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Government Decides to Lift Evacuation Orders for Three Municipalities

3 villes

Government Decides to Lift Evacuation Orders for Three Municipalities

On May 31, the Japanese government’s nuclear emergency response headquarters decided to lift three evacuation orders in Fukushima Prefecture, as follows: Katsurao Village on June 12, Kawauchi Village on June 14, and Minamisoma City on July 12.

The evacuation order for Kawauchi Village had been partially lifted on October 1, 2014, and the recent decision completes the process there.

In Minamisoma City, the section of the JR Joban Line between Haranomachi Station and Odaka Station, which is still unusable because of the evacuation order, is expected to be reopened after the lifting of the order for the town on July 12.

The basic policy for Fukushima’s reconstruction, approved at a Cabinet meeting in March, said that the government would speed up the establishment of an environment so as to lift all evacuation orders by March 2017 at the latest.

However, that still excludes those areas designated as places “where residents will not be able to return home for a long time.”

Abe visits villages in Fukushima

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says his government will lead efforts to revive communities in Fukushima, including areas where radiation levels remain prohibitively high.

Abe on Friday inspected the villages of Kawauchi and Katsurao near the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. Evacuation orders for parts of the 2 villages are due to be lifted in mid-June.

In Katsurao, former residents asked the prime minister to support people who plan to return and resume farming and other businesses.

Abe told them that the desire to revive the hometown is the driving force for reconstruction. He promised to do his best to restore community ties and vitality.

Abe told reporters the government plans to present ideas by the summer for restoring heavily-contaminated areas declared unfit for return.

He said it will be a long process, but that his government is determined to see it through.

feb 19, 2016

June 6, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , | Leave a comment

TEPCO examines ice wall at Fukushima Daiichi

icewall march 30 2016.jpg


The operator of Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant will conduct extra work to help freeze the ground around the buildings housing the 4 crippled reactors.

Tokyo Electric Power Company discussed the idea with officials of the Nuclear Regulation Authority on Thursday.

TEPCO made the proposal after reporting some problems with a 1.5-kilometer-long frozen soil wall it has been building around the 4 reactor buildings since March.

The wall is aimed at cutting the amount of groundwater flowing into the basement of the buildings, where it becomes contaminated with radioactive substances and can flow out of the plant in the direction of the sea.

TEPCO said the amount of groundwater in some areas outside the wall near the sea has not yet fallen.

TEPCO said rainfall may be partly to blame for the problem, and added that it has seen a drop in groundwater levels elsewhere, in areas much closer to where the wall has been completed successfully. TEPCO said that, overall, the wall appears to be proving effective.

But many members of the regulatory agency said TEPCO’s argument is not convincing enough.

TEPCO admitted that underground temperatures at several locations along the wall have not yet fallen to zero, which indicates that the ground is not frozen there.

TEPCO said it will start extra work to pour cement into those locations to help seal off the wall completely.

The utility said it will be about a month before it can determine if the extra work has started producing a positive effect in reducing the amount of groundwater flowing in.

feb 15 2016

June 6, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , | Leave a comment

Taiwan: environmentalists take legal action against nuclear restart

Activists are planning to sue premier for offense contrary to public safety, China Post, 

justiceflag-TaiwanCNA  June 6, 2016, TAIPEI –– Environmentalists blasted the first reactor of First Nuclear Power Plant Sunday as a very dangerous facility, and said they will sue the premier for an offense against public safety after he revealed that he might allow the reactivation of the reactor.
Anti-nuclear campaigner Lin Jui-chu (林瑞珠) said there are more than 40 used fuel rods still left in the reactor facility since it was shut down for repair in late 2014.

“One small glitch and Taiwan will be gripped by a disaster beyond redemption,” Lin warned.

Also, although the electricity supply has been tight over the past few days due to the hot weather, all the hydroelectric power plants and solar power generators operated by the state-run Taiwan Power Co. (Taipower) remained idle during the period, according to Lin.

She accused Taipower of creating a fake issue to get people to believe Taiwan is being threatened by a risk of power insufficiency. Officials of Taipower were unavailable for comment.

Expressing strong opposition to the government’s plan to reactivate the reactor at the First Nuclear Power Plant, situated in New Taipei’s Shimen District, Lin said she will file a lawsuit against Premier Lin Chuan (林全) in the near future for causing danger to public safety.

Lin Jui-chu was among a group of environmentalists, who filed a lawsuit last week against Economics Minister Lee Chih-kung (李世光) and Atomic Energy Council (AEC) Minister Hsieh Shou-shing (謝曉星) over the proposal.

Prime Minister Lin Chuan said Sunday that he is considering having the reactor reactivated after it was shut down for repair 17 months ago, on the premise that it is safe enough to be used……

Echoing Lin Jui-chu, Green Consumers’ Foundation chairman Jay Fang (方儉) argued that Taiwan has no shortage of electricity, but has the “fake phenomenon of power insufficiency.”

Taiwan’s overall power generation capacity is 48,000 megawatts (MW), but the actual output has only reached 35,000 MW so far this year, Fang said, implying that the government is failing to run the country’s power generating facilities properly.

“If Lin Chuan does not see (the problem), he is not qualified to take the helm of the government,” Fang said.

June 6, 2016 Posted by | Legal, Taiwan | Leave a comment

In Japan, nuclear advertising is back, and journalists are intimidated

increasing government pressure, exacerbated by the entry into force in the past year of a law on state secrets, including nuclear related matters. A law with vague outlines threatens journalists with imprisonment for disclosing “secret” information. A sign of the times is that three television journalists known for their independence announced their resignation at the beginning of the year. Among them is Furutachi Ichiro, presenter of “Hodo Station,” which, according to Honma Ryu, was targeted by Dentsu for several years because of his critical views on nuclear power and the Abe administration.

No doubt Dentsu, [huge advertising agency] privileged ambassador of the largest industrial groups, will continue to play its role in the great media lockdown ongoing in Japan.

media-propagandaFukushima and Nuclear Power: Does the Advertising Giant Dentsu Pull the Strings of Japan’s Media?  By Mathieu Gaulène   1 June 2016

“……The 2016 comeback of nuclear advertisements and resignations of TV journalists

For Honma Ryu, this is a sign of a resumption of promotion activities of nuclear power. “Hakuhodo has actually been a member of the JAIF for two years,” he explained, after the Fukushima accident. Obviously, having been sidelined for several decades from this gold mine of nuclear advertisements, the rival agency wants to restore its share in the promotion of nuclear power in the post-Fukushima era. …..

although plant restarts have been hindered by dozens of lawsuits, some victorious as in Takahama, and the general population has generally been reluctant to see resumption of reactors, promoting nuclear power has again become intense.

After restarting one plant in 2015, 2016 is the year of a discreet comeback for nuclear advertisements. These appear in the press and on local television of the prefectures with power stations. Honma Ryu reports that since February 2016, full-page advertisements have been published inFukui Shimbun by the Kansai Electric Power Company, where the Takahama plant was closed a month after its restart due to a lawsuit filed by citizens. Tepco advertisements for restarting Kashiwazaki-Kariwa have also appeared in the Niigata Nippo and on local television in a particular context: the current governor is firmly anti-nuclear and opposes any restart, but elections will be held by the end of this year when his term ends. This resurgence of Tepco nuclear advertising, however, has raised the ire of Niigata citizens, especially refugees from Fukushima who have launched a petition to stop them.

The message of all of these advertisements is identical, revealing the hand of Dentsu behind the scenes. Electric companies promise to make every effort to ensure the safety of power plants, while photographs highlight the plight of nuclear workers who are often poor and sometimes dependent on jobs in the nuclear industry. According to Honma Ryu, these advertisements are certainly only the tip of the iceberg. They are part of a campaign to closely monitor all information published on nuclear power, as well as the quasi-guarantee that local newspapers will limit the voice of opponents.

In a report on press freedom released in April 2016, Reporters Without Borders ranked Japan 72nd, behind Hungary and Tanzania. Six years ago, it ranked 11th. Visiting Tokyo, a United Nations rapporteur alerted the country to the growing pressures on Japanese journalists who work for private media or NHK.

This is because of increasing government pressure, exacerbated by the entry into force in the past year of a law on state secrets, including nuclear related matters. A law with vague outlines threatens journalists with imprisonment for disclosing “secret” information. A sign of the times is that three television journalists known for their independence announced their resignation at the beginning of the year. Among them is Furutachi Ichiro, presenter of “Hodo Station,” which, according to Honma Ryu, was targeted by Dentsu for several years because of his critical views on nuclear power and the Abe administration. No doubt Dentsu, privileged ambassador of the largest industrial groups, will continue to play its role in the great media lockdown ongoing in Japan.

Source: Asia-Pacific Journal

June 6, 2016 Posted by | Japan, media | Leave a comment

The folly of Egypt going into nuclear dependence on Russia, instead of embracing renewable energy

Russian-BearEgypt’s nuclear energy folly  Unlike nuclear power, renewable energy has the text-relevantpotential to create an enormous number of jobs.  ….the Middle East finds itself at a nuclear crossroads, with governments across the region launching or reviving plans to construct nuclear reactors. Aljazeera, by Khaled Diab  5 June 16

Nuclear Egypt?

The latest development in this regard was the recent announcement that Russia will lend Egypt $25bn to finance and operate a nuclear power plant which will be built by Russia’s state-owned nuclear giant Rosatom.

The Russian tender Egypt accepted was for the construction of a station with a capacity of 4,800 megawatts, at an estimated cost of $10bn.

“This was a long dream for Egypt, to have a peaceful nuclear programme to produce electricity,” President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi said late last year.

And this dream dates back to the very dawn of the nuclear age, when then President Gamal Abdel-Nasser launched Egypt’s nuclear programme in 1954, and the first Soviet-built research reactor came online in 1961.

Since then, Egypt’s nuclear ambitions have stalled for a number of political, economic and technological reasons.

The revival of Egypt’s civilian nuclear programme has stirred a lot of debate and controversy, both in the media and in private – as I discovered during a long impromptu debate at a Cairo restaurant recently….

Unstudied political decision’

In addition to the risks of an Egyptian Chernobyl or Fukushima, there are the everyday dangers of radioactive leaks and seepage, not to mention nuclear waste, which is likely to outlive humanity.

If the “safe” disposal of nuclear waste in technologically advanced and wealthy Germany has proven to be extremely unsafe and dangerous, what chance does poor, inexperienced Egypt stand in averting a future radioactive crisis?

Then, there are the more subtle environmental costs. Nuclear power plants are extremely thirsty beasts – consuming the equivalent of a major metropolis – and Egypt suffers serious “water poverty”, by the government’s own admission.

Weighing in on the debate, the renowned Egyptian-American NASA space scientist Farouk el-Baz called Egypt’s nuclear plan “an unstudied political decision”, fuelled by the desire to catch up with Iran which “spurred Arab countries to enter the nuclear field”.

But if anything, the folly of Iran’s nuclear programme should deter Egypt and the other Arab countries from pursuing nuclear energy, for geostrategic, economic and social reasons.

Iran’s Bushehr I reactor, which reportedly cost $11bn to build, provides less than 2 percent of the country’s electricity requirements, while sanctions may have cost the Islamic Republic as much as $500bn in opportunity costs, experts estimate.

In contrast, supplying all Iran’s electricity needs from solar power would cost a mere $94bn, according to one estimate.

More dependence

While Egypt’s non-pariah status will probably mean that its programme will be cheaper, nuclear power is still extremely expensive, especially in “sunbelt” regions such as the Middle East.

Egyptian solar energy expert Sherife Abdelmessih estimates that nuclear power plants are four times as expensive to construct as solar ones per unit of energy.

OPINION: Egypt’s pharaoh illusion

In addition, he expects that Egypt will pay about $150 per MWh for the power generated by the new nuclear power plant, while the equivalent price for Egyptian wind farms is $45 per MWh.

There are also persuasive geostrategic reasons for Egypt and other Arab countries not to invest in nuclear energy. While proponents believe it will enhance our energy security, it will actually diminish it.

No Arab country possesses the scientific and technological know-how to build their own nuclear facilities and to conduct the extremely costly research required to advance knowledge in this highly developed field.

OPINION: Tourism – It’s more than a few umbrellas on a beach

This will make Arab civilian nuclear programmes highly dependent on foreign technology and expertise.

Moreover, the fuel required to run the power plants will have to be imported, making Arabs vulnerable to supply disruptions, which could be exploited for political arm-twisting.

In contrast, Egypt, and the wider region, is blessed with abundant sun and wind resources, and the renewable energy sector is still young enough for Egypt to become a major player and innovator in it.

Egypt recognises this opportunity and seeks to extract 20 percent of its energy needs from renewable sources by 2022, but this is not enough.

Unlike nuclear power, renewable energy has the potential to create an enormous number of jobs and abundant business opportunities, including start-ups.

In addition, it is scalable, meaning that energy can be consumed close to where it is produced, and it paves the way to distributed energy generation, where each building or home can potentially produce its own power and sell its excess supply into the national grid.

Renewable energy technologies are also diverse. For example, a relatively small investment in solar boilers can save Egypt the huge amounts of electricity used to heat water.

I cannot help thinking that the $25bn Egypt is spending on a single nuclear power facility would have been better invested in pursuing these alternative energy options.

In fact, for the entire region, nuclear energy is pure folly and the only sunny future is in renewables.

June 6, 2016 Posted by | general | 2 Comments

Russia pushing United Arab Emirates to buy nuclear technology

nuclear-marketing-crapflag_RussiaNuclear power key for UAE energy security, Khaleej Times Sarakshi text-relevantRai/moscow June 5, 2016 Nuclear power is the best way for the world and the UAE to meet its energy demands, according to top nuclear energy professionals at the recently concluded Rosatom Atomexpo 2016.

Atomexpo is the largest exhibition venue for meetings and negotiations between world leaders in the nuclear power sector. This year’s exhibition and conference focused on new players entering the nuclear energy sector.

Mohamed Shaker, minister of electricity and mineral resources, Egypt; Hassan Mahmoud Hassanein, first deputy minister of electricity and mineral resources, Egypt; Khaled Toukan, chairman of Jordan Atomic Energy Commission; and Hashem Yamani, president of King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy, Saudi Arabia; featured in day two of the conference at a panel discussion highlighting the future of nuclear power and new players…….

“Share of nuclear power in the global energy balance will grow. More than a thousand new nuclear reactors may be constructed and commissioned by 2050. This is a very important task as we need to reduce hydrocarbon consumption globally,” Agneta Rising, director-general of the World Nuclear Association, said at the opening of Atomexpo 2016.

June 6, 2016 Posted by | marketing, Russia, United Arab Emirates | Leave a comment

Russia’s Rosatom keenly marketing nuclear power to Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Cambodia, Myanmar and Laos

nuclear-marketing-crapflag_RussiaRussian nuclear agency bullish on Asean outlook  ACHARA DEBOON text-relevantME THE NATION, Thailand,   MOSCOW June 6, 2016    ROSATOM, Russia’s state nuclear-energy agency, is bullish on the outlook of its business in Southeast Asia after the speedy development of a project in Vietnam and a range of agreements with every country in the region except Singapore, the Philippines and Brunei.

In an interview on the sidelines of the eighth “International Forum Atomexpo”, Nikolay Drozdov, Rosatom’s director of international business department, acknowledged that the speed of development in foreign countries, particularly Thailand, depended largely on public acceptance and the respective governments’ decisions.

“Public acceptance is a key element, and we pay much attention to it,” he said…….

After the Vietnam project, Drozdov sees the highest possibility that Indonesia and Malaysia will be the next in Southeast Asia to house nuclear power plants.

At the expo, a number of agreements with Indonesia were signed, also involving the training of specialists. This followed an agreement on the basic reactor design signed last year.

In the past few years, seven countries including Thailand have signed cooperation agreements with Rosatom. This month, a working group was established with Cambodia’s National Council for Sustainable Development after an agreement on the peaceful uses of atomic energy. Myanmar and Laos also have similar cooperation agreements.

Three Myanmar students are now studying nuclear science in Russia on scholarships……

If Thailand goes ahead with a nuclear power plant, the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand is expected to be responsible for it. According to Ratanachai Namwong, deputy Egat governor for power-plant development, preparations are ongoing…..
Rosatom was focusing a lot of attention on Southeast Asia, reflected by the decision to establish a regional headquarters in Singapore.

June 6, 2016 Posted by | ASIA, marketing, Russia | Leave a comment

Fleet of little nuclear reactors for Britain. Rolls Royce to build them?

SMR football stadium

Rolls Royce Shortlisted to build fleet of baby nuclear-reactors, CITY AM Jessica Morris, 5 June 16 ,  FTSE 100-listed engineering company Rolls-Royce has been shortlisted to build a fleet of mini nuclear reactors, City A.M. understands.It’s part of the government’s £250m nuclear research programme unveiled in last year’s Autumn Statement, which includes a competition to identify the best value small modular reactor (SMR) design for the UK.

An industry source said that the SMR scheme won’t be a “short process”. This comes despite the UK energy policy crisis, with an increasingly strained power supply. Almost 6,000 MW could be lost this year.

Of the 38 companies which submitted expressions of interest in the competition, 33 were eligible to compete in the next round, according to the Sunday Timeswhich first reported the news.

These also include US engineering giant Bechtel, NuScale Power which is backed by US engineer Fluor, and Canada’s Terrestrial Energy……The company declined to comment, while the Department for Energy and Climate Change hasn’t yet responded to a request for comment.

June 6, 2016 Posted by | technology, UK | Leave a comment

Asking how to prepare for a nuclear disaster is asking the wrong question

Nuclear power: Asking the wrong questions  Steven Starr, 1 June 16 

This is a discussion in which, as Manpreet Sethi has noted, all the participants “either argue in favor of nuclear power or decline to argue against it. … [T]hey see no need to eliminate nuclear energy.” That is, the Bulletin has selected experts who may suggest new policies or technological fixes for the nuclear industry, but will not call for the industry’s abolition.

I am a senior scientist with Physicians for Social Responsibility, a group that does call for abolition. Physicians for Social Responsibility is deeply concerned about the medical and ethical consequences of the ongoing production of enormous amounts of high-level nuclear waste. Such waste, hundreds of thousands of tons of it, sits in “cooling pools” next to nuclear power reactors; many individual pools contain more cesium-137 than was released by all atmospheric nuclear weapons tests combined. These utterly lethal radionuclides will require some form of supervision for hundreds of thousands of years if they are to be prevented from entering the biosphere. Thousands of generations of human beings will have to perform the supervision.

Only one country, Finland, has begun work on a permanent repository for high-level waste, but it is not yet operational. The only permanent site for low-level waste in the United States, the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico, is currently closed due to mishaps including a 2014 radiation release. Hence the entire world provides no good examples of safe permanent storage.

But the problem, of course, extends beyond waste—it includes catastrophic releases of radiation, something that the nuclear industry has not managed to prevent in the first 70 years of its existence. And even Sethi admits that “[t]here can never be a perfect strategy for disaster prevention and preparedness.” So there is little reason to think such releases will be prevented in the future.

When they aren’t prevented, as at Chernobyl, the consequences are devastating, as study after study demonstrates.

  • The International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War, in a 2011 report called “Health Effects of Chernobyl,” found that 25 years after the disaster, more than 90 percent of “liquidators”—the soldiers and civilians, numbering at least 740,000, who fought to contain the reactor fire and clean up afterwards—were severely ill or had become invalids.
  • According to the UN Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation, between 12,000 and 83,000 genetically damaged children will eventually be born in “affected countries of the Chernobyl region,” while 30,000 to 207,000 such children will be born worldwide due to the disaster. These cases will take time to appear—only 10 percent of the overall expected damage can be seen in the first generation after exposure.
  • The “TORCH-2016” report, an independent scientific evaluation of Chernobyl’s health effects based entirely upon peer-reviewed sources, finds that about 5 million people in Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia live in areas still highly contaminated by the Chernobyl disaster (with more than 40 kilobecquerels of cesium-137 per square meter). These areas include 18,000 square kilometers in Belarus, 12,000 square kilometers in Ukraine, and 16,000 square kilometers in Russia. About 400 million people live in less contaminated areas (with between 4 and 40 kilobecquerels of cesium-137 per square meter).
  • The unfortunate people who must live on these contaminated lands—especially infants and children—suffer greatly from the effects of the long-lived radionuclides (primarily cesium-137) that have contaminated the forests, soils, and foodstuffs to which they are constantly exposed. In 2011, the National Ministry of Emergencies of Ukraine issued a national report entitled “Twenty-five Years after Chernobyl Accident: Safety for the Future.” The report found that by 2001, no more than 10 percent of the children living in the seriously contaminated zones of Ukraine were considered healthy. Prior to the dispersal of radionuclides from the Chernobyl explosion, 90 percent had been healthy.

These are some of the consequences of a single catastrophic nuclear accident. Fukushima, meanwhile, is an example of the ongoing irradiation of the biosphere. There will be more accidents. The nuclear industry will continue to claim that such accidents pose “no significant danger to human health.” The evidence indicates otherwise.

“If they can get you asking the wrong questions,” Thomas Pynchon wrote in Gravity’s Rainbow, “they don’t have to worry about answers.” Asking how to prepare for a nuclear disaster is asking the wrong question. It steers the conversation away from the real issue, which is why nuclear power reactors should be allowed to continue producing mass quantities of nuclear poison that must be isolated from the biosphere for more than 100,000 years—forever, in human terms. The Chernobyl disaster released only a tiny fraction of the radioactive poison that nuclear power has produced. The overwhelming majority that remains is a grave danger, and to ignore it is willful blindness.

June 6, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, environment | Leave a comment

Britain’s Hinkley nuclear white elephant that stands in the way of green growth

The nuclear white elephant that stands in the way of green growth Jeremy Leggett June  By Jeremy Leggett , June 03 2016


EDF’s Hinkley Point C plant in western England will have much to do with the nuclear industry’s prospects globally — and hence for the ability of renewables to grow quickly.

The speed with which the renewables industries will be able to grow in the years ahead will be much affected by the course of the gas and nuclear industries’ efforts to grow. Having considered gas in my last column, let me turn to nuclear, and focus on a project that will have much to do with nuclear’s prospects globally: EDF’s Hinkley Point C plant.

I start with a set of numbers surely destined to become a classic case history for business schools. Imagine you are the CFO of a company that has a market capitalisation of €18 billion. You are being asked to find investment of €22 billion for a new nuclear plant, the first of a whole new fleet. Without that fleet your company cannot hope to grow, assuming it sticks with nuclear generation, and therefore without that one plant its business model will be exposed as broken.  Yet your plant is the most expensive power station in the world, and one of the most expensive human construction projects ever, in real terms. And here is the thing: you carry €37 billion of net debt on your balance sheet.

You have two further problems. The first is €55 billion in estimated liabilities to keep a fleet of aging reactors, of earlier generations, open beyond their long-scheduled closedown dates. The second is an unknown number of further billions to fix a grave safety flaw in the steel of a pressure vessel in the forerunner of the new plant you must build.

What do you do?    You resign, of course.   Which is exactly what EDF CFO Thomas Piqemal did on 8th March.

Now imagine you are the abandoned CEO. You face a few problems beyond the loss of your CFO, the market signal that sends, and the reasons for his departure. Moody’s, the ratings agency, haswarned that your credit rating will be downgraded if you go ahead with the plant, making it far more difficult for you raise yet more debt. Your labour unions are begging you not to go ahead, andthreatening to strike if you do. They are openly saying that they fear this single project will bankrupt the company. Worse, they have seats on the board, because the workforce are part owners of the company.

What do you do?  In a rational world, you resign too.

But now imagine you have a rock solid belief system. You cannot conceive of a world without nuclear power, or at least your vital power plant. So instead of resigning you elect to announce your renewed determination to build the project.  ……..

As for the denouement, the only thing yet to be resolved is the the exact shape of the inevitable tragedy.

Including the extent to which this white-elephant product of a broken and dying belief system in society can slow down the growth of renewables.

June 6, 2016 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Big advertising firms control Japan’s media, especially on nuclear issues

media-propagandaFukushima and Nuclear Power: Does the Advertising Giant Dentsu Pull the Strings of Japan’s Media? By Mathieu Gaulène 

1 June 2016French journalist Mathieu Gaulène describes the business practices of Dentsu and its competitor Hakuhodo, the biggest and the second biggest advertising companies of Japan respectively. Specifically, it examines how their close relations to the media and the nuclear industry play out in the wake of the 3.11 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster. Focusing Dentsu, Gaulène discusses how the marketing and public relations (PR) giant has dominated major media which large advertising contracts from the nuclear industry. The article is particularly timely as Dentsu unveils its deep ties to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic bid and the Panama Papers. Regrettably, however, with rare exceptions, there is little media coverage of the influence of Dentsu in mainstream Japanese newspapers and magazines.

According to the author, a partial translation of the French original was made by Kazparis (username), and quickly received more than 70,000 views on Twitter. Then, Uchida Tatsuru, a specialist in French literature, and HACK & SOCIETAS published two other Japanese translations. Soon after, Tokyo Shimbun and Mainichi Shimbun published long articles about Dentsu. SN

Dentsu, the fifth largest communication group in the world, holds a large share of the Japanese advertising market, which impacts media freedom in Japan. This is particularly true in relation to the nuclear power industry.

– Dentsu and information on nuclear powerIndirect pressures on press journalists

– The 2016 comeback of nuclear advertisements and the resignations of TV journalists

The moment remains famous. On the eve of Japan’s Upper House elections, former actor Yamamoto Taro, an anti-nuclear power candidate supported by no party, campaigned on Twitter to win an upper house seat in the Diet. Censored by the media, the young candidate, famous for his verve, had mainly campaigned against nuclear power, but he also called out the big media, accusing it of being in the pay of sponsors and thus of electric companies and of systematically censoring critical information on nuclear power.

A television channel granted him an interview at the end of a program, but only after presenting a journalist to defend his profession. On screen, the young senator was given only one minute to respond. “I will take a simple example. Food can now hold up to 100 becquerels per kilogram; that means even just via eating we are irradiated. It is never said on television… ” Yamamoto had to stop. The ending jingle started, and the presenter at the studio announced, bantering, that the show was over, before launching an advertising page.

The video, which was available online for 3 years, was removed on May 16, 2016 shortly after the publication of this article…….

Source: Asia-Pacific Journal

June 6, 2016 Posted by | Japan, media | Leave a comment

Critics not impressed by propaganda from USA’s nuclear lobby

Nuclear magicianNuclear power’s last chance in California?, San Diego Union Tribune The industry hopes for a new look  By Rob Nikolewski . June 4, 2016  

“……Earlier this year the American Nuclear Society rolled out a “Special Committee on Nuclear in the States,” aimed at influencing state and local policymakers across the country.

Part of the group’s pitch is that while solar and wind energy is growing, they still have problems with intermittency — that is, generating power when the sun is not shining or when the wind is not blowing……But opponents say mining uranium on nuclear’s front end comes at an environmental price and what to do with the spent fuel on the back end is an inherent problem.

“There’s nothing renewable about the waste,” said Becker.

Industry critics also say nuclear has received plenty of money from ratepayers to get plants built in the first place.

And the U.S. Department of Energy has already earmarked millions to help get the SMR sector up and running……

June 6, 2016 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

USA’s nuclear marketing effort to make exemption for India will not please China

India’s Admission Into Nuclear Club May Figure In China-US Talks, NDTV 5 June 16,  BEIJING:  Amid deepening divisions over the disputed South China Sea, China and US will hold their high level annual Strategic and Economic Dialogue in Beijing tomorrow during which a host of issues including differences over India’s entry into the NSG are expected to be discussed.

Billed as the most comprehensive dialogue between the world’s two largest economies, it will be attended by top officials from both sides, including US Secretary of State John Kerry.

Toshiba WestinghouseWhile South China Sea (SCS) issue which has now become a major flash point between the two countries is expected to dominate the two-day talks, a host of other issues including Taiwan, Tibet and India’s inclusion in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) are also expected to figure.

While the US has expressed its firm backing to India’s inclusion into the 48-member nuclear club building on the India-US nuclear accord, China has been insisting that there should be consensus among the members about inclusion of countries who have not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

India has not signed the NPT on the ground that it is discriminatory.

Officials are hopeful of a solution as China-US dialogue is taking place ahead of two of NSG’s key plenary meetings on June 9 in Vienna and June 24 in Seoul during which the issue is expected to come up.

As India pressed its case, Pakistan too has applied amid reports that China is trying to push the case of its all-weather ally…….

June 6, 2016 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

USA tries to bend the rules, so Toshiba-Westinghouse can sell nuclear reactors to India

Toshiba WestinghouseNo Exceptions for a Nuclear India By THE EDITORIAL BOARD JUNE 4, 2016 America’s relationship with India has blossomed under President Obama, who will meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi this week. Ideally, Mr. Obama could take advantage of the ties he has built and press for India to adhere to the standards on nuclear proliferation to which other nuclear weapons states adhere.
The problem, however, is that the relationship with India rests on a dangerous bargain. For years, the United States has sought to bend the rules for India’s nuclear program to maintain India’s cooperation on trade and to counter China’s growing influence. In 2008, President George W. Bush signed a civilian nuclear deal with India that allowed it to trade in nuclear materials. This has encouraged Pakistan to keep expanding a nuclear weapons program that is already the fastest growing in the world.
Now, India has Mr. Obama’s strong support in its bid to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group, a 48-nation body that governs trade in nuclear-related exports and aims to ensure that civilian trade in nuclear materials is not diverted for military uses. Membership would enhance India’s standing as a nuclear weapons state, but it is not merited until the country meets the group’s standards.All group members have signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, either as nuclear weapons states (the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China) or as non-nuclear weapons states (everybody else). India has refused, which means it has not accepted legally binding commitments to pursue disarmament negotiations, halt the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons and not test nuclear weapons.

President Bush squandered an opportunity to demand more of India when he signed the 2008 deal, which opened the door to American trade in nuclear technology for civilian energy, something India had insisted was a prerequisite to more cooperation and lucrative business deals.

As part of the 2008 deal, the Indians promised they would be “ready to assume the same responsibilities and practices” as other nations with advanced nuclear technology. But they have fallen far short by continuing to produce fissile material and to expand their nuclear arsenal.

The Nuclear Suppliers Group is to discuss India’s application later this month. Mr. Obama is lobbying for India to win membership through a special exception. If he succeeds, India would be in a position to keep Pakistan, which has also applied for membership, from gaining membership because group decisions must be unanimous. That could give Pakistan, which at one time provided nuclear technology to North Korea and Iran, new incentives to misbehave.

Opposition from China, which is close to Pakistan and views India as a rival, could doom India’s bid for now. But the issue will not go away. India is growing in importance and seeking greater integration into organizations that govern international affairs. If it wants recognition as a nuclear weapons state, it should be required to meet the nuclear group’s standards, including opening negotiations with Pakistan and China on curbing nuclear weapons and halting the production of nuclear fuel for bombs.

June 6, 2016 Posted by | India, marketing, USA | Leave a comment

Global advertising giant Dentsu orchestrates pro nuclear propaganda in Japan

Fukushima and Nuclear Power: Does the Advertising Giant Dentsu Pull the Strings of Japan’s Media? By Mathieu Gaulène

  1 June 2016   “………Advertisements in Japan are literally everywhere: a veritable hell of posters or screens in trains and stations, giant posters on buildings, bearers of advertising placards or lorries with huge posters and loud PA systems in the streets: even advertising displays mounted atop urinals in some restaurants. In this advertising empire, the media are no exception. In the press, naturally, as in France, major companies pay for full page advertisements. But, above all in television. An entertainment show generally starts with the announcement of sponsors, and is interrupted every five minutes by numerous short advertising spots, where we often find the same sponsors. There is virtually no time for thinking, most TV channels offer programs close to the world of pachinko: garish colors, constant noise, and frat humor even of the most vulgar kind.

In this immense television arena, advertising is orchestrated by one of the global giants, Dentsu, the 5th communication group in the world and the number one ad agency. With its rival Hakuhodo, 2nd in the archipelago, the two agencies nicknamed “Denpaku,” combine advertising, public relations, media monitoring, crisis management for the largest Japanese and foreign companies, the local authorities, political parties or the government. Together they hold nearly 70% of the market. A true empire that some accuse of ruling the roost in the Japanese media.

Dentsu and information on nuclear power…..

In a book published in 2012, Honma Ryu looked into some of Dentsu’s backstage, and its tight control over the media, especially on behalf of one of its major clients: Tokyo Electric Power Company, Tepco. ……

n 2012, his book Dentsu and Nuclear Coverage became a bestseller within a few months, despite almost universal media blackout.

Honma meticulously described the mechanisms by which Dentsu, the inevitable intermediary, implicitly imposes on media what can or cannot be written on nuclear power, and under what conditions. “Dentsu occupies a special position since the agency holds 80% of the market for nuclear advertising in Japan,” he reminded us during an interview in a coffee shop at Ueno Station. In 2010, in this huge advertising market, Tepco, a regional firm, indeed ranked 10th in terms of advertising expenses, next to power plant manufacturer Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. That year, on the eve of the Fukushima accident, Tepco had spent more than 2 million euros on advertising. The overall advertising expenses of the 10 regional electrical power companies amounted to 7 million euros.

For decades, especially since the 1990s when public opinion began to become critical of nuclear power following several accidents, Tepco and other power companies stepped up commercials and advertorials in the press.

On television, the advertisements can be enough in themselves to overwhelm criticism. Big groups often sponsor TV programs, talk shows or series for an entire season. Sometimes, entire documentaries are produced by Denjiren, [the Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan (FEPC)], a key player in the nuclear lobby, to promote the industry. Any dissenting voice is unwelcome for fear of losing sponsors.

After Fukushima, Yamamoto Taro paid the price; appearing regularly on TV as a tarento [talent] until then when he suddenly became persona non grata on TV and even in cinema for having expressed opposition to nuclear power. This is hardly new since the great figures of the anti-nuclear movement, best-selling authors such as Hirose Takashi or Koide Hiroaki are almost never invited to appear on TV, especially after the Fukushima accident.

This “control by media” denounced by Honma Ryu obviously is not limited to the nuclear power industry.

Amid all these private media groups, only NHK escapes this advertising empire and can claim to be independent, receiving its funding directly from viewers. Alas, the situation at NHK is even more disastrous, its president Momii Katsuto having said without embarrassment on several occasions that the chain had to be the spokesman for the Abe government. In a recent statement before 200 retired NHK employees, he even seemingly acknowledged having ordered NHK journalists to confine broadcasts to reassuring communiqués from the authorities about Kyushu earthquakes and potential risks they pose to nuclear plants and instructing them not to interview independent experts.

Indirect pressures on the press

What about the press? Dentsu has long had a special relationship with the two news agencies Kyodo News and Jiji Press: the three entities formed a single information group before the war. If information in the press is more difficult to control, Dentsu not only advertises, but provides after-sales customer service — media monitoring, advice on crisis management, and indirect pressure on newspapers.

Whereas in France, the acquisition of media companies by large industrial groups is the prelude to direct pressure, in Japan pressure comes via advertising agencies that act as true ambassadors for the groups. ……..

Advertisements of nuclear power are mainly distributed in weekly and daily newspapers. Since the accident at the Fukushima nuclear plant, they stopped; but for Dentsu, a profitable new business emerged: promoting agricultural products from Fukushima. Since 2011, with the participation of star singers, Fukushima Prefecture has never skimped on promoting its peaches, rice, or tomatoes, with slogans like “Fukushima Pride” or “Fukushima is well!”…….

Dentsu thus occupies a very special position in the promotion of nuclear power, beside Tepco but also the powerful Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) and the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), both clients of the advertising company. Under these conditions, can Dentsu not be considered to actively underwrite the “nuclear village”?…….

Dentsu is a member of the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum (JAIF), the main organization of nuclear lobbying, along with Japanese electric utility companies and EDF [Electricity of France, Électricité de France],…….

Source: Asia-Pacific Journal


June 6, 2016 Posted by | Japan, media, spinbuster | 1 Comment