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Fukushima Mother Calls at UN Rights Body Hearing for Full Implementation of “Fukushima Recommendations” by the Japanese Government

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Mother calls for full implementation of “Fukushima recommendations” at UN rights body hearing
GENEVA, March 19 (Xinhua) — The UN Human Rights Council (HRC) on Monday adopted the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) outcome of Japan, but a mother from the Fukushima area pleaded at the hearing for the Japanese government to take measures to fully implement the “Fukushima recommendations.”
“The Japanese government has been ignoring people who want to avoid radiation,” Akiko Morimatsu, a mother, and evacuee from Koriyama in Fukushima, told the HRC.
Seven years after the meltdown of three reactors at Fukushima Daiichi, owned by Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) after a massive earthquake hit Japan, the accident is still ongoing, as was recently admitted by Japan’s nuclear regulator, Greenpeace told the HRC.
The NGO said that its radiation investigations in Fukushima recently reported on the high levels of radiation that evacuees will be exposed to if they were to return to their homes.
It said this will pose an unacceptable risk for 40-100 years or more depending on the level of contamination.
At the UPR the Japanese government accepted UN recommendations to provide essential financial, housing and medical support for self-evacuees.
Yet in 2017 the government removed as many as 29,000 Fukushima citizens from the official record as self-evacuees and terminated housing support, said Greenpeace.
Morimatsu, is one of those who was “disappeared by the government,” said Greenpeace.
“I thank United Nation member states for defending the rights of Fukushima citizens and I call on you to continue to help all the victims and evacuees of nuclear disasters and to protect the people of Fukushima and East Japan, especially children, from radiation exposure,” said Morimatsu.
 
Fukushima evacuee asks for support at UN
A Japanese woman who evacuated Fukushima after the 2011 nuclear accident has called for international support at the United Nations Human Rights Council.
Akiko Morimatsu delivered a speech at the Council in Geneva on Monday. She moved to Osaka with her 2 children after the accident.
Morimatsu criticized the Japanese government for focusing only on policies that encourage former residents to return to the affected areas.
She called on the international community for support to protect children from further radiation exposure.
A Japanese official said the government will do all it can to expedite reconstruction, keeping in mind that those affected still face difficulty in their daily lives.
The Human Rights Council recommended last November that Japan should continue to support affected residents and voluntary evacuees, in line with requests from Germany and other member states.
The Japanese government says it accepts Council recommendations related to the accident. But it also says it has been providing necessary support in accordance with laws.
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March 20, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , | Leave a comment

A message from Ms. Akiko Morimatsu, an evacuee from Fukushima

Ms. Akiko Morimatsu, an evacuee from Fukushima, sent a message to citizens who live near a nuclear power plant.
“–What is the hardest thing for you, seven years after the evacuation?
 
The hardest thing is being exposed to low-level radiation. It does not cause any immediate symptoms. It has no color and no odor. It does not cause pain; you do not feel hot or itchy. If you could feel the effects of nuclear exposure, it would be lethal. In Fukushima, when you are facing a low-level radiation exposure, none of the five senses can detect it. Therefore, it’s possible to get the impression that you are not affected by radioactivity while there.
According to the logic of those who want to operate nuclear power plants, there is nothing to worry about. These people are taking advantage of the fact that we cannot see radioactivity. It’s not right. In Fukushima, we’ve started to experience cases of thyroid cancer and other health issues, including unknown illnesses.”

 

“There is a reality that many residents in Japan continue to live away from their homes to avoid radioactivity in contaminated areas due to the nuclear accident.
In this country, there are many so-called “mother-child evacuees” where mothers have evacuated without their husbands to protect their children. However, the Japanese government does not keep the accurate number nor the situation of those evacuees, and continues to promote policies to lift evacuation orders for areas near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant and encourages residents to return there.
A lesson from Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Fukushima is that we should not create any more nuclear disasters or nuclear victims. It is a fundamental human right to live free from radiation exposure and to have the right to health, which are directly related to people’s lives and health that needed to be respected the most.”

March 20, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , | Leave a comment

Northern Japan court rejects lawsuit against construction of Ohma nuclear plant

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Japan court rejects lawsuit against construction of nuclear plant
A court in northern Japan on Monday rejected a lawsuit to halt construction of a nuclear plant, said the company building the facility, Electric Power Development Co (J-Power).
 
The ruling by the Hakodate District Court in Hokkaido prefecture on the Ohma plant will be welcomed by many utilities as they push for a return to nuclear power following the 2011 Fukushima disaster, despite strong opposition from chunks of the public.
More than 1,100 residents in Hokkaido, among others, had filed the lawsuit in 2010 to prevent Ohma from starting. The construction of the 1,383-megawatt plant, which will use mixed oxide fuel, a blend of uranium and plutonium recycled from spent nuclear fuel, started in 2008, but work was suspended after Fukushima in 2011.
 
Building resumed in 2012, but has been delayed as the company has to meet new safety requirements imposed after the 2011 disaster, a company spokesman said. The station is about 38-percent complete, he said.
 
J-Power in 2016 pushed back the planned start of operation by two years to 2024/25.
“We are doing all we can for the start of operations in the 2024/25 business year,” the spokesman added.
 
The ruling marks the latest judgement on atomic power in the country, with critics of nuclear energy having more success in some other cases.
 
A high court in western Japan sided with residents last December to prevent the restart of a nuclear plant idled for scheduled maintenance, although lower court decisions have usually been turned down on appeal.
 
 
Court rules against bid to halt Ohma construction
A Japanese court today rejected a lawsuit seeking to stop construction and subsequent operation of Japan Electric Power Development Corp’s (J-Power’s) Ohma nuclear power plant, being built in Aomori prefecture.
 
More than 1100 residents of Hakodate city filed a suit and claims for damages with the Hakodate District Court against J-Power and the government in July 2010. A further eight complaints have since been filed with the court.
 
The lawsuit focused on whether there is an active seismic fault in the seabed near the Ohma plant site and the risk of volcanic eruptions in the area. The plaintiffs also expressed concerns about the plant using purely mixed-oxide (MOX) fuel. Ohma 1 would be the first Japanese reactor built to run solely on MOX fuel incorporating recycled plutonium.
 
“Until now, we have asked the court to dismiss the claims, and we have carefully insisted on and verified that the safety of the Ohma nuclear power plant is secure,” J-Power said.
 
The company announced today that the Hakodate District Court had “recognised” its argument and ruled in its favour. The ruling dismisses both the injunction on the plant’s construction and the claims for damages, it noted.
 
Presiding Judge Chikako Asaoka was quoted by the Asahi Shimbun as saying: “At the moment, it is difficult to readily recognise the tangible danger of a grave accident likely to occur at the plant.”
 
“We will continue to respond appropriately to the conformity assessment by the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) to the new regulatory standards and we will work throughout the entire company to create a safe power plant,” J-Power said. “In addition, we will strive to provide information about the plan of the Ohma nuclear power plant to the people concerned.”
The start of construction of the Ohma plant was originally due in August 2007, with commercial operation planned for March 2012. However, the imposition of more stringent seismic regulations put back the start of construction to May 2008 and commercial operation to November 2014.
 
Work to build the first unit at Ohma – a 1383 MWe Advanced Boiling Water Reactor – was about 40% complete in March 2011 when a tsunami caused the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant. Construction of Ohma 1 was suspended following the accident, but was resumed in October 2012. At that time, J-Power said it would strive to establish a safe power plant by, among other things, ensuring reinforced safety measures are implemented that take into account the lessons learned from the Fukushima accident.
 
In December 2014, J-Power submitted an application to the NRA to make changes to Ohma 1’s reactor installation to strengthen the unit’s protection. These measures – including tsunami countermeasures, ensuring power supplies, ensuring heat removal functions, and severe accident responses – were originally expected to be completed by the end of 2020.
 
However, in September 2015, the company announced a one-year delay in the start of safety equipment construction, pushing back the start of operation to around 2021. This delay was attributed to the prolonged screening process by the NRA after the company was requested to submit additional information about its plans.
 
A year later, J-Power said it expects a further delay of around two years in the completion of the NRA’s review and approval process for Ohma 1. It now expects construction of the safety upgrades to begin this year and to be completed in the second half of fiscal year 2023.
“We are doing all we can for the start of operations in the 2024/25 business year,” a J-Power spokesman told Reuters.
 

March 20, 2018 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment