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Video of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, February 10, 2017

 

 

The daily Asahi has posted a video report on the Fukushima dai-ichi plant. This is in Japanese.

One sees first the reactor n ° 1 where there are 150 microsieverts per hour in the vicinity and then the reactor n ° 3 where the dose rate in the vicinity rises to 335 microsievert per hour.

Then we see the Reactor No. 2 and the recent images taken by TEPCO on the inside of the confinement enclosure.

Then the tanks with contaminated water, followed by archive images without the tanks. It is explained that the water stock is increasing by 200 m3 per day currently. There are nearly a thousand tanks now.

See the latest TEPCo data on this: http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/nu/fukushima-np/handouts/2017/images/handouts_170206_01-e.pdf

At the end of the report, we see that the working and living conditions on the site have improved and that there is no need to wear a full face mask anywhere.

http://www.asahi.com/articles/ASK2954Z0K29PLZU004.html?iref=comtop_photo

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February 10, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , | Leave a comment

Radiation level in Fukushima No. 2 reactor measured higher:650 sieverts

A pressure washer-equipped robot clears the path inside the containment vessel of Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant’s No. 2 reactor on Feb. 9. The black lumps are believed to be melted fuel. (Provided by Tokyo Electric Power Co.)

 

The road to decommissioning Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant’s No. 2 reactor could be rockier than expected, as radiation levels on Feb. 9 were even deadlier than those recorded in late January.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. announced that day that radiation levels inside the reactor were estimated at up to 650 sieverts per hour, much higher than the record 530 sieverts per hour marked by the previous survey.

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A camera attached to the robot deployed inside Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant’s No. 2 reactor shows how it clears its path covered with debris and deposits using a pressure washer. (Captured from video provided by Tokyo Electric Power Co.)

 

A camera made its way inside the reactor’s containment vessel for the first time on Jan. 30 and spotted fuel rods that had melted into black lumps in the nuclear accident in the aftermath of the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami disaster.

The plant operator made the latest estimate from the amount of camera noise experienced by the robot that ventured into the lion’s den that morning.

Equipped with a pressure washer, the machine was deployed to pave the way for the Sasori (scorpion) robot that is set to survey the reactor’s interior in greater detail.

The robot’s task was to hose down melted fuel and other substances as it traveled along a rail measuring 7 meters long and 0.6 meter wide connecting the outer wall of the containment vessel with the reactor’s core. It started operating from a point located 2 meters from the exit of the tunnel bored into the side of the vessel.

But about two hours into its journey, in which it had progressed about a meter, the camera footage started getting dark, TEPCO said. The amount of radiation emitted by the melted fuel may have taken a toll on the camera’s well-being.

As the robot could be left stranded inside the vessel if the camera broke down completely, the utility called off the operation seven hours earlier than scheduled and retrieved the device.

TEPCO analyzed the footage and concluded that the doses amounted to about 650 sieverts per hour, which is deadly enough to kill a human in less than a minute.

As the robot’s camera was designed to withstand a cumulative dosage of 1,000 sieverts per hour, the utility commented that “it’s consistent with how the camera started to break down after two hours.”

The plant operator plans to deploy the Sasori surveyor robot before the end of February.

We will be assessing the amount of deposits and debris to decide how far Sasori can advance,” a TEPCO official said.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201702100035.html

February 10, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | 5 Comments

Fukushima – Comparison of childhood thyroid cancer prevalence among 3 areas based on external radiation dose

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We read with interest the paper by Ohira et al. of thyroid ultrasound examinations in Fukushima, which examines the relation between external radiation dose and thyroid cancer prevalence among Fukushima children.1 However, we point out that their classification of 59 municipalities in Fukushima prefecture into 3 areas is inappropriate. The “lowest dose area” was constituted of Aizu area with least thyroid dose and a distant Iwaki city with the highest thyroid dose, which led to a wrong conclusion that the external radiation dose was not associated with thyroid cancer prevalence among Fukushima children.

Ohira et al. of Fukushima Medical University examined the association between the prevalence of thyroid cancer and radiation dose among Fukushima residents.1 They used external radiation dose estimated by Fukushima Health Management Survey (FHMS) based on individual external doses from behavior data of 26.4% residents who responded the questionnaire.2 They classified municipalities based on fraction of respondents: “highest dose area” (≥1% received external radiation exposure of ≥5 mSv), “lowest dose area” (≤1% received ≥1 mSv), and the other “middle dose area”. Mainly because the prevalence of thyroid cancer was found not to decrease in this order of decreasing external dose, they concluded that external dose due to nuclear accident is not associated with thyroid cancer prevalence. However, their classification of municipalities based on fraction of residents (1%) whose exposure exceeds 5mSv and 1mSv does not represent the average exposure dose in each municipality. Moreover, they seem to have made a serious mistake in their classification as follows.

Internal exposure to I-131 is known to be closely associated with the incidence of thyroid cancer among children. The UNSCEAR report on absorbed dose in thyroid 3a,b shows that the Ohira et al.’s “lowest external dose area” is composed of the Aizu area with least thyroid dose and a distant Iwaki city with the highest thyroid dose in Fikushima prefecture except evacuation zone. In a recent estimation of internal thyroid dose using a combination of thyroid measurement data, whole-body counter measurement data and atmospheric transport dispersion simulations, the residents of three municipalities including Iwaki city were shown to have the highest thyroid equivalent dose in Fukushima prefecture. 4 The “lowest external dose area” is found to be composed of the lowest dose Aizu area and the highest thyroid dose Iwaki city. Incidence rates of thyroid cancer for the highest, middle and lowest external dose areas in ref. 1 and those for Aizu and Iwaki districts constituting the “lowest dose area” are listed in Table 1. The average total effective dose to 10-year-old children estimated by UNSCEAR3b,c shows that the effective dose of Iwaki city is the 18th highest in 59 municipalities. If Iwaki city is classified as “middle external dose area” instead of “the lowest external dose area”, dose response of thyroid cancer prevalence may be recovered.

The conclusion of ref. 1 that external radiation dose due to nuclear accident is not associated with thyroid cancer prevalence among Fukushima children is found to come from the wrong constitution of the “lowest dose area” as a sum of Aizu with lowest thyroid dose and Iwaki city with the highest thyroid dose. External radiation dose estimation may possibly reveal the dose dependence of thyroid cancer, if it is used carefully with referring to various estimations of external dose and absorbed dose in thyroid.

Article source; http://journals.lww.com/md-journal/Blog/MedicineCorrespondenceBlog/pages/post.aspx?PostID=50

Corresponding author

Toshiko Kato, Dr. Science (Kyoto University)

References

1. Ohira, T, Takahashi H, Yasumura S, et al.  Comparison of childhood thyroid cancer prevalence among 3 areas based on external radiation dose after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident: The Fukushima health management survey. Medicine. 2016; 95(35): p e4472 doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000004472

2. Fukushima Health Management Survey, Basic Survey Appendix: Estimated external radiation dose, Web site. http://fmu-global.jp/?wpdmdl=1872  Published Sep. 15, 2016, Accessed January 11, 2017.

3. UNSCEAR 2013 Report Vol. I Sources, Effects and Risks of Ionizing Radiation.  Published 2014 March, Accessed January 11, 2017.

a. Absorbed Dose on Thyroid in Japan for the first year Web site.http://www.unscear.org/docs/reports/2013/UNSCEAR_2013A_C-16_Thyroid_doses_Japan_first_year_2014-08_corrected.pdf

b. Estimated doses to evacuees in Japan for the first year Web site.http://www.unscear.org/docs/reports/2013/UNSCEAR_2013A_C-18_Doses_evacuees_Japan_first_year_2014-08.pdf

c. Effective doses in Japan for the first year Web site. http://www.unscear.org/docs/publications/2013/UNSCEAR_2013_Annex-A_Attach_C-14.pdf

4. Internal thyroid doses to Fukushima residents—estimation and issues remaining. Kim E, Kurihara O, Kunishima N, Momose T, Ishikawa T, Akashi M. J Radiat Res. 2016 Aug; 57(Suppl 1): i118–i126.

February 10, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments

The week that was, in climate and nuclear news

a-cat-CANI don’t know which is the worst news this week – climate or nuclear.   But I am going away for a week on a boat, WITH NO ACCESS TO ANYTHING DIGITAL.  I can’t wait. I’m taking one of those old things we all used to use – A BOOK.

But I digress:

CLIMATE. I hardly know where to start. I think that the worst thing is  connected with the collapse of journalism – as articles appear denouncing climate scientists as “frauds”. This, despite the 97 percent scientific consensus on climate change.

NUCLEAR. Remarkable apathy prevails, as nuclear weapons tensions hot up.

INTERNATIONAL

CLIMATE  January sea ice volume is lowest on record, by a considerable margin. Global warming might accelerate, due to the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation, “El Tío” (the uncle).

NUCLEAR. Delays, ballooning costs, stall Next-Generation Nuclear Reactors.    Uranium companies having ‘worst time ever’.

USA.

FRANCE. Explosion in engine room at Flamanville nuclear station. A legal breakthrough for French Polynesia’s nuclear test victims. France’s Next President Said to Face $3 Billion Nuclear Hangover.

JAPAN.   Toshiba’s nuclear dominoes collapsing . Hitachi to take a 70 billion yen hit after U.S nuclear project fails.  Beyond nuclear power: Japan’s smart energy communities mushroom.  Robot could not cope with the radiation levels inside damaged Fukushima nuclear reactor. Lost in translation: Fukushima readings are not new spikes, just the same “hot mess” that’s always been there.  Fukushima nuclear disaster: Worker sues Tepco over cancer

UK.  Blow to UK nuclear strategy as Toshiba considers pulling out of Cumbria plant  Europe’s biggest nuclear construction project now hangs in the balance. Harmless radiation” – the message from Britain’s fake charity Weinberg Next Nuclear

CANADA. Nuclear waste dump saga continues in Canada

CHINA. China more than doubled solar capacity in 2016

SOUTH AFRICA Civil society organisations call on President Jacob Zuma to scrap South Africa nuclear deal.

SOUTH KOREA. Seoul Administrative Court finds in favour of local residents, orders closure of nuclear facility.

PAKISTAN. Pakistan demands that India bring its nuclear programme under International Atomic Energy Commission (IAEA)’s safeguards.

INDIA. Toshiba to withdraw from Indian nuclear projects

RUSSIA Russia finally admits to a nuclear reactor failure that it covered up for 2 months

February 10, 2017 Posted by | Christina's notes | Leave a comment

SOMETIMES there’s A BIT of good news at Hanford nuclear facility

Fortunately, there is a bit of good news in his heap of radioactivity. Last November, a settlement was reached between the US Department of Justice, Bechtel Corp. and AECOM (formerly URS) for a whopping $125 million. The civil lawsuit alleged taxpayer funds were mismanaged and that both companies performed shoddy work. The lawsuit also claimed that government funds were illegally used to lobby members of Congress. Brought on by whistleblowers Gary Brunson, Donna Busche, and Walter Tamosaitis (Busche and Tamosaitis’s sagas were highlighted in two Investigative Fund reports I authored for Seattle Weekly in 2011 and 2012), the settlement was one of the largest in DoE history.

No doubt it was a substantial victory for whistleblowers and government accountability, despite the fact that the defendants did not admit guilt. Now, Washington State legislators are pushing HB 1723, a bill that would protect and treat Hanford workers for certain health problems that are a result of the work they’ve done at the facility, such as respiratory problems, heart issues, certain cancers like bone, breast, lung and thyroid, as well as neurological issues.

Hanford-waste-tanksGood News and Bad News at Hanford, America’s Most Polluted Site http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/02/09/good-news-and-bad-news-at-hanford-americas-most-polluted-site/FEBRUARY 9, 2017“The people running Hanford need to have a moral compass that directs them in the right way, as human beings, to do the right thing to protect these people,” retired Hanford employee Mike Geffre, who worked at Hanford for 26 years, told KING 5. “They’re trying to save money and save face. They’re standing behind their old position that there’s no problem. That’s absurd. They need to accept the fact that they made mistakes and get over it.”

text-evacuation-sign-hanford

Toxic odors at an old nuclear depot? This would be startling news anywhere else. But this is Hanford after all, where taxpayer money freely flows to contractors despite the snail-paced half-life of their work. Twenty years and $19 billion later, Hanford is still a nightmare — likely the most toxic site in the Western Hemisphere. Not one ounce of nuclear waste has ever been treated, and there are no indications Hanford will be nuke free anytime soon. To date, at least 1 million gallons of radioactive waste has leaked and is making its way to the Columbia River. It’s an environmental disaster of epic proportions — a disaster created by our government’s atomic obsession during the Cold War era.

No doubt, Hanford is a wreck in search of a remedy, yet the costs covered by American taxpayers appears to be growing exponentially. At the tail end of 2016, the estimated cost of turning the radioactive gunk into glass rods bumped up a cool $4.5 billion (adding to the ultimate price tag for the remaining Hanford cleanup, which had already reached a whopping $107.7 billion). These sorts of increases are so common they hardly make news anymore.

Donald Trump’s pick for Department of Energy Secretary, Rick Perry, who infamously stated he’d like to do away with the DoE altogether, now admits that Hanford’s one of the most dangerous facilities in the nation. But his commitment to cleaning up the fiscal and nuclear boondoggle remains to be seen. The plant that is to turn the waste into glass rods is set to open in 2023, but it’s a safe bet that won’t be happening. It’s already two decades behind schedule.

Meanwhile, workers on the front lines of the cleanup are often put in situations that are poorly monitored and exceedingly unsafe. Over the past three years KING 5 News in Seattle has tracked dozens of employees who were exposed to chemical vapors at Hanford and found their illnesses to include “toxic encephalopathy (dementia), reactive airway disease, COPD, and painful nerve damage.”

“The people running Hanford need to have a moral compass that directs them in the right way, as human beings, to do the right thing to protect these people,” retired Hanford employee Mike Geffre, who worked at Hanford for 26 years, told KING 5. “They’re trying to save money and save face. They’re standing behind their old position that there’s no problem. That’s absurd. They need to accept the fact that they made mistakes and get over it.”

Fortunately, there is a bit of good news in his heap of radioactivity. Last November, a settlement was reached between the US Department of Justice, Bechtel Corp. and AECOM (formerly URS) for a whopping $125 million. The civil lawsuit alleged taxpayer funds were mismanaged and that both companies performed shoddy work. The lawsuit also claimed that government funds were illegally used to lobby members of Congress. Brought on by whistleblowers Gary Brunson, Donna Busche, and Walter Tamosaitis (Busche and Tamosaitis’s sagas were highlighted in two Investigative Fund reports I authored for Seattle Weekly in 2011 and 2012), the settlement was one of the largest in DoE history.

No doubt it was a substantial victory for whistleblowers and government accountability, despite the fact that the defendants did not admit guilt. Now, Washington State legislators are pushing HB 1723, a bill that would protect and treat Hanford workers for certain health problems that are a result of the work they’ve done at the facility, such as respiratory problems, heart issues, certain cancers like bone, breast, lung and thyroid, as well as neurological issues.

“Currently, many Hanford workers are not receiving necessary medical care because they are put in the impossible situation of being unable to specify the chemicals to which they have been exposed, and in what concentrations, making it difficult for their doctors to connect their disease with their exposures,” Randy Walli, Business Manager for the pipefitters union, Local 598, told King 5.

Compensation for whistleblowers and employees whose health is impacted by their work are steps in the right direction. But Hanford’s contractors and the DoE that oversees them still have much to do to make the increasingly expensive nuclear cleanup at Hanford, safe, effective and transparent.

This piece first appeared at The Investigate Fund.

February 10, 2017 Posted by | Legal, USA, wastes | Leave a comment

Robot could not cope with the radiation levels inside damaged Fukushima nuclear reactor

radiation-emanatingRadiation levels inside Fukushima too high for robot http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/fukushima-nuclear-robot-radiation-1.3973908 , The robot was to inspect and clean a passage before another robot does a fuller examination The Associated Press   Feb 09, 2017 A remote-controlled cleaning robot sent into a damaged reactor at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant had to be removed Thursday before it completed its work because of camera problems most likely caused by high radiation levels.

It was the first time a robot has entered the chamber inside the Unit 2 reactor since a March 2011 earthquake and tsunami critically damaged the Fukushima Da-ichi nuclear plant.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) said it was trying to inspect and clean a passage before another robot does a fuller examination to assess damage to the structure and its fuel. The second robot, known as the “scorpion,” will also measure radiation and temperatures.

Thursday’s problem underscores the challenges in decommissioning the wrecked nuclear plant. Inadequate cleaning, high radiation and structural damage could limit subsequent probes, and may require more radiation-resistant cameras and other equipment, TEPCO spokesman Takahiro Kimoto said.

“We will further study (Thursday’s) outcome before deciding on the deployment of the scorpion,” he said.

TEPCO needs to know the melted fuel’s exact location and condition and other structural damage in each of the three wrecked reactors to figure out the best and safest ways to remove the fuel. It is part of the decommissioning work, which is expected to take decades.

During Thursday’s cleaning mission, the robot went only part way into a space under the core that TEPCO wants to inspect closely. It crawled down the passage while peeling debris with a scraper and using water spray to blow some debris away. The dark brown deposits grew thicker and harder to remove as the robot went further.

More obstacles for second mission

After about two hours, the two cameras on the robot suddenly developed a lot of noise and their images quickly darkened — a sign of a problem caused by high radiation. Operators of the robot pulled it out of the chamber before completely losing control of it.

The outcome means the second robot will encounter more obstacles and have less time than expected for examination on its mission, currently planned for later this month, though Thursday’s results may cause a delay.

Both of the robots are designed to withstand up to 1,000 Sieverts of radiation. The cleaner’s two-hour endurance roughly matches an estimated radiation of 650 Sieverts per hour based on noise analysis of the images transmitted by the robot-mounted cameras. That’s less than one-tenth of the radiation levels inside a running reactor, but still would kill a person almost instantly.

Kimoto said the noise-based radiation analysis of the Unit 2’s condition showed a spike in radioactivity along a connecting bridge used to slide control rods in and out, a sign of a nearby source of high radioactivity, while levels were much lower in areas underneath the core, the opposite of what would normally be the case. He said the results are puzzling and require further analysis.

TEPCO officials said that despite the dangerously high figures, radiation is not leaking outside of the reactor.

Images recently captured from inside the chamber showed damage and structures coated with molten material, possibly mixed with melted nuclear fuel, and part of a disc platform hanging below the core that had been melted through.

February 10, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

Trump didn’t know what the New START nuclear treaty was, but wanted to get rid of it

trump-worldA bad START: Trump tells Putin U.S.-Russia treaty to limit nuclear weapons was a “bad deal”,   Salon.com ,  FEB 10, 2017 

The president reportedly didn’t know what the New START treaty was but wanted to get rid of it President Donald Trump has had another embarrassing phone call with a foreign leader — and this time there’s potentially dangerous consequences.

 Trump described the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or START, signed by former president Barack Obama in 2010, as a bad deal for the United States, according to a Reuters report. The treaty requires America and Russia to cap their deployed strategic nuclear warheads at 1,550 by February 2018, as well as limit their deployed land- and submarine-based missiles and nuclear-capable bombers.

According to the sources who spoke with Reuters, however, Trump seemed unfamiliar with the details of New START when it was brought up by Russian leader Vladimir Putin. After Putin suggested extending New START beyond its original time frame, Trump referred to the treaty as one of many bad deals that Obama had negotiated.

If New START is not mutually extended, neither America nor Russia would be limited in their nuclear production, which could trigger a nuclear arms race.

The sources also say that Trump then turned the conversation toward the subject of his own supposed popularity within the United States. The official White House account of Trump’s Jan. 28 conversation with Putin did not mention a discussion about New START.

Trump’s phone calls with world leaders have not gone well……http://www.salon.com/2017/02/09/a-bad-start-trump-tells-putin-u-s-russia-treaty-to-limit-nuclear-weapons-was-a-bad-deal/

February 10, 2017 Posted by | politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

America’s new nuclear missile plan puts China on the defensive

missiles s korea museumflag-ChinaFlag-USAChina’s nuclear missile policy put under strain by US plan  CNBC, 10 Feb 17 
          A decision by the United States to pursue a new breed of nuclear weapons could push China to reconsider its decades-long atomic policy, according to experts.

The U.S. Defense Department recently recommended the government develop tactical nuclear weapons with “low yield” results that can be deployed within smaller battlefield areas.

Tong Zhao, an associate in the Carnegie Endowment’s Nuclear Policy Program based in Beijing, told CNBC Wednesday that this more flexible form of weapon would lower the threshold of nuclear use.

 “This will be seen by China as evidence of U.S. contemplating first use of nuclear weapons in a future crisis and will encourage China to consider pursuing similar capabilities that may undermine the no-first-use policy,” he said in an email.
China’s “no-first-use policy” means Beijing only demands the capability to ensure the launch of a nuclear missile, after being hit first by an enemy nuclear strike.

U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order on January 27, requiring Defense Secretary James Mattis to review America’s nuclear prowess.

Zhao said U.S. plans to pursue a global missile network, initiated by the Obama administration, may be viewed by China as a threat to its own small deterrent and could mean a switch to a “launch-on-warning” policy, whereby China would retaliate before enemy missiles hit land.

“The new U.S. administration seems very much devoted to developing and deploying a massive global and layered missile defense network that protects not only U.S. homeland, U.S. allies, and friends, but also U.S. bases and troops wherever they are located or deployed.

“To make sure that there would be enough Chinese nuclear weapons to survive a U.S. first strike and not be neutralized by U.S. missile defense, China may have an increasing incentive to adopt the launch-on-warning posture,” he said.
Zhao said at present there is no sign that the very top Chinese leaders are changing their attitude toward nuclear capabilities, but he does detect a growing voice among low-level analysts, military scholars and media commentators calling on China to expand its arsenal…… http://www.cnbc.com/2017/02/09/chinas-nuclear-missile-policy-put-under-strain-by-us-plan.html

February 10, 2017 Posted by | China, politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

France’s nuclear waste agency promoting nuclear dump to South Australia, despite its dodgy record at home

a-cat-CANIt is extraordinary that some French wine producers are accompanying the Australian and French nuclear promoters spruiking the benefits of nuclear waste dumping to the community in the Barndioota region of South Australia.   Not only are many vital questions unanswered as ENuFF SA (Everyone for a Nuclear Free Future SA) has shown, but this  propaganda campaign completely ignores both the opposition to nuclear waste dumping, in France and the radioactive danger to France’s  Champagne vineyards

“The Champagne producers are facing two nuclear timebombs – one already leaking at Soulaine, and one planned at Bure. The wine producers in the Rhone region stood up to the nuclear state in France and won. The Champagne region needs to act fast before it’s too late,” said Fred Marillier of Greenpeace France. “The French Government must stop this madness. The new facility must not accept any more waste, and an immediate investigation launched into how to stop further contamination of ground water.”

Radioactive waste leaking into Champagne Water Supply, Levels set to rise warns Greenpeace, Greenpeace 30 May, 2006  Greenpeace today revealed that France’s iconic sparkling wine, Champagne, is threatened by radioactive contamination leaking from a nuclear waste dumpsite in the region. Low levels of radioactivity have already been found in underground water less than 10 km from the famous Champagne vineyards.

Problems at the dumpsite, including water migration leading to fissures in the storage cells have been reported to French nuclear safety agency in recent weeks (1). Greenpeace has written to the Comita des Producteur de Champagne to warn them that their production risks contamination, as experienced by dairy farmers in la Hague, Normandy.

wine threat

The waste dump, Centre Stockage l’Aube (CSA) in Soulaine eastern France, contains mostly waste from Electricite de France (EdF) and AREVA, but also includes foreign nuclear waste disposed of illegally under French law (2). Every week nuclear waste is trucked across France to the Champagne site. Once full, the dumpsite will be one of the world’s largest with over 1 million cubic meters of waste, including plutonium and other radionuclides.

ANDRA, the national nuclear waste agency operating the site, stated that it would not release any radioactivity into the environment when given permission for the dumpsite in the late 1980’s. Greenpeace research released last week showed levels of radioactivity leaking from another dumpsite run by ANDRA in Normandy were up to 90 times above European safety limits in underground water used by farmers, and that the contamination was spreading into the countryside (3). The Champagne site will receive a total of 4 thousand terabequerels of tritium; more than three times the amount of tritium waste as the dumpsite in Normandy.

“We have been told for decades that nuclear dumpsites will not leak and that the best standards are being applied. In reality the dumpsite in Normandy is a disaster, and radioactivity is already leaking from the dumpsite in Champagne,” said Shaun Burnie nuclear campaigner at Greenpeace International. “The authorities know they have a problem in Champagne already, with mistakes in the design. This is only the beginning of the problem, the bigger picture is that France has a nuclear waste crisis out of control that is threatening not only the environment and public health but also the economy of the Champagne region.”

In addition to the problems with the waste stores at the site, Greenpeace has learnt recently that French nuclear safety agency DGSNR has written to AREVA seeking clarification of the type of waste being disposed of at the Champagne site (4).

In addition to the low and intermediate waste site, a new high-level waste dumpsite is being planned in Bure also in the Champagne region, in which the most radioactive material in France would be deposited. Plans to build a high level waste facility in the Rhone Valley were scrapped a few years ago after strong opposition by the wine producers due to the threat to their vines and wine production.

“The Champagne producers are facing two nuclear timebombs – one already leaking at Soulaine, and one planned at Bure. The wine producers in the Rhone region stood up to the nuclear state in France and won. The Champagne region needs to act fast before it’s too late,” said Fred Marillier of Greenpeace France. “The French Government must stop this madness. The new facility must not accept any more waste, and an immediate investigation launched into how to stop further contamination of ground water.”……http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/press/releases/radioactive-waste-leaking-into/

February 10, 2017 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, environment, France, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Media war against climate scientists – Mail on Sunday (UK) launches new attack

climate-changeMail on Sunday launches the first salvo in the latest war against climate scientists  https://www.skepticalscience.com/rose-launches-first-salvo-latest-war-against-climate-scientists.html 7 February 2017 by John Abraham

In this new political era, climate scientists and their science are under attack. The attack is from multiple fronts, from threats to pull funding of the important instruments they use to measure climate change, to slashing their salaries and jobs. But there is a real fear of renewed personal attacks, and it appears those fears are now being realized. What the attackers do is identify and isolate scientists – a process termed the “Serengeti Strategy” by well-known and respected scientist Michael Mann who suffered these types of attacks for years.

The author of the recent attack piece, David Rose in the UK, has a history of denying the well-established science of climate change. He has a long history of making incorrect climate change statements. In the attack, Mr. Rose claims that scientists used misleading data in a recent (2015) paper that studied the rate of temperature change across the globe. He reportedly obtained information from someone who works at NOAA to imply that internal review procedures were not followed as the paper was prepared for publication. What Mr. Rose omitted however, is incredibly telling and he does a disservice to his readers.

First, he neglects to mention that the work from the 2015 paper authored by Dr. Thomas Karl and others at NOAA has already been independently verified by other researchers.

The second thing Rose neglects to mention is that his story’s source was never involved any part of the work. According to a colleague of the authors Peter Thorne, this source:

never participated in any of the numerous technical meetings on the land or marine data I have participated in at NOAA NCEI either in person or remotely. This shows in his reputed (I am taking the journalist at their word that these are directly attributable quotes) misrepresentation of the processes that actually occurred. In some cases these misrepresentations are publically verifiable.

Mr. Rose further neglects to mention that Dr. Karl was not involved in the development of the critical sea surface temperature data that was used in the study. That information was already published before the Karl paper appeared.

The attack piece also claims that the scientists discarded high-quality temperature measurements in favor of low quality data. This claim is demonstrably false, as described here and here.

The lengths to which Mr. Rose goes in his attack are disheartening and dishonest. He includes a graph that appears to show two temperature results that disagree. When they are replotted correctly, as temperature anomalies with correct baselines, the discrepancy disappears. This finding shows that the NOAA results from 2015 actually agree extremely well with data from other institutions.

Click here to read the rest

February 10, 2017 Posted by | climate change, media, UK | Leave a comment

Civil society organisations call on President Jacob Zuma to scrap South Africa nuclear deal

flag-S.AfricaCalls to scrap nuclear deal during #SONA2017,       / 9 February 2017,   SAMKELO MTSHALI,  Durban – Civil society organisations and other critics of government’s proposed multibillion-rand nuclear plan called on President Jacob Zuma to scrap it during his State of the Nation address tonight.

The South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA) picketed outside City Hall on Wednesday and handed over a memorandum to the eThekwini Municipality, detailing their opposition to the nuclear plan.

Today in Cape Town the Right2Know Campaign is expected to add its voice to growing criticism of plans to build nuclear power stations in South Africa.   Desmond D’Sa, SDCEA chairperson, said the deal had been shrouded in secrecy and accused the government of not consulting with communities.

“Ultimately it’s the poor and working class of this country who will have added pressure to pay for these nuclear power stations that cost so much money.  “This money should instead be used for better access to healthcare facilities, education and other basic necessities,” D’Sa said.

He pointed out that a single nuclear powered plant would take close to a decade to build. With government planning on building six to eight, it would take about 30 to 40 years before all were completed. “If you take half the money of the nuclear deal, R500billion, and invest it in setting up companies in renewable energy projects , you could create over a million jobs ,” said D’Sa.

He said setting up these companies in townships such as uMlazi, KwaMashu, Soweto, Alexandra, Gugulethu and Langa would go a long way in addressing the high rate of unemployment, which stands at 26.6%.

He said this was the route countries like India, the US and China had followed.

“Nuclear energy is harmful……..

Carina Conradie, of the Right2Know Campaign, said they were concerned about the affordability of the nuclear deal because nuclear energy was one of the most expensive forms of energy. “Wind and solar energy are much better and cost-effective alternatives to nuclear energy,” she said.

Questioning the legitimacy of the deal, Conradie said: “There have been reports of secret deals with Russia and even the procurement process was not above board; it was shrouded in secrecy.”

She said they had strategically planned their demonstrations around Sona 2017 because it was important the issue remained at the forefront of the public’s thoughts and on the tip of their tongues.

This would ensure there was growing opposition to the deal by educating people on its perils…….http://www.iol.co.za/news/special-features/sona/calls-to-scrap-nuclear-deal-during-sona2017-7681658

 

February 10, 2017 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, South Africa | Leave a comment

A glimpse inside a defunct East German nuclear plant — and what it says about the future of energy in Europe

 PRI, February 08, 2017 ·By Anja Krieger and Daniel A. Gross   An hour north of Berlin, in the middle of a German nature reserve, a narrow smokestack rises into the air from a defunct nuclear power plant. The Rheinsberg Nuclear Power Plant, which came online in 1966, was the first of its kind built in East Germany. Inside, there’s a mint-green room with huge control panels.

February 10, 2017 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

Explosion in engine room at Flamanville nuclear station

exclamation-Smflag-franceFlamanville plant in northern France has been hit by a massive explosion Staff writers, news.com.au    News Corp Australia Network 9 Feb 17 AN EXPLOSION at a nuclear power plant on France’s northwest coast on Thursday caused minor injuries, but the authorities said there was no risk of radiation.

The blast occurred in the engine room at the Flamanville plant, which lies 25 kilometres west of the port of Cherbourg and just across from the Channel Islands. “It is a technical incident. It is not a nuclear accident,” senior local official Jacques Witkowski said.  He said a ventilator had exploded outside the nuclear zone at the plant, which has been in operation since the 1980s and is operated by state-controlled energy giant EDF.

“It’s all over. The emergency teams are leaving,” Mr Witkowski said.Five people suffered smoke inhalation but there were no serious injuries, Mr Witkowski said.

One of the two pressurised water reactors at the plant was shut down after the explosion and the incident was declared over at 1100 GMT (10pm AEDT), the authorities said.

The two 1300 megawatt reactors have been in service since 1985 and 1986, and the site currently employs 810 people, along with an additional 350 subcontractors.

A new third-generation reactor known as EPR is being built at Flamanville, which will be the world’s largest when it goes into operation in late 2018.

“Explosions in turbines, usually related to oil in bearings overheating, are not uncommon and occur from time to time in conventional coal, oil or gas plants,” said Barry Marsden, a professor of nuclear graphite technology at the University of Manchester.

But Neil Hyatt, a professor of radioactive waste management at Sheffiled University said the incident should not be taken lightly.

“Any incident of this kind at a nuclear power plant is very serious, and the national and international regulators will want to undertake a thorough investigation to understand the cause and lessons to be learned,” he said.

Construction of the new reactor at Flamanville began in 2007 and was initially due for completion in 2012 but has been delayed several times, and its initial budget has more than tripled, to 10.5 billion euros ($11.2 billion)…….http://www.news.com.au/world/europe/flamanville-plant-in-northern-france-has-been-hit-by-a-massive-explosion/news-story/28f0f083f4850f3289939ed489f56c95

February 10, 2017 Posted by | France, incidents | Leave a comment

No Legitimacy, No Principle in Japan’s Nuclear Victim Support Policy

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By Toshinori Shishido

原発事故被害者支援策の、論理的根拠と正当性の欠如(日本語)

In July 2015, the Fukushima prefectural government announced its plan to terminate housing assistance for nuclear evacuees who fled areas outside of the restricted zone at the end of March 2017. It has absolutely no intention to change this policy as of this moment in February 2016.

In addition, by March 2017, the Fukushima Prefectural Office will lift evacuation orders for the entire prefecture, except for the immediate vicinity of the power plant designated the “difficult-to-return zone,” that has “equal to or greater than the external exposure dose of 50mSv/year.” (Insert: “translator’s note: the internationally recognized standard dose limit per year is 1mSv/year.) For residents who may eventually move back to these areas, the Prefectural Office has determined that it will only pay one year’s worth of compensation (1.2 million yen or US$ 10,500) per person and will terminate other special protective measures and financial incentives.

For residents of regions that have been designated as “difficult-to-return areas”, the Office has reportedly finished the payments of reparations in bulk, and is not going to make additional payments.

And for residents outside of Fukushima Prefecture, there has been almost no official support for damages from the nuclear power plant accident in the first place.

While the government has provided extremely limited housing support for very few residents from prefectures adjacent to Fukushima and for evacuees from these prefectures, it has gradually decreased the target population over time and plans to end all financial assistance for them by March 2018.

Although there is room to compensate local industries for damages, even in cases where the “Nuclear Damages Dispute Resolution Center” (or Alternative Dispute Resolution Center, ADR for short), established to bring speedy resolutions, has sought payment from Tokyo Electric Power Company, there are an increasing number of cases in which TEPCO has refused to pay. In addition, even though the ADR Center has repeatedly demanded that the Japanese government instruct TEPCO to comply with the settlements and make payments quickly, the Japanese government has not directed TEPCO to do so.

For sources related to above, please refer to:

Website of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology “About compensation for nuclear damage caused by the Tokyo Electric Power Company Fukushima nuclear power plant accident” (in Japanese)

About the guidance on the determination regarding damages caused by Tokyo Electric Power Company’s Fukushima Daiichi and Daini nuclear accident (PDF: 169KB, in Japanese)”

Website of Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Nuclear Damages Dispute Resolution Center (in Japanese)

It is clear to us that Japanese officials have neglected to work on compensation, reparation, fact-finding, clarification of causes, and information disclosure from the nuclear accident until now. Not only that, but Japanese government agencies have destroyed some official documents from immediately after the nuclear accident without even notifying the public, on the grounds that there is a “legal obligation to preserve these documents for three years”.

Thanks to the destruction of documents from early stages, it has become extremely difficult to obtain proof that there have been measures that should have been implemented immediately after the nuclear accident, and it has become difficult to investigate and prove government blunders.

On matters besides those related to the nuclear accident, both the Japanese government and the Fukushima prefectural government are promoting and activating economic activities, including capital improvement projects fueled with tax money.

As for the motorways, all of Route 6, the main national highway, has been re-opened, and all of the Joban Expressway opened in 2015, ahead of the original construction schedule, which had been planned prior to the nuclear accident.

As for the railway, Japan Railway East Japan is aiming to reopen its entire Joban Line in the summer of 2020, prior to the Tokyo Olympics.

Click to enlarge (source: wikipedia)

Recovery” can be realized on roads and railroads through ample budgeting, gathering materials, and investing labor. The same is also true for most infrastructure, such as local government offices and electricity. The exception, however, is the water supply – there is no guarantee that radioactive isotopes that have accumulated at the bottom of the lake upstream of the intake will not be mixed into the water supply.

Including the issue of water supply, the fundamental causes of the troubles related to the current “revitalization” programs come from the government and Prefecture’s attitude that ignores the wishes of the residents who are victims. If I may borrow the phrase that has been used over time, there has been no “revitalization of humans.”

In other words, why doesn’t the “revitalization” from the nuclear accident that is promoted by the Japanese national government and the Fukushima prefectural government become the “revitalization” of people? Let us return to the starting point to consider this.

The reasons I propose are two-fold.

First, both the Japanese government and the Fukushima prefectural government continue to avert their eyes from the fact that this is a nuclear disaster. They never told residents about the extremely long timeline and difficulty of managing the aftermath of a nuclear disaster. Most of the media are constantly releasing words straight from the government and Fukushima prefecture without even investigating the contents. Hence, the majority of victims have been unable to face the complexity of the issues.

While it will soon be five years since March 11, 2011, it is hard to say that authorities have correctly communicated to the public how dangerous the situation had become, not only at the Fukushima Daiichi and Daini power plants under declaration of a Nuclear Emergency Situation, but also at the nearby Tokai 2 and Onagawa power plants.

Even Diet members and nuclear “scientists” have spoken unabashedly in the Diet and on television that “no problems occurred at [these] state-of-the-art nuclear power plants”, without being prompted to correct themselves. To say nothing of what happened to the ten reactors in Fukushima Prefecture and what is happening to them today, which is not even known.

On December 16, 2012, then-Prime Minister Noda used what had until then been only a scientific term, “cold shutdown,” to declare a “state of cold shutdown” in circumstances where this could not be [scientifically] declared. In other words, it was so necessary for the Japanese government to domestically fabricate the impression that “the nuclear crisis is over” that it used the term in a way not internationally recognized as a scientific concept.

And in regard to Reactors 1 to 4 at Daiichi, the government didn’t even bother making potentially realizable countermeasures an object of debate. They called issues inside the power plant “on-site” issues, implying there was little room for off-site intervention, and no projects after the “cold shutdown” declaration were deemed urgent. Naturally, we are left with no option to even ask beyond what options are available; how long these options will take to be effective or how long they will last.

Assuming this unstable situation at the power plant, it is impossible to discuss how

people’s daily existence around the accident plant [Daiichi] is possible to what distance, in what way.

The problem is not limited to within the facility. As long as we are unable to see distinctly what types of radioactive isotopes and how much they are present, at least within the vicinity of several miles off the plant, the “revitalization” planning would draw direct link from the clean up of the plant.

However, even in the areas within 10km (6.2 miles) radius of the plant where the airborne radioactive levels are relatively lower than its surroundings, the government has already decided to lift evacuation order by March of 2017.

Therefore, to those who will be living in the close proximity to the plant, the fate of the nuclear crisis is a matter of life and death. The government however insist that on-site (within plant facility) and off-site issues are two separate issues, refusing to incorporate clean-up plans into the “revitalization” roadmap.

Even if I give it extra compromise as to say the situation inside fences of the power plant is not related to “revitalization” activities, I must stress that both the government and Fukushima prefecture continue to defend an absurd stance on any potential radiological effects in the future, stating “any potential impact would be would be small enough to be unrecognizable.”

The state-led plans to proceed with human recovery as if the “disaster wasn’t a nuclear disaster” is extremely reckless, considering cases of Chernobyl nuclear accident and nuclear testings at Marshall Islands.However, the Japanese government and the Fukushima prefectural government continue to be reckless, ignoring “the people.”

My second point is that the Japanese government, the Fukushima prefecture as well as many local municipal offices have been deceiving us without a directly facing the human beings as victims and by neglecting the whereabouts of them.Essentially, when disasters and accidents bring damage, state bodies would have to desperately gather information from the first day in order to clarify the extent of the damage.

On the flip side, in regards to the victims and damages caused by the earthquake and tsunami that occurred on March 11, there have been evidences across the country that municipalities and governments put extensive efforts to grasp and understand the extent of damages as much as possible.even in municipalities where almost all of residences and even offices were damaged by the tsunami, there were attempts to understand the scale and circumstances of the damage.In places where the damages was too great for local municipalities to maintain their functions, prefectural governments cooperated trying to figure out actual damage.

However, with respect to the current nuclear accident, the government did not try to figure out scale of the damage or the actual situations of the victims.There is no way to find out the reason why they chose not to, unless you have access to confidential information by the government.

I suppose that the Japanese government and prefectural offices would have been liable for investigating the nuclear accident and not the local municipalities which didn’t have necessary human, organizational and technical resources. Yet there is no evidence of the government or prefectural offices having actively looked into the actual damages and status of evacuations caused by the nuclear contamination.

Rather, even when evacuees themselves demanded for official investigation, the authorities refused to act on their behalf and at times delayed publications of data they obtained.

I am yet to see a single governmental document on how nuclear evacuations took place. Perhaps such documents never even existed.

To my knowledge, in Japan, there has not been any official agencies or staff positions for creating and maintaining historical records of national events. Due to this, there is a serious lack of documentation that could be used as future reference. Nor the involvement of the responsible parties is ever questioned.

In fact, after writing the above paragraph I attempted to summarize evacuation processes as much as I could within my knowledge, only to find such efforts would require vast amount of writings and I would not know when I could finish such a project. Thus for the time being I would like to conclude my thesis here.

In conclusion, I will verify my points in summary.

The so-called “nuclear disaster victim assistance program” orchestrated by the Japanese government and Fukushima prefecture has been fraudulent since its inception. For the goal of their program has never been to protect the livelihood and safety of the victims and it lacked logical foundation.

By ending the inherently fraudulent assistance program, the government and Fukushima prefecture are crying out loud to the world that Fukushima has been recovered. The Fukushima prefectural government continues to actively send delegations overseas solely for the publicity purpose.

I repeat.

Fukushima Prefecture sends the delegations in order to round down the nuclear disaster victims and to disguise to the world the fact that the “reconstruction” they are proposing is ignoring the voices of victims.

https://jfissures.wordpress.com/2016/02/21/japans-nuclear-victim-support-policy/

 

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February 10, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

Can 3.11 Radiation Victims Speak?

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Can 3.11 Radiation Victims Speak? Translators’ Notes: The article below began circulating in Japanese just a few days after we found out that Chikanobu Michiba (道場親信), a well known sociologist who wrote on Japanese social movements, had passed away. He was the partner of Mari Matsumoto, who has been a long-time inspiration for us through her work on the radiological effects of 3.11. We felt it was important to translate the article into English because it articulated a dimension of the disaster that has been difficult to put into words, and that is critical to intervening in the “myth of safety” (安全神話) – a widespread discourse that attempts to mitigate the consequences of the 3.11 nuclear disaster.

The Japanese state and nuclear industry’s implementation of the “myth of safety,” which has been supported by international regulatory agencies such as the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) and World Health Organization (WHO), has been very successful, both domestically and internationally. In part, this may be due to the previous success of similar discourses in the wake of extensive nuclear weapons testing, [1] nuclear war, [2] and other nuclear disasters such as the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. [3] In the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History in New Mexico, a short panel on the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster reads:

There were no deaths caused by the immediate exposure to radiation, while approximately 18,500 people died due to the earthquake and tsunami. Future cancer deaths from accumulated radiation exposures in the population living near Fukushima are predicted to be extremely low to none. In 2013 (two years after the incident), the World Health Organization (WHO) indicated that the residents of the area, who were evacuated, were exposed to so little radiation that radiation induced health impacts are likely to be below detectable levels. Plant workers and emergency responders received radiation doses which increased their risk of developing cancer in the future.”

While we believe that avoiding radiation exposure should be a focus for anti-nuclear struggles, we recognize that it is at the moment perhaps one of the most difficult aspects to fight for, especially for low-income and working class people. Invisible, odorless, and tasteless radioactive isotopes attack the human body at the cellular level, manifesting as innumerable illnesses across different time spans. Few people, including Matsumoto and Matsudaira, who is fighting late-stage cancer, have publicly spoken out about health damage (健康被害) as everyday people living the consequences of the 3.11 disaster. It may be useful for readers of this article to familiarize themselves with a number of state policy and state-supported public discourses that emerged in post-3.11 Japanese society:

Support by Eating program

A state-led campaign which enlists food businesses to purchase produce from the Tohoku area (the northeastern region of Japan, including Fukushima). This is a tactic to shift responsibility for the consequences of nuclear disaster onto consumer relations: i.e. the only way to support farmers and others making their livelihoods in affected regions is to consume their products.

Lack of financial assistance for evacuation

Tens of thousands of people who lived outside the state-mandated evacuation zone fled without much financial assistance, and continue to live away from home to this day. A mother of two shared that she decided to move from Fukushima because she witnessed her son suffering heavy nosebleeds on multiple occasions. He asked in tears if he would be okay living in Fukushima. [4] In March 2017, the government of Japan will be ending subsidies to support housing costs for those they call “voluntary evacuees” (自主避難者). These evacuees will ultimately be given two options: bear the financial burden of living in their new homes (many of these evacuees already face poverty and have been forced to live on welfare programs), or be forced to return to their hometowns in Fukushima where radioactive contamination still remains. Naturally, because of the lack of governmental assistance, most of the population in Eastern Japan, including Tokyo, never even moved out of the area.

Recovery programs & businesses

This includes implementation of festive events on a national scale (i.e. the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo) to actively orchestrate the population to turn their attention toward the positive activities and away from the gloomy state of affairs that has dominated the country since March of 2011. This was also the case internationally. In 2012, the Japanese National Tourist Organization began hosting an annual “Japan Week” in New York City on the anniversary of 3.11. Their 2016 exhibit was themed around the revival of Tohoku to “commemorate” the disaster. Global nuclear capitalists have begun attacking the population through rezoning and development, which also corners poor people into further marginalized positions.

It is also important to note that even liberal NGOs and civic groups have participated in government-led recovery programs and uncritically endorsed standards and information on radiation disseminated by the government and TEPCO.

In this context, Matsumoto and Matsudaira’s statements about the policing of discussions about radiation, and the difficulty of deciding whether they have experienced tangible effects/losses/damages from radiation exposure, are especially critical. Accounts that emphasize the health consequences of the disaster tend to focus on identifiable syndromes or illnesses that can be directly linked to the triple meltdown. Who should decide whether these are “real” injuries or not? Should that even be up for debate? Members of the 3.11 Health Victims Group are speaking out to us.

We’d like to thank the authors Matsudaira Kōichi, Matsumoto Mari, and the magazine Jyōkyō for letting us translate the article.

Support the activities of 3.11 Radiation Health Victims! We are running a fundraiser to support Matsudaira Kōichi’s medical expenses. You can send him food items and more through his amazon wishlist (in Japanese) or donate through our paypal (credit cards accepted):

Can 3.11 Radiation Victims Speak?

by Matsudaira Kōichi

Original text: 3.11被曝被害者は語ることができるか

English translation by Sloths Against Nuclear State & Friends

What, and who, are the “radiation [5] victims of 3.11?” I want to raise this question. The Fukushima nuclear accident [6] caused untold damage to Fukushima prefecture’s local residents and the workers at Fukushima nuclear power plant, yet we still do not understand the true extent of the disaster. The term “disaster victims” [7] of the Fukushima nuclear accident refers mainly to residents of the government’s mandatory evacuation zone in Fukushima prefecture. And when speaking of the “health victims” of the accident, the focus today is on laborers at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, and on young patients with thyroid cancer in Fukushima prefecture. However, I would like to broaden the denotation of “3.11 radiation victims” here. All beings residing in the prefectures neighboring Fukushima, or eastern Japan including even the Kantō area, [8] could potentially be “3.11 radiation victims.” And many people living in eastern Japan who have fallen ill could, in fact, be potential “health victims.” However, in order to argue that specific patients residing in eastern Japan could be “radiation victims” or “health victims,” epidemiological and scientific examination becomes necessary. If this is carelessly argued, one runs the chance of being denounced and criticized as having “radiation brain.” [9]

Radioactive contamination was observed in many areas of eastern Japan after the nuclear accident. According to the ICRP’s 2007 recommendation, [10] the annual radiation exposure limit was set at one millisievert (mSv) or less. However, there is a terrifying number of people who were exposed to radiation beyond this limit in eastern Japan.

If we rethink what damage from radiation exposure should really mean, we can say that people who received even a tiny amount of radioactive contamination from the nuclear accident, excepting natural radiation, should all be defined as “3.11 radiation victims.” In this sense, I can say that I, Matsudaira Kōichi, born and raised a Tokyo-ite these 38 years, am surely a 3.11 radiation victim.

And now the name Matsudaira has been added to the list of people with an illness that is unremarkable these days. And there is a possibility that Matusdaira is also the name of a health victim of the Fukushima nuclear accident. In other words I, we, the afflicted residing in eastern Japan, can identify ourselves as “3.11 radiation victims.” But at the same time, as for whether we can say we are “health victims of the Fukushima nuclear accident,” a brute courage is sometimes necessary. In this cultural criticism column [11] I hope to use the imaginative potential of language to shift from the position of “3.11 radiation victims” to the position of “health victims from the nuclear accident,” and to thereby reexamine the historical role that health victims should take.

Interview with Matsumoto Mari

Thinking About Radiation Damage Five Years After the Accident from a Feminist Perspective”

(This piece was formed by editing the comments that Matsumoto Mari delivered at the May 5, 2016 assembly of Health Victims of the Fukushima Nuclear Accident (below, Health Victims Group), Kantō Area Radiation Damage Vol. 2: Expanding Damage, Connections, the Hope of Evacuation. They were edited into the format of an interview with Matsumoto Mari.) [12]

The Health Victims Group was a gathering started by people who met each other through the anti-nuclear movement after 3.11, or during demonstrations in front of the Diet. [13] Originally, we were protesting to reveal the state and TEPCO’s responsibility for the nuclear accident, and to push for support for Fukushima children who had suffered health damages and for struggling evacuees. However, five years have passed since the accident, and it was in the fifth year after the 1986 Chernobyl accident when various types of damage to people’s health began to increase explosively. In this context, we began discussing whether we noticed various health damages appearing around us. We then realized anew that we had many friends suffering from illnesses like colon cancer, heart problems, thyroid abnormalities, the aggravation of skin diseases and allergies, exacerbated inflammation of the esophagus, and the aggravation of multiple-chemical sensitivity syndrome. We are also aware of exactly how hard it is to talk about health damage from Fukushima, or about wanting to evacuate. To change these conditions, those of us suffering health damages in Kantō, young and old, have to raise our voices. We hope to create a climate where people can openly say that anyone can suffer health damages from radiation exposure, and that the state and TEPCO must fulfill their responsibilities for this.

Today, we would like to speak with Matsumoto Mari from the Health Victims Group. Matsumoto-san was originally publishing feminist research and articles in the field of contemporary philosophy. Since the nuclear accident, she has been writing articles precisely on this problem of radiation exposure. What is necessary for us, as people who suffer from health damage and those who are concerned?

Matsumoto:

In the past I was wrote on feminism and various issues related to women. After 3.11, at first I wrote a few pieces about the nuclear disaster. However, after that, I became sick. I had argued in my writings that [protection from] radiation exposure should be our main objective, but the response from those around me was so cold and indifferent—when I reflect on why I became sick, it was because of this indifference about radiation that was normalized around me. [14]

There were a lot of simplistic criticisms that portrayed mothers trying to protect their children from radiation exposure as “maternalistic.” I felt it was horrible that even the left and feminists were heavily criticizing them. Looking back, given that health damages are manifesting today, these criticisms actually benefited the discourse of the “reassurance wing” [15] which basically ended up benefiting from insulting mothers as being “overprotective”.

This is a somewhat personal story, but in 1985 I was in Kiev for a short while, just one year before Chernobyl. Afterwards I kept in touch with some of the people who were studying Japanese there, but we slowly fell out of touch. There were issues with the postal system, but I remember being shocked, even though I was still young, when one time a young person said that she had developed cataracts. I had no idea that young people could get them. Of course now I know better. But I think I remembered it so clearly because I felt like that society, a society that had experienced a nuclear accident, was slowly beginning to crumble.

Because of this, the first thing I thought about after the nuclear meltdown on 3.11 was radiation exposure. But in the metropolis in particular—and let me say first that I don’t want to criticize this outright, and that I am certainly against restarting [the nuclear power plants]—most people at that point were still mainly talking about opposition to restarting the nuclear power plants. There were lots of protests and gatherings organized around this issue. But I felt like something was getting left behind in the midst of this, that there was something that we needed to say that was getting bottled up while people were getting involved in movements and political activities, that we were going forward while ignoring the thing that we should actually be seriously focusing on. I couldn’t talk about that thing directly, and even if I say something I can’t reject [people’s need] to say things like, “It’s fine,” or, “I just want to think positively.” I can’t deny that people want to think that it will be ok as long as they are careful.

But because I was suppressing this unease somewhere deep down in my heart, I started to be harsh to people sometimes. For five years, people around me didn’t understand what was wrong, and I also put up walls of my own.

During all of this, I kept in touch with mothers who had evacuated. There are also lots of people, probably across the entire country, who evacuated voluntarily and are now doing their best to make themselves heard, or who have started their own autonomous activities in their new homes. I do feel more connected with people who are doing work based on their experience of this diaspora. It’s like I can’t talk to those close to me, but can with those far away, which makes me feel like I’m experiencing this strange kind of recalibration of distance that’s been produced by the nuclear accident. You can’t see it, and you can’t reduce it to something economic or physical, but this breakdown of relationality is, to some degree, another injury caused by the nuclear accident, and is part of the current situation.

In the meantime, in January of this year my partner was suddenly diagnosed with an intractable form of cancer at the age of 48. There were no signs whatsoever beforehand, and it’s a difficult type to detect in the first place. He’s in treatment now, but it was already in stage four when it was discovered. This is hard to understand unless you experience it yourself, but I knew from the beginning, at least on an intellectual level, that thyroid cancer would be more common because there was a nuclear disaster. But now we’re fighting a completely different battle than something as simple as having the statistical knowledge that the number of cancer patients will increase. As someone who now provides care and nursing, I’ve realized what it means for an individual human to get cancer, and I’m in the process of learning. While I can accept that indeed statistically the number of health problems will increase, I also feel resistance to thinking about things only from a statistical perspective. I feel like I’m still not quite able to express this feeling.

Our bodies are all individual, and our illnesses and symptoms are individual. With cancer, a child’s thyroid cancer is different from a 48-year-old’s, which is different from an elderly person’s. It’s different for men and women. Each person’s treatment and the problems that they face and must overcome are all radically different. So even though it is not wrong to say things like, “The number of cancer cases increases after a nuclear accident,” or, “More people get sick,” I feel that today we need different language, a different approach, words that can help people who are sick connect with each other. We need an environment in which people who are sick, people who care for them, and people who are offering support can speak more easily.

For myself, when I speak about my partner’s cancer, it’s not that he is thinking, “This is an effect of radiation exposure.” In other words he hasn’t concluded that radiation exposure was the only influence, and there are no materials [to prove] that either. But, he and I think it is probably one cause among many; we don’t “deny” it. That is our position.

And in January 2016, when we were informed [of the cancer diagnosis] and were running around pell-mell, the 3.11 Thyroid Cancer Families’ Society was established in Fukushima. When I saw an interview with them—and let me say young children getting cancer is different from getting it one’s 40s—but I thought, on the verge of tears, “This kind of [message] is really needed.” Apparently there were extremely few cases of children’s thyroid cancer until then. Rare cases.

Now there are self-help groups and organizations for patients at hospitals and other places. That is something that’s really great. But there have been few cases of rare cancers, rare cases until now, so it is difficult [for people] to connect. I was impressed by people’s efforts to get on their feet by at least connecting at first, to do necessary mutual aid kinds of things, in such circumstances.

At the same time, reading articles on blogs like “Health Victims’ Group,” I was also moved by passages like, “Instead of the rallies, now our own bodies and hospitals are becoming the site of struggle.” It made me realize that this is a crucial awareness to have in a society in which a nuclear accident, with its irreversible impact, has occurred.

This is what I wanted to say right after the accident. Until now radioactive material has been falling on the metropolis, which is both a political issue and simultaneously a problem that individuals must face. At the same time, voluntary evacuation and relocation are problems that are being “individualized.” While these issues must be fought on the individual level, we should also hold on to their political and social aspects. And although damage to health is something that affects people of all genders, it’s also true that care and nursing generally end up being women’s issues.

Right after the nuclear accident, I wrote about mothers’ care for their children from the perspective of “reproductive labor” and “care work” within the context of capitalism. The issue is who has to bear the liability for massive environmental disasters. This is also a sphere that can’t be converted into currency. Some feminists said that this was “simple maternalism” or that it would “strengthen familism,” but they are missing the point. These days such people have stopped saying anything at all, maybe because their initial stance is inconvenient for them now. They offer no helping hand regarding the outbreak of pediatric thyroid cancer in Fukushima, and offer no support for the single-mother households of voluntary evacuees. At some point they need to seriously consider their criticism of people tied to the accident, and the incorrect assessments of the situation they made initially.

Thinking back on it now, right after the accident there was a massive surge of both accurate and inaccurate information about the damage to health caused by radiation exposure. Honestly it was a difficult mix of good and bad, a kind of informational anarchy.

Even so, people wisely chose from among the available information, and eventually formed and attained a certain kind of literacy and understanding of the situation. And yet slowly there developed a very clear sense of “moment” or “instance” that silenced this kind of understanding, and which functioned more strongly than the visible forms of systemic censorship. It’s impossible to determinedly say that this sense was manufactured by the media or the government or the Ministry of the Environment. It was an unintended outcome, but it did create a climate in which people hesitate to talk about damage to health.

For instance, you might have heard of the “Oishimbo nosebleed incident.” [16] What I find problematic about this whole fuss—although some might find this sort of expression itself problematic—is that a town in Fukushima went and made a complaint against the comic series, which led to an additional complaint from Fukushima prefecture, which finally led to the Ministry of Environment officially making a conclusive statement that “there is no such thing” as increased nosebleeds in Fukushima.

Since I have grown quite familiar with feminism, I know that historically the repressive authority of dominant discourses has prohibited us from speaking about our own bodies. For example, menstruation has been regarded as an unclean or private matter in different historical periods. Even so, there have been efforts by women to speak up about topics that are difficult to talk about and to gain social recognition on such topics. One such effort was the fight for menstrual sick days, or to gain recognition that symptoms can be unique for different individuals.

As for health concerns and everyday concerns after 3.11, even in political spaces we’ve been coerced to be silent about these concerns and made to accept that even speaking about them is taboo. It isn’t that there is visible censorship or regulations, but there is censorship that arises from people’s own minds; we are all are expected to perform self-censorship. People around you say “That is a very complicated thing to talk about,” or, “Are you still afraid of radiation?” This kind of thing can even make you feel like your worth as a human is being judged.

It is precisely because we are obstructed from each other in this society that we need to speak up about radiation issues. To people who react to me by saying, “Still talking about it?” or, “Still worrying about it?” I’d like to respond immediately and ask, “Have we ever seen any policy or system developed or improved regarding measures against radiation exposure? For compensation for evacuees? There hasn’t been anything, has there?”

Philosopher Paul Virilio has called Chernobyl a “time accident”, meaning that it is one that will last for generations. In this climate too in Japan, we need to carefully watch and observe our society as it is being destroyed over a long time span.

Ryo Omatsu, a scholar of Russia, has studied the Chernobyl [nuclear disaster] and has published work introducing social movements ignited by residents and nuclear cleanup workers at the Chernobyl site. Similarly, we are familiar with a number of movements led by people with illnesses and people who became ill due to different types of industrial contamination.

There have been many lawsuits against nuclear power plants in the past 70 plus years since the end of WWII, and there are still many today. With these facts in mind, we need to carefully create environments and discursive spaces where people who feel that they have been affected are comfortable speaking up and where they can connect. When we refer to post-Chernobyl support systems, we are immediately met with the argument that we can’t replicate them because we have a different social system in Japan. However, I believe that Chernobyl must be studied as a historical reference regarding social support systems for nuclear disasters.

Those who are pro-nuclear can use as their strength the uncertain nature of how radioactive exposure manifests as illness. It is tricky that experiencing a nuclear accident and becoming ill are not in a direct one-to-one relationship. Nevertheless I think people need to not only keep the nuclear accident in their minds but also make some kind of record of their experiences.

The fact that those who suffered damages need to prove the damage is absurd in itself. Nevertheless, you can create records of what you were doing before and after 3.11; where you were; if you are in the Kantō region, then what the radiation levels are in the soil around your home. For instance I participated in a project where I wore a film badge dosimeter [17] to study my radioactive doses for a week (although the dosimeter is only capable of measuring doses on the external surface of your body, not total contamination levels). We could start something like this even now. An accumulation [of this data] could be our strength in the future.

I want to remind everyone that people with cancer and other intractable illnesses have always organized themselves to share their experiences, offer mutual aid, and share information. It is very necessary for people to have this kind of space today. While we hear “radiation exposure is scary” and “radiation exposure is terrible” these phrases are often used as vague images without the concreteness of illness [as it manifests in our bodies].

It has been five years since the accident; we are past the point of arguing about what is right and what is wrong. It is not a question of that. Instead we need to share concrete knowledge about how to protect our bodies, and how to act if we become sick. We need to communicate with, not isolate, each other as much as possible. It should be something like a self-support group. While being a self-support group, it should not settle itself as a closed group—its members should take political stances and open themselves to the wider society. That’s the kind of organization we need.

Mastudaira:

Regarding the Oishimbo incident and other issues, I feel that there is an implicit network of physicists and scientists of all sorts who suppress any statements by those who oppose nuclear energy. What do you think about this?

Matsumoto:

Here we’re talking about where the discourse known as “radiation exposure crushing” (hibaku tsubushi) [18] emerges from. We can consider three possibilities: whether this discourse originates in economic concerns, is linked to power relations, or if it is solely an internal issue. There are many uncertainties on these points, but I think if we look into it deeply enough, we will find some definite conclusions. What I’m concerned about, though, is the the third possibility I raised, that hibaku tsubushi discourse is coming from self-censorship. There are many people who are self-censoring and actively adopting the myth of radiation safety. I am terrified of the power that these acts have on people.

In thinking about who is producing this discourse in an organized way, it’s possible to build a solid argument by finding where exactly the money is coming from. We have seen this in the work of Ryu Honma who investigates public relations in the nuclear industry. Somewhat differently, Takashi Soeda has demonstrated the falsity of the phrase “this accident was unforeseeable” (sōteigai), which is often used by nuclear apologists when describing the nature of the 2011 disaster. There have been many investigative journalists making enormous efforts to bust those myths. Kosuke Hino’s work has also been an indispensable contribution.

We must use these exceptional reports as a guide to fully investigate discourses that have underemphasized radiation exposure post-3.11. Another troubling aspect of this discourse lies within our everyday life; what ruptures our human relations is self-censorship and willing acceptance [of safety myths]. I’d like to suggest that we constantly take note of why we actively participate in reinforcing the discourse of the ruling class.

It’s difficult for nuclear victims to connect and act in solidarity due to the fact that damage can manifest in a wide range of forms both spatially and temporally, which is one characteristic of nuclear disasters. This is especially true in today’s society where, thanks to neoliberalism, we are expected to act at our own risk and work out our own salvation.

This accident was also the first since the development of social networking. In the European Atomic Energy Community (EAEC/Euratom), the ways in which social networking performs during a nuclear disaster has already become a research theme and subject of analysis.

In the first two or three years after the accident, I saw my friends and acquaintances start to actively believe in the myth of radiation safety and wondered to myself, “Why are they turning against themselves like that.” But thinking these kinds of thoughts too much just tires me out, and now I catch myself observing them as subjects who are mobilized in the creation of public consensus, when clearly the discourse of hibaku tsubushi actively minimizes the damage of the incident. I observe them to try and understand why people decide to actively conform to such discourse. This is a different case, but I’m sure similar things probably happened with Minamata disease [19] or the atomic bomb. I believe it is necessary to look at these cases and compare them to what is happening today.

It is the sixth year since the accident now. Forces that divide people, along with both tangible and intangible damage—including actualized health damages—will continue to become stronger. In March 2017, the government will terminate financial assistance for voluntary evacuees. More recently, the government began speaking about ending restrictions to the entire “difficult-to-return” [20] zone in 2021. The government of Japan is desperately fabricating the final end of the nuclear disaster, with the help of events like the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. People say that it is wrong to diminish memories because they are personal, while the social phenomenon of “structural diminishment” is getting stronger and stronger. This phenomenon obscures responsibility for the accident and for the management of its aftermath.

In this context, there is an urgent need to create concrete spaces of mutual aid and rebuild relationality, which includes modifying our own language and thought.

Testimony: Matsudaira Kōichi’s colon cancer—radiation damage and cancer patients

Matsumoto went to Kiev right after the Chernobyl accident, and she became concerned about the issue of radiation damage in the Kantō area very early on. I think she has spoken candidly about her very incisive hesitations regarding those who were indifferent about radiation damage from the Fukushima nuclear accident. Matsumoto says that it is important to document, and the Health Victims Group has argued since its founding that it is important to leave “testimonies as victims.” Members of the Health Victims Group and I tentatively created the following questionnaire to collect testimonies:

1.    Name, age, gender

2.    Where did you live until 3.11? (Please include your prefecture and municipality.)

3.    If your residence changed after 3.11, please tell us the new place and when you moved.

4.    What symptoms do you have, or what is the condition of your health now?

5.    Did you have any symptoms of illnesses listed above before 3.11? If so, were there any differences before and after 3.11?

6.    Please describe your everyday habits.

7.    Were you getting regular health check-ups?

8.    Do you think [your condition] is related to the nuclear accident?

9.    What do you find most difficult since you became ill?

10. What are your current hopes?

In the Health Victims Group, we are seeking people who would like to share their experiences of health damage with each other.”

I responded to these items in the following way. This is my simple self-introduction concerning my condition as a radiation victim, and it is also the health record of one patient. Below is my testimony (taken May 8, 2016) as a member of the Health Victims Group.

How is the condition of your health now?

My name is Matsudaira Kōichi and I’m a cancer patient. I am 38 years old. I was diagnosed with colon cancer in November of last year (2015). It has been almost half a year since I learned that I have cancer. When they found it, it was already stage four and had spread to my liver. I was told that my five-year survival rate is 18%. The cancer has spread widely throughout my body, and surgical resection was not possible. I am receiving chemotherapy, but there has not been much change since the diagnosis. Chemotherapy apparently helps to prolong one’s life, but I understand that it eventually stops working. Right now, because of the side effects, I always feel unwell, and I often end up sleeping the entire day. I keep going back to the hospital for stomach pain and constipation. My colon is not functioning, so I have a stoma (colostomy). I feel miserable since my problems are related to fecal matter.

How was your health until your illness was discovered?

In November, I was attacked by horrible stomach pain and went to the hospital, where I learned that I had cancer. Until it was discovered, for about a year, there were many times I felt unwell, like having diarrhea. I would have diarrhea 6 or 7 times a day. I thought it was psychological. I felt anxious leaving for work every day. In October and November, I became unable to stand in front of the toilet. It was so painful I stayed curled up on the floor, wondering if I should call an ambulance.

Please describe your everyday habits.

In terms of my habits, I ate at Yoshinoya very frequently. [21] There were some days I would go to Yoshinoya twice in one day. I also went to Saizeriya [22] often. I ate out often from ages 20 to 37.

Where do you live? Where do you work?

I have mostly lived in Fuchū city in Tokyo since I was born. Around the time the nuclear accident occurred, I would stand in the street in Ginza (Chūō ward) every day for work. I worked there from March 2011 to February 2012. From April to June 2012, I worked in Tameikesannō (Chiyoda ward); from November 2012 to October 2015 in Ariake in Kōtō ward. Although I didn’t want to drink the water around there, I drank the tap water. I also tended to drink a good amount of alcohol. When my cancer symptoms became worse, there was one time I felt so sick the day after I went out drinking that I couldn’t get up for the entire day.

Were you getting health checkups?

I got a health check-up once a year. Besides having a low pulse, I didn’t have any abnormalities. In 2015 alone, I had a routine check-up through my job in the summer. Then in October I worked for a clinical trial of new drug and was briefly hospitalized. During the checkup for the drug trial, they did not find any abnormalities. I assume that there must have been a pretty significant cancerous tumor in my body around that time. In May and September, I had two instances of pain below my right chest area, which I had assumed was caused by falling off my bike and bumping my chest. I felt sick for about 25 days [in May ’15], and about 14 days [in September ’15]. I saw an orthopedist for this pain but they didn’t find anything wrong. Had I received a thorough examination at that time, I think they would have found the cancer. I think my internal organs were probably inflamed from the cancer.

Do you think [your illness] is related to radiation from the nuclear accident?

In my case, I think the causes of cancer were too much intake of beef and food additives, a lifestyle lacking in vegetables, and everyday stress. But, it is also rare to get cancer at my age, and I think it may be related to the nuclear accident. Yoshinoya and Saizeriya are both “support by eating” [23] companies, so it is possible that radiation from the accident increased my chances of cancer. Right after 3.11 happened, I thought that I would become sick if I did not evacuate, but I didn’t dare evacuate. I think it makes sense that I would get a major life-threatening illness living in Tokyo, where it is possible to be affected by exposure to radiation.

What is the hardest thing about being sick?

I used to like cross-dressing as a woman. I am sad that I can’t anymore because having a stoma and being constantly ill prevents me from doing what I want to do. My hair has fallen out and become thin. I was also interested in marriage and raising children, but sadly I realize that it is probably no longer possible. Lately, I have started watching the anime Assassination Classroom—I cry thinking about the relationality of fate between the students who have to kill their teacher, and the teacher who has been mentoring the students yet becomes their target of assassination.

What are your current hopes?

To destroy TEPCO and Japan. I’ve been hearing a lot about the Minamata disease these days as it’s approaching the 60th year since the disease was officially recognized by the state as an illness caused by industrial pollution. I think the movement led by Minamata disease victims was a really long struggle. But if it is going to take over 10,000 years before radioactive waste is no longer toxic, then for health victims of nuclear power plants, it may take us a “hundred thousand years of war.” We are being shot from somewhere by an invisible gun called radiation, and those who have been hit are dying one by one. We must resist this. We should carry on the ambition of past anti-nuclear movements and of the victims of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, and have a “hundred thousand year war” with Japan and with “worldwide nuclear empire.” [24] I will participate in this war, and my hope is that even if I am defeated, I can entrust the spirit of struggle to the future generation.

That is the extent of my testimony. However, I have an unresolved question I must continue to investigate: whether I am a “true” “health victim” “of the Fukushima nuclear accident.” To begin with, historically, the number of cancer patients in Japan has been increasing since before the nuclear accident.

In July 2016, the National Cancer Center of Japan reported its estimates of the number of new cancer diagnoses and the number of people who will die from cancer. The number of diagnoses was 1,010,200 and the number of deaths was 374,000. A tremendous number of Japanese have cancer and are dying. And there certainly isn’t one uniform cause for developing cancer.

Furthermore, although I’ll leave out the full explanation of the evidence here, even if we use a very conservative estimate employing the ICRP model, we can estimate the impact on humans of the radioactive contamination from the Fukushima nuclear disaster will likely lead to thousands of additional deaths from cancer in the Tokyo metropolitan area alone. We should recognize this.

One thing I want to stress in this discussion is that even if “over a million cancer cases emerge” and “thousands end up dying of cancer in Tokyo,” you are talking only in terms of a statistical figure. But each and every cancer patient in that figure struggles in their own different way in their sickbed.

By the way, I did not know this because I hate television and do not watch it, but while I was penning this article, I heard about a person named Shuntaro Torigoe who ran in the Tokyo gubernatorial election. Like me, he had colon cancer which had spread to his liver. I received encouragement from people who would say that mine “hadn’t spread yet,” and, “Torigoe had cancer even in his lungs but he’s better now and running in the gubernatorial election, so you should keep at it too.” I understand that these people acted with good intentions to help me stay optimistic. But, just because someone else recovered from late-stage colon cancer does not mean that I will too.

After being a cancer patient for a while, I feel that at times there is a kind of “cancer harassment” that happens. It doesn’t matter if someone “has the same colon cancer” or “there are other people with stage four cancer who have survived.” The fate that awaits each person is never bound to be the same.

This is completely irrelevant, but Torigoe was involved in a sex scandal, alleged to have seduced a university student, and I think that he is innocent of this. Anyhow, I got a hernia when I recently had sex for the first time in a while. A slight amount of pressure on my abdomen will cause my intestine to protrude out of the colostomy site on my abdomen. By now, stoma prolapsing is normal, and whenever I raise my body, or have some kind of emotional stress, or after I eat, my intestines spill out like a samurai who has committed harakiri. It will keep spilling out unless I hold it in with my hand. Apparently this is because my intestines are loose inside of my body. My doctor tells me that it may be the side effect of the cancer medicine working, or it could be that my cancer is becoming worse.

In this condition, it scares me to be alone with a woman. My mind goes completely blank whenever I imagine it being like this until I die. I remembered feeling frustrated at my parents who, a few days earlier, told me they “would like to see [their] grandchild’s face.” The symptoms of the hernia get better if I stay laying down, but in that case, I will have to live sideways forever. The struggle against an illness varies from person to person, even among people with colon cancer like me.

Someone compared nuclear power plants to cancer. A malignant tumor pretends that it is a companion to a human and avoids being attacked by immune cells. Malignant tumors then send their own cancerous cells to healthy organs, infect them, spread all over the body, and continue to grow more tumors. One by one, these tumors destroy major organs in the body until the body dies. For the earth, nuclear power plants are a cancer. Pro-nuclear people use flowery words to convince others of the necessity of nuclear power plants and dupe people into the idea of “energy for our bright future.” They rooted the power plants deeply into Japanese society.

The disease of pro-nuclear forces in the world is a serious problem.

I don’t know if I am a “victim of a nuclear accident,” but as a “3.11 radiation victim” there is one thing I want to say: nuclear power can never be forgiven, because it continues to increase the number of people that must die terrible deaths due to cancer.

Cancer irreversibly damages organs one by one in people, causing painful death. Cancer patients who die each have their own life, full of poetry. We cannot allow even one more person to die of cancer because of nuclear policies propelling this old and futureless technology. Enough is enough.

1, See Barker and Johnston 2008, The Rongelap Report: Consequential Damages of Nuclear War for a thorough review of research on the effects of American nuclear testing on the Marshall Islands and the systematic censorship of evidence pointing to American culpability for health damages suffered by the Marshallese.

2. See Lindee 1994, Suffering Made Real: American Science and the Survivors at Hiroshima.

3. See Stephens 2002, “Bounding Uncertainty: The Post-Chernobyl Culture of Radiation Protection Experts,” in Catastrophe and Culture: the Anthropology of Disaster; Petryna 2006, Life Exposed: Biological Citizens After Chernobyl.

4. See discussions of the “Oishimbo incident” for more information on these politics and the success of the myth of safety, such as Ochiai 2013, “The Manga ‘Oishinbo’ Controversy: Radiation and Nose Bleeding in the Wake of 3.11”.

5. “Radiation exposure” (hibaku) is expressed as one word in Japanese, with the characters for “suffer/receive” () and either “bomb” () when referring to exposure from nuclear weapons, or “expose” () when referring to exposure from other sources. Here, the term used is hibaku higaisha (被曝被害者).

6. The official Japanese term uses the word “accident” (事故) rather than “disaster” (災害).

7. The term used here, hisaisha (被災者), can be translated as “victim,” but refers primarily to victims of natural disasters, as opposed to higaisha (被害者), which refers mainly to the victims of accidents. Except for this first instance, higaisha is used throughout this article. In the context of the Chernobyl disaster, the Ukrainian state introduced the legal category of “sufferer” in 1991 to recognize those affected. We have chosen to translate the term higaisha as “victim” to convey the sense in Japanese that harm has been wrongfully caused. For more on Chernobyl “sufferers,” see Petryna 2013 [2002], Life Exposed: Biological Citizens After Chernobyl and Alexievich 2006, Voices From Chernobyl: the Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster.

8. The Kantō region comprises the Greater Tokyo Area and the prefectures of Gunma, Tochigi, Ibaraki, Saitama, Chiba, and Kanagawa.

9. This is a reference to the way that concerns about the effects of radiation, or discussion of actual injuries from radiation exposure, have been stigmatized as a psychological or emotional hypersensitivity to (fear of, or anxieties about) radiation. This is conveyed through a play on the word for radiation, hōshanō (放射能), where the last character has been replaced with the character for “brain” or “mind” (), which is also read “nō”. C.f. Kimura 2016, Radiation Brain Moms and Citizen Scientists: the Gender Politics of Food Contamination after Fukushima. There have also been many cases where those who discuss concerns about “low-level” radiation exposure have been described as “hysterical,” “irrational,” divisive, and unpatriotic. This is similar to attributions of “radiophobia” directed at victims of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster of 1986. C.f. Petryna 2013 [2002].

10. See ICRP, The 2007 Recommendations of the International Commission on Radiological Protection.

11. The author writes a cultural criticism column for the magazine, Jōkyō (情況).

12. This text is based on the transcription of a speech by Matsumoto Mari. A recording of the event can be found here: https://youtu.be/pU4mjehgcaA

13. The National Diet is Japan’s legislature.

14. Translation adapted to reflect past conversations with the author.

15. Those who endorse the safety of radiation exposure, mostly standardized by the state and nuclear industry interests.

16. The popular comic series Oishimbo ran episodes about Fukushima in which the author portrayed residents in Fukushima claiming that they experienced frequent nosebleeds due to radiation exposure. The series immediately came under fire upon publication, criticized by media and government offices.

17. Referred to as a “glass badge” in Japanese (garasu bajji; ガラスバッジ).

18. Discourses that suppress or “crush” (tsubusu; 潰す) any talk about radiation exposure and its effects, effectively censoring dissident voices post-3.11. Such voices are usually labeled as overly radiophobic, or afraid of radiation.

19. Minamata disease is a neurological syndrome caused by mercury poisoning. It received national attention in Japan when the wastewater of a chemical factory in a small fishing village in southern Japan became contaminated with mercury. The disease began to appear first in 1953, and although the government officially recognized it in 1956, it took the factory owner years to acknowledge its liability. The victims’ families have fought for decades, and still continue to fight for recognition and compensation.

20. The official designation of the most contaminated zone around the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, with an annual exposure dose exceeding 50 mSv/year. This zone includes areas from seven municipalities declared “difficult to return to” by the Japanese government.

21. Yoshinoya is a Japanese fast food chain serving gyūdon (beef over rice). In 2013 the company established joint venture, Yoshinoya Farm Fukushima Co. in Shirakawa City, 40 miles west of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, to grow rice and vegetables for their restaurants.

22. Another chain, referred to as “family restaurants” in Japanese. Comparable to Applebee’s in the U.S.

23. State-led campaign which enlists food businesses to purchase produce from the Tohoku area (around Fukushima). This is a tactic to shift responsibility for the consequences of nuclear disaster onto consumer relations: i.e. the only way to support farmers and others making their livelihoods in affected regions is to consume their products.

24. In Japanese, quotation marks are often used to distinguish a concept. Here, Matsudaira advocates fighting against both actual countries with nuclear power, and with an imperialist system of nation-states/the system that produces them.

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February 10, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , | 4 Comments