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Japan to deploy large patrol boats to guard nuclear plants

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July 22, 2018
TOKYO (Kyodo) — The Japan Coast Guard will deploy two large patrol vessels to areas of the Sea of Japan to reinforce protection of nuclear power plants against terrorism, sources familiar with the matter said Saturday.
Two new 1,500-ton vessels with helipads will be deployed between fiscal 2019 and 2020 to the coast guard’s Tsuruga office in Fukui Prefecture where several nuclear plants are located, according to the sources.
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Patrol boats of similar size, each costing about 6 billion yen ($54 million), will be introduced in other parts of the country in the future, they said.
The government is moving to strengthen counterterrorism measures in the run-up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, in line with an agreement in February with the International Atomic Energy Agency to bolster Japan’s capacity to respond to nuclear terrorism.
The coast guard expects the new ships will also enhance its ability to respond to North Korean boats engaged in illegal fishing, and to unidentified ships sighted off the central Japan coast, the sources said.
The new ships could also be used to respond to emergency situations at nuclear plants in other areas, and crew will receive special training in dealing with radioactive substances, they said.
An additional 60 to 80 coast guard crew will be posted at the Tsuruga office, nearly doubling the personnel there.
The Tsuruga office belongs to the 8th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters, which is responsible for patrolling waters along a 2,000-kilometer stretch of Japan’s central and western coasts. That office operates three patrol boats, the largest being the 350-ton Echizen.
To better deal with China’s growing maritime assertiveness, Japan has allocated an initial budget of a record 211.2 billion yen to the Japan Coast Guard for fiscal 2018.
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July 23, 2018 Posted by | Japan | , , , | 1 Comment

Fukushima Prefecture as if nothing has happened

Fukushima Pref. beach opens to swimmers for 1st time after tsunami, nuclear disasters

 

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Children play at Haragamaobama Beach, which opened for swimmers for the first time in eight years in the city of Soma, Fukushima Prefecture, on July 21.
July 21, 2018
SOMA, Fukushima — Haragamaobama Beach here was opened to swimmers on July 21 for the first time in eight years after the area was struck in March 2011 by a massive tsunami following the Great East Japan Earthquake.
The beach is the first in the northern part of the prefecture to reopen after the disaster. Three beaches earlier opened in the southern city of Iwaki.
Haragamaobama Beach attracted about 56,500 people in 2010. However, 207 people in the area died in the March 11, 2011 disaster, and the tsunami littered the beach with debris.
The beach is about 45 kilometers away from the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant, which was struck by meltdowns following the quake and tsunami. The city has not found any detectable levels of radioactive substances in seawater quality tests it started in 2016. It reopened the beach after preparing tsunami evacuation routes.
Sayaka Mori, 29, a nursing care worker in the northern prefectural city of Minamisoma, came to the beach with her 3-year-old daughter and played at the water’s edge. “I grew up at my home in front of the sea. It was natural to play at the beach. I want my child to know the delight of playing in the sea,” she said.

Only 24 of 70 beaches reopen to public since 2011 tsunami

 

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A family plays on Hirota public beach in Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture, on July 20.
July 20, 2018
RIKUZENTAKATA, Iwate Prefecture–A public beach officially opened here July 20 for the first time in eight years, underscoring the destruction of sites along the Tohoku coast that bore the initial brunt of the 2011 tsunami.
Hirota beach in Rikuzentakata, a city that was devastated in the disaster, is one of 24 beaches that will be officially open to the public this summer in the prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima.
That figure is only about a third of the 70 that were available before the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami struck the Tohoku region on March 11, 2011.
Miho Mitsui, who lives in Rikuzentakata’s Hirotacho district, visited Hirota beach with her two young daughters on the morning of July 20.
“Until this year, we were disappointed at being unable to go into the sea, especially with the water so clear,” the 28-year-old homemaker said. “I want to come here every day.”
Before the 2011 disaster, Hirota and the city’s other public beach, Takata Matsubara, were key parts of social life among the locals.
Takata Matsubara beach became known as the site where a pine forest was wiped out by the tsunami, leaving only one “miracle pine tree” standing. The tree has since died, and the city is still trying to restore sand at the beach, which is still not officially open to the public.
For “officially opened” beaches, municipal governments and other operators provide maintenance and other care, check the water quality to ensure safety, and operate necessary facilities.
But at some of the sites in the Tohoku region, the beaches have essentially disappeared.
In the village of Tanohata, Iwate Prefecture, more than 100 kilometers north of Rikuzentakata, the two public beaches have been closed to the public over the past eight years for the construction of seawalls.
Tanohata Mayor Hiroshi Ishihara decided to use the Tsukuehama beach as a temporary public beach from July 26, saying it is “undesirable to deprive children, who live in the coastal village, of the experience of swimming in the sea.”
Haragamaobama beach in Soma, Fukushima Prefecture, about 40 kilometers north of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, is also scheduled to reopen for the first time in eight years on July 21.
But south of the nuclear plant, in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, the city government in May decided that Kattsuo beach could no longer be considered a public beach. Much of the sandy area of the beach disappeared in plate movements caused by the offshore earthquake as well as the construction of seawalls.
Nobiru beach and the surrounding area in Higashi-Matsushima, Miyagi Prefecture, will remain closed for now.
A city government official said the beach area will reopen once “escape routes are set up (for possible future tsunami).”
The Iwate prefectural government has set up a technical review committee to explore the feasibility of restoring sand at Negishi beach in Kamaishi and Namiita beach in Otsuchi that were hit hard by the tsunami.

July 23, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , | Leave a comment

Women of child-bearing age are safer to not work in the nuclear industry

John Urquhart 19th July 2018 Miscarriages and their causes are rarely discussed in public but for many women they are an unfortunate fact of life. To be more precise; for every 10,000 pregnancies, an estimated 3,000 end with a miscarriage. Very few people know that a significant proportion of these miscarriages is due to chromosome aberrations in the foetus, particularly Down Syndrome.

Boué examined 1,500 foetuses that had naturally aborted. He found that 38% had Down Syndrome. So on that basis, for every 10,000 pregnancies, 1,114 miscarriages occur due to a Down Syndrome condition in the foetus. On the other hand, the actual number of children born with Down Syndrome is less than 10 in 10,000.

Even allowing for therapeutic abortions, this implies that 99% of all foetuses with Down Syndrome are eliminated before reaching full term. A very comprehensive quality control system that must have developed over thousands of years through natural selection.

The very high number of foetuses that start with Down Syndrome would suggest there is some omnipresent environmental factor to which humans are very sensitive.

The Down Syndrome condition, along with other chromosome aberrations, together account for 50% of all natural miscarriages. The aberrations arise when genes on the chromosomes translocate and this is a form of genomic instability. We now know that one source of such instability is radiation. Could natural background radiation be a major cause of the Down Syndrome condition?

We know that radiation levels can vary significantly at times. Gamma monitoring by the independent Argus Network over the last thirty years reveals that, under certain conditions, washout of radionuclides occurs which significantly increases radiation levels. A dramatic illustration of this phenomenon occurred several years ago when workers outside the Berkeley nuclear power station were caught in a rainstorm outside the plant and subsequently triggered radiation monitors on their way in! It was found that their clothes were covered with short-lived, naturally-occurring radionuclides including alpha and beta particles, which when breathed in, can penetrate deep into the body.

So, is natural background radiation a major source of miscarriages in women? Hardly any research has been done in this area, particularly as miscarriages are not a notifiable condition and records are hardly ever kept. So, it is necessary to concentrate purely on the relationship between radiation and Down Syndrome.

In 1972, Eva Alberman reported research findings which showed that exposure to x-rays of mothers to be increased the likelihood of giving birth to a Down Syndrome child, but only at least six years after exposure.

What happened when all mothers to be in Britain were exposed to an unexpected bout of radiation from the Chernobyl nuclear accident in early May 1986? Three large radioactive plumes from the accident swept south to north over the country and where they were intercepted by rain showers, significant amounts of radioactive debris were deposited. One such area was Wales, which it is generally agreed, had significantly higher levels of fallout.

official figures for Down Syndrome comparing England and Wales between 1983 and 2004. In exactly six years after the Chernobyl nuclear accident, Down Syndrome levels in Wales, which previously had matched those in England, increased by about 45% over their English counterparts. This six-year delay effect exactly mirrors the findings of Eva Alberman.

What about other parts of Europe? In “Welcome to Geordiestan”   there are detailed facts and discussions of the health impact of the Chernobyl nuclear accident (see details below).

 The annual birth defect rates in Belarus, which was heavily contaminated by fallout from Chernobyl: in the most contaminated area, there was a significant jump in birth defects in 1987 and 1988, which could have been caused by exposure of male sperm to radioactive fallout. Levels then return almost to normal but in Belarus as a whole, six years after the Chernobyl nuclear accident the birth defect rate rose to four times the rate before the accident and continued to climb. The  impact on the offspring due to parental exposure could be at least ten times higher via women than via men. Once again, there appears to be a six-year effect. These figures cover not only children born with Down Syndrome but all types of birth defects. One of the possible effects of genomic instability is to generate extramutated genes which interact with existing recessive deleterious genes thus bumping up the rate of birth defects.

Clearly, there are many unresolved questions about the impact of radiation on the human female egg but the results from Wales and Belarus suggest that, not only very low levels of man-made radiation may have an effect, but that its genetic consequences are much higher in women than in men.

Yet in the absence of any kind of research into the impact of Chernobyl and other low level radiation sources, the British government has recently announced their goal of increasing the percentage of women working in the nuclear industry to 40%. Could this have the effect of importing a genetic trojan horse into the British nation? Animal studies conducted before and after the Chernobyl nuclear accident show transgenerational effects due to radiation. Ryabokon et al. (2006) showed that, in colonies of bank voles, these effects not only persisted but increased over twenty-two generations.

Genomic instability does not stop at one generation. So women of child-bearing age should seriously consider whether to work in the nuclear industry. Not only for their own sake, but for the sake of their descendants.

Welcome to Geordiestan Published by zencity 2018 ISBN: 978-1-5272-2499-5 UK: £8.99 Now available from bookshops and libraries.  For further information email zencity@environment.org.uk
 https://mailchi.mp/e74aa2226ba8/the-welsh-connection-318619?e=4dc677fb95

 

July 23, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, women | Leave a comment

Japan readies for nuclear terrorism as 2020 Olympics approach

Japan to deploy large patrol boats to guard nuclear plants    (Mainichi Japan) 

July 23, 2018 Posted by | Japan, safety | Leave a comment

Hardened On-Site Storage (HOSS) of nuclear wastes is the safest method

(Transport dangers) Any mainline rail can be used. The condition of the rails in the U.S. is not good. Think of recent train derailments – as NIRS has often asked, “What if nuclear waste had been aboard?” The irradiated nuclear fuel casks aboard trains bound for Holtec/ELEA, NM, combined with the rail cars, would weigh around 180 tons. These would be among the heaviest loads on the rails, and would risk further damaging them.

(Waste container contamination) sometimes the exterior of shipping casks are contaminated, sometimes severely so. Above, 49 such incidents of external contamination were documented in the U.S. from 1949-1996. As revealed by Mycle Schneider of WISE-Paris in the mid- to late 1990s, Areva (now called Orano in the U.S., as at the WCS, TX CISF) experienced a very large number of externally contaminated HLRW shipments.

Decommissioning Nuclear Power Plants: What Congress, Federal Agencies and Communites Need to Know Highly Radioactive Irradiated Nuclear Fuel: Need for Hardened On-Site Storage; Risks of Off-Site Transport Kevin Kamps, Radioactive Waste Specialist, Beyond Nuclear , July 16, 2018  https://static1.1.sqspcdn.com/static/f/356082/27949948/1532014874603/7+16+18+Capitol+Hill+Decommissioning+and+HLRW+congressional+briefing+EESI+with+further+note+slides+added.pdf?token=p2q8spOdyd5eCfAnSiIAvb%2FMi2g%3D

 Because pools are outside radiological containment structures that surround reactors (which can themselves fail, as shown at Fukushima Daiichi), the first step in the direction of Hardened On-Site Storage (HOSS) is to “expedite transfer” of irradiated nuclear fuel from indoor “wet” pools to outdoor dry storage. However, there must be significant upgrades to safety, security, health- and environmental protection associated with dry cask storage – that is, Hardened On-Site Storage (HOSS).

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July 23, 2018 Posted by | Reference, USA, wastes | Leave a comment