist Rod Ewing, of Stanford University in Palo Alto, California.

Even if those technical problems are surmounted, boreholes might solve only a fraction of the nation’s waste problem. That’s because much of the high-level waste simply wouldn’t fit down a hole without extensive repackaging. “Due to the physical dimensions of much of the used nuclear fuel, it is not presently considered to be as good of a candidate [for borehole disposal] as the smaller waste forms,” said William Boyle, director of DOE’s Office of Used Nuclear Fuel Disposition Research and Development, in a statement to Science. Spent fuel rods from commercial power reactors, for instance, are often bundled into casks that are about 2 meters across.

Then there’s the same problem that dogged Yucca Mountain: the politics of finding a place to drill the holes. “Let’s just assume [boreholes] could work better than anybody ever imagined,” says Fettus, the NRDC attorney. “You still wouldn’t solve the nut that everyone has been unable to solve”: persuading state and local governments to take on waste from across the nation………

Other nations with nuclear waste, including China, are watching. But, for now, the United States is the only country getting ready to drill. “Nobody else has stepped forward,” says Geoff Freeze, a nuclear engineer at Sandia who is overseeing the U.S. experiment. “It kind of fell to us.” http://science.sciencemag.org/content/349/6244/132.full

March 27, 2016 Posted by | USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Video from North Korea depicts Nuclear Strike on Washington

North Korean Propaganda Video Depicts Nuclear Strike on Washington, NYT By CHOE SANG- HUNMARCH 26, 2016 SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea released a propaganda video on Saturday that depicts a nuclear strike on Washington, along with a warning to “American imperialists” not to provoke the North.

The four-minute video clip, titled “Last Chance,” uses computer animation to show what looks like an intercontinental ballistic missile flying through the earth’s atmosphere before slamming into Washington, near what appears to be the Lincoln Memorial. A nuclear explosion follows.

“If the American imperialists provoke us a bit, we will not hesitate to slap them with a pre-emptive nuclear strike,” read the Korean subtitles in the video, which was uploaded to the YouTube channel of D.P.R.K. Today, a North Korean website. “The United States must choose! It’s up to you whether the nation called the United States exists on this planet or not.”

Such remarks are in line with recent threats and assertions from North Korea about its nuclear and missile capabilities………http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/27/world/asia/north-korea-propaganda-video-nuclear-strike.html?_r=0

March 27, 2016 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Nuclear security beyond the 2016 summit?

What path for nuclear security beyond the 2016 summit? Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists HUBERT FOY  NILSU GOREN, 27 Mar 16 In his oft-cited Prague speech of 2009, Barack Obama announced “a new international effort to secure all vulnerable nuclear material around the world within four years.” The effort’s highest-profile element was a series of Nuclear Security Summits that began in Washington in 2010 and concludes, again in Washington, in 2016. Clearly the initiative hasn’t “secure[d] all vulnerable nuclear material,” much less done so within four years. But that isn’t necessarily to say that the effort has failed—or that it shouldn’t be perpetuated. Below, experts from Ghana, Turkey, and the United States debate how much the Nuclear Security Summits have accomplished; what still must be achieved to ensure the security of nuclear materials worldwide; and whether, after the final scheduled summit, the international community should seek to continue the process……. http://thebulletin.org/what-path-nuclear-security-beyond-2016-summit

March 27, 2016 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

March 27 Energy News

geoharvey

World:

¶ In India, Tata Power’s Mulshi solar plant shows how energy needs do not have to be met at the cost of the environment. Suitable plants will be grown immediately below the solar panels so that all the available land there can be utilized to its fullest, with its fertility maintained. [Daily News & Analysis]

The site of the Mulshi solar plant run by Tata Power The site of the Mulshi solar plant run by Tata Power

¶ A battery storage trial by an Australian network operator shows that the combined benefits of battery storage nearly match the costs of technology, and should exceed them with falling battery costs. The trial tested battery systems using five different types of demand management. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Morgan Stanley, which predicted a million Australian households will adopt battery storage over the next four years, says the broader Australian energy market, including incumbent coal-fired generators, the big networks and retailers, still…

View original post 450 more words

March 27, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A.Q. Khan, URENCO and the Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Technology: The Symbiotic Relation Between Nuclear Energy and Nuclear Weapons

Mining Awareness +

From Greenpeace.org:
A.Q. Khan, Urenco and the proliferation of nuclear weapons technology: The symbiotic relation between nuclear energy and nuclear weapons Publication – 4 May, 2004
Hard evidence for the direct link between nuclear energy and nuclear weapons
Download document
http://www.greenpeace.org/international/Global/international/planet-2/report/2004/5/a-q-khan-urenco-and-the-prol.pdf
Executive summary:
The Khan Network
It is now well known that the ‘father’ of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons programme, Abdul Qadeer (AQ) Khan, had his scientific roots in the Netherlands in the 1960’s and 70’s. At that time he had access to what was supposed to be highly secret uranium enrichment technology: the Urenco ultra centrifuge project.
Thanks to security problems, as well as deliberate and unwitting help from former teachers and colleagues, he was able to build a global nuclear information network and business. From Pakistan, ultracentrifuge technology, knowledge and materials, were exported to Libya, Iran and North Korea. A mixture of legal and illegal transactions, involving businessmen…

View original post 1,020 more words

March 27, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Problem of Hanford’s highly radioactive pool of CESIUM-137 AND STRONTIUM-90

wastes cesium pool HanfordDeep sleep Warren Cornwall*, Science  10 Jul 2015: Vol. 349, Issue 6244, pp. 132-135  DOI: 10.1126/science.349.6244.132 “………..CESIUM-137 AND STRONTIUM-90 are the hot potatoes of the nuclear waste world, packing a powerful radioactive punch in a relatively short half-life of 30 years. At Hanford, there’s barely enough to fill the back of a pickup truck. Yet it contains more than 100 million curies of radiation, roughly one-tenth the radiation in the core of a large nuclear reactor. And it produces enough heat to power more than 200 homes.

To prevent the tubes from causing trouble, they sit under about 4 meters of water in what resembles a giant swimming pool, emanating a blue glow known as Cherenkov radiation as high-energy particles slam into the water. The 1974 building housing the pool is past its 30-year life span, according to DOE’s inspector general. Bombarded by radiation, the pool’s concrete walls are significantly weakened in places. Some of the tubes have failed and been stuck inside larger containers. In a review of DOE facilities conducted after the 2011 disaster at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, the department’s Office of Environmental Management concluded that the Hanford pool had the highest risk of catastrophic failure of any DOE facility, for example in a massive earthquake, according to a report from the department’s inspector general. DOE says it plans to move the pool waste into dry casks for safer storage, but it hasn’t said when.

It’s an urgent situation and a huge safety risk,” says Tom Carpenter, executive director of the watchdog group Hanford Challenge in Seattle, Washington, which has been critical of DOE’s efforts to secure the waste.

Borehole advocates point out that the Hanford tubes are less than 7 centimeters in diameter, narrow enough to fit down a hole without extensive repackaging. All could fit into a single shaft. Other military waste could also go down a borehole, advocates add. One candidate is plutonium that DOE has extracted from dismantled nuclear weapons. Most of it is currently stored as softball-sized metal spheres at a DOE facility in Texas. In contrast to Hanford’s cesium and strontium, the plutonium is fairly cool, but extremely long-lived, with a half-life of 24,000 years. DOE is considering other options for the plutonium, including turning it into fuel for nuclear reactors or combining it with other nuclear waste and burying it. But boreholes could be an effective way to put it far out of the reach of anyone trying to lay their hands on bombmaking material……….http://science.sciencemag.org/content/349/6244/132.full

March 27, 2016 Posted by | Reference, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Thyroid Cancer Detection by Ultrasound Among Residents Ages 18 Years and Younger in Fukushima, Japan: 2011 to 2014.

Nuclear Exhaust

The following scientific paper is hotly disputed by persons who are pro nuclear and who claim nuclear reactors in any state are perfectly safe.

However, David J. Brenner, Ph.D. Higgins Professor of Radiation Biophysics
Director, Center for Radiological Research Director, Radiological Research Accelerator Facility Professor of Environmental Health Sciences, Columbia University Medical Centre, says this about the findings of the following paper: “”David J. Brenner, professor of radiation biophysics at Columbia University Medical Center, took a different view. While he agreed individual estimates on radiation doses are needed, he said in a telephone interview that the higher thyroid cancer rate in Fukushima is “not due to screening. It’s real.” Source: Toronto Star. Oct 8, 2015.

Thyroid Cancer Detection by Ultrasound Among Residents Ages 18 Years and Younger in Fukushima, Japan: 2011 to 2014.

Tsuda, Toshihide; Tokinobu, Akiko; Yamamoto, Eiji; Suzuki, Etsuji

Background: After the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami…

View original post 299 more words

March 27, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

March 26 Energy News

geoharvey

Opinion:

Has US Nuclear Power’s Death Spiral Begun? • Crashing prices for natural gas and accelerating market penetration of renewable energy have both contributed to dramatic drops in wholesale power price levels, leaving nuclear power with few options other than surrender. [IEEE Spectrum]

The Quad Cities nuclear plant is getting help from a regional grid operator. Photo: Kevin Schmidt/Alamy The Quad Cities nuclear plant is getting help from
a regional grid operator. Photo: Kevin Schmidt/Alamy

US Chamber of Commerce Forecasts No Growth in Renewable Energy. We Disagree. • The Chamber wants to belittle both the supply and demand for renewable energy, when Main Street and Fortune 500 companies continue to make investments greatly outpacing expectations. [The Equation]

World:

¶ Investment in renewable energy hit a record $286 billion (€256 billion) in 2015, a UN report says. For the first time, over half came from developing countries. New investment in cleaner energy has exceeded $2.3 trillion since 2004, when investments totaled…

View original post 467 more words

March 27, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

India: Nuclear Accident Enters Third Week, Lethal Gamble Continues; Better to Spend Money in Las Vegas

Mining Awareness +

Kakrapar Atomic Power Station India
Kakrapur nuclear power station zoom in
From Dianuke.org:
Nuclear Accident in Gujarat Enters Third Week, Lethal Gamble Continues
by Dr. Surendra Gadekar
Dr. Gadekar is a renowned physicist, based in Sampoorna Kranti Vidyalaya, Vedchhi, Gujarat.
The accident of March 11th at Kakrapar was as Wellesley said of the battle of Waterloo, “A damn close run thing”. Although you would not guess that from reading the reports that have appeared in newspapers that have talked about “a small leak” in the primary heat transport system.

[…]
What happened on March 11
The morning shift starts at 7. People come, show their gate pass, change their gear, go to the canteen to have breakfast; generally get ready to start working. In the meantime, two people from chemistry and two from health physics are supposed to collect samples from the operating reactor. Consequently the reactor building was unoccupied. This is what the management claims…

View original post 1,829 more words

March 27, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Protesters slam ‘radiation-exposed’ Japanese sake festival

Y2016032503531-650

Civic groups protest in front of the Japanese Embassy in Jongno-gu, Seoul, demanding to stop the Seoul Sake Festival 2016 that may bring sakes contaminated with radiation from the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster five years ago.

By Ko Dong-hwan

Civic groups protested against a Japanese sake festival in Seoul on Friday, in a bid to prevent visitors from tasting possibly dangerous alcohol produced in areas near the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster five years ago.

Eleven civic groups held a press conference in front of the Japanese Embassy in Jongno-gu, demanding that Japan stop the Seoul Sake Festival 2016.

“Seven of the participating Japanese breweries made their liquor in areas near Fukushima, where our government has warned of possible danger from radiation,” a protester said. “The breweries must have made their liquor using water and rice from the areas. Such liquors will jeopardize our health.”

Three breweries in Miyagi Prefecture, as well as from Iwate Prefecture, Ibaraki Prefecture, Gunma Prefecture and Tochigi Prefecture participated in the festival. The Korean government stopped importing seafood from those areas in September 2013 to prevent possible radioactive contamination.

Y2016032702122-650

One hundred Japanese breweries introduced about 400 sakes at COEX, eastern Seoul, from Saturday to Sunday.

In March 2011, Fukushima 1 Nuclear Power Plant was hit by an earthquake-triggered tsunami. The impact caused a meltdown and release of radioactive material.

The Japanese embassy, according to Hankook Ilbo, said, “The festival organizers didn’t check whether the participating breweries were from areas that possibly were compromised by radioactive contamination, but all the food and liquor in the festival were tested in Japan and Korea.”

One hundred Japanese breweries introduced about 400 sakes at COEX, eastern Seoul, from Saturday to Sunday.

http://m.koreatimes.co.kr/phone/news/view.jsp?req_newsidx=201227

March 27, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , | Leave a comment

Interim storage schedule set for contaminated soil

march 26 2016.jpg

 

The Environment Ministry has compiled its first project schedule for the interim storage of soil and other matter contaminated by the 2011 disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, sources said.

The ministry estimates that by fiscal 2020, it will have acquired between 640 and 1,150 hectares of land, which could store 5 million to 12.5 million cubic meters of contaminated soil.

This is the first concrete schedule the government has created. It is expected to be presented to local government officials at a Sunday meeting in Fukushima Prefecture.

If things go as planned, the government would acquire 40 percent to 70 percent of the land expected to be needed, which could store from 20 percent to slightly over 50 percent of the contaminated soil. However, it is unclear whether things will proceed as planned.

march 26 2016 2

There is currently estimated to be about 10 million cubic meters of contaminated soil in Fukushima Prefecture, which could eventually rise to 22 million cubic meters.

The national government wants to purchase about 1,600 hectares straddling the municipalities of Okuma and Futaba in the prefecture as an interim storage facility.

However, as of the end of February only 18.5 hectares, or about 1 percent of the land, had been acquired.

Still, about 960 of the 2,365 landowners have given approval for the government to conduct surveys to estimate compensation. A ministry official said, “The pace of purchases is expected to pick up.”

If between 100 and 460 hectares are acquired every year starting in fiscal 2016, the ministry’s estimate of 640 to 1,150 hectares would be reached by the end of fiscal 2020.

As land is acquired, more contaminated soil can be brought to the interim storage facility.

The ministry estimates that if 2 million to 6 million cubic meters are brought to the facility in fiscal 2020, that would bring the total amount to 5 million to 12.5 million cubic meters by the end of that fiscal year,

http://www.the-japan-news.com/news/article/0002835558

20140805_SoilStorage_YomiuriShimbun

March 27, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , , | Leave a comment

These Fukushima residents are determined to reclaim their land from nuclear radiation

“We are the lessons you need to learn,” they said, on a recent visit to Chennai.
nuclear_power_plant_3x2

By G. Sundarrajan

Two years ago, when I visited Fukushima as part of a Greenpeace team, what deeply impressed me about the local residents was their resilience. They were ordinary citizens of a town devastated by a nuclear disaster, yet the bond they shared with their soil ran so deeply that they kept hoping to go back to Fukushima.

It was at once their dream and their challenge. They couldn’t stop talking about how good and simple life was back in Fukushima till the disaster struck. I was amazed by the fact that they wanted to go back to their homes though they knew the town would not be as they had left it.

It was from such a deep bond, from that sense of love, that the will to fight against nuclear energy emerged. “We are the lessons you need to learn” most of them told me.

It was the same kind of love, and bond, that I found in them when three survivors of Fukushima visited Chennai on March 23. Running around with them in Chennai I realized they still carry their love for their land and have now found ways to reconnect. Even if it means doing what is prohibited and what could endanger their lives.

fukushima_group.jpg

For 62-year-old Masami Yoshizawa, it is about rearing 300-odd cows that are under a government kill order. As the manager of Ranch of Hope, Yoshizawa decided to defy government orders and rear the cattle so they ‘would be a living testimony to what Fukushima had undergone.’ The kill order was issued because after the radioactive contamination, the livestock was not a commercial success.

But rearing them in a no-entry zone, Yoshizawa feels the sight and sound of the cattle offers a ray of hope to an otherwise devastated land. “The government wants to kill them because it wants to erase what happened here, and lure Japan back to its pre-accident nuclear status quo. I am not going to let them,” he says.

fukushima_yushi-compressed

The farm was started by his father four decades ago and Yoshizawa wouldn’t give it up easily – something that is in the residents of Fukushima. “I live 14 kms away from where the accident took place. There were four explosions on four days. I could have left like many of my neighbours. At least 80 people committed suicide in my town because they didn’t want to leave Fukushima. But I have decided to be a living lesson for the rest of my life” he says.

It is exactly the same emotion that guided 28-year-old Mizuho Sugeno to come back to Fukushima and resume her organic farming. Sugeno had just completed her studies and was practicing organic farming for about a year when the disaster struck.

“I lived 47 kms away from the power plant and evacuated for about a week. I came back and founded Seeds of hope. What else could I do?” she asks.

fukushima_sugeno-compressed

Besides distributing Sugeno’s organic produce, Seeds of Hope demonstrates successful methods to prevent crops from absorbing radiation. “Farms were abandoned and people were left behind. I was advised not to go back to Fukushima but I didn’t just come back. I began planting seeds. I felt the power of the soil could be restored by planting seeds.”

But deep down Sugeno had her own misgivings. She was not sure if it would really be possible to continue with agriculture.

“I spent a lot of time on it and finally found out that there was scientific proof (as well as measures and methods to take) about no soil-to-plant transfer of radio cesium in soil that has been cultivated organically over a long period of time. I was able to reduce the radiation level detected in crops down to a reading that falls below the minimum capability of the sensor,” Sugeno says.

She began to get certain results and ship crops with no radioactive contamination.

“This was our land and it was from here that we had reared cattle and cultivated fruits for several years. Now we are doing it as a form of protest. Our strawberry rice cake – a delicacy you will find only in Fukushima – has become a symbol of protest. Even now we are looked at with disbelief outside Fukushima. But again, like they say, we shall overcome”

Sugeno gets a complete body check-up once every six months, “just to be on the safer side”. For the moment, it is important that she is in good health to make Fukushima heard everywhere. “After all, we are the lessons you still need to learn,” she says again, with that wry smile.

G. Sundarrajan is an environmental and anti-nuclear activist and is a volunteer with Poovulagin Nanbargal.

March 27, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , | Leave a comment