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High iodine distribution, low intake among children after Fukushima nuclear accident

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December 17, 2018
Despite a high distribution rate of stable iodine after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan, only 63.5% of parents reported children took the tablets, with many citing safety concerns in questionnaires, according to findings published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
The intake of stable iodine after a nuclear emergency is a key strategy for preventing childhood thyroid cancer, along with evacuation and other measures, Yoshitaka Nishikawa, MD, a physician and medical researcher in the department of internal medicine at Hirata Central Hospital in Fukushima, Japan, and colleagues wrote in the study background. The timing of iodine administration is optimally between 24 hours before and up to 2 hours after the expected onset of exposure, they noted; however, iodine is still reasonably effective when taken up to 8 hours later. To date, there is limited information about the acceptability and feasibility of implementation of iodine distribution in actual cases, they wrote.
“To prepare for future nuclear emergencies, investigations of the operational issues in an actual case are needed,” the researchers wrote.
In a retrospective, observational study, Nishikawa and colleagues analyzed data from 961 children from Miharu, a town in Fukushima prefecture, who underwent biennial thyroid screenings at Hirata Central Hospital between August and November 2017 (median age at time of accident, 5 years). In addition to the Fukushima Health Management Survey, Miharu has continued thyroid screenings for all primary and secondary school students.
In Miharu, health care professionals distributed stable iodine to 3,134 households (94.9% distribution rate) after explosions at the Fukushima nuclear plant caused by the 2011 earthquake in eastern Japan, along with instructions provided by the local government. Screening and questionnaire records included age of participants at the time of the nuclear accident, sex, region of residence before the accident, whether the participant was evacuated, whether the child and parents took stable iodine orally after the accident and dietary habits, including iodine intake. Researchers used logistic regression models to identify factors associated with stable iodine intake.
Within the cohort, 610 children (63.5%) had taken stable iodine, according to questionnaire data.
Researchers found that children were more likely to take stable iodine provided after the accident if their parents took stable iodine (OR = 61; 95% CI, 37.9-102.9). Compared with preschool and school-aged children, infants (aged 2 years or younger) were less likely to take stable iodine (OR = 0.21; 95% CI, 0.11-0.36).
In assessing questionnaire data from parents who reported children did not take stable iodine (n = 351), concern about safety was the most frequent reason provided (n = 164; 46.2%), followed by evacuation to other areas, no national or prefectural instruction and iodine not being delivered.
“Qualitative analysis revealed that concern about safety was the major reason for avoiding intake,” the researchers wrote. “Other issues related to distribution methods, information about the effects and adverse events and instruction about intake. In future nuclear disasters, it would be important to explain to both children and parents the effects and adverse effects of iodine intake and to provide detailed instructions about the intake of iodine by infants.” – by Regina Schaffer
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December 20, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , | Leave a comment

Taiwan Food Imports from Fukushima-Affected Areas Become Wedge Issue with Japan

Japanese government keeps on trying to ram food exports from Fukushima radiation affected areas down the throats of their Asian neighbors ….
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Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe
December 17, 2018
IT IS UNSURPRISING that Taiwan will not be admitted to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CFTPP) because of the referendum vote against food imports from Fukushima-affected areas held in late November concurrent with nine-in-one elections. Namely, the issue of food imports is one upon which Taiwan has long been pushed around by larger, more powerful countries, who dangle the threat of being denied admittance to international free trade agreements if Taiwan does not allow food imports.
The Abe administration has in the past made allowing food imports from Fukushima-affected areas a condition for stronger diplomatic relations with Japan. This would be part of a more general effort by the Abe administration to promote the prefecture of Fukushima as safe, with concerns that lingering radiation may still cause harmful effects in the region after the 2011 Fukushima disaster. The Abe administration has thus attempted to promote food exports from the area, as well as to encourage tourism to the area.
Concerns over whether food from Fukushima is safe are valid, seeing as this is an issue of contention in Japan itself. Abe’s Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) is deeply wedded to the Japanese nuclear industry, with an unusual willingness to push for nuclear energy in spite of outbreaks of large-scale public protest. Concerns have also been longstanding that the LDP has been unwilling to provide accurate nuclear assessments for the Fukushima area, or sought to mislead through official statistics.
After the results of the referendum in late November, in which 7,791,856 voted against allowing food imports from Fukushima, the Japanese government initially expressed understanding regarding the results of the referendum, suggesting that not allowing food imports from Fukushima would not be an obstacle for Japan-Taiwan relations going forward. However, this appears to have not entirely been the truth.
Indeed, as the KMT was a powerful force behind the push for the referendum, it is likely that the KMT sought to use the issue of food imports from Fukushima-affected areas as a means to not only to attack the DPP with the accusation that it was endangering public safety but also sabotage closer relations between Japan and Taiwan. Apart from that the KMT’s Chinese nationalism has a strong anti-Japanese element, the KMT is pro-unification and so opposes closer ties between Japan and Taiwan, seeing as Japan could be a powerful regional ally that interceded on behalf of Taiwan against Chinese incursion.
The CFTPP is a regional free trade agreement that is the form that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) took on after America withdrew from the trade agreement under Donald Trump. Despite the fact that the TPP was orchestrated under American auspices as a means to counter growing Chinese influence in the Asia-Pacific region, the Trump administration favored protectionism instead of free trade, seeing free trade as overextending American resources rather than expanding its economic reach.
Japan subsequently became the dominant power among former TPP signatories, continuing to push for the agreement because it was still beneficial to Asia-Pacific nations to economically integrate as a regional bloc against the threat of China.
This would not be the first time that food imports have been used as a condition of Taiwan’s admittance to or denial from the TPP framework. America previously made allowing American beef imports into Taiwan to be a condition of Taiwan’s possibly entering into the TPP, seeing as there were in concerns in Taiwan that the use of the hormone ractopamine—banned in most of the world’s countries but not in America—was unsafe. This, too, was a valid concern regarding food safety, but the KMT was interested in the issue because it hoped to use this as a wedge issue to sabotage relations between Taiwan and the US.
Now that Japan is the primary driving force behind the CFTPP, as the renewed version of the TPP, food imports from Fukushima-affected areas have taken priority as the issue which would determine Taiwan’s admittance or non-admittance to the CFTPP. As free trade agreements are more generally a way for large, powerful countries to coerce smaller, weaker countries into relations of economic subordination, this would be nothing surprising.
More generally, free trade agreements have also long been held over the heads of Taiwanese voters in order to influence how they vote, as observed in the examples of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement or the Cross-Strait Services Trade Agreement under the Ma administration. But in light of the issue of food imports from Fukushima-affected areas being a contested issue in Taiwan, it remains to be seen whether the CFTPP will become a significant wedge issue in Taiwanese politics going forward.

December 20, 2018 Posted by | Taiwan | , , | Leave a comment

Radiation-soaked Fukushima town REOPENS to visitors 7 years after meltdown

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December 16, 2018
The town next to the Fukushima Nuclear Power Planet that suffered a devastating meltdown in 2011 has reopened.
Futaba – on the Fukushima Prefecture – was turned into a ghost town after a huge tsunami swamped the nuclear reactors, triggering a massive radiation leak.
But authorities are now planning on reopening the town – despite warnings of worryingly high levels of radiation.
Shortly after the meltdown, all of Futaba was closed off after critical levels above 50 millisieverts of radiation were recorded.
Those hoping to travel there will need to apply for permission to enter before they will be allowed past a checkpoint
It is thought the town could be rebuilt and ready for evacuees to move back in by 2022 provided it reaches government-set safe levels of contamination by the end of the year.
Officials want radiation levels to be below 1 millisievert for people to live there again.
Photographs taken in the last few years of the areas surrounding Fukushima show something out of a post-apocalyptic war zone.
Last year, shocking images emerged of radioactive boars roaming around several towns in the evacuation zone.

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

Sun setting on Japan’s nuclear export sector

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December 16, 2018
Post-Fukushima cost overruns may kill a giant power project in Turkey, and there are few other deals to replace it
Japan’s nuclear export industry could be dealt a fatal blow if Mitsubishi Heavy Industries pulls out of a massive project to build four large power plants on Turkey’s Black Sea coast, as reports have suggested.
The Sinop plant project in Turkey was seen as Japan’s best chance for an industry – battered and bruised after the 2011 tsunami and triple meltdown at Fukushima – to put together a workable export strategy that did not break the bank of potential international customers.
Aside from Sinop, the Japanese industry has only one viable export project still upcoming: Hitachi’s bid to build two reactors on the island of Anglesey in Britain. And even that deal is looking shaky.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) has not pulled the plug yet on its stake in the four-reactor project on Turkey’s Black Sea coast, but a slew of domestic media reports and talk in Tokyo, suggests that, in the face of seemingly ever-rising construction costs to meet new safety standards that have been put in place since the 2011 Fukushima disaster, the company will bail.
Fukushima legacy
When the deal was signed with Ankara in 2013, the ownership profile was: 65% awarded to a consortium made up of MHI, Itochu, France’s Areva, and GDF Suez. The other 35% was covered by Turkey’s electric power utility, Elektrik Uretim.
However, in April, Itochu pulled out of the consortium, citing cost overruns. That left the consortium with 51%, and the remaining 49% owned by the Turkish utility.
Without Mitsubishi the viability of the project is in question, sources say, unless Turkey can find a new partner or is willing to take on the project without its largest foreign partner. The Russians, who are building a nuclear complex on Turkey’s southern Mediterranean coast, might be interested.
According to Kyodo, a thorough cost evaluation was to be completed by the end of this year. Itochu waited for the report to be released before bailing out of the deal. MHI is apparently waiting for the study to be completed before deciding its next move.
When the deal with Mitsubishi was signed in 2013, the estimated cost was $18 billion for four 1,100-megawatt nuclear power plants. But overall costs have soared, passing $42 billion in April – when Itochu withdrew, and is now put at about $44 billion.
Cost increases are nothing new in the nuclear power industry, but have been exacerbated in recent years by expensive adjustments phased in to meet more stringent safety concerns following the earthquake and tsunami that destroyed four units of the Fukushima Daiichi plant. The Sinop cost rises, however, also encompass other problems encountered in construction.
Fukushima, one of the most serious nuclear accidents in history, turned most of Japan against nuclear power. Before March 11, 2011, Japan had 54 nuclear plants. All were shut down after the accident and some are slowly returning to service having passed scrutiny by the regulator. Five are expected to restart within the next five years, and eight will likely be decommissioned. But prospects for the remaining plants are unclear.
Aware that no new nuclear plant may ever be built at home amid the anti-atomic public mood, Japan’s nuclear vendors have turned to overseas exports as the Fukushima accident does not appear to have destroyed the Japanese industry brand in other countries.
Endgame for nuclear exports?
If Mitsubishi does pull out of the huge project in Turkey it will be a blow to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who sees international exports of nuclear technology as an important way to boost the economy. On his many trips abroad, he often acts as a salesman for nuclear exports. For example, it was a topic of discussion with Turkish President Recep Erdogan on the sidelines of the G-20 meeting in Argentina.
Details of the conversation were not revealed, but it would be a good bet that they discussed the Sinop project with the threat of Mitsubishi hanging over them, and that Abe sought ways to keep the project viable.
Meanwhile, it is not just MHI that may have doubts about the sector. Japan’s nuclear export industry has suffered plenty of setbacks in the seven years since Fukushima. Questions about the future of the sector hang over all three main players in the sector.
Toshiba, one of Japan’s big-three nuclear constructors, recently pulled out of the nuclear power business overseas after incurring huge losses in the United States.
Toshiba has also suffered something of an administrative meltdown in its quest to win construction contracts in the US. In February it finally unloaded it money-losing American subsidiary, Westinghouse, for $1 billion less than it paid to acquire the company 10 years ago.
If the export program is to remain viable, it may be in Wales, where the British government is seeking to build a two-reactor nuclear power plant on the island of Anglesey. Among those bidding for the project is Japan’s third nuclear constructor, Hitachi, through a subsidiary called Horizon Nuclear.
In the nuclear world, there are constructors – like MHI, Toshiba and Hitachi – and operators, who run the plant after it is completed, and they are not always the same. Japan learned from Korea’s successful bid to build six nuclear plants in the United Arab Emirates that offering to build and also run them – a one-stop service – is key to making sales.
Hitachi is teaming up with the Japan Atomic Power Company, which operates two plants in Japan (although both are currently shut down pending the review by regulators). The plan is to present the British with a package deal.
Now, there are worries that Hitachi might pull out of the British project. Chairman Hiroaka Nakanishi was quoted in the Times of London saying his company was “facing an extreme situation,” and that a final decision on whether to stay with the project or leave it will be made next year.
If Mitsubishi does, as is widely expected, pull out of the huge project in Turkey, the only egg left in Japan’s overseas nuclear export basket will be Wales.

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

Tepco-linked firm employee’s thyroid cancer caused by work after Fukushima nuclear plant meltdown, labor ministry admits

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Officials work last month in the main control room of the crippled No. 3 and 4 reactors at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant operated by Tepco.
 
December 13, 2018
The labor ministry said Wednesday that the thyroid cancer of a male worker, exposed to radiation after the triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 plant, has been recognized as a work-related disease.
Following the decision by a labor ministry panel of experts, the labor standards inspection office of Hitachi, Ibaraki Prefecture, reached the conclusion on Monday.
The man in his 50s became the sixth person to be granted a workers’ accident compensation insurance payment over cancer caused by the March 2011 nuclear disaster at the plant operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings Inc. He is the second person to be compensated due to thyroid cancer.
According to the ministry, the man, an employee of a Tepco-related company, was taking part in post-accident emergency work at the Fukushima plant that included a power recovery operation. He had worked at several nuclear plants for some 11 years since November 1993.
Of his cumulative radiation dose of about 108 millisieverts, he received 100 millisieverts after the meltdown.
The man applied for the insurance payment in August 2017, two months after he was diagnosed with cancer.
A total of 16 workers have requested such payments due to cancer they say was caused by the nuclear accident. Five have had their requests turned down while another five cases are still pending.

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

Town that hosts disaster-hit Fukushima nuclear plant aims to allow daytime access to special zone in 2020

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Futaba in Fukushima Prefecture, where restrictions may be lifted to allow daytime access in 2020, is seen in November
December 13, 2018
FUKUSHIMA – One of the municipalities that hosts the crisis-hit Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant is considering lifting restrictions on daytime access in spring 2020 to an area being rebuilt in the town center, sources close to the matter said Thursday.
The town of Futaba, Fukushima Prefecture, where units Nos. 5 and 6 of the complex are located, became a ghost town after the 2011 disaster due to high levels of radiation. Those wishing to visit need to apply in advance for permission to enter and must pass through a checkpoint.
But such restrictions would be lifted during the daytime for access to a special zone several kilometers from the Fukushima plant on the Pacific coast, where government-funded decontamination and reconstruction work is underway, with the aim of evacuees returning in the spring of 2022.
To lift the restrictions, the town will have to meet government criteria to be unveiled by the end of the year. If realized, the move will pave the way for the town to be rebuilt.
After the massive earthquake and tsunami triggered the world’s worst nuclear catastrophe since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, the whole of Futaba was designated a no-go zone for residents, with radiation levels exceeding 50 millisieverts per year.
The town’s plan to mark the special zone as a reconstruction hub was endorsed by the central government in September last year. The town said at the time that in most of the area radiation levels had fallen below 20 mSv per year, with figures around Futaba Station brought down below 5 mSv per year.
Decontamination work has been conducted to make sure radiation levels will be below 20 mSv per year throughout the special zone by the spring of 2020. The government eventually aims to lower the levels below 1 mSv per year.
The International Commission on Radiological Protection sets radiation exposure under normal situations at 1 mSv per year and says 100 mSv of exposure over a lifetime would increase the possibility of developing cancer by up to 1 percent.
Under emergency situations, the ICRP sets a limit of 20-100 mSv of annual radiation exposure.
In the special zone, which will occupy about 560 hectares, or 10 percent of the town, residential areas and commercial facilities will be built. Futaba envisions some 2,000 residents will eventually live in the area.
With more residents and construction workers expected to come to the area, the town is likely to discuss measures with the central government to beef up surveillance through the use of security cameras or patrols.
Five other municipalities near the Fukushima No. 1 plant aim to build similar reconstruction hubs for the return of their own evacuees.
All six municipalities are planning to have evacuation orders lifted in the hub zones by the spring of 2023 but Futaba is the first to announce plans for free access during daytime.
The Fukushima No. 1 plant spewed a massive amount of radioactive materials after a magnitude 9.0 earthquake triggered tsunami that flooded the facility on March 11, 2011.
Reactor Nos. 1 to 3 suffered fuel meltdowns, while hydrogen explosions damaged the buildings housing units Nos. 1, 3 and 4. Reactor Nos. 5 and 6 achieved a cold shutdown after several days.
The disaster left more than 18,000 people dead or missing. As of November, more than 54,000 people were still unable to return to their homes.

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

Uranium/Nuclear Devastation to Navajo Nation, Japan, India, Greenland? Ames, Iowa?!? International Uranium Film Festival SPECIAL – Nuclear Hotseat #390

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SPECIAL: International Uranium Film Festival

Nuclear Hotseat went to the Capitol of the Navajo Nation in Window Rock, Arizona, to cover the International Uranium Film Festival – 22 films in three days, along with interviews with filmmakers, organizers, and attendees from France, India, Greenland, Germany, Brazil, UK, Denmark, Navajo Nation, and America.  Uranium mining contamination of water and land, nowhere to store the waste, radiation genocide of indigenous people, government cover-ups and individual activists fighting back — the hope came from the fierce and gentle people, the beauty of the films, and the determination to keep on fighting for the one planet we all share.

The Films (CLICK on title for link, where available):

  • THE WOLVERINE: THE FIGHT OF THE JAMES BAY CREE
    Canada, 2014, Documentary, Director: Ernest Webb, Original Langu age: English, 10 min.
  • TALE OF A TOXIC NATION
    USA, 2018, Director Louis Berry, Documentary, English, 13 min
  • DII’GO TO BAAHAANE: FOUR STORIES ABOUT WATER
    USA, 2012, 37 minutes, Produced by Deborah Begel. Co-Directed by Deborah Begel and David Lindblom, Navajo with English subtitles.
  • TOO PRECIOUS TO MINE
    USA, 2017, Director Justin Clifton, Documentary, English, 10 min
  • JADUGODA – THE BLACK MAGIC
    India, 2009, Director Shri Prakash, English, Documentary, 10 min
  • NABIKEI (FOOTSTEP)
    India, 2017, Documentary, Director Shri Prakash, English, 66 min
  • NUCLEAR CATTLE
    Japan, 2016, Director, Tamotsu Matsubara, Production Power-i Inc, Documentary, 98 min, Japanese with English subtitles.

Interview excerptHervé Courtois (l) traveled to Window Rock from France.  He talks about Fukushima and his trip to Japan only two months after the nuclear triple-meltdown started.  The full interview will be featured in early 2019.

Leona Morgan, a Diné woman involved in multiple anti-nuclear groups, left Window Rock for Poland and the COP 24 climate change meetings.  She was one of a group that disrupted a Trump administration-approved presentation on coal and fossil fuels.

  • OFF COUNTRY in-progress excerpt)
    USA, 2018, Directors Taylor Dunne and Eric Stewart, 12 min, English
  • URANIUM DERBY
    US, 2017, Director Brittany Prater, documentary, English, 83 min
  • ANOINTED
    Marshall Islands, 2018, Directors Dan Lin & Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, poem video, 6 min.
  • BOBBY BROWN HOMELANDS – LIVING WITH THE LEGACY OF BRITISH NUCLEAR TESTING
    Australia, 2015, Produced and Directed by Kim Mavromatis and Quenten Agius, MAV Media in Association with NITV (National Indigenous TV Australia). Documentary, 5 min
  • GREETINGS FROM MURUROA – TRAILER
    France, 2016, Director Larbi Benchiha, production: Aligal production and France Télévisions, documentary, English, 52 min.

For full information on the International Uranium Film Festival, visit their website:

www.UraniumFilmFestival.org

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Norbert Suchanek (r) and Marcia  Gomes de Oliveira

 

On Nuclear Hotseat: http://nuclearhotseat.com/2018/12/12/explosive-films-on-nuclear-uranium-devasatation-to-navajo-nation-india-japan-greenland-ames-iowa-international-uranium-film-festival-special-nuclear-hotseat-390/

December 20, 2018 Posted by | USA | , , | Leave a comment

Japan’s Move to amend nuclear damage law will push the burden of risk on citizens: CNIC

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December 8, 2018
An important statement by Tokyo-based Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center(CNIC).
 
On November 2, a bill for the partial amendment of the Compensation for Nuclear Damage Act (hereafter, CND) was submitted to the Diet.
In the first place, this CND amendment is based on supplementary regulations demanding “a drastic review including an amendment of CND at the earliest possible date” and “necessary measures from the viewpoint of minimizing the burden on the people of the nation” when the Nuclear Damage Compensation Facilitation Corporation Act was deliberated in the Diet in 2011. Further, both houses of the Diet limited “at the earliest possible date” to “around a year” and determined, by supplementary decisions attached to that act, that “deliberations to clarify the nature of liability in Article 3 of CND and the nature of the government’s liability including the nature of compensatory payments in Article 7 of CND” should also be carried out. In 2015, however, a specialist committee on the nuclear compensation system was set up within the Atomic Energy Commission, and even after serious deliberations had begun progress was extremely slow. It was not until October 30, 2018 that a final draft was approved.
The main points of the draft amendment are: 1) Nuclear power plant (NPP) operators are mandated to prepare and publish a new damage compensation implementation policy, 2) Creation of a system for the government to lend funds to the operator for early compensation (provisional payments) to affected persons before the start of the main compensation payments, 3) In the case that alternative dispute resolution (ADR) by the Nuclear Damage Dispute Reconciliation Committee is terminated, it will be deemed that an appeal has been submitted at the time of the request for settlement mediation if the appeal is brought before the court within one month after the notification of termination of ADR, and 4) The compensatory fund is to be left unchanged at 120 billion yen.
It is surprising that 1) is not already being carried out by NPP operators. At the time of the TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident the government had already devised measures similar to 2) for provisional compensation in the Act on Emergency Measures for Damage due to Nuclear Accidents. 3) can be said to be rational since there has been a series of cases in which the nuclear business side has rejected settlement proposals. On the other hand, the content of 4) is strikingly problematic since it does nothing to adjust the astoundingly miserly current compensatory fund of 120 billion yen in the face of the estimated 22 trillion yen in damages for the TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident.
Originally, CND began as an exemption of makers from liability due to nuclear accidents in order to encourage the construction of nuclear power plants. The discussions in the latest series of reviews have progressed with no mention of this point, but in fact we believe the specialist committee should have taken one step further and questioned the liability of nuclear reactor makers.
Looking back on the deliberations for the Nuclear Damage Compensation Facilitation Corporation Act, where the argument began, it can be seen that there was a shared understanding that the compensatory fund of 120 billion yen was inadequate. Even in the specialist committee, there was general agreement among the committee members on the point that the amount of the compensatory fund should be raised. At the same time, the executive director of the Japan Atomic Energy Insurance Pool (JAEIP), committee member Tetsuro Kihara, stated at the fifth committee meeting, “A five or ten trillion level is simply impossible…. but the idea of lifting the current 120 billion yen to a level of 150 or 200 billion yen is a different question.” While making this statement, which appears to suggest that there is a margin for raising the level of the compensatory fund, he made an about-face at the 17th meeting by denying that there was any margin for raising the amount of the fund by stating, “The conclusion is that, as far as the insurance industry is concerned, it would be extremely difficult to raise the fund above 120 billion yen.” The nuclear business operators themselves also opposed a raise.
However, it is quite clear, firstly, that it is impossible for JAEIP to hold a mammoth sum of 22 trillion yen in insurance money. If so, while considering raising the amount of the compensatory fund, and to minimize the burden on the people of the nation, rather than maintain the compensation scheme with the premise of allowing the nuclear business operators to continue to exist, based on the Act on the Nuclear Damage Compensation and Decommissioning Facilitation Corporation, it should have been necessary to devise a new compensation scheme based on the 22 trillion yen in damages arising from the TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident that did not necessarily insist on the continued existence of the nuclear business operator. With the specialist committee unable to get a grasp on this problem, we are left with the unavoidable question of what on earth the committee, and the Atomic Energy Commission which led it, had been doing for three years, after which they simply threw the ball back at the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT).
In the meantime, on October 25, just before the conclusion was reached, MEXT, under whose jurisdiction CND lies, stated at a Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology section meeting that it had accepted the CND amendment. This constitutes an extremely grave problem from the viewpoint of procedure. Why should MEXT be going to an LDP section meeting to give explanations without having received the conclusion of the specialist committee? It is impossible for both MEXT and the specialist committee to avoid censure for their disrespect for deliberations.
CND is directly linked with the problem of the interests of citizens regarding how nuclear energy risks are distributed under the unlimited liability of nuclear business operators. If NPPs are to be operated on just a very small burden, the risk of “cheap NPPs” is essentially borne by the citizens. The bill for the amendment utterly fails to resolve this problem and would allow NPPs to be operated with the citizenry, as ever, bearing the huge risk involved. Implementing deregulation of the power industry while accepting that it is fine to push this enormous risk onto the citizens greatly alleviates the burden on nuclear business operators and will lead to a serious deterioration in the competitive environment.
The U.S. Price–Anderson Nuclear Industries Indemnity Act concentrates liability for damage due to a nuclear accident on the operator regardless of whether the fault lies with the operator or not, and also established a system whereby a ceiling of 1.5 trillion yen is guaranteed through a mutual assistance system between operators. At the same time, the act also states (42 U.S. Code § 2210 (i) (2) (B)) that in the event of an amount exceeding this, funds from industrial circles and others will be considered. In the case of the U.S., the amount of damages in the Three Mile Island nuclear accident did not exceed the amount of the compensatory fund. In Japan, however, damages arising from the TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident, even by government estimates, will total roughly 22 trillion yen (including the cost of decommissioning). As provision against further accidents, the mutual assistance among the operators, based on the current Act on the Nuclear Damage Compensation and Decommissioning Facilitation Corporation, will be totally inadequate.
The current legal amendment began from a demand to consider the law from the viewpoint of minimizing the burden on the people of the nation. If so, while it is natural to maintain the unlimited liability, and based on the premise of the damage arising from the TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident, a mutual assistance system should be set up to include not only the operators but all those in nuclear power industry circles who have profited from the nuclear energy business thus far in sharing the burden. This is the duty that should be borne by the operators and nuclear power industry circles who have expanded a business that has the potential to cause the horrendous damage we have seen from just one accident. If they cannot do this because they believe the risk is too high, the only option is for the operators to withdraw from the nuclear power business.
 http://www.dianuke.org/japans-move-to-amend-nuclear-damage-law-will-push-the-burden-of-risk-on-citizens-cnic/?fbclid=IwAR3hy-xr5E8-KBPpbZpSA7yW9vx3oCVemiLS-FDlGI9s4mh3bG8E0jJiF1g

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

Support the “Mothers’ Radiation Lab Fukushima” with your donations

On 11th November 2011, the Great East Japan Earthquake occurred. This earthquake, along with the following tsunami, caused TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Powerplant nuclear disaster.
 
After the explosion at the Power Plant, radioactive particles were released and spread everywhere, including the area where we were living.
 
In order to protect the children from radiation exposure, we started measuring radioactivity in November 2011.
 
We measure radioactivity that is “impossible to see, smell and feel.” Making the danger visible allows us to better protect the children from radiation exposure.
 
Through our various activities, we wish to continue working with people who support us in our mission to protect the health and future of the children.

Activities of “Mothers’ Radiation Lab Fukushima”

1. Radioactivity measurementFood, water, soil, building material
Nuclide measurement: Caesium 134, 137 · Strontium 90 · Tritium

2. Human body radioactivity measurementNuclide measurement: Caesium 134, 137

3. Oceanographic research projectImplementation of fixed point sampling and radiation measurements at 1.5 km off the TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station coast

4. Tarachine ClinicPediatrics and Medicine

5. Thyroid Screening ProjectImplementation throughout the Fukushima Prefecture

6. Children’s nature experience camping supportAdministrative support of activities to make the children of Fukushima experience the joys of nature
Cooperating associations: Okinawa – Kumi no Sato, others

7. Children’s wellbeingImplementation of relaxation massages and the “Power of play” project in the “Sir Pirika” therapy room

8. Hosting of lectures given by expertsInviting professional lecturers to hold events to deepen their learning together with local people

9. Activities in cooperation with volunteers of the Fukushima regionSupport of the volunteering activities of the mothers
Cooperating associations: Team “Team Mama Beku: group protecting the children’s environment”

 

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

USA desperate to make money from the nuclear industry – selling radioactive trash clean-up technology

US to offer ‘black box’ nuclear waste tech to other nations ChannelNews Asia 20 Dec 18 

The U.S. Department of Energy’s nuclear security office is developing a project to help other countries handle nuclear waste, an effort to keep the United States competitive against global rivals in disposal technology, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

WASHINGTON: The U.S. Department of Energy’s nuclear security office is developing a project to help other countries handle nuclear waste, an effort to keep the United States competitive against global rivals in disposal technology, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

The push comes as the United States struggles to find a solution for its own mounting nuclear waste inventories amid political opposition to a permanent dump site in Nevada, proposed decades ago, and concerns about the cost and security of recycling the waste back into fuel.

The National Nuclear Security Administration is considering helping other countries by using technologies that could involve techniques such as crushing, heating and sending a current through the waste to reduce its volume, the sources said.

The machinery would be encased in a “black box” the size of a shipping container and sent to other countries with nuclear energy programs, but be owned and operated by the United States, according to the sources, who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter.

“That way you could address a country’s concerns about spent fuel without transferring ownership of the technology to them,” said one of the sources.

The NNSA confirmed a project to help other countries with nuclear waste is underway but declined to provide details.

We are in the conceptual phase of identifying approaches that could reduce the quantity of spent nuclear fuel without creating proliferation risks – a goal with significant economic and security benefits,” NNSA spokesman Dov Schwartz said.

The effort is being led by NNSA Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Brent Park, a nuclear physicist and former associate lab director at the Energy Department’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, appointed by President Donald Trump in April.

The NNSA declined a Reuters request for an interview with Park.

The sources did not name countries to which the service would be marketed, or where the waste would be stored after it is run through the equipment. But they said they were concerned the processes under consideration could increase the risk of dangerous materials reaching militant groups or nations unfriendly to the United States.

Former President Jimmy Carter banned nuclear waste reprocessing in 1977 because it chemically unlocks purer streams of uranium and plutonium, both of which could be used to make nuclear bombs.

The NNSA’s Schwartz said the plans under consideration do not involve reprocessing, but declined to say what technologies could be used.

The sources familiar with the NNSA’s deliberations said there are three basic ways that the physical volume of nuclear waste can be reduced, all of which are costly. At least one of the techniques poses a security threat, they said.

The first, called consolidation, reduces the volume of nuclear waste by taking apart spent fuel assemblies and crunching the waste down to two times smaller than the original volume – an approach that is considered costly but which doesn’t add much security risk.

A second technique involves heating radioactive pellets in spent fuel assemblies. The process, which gives off gases that must be contained, results in a waste product that has more environmental and health risks.

A third approach called pyroprocessing – developed at the Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory – puts spent fuel in liquid metal and runs an electric current through it. That reduces volume, but concentrates plutonium and uranium – making it a potential proliferation risk.

The nuclear community is divided on whether pyroprocessing fits the definition of reprocessing.

The Trump administration has made promoting nuclear technology abroad a high priority, as the United States seeks to retain its edge as a leader in the industry, amid advancements by other nations like Russia, and France – both of which already offer customers services to take care of waste.

U.S. reactor builder Westinghouse, which emerged from bankruptcy in August and is owned by Brookfield Asset Management, hopes to sell nuclear power technology to countries from Saudi Arabia to India, but faces stiff competition from Russia’s state-owned Rosatom.

U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry visited Saudi Arabia this month for talks on a nuclear energy deal with the kingdom, despite pushback from lawmakers concerned about the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul………… https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/technology/exclusive–us-to-offer–black-box–nuclear-waste-tech-to-other-nations-11046762

December 20, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, politics international, wastes | 1 Comment

North Korea highly critical of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

WW3: North Korea warns US tensions sparked ‘nightmare of nuclear disaster EVERY NIGHT’

NORTH Korea has stoked tensions with the United States after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo came under fire in a report carried on an officially sanctioned North Korean news agency.  Express UK, By CIARAN MCGRATH, Dec 18, 2018 And it has also taken to opportunity to pointedly remind America it is now a year since “tens of millions of Americans suffered from the horrible nightmare of a nuclear disaster every night” in provocative language which may alarm Washington.

The Korean Central News Agency took an apparent swipe at Mr Pompeo – one of US President Donald Trump’s closest advisors – in an article attributed to Jong Hyon and published just three days after the treasury department announced sanctions against North Korean official Choe Ryong Hae, who holds several positions including being vice-chairman of the Korean Workers’ Party. Writing on the 38 North website, US-based academic and North Korea expert Robert Carlin said: “Though the Jong Hyon article did not mention this latest development, it surely rankled Pyongyang, a fact made clear in a statement by the policy research director of the Institute for American Studies (IFAS) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea a few days late

The broadside at ‘a brazen faced guy’ who ‘had amicable negotiations’ with the DPRK side, but back home talked about a ‘rogue state’ and ‘maximum pressure’ was unmistakably aimed at Secretary of State Pompeo, who has visited Pyongyang several times.

“Personal invective against the other side’s officials, especially leading figures on its negotiating team, marks an unpleasant moment but is not an insurmountable barrier.  …..https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1060671/world-war-3-north-korea-nuclear-disaster-us-mike-pompeo

December 20, 2018 Posted by | North Korea, politics international | Leave a comment

Japan’s nuclear recycling policy runs aground

End of fast reactor project and uranium glut raise doubts over fuel reprocessing

DECEMBER 19, 2018 TOKYO — Supplies of uranium, used to fire nuclear power plants, are becoming increasingly plentiful globally, threatening to make redundant Japan’s long-standing policy of recycling spent nuclear fuel…… (subscribers only) https://asia.nikkei.com/Economy/Japan-s-nuclear-recycling-policy-runs-aground

December 20, 2018 Posted by | general | Leave a comment

NASA plans to find ALIENS near Jupiter using NUCLEAR powered drill

 

NASA has proposed a plan to use a nuclear-powered drill to dig into the surface of a moon in an attempt to find aliens By FREDDIE JORDAN, Express UK   Dec 19, 2018 The drill, nicknamed ‘tunnelbot’, would hunt beneath the ice that covers the surface of Jupiter’s moon Europa in an effort to confirm suspicions of alien life lurking in the depths. Scientists have long known of the presence of large quantities of water hidden below the moon’s icy crust – but it has been difficult to reach. A proposal given at the 2018 meeting of the Geophysical Union said: “We have performed a concept study for a nuclear powered tunnelling probe (a tunnelbot) that can traverse through the ice shell and reach the ocean, carrying a payload that can search for nested, corroborative evidence for extant/extinct life.

“The tunnelbot would also assess the habitability of the ice shell and underlying ocean.

“How initial deployment on the surface would occur was not addressed and remains a challenge for future work.” The machine would use the heat expelled by the nuclear reactor to melt its way through the ice……https://www.express.co.uk/news/science/1060789/nasa-nuclear-robot-drill-alien-rocket-space-race-Jupiter-Europa-moon-ocean

December 20, 2018 Posted by | technology, USA | Leave a comment

After years of controversy, China’s massive Taishan NuclearPower Plant , goes online (all too close to Hong Kong)

Controversial nuclear reactor goes live in southern China

Reactor at Taishan Plant goes online, after five years of delays, debate and controversies about safety and other issues

 DECEMBER 18, 2018 massive Chinese nuclear power plant a mere 130 kilometers from Hong Kong that has been dogged by controversy over safety and other issues went online last week after a five-year delay.

The plant is in China’s southern Guangdong province, an economic dynamo whose annual gross domestic product is now on par with that of Russia and South Korea. The province has been intent on harnessing nuclear power to feed more electricity into its grid for its sprawling cities and manufacturing clusters.

Four nuclear plants along Guangdong’s coastline are already up and running and now a colossal new reactor at the Taishan Power Plant quietly went online last week. The plant has been plagued by bickering between technicians and Chinese officials as well as their French counterparts concerning safety and contingency measures, controversies that resulted in a five-year delay.

A joint venture by the state-owned China General Nuclear Power Corp (CGN) and Électricité de France, the Taishan plant is a mere 130 kilometers west of Hong Kong. It is home to the world’s first operational reactor of the novel third-generation European Pressurized Reactor (EPR) configuration, arguably the world’s largest electrical generator as measured by nameplate capacity……

Meanwhile, France’s Flamanville EPR project is still years behind its original commission target, the same as another plant in Finland.

Xinhua notes that the generator stator – the stationary part of a rotary system – at the Taishan reactor weighs almost 500 tonnes, and its double layer concrete dome is said to be strong enough to withstand a direct hit by a plane and can contain the fallout in a Chernobyl-like scenario, with improvements also made in light of the 2011 Fukushima incident.

CGN admitted that the Taishan reactor was “challenging to construct.” Environmentalists were also fuming at the elusive nature of the plant’s planning and project supervision, amid widespread skepticism about its safety and system redundancy.

Many opposed to the new EPR design demanded that the new reactor remain off the grid before every part could be checked by a third party, to which CGN and China’s National Energy Administration never  acceded.

In 2015, France’s Nuclear Safety Authority admitted there were safety concerns about an EPR being built in Flamanville. The watchdog also warned that Taishan, which shared the same design and whose pressure vessels were procured from the same supplier, could also suffer from the same safety issues.

There were also reports alleging that the Taishan rector “did not receive the latest safety tests before installation,” as the French manufacturer said its tests detected faults that could lead to cracks in the reactor shell.

In December 2017, Hong Kong media blew the lid on a cover-up involving a cracked boiler found during test runs.

But CGN insisted that all design and quality issues had been ironed out throughout the years of delays and the pair of reactors in Taishan were indeed safer than the old units at the Daya Bay Plant built in Shenzhen in the late 1980s.

The Daya Bay project once triggered a massive outcry in Hong Kong when many rallied and petitioned against having a nuclear plant on the city’s doorstep. http://www.atimes.com/article/controversial-nuclear-reactor-goes-live-in-southern-china/

 

December 20, 2018 Posted by | China, politics, safety | Leave a comment

December 19 Energy News — geoharvey

Opinion: ¶ “Regenerative Cities: An Urban Concept Whose Time Has Come!” • What we need is a city that can serve as a role model, combining the social, economic, and ecological dimensions of sustainability. It should be a city that embeds a vivid cultural life and a culture of creativity in the way it operates. […]

via December 19 Energy News — geoharvey

December 20, 2018 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment