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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Fukushima ice cream sales “immune” to fears of radiation

If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”  Paul Joseph Goebbels (29 October 18971 May 1945) was Adolf Hitler‘s Propaganda Minister in Nazi Germany.

The town of Koriyama in Fukushima Prefecture was one of the towns most severely hit by the Fukushima Daiichi March 2011 plume. Though not evacuated as it is located outside of the 30km radius evacuation zone decided by the Japanese government, it remains quite contaminated and has many radioactive hotspots.

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Winter sales have been strong for Rakuou Cafe au Lait Ice Cream produced in Fukushima Prefecture.

 

KORIYAMA, Fukushima Prefecture–A dairy company here that has withstood fears and rumors about radiation has produced a hot-selling item in the middle of winter.

Within two weeks in November, the initial 6,000 cups of Rakuou Cafe au Lait Ice Cream, produced by Rakuounyugyou Co. in Koriyama, were nearly sold out.

The company, founded in 1975, shipped out an additional lot of around 18,000 cups in December, but this supply has also run short.

Rakuounyugyou shipped 25,000 more cups, mostly to outlets in Fukushima Prefecture, in mid-January, and plans to ship an additional 24,000 within this month.

Perhaps our ice cream is being seen as more of a premium product,” a sales official at the company said.

Rakuounyugyou’s Rakuou Cafe au Lait, a mild-flavored lactic drink containing at least 50 percent raw milk from Fukushima Prefecture, has an entrenched fan base both in and outside the prefecture.

The company maintained its sales levels in the aftermath of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, while its competitors suffered losses due to radiation fears and rumors among the public.

Rakuounyugyou developed the ice cream product to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the release of Rakuou Cafe au Lait. The ice cream contains at least 10 percent Rakuou Cafe au Lait and at least 10 percent milk.

We exercised trial and error because we absolutely didn’t want to disappoint fans of our Cafe au Lait,” the sales official said.

The ice cream was initially sold mainly at sightseeing facilities and expressway service areas in Fukushima Prefecture. Demand was high even though the company did little in the way of a sales campaign.

The spreading popularity of the product can be attributed to Twitter.

Tweets about the ice cream can sound like a hunt for a rare Pokemon on the “Pokemon Go” game app.

Where could I get one?” one post said. “I got one!” said another.

It is not the first time the social networking service has helped the dairy company; tweets of encouragement spread in the aftermath of the nuclear disaster.

Be what may, the Rakuou Cafe au Lait tastes so good,” said one particularly popular tweet at that time.

Cafe au Lait is being shipped to a growing number of retailers, most of them in the greater Tokyo area. Sales of the product are up 10 percent from pre-disaster levels.

Word of our ice cream has also been spread by our fans,” the sales official said. “We are so grateful that we are reduced to tears.”

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201701290010.html

 

 

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January 29, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , , , | Leave a comment

January 29 Energy News

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Science and Technology:

¶ Rising temperatures could boost mercury levels in fish by up to seven times what they currently are, Swedish researchers say. A study suggests that climate change could be driving up levels of methylmercury, through a mechanism that has not previously been recognized. The study was published in the journal, Science Advances. [BBC]

Recovering sediment cores for study (Erik Lundberg) Recovering sediment cores for study (Erik Lundberg)

¶ A study indicates that tiny floating particles can grow semi-solid around pollutants, allowing them to last longer and travel much farther than what previous global climate models said. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, from fossil fuel burning, forest fires, and biofuel consumption can travel across the Pacific Ocean. [CCTV]

¶ For the past few years, the winter season in Bangladesh has been getting shorter, and experts suspect this is because of climate-related changes. A meteorologist for the Bangladesh Meteorological Department said…

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January 29, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Only 13% of evacuees in 5 Fukushima municipalities have returned home as of Jan.

 

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FUKUSHIMA (Kyodo) — Only 13 percent of the evacuees from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in five municipalities in Fukushima Prefecture have returned home after evacuation orders were lifted, local authorities said Saturday.

Some residents who used to live in the cities of Tamura and Minamisoma, villages of Kawauchi and Katsurao, and the town of Naraha may be reluctant to return to their homes due to fear of exposing children to radiation, the authorities said.

The evacuation orders to residents in those municipalities were lifted partly or entirely from April 2014 through July 2016. As of January, about 2,500 people out of a combined population of around 19,460 registered as residents of those areas were living there.

Evacuation orders for four more towns and villages in Fukushima Prefecture are scheduled to be lifted this spring, but it is uncertain how many residents will return to those areas as well.

In the prefecture, eight municipalities are still subject to evacuation orders around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant due to high radiation levels. Three nuclear reactors at the plant melted down and the structures housing them were severely damaged by hydrogen gas explosions days after a massive earthquake and ensuing tsunami on March 11, 2011 knocked out electric power needed to run critical reactor cooling equipment.

http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20170129/p2g/00m/0dm/047000c

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Fukushima prefecture

January 29, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

Toshiba to withdraw from nuclear plant construction, chairman to quit

Toshiba Corporation (aka Westinghouse) is withdrawing from the nuclear power construction business… Captains of Toshiba and Westinghouse are abandoning their nuclear Titanic sunk on economic iceberg!!!!!

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Toshiba Corp. will cease taking orders related to the building of nuclear power stations, sources said Saturday, in a move that would effectively mark its withdrawal from the nuclear plant construction business.

The news comes amid reports Toshiba’s chairman may resign over the massive write-down that has doomed the company’s U.S. nuclear business.

The multinational conglomerate said Friday it will review its nuclear operations and spin off its chip business to raise funds in a bid to cover an expected asset impairment loss of up to ¥700 billion ($6.08 billion).

After Toshiba ceases taking new orders, it will focus on maintenance and decommissioning operations, according to the sources.

The company will continue work on four nuclear plants under construction in the United States that are expected to be completed by 2020.

The Japanese industrial conglomerate may announce company chairman Shigenori Shiga’s resignation as soon as Feb. 14, when it reports its April-December financial results, the sources also said.

Shiga once served as president of the U.S. nuclear unit, Westinghouse Electric Co., which Toshiba has said could face a multibillion-dollar loss due to cost overruns from delays in plant projects.

The post of Toshiba chairman is expected to remain vacant after Shiga’s resignation.

Westinghouse Chairman Danny Roderick is also set to step down, the sources said, but Toshiba President Satoshi Tsunakawa is likely to stay on.

Shiga, Roderick and Tsunakawa took their current posts last June as Toshiba reshuffled its management following an accounting scandal that surfaced in 2015.

Shiga was the vice president in charge of the power systems business when Westinghouse acquired CB&I Stone & Webster in late 2015. CB&I Stone & Webster is the U.S. nuclear plant construction firm at the heart of Toshiba’s massive write-down problem.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/01/28/business/corporate-business/toshiba-chairman-resign-struggling-u-s-nuclear-business#.WIycNpKdlmA

Toshiba to sell part of chip business, puts overseas nuclear ops under review

Toshiba Corp (6502.T) said it will sell a minority stake in its memory chip business as it urgently seeks funds to offset an imminent multi-billion dollar writedown, adding that its overseas nuclear division – the cause of its woes – was now under review.

The drastic measures are set to be just some of the tough choices the Japanese conglomerate will have to take as proceeds from the sale are likely to only cover part of a charge that domestic media has put at $6 billion.

Still battered by a 2015 accounting scandal, Toshiba was plunged back into crisis when it emerged late last year that it had to account for huge cost overruns at a U.S. power plant construction business recently acquired by its Westinghouse division.

Describing the nuclear division as no longer a central business focus for the firm, Chief Executive Satoshi Tsunakawa said Toshiba will review Westinghouse’s role in new projects and whether it will embark on new power plant construction. The division will also now fall under direct CEO supervision.

Tsunakawa added Toshiba was looking to sell less than 20 percent of its memory chip business – the world’s biggest NAND flash memory producer after Samsung Electronics (005930.KS) – which comprises the bulk of the conglomerate’s operating profit.

The firm is rushing to complete the sale by the end of the financial year in March as failure to do so will likely mean that shareholder equity – just $3 billion in the wake of the accounting scandal – would be wiped out by the charge.

Sources have said Toshiba aims to raise more than 200 billion yen ($1.7 billion) from the sale and potential investors include private equity firms, business partner Western Digital Corp (WDC.O) and the government-backed Development Bank of Japan.

It is also selling other assets although it ruled out the sales of any of its infrastructure businesses – which include water treatment, railway and elevator firms.

“We’ve been raising funds through sales of stock holdings, real estate and other assets,” Tsunakawa told a news conference without disclosing the amount, adding that various measures were being considered to boost the firm’s capital base by March.

Toshiba also said it may eventually list the memory chip business.

http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSKBN15A2IT

January 29, 2017 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Vets are left to pay high price for U.S. nuclear tests

RICHLAND — When Tim Snider arrived on Enewetak Atoll in the middle of the Pacific Ocean to clean up the fallout from dozens of nuclear tests on the ring of coral islands, Army officers immediately ordered him to put on a respirator and a bright-yellow suit designed to guard against plutonium poisoning.

A military film crew snapped photos and shot movies of Snider, 20, an Air Force radiation technician, in the crisp new safety gear. Then he was ordered to give all the gear back. He spent the rest of his four-month stint on the islands wearing only cutoff shorts and a floppy sun hat.

“I never saw one of those suits again,” Snider, now 58, said in an interview in his Richland kitchen as he thumbed a yellowing photo he still has from the 1979 shoot. “It was just propaganda.”

Today, Snider has tumors on his ribs, spine and skull that he thinks resulted from his work on the crew in the largest nuclear cleanup undertaken by the U.S. military.

Roughly 4,000 troops helped clean up the atoll between 1977 and 1980. Like Snider, most did not even wear shirts, let alone respirators. Hundreds say they are now plagued by health problems, including brittle bones, cancer and birth defects in their children. Many are dead. Others are too sick to work.

The military says there is no connection between these illnesses and the cleanup. Radiation exposure during the work fell well below recommended thresholds, it says, and safety precautions were top-notch. So the government refuses to pay for the veterans’ medical care.

Congress long ago recognized that troops were harmed by radiation on Enewetak during the original atomic tests, which occurred in the 1950s, and should be cared for and compensated. It has failed to do the same for the men who cleaned up the toxic debris 20 years later. The disconnect continues a longstanding pattern in which the government has shrugged off responsibility for its nuclear mistakes.

On one cleanup after another, veterans have been denied care because shoddy or intentionally false radiation monitoring was later used as proof there was no radiation exposure.

A report by The New York Times last spring found that veterans were exposed to plutonium during the cleanup of a 1966 accident involving U.S. hydrogen bombs in Palomares, Spain. Declassified documents and a recent study by the Air Force said the men might have been poisoned and needed new testing.

But in the months since the report, nothing has been done to help them.

For two years, the Enewetak veterans have been trying, without success, to win medical benefits from Congress through a proposed Atomic Veterans Healthcare Parity Act. Some lawmakers hope to introduce a bill this year, but its fate is uncertain. Now, as new cases of cancer emerge nearly every month, many of the men wonder how much longer they can wait.

And though leaders of the cleanup told troops the islands emitted no more radiation than a dental X-ray, documents show they privately worried about “plutonium problems” and areas that were “highly radiologically contaminated.”

Tying any disease to radiation exposure years earlier is nearly impossible; there has never been a formal study of the health of the Enewetak cleanup crews. The military collected nasal swabs and urine samples during the cleanup to measure how much plutonium troops were absorbing, but in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, it said it could not find the records.

Hundreds of the troops, though, almost all now in their late 50s, have found one another on Facebook and discovered remarkably similar problems involving deteriorating bones and an incidence of cancer that appears to be far above the norm.

A tally of 431 of the veterans by a member of the group shows that of those who stayed on the southernmost island, where radiation was low, only 2 percent report having cancer. Of those who worked on the most contaminated islands in the north, 20 percent report cancer. An additional 34 percent from the contaminated islands report other health problems that could be related to radiation, such as failing bones, infertility and thyroid problems.

Between 1948 and 1958, 43 atomic blasts rocked the tiny atoll — part of the Marshall Islands, which sit between Hawaii and the Philippines — obliterating the native groves of breadfruit trees and coconut palms and leaving an apocalyptic wreckage of twisted test towers, radioactive bunkers and rusting military equipment.

Four islands were vaporized; only deep-blue radioactive craters in the ocean remained. The residents had been evacuated. No one thought they would return.

In the early 1970s, the Enewetak islanders threatened legal action if they didn’t get their home back. In 1972, the U.S. government agreed to return the atoll and vowed to clean it up first, a project shared by the Atomic Energy Commission, now called the Department of Energy, and the Department of Defense.

The biggest problem, according to Energy Department reports, was Runit Island, a 75-acre spit of sand blitzed by 11 nuclear tests in 1958. The north end was gouged by a 300-foot-wide crater that documents from the time describe as “a special problem” because of “high subsurface contamination.”

The island was littered with a fine dust of pulverized plutonium, which if inhaled or otherwise absorbed can cause cancer years, even decades, later. A millionth of a gram is potentially harmful, and because the isotopes have a half-life of 24,000 years, the danger effectively never goes away.

The military initially quarantined Runit. Government scientists agreed other islands might be made habitable, but Runit would most likely forever be too toxic, memos show.

So federal officials decided to collect radioactive debris from the other islands and dump it into the Runit crater, and then cap it with a thick concrete dome.

The government intended to use private contractors and estimated the cleanup would cost $40 million, documents show. Congress balked at the price and approved only half the money. It ordered that “all reasonable economies should be realized” by using troops to do the work.

Safety planners intended to use protective suits, respirators and sprinklers to keep down dust. But without adequate funding, simple precautions were scrapped.

As the cleanup continued, federal officials tried to institute safety measures. A shipment of yellow radiation suits arrived on the islands in 1978, but in interviews, veterans said it was too uncomfortable to wear them in the tropical sun and the military told them it was safe to go without them.

The military tried to monitor plutonium inhalation using air samplers. But the samplers soon broke. According to an Energy Department memo, in 1978, only a third of the samplers were working.

All troops were issued a small film badge to measure radiation exposure, but government memos note that humid conditions destroyed the film. Failure rates often reached 100 percent.

Every evening, Air Force technicians scanned workers for plutonium particles before they left Runit. Men said dozens of workers each day had screened positive for dangerous levels of radiation.

“Sometimes we’d get readings that were all the way to the red,” said one technician, David Roach, 57, who lives in Rockland, Maine.

None of the high readings were recorded, said Roach, who has since had several strokes.

In 1988, Congress passed a law providing automatic medical care to any troops involved in the original atomic testing. But the act covers veterans only up to 1958, when atomic testing stopped, excluding the Enewetak cleanup crews.

If civilian contractors had done the cleanup and later discovered declassified documents that show the government failed to follow its own safety plan, they could sue for negligence. Veterans don’t have that right. A 1950 Supreme Court ruling bars troops and their families from suing for injuries arising from military service.

The veterans’ only avenue for help is to apply individually to the Department of Veterans Affairs for free medical care and disability payments. But the department bases decisions on old military records — including defective air-sampling and radiation-badge data — that show no one was harmed. It nearly always denies coverage.

“A lot of guys can’t survive anymore, financially,” said Jeff Dean, 60, who piloted boats loaded with contaminated soil.

Dean developed cancer at 43, and again two years later. He had to give up his job as a carpenter as the bones in his spine deteriorated. Unpaid medical bills left him $100,000 in debt.

“No one seems to want to admit anything,” Dean said. “I don’t know how much longer we can wait, we have guys dying all the time.”

January 29, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

UK nuclear groups whinging like F&^K!! UK Government tries to defend itself against nuclear compensation claims regardless!

I am reposting this as Facebook is seriously filtering some of the stories I am sharing. please share this important article that digs a little deeper into the EURATOM and BREXIT story that the main stream media do not understand or unwilling to explain to the public The UK government has acted even though ALL the pro nuclear groups have made representations to not leave EURATOM. And WHY? you should be asking! Some information that will guide your opinion on this issue on this article (in case readers here missed it ) Arclight2011 aka Shaun McGee

Activist news source

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The pro nuclear organisations are panicking and showing symptoms of Brexitphobia (such as whining) as the UK prepares to withdraw from Euratom Treaty and are pulling out all the stops to reverse the situation. In the article below from the Weinberg Next Nuclear Foundation they even claim that leaving Euratom is not necessary even if the UK commits to Brexit. Research foundations and even anti nuclear assessments are included in their press release below.

The question is why is the UK are leaving the treaty? One reason could be that according to the new EU radiation protection legislation just being enacted by the German Government which rolls all the present legislation into one law and next year it will include making parts of the Euratom treaty Legal and binding.

A second point to note is that a new “Medical Physics Expert” (MPE) position has been accepted and that this will…

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January 29, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

US CarlsBAD underground nuke repository costs rise but still not opened

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CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) – CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) – The U.S. Energy Department expects the remaining corrective actions needed at the nation’s only underground nuclear waste repository to be completed early this year.

The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant resumed some operations at the end of December following a final inspection by a team of agency inspectors. They identified a total of 36 findings, most of which were addressed before the plant reopened.

A 2014 radiation release in one of the underground storage vaults had forced the facility to close.

Of the remaining findings to be addressed as operations ramp up, the Carlsbad Current-Argus reports (http://bit.ly/2jmMOD1) 10 have yet to be corrected.

The Energy Department’s Carlsbad Field Office is working to obtain more spare parts for the interim ventilation system, provide training to certain employees and hire additional personnel.
http://www.kvia.com/news/new-mexico/nuclear-repository-working-to-address-post-start-findings/297760726

January 29, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment