nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

Parties must close gap with reality in talks on nuclear power

hhkmlmù.jpg
TEPCO wants to restart reactors at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant in Niigata Prefecture.
July 15, 2019
Any discussion on nuclear power policy should be based on reality.
In their Upper House election campaign platforms, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its junior coalition partner, Komeito, say they will allow more restarts of nuclear reactors in line with the government’s Basic Energy Plan.
The plan defines nuclear energy as a mainstay source of power, which it assumes will account for 20 to 22 percent of Japan’s total power supply in fiscal 2030.
Following the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, decisions have been made to decommission some of the nation’s nuclear reactors; plans are being floated to decommission others. The total number of the reactors concerned is 21.
Achieving the goal of the Basic Energy Plan would require about 30 operating reactors, meaning the activation of almost all remaining nuclear reactors in Japan.
One is tempted to ask if such a plan can be described as realistic.
The power industry has placed topmost priority on restarting nuclear reactors, but only nine reactors have so far been brought back online.
Many reactors are not likely to be reactivated any time soon because of local opposition, the presence of an active fault nearby or for other reasons.
Officials of Tokyo Electric Power Co., which is seeking to restart reactors at its Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant in Niigata Prefecture, made an argument for itself during a general shareholders’ meeting in June.
“We need to have nuclear reactors up and running, after all,” they said, adding that doing so would allow TEPCO to increase its profits and thereby “fulfill its responsibility for Fukushima.”
TEPCO, however, has apologized for keeping local governments in the dark for three years about insufficient seismic resistance of the Main Anti-Earthquake Building at the Niigata plant, which would serve as a center for response measures in the event of a disaster.
Following a big earthquake in June this year, TEPCO mistakenly sent wrong information to local governments saying that “abnormalities” had occurred at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant.
Given these circumstances, TEPCO could hardly expect to gain deeper understanding of the host communities.
The construction of anti-terror facilities is falling behind schedule at nuclear plants elsewhere in Japan where reactors have been brought back online.
Beginning next spring, reactors operated by Kyushu Electric Power Co. and Kansai Electric Power Co. are expected to be taken offline again in succession.
The argument that nuclear power is cheap is also losing ground. Expenses for safety measures have swollen following the Fukushima disaster, and more than 4 trillion yen ($37 billion) in total has been spent so far to prepare nuclear reactors for their restarts.
The joint public-private efforts to export nuclear power technology to developing markets overseas, given the thin opportunities in Japan, have reached a deadlock in many nations.
The ruling parties should explain specifically how they plan to deal with all of these realities if they insist that Japan should remain reliant on nuclear power.
A final disposal site for high-level radioactive waste is unlikely to be built soon, either. The nuclear fuel recycling program, intended to extract plutonium from spent fuel for reuse, has also practically failed.
Despite all that, there are still plans to activate a reprocessing plant in Rokkasho, Aomori Prefecture, to extract plutonium. This shows Japan’s nuclear power policy is laden with many layers of contradictions.
Opposition parties that oppose reactor restarts and are calling for zero nuclear power, such as the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan and the Japanese Communist Party, should also face up to the question of feasibility.
Even if a transition to renewable energy sources, such as solar power, is to be pursued, there is still a need to curb the burden on the public to guarantee a certain level of income for renewable energy operators.
Measures should be established to ensure a stable supply of power even when renewables account for the majority of it. Allowances should also be made for the economies of local communities that have long depended on nuclear power.
People living in power consumption areas, to say nothing of residents of communities hosting nuclear plants, should give serious thought to the future of nuclear power in this country.

July 16, 2019 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Theatre for Fukushima: voices from the silence

safe_image.php.jpg
July 14, 2019
The bare emotions of the Fukushima nuclear disaster as experienced by children
By Carmen Grau
Where were you and what were you doing on that fateful day, 11 March 2011?
Eight years have gone by, and the then six to eight-year-old children are now high school students who use theatre as a channel for self-expression. Through their performance, they attempt to tell the story of their home towns and cities. It is also a way for them to assimilate the experience that changed the face of an entire region.
Still Life is the name of the play performed by six girls and six boys from the Futaba Future public high school in Fukushima. Aged between 15 and 17, the parts they play are based on their own life experiences. They tell the story of what the children went through, laying bare the complex web of emotions they have been caught in till this day. It is a tangled tale of love, childhood and suicide, seen through the unadulterated eyes of young people, who were just small children when the triple disaster struck. They are the youngest and will therefore be the last generation to keep a memory of those tragic events. And it is important for them to be able to share it.
The brown colour of the sea. A uniform left behind when a school was hastily closed down following the radiation alert. A teddy bear with a broken heart and the incessant ringing of a telephone searching for missing grandparents. Lampposts swaying dangerously on a hill, while children huddle together, remembering the adults’ instructions not to be left on their own. Innocently playing in a classroom with the water and sand spilt by the earthquake and cleaning it all up before heading for safety. Sleeping in the car with all the family when not a space was left in the sports centre. Memories of an earthquake, a tsunami, of radioactivity and the fear surrounding the decontamination process.
Until she was eight, Ayumi Ota lived in Tomioka, a town that was evacuated in the aftermath of the disaster. The 16-year-old actor was inspired to join the school theatre group by her elder brother. They are both part of the cast. With her inquisitive and lively gaze, Ayumi shines in her part as the likeable classmate spurring on the others, despite her own longing for a place to which she knows she will never be able to return. She enjoyed the experience so much that she is considering joining a theatre group: “When I’m acting, it brings back what we went through, although [acting] has not been so hard for me because I want to express myself. We are all interconnected, Fukushima and Tokyo, we’re not that different.”
Seventeen-year-old Minoru Tomonaga comes from the town of Iwaki. He likes to sing and wants to study in a professional academy. He admits that his main motive for taking part in the play is a girl he likes. Minoru found the whole process much harder to handle: “My mind was on overdrive. It was like hitting a wall, because each one of us had our own experiences. It was difficult to cope with all those feelings. But I do hope that we are listened to, in this time of fake news.”
After its debut in Fukushima, in September 2018, the young actors wanted to take the play to Tokyo. Writer Miri Yu, the soul of the play, recalls how, as the performance ended and the curtain went down, the students seemed to be glued to their desks.
“They had grown attached to their roles, so they had to do it. Audiences in Tokyo hadn’t experienced the earthquake, the tsunami and nuclear accident first-hand. How the play would be received was obviously a worry, but something always gets across.”
Art and creativity as a vehicle for comfort and consolation
Miri Yu, who is also a playwright, has won a number of national literary awards, including the prestigious Akutagawa Award (1996). After a string of back-to-back, sold-out performances in Tokyo, Yu explains to Equal Times the importance of art and creation as a source of comfort and consolation.
“The play is a still life that captures the sadness of the disaster-struck children. The pain or suffering we carry deep inside eventually ends up overflowing, like water in a dam. Otherwise, the pain breaks the dam and drags you along with it. To prevent this from happening, I wanted to build a channel in which to pour all this sadness. The play is the vessel in which it is collected. Isn’t sadness what we as human beings have most in common? We all carry certain sorrows in our lives; all of us, in Tokyo too. This play emerged as a beacon of light, a source of solace for young people.”
japanese-children-outside.jpg
Children recalled yearning to play outside, but could not.
 
Kanako Saito works as an English teacher at Futaba Future High School. She is also in charge of the theatre group. This teacher, who supports her pupils and is also part of the cast, explains how theatre helps them.
“Back then, they were just small children and were unable to express themselves. Their parents shielded them from what was happening, be it from the radiation or the decision to move. They weren’t allowed to watch television and had to play indoors, never outside the house. They had no way of venting their feelings.
“Eight years on, they now have the vocabulary to express themselves. As they build the drama, they focus on how they felt, which helps in their healing process. It also helps the families who, by watching their children acting, gain a better insight into what they went through. It helps people to move on,” Saito said.
Starting over
Futaba Future High School has kept the name of the place where it had stood until radioactivity made it uninhabitable. Futaba is one of the towns nearest to the Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. In 2015, the school relocated to Hirono, a nearby town that was outside the danger zone. Its guiding principle is to prepare global leaders that can contribute to tackling today’s new challenges.
Following the disaster, 470,000 people – which amounts to almost the entire population of cities like Lisbon or Edinburgh – were evacuated. According to the Reconstruction Agency, a body tasked with this unprecedented mission, by February 2019, the number of evacuees had reached 51,778. Places like Namie, Tomioka, Futaba and Okuma were totally or partially evacuated. Their names resonate throughout the play, when the budding actors relive their memories.
“The experience had a strong impact on everyone. The actors, who were little children back then, have barely taken in what they went through. The coast of Fukushima has not yet been fully reconstructed. The young locals and their families continue to be faced with great hardships. They have become displaced persons, constantly being shunted from one place to the next, and even now some of these young actors are still having to live in temporary accommodation,” says Yu.
In 2017, the government lifted evacuation orders – based on the area, the radiation levels and the progress made in the decontamination process – but places like Futaba are still classed as ‘difficult return’ or uninhabitable zones.
The decontamination work has also covered farming areas, 89 per cent of which have been recovered, according to the Reconstruction Agency. Reconstruction tasks have been completed in 64 municipalities over a seven-year period. In Fukushima, an area measuring 371 km², greater than the size of a country like Malta, was affected by the triple disaster.
The writer is currently living in Minamisoma, because of a promise she made and a radio show. In the aftermath of the disaster, under the state of emergency, she started working as a volunteer at a provisional radio station set up by the municipal authority to broadcast information to the population and the armed forces. She used to travel once a week from another part of Japan to do the show. Although only meant to last a year, her stay was successively prolonged until she ended up relocating for good, to fulfil her promise.
Today only 3,000 of the 13,000 residents are still living in her neighbourhood, and more than half of them are over 65 years old. Located 16 kilometres from the nuclear power station, the town now has a bookshop and a theatre. For Yu, culture is an integral part of the reconstruction process.
“In a place where people have lost everything, no one at the neighbourhood meetings organised by the government speaks out to ask for culture. People ask for their basic needs to be covered, such as infrastructure, hospitals or supermarkets. But even if the basic needs are met, can this be called a city? Can this be called reconstruction? Not in my view. Culture is something that enriches you, it is relaxing, enjoyable and valuable in its own right. It can be a book or a secondary role in a play.”
Disasters are also a threat to culture. And yet culture is vital to community identity and expression. In 2015, the United Nations adopted the 2015-2030 Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, which sees culture as playing a key role in reducing vulnerability to disasters, aiding recovery and building peace.
At the end of the performance, the Japanese audience leaves in solemn silence. A young woman from Tokyo says it was important to listen to them. On leaving the theatre, people buy a copy of the book on which the play is based. A dedication penned by the author and playwright stands out as a declaration of intent from Fukushima: “Speak out from the heart of silence.”

July 16, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

Supermarket opens in Fukushima’s Namie town

20190714_14_705459_L.jpg
July 14, 2019
A supermarket has opened in the town of Namie, Fukushima Prefecture, which was devastated by the nuclear disaster in 2011. It is the first supermarket to operate in the town since the accident. Evacuation orders were partially lifted two years ago.
Major supermarket chain Aeon opened the new outlet in Namie Town on Sunday, drawing many shoppers.
The town now has just over 1,000 residents. That is about five percent of the population before the disaster.
The store stocked items including sake produced by a brewer who was forced to relocate because of the disaster, as well as seafood hauled in at a port nearby.
One shopper said she used to have to travel more than 30 minutes for shopping, and if she bought ice cream it melted on the way home.
Store manager Shunsuke Nihongi said he hopes to support those who have returned to the town and will choose the stock according to their requests.

July 16, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima Upper House candidates face cynical voters despite anti-nuclear platforms

n-fukushima-a-20190715-870x576.jpg
People listen to a campaign speech by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in the city of Fukushima on July 4 in preparation for July 21 Upper House election
 
July 14, 2019
FUKUSHIMA – Rival candidates, both women, from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and the opposition camp for next Sunday’s House of Councilors election in Fukushima Prefecture are campaigning on platforms to eliminate nuclear power from the prefecture.
But their calls are in conflict with the national energy policy of the LDP and the positions of some opposition supporters.
 
With campaigning in the single-seat prefectural constituency shaping up effectively as a one-on-one race, local voters who were affected by the March 2011 nuclear accident are casting a cynical eye at the race for the July 21 election.
 
“I’m determined to push ahead with reconstruction following your requests,” Masako Mori, the LDP’s candidate for Fukushima, said on July 4, the opening day of the official campaign period, in the prefectural capital of Fukushima.
 
“I’ll do my best to achieve the goal of decommissioning all nuclear reactors in the prefecture,” said Mori, 54, vice chair of the LDP’s Headquarters for Accelerating Reconstruction after the Great East Japan Earthquake.
 
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, also president of the LDP, gave a speech in support of Mori.
 
Reflecting local voter concerns over nuclear power, the LDP’s Fukushima chapter has set goals of scrapping all reactors in the prefecture and building up knowledge and expertise related to decommissioning.
 
In contrast to the prefectural chapter’s position, however, the Abe government’s basic energy program regards nuclear power as an important base load electric power source, while the LDP’s policy pledges for the Upper House election include efforts to reactivate nuclear reactors.
 
The LDP suffered losses in recent national elections in Fukushima Prefecture, home to Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, the site of the nation’s worst-ever nuclear accident, which resulted from the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
 
n-fukushima-b-20190715-870x556.jpg
Public housing for 3/11 evacuees in the town of Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture
 
In the 2017 House of Representatives election, an LDP candidate was defeated in Fukushima’s No. 1 constituency, which includes the prefectural capital. In the 2016 triennial Upper House poll, Mitsuhide Iwaki, the justice minister at the time, lost the election.
 
In their campaign speeches, both Abe and Mori admitted she is facing a tough race.
 
A lawmaker elected from the prefecture said, “Residents in Fukushima have pent-up emotions toward the LDP.”
 
Mori received the party’s endorsement as a candidate in August last year after failing to pass the first round of screenings a month earlier. Explaining the deferred approval, one party source suggested that she was ill at ease with local party members, including prefectural assembly members.
 
She has been helped by delays in the opposition camp’s selection of a candidate, but frustration is smoldering among her supporters, with one city assembly member grumbling that “she does not know how to greet you properly.”
 
Hard to differentiate
Mori’s key opponent in the three-way race is Sachiko Mizuno, 57, who is running as the opposition camp’s unified candidate.
On June 30, standing in drizzling rain in front of a department store in the city of Fukushima, Mizuno told a small crowd, “Reconstruction of Fukushima is still only half done.”
 
Referring to the LDP’s policy pledge, she said the government “has not presented a road map for decommissioning all reactors (in the prefecture).”
 
The candidacy of Mizuno was decided in April by a forum consisting of the prefectural chapters of the Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan, the Democratic Party for the People and the Social Democratic Party, as well as unaffiliated lawmakers elected from Fukushima and the Fukushima chapter of the Japanese Trade Union Confederation, or Rengo Fukushima.
 
After the Japanese Communist Party withdrew its candidate and decided to back Mizuno, she became the unified candidate of the opposition camp.
 
With Mizuno calling for a society free of nuclear power, the policy differences with the LDP are blurred. “It’s difficult to differentiate ourselves (from the LDP) in the prefecture,” a senior official in Mizuno’s campaign office said.
Within her camp, there are differing levels of enthusiasm regarding the elimination of nuclear power.
 
Mizuno concluded a five-point policy agreement with the members of the forum that includes the group’s nuclear goals. But Rengo Fukushima, which has under its wing the Federation of Electric Power-Related Industry Worker’s Unions of Japan, opted out, in consideration for union members who work for electric power and electrical engineering companies.
 
Still, Rengo Fukushima issued a recommendation for Mizuno after concluding from her policies as a whole that there was no other candidate it could support.
 
Still, an official with Rengo Fukushima said, “Cheering for her in street speeches and hearing her emphasis on getting rid of nuclear power leaves me confused about my feelings.”
 
Unenthusiastic voters
After the triple meltdown accident, the government issued an evacuation advisory to 11 municipalities around the stricken nuclear plant. Since the advisory was lifted in the eastern part of the city of Tamura in April 2014, the size of the exclusion zone has been reduced in stages.
 
But the advisory remains in place in the town of Futaba, as well as in parts of six municipalities, including the towns of Okuma and Namie. More than 30,000 people still live as evacuees outside the prefecture.
 
“The evacuation advisory has been removed, but I can’t return home,” said a woman in her 60s who lives in public housing for the displaced in the city of Fukushima. “Only a few people have returned home, and I can’t live in my hometown as most of the residents are elderly people.”
 
She had her house in Namie demolished as she had no prospects of returning.
 
In Namie, more than two years after the evacuation advisory was lifted for most of the town in March 2017, just over 1,000 people have returned. Of people who are still registered as residents of areas for which the advisory was removed, only some 7 percent have returned.
 
In regard to the Upper House election, the woman in public housing said in a weary voice, “Regardless of whoever wins, nothing will probably change in our situation.”

 

July 16, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , | Leave a comment

11,000 Wikileaks documents related to Fukushima

serveimage.png

 

Global intelligence file dumps from wikileaks involving Fukushima:

262 files on cesium:

https://wikileaks.org/gifiles/?q=Cesium+2011&mfrom=&mto=&title=&notitle=&date=&nofrom=&noto=&count=50&sort=0&file=&docid=&relid=0#searchresult

 

282 files iodine:

https://wikileaks.org/gifiles/?q=Iodine+2011&mfrom=&mto=&title=&notitle=&date=&nofrom=&noto=&count=50&sort=0&file=&docid=&relid=0#searchresult

 

2470 files meltdown:

https://wikileaks.org/gifiles/?q=Meltdown+2011&mfrom=&mto=&title=&notitle=&date=&nofrom=&noto=&count=50&sort=0&file=&docid=&relid=0#searchresult

 

4062 files reactor:

https://wikileaks.org/gifiles/?q=Reactor+2011&mfrom=&mto=&title=&notitle=&date=&nofrom=&noto=&count=50&sort=0&file=&docid=&relid=0#searchresult

 

344 files uss ronald reagan:

https://wikileaks.org/gifiles/?q=Uss+ronald+2011&mfrom=&mto=&title=&notitle=&date=&nofrom=&noto=&count=50&sort=0&file=&docid=&relid=0#searchresult

 

4131 files fukushima:

https://wikileaks.org/gifiles/?q=Fukushima+2011&mfrom=&mto=&title=&notitle=&date=&nofrom=&noto=&count=50&sort=0&file=&docid=&relid=0#searchresult

 

1063 files on blackout (mixed batch):

https://wikileaks.org/gifiles/?q=Blackout+2011&mfrom=&mto=&title=&notitle=&date=&nofrom=&noto=&count=50&sort=0&file=&docid=&relid=0#searchresult

July 16, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

Japanese Mothers Find High Levels of Radiation in Food Post-Fukushima Disaster

The “Mothers’ Radiation Lab” in Iwaki City, Fukushima Prefecture is staffed by local mothers who test foods, water, soil and other local materials for nuclear radiation.
In the aftermath of the 9.1-magnitude earthquake and tsunami that caused the nuclear power plant in Fukushima to leak radioactive materials, a group of Japanese mothers work to ensure local food is safe to eat. Despite lacking a scientific background or university education, they are passionate about informing keeping the public informed. 
Although levels of radiation have declined since the 2011 incident, these mothers know the struggle for safe food and water is not over. “Mothers’ Radiation Lab” staff has found Shitake mushrooms, which are often included in Japanese cuisine, have the highest noticeable levels of radiation.
“How do you fight these invisible threats? The best way is to measure them,” says Kaori Suzuki, director at Mothers’ Radiation Lab.

July 16, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , | Leave a comment

A Fukushima Ghost Town Seeks Rebirth Through Renewable Energy

im-88860.jpg
Construction of a hydrogen power plant near Namie is nearly complete
 
July 12, 2019
NAMIE, Japan—Fukushima prefecture, a place synonymous in many minds with nuclear meltdown, is trying to reinvent itself as a hub for renewable energy.
 
One symbol is just outside Namie, less than five miles from the nuclear-power plant devastated by an earthquake and tsunami in 2011. At the end of a winding road through miles of barren land, construction is nearing completion on one of the world’s largest hydrogen plants.
 
The government hopes to show that hydrogen, a hard-to-handle fuel that hasn’t been used for large-scale power generation, can supplement intermittent solar and wind power.
 
“Namie has suffered due to nuclear energy,” said Naka Shimizu, its head of industry promotion. “Today, Namie is using renewable energy to stand up again and begin re-creating itself.”
 
There is still a long road ahead. Fukushima prefecture relies on government funding and subsidies for its revival plan. Even under optimistic scenarios, turning hydrogen into an everyday energy source could take decades.
 
In a region prone to earthquakes, Mr. Shimizu said, some citizens are concerned about the construction of a hydrogen plant. During the 2011 disaster, a hydrogen explosion damaged the roof and walls of one of the reactors.
 
Small amounts of liquid hydrogen can be explosive when combined with air, and only a slim amount of energy is required to ignite it. Namie officials said every precaution is being taken to prevent hydrogen leaks. The plant will be equipped with detectors that immediately halt operations if a leak is detected.
 
Until 2017, Namie was abandoned because of its exposure to radiation. Weeds grew through cracks in the pavement and shop windows were boarded up. When radiation levels were deemed safe, people were allowed to return. But the town’s population, about 1,000, is only 5% of its predisaster level.
 
Few shops or homes illuminate the streets at night. On the main road, the darkness is broken by the glow of streetlights that run on used electric-car batteries charged during the day by solar power.
 
“Nuclear energy harmed this region, but in many ways we were indebted to it. People in this area supported families on the money it provided,” said Kenichi Konno, head of planning in Namie. The Fukushima nuclear plant employed many of Namie’s residents and supported its local businesses, officials there said.
By 2040, Fukushima aims to cover 100% of its energy demand with non-nuclear renewable energy. Since 2011, the prefecture’s generating capacity from renewable energy, excluding large-scale hydropower, has more than quadrupled. More than a gigawatt of solar-energy capacity has been added—the equivalent of more than three million solar panels—while other projects are under way in offshore wind power and geothermal energy.
 
The problem, especially with solar panels, is the unreliable nature of the electricity they generate. While batteries can store electricity for use at night, the cost is so high that even some in the green-energy camp say 100% renewable energy isn’t realistic for now.
 
That is where the Fukushima Hydrogen Energy
The facility, which Namie officials estimate will require total operating costs of more than $90 million in public funds, is set to begin test operations over the next few months and enter full operation by July 2020.
 
Whether or not hydrogen is counted as a renewable energy depends on the source of energy used to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. The Fukushima plant runs mostly on solar energy from an on-site field of solar panels, but also draws on energy from the grid.
 
The Namie plant aims to ship hydrogen south to Tokyo to power the Olympic athletes’ village at the 2020 Summer Games. It will also produce hydrogen for fuel-cell buses and vehicles. The eight hydrogen tanks on site could fill 240 vehicles like the Toyota Mirai that run on hydrogen, Namie officials estimate. The Toyota Mirai has a range of 312 miles per tank.
 
Fukushima hopes to follow the lead of Japan’s port city of Kobe, which built a thriving biomedical industry after an earthquake and fires left parts of the city in ruins in 1995. Some economists say there is a tendency for regions that suffered major disasters to grow more quickly over the long term, perhaps because the disasters spur greater investment in new technologies.
 
Fukushima is “ahead of the curve in the transition to renewable energy in Japan,” said Daniel Brenden, an analyst at Fitch Ratings. “The grass-roots energy movement you see in Fukushima—changing the perspective of how electricity can be generated—that really sets in motion the transition that you have seen in places like Germany.”
 
Still, the transition is costly for Japan’s taxpayers. Solar-power producers nationwide sell output at above-market prices to electric companies, which pass their costs onto consumers. That is adding some $22 billion to electricity bills in the current fiscal year, according to Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.
 
In the absence of significant nuclear power, Japan is relying heavily on coal. It is following in the footsteps of Germany, which pledged to shut its nuclear plants by 2022 in the wake of the Fukushima disaster. Although it has rapidly built out wind and solar power, Germany has largely fallen back on coal to fill gaps in alternative energy sources.
 
On weekdays, Namie buzzes with some 1,000 workers brought in to build the hydrogen plant. One recent weekday night, a few of them gathered at a restaurant in town serving Namie yakisoba, a stir-fried noodle dish for which the town is known. Shop owners say they close on weekends when the workers return home.
 
“A time will come when the country stops providing subsidies,” said Aoi Ogawa, a manager at the Japan Industrial Location Center who advises companies on relocating to Fukushima. “But if facilities and new technologies keep growing as they have, we hope to see cities rebuild around them. The goal isn’t just to return to predisaster levels, it’s to come back better.”

July 16, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , | Leave a comment

2011 Fukushima nuke disaster cesium circles Pacific in Only 1 Year

8 july 2019.jpg
Decommissioning works are seen continuing at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, in this image taken from a Mainichi Shimbun helicopter on Feb. 14, 2019. A multitude of treated water storage tanks can be seen behind the reactor buildings.
2011 Fukushima nuke disaster cesium takes shortcut back to Japan’s waters
 
July 8, 2019
TOKYO — Radioactive cesium released into the Pacific Ocean due to the March 2011 meltdowns at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station is returning to Japanese shores via a shorter route than expected, according to a joint research initiative.
 
The findings were revealed by a team from the University of Tsukuba, the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) and Kanazawa University.
 
Until now, it was thought that cesium from the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO)-operated plant would be circulated around the Pacific by subtropical gyre currents for several decades before returning to Japanese waters. But in 2012, a year after the reactor core meltdowns, tests on seawater samples collected by the team showed increased cesium concentrations in East China Sea waters off Japan. Researchers say that the concentrations observed are too low to impact sea life.
 
The rate increased, peaking in 2014, and a year later high concentrations were also reported in the Sea of Japan. The team believes the cesium is now flowing around the Pacific Ocean again.
 
It is thought that seawater sank deeply into the sea after its density increased due to cooling by winter winds, causing the cesium to travel on a western-flowing underwater route.
 
Michio Aoyama, a visiting professor at the University of Tsukuba, said, “That the cesium would come back in such a short time was unexpected. We’ve found a previously unknown route.”
 
Senior JAMSTEC research scientist Yuichiro Kumamoto said of the project’s potential benefits, “Because it has visualized ocean circulation, the results could be used in the future for predictions on issues such as climate change.”
 
(Japanese original by Mayumi Nobuta, Science & Environment News Department)
 
Research Group: Radioactivity Attributable to Fukushima Disaster Circles Pacific in Only 1 Year
 
July 9, 2019
A Japanese research group has published data suggesting that radioactive contamination from Japan’s 2011 nuclear disaster had circled the Pacific Ocean within just a year of the disaster.
 
According to the Japanese daily Mainichi Shimbun on Monday, a joint Japanese university research group said radioactivity presumed to have been released from Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant after it was hit by a tsunami in 2011 was detected in 2012 off Japan’s coasts. 
 
If confirmed, it would mark a much faster pace than initial expectations that said it would take 20 to 30 years for the contaminated materials to return to Japan after circling the world’s largest ocean.

July 16, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

Japan swimming star battling leukemia posts photos on 19th birthday

jkkmmù.jpg
This photo posted by swimming star Rikako Ikee on her Twitter account shows her celebrating her 19th birthday.
July 5, 2019
TOKYO — Japanese swimming star Rikako Ikee, who revealed in February that she had been diagnosed with leukemia, posted messages and photos on her official website and Twitter account on July 4, her 19th birthday.
“I was able to have many good experiences in the year I was 18. I hope to have more good experiences and days as a 19-year-old,” Ikee posted on her official website.
The message on the website begins with “I turned 19!” Ikee uploaded photos including one showing her surrounded by friends at her birthday party. “The last time I was temporarily discharged from hospital and went home, I was very surprised that a lot of my friends had gathered for me,” she reported.
Ikee also tweeted, “I want to eat cake with delicious fresh cream on it when I go home.”

July 16, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , | Leave a comment

Nuclear fuel transfer resumes at Fukushima Daiichi

july 4 2019.jpg
July 4, 2019
The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has resumed work to remove nuclear fuel from one of the damaged reactor buildings.
Each of the plant’s reactor buildings has a fuel storage pool inside, separate from the reactors.
In April, Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, began removing nuclear fuel assemblies from the storage pool at the No.3 reactor building.
Workers transferred seven fuel units to another pool about 100 meters away before temporarily suspending their work for an inspection of procedures and facilities.
The transfers were resumed on Thursday, after the safety of the procedure was confirmed.
The fuel assemblies are being hoisted out of the pool by remote control, because radiation levels in the area remain high.
The No.3 reactor is the first of the three that suffered meltdowns to have fuel removed from its storage pool. The other two will undergo the process as part of the decommissioning work.
The work began more than four years behind schedule.
TEPCO plans to remove all fuel assemblies in the No.3 reactor building by the end of March 2021.

July 16, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima: The ‘100 times normal’ radiation area outside exclusion zone – ‘Worrying!’

FUKUSHIMA investigators were left “worried” after recording radiation levels 100 times normal, leading them to suggest the exclusion zone should be increased.

 

 
 
Thu, Jul 4, 2019
 
The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster occurred after an accident at the nuclear power plant in Okuma, Japan and was the most significant nuclear incident since the devastating Chernobyl accident of 1986. The accident was started by a tsunami following the Tohoku earthquake on March 11, 2011, and while the active reactors automatically shut down, water flooded the emergency generators providing power to the coolers. The coolant loss led to three nuclear meltdowns, hydrogen-air explosions, and the release of radioactive material in units one, two and three between March 12 and 15.
 
A total of 154,000 people were evacuated from the area as a result and a 12-mile exclusion zone was put in place – later increased to 19 miles – with a roadblock being constantly guarded.
 
However, when Chernobyl researcher Yevgen visited as part of Amazon Prime’s “Radioactive Detectives” series, he was left shocked.
 
The narrator revealed in 2017: “Have the Japanese authorities determined the correct exclusion zone?
 
“The first big surprise is a completely unguarded borderline.
 
“Yevgen wants to carry out his first measurements here.
 
“He has to tell Kenzo that the radiation level exceeds the natural radiation 100 times over.
 
“The men are worried.”
 
Kenzo Hashimoto, a Japanese journalist claimed the exclusion zone needed to be increased as a result.
 
He said: “If the radiation is that high, the authorities should extend the border line even further.
 
“I don’t know exactly how the survey has been made – it seems very strange to me.
 
On July 5, 2012, the National Diet of Japan Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission (NAIIC) found that the causes of the accident had been foreseeable and that the plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), had failed to meet basic safety requirements such as risk assessment.
 
TEPCO admitted for the first time on October 12, 2012, that it had failed to take stronger measures to prevent disasters for fear of inviting lawsuits or protests against its nuclear plants.
 
There are no clear plans for decommissioning the plant, but an intensive cleanup programme is expected to take at least 30 years.
 
It comes after the shocking cost of a home inside Chernobyl’s exclusion zone was revealed during Amazon Prime’s “Chernobyl’s Cafe” series.
 
The 2016 documentary detailed: “In 1986, Chernobyl city had about 13,000 inhabitants and officially today there are none.
 
“Radioactivity in the city is near to normal.
 
“Homes were abandoned immediately after the disaster, people left everything.
 
“Some have returned and have put their homes back in order, they furnished them and they live there.
 
“In these neighbourhoods, life is modest and for a few hundred Euros, you can buy a small house with a garden and enjoy the tranquillity of a true country house.
 
“A small community exists and social life is slowly growing.”
 

July 16, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , | Leave a comment

Nuclear news to 16 July

You’ve seen the TV series, now understand that  the Chernobyl catastrophe is far from over.

It’s difficult for me to stick just to nuclear news, as the enormity of the climate crisis becomes more apparent. While extreme events might not be caused by global heating, climate change is exacerbating them and increasing their frequency. Millions of people displaced by floods – India, Nepal and Bangladesh. Tropical Storm Barry spares New Orleans but fuels fears of floods and tornadoes.  New research – climate change is worsening wildfires.

Of course, there is a nuclear connection, too. Both floods and fires are potentially disastrous to nuclear power plants. You don’t hear much about this, but the nuclear industry is very worried about floods.

“Climate distress,” “climate grief,” “climate anxiety” – psychological effects on people.

U.S., Russia to discuss nuclear arms limits in Geneva.

Heat waves, rising seas, – climate change threatens France’s and UK’s nuclear plants.  Even the nuclear industry itself is pretty pessimistic about its futureRecycling nuclear waste still itself produces nuclear waste.

HISTORY. Cuban Missile Crisis 1962 – how close we came to World War 3

JAPAN. Fukushima – a nuclear catastrophe that continues.  Fukushima Prefecture Council election: both candidates campaign on anti-nuclear platforms.  A Fukushima Ghost Town Seeks Rebirth Through Renewable Energy.

IRAN. Iran still committed to the nuclear accord, but will decrease its commitment if other signatories cannot help.

USA.

UK.  Future of the nuclear industry in Britain is far from clear.  UK’s energy industry plans, especially nuclear, stalled while waiting for new Prime Minister.  UK’s new nuclear funding model would leave taxpayers liable for rising costs or delays. Safety breaches at Sellafield nuclear waste plant.   UK’s Sizewell C nuclear project not likely to provide many local jobs. Sizewell B nuclear plant ammonia leak closes part of beach.   Huge carbon footprint of Hinkley nuclear project, and itself threatened by climate change.   Prioritise growth, or prioritise life. We can’t do both.

MARSHALL ISLANDS. Alarmingly high radiation in soil, ocean sediments and fruits from Marshall Islands.

TAHITI. Tahitians remember atomic bomb tests and withdraw from France’s propaganda memorial project.

RUSSIA. Planetary catastrophe – was not likely from the Russian nuclear submarine accident.    Tax-payer funding absolutely critical to Russia’s nuclear industry.  The Russian Orthodox Church just might cease its blessing of nuclear weapons.   Russia’s new Nuclear-Powered Aircraft Carrier? Just all talk?

ARMENIA. Illegal transport of thorium at Georgia’s border with Armenia.

UKRAINE.  The dangers of Chernobyl nuclear site being turned into a tourism mecca.

INDIA. India’s tigers and other endangered species now threatened by uranium mining in Amrabad Tiger Reserve.

CANADA.  A generation of children was given*radiation treatment without warning of cancer risks  .

ARCTIC.  Nuclear Waste In The Arctic.

TAIWAN.  Taiwan about to close second nuclear reactor.

*this Canadian link now corrected, thanks to MiningAwareness

July 16, 2019 Posted by | Christina's notes | 1 Comment

Fukushima – a nuclear catastrophe that continues

Expert says 2020 Tokyo Olympics unsafe due to Fukushima | 60 Minutes

Fukushima: an ongoing disaster, Red Flag , Jack Crawford, 15 July 2019 In March – on the eighth anniversary of the Fukushima disaster – Time magazine published an article with the headline: “Want to Stop Climate Change? Then It’s Time to Fall Back in Love with Nuclear Energy”. In it, the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Hans Blix, evokes the imminent threat of climate catastrophe to argue, “There are paths out of this mess. But on March 11, 2011 [the day of the Fukushima disaster], the world’s course was diverted away from one of the most important. I am talking about nuclear energy”. He continues by criticising public fears of nuclear as irrational: “Plane crashes have not stopped us from flying, because most people know it is an effective means of travelling”. Blix speaks for the global nuclear industry, which is increasingly attempting to present itself as the solution to climate change.

But plane crashes do not kill untold numbers and spread deadly poisons over huge areas of the planet. Fukushima was and still is a horrific and ongoing human and environmental catastrophe, exposing the horrendous risks to which the powerful are willing to subject people and the planet. It should be remembered every time a pro-nuclear bureaucrat or politician exploits genuine concern about climate change to promote this deadly industry. It should never be forgotten.

………..Today, towns such as Futaba, Tomioka and Okuma are nuclear ghost towns. In them you will find a forest of metal gates, decaying buildings, shattered glass and cars wrapped in vines. The only human faces are mannequins in store windows, still dressed in the fashion of 2011. Sprawled across the highway between towns are hundreds of black bags filled with toxic dirt. They are one of the many problems of the clean-up effort. There are about 30 million one-tonne bags of radioactive topsoil, tree branches, grass and other waste. There is no safe, long-term storage place for this material.

The clean-up is undermined by cost cutting. Workers are forced to meet strict deadlines, even if it compromises safety. “There were times when we were told to leave the contaminated topsoil and just remove the leaves so we could get everything done on schedule”, explained Minoru Ikeda, a former worker. “Sometimes we would look at each other as if to say: ‘What on earth are we doing here?’”

The task is mammoth. The government and TEPCO now say that decommissioning the failed nuclear plant will take 40 years, at a cost of ¥22 trillion (or US$200 billion). But there is significant uncertainty about how to remove the hundreds of tonnes of molten fuel from the reactors. “For the removal of the debris, we don’t have accurate information or any viable methodology for that”, admitted the plant’s manager, Akira Ono, in 2015. “We need to develop many, many technologies.”

Beyond the plant itself, the total clean-up is likely to cost between ¥50 trillion and ¥70 trillion (US$460-640 billion), according to the estimates of a right wing think tank, the Japan Center for Economic Research. Thousands of workers continue to make daily trips between the contaminated zones and company accommodation. Dodgy subcontractors recruit largely from Japan’s destitute, including the homeless, migrant workers and asylum seekers. A recent Greenpeace investigation, “On the Frontline of the Fukushima Nuclear Accident: Workers and Children”, found evidence of hyper-exploitation and dangerous radiation exposure. In one case, a 55-year-old homeless man was paid the equivalent of US$10 for a month’s work. “TEPCO is God”, lamented Tanaka, another homeless Fukushima worker. “The main contractors are kings, and we are slaves.”

Scandalously, organised crime has penetrated the clean-up operations. Those with debts to the Yakuza (Japanese organised crime) have found themselves shoved into hazmat suits and set to work. The subcontracting system has allowed TEPCO to turn a blind eye to such human rights abuses.

Despite triumphant optimism from some champions of nuclear, researchers continue to uncover unexpected and unpredictable consequences of the Fukushima disaster. These include the discovery of tiny, glassy beads containing extremely high concentrations of caesium-137 (a radioactive isotope) among polluted dust and dirt particles. These bacterium-sized particles are easily inhaled and persistently insoluble. How they react with our bodies and the environment is not yet clear, but scientists increasingly believe them to be a health risk. The beads have been found as far from the disaster site as Tokyo.

The dangers faced by those returning to Fukushima prefecture have been a central controversy of recent years. Compelled by economic necessity, most have returned. But as of February 2019, 52,000 remain displaced, either unwilling to return or with homes in still-prohibited zones. In a recent press tour, the government repeatedly blamed “harmful rumours” for creating fear of returning as well as the Japanese public’s unwillingness to consume Fukushima’s fish and agricultural products.

“To me”, explained activist Riken Komatsu, “talking about ‘harmful rumours’ sounds like they are making someone else the bad guy or villain, as if they are blaming people for saying negative things because they don’t understand science and radiation. But those who have lost our trust do not have the right”.

Mistrust is justified. Prime minister Shinzo Abe, keen to move on from the crisis, intends to end evacuations by the time Japan hosts the 2020 Olympics. The international and (prior to the meltdowns) Japanese standard of acceptable exposure to radiation, one millisievert per year, has been scrapped. Across Fukushima prefecture, measurements five times that level are now deemed safe. 

Some places measure as high as 20 millisieverts per year. These radiation levels are especially dangerous for children, who are far more sensitive than adults to even low levels of exposure. It will take decades before the cost of the authorities’ carelessness can be measured in increased cancer rates. The loss of happy, healthy human life of course can never be quantified………

those who “benefit” from the powerful nuclear industry are the same people who crave military dominance. The politicians and officials currently fighting to rebuild Japanese nuclear capability are thinking far more about the military tensions surrounding them than tackling climate change. We don’t need to a build a world full of deadly nuclear power plants to combat climate change. We need clean, renewable energy and a system that prioritises people and the planet over money and military might. https://redflag.org.au/node/6838

July 16, 2019 Posted by | environment, Fukushima continuing, incidents | Leave a comment

The first victims of the first atomic explosion might have been American children.

After a nearly half a century of denial, the US Department of Energy concluded in 2006, “the Trinity test also posed the most significant hazard of the entire Manhattan Project.

Ionizing radiation is especially damaging to dividing cells, so the developing infant, both before and after birth, is susceptible to radiation damage, as Alice Stewart, an epidemiologist who first demonstrated the link between X-rays of pregnant women and disease in their children,[12] first warned in 1956.[13]This damage may be seen years later with the development of leukemia and other cancers in children exposed in utero to ionizing radiation, as Stewart and others confirmed in subsequent studies.[14] By 1958, the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation  recognized that, in the short term, radiation damage can be reflected in fetal and infant deaths.[15]

Fallout protection was not a priority for the Trinity explosion. 

The current body of historical evidence of harm, negligence, and deception—especially the evidence of increased infant death following the first nuclear explosion—should be more than enough for long overdue justice for the people in New Mexico who were downwind of Trinity.

Is cancer the legacy left by world’s first atomic bomb test?  

Trinity: “The most significant hazard of the entire Manhattan Project”  https://thebulletin.org/2019/07/trinity-the-most-significant-hazard-of-the-entire-manhattan-project/?utm_source=Newsletter&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=Newsletter072219&utm_content=Nuclear_Trinity_071519

By Kathleen M. TuckerRobert Alvarez, July 15, 2019 For the past several years, the controversy over radioactive fallout from the world’s first atomic bomb explosion in Alamogordo, New Mexico on July 16, 1945—code-named Trinity—has intensified. Evidence collected by the New Mexico health department but ignored for some 70 years shows an unusually high rate of infant mortality in New Mexico counties downwind from the explosion and raises a serious question whether or not the first victims of the first atomic explosion might have been American children. Even though the first scientifically credible warnings about the hazards of radioactive fallout from a nuclear explosion had been made by 1940, historical records indicate a fallout team was not established until less than a month before the Trinity test, a hasty effort motivated primarily by concern over legal liability.

In October 1947, a local health care provider raised an alarm about infant deaths downwind of the Trinity test, bringing it to the attention of radiation safety experts working for the US nuclear weapons program. Their response misrepresented New Mexico’s then-unpublished data on health effects. Continue reading

July 16, 2019 Posted by | 2 WORLD, children, Reference, secrets,lies and civil liberties, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Kim and Kourtney Kardashian join the fight to clean up Santa Susanna nuclear site

This secret gave her daughter cancer
Kim & Kourtney Kardashian Take On Cleaning Up The Site Of A Nuclear Accident  https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/2019/07/237799/kim-kourtney-kardashian-visit-nuclear-accident-california SARAH MIDKIFF  

Kim and Kourtney Kardashian are flexing their social platforms for good, and they only had to go 10 miles away from their Southern California homes to do it. This weekend, they supported and advocated for the cleanup of one of America’s largest partial nuclear meltdown sites responsible for more than a thousand cancer cases.
Kim and Kourtney, along with their kids, came to the event and joined the community in painting rocks to be used for a memorial commemorating those harmed by radiation and chemicals. The Kardashians became aware of the site following the Woolsey Fire, which allegedly began at the Santa Susana Field Lab. Since then, Kim has advocated for the cleanup of the site on social media.

The Santa Susana Field Lab Meltdown Anniversary Event was set in motion to create awareness that, despite more than 50 cases of rare pediatric cancer being reported among families living in the area since the nuclear reactor and rocket-engine test facility experienced a partial meltdown in 1959, cleanup has begun but has not yet been finished. The partial meltdown contaminated the lab, leaving behind dangerous, radioactive substances and remnants from testing the limits of nuclear power that are proven to be toxic.
In 2010, the U.S. government and NASA signed administrative orders of consent promising a complete cleanup. Boeing, the only non-governmental organization responsible for the partial meltdown, submitted a cleanup plan that would leave the majority of the contamination on the site. It is up to the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) to determine whether Boeing will be held responsible for a complete cleanup or if they will be allowed to leave the site contaminated.
When the lab was first created in 1947 for rocket, energy, and weapons testing, the surrounding area was largely rural. A small portion of it, known as Area IV, was secretly being used to test experimental nuclear reactors.
In 1959, an experiment was conducted that is estimated to have released 260 times more radiation than the Three Mile Island accident. A 2007 study found that people living within two miles of the Santa Susana Field Lab are 60% more likely to develop certain types of cancer. It’s believed that the partial meltdown that occurred as a result of this experiment is responsible for 1,800 cancer cases.
Today, more than half a million people live within 10 miles of the site. Over the years, different proposals have been made for what should be done with the land. In 2007, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill that would have made restoration standards high enough for the space to be used safely for agricultural or residential property. It was struck down in federal court. The most recent proposal by the DTSC suggests a partial cleanup of the site.
“Today I went to an event for the 60th anniversary of the Santa Susana Field Lab Melt Down. It still hasn’t been cleaned up after 60 years! 60 kids all have rare cancers linked to this toxic site! It’s time to clean this up! This site is 10 miles from my home!” tweeted Kim.
“As we look back at the meltdown anniversary, we also have to look forward and get more people involved in fighting for the cleanup. We have seen some positive steps from our elected officials recently, but more — many more — people have to speak out if we are ever going to get the 100% cleaned up that we were promised,” said activist and event organizer Melissa Bumstead.
Kim has lent her voice and influence to a number of social justice issues recently, including gun safetyclemency for people of color incarcerated for lesser crimes, and criminal justice reform. She has met with President Donald Trump, funded legal teams, and asked her followers to not let injustice go overlooked. Now, she’s adding toxic nuclear site cleanup to her growing list of causes.

July 16, 2019 Posted by | environment, USA | Leave a comment