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The Ongoing Saga 80: News, Updates & More

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Last news update Tuesday 25 April 2017
Most recent updates are on top, after image-intro commentary, so that routine readers will not have to scroll-down far. Time is UTC-GMT. Updates as frequently as possible (recently around once per week; in the past daily; the future is unwritten). This is a continuation of: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2017/03/20/the-ongoing-saga-79-news-updates-tidbits-trivia
Recent post titles for the Mining Awareness blog should appear listed either to the side or at the bottom, depending on your device.

Parking of high level nuclear fuel in Texas, as proposed by WCS, to the US NRC

Spent nuclear fuel conceptual drawing for WCS as presented to the US NRC

WCS wants to park high level nuclear waste casks from around the country, uncovered, in west Texas. The comment deadline is on April 28th, in less than a week: Comment Deadline April 28th, 11.59 pm Eastern: https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=NRC-2016-0231. Comment is easy and can be anonymous. See…

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April 25, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Fossil Fueled Earthquakes at the UKs Two Key Nuclear Sites?

nuclear and fossil fuel Map.jpg This map is from the Nuclear Industry Association, (its an old map, Sellafield nuclear waste dump described as a fuel plant).  Additions by Radiation Free Lakeland showing the close proximity of proposed fossil fuel extraction to Sellafield and Springfields.

 

FOSSIL FUELED EARTHQUAKES NEAR NUCLEAR INSTALLATIONS?

Nuclear and Fracking Campaigners across the UK have joined forces to oppose fossil fuel extraction within the vicinity of the UK’s key nuclear installations, Sellafield in Cumbria and Springfields in Lancashire.

Radiation Free Lakeland has sent a letter to the Health and Safety Executive urging a moratorium. The letter says: “Given the vast uncertainty regarding the classification of nuclear materials at both Sellafield and Springfields at the very least there should be a moratorium on fossil fuel extraction within the vicinity of nuclear installations. We call for a comprehensive inquiry, which includes the worst-case scenarios that could result from induced seismic activity near nuclear…

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April 25, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

April 25 Energy News

geoharvey

Opinion:

¶ “Tory windfarm policy endangers cheap energy in UK, commission finds” • A Shell-sponsored group says wind is “increasingly the cheapest form of electricity.” Conservative opposition to windfarms risks the UK missing out on one of the cheapest sources of electricity, according to the head of the Shell-funded industry group. [The Guardian]

By 2040, wind and solar would account for 45% of
the global power mix. (Photo: Alamy Stock Photo)

¶ “The train has left the station on renewable energy” • Obscured by debate and hype about the merits of renewable energy, an important change has quietly taken place: Unsubsidized renewable energy is economically viable in many regions. Powerful economic and technological forces have permanently altered the energy landscape. [GreenBiz]

¶ “Exelon-style nuke bailouts threaten wind, solar” • The push to save US nuclear plants for the sake of fighting climate change is threatening support…

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April 25, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

April 24 Energy News

geoharvey

Science and Technology:

¶ For the first time, scientists have created a global map measuring the cooling effect forests have by regulating the exchange of water and energy between the Earth’s surface and the atmosphere. According to a new paper, in many locations, this cooling effect works in concert with forests’ absorption of carbon dioxide. [Science Daily]

Working atop a 120-foot tower (Credit: Rob Alexander)

¶ Remember when the world was hoping we would never reach 400 ppm of CO2? Well, now we can wave 400 ppm goodbye, because it has come and been passed. Mauna Loa Observatory recorded its first CO2 reading greater than 410 ppm. To be precise, it was 410.28 ppm. Yes, this is bad and yes, it will have even worse consequences. [ZME Science]

World:

¶ Ocean Power Technologies has deployed its PB3 wave energy device off the Japanese coast as part…

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April 25, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Hauntingly Freakish Siberian Wildfires Now Flicker to Life in April

robertscribbler

This past winter has been ridiculously warm for large sections of Siberia. From the Yamal Peninsula to Lake Baikal to the thinning ice of the Arctic Ocean and back down to the Sea of Okhotsk, temperatures have ranged from 4 to nearly 7 degrees Celsius above normal throughout the entire first quarter of 2017.

(4th Consecutive year of extreme Siberian cold season warmth brings with it the heightened risk of early wildfires. Image source: NASA GISS.)

Climate reanalysis shows these far above average temperatures extending well into April. And, as a result, the Arctic chill that typically settles over this often-frozen region has been greatly reduced throughout winter and on into early spring.

2017 marks the 4th consecutive year of excessive winter warmth for this section of our world. A human-emissions-driven rise of abnormal heat that brings with it consistently earlier thaws, disruptive permafrost melt, and…

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April 25, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The scandalous deficiency of the health scheme in Fukushima

Taro Yamamoto of the Liberal Party, member of the House of Councilors, accused the double standard of the the public radioprotection policy during his questions at the Special Commission of Reconstruction of the House of Deputies on March 21, 2017. He compared the health examination scheme introduced by Ibaraki prefecture to its population after the JCO* criticality accident to that currently available to Fukushima residents. The result shows the utter deficiency of the latter in spite of the fact that the Fukushima accident is classified as level 7, much more severe than the JCO level 4 accident.

We are publishing here the transcription of Taro Yamamoto’s questions** as well as the soil contamination map of Kashima and Haramachi districts of Minamisoma where the evacuation order was lifted in July 2016. The map is provided by the civil measurement group called “Fukuichi*** Area Environmental Radiation Monitoring Project”**** composed mainly of residents of Minamisoma which has been taking measurements of soil contamination in the vicinity of the members’ neighborhoods and in residential areas since 2012. Taro Yamamoto has already used their maps during another session of the Special Commission of Reconstruction. Let us note that in the map uploaded here, there are only two rectangles where the contamination density is lower than 40,000Bq/m2, and that for the rest of Kashima and Haramachi districts, the density is amazingly higher. As Taro Yamamoto indicated during his questions on November 18 last year, according to the Ordinance on Prevention of Ionizing Radiation Hazards a zone is called a Radiation Control Zone when the surface density is over 40,000Bq/m2. In a Radiation Control Zone, following the Ordinance, it is prohibited to drink, eat or stay overnight. Even adults are not allowed to stay more than 10 hours. To leave the zone, one has to go through a strict screening. The map shows that most of the two districts of Minamisoma city are in this situation. But it is not classified as Radiation Control Zone. On the contrary, people are told to go back there to live, including children.

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Measurement devices : scintillation radiometers
Hitachi Aloka TCS172B
Dose rate of airborn radiation at 1 m, 50 cm, 1 cm from the ground. Unit : µSv/h
Hitachi Aloka TGS146B
Calculation of the rate of surface contamination, 1 cm from the ground. Unit : cpm
Procedure for measuring soil samples
Ram a tube in the ground (diam. : 80 mm, h : 50 mm), collect the soil and measure.
For TCS172B/TGS146B, wait for stabilisation, measure 5 times,then take the average value.
Insert ★ where the soil was collected.
Analysis device:
Canberra NaI Scintillation Detector (10 or 20 min)
According to the Ordinance on Prevention of Ionizing Radiation Hazards and Industrial Safety and Health Law, places where the effective dose reaches 1.3mSv in 3 months (approximately 0.6µSv/h of airborne radioactivity) or 40,000Bq/m2, in terms contamination density, are designated as a ‘’Radiation Control Zone’’ and public entry must be severely restricted.

_____

Transcription of the questions of Taro Yamamoto

Taro Yamamoto

In Japanese history, except for the TEPCO Fukushima accident, are there other cases of population evacuation due to a nuclear accident?

Ÿ Government expert (Hiromu KATAYAMA)

Here is the answer. According to our understanding, as for the case of population evacuation due to a nuclear disaster in Japan, except for the cases of TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi and Daini that you pointed out, there is the case of the criticality accident of the JCO Tokai plant.

Ÿ Taro YAMAMOTO

Thank you.

That was 18 years ago, on September 30, 1999. The criticality accident occurred in a uranium reprocessing facility for the experimental fast breeder reactor fuel, operated by JCO, in the village of Tokai, Ibaraki Prefecture. The nuclear fission chain reaction continued for about 20 hours. The radiation went through the walls, reaching the surrounding environment. 150 people within a 350-meter radius were evacuated and the confinement recommendation was given to inhabitants and shops within a 10km radius. On the spot, since the central government delayed to react, the village mayor at the time decided to evacuate the residents upon his responsibility. This is the first case of population evacuation due to a nuclear accident in Japan. It was a severe accident where two workers died, and the rescue members as well as residents in the neighborhood area were irradiated.

Here is my question. How many people were recognized as being irradiated in this accident.

Ÿ Government expert (Hiromu KATAYAMA)

Here is the answer. According to the report dated March 2000 by the Health Management Committee established by the Nuclear Safety Commission at the time, as for the civil population, there are 7 people for who we have a real value of irradiation, and 200 people for who the dose of radiation is estimated. Among these people, 119 people received more than 1mSv either measured or estimated.

Ÿ Taro YAMAMOTO

According the central government, it is 119 people. But Ibaraki prefecture, following the radio security administration of Ibaraki prefecture, reported 666 irradiated people including those who received less than 1mSv. This is more than 5 times of the figure reported by the central government. I suppose that the central government does not want to recognize as many. However, Ibaraki prefecture, recognizing that the local government caused the damaged to its population, reported this figure.

Thereafter, Ibaraki prefecture created a fund of ¥300,000,000 to allow the irradiated population or those who were in doubt to be irradiated access to a heath examination. It concerns around 500 people. Its characteristic consists of the fact that it covers those who are born in 1999, the year of the accident, until they reach 82 years old. In other words, it is conceived to assure free health exminations through their entire life.

Please look at page 2 of document A to see what kind of health examinations the neighboring population can take since the JCO accident. They are quite extensive. It has been the accepted Ibaraki prefectural policy after the JCO accident. Even cancer examinations have been added. These examinations are accessible to those who are not recognized as irradiated, and who were exposed to the additional radiation of under 1mSv. They are open to those who stayed there temporarily because of their work or school, or those who have evacuated from Ibaraki prefecture since the accident.

Please show the next Figure.

Please don’t talk about the circumstances. Please answer in terms of the accident level. In which level is the JCO accident classified? Likewise, in which level is TEPCO Fukushima nuclear plant accident classified?

Ÿ Government expert (Hiromu KATAYAMA)

Here is the answer. As for the JCO criticality accident, the Science and Technology Agency at the time evaluated the accident as level 4. Concerning the accident of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency as well as the Nuclear Safety Commission at the time evaluated the emission of radioactive substances and consequently rated the accident as level 7.

Ÿ Taro YAMAMOTO

Let’s go over this again. JCO is classed as level 4, it was a level 4 accident. The TEPCO Fukushima nuclear power plant accident is a level 7 accident. With the JCO accident of level 4, with the additional radiation of 1mSv, the authority promised a lifetime access to health examinations including cancer examinations. Yet, in the case of the TEPCO Fukushima nuclear power plant accident of level 7, the population is told to return to the region when the annual dose of radioactivity becomes lower than 20mSv/year, since it is then considered as safe. The housing aid is cut, since there is no necessity of evacuation.

To those who would say that they are not comparable, I would like to ask the following. Currently, in Japan, after a nuclear accident, with 1mSv of additional irradiation, are health examinations offered free during a lifetime? With an accident of level 4, you can have lifetime free examinations including cancer examinations. Yet, with level 7 accident, there aren’t. Look here! Which of these two accidents is more severe?

What is the reason, in the case of the TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi accident, not to offer free lifetime health examinations including cancer examinations with additional radiation of 1mSv? Is it because of financial reasons? Is it because it can be installed for a small number of the concerned population of Tokai village, but not in the case of TEPCO nuclear power plant accident, because there will be too many people to be examined and thus will cause financial problems, or even financial breakdown? Is it because it is not practically feasible? Is that why? Then, it is not a scientifically based judgment. This is a financially, efficiency based judgment.

After the dispersion of contamination due to the nuclear accident, Japan has adopted a new standard. It considers it normal to live an everyday life in the area if the dose of radioactivity is under 20mSv/year. The government says that it will make efforts to lower the level to 1mSv/year. Then I asked: how long does it take to lower the level of airborne radioactivity of the contaminated area to 1mSv/year? They are not even embarrassed to answer that they are not supposed to carry out such a calculation.

I asked if this was considered permissible before the accident, if it was allowed by the scientific standards before the accident. The bureaucrats’ answer was: “ this is a new challenge “. I think it is not a very elaborated approach for revitalization. It seems like the authorities have started cleaning up the damage to turn the page, to deny the accident. I suppose that there are people who say “that is not correct”. Some people might consider that the public support after the TEPCO accident is as solid as the support of the Tokai village aftermath, to make the people feel safe and secure.

Let us then see now what kind of medical support is available in Fukushima.

In the case of the Fukushima resident health investigations, only the thyroid cancer examination for those under 18 years old at the time of the accident, and a questionnaire survey for pregnant women are available to the population of Fukushima prefecture. Other than these two, health examinations are available only to those from evacuation zones. This includes a usual obesity examination offered to those over 40 years old all over Japan, plus blood tests including leukocyte fraction analysis.

Isn’t this health examination scheme too poor compared to the one of Tokai village? Besides, it is limited to those who are from the areas that have been classified as evacuation zones. In other words, if you are living in Fukushima prefecture, you can hardly have sufficient medical support, except for in limited areas. In the case of the JCO level 4 accident, one has a guarantee of a lifetime health examination at 1mSv of additional irradiation, and you still can have access to health examinations even if you are exposed to radiation under 1mSv. Yet in the case of the level 7 TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi accident, the support is so much inferior. Mr Minister, it seems to me that the difference of treatment is too much.

There are other things I would like to ask. So please give me a short answer. I think that the gap is too much. In terms of the accident level, Fukushima is more severe. But Tokai village offers a significantly more extensive support. On the other hand, the Fukushima support seems to be too feeble.

Sorry, I am running out of the time. I am going to skip that question, and go forward to other questions.

I would like to ask the following to the Minister. Who is responsible for this situation? The minimum compensation that the State and TEPCO, – who left the cause of the severe accident unattended -, should offer to the population should at least equal to the one offered in the Tokai village case. The central government should suggest it to Fukushima prefecture.

Besides, in the countries where there have been severe nuclear disasters, sanitary vacations are common practice. Their purpose is to reduce the internal irradiation. At least, we should invest in sanitary vacation programs open to the population of Fukushima prefecture.

Lastly, the end of the housing support for the auto-evacuees from the areas outside of the evacuation zones, which is in two weeks time, is the same as the order of forced return. It shouldn’t be just ‘’return’’ and ‘’should return’’. People ought to have the right to choose. The options are: remain or evacuate. In both cases, the State should give compensation and support.

Please give me your answer on the three points.

Minister (Masahiro Imamura)

You mentioned the levels. I suppose that I don’t have to answer. I think it covers different viewpoints including the accident scale.

Concerning the health problem, Fukushima prefecture is carrying out the Fukushima resident health investigation using the allocation. We have the intention to guide the prefecture to use this efficiently so that we can avoid the health hazards.

About the housing aid, as I have already answered, in spite of specific circumstances, the big majority of people have already returned to Fukushima. As for those who have not returned yet, I suppose that they have their specific situations. We will back up the prefecture to listen to them and carry out the program.

  • Chairman (Mitsuru Sakurai)

Your time is up.

ŸTaro YAMAMOTO

Yes, I conclude.

There are more than 25,000 empty apartments for public servants in Japan. I strongly suggest that they are offered to those who would like to continue the evacuation. Please maintain the housing aid. Mr Minister, I sincerely hope you do. I count on you. Thank you very much.

____

* formerly Japan Nuclear Fuel Conversion Co.

** Published in Taro Yamamoto’s official site :
参議院議員山本太郎オフィシャルサイト :

Footage of the question :
質問ビデオ :

***Fukuichi is short for Fukushima Daiichi

**** Fukuichi shûhen kankyôhôshasen monitoring project

https://fukushima311voices.wordpress.com/2017/04/24/the-scandalous-deficiency-of-the-health-scheme-in-fukushima/

April 25, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , | Leave a comment

Tests to start on radioactive soil for use in reconstruction

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Bags of radioactive soil in a temporary storage site in Iitate, Fukushima Prefecture, will eventually be transported to an interim storage facility.

MINAMI-SOMA, Fukushima Prefecture–The Environment Ministry is exploring the idea of reusing tons of radioactive soil as gravel to rebuild infrastructure in this disaster-stricken prefecture and beyond.

To gauge the feasibility of the project, it will conduct tests on whether contaminated soil can be securely contained without spillage while controlling the level of radioactivity.

The experiment is being conducted in a corner of a temporary storage site in the Odaka district here, just north of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power plant.

If the tests go off without a hitch, the government is looking at reusing the soil as a construction material in recovery efforts.

Bags of soil gathered through decontamination efforts are kept at temporary storage sites around the Fukushima plant, which went into triple meltdown in the aftermath of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster.

The first phase of the experiment involves 1,000 or so bags of contaminated soil that have to be sorted according to levels of concentration of radioactive cesium.

Radioactive soil with readings of about 2,000 becquerels per kilogram will be used for mock-up construction of seawalls and other structures. The soil will then be covered by fresh soil that is not contaminated.

The test will also explore practical safety management issues, including ways to prevent scattering of contaminated soil and keeping track of measurements of radioactivity of structures once they are completed.

Project workers began opening bags and sorting soil on April 24.

The volume of contaminated soil collected within Fukushima Prefecture amounted to a whopping 16 million cubic meters as of the end of January.

It will be kept at an interim storage facility that has been constructed within the jurisdiction of the towns of Futaba and Okuma in Fukushima Prefecture. Within the next 30 years, the soil is supposed to be transported outside the prefecture for final disposal.

The Environment Ministry said it hopes the tests will show that the plan to reuse radioactive soil in construction is safe. Projects under consideration include building foundations for seawalls and roads. The overall aim is to reduce the amount of soil that will need to be processed for final disposal.

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201704250038.html

April 25, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | 3 Comments

‘Voluntary’ evacuees torn by decision to flee from Fukushima

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Those who fled Fukushima Prefecture and those who stayed after the nuclear disaster get together at a community center in the Sasaya district of the prefectural capital of Fukushima last month.

FUKUSHIMA–Facing diminishing public support and increased scorn from their hometown communities, residents who fled Fukushima Prefecture after the nuclear disaster are now struggling with self-doubts about their decision to leave.

They are called “voluntary” evacuees because they left areas that were not subject to the central government’s evacuations orders after the tsunami slammed into the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in March 2011.

Since then, they have faced hardships in starting new lives and finding new homes. And persistent fears over radiation continue to prevent many from returning to their hometowns in the prefecture.

When the nuclear crisis was unfolding, Nahoko Hikichi, 44, took her infant and 4-year-old child to Asahikawa, Hokkaido, leaving behind her husband in an area of Koriyama, which was not ordered to evacuate.

Hikichi pored over library books to learn more about the situation in Fukushima, but some of the books dismissed safety concerns about radiation while others warned about health hazards.

I only became more confused and worried after reading,” she said.

Hikichi said she is torn over whether she made the right choice to leave, but she added she will take no solace if her decision proves correct.

I chose to flee because I did not want any future regrets over not evacuating,” she said. “If I become convinced that my decision was sound, it would come at a time when the impact of radiation has manifested among children who stayed in the prefecture.

I am hoping for nothing like that to ever happen.”

Her husband later quit his job to join the family in Asahikawa, but his parents remain in Fukushima Prefecture.

The past month has been particularly tough on those who evacuated voluntarily since the prefectural government ended their free housing program.

At the end of March, 119 of about 12,000 households that evacuated voluntarily within or outside Fukushima Prefecture had not decided where to live, the prefectural government said on April 24.

Although prefectural officials would not disclose further details about their situation, some of the households reportedly cited financial difficulties as a reason for being unable to find new homes.

Fukushima Governor Masao Uchibori pledged to work closely with local governments where the evacuees’ old and new homes are located to help them.

People forced to flee under the evacuation orders are eligible to receive at least 8.5 million yen ($77,300) in compensation.

But those who evacuated voluntarily have received a fraction of that figure, and their free housing program has ended.

In terms of rebuilding from the nuclear disaster, Tokyo is now emphasizing self-reliance among evacuees without public support or compensation.

Voluntary evacuees and their supporters have criticized this policy, but the prefectural government shares the central government’s direction.

Tokyo’s evacuation orders forced around 81,000 people to leave their homes around the nuclear plant.

Since then, the central government has been lifting the evacuation orders in an effort to have people return to their homes. In fact, the orders had been lifted for all areas by spring this year with the exception of “difficult-to-return zones,” where radiation levels remain high.

That means more than 50,000 evacuees can return to their homes.

As of last autumn, voluntary evacuees who have not returned to their original homes totaled 26,000, or 30 percent of the overall evacuee population.

Some residents who remained in the prefecture after the nuclear accident are upset by evacuees who say that Fukushima is still too dangerous to live in.

We reside in Fukushima Prefecture, and I would like them not to speak ill of the prefecture,” said a woman in her 40s who lives in the prefectural capital of Fukushima.

Efforts are under way to bridge the divide among those who remain volunteer evacuees, those who have returned to the prefecture, and residents who stayed in their communities.

A nonprofit organization opened a community center in a two-story house in Fukushima city in March 2015 to allow mothers with young children to share their daily concerns.

Some mothers wanted to know where to buy food ingredients. Others wondered if they have been overreacting to the radiation.

Many mothers who have returned to the prefecture after fleeing outside are worried about whether they will be able to restore ties with their peers who did not evacuate,” said Megumi Tomita, 47, who heads the project.

Although the NPO does not offer specific problem-solving proposals, Tomita said it is important for anxious mothers to have a venue where they can pour out their feelings.

After the community center opened, the mothers, accompanied by experts, took part in a workshop to measure radioactivity levels of foodstuffs.

They also grow vegetables in nearby fields.

The NPO compiled a booklet in spring featuring messages from 31 mothers who have returned to the prefecture after deciding to flee. Their words are directed at those who remain in evacuation.

I don’t think your choice is wrong,” said one mother.

I will give you my moral support,” another message said.

Tomita said their messages summarize a shared feeling: “Those who have evacuated voluntarily have had to make countless decisions over the past six years. The mothers who have had such experiences feel that whatever the decisions the other mothers made, they are not wrong.”

http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201704250040.html

April 25, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , | Leave a comment

Mothers who fled Fukushima fallout raise voices against Genkai plant restart in Saga

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Mothers who fled to the Itoshima, Fukuoka Prefecture, to escape radiation spewed by the March 2011 core meltdowns in Fukushima Prefecture say they are concerned about the safety of the Genkai nuclear plant in neighboring Saga Prefecture.

SAGA – A group of mothers who evacuated from the Kanto region to Fukuoka Prefecture after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear crisis is ramping up protests against efforts to restart the Genkai nuclear plant in neighboring Saga.

After meeting with Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Hiroshige Seko on Saturday, Saga Gov. Yoshinori Yamaguchi is expected to approve the restart of two reactors in the town of Genkai as early as Monday.

Earlier this month, four of the moms gathered for a meeting in Itoshima in Fukuoka and discussed plans to send the city a document and an inquiry conveying their opposition.

As they racked their brains to deliver effective expressions, the meeting lasted for around six hours until their children returned home from school.

Three of the moms moved to Itoshima after becoming worried their children would be adversely affected by exposure to the fallout spewed by the triple core meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 plant in Fukushima Prefecture in March 2011. The plant is run by Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.

I wanted to go far away for the sake of my unborn child,” said 39-year-old Fumiyo Endo, the leader of the group.

But the place she relocated to was within 30 km of the Genkai plant run by Kyushu Electric Power Co.

In March, she attended a meeting of residents to get explanations about the restart but was concerned whether safety would be ensured by sheltering indoors as instructed should an accident occur.

She also felt angry after hearing a utility official say that restarting the plant is necessary “for a stable supply of power.” She said it sounded as if the utility did not care about human lives.

But she did not decide to leave Itoshima because she wanted to keep living there, to stay close to the sea and mountains.

Another member of the group said it was important to keep resisting.

It is significant to protest against nuclear plants near the plant sites,” said photographer Nonoko Kameyama, 40.

Kameyama, a mother of three, has published a photo book of mothers hoping to bring about a society without nuclear power plants.

A day after attending the residents’ meeting, Endo and other members called the Saga Prefectural Government to urge it to reject the restart.

When asked by a prefectural official during the call what the name of their group was, they came up with an impromptu title: “Mothers Who Want to Save Children’s Lives.” Dozens of people have recently joined in response to its Facebook post.

The group has submitted petitions to Saga Gov. Yamaguchi and Itoshima Mayor Yuji Tsukigata.

Resuming operations only makes residents feel unsettled and we cannot see a bright future,” said Endo. “We want our leaders to understand such feelings.”

Yamaguchi is expected to approve the Genkai restart as early as Monday, after meeting with METI chief Seko on Saturday.

The central government has shown a strong determination to work on nuclear energy policy in a responsible manner,” Yamaguchi said Saturday, adding he wants to convey his decision “as early as possible.”

The government is pushing for reactor restarts despite the triple core meltdown at Fukushima No. 1, saying nuclear energy is Japan’s key energy source.

In January, reactor Nos. 3 and 4 at the Genkai plant passed the tougher safety requirements introduced in the wake of the Fukushima crisis. On Feb. 24, a majority of the Genkai Municipal Assembly voted in favor of restarting the plant.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/04/23/national/moms-fled-fukushima-fallout-raise-pressure-genkai-plant-restart-saga/

April 25, 2017 Posted by | Japan | , , , | Leave a comment

Lack of proper facilities forced disabled evacuees to move from shelter to shelter after 3/11

FUKUSHIMA – Disabled people have been forced to move to various evacuation shelters since the March 2011 calamity due mainly to the shortage of barrier-free facilities, a survey conducted by support group showed Saturday.

Among the 147 physically and mentally disabled people surveyed, mainly in Fukushima Prefecture, 118, or 80 percent, were moved at least three times, the survey said. Around 40 percent complained that their disabilities got worse.

The survey was conducted between 2015 and 2016.

Given the acute lack of availability in shelters with welfare services and functions in 2011, four people transferred a total of nine times in search of a better environment.

Only 16, or 11 percent, stayed in the first evacuation shelters they landed in, typically public gymnasiums and community halls. On average, the disabled people surveyed were moved four times.

After the meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, Mieko Matsumoto, 58, moved to three evacuation shelters with her 26-year-old son, Yuta, in the space of four months.

Matsumoto said she could not feel relaxed because Yuta, who had cerebral palsy and was confined to a wheelchair, occasionally made loud noises and she always had to be mindful of the other evacuees.

Many respondents said they faced difficulty using the toilet or when they wanted to take a bath, since the shelters were not equipped to handle wheelchair users.

In 2013, the government compiled guidelines stressing the importance of having welfare evacuation shelters and installment procedures, urging municipalities across the nation to take steps in accordance with the lessons learned from mega-quake and nuclear crisis.

But similar problems emerged after Kumamoto Earthquake rocked Kyushu last April.

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/04/22/national/lack-proper-facilities-forced-disabled-evacuees-move-shelter-shelter-311/

April 25, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

Six years later, some workers at Fukushima nuclear plant say they can do without protective gear

This article actually says that people observing from a nearby hill were exposed to only 150 microsieverts per hour. If that number is not a careless misprint, it’s actually a huge number. A person living on that hilltop would be exposed to 1,314 millisieverts per year (if I calculated correctly), way above the legal limit which was increased to 100 millisieverts per year after the accident.

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Workers walk past cherry trees at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant on April 14. The plant operator said visitors do not need to wear special protection gear in most parts of the premises as radiation levels have fallen.

OKUMA, FUKUSHIMA PREF. – At the facility on the Pacific Coast, people in casual clothes stroll under cherry trees in full bloom.

Hot meals made with local ingredients are served for ¥380 at a cafeteria. Cold drinks, snacks and sweets are available at a convenience store.

This scene is not unfolding at a popular tourist site, but at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, which was rocked by a magnitude-9 earthquake and the ensuing tsunami on March 11, 2011.

Accompanied by officials from Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., a group of reporters was given access to the power station earlier this month.

Six years have passed since the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986.

Efforts to remove radioactive debris and to cover tainted soil with materials like mortar have helped decrease the radiation at the plant, allowing workers to wear regular uniforms at about 95 percent of the site.

Tainted water has been moved to more secure welded tanks, replacing weaker ones made of steel sheets and bolts, reducing leaks.

Visitors can overlook the four reactor buildings from a hill about 80 meters from the facility, where core meltdowns hit reactors 1, 2 and 3. Hydrogen explosions heavily damaged the buildings for units 1, 3 and 4, which have since received new facades.

On the hill, the radiation in the air was 150 microsieverts per hour, less than the amount received during a round-trip flight between Tokyo and New York. Tepco says there is no health hazard here as long as you wear masks and helmets and keep your stay short. Workers once needed to change into tightly woven clothing at the J-Village soccer training center about 20 km away before entering the Fukushima complex. But that burden has been lifted.

About 7,000 workers — 6,000 from construction, electronics and machinery companies and 1,000 from Tepco — work at the power station to deal with the aftermath of the meltdown and decommission the reactors.

Our near-term goal is to create a place where they can work without worries,” said Daisuke Hirose, a spokesman for Tepco’s Fukushima No. 1 Decontamination & Decommissioning Engineering Co.

There are now 400 cherry trees at the facility. Before the disaster, there were 1,200, and local residents were invited to enjoy cherry blossoms every spring, Hirose said. Now, workers walk with smiles under a tunnel of trees, greeting passers-by.

In May 2015, a nine-story rest house with meeting spaces and shower rooms opened. A convenience store was added last year.

At a 200-seat cafeteria, hot meals made with Fukushima produce are delivered from a central kitchen in the town of Okuma, about 9 km from the plant.

I used to eat cold rice balls,” a worker on a lunch break said. “Hot meals make me happy and motivate me to work.”

The plant, which stands on a 3.5-sq.-km site about 230 km northeast of Tokyo, started up in 1971.

Since the radiation has dropped sharply at the facility, about 10,000 people per year, including journalists from the United States, Europe and Asian countries, have visited. Last year, high school students dropped by.

After the two-hour tour, a dosimeter carried by a reporter showed she was exposed to only 40 microsieverts, less than the amount from a chest X-ray.

Although the working environment has certainly improved, the fate of the plant is far from clear.

Decommissioning the crippled reactors is expected to take 30 to 40 years. The utility is aiming to begin removing fuel debris from one reactor by the end of 2021, but so far it has failed to even ascertain the condition inside the reactors.

A lot of rubble remains in many of the buildings on the seaside, keeping alive fears of a quake-tsunami catastrophe like the one that struck six years ago.

A frozen underground wall has seen only limited success in preventing groundwater from flowing into the reactor and turbine buildings, regulators have said, acknowledging that the facility is still a perpetual generator of tainted water.

Tepco is also struggling to dispose of tainted waste, such as used protective garments, gloves and socks. It has burned 1,500 tons of such waste while monitoring the radiation in the smoke. It still had 70,000 cu. meters of garbage as of the end of February.

Through legislation, we are prohibited from taking radioactive contaminated garbage outside the facility even after we incinerate it. We have to continue the fight against garbage and ash,” Hirose said.

Public confidence in Tepco has been shaky in the wake of the meltdowns, and even now, nearly 80,000 residents are unable to return to their homes near the plant.

We have caused it,” Hirose said. “We have to make every effort to create a place to which people want to return. Nobody wants to live where the safety and security of workers are not ensured.”

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/04/22/national/six-years-later-workers-fukushima-nuclear-plant-say-can-without-protective-gear/

April 25, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

Incredible contamination in Namie, Fukushima

 

The evacuation orders of the most populated areas of Namie, Fukushima were lifted on March 31st this year.

Fukuichi area environmental radiation monitoring project” has published airborne radiation measurements map and soil surface density map. The results are simply incredible. This is far much worse than in Radiation Control Zone. Any area becomes designated as such when the total effective dose due to external radiation and that due to radioactive substances in the air is likely to exceed 1.3mSv per quarter – over a period of three months, or when the surface density is over 40,000Bq/m2. In the Radiation Control Zone, it is prohibited to drink, eat or stay overnight. Even adults are not allowed to stay more than 10 hours. To leave the zone, one has to go through a strict screening.

Namie’s radio contamination is far over these figures! And people are told to go back to these areas.

Here is the posting of “Fukuichi area environmental radiation monitoring project” in their FB page on April 20th.

We are uploading the map of airborne radiation rate map measured by GyoroGeiger, the Android supported Geiger counter, during the 38th monitoring action between 3 and 7 April 2017. Dose rate is measured at 1m from the ground.
At 56 points over 100 measuring points, the dose rate was over 1µSv/h. These points are indicated in red. The highest measure was 3.71µSv/h. Conversion to annual dose gives 32mSv. Is it allowed to make evacuees return to such areas?

namie-airborne.22 april 2017png.png
Here is the soil contamination map uploaded on April 15th. They even had to introduce 7 scales, for the contamination is so high and they couldn’t deal with the scales they were using before! It is a violation of human rights to let people live in such areas.

namie 22 april 2017
https://fukushima311voices.wordpress.com/2017/04/22/incredible-contamination-in-namie-fukushima/

April 25, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | Leave a comment