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Honouring nuclear test victims- 29 August – International Day against Nuclear Testing

ATOM Project Calls For August 29 Moment Of Silence To Honor Nuclear Weapons-Testing Victims https://www.indiatimes.com/news/india/atom-project-calls-for-august-29-moment-of-silence-to-honor-nuclear-weapons-testing-victims-351997.html   Ashok Dixit August 28, 2018 

The ATOM Project is urging the international community to observe a moment of silence on the occasion of UN International Day against Nuclear Tests on August 29 in memory of all nuclear weapons-testing victims.

The ATOM Project and its Honorary Ambassador, Karipbek Kuyukov, wants people around the world to observe 11.05 a.m. their local time as a moment of silence. The exact 11:05 a.m.time was chosen because, at that time, analogue clock hands form a “V,” symbolizing victory.

The moment of silence and the representation of victory honour those who have suffered and urges the international community to continue to seek victory over the nuclear weapons threat. “The effort continues to bring the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty into force and to permanently end the weapons testing. Still today, there are many living victims of nuclear weapons testing struggling with the emotional and physical scars of decades of nuclear weapons tests,” said Kuyukov.

Kuyukov, himself, was born without arms as a result of his parents’ exposure to nuclear weapons testing. He has overcome that challenge to become a renowned artist and globally recognized non-proliferation activist.

He has devoted his art to capturing the images of nuclear weapons testing victims and his life to the elimination of the nuclear threat. He is one of more than 1.5 million Kazakhs negatively impacted by exposure to nuclear-weapons testing.

On Dec. 2, 2009, the 64th session the United Nations General assembly established by unanimous vote the United Nations International Day against Nuclear Tests.

The vote was initiated by Kazakhstan to commemorate the date in 1991 – August 29 – when Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev made the historic decision to close the infamous Semipalatinsk nuclear test site in East Kazakhstan, where 456 nuclear tests were conducted. August 29 in 1949 was the date of the first Soviet nuclear weapon test there.

The ATOM Project, an acronym for “Abolish Testing. Our Mission,” is an international effort launched in 2012 to permanently end nuclear weapons testing and seek elimination of all nuclear weapons. The moment of silence on August 29 has been observed globally at The ATOM Project’s initiative since 2013.

The ATOM Project seeks to unify support for the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). The treaty was open for signature in 1996 and has been signed by 183 nations.

It has been ratified by 166 countries, however, it has not entered into force because it has not been signed or ratified by eight specific states listed in CTBT Annex II – China, Egypt, India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan and the United States.

With the observance of the International Day against Nuclear Tests and the accompanying moment of silence, Kuyukov and The ATOM Project urge people around the world to remain vigilant in the effort to achieve a nuclear weapons-free world.

August 28, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Taiwan to hold referendum on lifting Fukushima food ban in November

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Senior officials of the Kuomintang, Taiwan’s largest opposition party, hold a press conference on Aug. 27, 2018 at their headquarters in Taipei to state their opposition to lifting a ban on food imports from Fukushima and four other Japanese prefectures. The banners read “oppose nuclear food.”
 
August 28, 2018
TAIPEI — Taiwan’s largest opposition party Kuomintang has announced that it has collected some 470,000 signatures supporting a referendum on whether to lift a ban on the import of food products from five Japanese prefectures, including Fukushima, imposed after the 2011 Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant disaster.
The number is far more than the 280,000 legally required to hold a referendum, and it is most likely that one will be held on Nov. 24 in tandem with general local elections.
Taiwan has banned foodstuff from the prefectures of Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Chiba and Gunma in the northern and eastern parts of Japan, and the Kuomintang supports the ban.
A national referendum must have a turnout rate of at least 25 percent for the result to be valid, but this hurdle is likely to be cleared if the voting is done alongside the local elections. If voters back the ban, it would be extremely difficult for the administration of Tsai Ing-wen to ignore the outcome and Japan-Taiwan relations would suffer substantially as a result.
Behind the referendum move is a political rivalry between the Kuomintang and the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) headed by Tsai. The opposition is stepping up attacks on the ruling party in a bid to win the local elections and build political momentum toward the 2020 presidential election.
The Kuomintang has launched a negative PR campaign against food items from Fukushima and the other prefectures because the Tsai administration is positive about lifting the import ban. The opposition called the Japanese products “nuclear food,” meaning contaminated by the nuclear accident, and accused the government of ignoring people’s food safety concerns. A person linked to the DPP lamented that the issue is “being used in a political fight.”
The government of Japan has repeatedly urged Taiwan to lift the import ban, saying the safety of its food items is scientifically proven. However, the Tsai administration is hesitant about rushing a decision on resuming imports as it faces faltering approval rates and the issue could trigger explosive opposition from some voters.

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August 28, 2018 Posted by | Taiwan | , , | Leave a comment

Free temporary housing for Fukushima evacuees to mostly end in March ’20

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This file photo taken in April 2017 shows temporary housing in the city of Nihonmatsu in central Fukushima Prefecture in northeastern Japan for evacuees from the 2011 disaster at the Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant.
 
August 28, 2018
FUKUSHIMA — The government of Fukushima Prefecture in northeastern Japan has announced it will terminate in March 2020 the provision of free temporary housing to most of the evacuees from areas in four towns and villages rendered difficult to live in due to fallout from the 2011 triple core meltdowns at the Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant.
It was the first time to set a deadline to end housing support for evacuees from those “difficult to return” areas. The new measure, announced on Aug. 27, will stop the provision of all rent-free temporary housing from dwellings in the towns of Okuma and Futaba where the nuclear plant is located.
The termination of the support program will affect a total of 3,298 households who had to move out of difficult to return areas in the villages of Katsurao and Iitate, as well as the towns of Tomioka and Namie. The measure will cover both temporary prefabricated housing as well as private rental accommodation paid for by the prefecture.
The prefectural government explained that the financial support is being phased out as it is now possible for those residents to find stable homes on their own, among other reasons. Meanwhile, the prefecture will conduct an opinion poll on some 1,661 households from Okuma and Futaba to determine whether to continue to offer free housing for them after March 2020.
The free temporary housing service will end in March next year for evacuees of 2,389 households from five municipalities including the village of Kawauchi and the town of Kawamata, where evacuation orders have been lifted, but the service can be extended for another year for people with special circumstances.
Evacuation orders prompted by the 2011 nuclear disaster targeted 11 municipalities although they were eventually lifted for nine cities, towns and villages by April 2017 except Futaba and Okuma as well as difficult to return zones in some of the municipalities.
(Japanese original by Hideyuki Kakinuma, Fukushima Bureau)

August 28, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , | Leave a comment

Former worker’s book: TEPCO unfit to operate nuclear plants

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Toru Hasuike, a former employee of Tokyo Electric Power Co., talks about his new book in Kashiwazaki, Niigata Prefecture.
 
August 27, 2018
KASHIWAZAKI, Niigata Prefecture–Toru Hasuike, who worked at Tokyo Electric Power Co. for 32 years, has published another book that he says shows his former employer should be declared “ineligible” to operate nuclear power plants.
“Kokuhatsu” (Accusation), a 250-page book released on Aug. 27 by Tokyo-based Business-sha Inc., reveals episodes that underscore the utility’s culture of cover-ups and collusion, including how it stacked the decks in its favor for government approval of its new reactors, he said.
After graduating from the Tokyo University of Science, Hasuike, 63, had worked in TEPCO’s nuclear division, including a stint at the now-embattled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, from 1977 until he left the company in 2009.
His first book about the utility, titled “Watashi ga Aishita Tokyo Denryoku” (Tokyo Electric Power Co. that I loved), was released by Kyoto-based Kamogawa Co. in September 2011, a half-year after the disaster struck the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.
In that book, Hasuike describes the day-to-day activities at TEPCO and the closed nature of the regional monopoly in a matter-of-fact tone. He does not accuse the company of cover-ups or collusion in the book.
“Back then, I believed that even TEPCO would transform itself (following the Fukushima nuclear disaster),” Hasuike said in an interview with The Asahi Shimbun in Kashiwazaki. “But TEPCO’s corporate culture of trying to cover up things and form collusive ties with authorities has not been overhauled. In my latest book, I wrote about all that I saw.”
Assigned to the utility’s main office in Tokyo, Hasuike, who had an engineering background, was primarily involved in work responding to nuclear regulators’ safety inspections of TEPCO’s plants as well as research into the disposal of high-level radioactive waste.
He said he documented a number of his experiences that epitomize the collusive ties between the utility and nuclear regulators before the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.
Hasuike said these episodes made him question the feasibility of TEPCO’s new stated goal of pushing for organizational reform that puts safety management of its nuclear facilities above everything else.
Hasuike was born and raised in Kashiwazaki, Niigata Prefecture, a city that co-hosts TEPCO’s seven-reactor Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant, the largest nuclear power station in Japan.
His parents and other relatives live in the coastal city.
The Diet’s Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission also pointed out TEPCO’s propensity to seek cozy ties with regulating bodies.
In its report published in 2012, the commission denounced collusion between TEPCO and the government’s nuclear watchdog, describing nuclear authorities as a “regulatory capture” of the company because they were easily manipulated by TEPCO’s vast wealth of nuclear expertise.
In his new book, Hasuike describes, for example, TEPCO’s moves related to the No. 6 and No. 7 reactors at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant.
The company is currently seeking to bring those reactors back online as soon as possible to save on fuel costs needed to operate its thermal plants.
Hasuike said in the book that TEPCO sent some of its employees to the then Science and Technology Agency in 1990 on the pretext of “assisting in preparations” for a public hearing planned by the government’s Nuclear Safety Commission.
The agency’s commission was scheduled to hold a public hearing at the Niigata prefectural government building on whether to give approval and licenses for the construction of the No. 6 and No. 7 reactors at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant.
The TEPCO employees were sent to the agency, where the commission’s secretariat was located, to check postcards sent by those hoping to attend the hearing. Specifically, TEPCO wanted to know their stance on nuclear energy and prevent the hearing from being dominated by anti-nuclear attendees, according to the book.
When they grasped the number of nuclear opponents who planned to attend, the TEPCO employees made arrangements to send several times that number of application postcards to the pro-nuclear energy camp to ensure their representation was larger than nuclear skeptics at the hearing, Hasuike wrote.
After the applicants were selected and those permitted to ask questions at the hearing were chosen, the TEPCO employees advised the pro-nuclear attendees on their proposed questions with the aim to make the plant look safe, according to the book.
Hasuike has also been known as a relentless critic of the government for its handling of the decades-old issue of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korean agents. He has appeared on TV programs and written several books on the subject.
His younger brother, Kaoru, returned to Japan in 2002 after being abducted to North Korea in 1978. But many other abductees remain unaccounted for, and there are few signs of progress toward a resolution of the issue.

August 28, 2018 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

Fukui disaster drill for simultaneous atomic accidents ends

Like the one they did in 2011???
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People are helped into a Maritime Self-Defense Force helicopter as part a two-day evacuation drill for multiple nuclear accidents in Oi, Fukui Prefecture, on Saturday.
Aug 26, 2018
FUKUI – A nuclear disaster drill for simultaneous accidents at the Oi and Takahama nuclear power plants in Fukui Prefecture ended Sunday after mobilizing 21,000 people.
It was the first disaster response drill designed for serious simultaneous accidents at multiple plants since the Fukushima nuclear crisis in March 2011.
The drill involved about 21,000 people including residents and officials from the Cabinet Office, the Nuclear Regulation Authority and municipal governments.
Sunday’s exercise focused on evacuating residents from Fukui and surrounding prefectures. It also involved personnel aboard the Maritime Self-Defense Force minesweeper tender Bungo, which was deployed to provide first aid to “injured” participants who were ferried there by helicopter.
In the town of Takahama, 20 residents were flown to Osaka on a Ground Self-Defense Force CH-47J chopper and bused to Sanda in Hyogo on the assumption that a evacuation route was cut off by a landslide.
Preparations involving the Oi and Takahama plants, both managed by Kansai Electric Power Co., are deemed necessary as they are just 13.5 km away from each other.
The exercise assumed radioactive substances were released after an earthquake in northern Kyoto knocked out the cooling systems of the two plants’ reactors.
As part of the drill, task forces created at the two plants’ off-site emergency response centers were integrated into Oi’s task force.
Katsunori Yamamoto, 64, who runs a nursing home 5 km from the Takahama plant, played one of his residents. He was evacuated to Tsuruga by a wheelchair-accessible van driven by a Kansai Electric worker.
“I want to assess risks to our nursing home residents,” he said.

August 28, 2018 Posted by | Japan | , , , | Leave a comment

The week in climate and nuclear news

Putin’s “invulnerable”nuclear-powered missile lost at sea. Joins the rest of Russia’s nuclear junk there, and could be leaking radiation.

Jonathon Porritt and 60 other British writers, politicians and academics condemn the concept of a “balanced debate” about human-caused climate change. “Balance implies equal weight. But this then creates a false equivalence between an overwhelming scientific consensus and a lobby, heavily funded by vested interests, that exists simply to sow doubt to serve those interests.”

The nuclear establishment cannot be trusted on radiation. Beware of the nuclear apologists.

Renewable energy systems set to go ahead with new technology enhancing flexibility.

AUSTRALIA. Australia’s climate change policy sets a dangerous precedent for the world. Australia’s new Cabinet:  A motley crew of climate denialists and pro nuclear proponents.

JAPAN. Japan’s 2020 Olympic Games a public relations cover-up of the Fukushima fiasco, for the nuclear industry.   Risk of terrorist attacks in Japan Olympics: Japan strengthening waterfront security.  Japan’s emergency drill envisages nuclear accidents at multiple locations. Watchdog says TEPCO nuclear disaster drill ‘unacceptable’.   Big safety costs for Japan’s nuclear power stations- and costs will grow yearly.

-Japan plans to reduce its 47.3 tons of stockpiled plutonium. Fukushima: UN says cleanup workers in danger of ‘exploitation’.

FRANCEHot weather continues to cause lower nuclear power production in France.    Increased danger for mountaineers, as climate change melts the French Alps.

RUSSIA. Scepticism, even among pro-nukers, about Russia’s much boasted floating nuclear power plant.   Russian official threatens use of nuclear weapons in Syria.

UK. Following Brexit, UK will no longer be a member of Nuclear Fusion for Energy.  UK government outlines plans for the civil nuclear sector if Britain leaves European Union without any deal.

Continued safety worries at UK’s Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE).  Dumping of Hinkley nuclear’s radioactive mud would break the law.  Blackwater Against New Nuclear Group (BANNG) points out the climate change threats to proposed Bradwell B new nuclear power station.

Following Chernobyl, Britain’s District Councils’ information role was limited to PR for the government. Demolition of Windscale Pile One Stack at Sellafield.

USA.

PAKISTANImran Khan and Pakistan’s nuclear bomb.

SOUTH KOREA. War fear panic is good for bunker salesmen in South Korea.

TAIWAN. Taiwan Premier encourages renewable energy, repeats commitment to phase out nuclear power.

IRANBritain is now contributing to upgrade of Iran’s Arak nuclear reactor.

FINLAND. Finland company looks to China’s lucrative nuclear decommissionig and nuclear waste market.

August 28, 2018 Posted by | Christina's notes | Leave a comment