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

Hinkley going down? Next glorious gimmick – Small Nuclear Reactors

Small nuclear salesman

UK set to continue developing baby nuclear reactors which may fuel Rolls-Royce jobs, This Is Money  By NEIL CRAVEN, FINANCIAL MAIL ON SUNDAY, 14 August 2016 Britain is to forge ahead with plans to develop ‘baby’ nuclear reactors just two weeks after the Prime Minister threw energy policy into chaos by revealing there will be a shock delay to making a decision over Hinkley Point.

The announcement over whether to proceed with Hinkley in Somerset has been postponed until next month.

That allows new Premier Theresa May more time to consider concerns relating to the cost of the £25billion project and potential security risks posed by Chinese involvement.

This weekend the Government revealed it will shortly select preferred partners to construct Small Modular Reactors – which could help provide an alternative to Hinkley. They would be built using British factories and participation and could boost UK firms including Rolls-Royce.

Whitehall sources said the project, currently involving 33 engineering groups, would reaffirm Britain’s determination to be a ‘world leader’ in SMR production.

It is not yet clear whether the decision to develop the ‘baby’ reactors is linked to the Hinkley delay.

The Government has already earmarked £250 million to fund a five-year programme to develop SMRs and this autumn it is expected to announce the next phase including naming the lead companies to be involved.

Hinkley supporters fear an announcement could be timed to coincide with a final decision on Hinkley, drawing the sting if the Government decides to cancel the larger project……

August 14, 2016 Posted by | marketing, politics, UK | Leave a comment

$billion push to portray nuclear power as climate saviour


Reactors subsidies pitched to curb greenhouse gases, Press Republican, By JOE MAHONEY CNHI Reporter, 14 Aug 16  ALBANY — Three nuclear power plants are in line for nearly $1 billion in subsidies as part of a plan to curb greenhouse-gas emissions.

But environmental groups want to derail the state plan, arguing that the reactors are a threat to public safety and the state instead should encourage the development of solar and wind energy.

“There are cheaper and better ways to get to zero emissions than having rate-payers give multi-million-dollar subsidies to aging, dangerous and expensive nuclear plants,” said Richard Brodsky, a former assemblyman from Westchester County who is working with the Alliance for a Green Economy.

 The subsidies are part of a recommendation being advanced by the Department of Public Service as it seeks to hit the target set by Gov. Andrew Cuomo of having renewable energy account for half of the state’s power mix by 2030.

Under its plan, utilities would buy power at inflated rates over two years from the operators of the two reactors at Nine Mile Point on the shore of Lake Ontario: the James FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant in Oswego County and the R.E. Ginna Nuclear Plant in Wayne County……….


But Brodsky, who once led a legislative committee that oversaw utilities, said the subsidy is unnecessary and would be a burden on electric bills.

“The big news here is that New York now wants to subsidize nuclear power,” he said. In a legal brief filed with the Public Service Commission, Brodsky said the No. 1 reactor at Nine Mile Point turned 47 years old this year and is the country’s oldest reactor.

The Ginna reactor is the fourth-oldest, he said.

Subsidies would not extend to the controversial Indian Point reactor in Westchester County, just north of New York City. Cuomo has advocated for its closure.

The governor has also said he wants the FitzPatrick reactor, slated to close next January, to remain open. Both reactors are owned by Entergy.

August 14, 2016 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment

Japn to market nuclear reactors to India?

Buy-Japan's-nukes-2Abe, Modi to confer on nuclear deal / Meeting eyed for mid-Nov. in Tokyo  The Yomiuri Shimbun, 14 Aug 16 The government is considering hosting India Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo in mid-November, according to sources, with nuclear cooperation on the agenda.

During the meeting, Abe and Modi intend to sign a nuclear cooperation accord that allows for trade in equipment and technology related to nuclear power plants. In preparation, both sides will soon start full-fledged talks to decide on wording in the accord, the sources said. Also likely to be discussed in the meeting will be the strengthening of security cooperation.

In recent years, the leaders of both nations have made mutual annual visits. In the summit meeting in December 2015, Abe and Modi reached a basic agreement on the signing of a nuclear cooperation accord. Should the accord be signed in November, it will allow Japanese companies to receive orders for nuclear power plant construction projects in India, which will lead to a possible solution for India’s serious electricity shortage.

As India is not a signatory to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, the Japanese and Indian governments are coordinating to decide on wording in the accord regarding nonproliferation and prohibition of nuclear tests…….

August 14, 2016 Posted by | India, Japan, marketing | Leave a comment

Radioactive cesium (134Cs and 137Cs) content in human placenta after the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident

First published: 2 July 2013



The degree of contamination with radioactive cesium (134Cs and 137Cs) in the human placenta after the accident at Fukushima nuclear power plant (FNP), which occurred on 11 March 2011, has not been assessed.

Material and Methods

134Cs and 137Cs contents were determined in 10 placentas from 10 women who gave birth to term singleton infants during the period between October 2011 and August 2012 using high-purity germanium detectors for gamma ray spectrometry. Five women resided within 50 km of FNP (neighbor group) and gave birth by the end of February 2012, while the other five women resided within 210–290 km of FNP (distant group) and gave birth in July and August 2012.


All except one of the 10 placentas contained detectable levels of 134Cs and 137Cs, ranging 0.042–0.742 Bq/kg for 134Cs and 0.078–0.922 Bq/kg for 137Cs. One placenta from a woman living in Tokyo contained 0.109 Bq/kg 137Cs and no detectable level of 134Cs (<0.054 Bq/kg). 137Cs content was more than 0.2 Bq/kg in four and one placentas in the neighbor and distant groups, respectively.


Degree of contamination of the placenta with radioactive Cs was lower even in women who resided within 50 km of FNP compared to Japanese and Canadian placentas in the mid-1960s after repeated nuclear tests and in northern Italian placentas from 1986–1987 after the Chernobyl power plant accident.


After the accident at Fukushima nuclear power plant (FNP), triggered by the Great East Japan Earthquake on 11 March 2011, radioactive fallout was deposited over a wide area of Japan.[1, 2] Although the short-lived radionuclides, such as 131I (half-life, 8 days), decayed within a few days to months eventually reaching negligible concentrations, long-lived radioactive cesium (physical half-life, 2 years for 134Cs and 30 years for 137Cs) remained in detectable concentrations in the environment. These radionuclides reach pregnant women mainly through direct consumption of contaminated vegetables, crops, as well as animal and fish products. Contamination of breast milk with 131I was indeed documented in lactating women residing near FNP in April 2011.[1] The occurrence of milk powder contamination with 134Cs and 137Cs (22–31 Bq/kg) was announced by Meiji Holdings on 6 December 2011 (cited on 6 August 2012; available from This contamination was concluded to be derived from atmospheric air during the process of drying of milk powder, and not from water or dairy ingredients. Thus, environmental pollution with radioactive materials occurred and reached pregnant women after the FNP accident.

The placentas of women living in Hiroshima, Osaka, Tokyo and Canada in the 1960s contained detectable levels of 137Cs[3-5] due to environmental pollution with 137Cs after the repeated nuclear tests conducted by several countries, such as the USA and the former USSR. As the estimate of 137Cs deposition at the Meteorological Research Institute, Tsukuba, after the FNP accident far exceeded that in the 1960s in Japan (Fig. 1),[6] the placentas of women living near FNP may contain higher levels of 134Cs and 137Cs than those in the 1960s in Japan. However, the degree of placental contamination with radioactive Cs has not been studied. Therefore, the present study was performed to investigate the 134Cs and 137Cs contents in the placentas of women living within 300 km of FNP.


Figure 1.

Estimates of 137Cs deposition at the Meteorological Research Institute, Tsukuba, are presented for several months after the accident in March 2011. The estimate was computed based on the value obtained by measuring aliquots of the sample water (wet + dry depositions). As cesium is distributed between the liquid and the solid phases, the accurate value is not obtained unless the concentration of the whole sample by evaporation is achieved. Probably, current values are underestimates. Moreover, as 134Cs was deposited in comparable amounts, the total radioactive cesium had mostly doubled. image, 137Cs; image, 90Sr. (Adopted from [6]).

Materials and Methods

This study was conducted with the approval of the institutional review boards of Kameda General Hospital and Japan National Institute of Public Health.

Women who provided placentas

Placentas were obtained from 10 women: five (cases 1–5) living within 50 km (neighbor group) and five (cases 6–10) living within 210–290 km (distant group) of FNP until delivery after the FNP accident (Table 1). All 10 women gave birth to a healthy term singleton infant during the period between October 2011 and August 2012. The five women in the neighbor group gave birth earlier by the end of February 2012, while the five women in the distant group gave birth later in or after July 2012.


Measurement of radionuclides

Each whole placenta with a wet weight varying 0.418–0.672 kg was ashed to 4.13–7.40 g (Table 1) by muffle furnace at 450°C for 24 h after lyophilizing according to the preparation method recommended in the USA ( These ashed samples were placed individually into cylindrical plastic containers (100-mL capacity). To determine the gamma-emitting nuclides in the samples, gamma ray spectrometry was performed for more than 80 000 s with high-purity germanium detectors (GEM40-76; Ortec, Oak Ridge, TN, USA) connected to a multichannel analyzer and analytical software, and the activity concentrations of the radionuclides were corrected to the delivery dates. Each measured radioactivity was multiplied by 2(N/T): N and T were intervals until the measurement after delivery of the placenta (year) and half-life of each radionuclide (year), respectively. The energy and efficiency calibrations were performed using the nine nuclides mixed activity standard volume sources (MX033U8; Japan Radioisotope Association, Tokyo, Japan) composed of 109Cd, 57Co, 139Ce, 51Cr, 85Sr, 137Cs, 54Mn, 88Y and 60Co. These sources, contained in the same containers as the samples, had five different heights (0.5, 1, 2, 3 and 5 cm, respectively) to determine the detection efficiency of the detector as a function of sample height.


As expected, 134Cs and 137Cs were detected in nine and 10 of the 10 placentas with varying activities ranging 0.042–0.742 Bq/kg for 134Cs and 0.078–0.922 Bq/kg for 137Cs, respectively (Table 1), while relatively constant levels of 40K were detected, ranging 46.5–59.3 Bq/kg, regardless of the differences in cities where they were living after the FNP accident. If we assumed that 134Cs content was 0.050 Bq/kg for case 8, median 134Cs content, 0.373 Bq/kg (range, 0.090–0.742) in the five placentas of the neighbor group was relatively higher than that of 0.061Bq/kg (range, 0.042–0.462) in the five placentas of the distant group, but difference did not reach a significant level (P = 0.05556, Mann–Whitney U-test). Median 137Cs content was 0.563 Bq/kg (range, 0.207–0.922) for the neighbor group and 0.109 Bq/kg (range, 0.078–0.694) for the distant group (P = 0.09524).


The present study demonstrated that placentas of women living within 290 km of FNP contained detectable levels of 134Cs and 137Cs. The difference in degree of contamination of placentas with radioactive Cs may have reflected dietary habits, the degree of environmental pollution and the interval until delivery after the FNP accident. The shortened biological half-life of radioactive Cs from approximately 100 days for non-pregnant adults to approximately 60 days in pregnant women[7] may have also contributed to the lesser contamination of the placenta in women who gave birth in and after July 2012. Although environmental pollution with radioactive Cs has been decreasing, daily 137Cs activities of fallout exceeded 10 MBq/km2 in 15 days in March 2012 in Fukushima City (Preliminary results of monitoring the environmental radioactivity level of fallout [File number 93], cited on 10 August 2012; available from Surface soils contained more than 1000 Bq/kg of radioactive Cs in wide areas of Fukushima Prefecture where the five women of the neighbor group were living (cited on 10 August 2012; available from

As shown in Figure 1, environmental pollution with radionuclides occurred after the repeated nuclear tests in the mid-20th century and after the Chernobyl accident in 1986. According to a study that examined 137Cs content in the placenta and urine of inpatients at Hiroshima University Hospital and in daily foods served for these inpatients over a 5-year period from 1966–1970,[5] 137Cs content in the placentas was approximately 35 pCi (1.3 Bq)/kg, 137Cs daily dietary intake was approximately 30 pCi (1.1 Bq) and 137Cs daily excretion in the urine was approximately 25 pCi (0.9 Bq) in 1966. Japanese and Canadian groups investigated 137Cs content in the human placentas collected in the Tokyo and Osaka areas in Japan and in the Montreal area in Canada in the mid-1960s.[3, 4] The average content of 137Cs was similar in Japanese and Canadian placentas, regardless of the differences in dietary habits (averages of 25.2 pCi [0.93 Bq]/kg and 24.8 pCi [0.92 Bq]/kg for Japanese and Canadian placentas, respectively).[3] Thus, placentas of Japanese and Canadian women in the mid-1960s contained an average of 0.9–1.3 Bq/kg 137Cs. Placentas contained less than 0.8 Bq/kg 134Cs and less than 1.0 Bq/kg 137Cs in this study. Although there may be a problem of direct data comparison between studies in which different assay methods were used, these results suggested that placentas of Japanese and Canadian women in the mid-1960s were more heavily contaminated with 137Cs than the placentas examined in this study.

The Chernobyl accident occurred on 26 April 1986. According to the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (released on 13 March 2012; cited on 6 August 2012; available from, total amounts of dispersed 131I and 137Cs into the environment after the FNP accident were 1.3–1.6 × 1017 Bq and 1.1–1.5 × 1016 Bq, respectively, while corresponding values after the Chernobyl accident were 1.8 × 1018 Bq and 8.5 × 1016 Bq, respectively. Thus, the degree of environmental pollution is estimated to be 11–14-fold higher for 131I and 6–8-fold higher for 137Cs after the Chernobyl accident than after the FNP accident. An Italian group examined 134Cs and 137Cs contents in the placentas of women who gave birth at the University of Bologna over a 13-month period from June 1986 to September 1987 after the Chernobyl accident.[8] Mean placental 137Cs content increased from 4.2 Bq/kg in June 1986, showing a peak of 11.5 Bq/kg in March 1987, and then decreased to 6.6 Bq/kg in September 1987.[8] The Italian group also estimated dietary 137Cs intake on the basis of the average diet in the region where study subjects lived;[8] daily 137Cs intake was estimated to be 15 Bq in the summer of 1986,[8] which is approximately 14-fold higher than that of 1.1 Bq in the Hiroshima area, Japan, in 1966.[5] An investigation conducted 4 months after the FNP accident in early July 2011 revealed that median values of daily dietary intake of 134Cs and 137Cs were 0.6 Bq and 0.9 Bq in Soma (neighboring city to the north of Minami-soma), and 0.4 Bq and 0.7 Bq in Iwaki, respectively.[9] Thus, 137Cs content per kg of the placenta well reflected daily 137Cs intake and appeared to be 50–120% of the daily 137Cs intake. Another Italian group reported daily urinary excretion of 13.5 Bq 137Cs in people living in the Pordenone area of Italy in the latter half of 1987,[10] which is more than 10-fold higher than that of 0.9 Bq in women living in the Hiroshima area in 1966.[5] Thus, levels of exposure to radioactive Cs in Japanese pregnant women in the mid-1960s and after the FNP accident were much lower than those in women living in certain areas of Europe after the Chernobyl accident. In another report from Germany,[11] the radioactive Cs load in the placenta was shown to have increased by 10-fold compared with studies before the Chernobyl accident in western Germany.

The ratio of radioactive Cs to total K (stable and radioactive) is conventionally taken as a measure of radioactive Cs contamination, independent of body size and sex.[12] Soft tissue 137Cs content corrected for potassium did not differ between mother and fetus,[13] suggesting that the placenta is not a barrier for radioactive Cs. Mean activities of placental 40K were reported to be 770 pCi per placenta (57 Bq/kg) and 45 Bq/kg in Japanese[4] and Italian[8] studies, respectively, consistent with the values ranging 46.5–59.3 Bq/kg in this study. The heaviest contaminated placenta contained 0.922 Bq/kg 137Cs and 46.5 Bq/kg 40K. This 40K activity was equivalent to a placental K level of 38.4 mmol/kg. Thus, this placenta exhibited a 137Cs to K ratio of 0.024 Bq/mmol. According to a study in Glasgow by Watson,[12] whole-body 137Cs to total body K was 0.109 Bq/mmol after the Chernobyl accident; this figure is several-fold higher than that of 0.037 Bq/mmol determined in mainland Scotland in 1978–1979,[14] and that of 0.024 Bq/mmol in the placenta of case 1 in this study. The mean whole-body activity of naturally occurring 40K was 2859 Bq for females (52 Bq/kg, if we assume that bodyweight was 55 kg),[12] falling between two figures (45 Bq/kg[8] and 57 Bq/kg[4]) of placental 40K activity. Thus, placental 40K activity concentration appeared to be similar to whole-body 40K activity concentration.

A study of the whole-body radioactive Cs[15] showed another aspect of exposure to 134Cs and 137Cs in Minami-soma residents after the FNP accident. Although only one Minami-soma resident was included in our study population, this woman showed less placental contamination than those reported in the published work.[3-5, 8] However, relatively heavy exposure to radioactive Cs occurred in residents in Minami-soma. According to a study that examined whole-body radioactive Cs (134Cs and 137Cs) in 9498 residents in Minami-soma during the period between 26 September 2011 and 31 March 2012,[15] radioactive Cs (≥210 Bq for 134Cs and ≥250 Bq for 137Cs) was detected in 38% (3051/8066) of adults and 16% (235/1432) of children (6–15 years old), ranging 210–12 771 Bq (median, 744 Bq), with a concentration of 2.3–196.5 Bq/kg (median, 11.4) for adults and 210–2953 Bq (median, 590), with a concentration of 2.8–57.9 Bq/kg (median, 11.9) for children. Based on these data, we speculated that the pregnant Minami-soma woman in this study may have managed to avoid contaminated food materials. Available data on whole-body 134Cs and 137Cs activities are as follows: whole-body 134Cs and 137Cs activities were 172 Bq and 363 Bq, respectively, in non-pregnant adults living in the Glasgow area in June and July 1986 after the Chernobyl accident;[12] and that for 137Cs activity was estimated to be 3 nCi (111 Bq) in 1966, with a gradual decline to less than 1 nCi (37 Bq) in 1969 in pregnant Japanese women living in the Hiroshima area.[5]

In conclusion, placentas from women living within 290 km of FNP contained detectable levels of 134Cs and 37Cs. However, the degree of contamination was lower than those in Japanese and Canadian women in the mid-1960s and in northern Italian women in 1986–1987 after the Chernobyl accident. It has not been elucidated how placental contamination with radioactive Cs occurring in the past affected fetuses adversely. Such adverse effects, if present, may be disclosed in follow-up studies that are being conducted in Fukushima Prefecture in future.


August 14, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2013, Fukushima 2016 | , , , | Leave a comment

How US Hiroshima Mythology Insults Veterans

The government’s official pretexts for incinerating Hiroshima and Nagasaki still dominate public opinion. In 2005, a Gallop poll reported that 57 percent of people surveyed in the US believed the bombings were justified and legitimate. The myth retains its usefulness. President Obama’s proposed 30-year, trillion-dollar program to rebuild the nuclear weapons production establishment can only go ahead if taxpayers hold fast to the idea that something good can come from the mass destruction of civilians.


The atomic bomb had nothing to do with the end of the war at all.”

Maj. Gen. Curtis LeMay, WWII Air Force Commander of the 21st Bomber Command, Sept. 20, 1945.

With President Obama’s May 27 visit to Hiroshima, reporters, columnists and editors generally adhered to the official story that “the atomic bomb…ultimately spared more Japanese civilians from a final invasion,” as Kaimay Yuen Terry wrote for the Minneapolis StarTribune, or that, “Without it, more Japanese would have died in a US assault on the islands, as would have tens of thousands of Americans,” as Mike Hashimoto wrote for the Dallas Morning News.

The dropping of the bombs stopped the war, saved millions of lives,” Harry Truman wrote in his memoir Truman Speaks. Oddly, historians have found no record of any memo, cable, command projection or study, military or civilian, where this estimate was suggested to him. In his book The Invasion of Japan, historian John Ray Skates says, “… prophecies of extremely high casualties only came to be widely accepted after the war to rationalize the use of the atomic bombs.” And historian Martin J. Sherwin has “cited a ‘considerable body’ of new evidence that suggested the bomb may have cost, rather than saved, American lives. That is, if the US had not been so determined to complete, test, and finally use the bomb, it might have arranged the Japanese surrender weeks earlier, preventing much bloodshed on Okinawa.”

Obama — uttering not a word about the historical controversy roiling since 1945 — perpetuated the rationalization, cover-up, and nostalgia that guarantees the US will never apologize for the needless and experimental massacre of 200,000 Japanese civilians. As Hashimoto wrote, “No apology [is] needed for sparing lives on both sides…”

The New York Times reported vaguely that, “Many historians believe the bombings on Hiroshima and then Nagasaki, which together took the lives of more than 200,000 people, saved lives on balance, since an invasion of the islands would have led to far greater bloodshed.”

While “many” historians may still believe this, the majority do not. As noted by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s chief historian J. Samuel Walker: “The consensus among scholars is that the bomb was not needed to avoid an invasion of Japan and to end the war within a relatively short time. It is clear that alternatives to the bomb existed and that Truman and his advisers knew it,” Walker wrote in the winter 1990 issue of Diplomatic History.

Five years earlier, historian Gar Alperovitz wrote in Atomic Diplomacy, “[P]resently available evidence shows the atomic bomb was not needed to end the war or to save lives — and that this was understood by American leaders at the time.” Further declassification made his lengthy history, The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb and the Architecture of An American Myth (Knopf, 1995) even stronger on this point.

Admirals and Generals Debunk the Myth

Contrary to Gov. Sarah Palin’s claim that Obama’s visit to Hiroshima “insults veterans,” the fiction that the atomic bombs ended the war is the real insult to the people who actually fought and won the war against Japan. The official myth that incinerating Hiroshima and Nagasaki forced Japan’s surrender ignores and obscures the fact that combat veterans and bomber crews defeated Japan well before August 6, 1945 — by sacrificing so mightily in dangerous bombing raids and in bloody battles for Midway, Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and elsewhere. Dozens of high-level military officers have testified to this fact.

Most of the ranking officers who directed the war in the Pacific have never agreed that the atom bombs were conclusive. Maj. Gen. Curtis LeMay, Commander of the 21st Bomber Command, speaking publicly and for the record Sept. 20, 1945, said unequivocally: “The war would have been over in two weeks without the Russians entering and without the atomic bomb.” Pressed by a reporter who asked, “Had they not surrendered because of the atomic bomb?” Gen. LeMay — who directed the destruction of 67 major Japanese cities using mass incendiary attacks — said flatly, “The atomic bomb had nothing to do with the end of the war at all.”

Likewise, Gen. George Kenny, who commanded parts of the Army Air Forces in the Pacific, when asked in 1969 whether it was wise to use atom bombs, said, “No! I think we had the Japs licked anyhow. I think they would have quit probably within a week or so of when they did quit,” Alperovitz recounts in The Decision.

Alperovitz’s research found that Adm. Lewis Strauss, special assistant to WW II Navy Secretary James Forrestal, wrote to the naval historian Robert Albion Dec. 19, 1960 “from the Navy’s point of view, there are statements by Admiral King, Admiral Halsey, Admiral Radford, Admiral Nimitz and others who expressed themselves to the effect that neither the atomic bomb nor the proposed invasion of the Japanese mainland were necessary to produce the surrender.”

In Mandate for Change, Gen. Dwight Eisenhower wrote that when Secretary of War Henry Stimson told him atomic bombs were going to be used, “I voiced to him my grave misgivings, first on the basis of my belief that Japan was already defeated and that dropping the bomb was completely unnecessary…”

President Truman’s Chief of Staff, Adm. William Leahy, adamantly agreed. As Robert Lifton and Greg Mitchell, report in Hiroshima in America: 50 Years of Denial, Leahy said, “It is my opinion that the use of this barbarous weapon at Hiroshima and Nagasaki was of no material assistance in our war against Japan. The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender because of the effective sea blockade and the successful bombing with conventional weapons….” Lifton and Mitchell also note that Henry “Hap” Arnold, Commanding General of the Army Air Forces, said in his memoirs, “It always appeared to us that, atomic bomb or no atomic bomb, the Japanese were already on the verge of collapse.”

Answers to questions about the need of the atomic bombings were given early on, but some were kept secret. “[T]he US Strategic Bombing Survey published its conclusion that Japan would likely have surrendered in 1945 without atomic bombing, without a Soviet declaration of war, and without an American invasion,” Alperovitz reports in The Decision. The historian spent 30 years studying the issue and has revealed that a 1946 study by the Intelligence Group of the War Department’s Military Intelligence Division — discovered in 1989 — “concluded the atomic bomb had not been needed to end the war” and “judged that it was ‘almost a certainty that the Japanese would have capitulated upon the entry of Russia into the war.’”

The government’s official pretexts for incinerating Hiroshima and Nagasaki still dominate public opinion. In 2005, a Gallop poll reported that 57 percent of people surveyed in the US believed the bombings were justified and legitimate. The myth retains its usefulness. President Obama’s proposed 30-year, trillion-dollar program to rebuild the nuclear weapons production establishment can only go ahead if taxpayers hold fast to the idea that something good can come from the mass destruction of civilians.

John LaForge is a Co-director of Nukewatch, a peace and environmental justice group in Wisconsin, and edits its newsletter.

August 14, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , , , | Leave a comment

Pokemon gets hot in Fukushima



Fukushima to use rare Pokemon to lure tourists back

Japan is planning to use Pokemon Go to lure tourists back to its quake hit regions, including in the radiation affected prefecture of Fukushima.

Officials for four prefectures in Japan have announced they are partnering with the Japanese subsidiary of Niantic, the US company behind the Pokemon Go game.

They hope that creating virtual attractions in the popular location-based game will help draw people back to the natural disaster affected areas.

Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures are located in the north of the country and were heavily impacted by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Kumamoto, located in southern Japan, suffered a series of earthquakes in April this year.


A handout image made available 16 March 2011 by Japanese Fukushima nuclear plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO)


The game is already live in Japan, but players would find extra goodies in the four prefectures under the plan.

Game-makers will add more PokeStops – places where treasured items can be found, and more Pokemon Gyms – locations where people can meet and send their captured monsters into battle.

Officials say they will also place more rare Pokemon in the areas for players to hunt.

Tourism promotions say that less than 10 per cent  of Fukushima is affected by radiation exclusion zones, insisting that other areas are safe to visit.

Officials in Miyagi, Iwate and Fukushima have also been planning ‘recovery tours’ in which guides take visitors to sites affected by the disasters.

But there are limits.

Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, TEPCO, reportedly had to request game developers to prevent Pokemon from spawning in radiation affected areas of Fukushima, to avoid drawing players into hazardous areas.

Nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant suffered meltdowns as a result of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, and TEPCO says they recently found Pokemon at the site.

August 14, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , | Leave a comment

Another nuclear plant restarted amid lingering safety concerns

ikata npp4

Ikata nuclear power plant, foreground, is located at the root of the Sadamisaki Peninsula.

The No. 3 reactor at Shikoku Electric Power Co.’s Ikata nuclear plant in Ehime Prefecture was restarted Aug. 12, becoming the fifth reactor to be brought online under the stricter safety standards introduced in the aftermath of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

The move followed the restart of the No. 1 and No. 2 reactors at Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s Sendai nuclear plant in Kagoshima Prefecture and the No. 3 and No. 4 reactors at Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Takahama plant in Fukui Prefecture. However, the two reactors at the Takahama plant have remained offline since March after the Otsu District Court ordered the operator to shut them down.

The No. 3 unit at the Ikata plant is now the only operating reactor in Japan that burns mixed oxide, or MOX, fuel, composed of plutonium blended with uranium.

But this reactor shares many of the serious safety problems that have been pointed out for the reactors at the Sendai and Takahama plants. It is impossible for us to support the decision to resume operations of the Ikata plant reactor without resolving these problems.

What is particularly worrisome about the Ikata plant is the anticipated difficulty in securing the smooth evacuation of local residents in the event of a serious accident.

The facility is located at the root of the Sadamisaki Peninsula, a 40-kilometer-long spear of land that juts westward into the sea with a maximum width of 6 km or so.

This narrow strip of land west of the plant is home to about 5,000 people.

The only land route for the emergency evacuation of local residents is a national highway that passes near the nuclear plant into inland areas.

Under the evacuation plan crafted jointly by the local governments in the region and the central government, local residents are supposed to be evacuated mainly by ship from ports in the peninsula if the highway becomes impassable because of an accident at the plant.

But many of the communities in the peninsula are located on slopes in coastal areas. They could be cut off from the rest of the peninsula if a landslide occurs.

There are seven radiation protection facilities within the town of Ikata, but four of them are located in designated landslide-prone areas.

People aged 65 or older account for more than 40 percent of the town’s population.

The municipal government has plans in place to support the evacuation of residents of each district. But residents say there is no way to secure evacuation of the entire town if multiple disasters occur.

People living in areas located between 5 and 30 kilometers from a nuclear power plant are supposed to take shelter in their own homes or public facilities, in principle, when a serious nuclear accident takes place.

But the series of earthquakes that rocked central Kyushu around Kumamoto Prefecture in April underscored anew the devastating effects of multiple disasters. The swarm of quakes included two registering a maximum intensity of 7 on the Japanese seismic scale, which caused severe damage to buildings across wide areas of Kumamoto Prefecture.

Ehime Prefecture is likely to be shaken violently if it is struck by the predicted massive Nankai Trough earthquake.

But the prefecture is ill-prepared for such a gigantic quake, with the ratio of public facilities that are quake-proof in the prefecture being the third lowest in Japan. These public facilities are supposed to play a key role in disaster response scenarios.

Evacuation plans are designed mainly to cope with situations in the wake of a single nuclear accident.

At the very least, however, the central and local governments should give serious consideration to the possibility of a nuclear accident being triggered or accompanied by other disasters like an earthquake and a landslide, and evaluate whether the lives of local residents will be protected in such situations.

Satoshi Mitazono, the new governor of Kagoshima Prefecture who took office last month, has indicated his intention to ask Kyushu Electric Power to halt the two reactors at its Sendai plant in response to local anxiety that has been aroused by the Kumamoto earthquakes.

Shikoku Electric Power’s decision to bring the Ikata reactor back on stream despite the fresh safety concerns is deplorable.

Another sticky issue is how to dispose of spent nuclear fuel.

If the No. 2 reactor at the Ikata plant is also restarted following the No. 3 unit, the spent fuel pool will become full in six to seven years. But there is no prospect of building a new storage facility for spent fuel.

There is no practical way, either, to reprocess spent MOX fuel.

The utility, which covers the Shikoku Island, has apparently enough capacity to meet power demand during this summer too.

The company has estimated that restarting the reactor will boost its annual earnings by 25 billion yen ($247 million). But this offers no compelling case for bringing the reactor back online at this moment.

Electric utilities, the central government and local governments in areas where nuclear power plants are located should all stop seeking to restart reactors until they have first dealt with the raft of safety issues.

August 14, 2016 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment