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Sports bodies need to make own assessments of Fukushima: Greenpeace nuclear specialist

“The first thing is … don’t trust the Japanese government, educate yourself. If you’re an organizing body, get independent verification and independent information about what the relative radiation levels are, what the risks are,” Burnie said.”
Nuclear specialist warns of unknown long-term health, environmental risks from Japan’s radioactive water disposal plan
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Shaun Burnie, senior nuclear specialist with Greenpeace Germany, speaks about Tokyo’s plan to discharge a massive amount of radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean during an interview with The Korea Herald at Greenpeace Seoul’s office in central Seoul last week. (Greenpeace Seoul)
Aug 21, 2019
With less than a year to go until the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics, concerns are growing over the safety of the baseball and softball venues in disaster-hit Fukushima.
 
Seeking to break away from Japan’s association with high levels of radioactivity, the Abe government has branded the 2020 Olympics the “Recovery Games.”
 
But health and environmental risks from high levels of radiation persist in parts of Fukushima after the 2011 nuclear meltdown.
 
According to Shaun Burnie, a senior nuclear specialist with Greenpeace Germany, those visiting Fukushima for the Summer Games next year should take a proactive approach to educating themselves on which areas of Fukushima are affected by radiation and on the impact of exposure to radiation.
 
“In terms of safety, there are certain areas of Fukushima where we would certainly not advise athletes or spectators to spend any time. Those are areas particularly close to the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, including where the torch processions will be taking place,” Burnie said in an interview with The Korea Herald at Greenpeace Seoul’s office in central Seoul last week.
 
“They are areas that are not safe for people to live. If you visit, you need to follow a radiation protocol. It is a bizarre situation that you are having Olympic events where people are concerned about radiation,” he added.
 
While noting that not all parts of Fukushima should be off limits, Burnie said athletes and sports bodies need to seek independent assessments on Fukushima, rather than relying on information provided by the Japanese government.
 
“It’s dangerous to just dismiss the whole of Fukushima as a radioactive disaster zone. It’s much more complex than that. The first thing is … don’t trust the Japanese government, educate yourself. If you’re an organizing body, get independent verification and independent information about what the relative radiation levels are, what the risks are,” Burnie said.
 
As the senior nuclear specialist with Greenpeace Germany, Burnie has followed the Japanese government’s handling of the tsunami and earthquake in March 2011 that resulted in the meltdown of three nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant.
 
In a report published in January, Burnie alleged that Tokyo plans to dispose of some 1 million metric tons of contaminated water by discharging it into the Pacific Ocean after the Summer Olympics.
 
If Japan follows through with the move, radioactive water is expected to be present in Korea’s East Sea a year later.
 
“For the past five years we’ve been accessing the process, the discussions, the documents submitted by Tepco (Tokyo Electric Power Company) … we were reviewing some of Tepco’s data (last year) and we looked at it and went ‘there is something wrong here with Tepco’s processing,’” Burnie said.
 
“It became very clear there has been bad decisions made, not really surprising, by Tepco, by the (Japanese) government over the last five or six years and how to manage the water crisis.”
 
Last year Tepco acknowledged its Advanced Liquid Processing System, or ALPS, had failed to purify contaminated water stored in tanks at the Dai-ichi power plant.
 
A committee under Japan’s Ministry of Economy in 2016 put together five scenarios for the Japanese government to deal with the massive volume of pollutants stored at the Fukushima No. 1 plant.
 
The amount of water stored at the plant is to reach its full capacity of 1.3 million tons by the end of 2020, with about 170 tons accumulating daily.
 
According to Burnie, Tokyo has chosen to discharge the radioactive water instead of acting on any of the other four suggestions because “it is the most cheap and fast.”
 
Besides increased levels of radioactive cesium found in Fukushima and in the East Sea, Burnie warned of “cesium-rich micro particles” extremely small in size and inhaled through breathing.
 
Cesium is one of the largest sources of radioactivity from the 2011 disaster and has a half-life of 30 years.
 
“There is evidence from samples … some scientific literature has published the results and they found concentrations of these particles in areas 20-30 kilometers from the plant. … The problem is these particles can be inhaled. Then some of them lodge inside your lung at which point you are getting an internal dose, a very focused, very localized, relatively high-exposure dose to individual cells,” Burnie said.
 
“That’s a real problem because there is very little known about how cesium in that form will affect your long-term health. … Again, the people most at risk are those returning to live in areas of Fukushima affected by these particles. But the Japanese government has not taken into account in any of its assessments what those risks are,” he added.
 
Stressing that the risks of exposure to radiation should not be exaggerated, Burnie noted there is no safe level of radiation exposure and the long-term effects are unknown.
 
“The effects you will only see over decades. It won’t be instant, it’s not an acute radiation exposure, it’s low-level radiation,” Burnie said.
 
“The country that will be next impacted will be Korea, because it’s the geographically closest. … There is no safe threshold for radiation exposure. … Why should you be exposed when there is a clear alternative, which is you store?”

August 22, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , , , | Leave a comment

South Korea to increase radiation testing of Japanese food

My respect to South Korea: the one and only country to protect its population from Japanese radiation contaminated products and to protest against japan’s plan to dump all the Fukushima radioactive water into our Pacific ocean. I would like to hear the countries protesting and our elected politicians have at heart to defend as well the health of their citizens!
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South Korea to increase radiation testing of Japanese food
August 21, 2019
SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea said on Wednesday it will double the radiation testing of some Japanese food exports due to potential contamination from the tsunami-damaged Fukushima nuclear plant.
Relations between the two U.S. allies are at their worst in years, with a trade row rooted in a decades-old dispute over compensation for South Koreans forced to work during Japan’s wartime occupation of the Korean Peninsula.
South Korea has stepped up demands this month for a Japanese response to concerns food produced in the Fukushima area and nearby sea could be contaminated by radiation from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant that was severely damaged by the 2011 tsunami.
South Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) said on Wednesday that it will double the frequency of testing of any food products with a history of being returned in the past five years after trace amounts of radiation were detected.
“As public concerns about radioactive contamination have been rising recently, we are planning a more thorough inspection starting August 23,” said Lee Seoung-yong, director-general at MFDS.
The affected food imports from Japan will be relatively minimal, as only about two tonnes are returned out of about 190,000 tonnes of total Japanese food imports annually, Lee said.
An official at Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries said Japanese food products were safe and the increased radiation testing was unnecessary.
“Safety of Japanese food items has been secured and no additional restrictions are necessary. Many countries have agreed with this and got rid of import restrictions completely … It is very regrettable that these additional measures will be implemented,” the official told Reuters.
The 2020 Tokyo Olympics organizers said on Tuesday that South Korea’s National Olympic Committee had sent a letter expressing concern at the possibility of produce grown in Fukushima prefecture being served to athletes in the Olympic village.
South Korea’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday summoned the economy minister from the Japanese embassy in Seoul over media reports and international environmental groups’ claims that Japan plans to release contaminated water from the Fukushima plant into the ocean.
In April, South Korea won the bulk of its appeal in a dispute at the World Trade Organization over import bans and testing requirements it had imposed on Japanese seafood in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima disaster.
 
 
S.Korea to tighten checks on food from Japan
August 21, 2019
The South Korean government says it will tighten radiation checks on food products imported from Japan.
Following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant accident in March 2011, South Korea banned imports of marine products from eight Japanese prefectures and farm products from 14 prefectures. Other food items are tested for radiation upon arrival in South Korea.
South Korea’s Food and Drug Safety Ministry announced on Wednesday that 17 food products that have tested positive for even minute amounts of radiation in the past will be screened twice, starting on Friday. The items include processed seafood, blueberries, tea and coffee.
South Korea’s government announced earlier this month that it is stepping up radiation checks on coal ash and three types of recyclable imports from Japan.
On Monday, South Korea’s Foreign Ministry summoned a senior Japanese Embassy official for an explanation of Japan’s plan to release into the ocean water containing radioactive substances generated at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.

August 22, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Enough is enough: Japan must not discharge radioactive water

Radiation alert: Japan must not discharge water

 

Mitch-Shin

By Mitch Shin

August 20, 2019

The relationship between Seoul and Tokyo has deteriorated rapidly since Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced an economic retaliation against South Korea on July 1. Seoul has been responding to the Japanese government’s actions, and the South Korean people have been boycotting Japanese products as a countermeasure in the diplomatic war with Japan. However, there have been media reports recently that could strain the relationship even further. Outlets reported that there was a possibility that the Japanese government could discharge contaminated water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean.

If the Japanese government discharges 1.1 million metric tons of highly toxic radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean, it could flow into the East Sea – which the Japanese call the Sea of Japan – within a year. The South Korean government vowed to respond and a Foreign Ministry spokesman said it would ask Japan for information about the status of the polluted water at the Fukushima plant.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned a Japanese Embassy official on Monday and asked for a formal response from Tokyo regarding the Fukushima-contaminated water discharge plan. The Korean government should respond with finality to this issue. Just as the government has fundamentally prevented the import of Fukushima seafood by filing a complaint with the World Trade Organization, the government should take a hard line on this issue.

Shaun Burnie, a nuclear specialist at the Greenpeace Germany office who wrote a column in The Economist on the issue, says the Japanese government should put Fukushima’s polluted water in long-term storage. Burnie also emphasized that it should not be discharged into the Pacific Ocean. He highlighted the vulnerability of South Korea if Japan discharges polluted war into the Pacific Ocean. According to the UN Convention on Maritime Law, Seoul has the right to request explanations and information on the potential impact of the Fukushima crisis on its environment. Seoul is expected to demand answers at the Joint Conference of the International Maritime Organization’s London Convention and Protocol next month.

According to Greenpeace and Korean media reports, the Japanese government has stored about 110,000 tons of high-level radioactive contaminated water in storage tanks at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant since 2011. By temporarily storing contaminated water in tanks, the Japanese government is minimizing the possibility of damage caused by Fukushima’s contaminated water. However, groundwater introduced into the three reactors creates 1,497 tons of high-level radioactive contaminated water each week. An even more serious concern is the contaminated water in the reactor, which is 100 million times higher than the contaminated water stored in the tank after treatment. As of July, there are 18,000 tons of radioactive water in the reactor. The Japanese government has set a goal of reducing the polluted water in the reactor to 6,000 tons by 2021, but Burnie said it was a difficult goal to achieve. 

Greenpeace researchers also found that the East Sea was contaminated when water containing cesium was discharged into the Pacific Ocean during the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident. Pollution in the East Sea increased between 2012 and 2016, peaking in 2015. Knowing this, if the Japanese government releases polluted water into the Pacific Ocean ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, the Korean government should condemn its actions in every way possible. In addition, the international community should recognize the seriousness of this issue and seek cooperation from countries that may be affected by Fukushima’s contaminated water.

The Japanese government is expected to decide how to best treat Fukushima’s contaminated water, which will likely reach storage limits shortly before the Tokyo Olympics in August 2020. However, it only provides the international community with a fundamental answer to the problem but does not disclose specific solutions. It also announced that it would include ingredients from Fukushima in the Olympic team’s diet during the Tokyo Olympics. However, according to reports by JTBC, a South Korean broadcaster, radiation levels still reach dangerous levels throughout some Fukushima regions.

Recently, right-wing politicians in the Japanese government have made negative remarks about Korea indiscriminately in an effort to fuel the economic war with Japan. In recent months, the biggest issue in South Korea has been the Japanese government’s economic retaliation against trade regulations, not North Korea’s missile launch. And as the press reported that the possibility that the Fukushima contaminated water could cause affect Korea, the Korean people are once again preparing to address the Japanese government’s vicious behavior. It may be common sense to get along with neighboring countries, but one cannot expect the Korean people to be diplomatic under the circumstances. The Japanese government has certainly crossed the line.

Is it common sense that the Tokyo Olympics baseball games should be held at a venue where there is a high risk of exposure to radiation (one of the baseball fields is located near Fukushima)? During the 2011 earthquake in Japan, Korean people raised funds to support reconstruction. Is the Japanese government repaying the goodwill of the Korean people like this? Abe should consider how Germany asked forgiveness from other nations after World War II.

Enough is enough.

Mitch Shin is a student at the University of Utah Asia Campus, major in the Department of Communication. Shin is also a correspondent for The Daily Utah Chronicle, which is an independent student voice of the University of Utah.

https://www.asiatimes.com/2019/08/opinion/radiation-alert-japan-must-not-discharge-water/

 

August 22, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima Radiation Becomes Latest Japan-South Korea Sore Point

1000x-1.jpgThe Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Okuma, Fukushima prefecture.

 

20 août 2019

Radiation from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant is becoming the latest source of tension between Japan and South Korea, potentially undercutting Tokyo’s effort to promote the 2020 Olympics.

In recent days, South Korean officials have summoned a Japanese diplomat to express concern about a planned release of treated radioactive water into the ocean by Tepco, the plant’s owner. They’re also pushing for independent radiation checks at Olympic venues and proposing a separate cafeteria for their athletes, citing concerns about contaminated food.

 

The radiation dispute is threatening to prolong tensions between the two U.S. allies, who have spent much of the summer trading economic sanctions and diplomatic threats in a tit-for-tat dispute. The feud has exposed lingering mistrust and disagreements over Japan’s colonial rule on the Korean Peninsula.

South Korea’s radiation concerns contrast with signs of softening attitudes last week on the anniversary of Japan’s World War II surrender. Japan has also taken steps to show that its recent export controls won’t prevent legitimate sales to its neighbor. JSR Corp., one of the materials makers subject to the restrictions, received an export permit this week, according to a person familiar with the matter.

No Backing Down

It’s gone so far that neither side can back down,” said Hiroyuki Kishi, a former trade official turned professor at Keio University in Yokohama, adding that the dispute would probably continue “or get worse.” “I’m concerned that Japan may respond emotionally, because the Olympics are seen as very important.”

South Korea is also mulling whether to maintain an agreement on sharing military information with Japan, and may announce its decision as soon as Thursday, Yonhap News reported. Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono told reporters in Beijing following a meeting with his South Korean counterpart Kang Kyung-wha that the pact was important and should be maintained.

Under Control’

The issue of radiation at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, which was damaged in the March 11, 2011, earthquake and tsunami, has loomed over Tokyo’s Olympic bid from the start. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe threw his weight behind the campaign, assuring the International Olympic Committee in a 2013 speech that the plant was “under control” and would have no impact on the capital.

Now, Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings Inc. is preparing a release from on-site storage tanks, which are expected to fill up by 2022 with water treated to remove most radioactive elements. An adviser for the company has recommended a controlled release into the Western Pacific — a common practice at other reactors around the world — while the environmental group Greenpeace has urged keeping the water in storage.

South Korea summoned a Japanese diplomat on Monday, with the Foreign Ministry urging Tokyo to look into international organizations’ views on the matter and be more transparent about its plans.

Separately, the Korea Sport & Olympic Committee is set to make an official request that international organizations such as Greenpeace monitor radiation at Tokyo Olympic venues, the committee’s press officer, Lee Mi-jin, said. South Korean officials have also drawn up a plan to run a separate cafeteria exclusively for South Korean athletes, to ensure they don’t eat food from Fukushima, Lee said.

The South Korean Food Ministry also announced Wednesday it would step up radiation checks on 17 items imported from Japan, including tea and chocolate.

Produce from Fukushima is screened before shipment and is widely available in Japanese supermarkets. Recent data from volunteer organization Safecast shows that radiation levels in Tokyo are somewhat lower than those in Seoul.

The Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee declined to comment on requests from other countries’ organizing committees.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-08-20/fukushima-radiation-becomes-latest-japan-south-korea-sore-point?utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=socialflow-organic&cmpid=socialflow-twitter-business&utm_source=twitter&utm_content=business&fbclid=IwAR3zRTuoeDEynETpydD9GgIALFyuIJWqIHnHNpUW_hjQAS7nv7xSO9WvT9s

 

August 22, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , | Leave a comment

Less bluster, but no compromise seen as South Korean, Japan ministers meet in China

2019-08-20T083741Z_1_LYNXNPEF7J0EG_RTROPTP_3_SOUTHKOREA-JAPAN-LABORERS.JPGA police officer stands guard near Japan and South Korea national flags at a hotel, where the South Korean embassy in Japan is.

 

August 20, 2019

SEOUL/TOKYO (Reuters) – South Korea and Japan have toned down the rhetoric but show little sign of compromise in a bitter political and economic dispute as their foreign ministers prepare to meet in China this week.

Relations between the two U.S. allies are at their worst in years, with a trade row rooted in a decades-old dispute over compensation for Koreans forced to work during Japan’s wartime occupation of South Korea.

Foreign ministers Kang Kyung-wha of South Korea, Taro Kono of Japan and Wang Yi of China will have trilateral meetings in Beijing from Tuesday evening to Thursday.

“We will have to actively express our position, but I am leaving with a heavy heart because the situation is very difficult,” Kang said before departing for China where a one-on-one meeting with Kono is set for Wednesday.

Their August meeting in Bangkok, where cameras captured the unsmiling pair making perfunctory handshakes, achieved little. A day later, Japan cut South Korea from a white list of favored trade partners, drawing retaliatory measures from Seoul.

“We expect to exchange views on various issues between Japan and the ROK, such as the issue of former civilian workers from the Korean Peninsula,” Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement, using the initials of South Korea’s official name, the Republic of Korea.

The Beijing talks would reaffirm Japan’s “close bilateral cooperation” with South Korea, as well as trilateral ties with the United States, the ministry said.

Since the Bangkok meeting, Seoul has urged a “cooling off period” and Japan approved shipments of a high-tech material to South Korea for the second time since imposing export curbs in July.

Nevertheless, the dispute is far from over.

South Korea warned this month it may consider revoking a military intelligence sharing pact with Japan, though an official at the presidential Blue House said on Tuesday no decision had been taken.

Seoul has also raised concerns about Japan’s handling of contaminated water from the Fukushima nuclear plant, a South Korea official said, though it may not bring it up in Beijing.

South Korea and other countries have restrictions on imports of produce from areas around the Fukushima site where three reactors melted down after an earthquake and tsunami in 2011.

NOT SO NICE FACE

While both sides have moderated their public statements, observers do not expect any major breakthroughs this week.

“I don’t think Japan is going to show a nice face to Seoul this time,” said one former Japanese diplomat familiar with the government’s position.

Japan believes South Korea’s economy is hurting more in the trade row, and “doesn’t mind waiting for further concessions from Seoul,” said the ex-diplomat.

Citing national security, Japan in July restricted exports of some key materials used in chips and displays made by South Korea firms, threatening to disrupt the global supply chain.

Later this month a decision to remove South Korea from Japan’s list of trading partners with fast-track access to a number of materials is scheduled to go into effect.

South Korea has responded by removing Japan from its own trade white list, and South Korean consumers are boycotting Japanese products and avoiding travel to Japan.

There also has been no progress in resolving the issue that triggered the latest chill in relations – a series of South Korean court rulings that ordered Japanese firms to compensate South Koreans forced to work for Japanese occupiers.

“I don’t think we can expect a big change in the situation as a result of tomorrow’s meeting because the forced labor issue is at the root of the deterioration in ties and there hasn’t been any new development regarding that,” said Kyungjoo Kim, a professor at Tokai University in Tokyo.

https://kdal610.com/news/articles/2019/aug/20/less-bluster-but-no-compromise-seen-as-south-korean-japan-ministers-meet-in-china/929015/?refer-section=world

 

August 22, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , | Leave a comment

South Korea demands answers over Fukushima radioactive water eventual sea dumping

No mistake, the Korean media, the Korea Times, calls it “the Fukushima radioactive water”, while the Japanese media, the Asahi Shimbun, calls it “the tainted water”…. The euphemism used by the Asahi Shimbun might be nicely poetic but it does not truthfully reflect the real dangerosity of that water for marine life!
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Activists in Seoul protest in front of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, Aug. 16, condemning the Japanese government for pushing ahead with promoting the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics while not clearly addressing the growing concerns over its possible plan to discharge contaminated water from Fukushima’s tsunami-devastated nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean.
Tokyo urged to address concerns over Fukushima radioactive water
August 21, 2019
Less than a year ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics scheduled to open July 24 next year, the Japanese government is faced with the challenge of dealing with growing concerns ― raised by international bodies and neighboring countries ― over contaminated water from Fukushima’s disabled nuclear power plant.
 
A recent announcement by the Fukushima nuclear plant utility operator Tokyo Electric Power that it would run out of space to store radioactive water with the current tanks expected to be full by the summer of 2022, has reignited public concerns. Greenpeace claimed that Tokyo is considering discharging 1.15 million tons of contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean.
 
Appearing at the foreign ministry headquarters on Monday, Tomofumi Nishinaga, a minister for economic affairs from the Japanese Embassy in Seoul told South Korean officials that such claims were different from his government’s official position. But concerns linger over Japan’s handling of the matter.
 
The Japanese government is being urged to give its official statement on the issue in the near future. Tokyo has been promoting next year’s Olympics as the “recovery Olympics” to convince the international community that Japan has fully overcome the impact of the 2011 disaster of Fukushima Daiichi nuclear meltdown.
 
Environmental activists have pointed out that radioactive contamination has still remained in the area as the Japanese government’s decontamination process was not about permanently getting rid of the pollutants but rather about moving the radioactive pollutants elsewhere.
 
For example, putting contaminated soil or debris into black plastic bags eventually meant scattering the pollutants back into the environment, because the vinyl bags have started to collapse with the gas of the rotten soil building up while plants also have grown inside the bags, tearing them open. This was mentioned in a March report by Maxime Polleri, a MacArthur Nuclear Security Pre-doctoral Fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation in Stanford University.
Polleri also said the atmospheric level of radiation in Fukushima prefecture stated in official documents by the Japanese government’s Reconstruction Agency was listed at about the same level as other major overseas cities like New York or Shanghai, but these figures of state-sponsored monitoring were highly misguided.
 
“The levels of radioactivity in places like New York are mostly the result of background radiation, which is naturally occurring radiation from the soil or sun. These are rays that pass through the body and leave. Fukushima, on the other hand, is dealing with the release of radionuclides, which are fission products from nuclear power plants. These radionuclides are not rays, but dust-like particles that can stick to the body and be inhaled or ingested,” he said.
 
Activists have called on the Japanese government to acknowledge the situation and make transparent announcements dealing with the matter, which would otherwise only lead to increased public fear.
 
 
 
Seoul demands answers over tainted water at Fukushima plant
August 20, 2019
SEOUL–South Korea wants to know what Japan plans to do about the enormous volume of processed but still contaminated water at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
The country’s Foreign Ministry on Aug. 19 called for an official reply from Japan by summoning a Japanese diplomat.
The ministry handed a statement to Tomofumi Nishinaga, a minister at the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, urging Tokyo to confirm whether news reports, as well as claims by international environmental groups, were accurate regarding a plan to release treated water containing tritium, a radioactive substance, into the sea.
 
Nishinaga was also asked about the Japanese government’s plans for disposing of the massive amount of radioactive water stored at the nuclear complex, which suffered a triple meltdown in the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.
The statement read that Seoul “takes seriously the issue of polluted water, as it concerns the health and safety of the two countries and effects countries linked by the sea.”
 
It also said Seoul seeks to cooperate with Tokyo to limit adverse affects of the tainted water.
 
President Moon Jae-in’s Democratic Party and other parties are pushing for the question of the contaminated water at the Fukushima plant as a step to counter Japan’s recent strengthening of restrictions on exports to South Korea.
 
The same day, lawmakers with the opposition Party for Democracy and Peace announced that radioactive material had been detected on 35 occasions from about 17 tons of processed food imported from eight Japanese prefectures over the past five years, citing data from authorities overseeing food safety.
South Korea continues to prohibit imports of seafood from those prefectures, including Fukushima, Ibaraki and Chiba, on the grounds that they were severely affected by the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
 
The legislators called for an immediate ban on imports of processed food from these prefectures out of concern for the safety of people in South Korea.
 
The ministry’s inquiries follow reports earlier this month that Tokyo Electric Power Co., the operator of the Fukushima plant, estimates there will be no more room at the plant to house tanks storing the processed water by next summer.
 
The Japanese government believes that releasing some of the water after it is diluted is one possible option.
 

August 22, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , | Leave a comment

Strawberry shipments start from formerly evacuated Fukushima town

From the Yomiuri Shimbun, a pro-government media… All part of the continous propaganda media campaign by the national and local governments, to incite the people to buy and eat claimed-to-be-safe Fukushima products.

 

fjjklmlm.jpgFukushima Gov. Masao Uchibori, right, and others taste freshly picked strawberries in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, on Monday.

 

 

August 20, 2019

IWAKI, Fukushima — Strawberries started being shipped Monday from Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, a town that was given an evacuation order following the nuclear power plant disaster in 2011, although the order was partially lifted this April.

To mark the occasion, authorities and guests were invited to a strawberry tasting event and a tour of a strawberry cultivation facility in the town.

The facility, measuring about 28,800 square meters, was built in the town’s Ogawara district after the disaster at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. It is operated by a semipublic company sponsored by the town.

The facility is installed with waist-high planters that allow workers to stand up when working.

The latest computerized equipment to control room temperature, water temperature and water volume makes it possible to grow strawberries throughout the year.

Two machines to assess radioactive material in fruit were also introduced at the facility.

About 10 tons of strawberries are scheduled to be shipped from the facility this fiscal year. The operator intends to increase the annual shipment to 100 tons in the future.

https://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0005950919

August 22, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , | Leave a comment

South Korea express concern about food from Fukushima as Tokyo 2020 Chef de Mission Seminar begins

tepco_2020_olympics.jpg

 

August 20, 2019

The Korean Sport and Olympic Committee (KSOC) has written to Tokyo 2020 organisers to express concern about food from Fukushima being served at the Games.

Organisers confirmed to Reuters that a letter on the issue had been sent on the opening day of the Tokyo 2020 Chef de Mission Seminar.

Fukushima was struck by one of the worst natural disasters ever to hit Japan in 2011, when a devastating earthquake and tsunami caused an accident at a nuclear power plant.

Around 16,000 people lost their lives in the tragedy.

Both Tokyo 2020 and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) have been keen to promote the Games as a tool which could help with the region’s recovery.

Baseball and softball matches will be staged there and Fukushima prefecture will also host the start of the Japanese leg of the Torch Relay.

Produce from Fukushima has been served at official events, including IOC Coordination Commissions, but the KSOC said they are worried about contamination.

Their letter comes at a period of increasing tension between Japan and South Korea.

“Within our planning framework we will respond to them accordingly,” said Toru Kobayash, Tokyo 2020’s director of NOC services, to Reuters.

“We have said that we will respond to them properly. 

“We have had no further questions [from South Korea].”

A trade war has developed between the two countries with South Korea also angry about reported Japanese plans to dump “toxic” water from Fukushima into the Pacific Ocean.

Some voices have even called for a Korean boycott of the Games with the nations further clashing over the appearance of disputed islands on an official Tokyo 2020 Torch Relay map.

The map on the official website includes the Liancourt Rocks, which are governed by South Korea but claimed by Japan.

South Korea calls the islands Dokdo but in Japan they are known as Takeshima, and both countries claim historical ties.

They lie in the Sea of Japan in between the two countries and are valuable due to rich fishing waters and natural gas deposits.

Elsewhere, concerns over sweltering conditions were discussed on day one of the Seminar at the Hotel New Otani.

Rising heat has developed into a major concern before Tokyo 2020 with more than 50 deaths in July as temperatures in Japan approached 40 degrees celsius.

Athletes have also struggled in the weather at the test events, including rowers suffering heatstroke at the World Junior Championships at the Sea Forest Waterway.

The triathlon event was shortened because of the humid conditions while cooling measures were tested at the beach volleyball.

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics are due to open on July 24 next year.

Among the measures being considered to combat the problem is allowing fans to bring their own bottled water into venues under certain conditions, which had previously been banned at past editions of the Olympic Games due to security and sponsorship reasons.

Misting sprays, air-conditioned tents and special road coatings are other plans put forward by organisers, as well as moving some events to earlier in the day. 

Dutch Chef de Mission Pieter van den Hoogenband, who faced the media on behalf of attending National Olympic Committees (NOCs), said he was impressed with how organisers were handling the issue.

“Of course we know there are some heat issues but overall, for all the different teams, these are the circumstances and we have to deal with it,” the triple Olympic champion said to Reuters.

“Top athletes know that they have to perform in any circumstances.

“Because of the test events, we get a lot of information and a lot of data and the way the Organising Committee is taking all that data to make it even more perfect…

“I was impressed with the way they handled things.”

Organisers have also pledged to install triple-layer screens in Tokyo Bay to combat bacteria in the water.

It comes after the discovery of E.coli which forced the cancellation of the swimming leg at the Paratriathlon test event.

The three-day Seminar continues tomorrow with every NOC invited to attend.

Representatives from the IOC and the Association of National Olympic Committees are also present.

A full progress update has been promised as well as a venue tour. 

https://www.insidethegames.biz/index.php/articles/1083697/fukushima-food-tokyo-2020

August 22, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , , | Leave a comment

South Korea lawmaker Rep. Kim Kwang-soo calls for import ban on processed foods from Fukushima

I am glad that some politician do feel his duty is to protect the health of his countrymen, I just wish there were more like him…
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August 20, 2019
South Korea should restrict imports of processed foods from Japan’s Fukushima region as radiation has been found in shipments, an opposition lawmaker said Monday.
 
South Korea banned all seafood imports from eight Japanese prefectures near Fukushima in 2013 on concerns over their radiation levels in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear power plant meltdown. But no import restrictions have been put on processed foods from the areas.
 
Citing data from the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, Rep. Kim Kwang-soo of the minor opposition Party for Democracy and Peace said radiation has been discovered in 16.8 tons of processed foods imported from the eight prefectures, or 35 shipments, over the past five years.
 
The figures were 10 tons (11 shipments) in 2014, 0.1 ton (six) in 2015, one ton (six) in 2016, 0.3 ton (four) in 2017, 0.4 ton (six) in 2018 and 5 tons (two) for the first half of this year.
 
South Korea imported 29,985 tons of processed foods from the Japanese prefectures between 2014 and June this year. Imports, which came to 3,803 tons in 2014, increased to 7,259 tons last year. In the January-June period of this year, imports reached 3,338 tons.
 
“It is urgent for the government to take necessary action against processed foods from the eight Japanese areas since they pose a serious risk to public health,” the lawmaker said.
 
No import restrictions have been imposed on the processed foods, though a recent ruling by the World Trade Organization (WTO) has allowed Seoul to retain the import ban on 28 kinds of fish caught in the eight prefectures, he said.
 
In response to a complaint from Tokyo, the WTO ruled in April this year that Seoul’s measures do not amount to unfair trade restrictions or arbitrary discrimination.
 
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety said it sees no problem with imports of processed foods from the eight Japanese prefectures because the Japanese government submits inspection certificates and thorough checks are conducted at local quarantine offices. (Yonhap)

August 22, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , | Leave a comment

South Korea calls in Japanese diplomat amid fears over possible Fukushima plant water discharge into the sea

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Tomofumi Nishinaga, a minister for economic affairs from the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, appears at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs building in central Seoul, Monday, summoned over Tokyo’s plan to deal with the contaminated water from Fukushima’s tsunami-devastated nuclear power plant.
 
S. Korea calls in Japanese diplomat amid fears over possible Fukushima plant water discharge
August 19, 2019
SEOUL, Aug. 19 (Yonhap) — South Korea called in a Japanese diplomat on Monday to demand Tokyo address growing public concern over its reported plan to release into the Pacific Ocean contaminated water from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear power plant meltdown.
The move came amid Seoul’s push to stop Tokyo’s recent export curbs through bilateral dialogue and pressure. Seoul sees the curbs as political retaliation for last year’s South Korean Supreme Court rulings against Japanese firms over wartime forced labor.
Last week, Seoul vowed to “actively” deal with the radioactive water issue as fears are growing that Tokyo could discharge it into the Pacific Ocean as storage space at the Fukushima plant is expected to run out around 2022.
After learning last August of Tokyo’s move to discharge the water, South Korea delivered to Japan in October a document detailing its concerns and related requests. It has since called for Tokyo to elucidate its handling of the issue during bilateral and multilateral forums.
Japan is reportedly exploring various options to dispose of the Fukushima plant water, including evaporating it and putting it deep underground. But discharging the treated water into the ocean is seen as the cheapest and quickest — thus tempting — disposal method.
Environmental groups and activists, such as Greenpeace, have opposed the discharge of the water containing radioactive tritium. In a January report, Greenpeace said that a Japanese government task force proposed the discharge plan and ignored alternative options that would avoid further contamination of the ocean.
 
S. Korea calls in Japanese diplomat over plans for Fukushima water
August 19, 2019
SEOUL (Kyodo) — South Korea’s Foreign Ministry on Monday summoned the economy minister from the Japanese embassy in Seoul to discuss a reported plan that would see water contaminated from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear power plant meltdown discharged into the Pacific Ocean.
Kwon Se Jung, the director general in charge of climate change and environmental affairs at the ministry, called in Tomofumi Nishinaga, a minister for economic affairs from the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, to address growing public concern over the plan.
In addition to the delivery of a note verbale, Kwon requested Japan’s official stance on how it plans to dispose of the water, the ministry said in a statement released after their meeting.
Nishinaga, in response, said he would deliver South Korea’s stance to Japan, and that his nation will give a transparent explanation on how the water discharge plan will be processed, not only to South Korea but also the international community.
Environmental groups and activists, such as Greenpeace, have warned about the danger posed by any discharge of the Fukushima water contaminated with tritium into the Pacific Ocean, underscoring the effect it would have on South Korea.
Last week, South Korea’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Kim In Cheol, in his regular briefing with reporters, said that the ministry would take active measures regarding the discharge plan.
 
Seoul summons Japanese diplomat over plans for Fukushima radioactive water
August 20, 2019
Seoul’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned a Japanese diplomat on Monday to request Tokyo’s official answer for its possible plan to release the contaminated water from Fukushima’s tsunami-devastated nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean.
In the meantime, South Korea’s Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and her Japanese counterpart Taro Kono will hold a meeting in Beijing, Wednesday, on the sidelines of the trilateral minister-level talks among South Korea, Japan and China, sources familiar with the issue said.
Kwon Sei-joong, the director-general for Climate Change, Energy, Environmental and Scientific Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, met the economic minister Tomofumi Nishinaga from the Japanese embassy in Seoul to address growing public concerns over the radioactive water.
“Director Kwon proposed (to Minister Nishinaga) that South Korea and Japan should seek ways to treat the Fukushima nuclear-contaminated water so as not to affect citizens and the ecosystem of the neighboring countries,” the foreign ministry’s statement read.
Nishinaga said in reply that he would report back to Tokyo and the Japanese government would announce plans over the radioactive water to South Korea and the international community.
The Japanese government was mulling over the plan of controlled release of the radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean after the utility company Tokyo Electric Power which has been operating the Fukushima nuclear power plant said it would run out of space to store the contaminated water around 2022.
As international groups and activists including Greenpeace have warned of the side-effects that would also affect South Korea if the radioactive water is released into the Pacific Ocean, South Korea’s foreign ministry last week vowed to “actively” deal with the issue.
The issue of radioactive water came amid the ongoing trade row between Seoul and Tokyo.
Seoul has been making diplomatic efforts to bring Tokyo back to the negotiating table after President Moon Jae-in said Seoul will “gladly join hands” if Tokyo cooperates to resolve the friction through dialogue, delivering a speech last Thursday to mark the 74th anniversary of the Korean Peninsula’s liberation from Japanese colonial rule.

August 22, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , | Leave a comment

Tokyo’s Fukushima cesium-enriched microparticle (CsMP) update

CsMP-01-2.jpgSecondary electron images from Utsunomiya et al. 2019, of CsMPs discovered in atmospheric particles trapped on a Tokyo air filter from March 15, 2011, with major constituent elements displayed. 

 

August 17th, 2019

An interesting paper  was recently published by a team headed by Dr. Satoshi Utsunomiya of Kyushu University on the subject of Fukushima-derived cesium-enriched microparticles (CsMPs). As many readers will know, several researchers have located and analyzed these microparticles, in which the cesium is often bonded within glass-like silicates and therefore generally significantly less soluble than other Cs chemical species in water, though technically not actually “insoluble.” After an accident like Fukushima, it is much more common to find cesium in water-soluble compounds like cesium hydroxide (CsOH), and predictions about how quickly the cesium will be dispersed through the environment, in soil, in watersheds, taken up by plants and animals, etc, are based primarily on this assumption. The discovery of sparingly-soluble Fukushima-derived cesium microparticles, first documented by Adachi et al in 2013, and since then confirmed by many others, has raised a number of questions. How abundant are they? Does their presence increase health risk to humans? How much do they reveal about the process of the accident itself? From the standpoint of researchers the microparticles are very intriguing.

Utsunomiya et al.’s paper is titled “Caesium fallout in Tokyo on 15th March, 2011 is dominated by highly radioactive, caesium-rich microparticles,” and as noted in a recent Scientific American article, it was originally accepted for publication in 2017 by Scientific Reports journal. Weeks before publication, however, Tokyo Metropolitan Industrial Technology Research Institute (TIRI), operated by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, raised objections with Scientific Reports. However no questions about the quality of the science or the validity of the paper’s findings appear to have been brought forward. This in itself was highly irregular. Two years elapsed without resolution, and in March of this year Scientific Reports took the highly unusual step of withdrawing its offer to publish the paper, despite the lack of confirmed evidence that would warrant it. Utsunomiya and several co-authors decided that the best course of action was to place the study in the public domain by publishing it via arXiv, a highly respected pre-print website. The paper is now open and free to download

This study makes a valuable contribution to the body of scientific literature regarding the consequences of the Fukushima disaster in general and CsMPs in particular. I think it was a mistake for Scientific Reports not to publish it two years ago, especially considering the rapid pace of research into these particles and the tremendous interest in them. To summarize the findings briefly, the researchers analyzed air filter samples from March 15, 2011, in Setagaya, Tokyo, when the radioactive plume from Fukushima caused a noticeable peak in airborne radioactivity in the city. The researchers used radiographic imaging (placing the filters on a photographic plate) to identify any highly radioactive spots. Using these images as a guide they were able to isolate seven CsMPs, which they subjected to atomic-scale analysis using high-resolution electron microscopy (HRTEM) to identify their nano-scale structure and chemical composition. Based on these detailed measurements and quantitative analysis, the researchers concluded that 80-89% of the total cesium fallout in Tokyo that day was in the form of highly radioactive microparticles. The second half of the paper is devoted to estimates of how long such particles might be retained in the human lungs if inhaled, based on previous studies that reported the effects of inhalation of non-radioactive atmospheric particles, and some possible physical consequences. The paper is valuable for the quantitative analysis of the Tokyo particles alone, since it is one of few studies that deal with the issue for Tokyo specifically. Research into possible health consequences of the particles, meanwhile, has gained momentum while the paper remained unpublished, using approaches such as stochastic biokinetics, and DNA damage studies.  In a recent paper, Utsunomiya and colleagues produced estimates of the rate of dissolution of the particles inside the human lung, in pure water, and in seawater. A working group at the Japan Health Physics Society has also devoted attention to the issue, noting the need for further study of the risk from intake of these particles, particularly to the lung.  Likewise, others have been studying the particles to learn about the accident progression and possible consequences for decommissioning.

Why did Tokyo Metropolitan Industrial Technology Research Institute object to the paper’s publication? When we first heard that publication of the paper was being held up by Tokyo Metropolitan Government, we thought politically-motivated suppression was a likely explanation. Since then the public has learned that the actual complaint given to Scientific Reports stems from a chain of custody issue of the original air filter samples. We don’t want to speculate further about Tokyo’s motivation, because we have seen no direct evidence yet of political suppression in this case. But based on past occurrences with other government institutions, we would find it plausible. We will let readers know if TIRI responds to our inquiries.

We spoke with Dr. Utsunomiya and co-author Dr. Rodney Ewing recently. I was aware of their co-authorship of several strong papers on CsMPs, including Utsunomiya’s plenary talk at the Goldschmidt Conference in Yokohama in 2016, which I attended. I asked how this new arXiv paper fits in with their other papers, and where they think this research is heading next:


Satoshi Utsunomiya:

Thank you for asking. The Tokyo paper was actually our first paper regarding CsMPs. As I mentioned, the paper was accepted two years ago. There were no previous papers of ours on CsMPs that time. Currently we are working on several topics on CsMPs. I cannot reveal the content yet, as we are thinking about a press release for the next paper. But I think it is important to continue this kind of research, providing some insights for decommissioning at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

Azby Brown:

I didn’t realize that this was your first paper on the subject.  How does it relate to the one presented at the Goldschmidt Conference in Yokohama in 2016? “Cesium-Rich Micro-Particles Unveil the Explosive Events in the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.” Didn’t that paper receive a prize?

SU:

My talk at Goldschmidt briefly covered the story described in the two papers that were accepted for publication at the same time. One was published in Scientific Reports. The other one was not published. There was no prize. It was a plenary talk.

AB:

I see. I recall that it received a lot of attention. Now it makes more sense to me.

Can you tell me a little bit about the specific characteristics and focus of your research, and how it differs from papers like Adachi 2013, Abe 2014, etc? Generally speaking, that is. I’d like to help people understand the different aspects of the field.

SU:

Adachi reported the discovery of CsMPs. Abe demonstrated X-ray absorption analysis on the CsMPs. We focused on the nanotexture inside CsMPs. We are particularly interested in the detailed evidence remaining within the microparticle, which can provide useful information on the development of the chemical reactions during the meltdowns, because it is still difficult to directly analyze the materials inside the reactors. We, for the first time, succeeded in performing isotopic analysis on individual CsMPs. More specifically, the occurrence of uranium can directly tell the story of how the fuel melted. Our research has two directions: one is to understand the environmental impact of CsMPs, and the other is to provide useful information on the debris properties to help decommissioning at FDNPP. We are also interested in the implications for health.

AB:

Can you tell me a little bit about your working relationship? Satoshi went to the US to work in your lab, right Rod? When was that, and what were you working on?

Rod Ewing:

Satoshi and I have known each other since 2000, when he joined my research group as a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Michigan. He was a member of the research group until 2007. We collaborated on a wide range of topics that had to do with radioactive materials, such as the transport of plutonium at the Mayak site in Russia to the identification of uranium phases within C60 cages, so called buckyballs, that were formed and released from coal power plants. Once Satoshi returned to Japan to take his position at Kyushu University, we continued to collaborate, particularly on topics related to Fukushima Daiichi.

AB:

How did you both get interested in CsMPs?

RE:

Once discovered, CsMPs were clearly of high interest. They had not been noted in earlier reactor accidents. Satoshi is a master with the transmission electron microscope – exactly the tool/technique needed to study these particles.

AB:

For people who aren’t familiar with what’s involved in a research experiment like yours, can you describe the overall process? What were the technical challenges?

RE:

I would just emphasize that it is very difficult to find and characterize these particles. Considering the full literature and efforts by others as well as our team – the results are impressive. It is rare to have both the TEM characterization and the isotopic data.

SU:

As Rod mentioned, it is difficult to obtain both TEM and isotopic data from a few micron-sized spots. The isolation of CsMPs from soils is a time consuming process. But to date, many scientists have found and isolated CsMPs. The important thing is what information we can obtain from the analysis of CsMPs. We have been taking various approaches to elucidate the properties, environmental impact, and the role in releasing fissile actinides to the environment.    


As described above, many papers examining various aspects of Fukushima-derived cesium microparticles have been published since they were first identified in 2013. Even so, important aspects remain only partially documented and understood to date. Below is a partial list of relevant publications.

Papers mentioned in this article:

Caesium fallout in Tokyo on 15th March, 2011 is dominated by highly radioactive, caesium-rich microparticles

Utsunomiya, et al., 2019

https://arxiv.org/abs/1906.00212

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Emission of spherical cesium-bearing particles from an early stage of the Fukushima nuclear accident

Adachi et al., 2013

http://www.nature.com/articles/srep02554

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Detection of Uranium and Chemical State Analysis of Individual Radioactive Microparticles Emitted from the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Using Multiple Synchrotron Radiation X-ray Analyses

Abe et al., 2014

http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ac501998d

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Dissolution of radioactive, cesium-rich microparticles released from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in simulated lung fluid, pure-water, and seawater

Suetake et al., 2019

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chemosphere.2019.05.248

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Development of a stochastic biokinetic method and its application to internal dose estimation for insoluble cesium-bearing particles

Manabe & Matsumoto, 2019

https://doi.org/10.1080/00223131.2018.1523756

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DNA damage induction during localized chronic exposure to an insoluble radioactive microparticle

Matsuya et al., 2019

https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-46874-6

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Provenance of uranium particulate contained within Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Unit 1 ejecta material

Martin et al., 2019

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-019-10937-z

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Internal doses from radionuclides and their health effects following the Fukushima accident

Ishikawa et al., 2018

https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1361-6498/aadb4c

 



Related papers (by year of publication):

Characteristics Of Spherical Cs-Bearing Particles Collected During The Early Stage Of FDNPP Accident

Igarashi et al., 2014

http://www-pub.iaea.org/iaeameetings/cn224p/Session3/Igarashi.pdf

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Radioactive Cs in the severely contaminated soils near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant

Kaneko et al., 2015

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fenrg.2015.00037

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First successful isolation of radioactive particles from soil near the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant

Satou et al., 2016

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2213305416300340

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Internal structure of cesium-bearing radioactive microparticles released from Fukushima nuclear power plant

Yamaguchi et al., 2016

http://www.nature.com/articles/srep20548

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Three-Year Retention Of Radioactive Caesium In The Body Of Tepco Workers Involved In The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station Accident

Nakano et al., 2016

http://rpd.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2016/03/14/rpd.ncw036

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Monte Carlo Evaluation of Internal Dose and Distribution Imaging Due to Insoluble Radioactive Cs-Bearing Particles of Water Deposited Inside Lungs via Pulmonary Inhalation Using PHITS Code Combined with Voxel Phantom Data

Sakama, M. et al., 2016

http://scholar.google.com/scholar_lookup?&title=Radiological%20Issues%20for%20Fukushima%E2%80%99s%20Revitalized%20Future&pages=209-220&publication_year=2016&author=Sakama%2CMinoru&author=Takeda%2CShinsaku&author=Matsumoto%2CErika&author=Harukuni%2CTomoki&author=Ikushima%2CHitoshi&author=Satou%2CYukihiko&author=Sueki%2CKeisuke

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Radioactively-hot particles detected in dusts and soils from Northern Japan by combination of gamma spectrometry, autoradiography, and SEM/EDS analysis and implications in radiation risk assessment

Kaltofen & Gundersen, 2017

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969717317953?via%3Dihub

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Caesium-rich micro-particles: A window into the meltdown events at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant

Furuki et al., 2017

https://www.nature.com/articles/srep42731

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Isotopic signature and nano-texture of cesium-rich micro-particles: Release of uranium and fission products from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant

Imoto et al., 2017

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Uranium dioxides and debris fragments released to the environment with cesium-rich microparticles from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant

Ochiai et al., 2018

https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acs.est.7b06309

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Novel method of quantifying radioactive cesium-rich microparticles (CsMPs) in the environment from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant

Ikehara et al., 2018

https://pubs.acs.org/doi/full/10.1021/acs.est.7b06693

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Formation of radioactive cesium microparticles originating from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident: characteristics and perspectives

Ohnuki, Satou, and Utsunomiya, 2019

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00223131.2019.1595767

https://blog.safecast.org/2019/08/fukushima-cesium-enriched-microparticle-csmp-update/

August 22, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Displaced Fukushima sake brewery to restart in hometown using only local rice

If you have a death wish, make sure to drink Fukushima sake….
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Daisuke Suzuki is seen working at a tank in his brewery in Nagai, Yamagata Prefecture, on July 2, 2019.
August 17, 2019
NAGAI, Yamagata — A local brewery intends to restart some of its sake making business in its hometown of Namie, Fukushima Prefecture, in two years. Its storehouse there was swept away by the tsunami that followed the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011 and forced the company to relocate to nearby Yamagata Prefecture.
The Suzuki Brewery is looking to hire up to two people to work in Fukushima, and will employ them first in Yamagata Prefecture from fall this year for training.
Although part of Namie is still under evacuation orders due to the effects of the nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, the company’s head, Daisuke Suzuki, 46, says he wants to work to eradicate the rumors about rice cultivated in Namie by using it as the sole ingredient in its sake.
The Suzuki Brewery was a well-known business in the port town of the Ukedo district with a history stretching back to the Edo period. Its representative sake brew, “Iwaki Kotobuki,” held a special place in the community as a drink used to celebrate big catches of fish.
Over 150 people, close to 10% of Ukedo district’s population, were killed by the tsunami in March 2011. The hydrogen explosion that occurred in the aftermath of the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi plant some 5 kilometers south of the town meant that for around a month search and rescue activities could not proceed.
The wave also took the Suzuki Brewery and its storage out to sea. Although none of its staff were harmed, the nuclear disaster combined with the order to completely evacuate the town forced the company to give up on rebuilding the brewery in Namie.
While the town was left in a state of crisis regarding whether it would continue to operate or not, Suzuki was encouraged by acquaintances at a Fukushima Prefecture elementary school, where they were temporarily taking shelter, to continue making sake for the community. The experience made him realize that Iwaki Kotobuki sake is an indispensable part of the local community.
In October 2011, he took up ownership of a brewery marked for closure in Nagai, Yamagata Prefecture, and from November the following year he began brewing there.
Coincidentally, some of the yeast necessary to make the Iwaki Kotobuki sake had been left in the care of the Fukushima technology support center, who had been asked to analyze it before the disaster took place.
The company completed its first shipment within the year on time, and residents who bought the sake to welcome the New Year even made the news.
Evacuation orders were finally lifted for the Ukedo district and other primarily central parts of Namie in March 2017. Suzuki decided he would restart brewing activities in Namie while also keeping the business running in Nagai.
The new storehouse will be some kilometers inland from the location of the previous one, and the intention is for all of the sake’s ingredients to come from produce made in Namie, including products for home consumption such as the locally grown Koshihikari rice. Since the nuclear disaster, food made in Fukushima has suffered from rumors about its safety, but local sake is appreciated all over the country.
Although it’s considered difficult to make the necessary malted rice for sake from edible rice Suzuki is unfazed, “If we spend a lot of time and care on the work, we’ll get it done,” he said, aiming to become a beacon for the town’s rice that could lead to greater sales of the region’s products.
The company is seeking to hire one or two people up to around the age of 30. Experience or a specific gender is not required. The position will offer involvement in both sake production and the development of new products. The individuals hired will begin working at the company’s location in Yamagata Prefecture to become experienced in sake making.
“It’s low-profile work, but you get out of it what you put into it. I’m waiting to hear from people who feel they want to work together with us in Namie,” said Suzuki. The brewery can be contacted by telephone on 0238-88-2224, in Japanese only.

August 22, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

Citizens Group Leader in Kashiwa Radiation Hotspot Quits

Kashiwa city, in Chiba prefecture is located 31.3 km ( 19.45 miles ) northeast from Tokyo.

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August 16, 2019

The leader of a Citizens’ Group to Protect Children from Hotspot Radiation in Kashiwa city, Chiba, decided to suspend its activities.

Mrs. Yuki Ohsaku, representative of the group evacuated recently to Kyushu after her two children started nosebleeding and other core members also are considering moving out of Kashiwa city. 10 members have already relocated.

In May the Kashiwa mayor wrote in his blog that those worried about the effects of radiation have some kind of mental problems. Kashiwa city originally had no plan to conduct any survey after citizens reported high radiation levels. Mrs. Ohsaku’s group collected over 10,000 signatures and submitted the petition to the City Council with 100 members, and this made the Kashiwa city start measuring radiation levels in schools and do decontamination work.

However, the group’s activities and her relocation with two children to Kyushu caused lots of problems within her family. Her in-laws are not happy that she is disobeying the authorities and that her name gets published (since she is the group leader). Now the in-laws are demanding that she divorce her husband. She says that old and middle-aged people in general have absolute confidence in the printed media as their news source, and what’s not reported in the newspapers is not conceived as reality.

The mainstream media (including newspapers) has the least coverage on health effects of radiation and only report the government’s “adjusted” radiation levels. Yomiuri News even wrote in May that the information about hotspots in Chiba are based on false rumours and that they doesn’t exist. (Matsutaro Shoriki, ex-president of Yomiuri was a CIA agent and is called the father of nuclear power in Japan according to Wikipedia.) She says her in-laws believe in the Yomiuri report.

Only those collecting information from internet sources are aware of what is really going on regarding radiation issues in Japan. As a result, there the public have split opinions on this subject.

Mrs. Ohsaku says the conflict of opinions on radiation issues has been harder to deal with than the radiation itself. Many people around her chose not to think about it and neighbors don’t want her to make it a big issue. Some members of her group are tired of being ridiculed as “freaks”. Her group wants decontamination but others in the hotspot thinks it’s waste of money. They say “Let’s not worry about it. Think of people in Fukushima. They live in an even worse environment than us.”

https://blog.safecast.org/2011/08/citizens-group-leader/

August 22, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Controversy over radiation and heat surrounding Tokyo Olympics

156577137108_20190815.JPGAnti-nuclear demonstrators concerned about radiation during the Tokyo 2020 Olympics hold a press conference to criticize the Abe administration’s effort to push through the Olympics despite safety concerns in front of the former Japanese Embassy in Seoul on Aug. 13.

 

 

Aug.14,2019

Sports are sports. They are separate from politics.”

On Aug. 13, an official from the Korean Sport & Olympic Committee expressed concern in response to remarks in political circles that hinted at a boycott of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics (July 24 – August 9). With participation rights still to be earned in many disciplines and numerous athletes who have eagerly awaited the Olympics for four years, these remarks are looking too far ahead. It has been pointed out that a more strategic approach needs to be adopted in light of the position of North and South Korea, who are considering making a joint bid to host the 2032 Olympics.

Safety from radiation and heat at the Tokyo Olympics

Most of the issues related to the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, which are now only a year away, boil down to safety concerns over radiation and extreme heat. Some baseball and softball matches are scheduled to be held in a stadium located close to the Fukushima nuclear reactor that took direct damage during the 2011 earthquake. Korean civic groups have also pointed out that the Japanese government has failed to properly control water contaminated by radiation from the reactor. Plans to source some of the rice and ingredients for the Tokyo Olympics Athletes Village from Fukushima are adding to these concerns. Although the level of radiation measured in such rice is within the acceptable standards in Japan, it is believed to exceed Korean standards.

Extreme heat is another potential issue. After an open water test competition in Odaiba Seaside Park, Tokyo, on Aug. 11, Sports Nippon reported, “Many athletes complained about a foul odor and the high water temperature, and one male athlete made the shocking claim that it ‘smelled like a toilet.’” Although the Olympic Committee did not reveal the water temperature on that day, it has been reported that the temperature was 29.9 degrees Celsius at 5am. The International Swimming Federation (FINA) cancels events if the water temperature reaches 31 degrees Celsius. There have also been warnings about road races. On August 8, Yusuke Suzuki, Japan’s star race-walker and world record holder in the men’s 20km, stated, “I tried training on the Tokyo Olympics race-walking course. There was no shade, so it could cause dehydration.”

Tokyo Olympics delegation heads meeting from Aug. 20-22

It appears that the issue of safety from radiation and concerns about food ingredients will be conveyed during the upcoming three-day meeting with the leaders of each country’s delegation in Tokyo on Aug. 20-22, and a request will be made to the Japanese Olympic Committee to change the name of Dokdo used on maps. If the representatives from each country do raise the radiation issue, the IOC will have no choice but to intervene. The Korean Sport & Olympic Committee is also considering providing separate Korean food to Korean athletes through specially prepared meals or lunchboxes.

With Korea seeking to hold a joint Olympics in 2032 between the two Koreas, the country has no choice but to underscore the fact that the Olympics are a festival of peace. Korea is also mindful of the fact that it must avoid giving off any impression of trying to use the Olympics for political reasons.

Getting over our obsession with medals

The 2020 Tokyo Olympics come at a time when Korea is attempting to implement reforms through policies in order to shake off the country’s obsession with winning in elite sports. Plans to reform the special benefits afforded to athletes such as pensions and exemption from military service are already under discussion, and it is also true that the morale of elite athletes is different than it has been in the past. It has been pointed out that while achieving victory in competition is great, excessive competition for medals does not align with current trends. Ryu Tae-ho, a professor of physical education at Korea University, stated, “It is natural that athletes will work hard to reach the pinnacle on the international stage, and the Korean public has become more mature to the extent that we can applaud athletes when they do their best as Olympians, even if they fail to win a medal. It is also best to avoid connecting sports with politics.”

http://english.hani.co.kr/arti/english_edition/e_international/905758.html

August 22, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

The Fukushima Nuclear Disaster and Its Tragic Aftermath

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The worst nuclear accident in history

 
August 14, 2019
The three meltdowns and at least four big core explosions at the Fukushima nuclear-power plant’s six American-designed Daiichi reactors in March 2011 still constitute the world’s worst nuclear nightmare so far, surpassing even the Chernobyl #4 reactor’s explosion and meltdown of April 1986. While Chernobyl’s disaster was very quickly contained albeit at the cost of at least 30 human lives (according to Soviet sources)—by first having the stricken reactor completely buried in sand from the air and then immediately sealing it inside a sarcophagus of reinforced concrete, Fukushima’s tragedy has remained an open, festering wound to this day. A U.N. report issued in 2012 stated that at least six Fukushima workers had died since the meltdowns and the tsunami (according to a later report by the Japanese government, only one of these workers had died from radiation exposure).
The Japanese seem to have been reluctant to risk the lives of their more than 6,000 rescue workers pouring daily hundreds of tons of sea water over the fully destroyed reactors as well as the several partly damaged ones. Yet, as of 27 February 2017, the Fukushima prefecture government counted 2,129 “disaster-related deaths” in that prefecture alone. At least 1,368 among those deaths have been listed as directly “related to the nuclear power plant.” Predicted future cancer deaths due to accumulated radiation exposures in the population living near Fukushima are expected to run in the many hundreds, if not the thousands.
Obviously, the Japanese government’s wishful thinking is that the nuclear disaster would just go away if as few people as possible—both at home and especially abroad—knew about its true extent and actual severity. According to Harvey Wasserman (“14,000 Hiroshimas Still Swing in Fukushima’s Air,” The Free Press, October 9, 2013), the situation on the ground was still rather catastrophic more than two years after the disaster, because
“Massive quantities of heavily contaminated water are pouring into the Pacific Ocean, dousing workers along the way. Hundreds of huge, flimsy tanks are leaking untold tons of highly radioactive fluids. At Unit #4, more than 1300 fuel rods, with more than 400 tons of extremely radioactive material, containing potential cesium fallout comparable to 14,000 Hiroshima bombs, are stranded 100 feet in the air.”
Have we been witnessing a major local catastrophe with some perilous global repercussions that are still being concealed from the general public and the world under a veil of total government secrecy—“apparently to avoid causing ‘needless’ social panic,” in the words of Japanese research scientist Haruko Satoh (“Fukushima and the Future of Nuclear Energy in Japan: The Need for a Robust Social Contract,” ARI, June 29, 2011)? While the Russians had the excuse of having just one prior warning—namely that of the Three Mile Island’s much smaller nuclear mishap in the U.S. on March 28, 1979—the Japanese appear to have completely ignored Chernobyl’s tragic lessons while operating their Fukushima nuclear-power plant built in a highly vulnerable seismic zone in close proximity to the Pacific Ocean which is prone to massive earthquakes and tsunamis. Pointing out that
“…a vast area of land has been contaminated by radiation,” Haruko Satoh further writes that “…the nature of the on-going nuclear crisis is better understood as a man-made disaster resulting from the systemic failure of Japan’s nuclear energy regime for safety than an inevitable consequence of unforeseen forces of nature.”
In his considered opinion, Japan “has also failed to act speedily to remove and treat the accumulating contaminated soil and water” (ibid.).
As a result, according to The Guardian (“Plummeting Morale at Fukushima Daiichi as Nuclear Cleanup Takes Its Toll,” October 15, 2013), “the world’s most dangerous industrial cleanup” has been threatening not only Japan (long dubbed “America’s unsinkable aircraft carrier” in the western Pacific) but the rest of the planet as well. Will the international community finally wake up to this still on-going lethal danger that will persist for many years to come—at least until the afflicted nuclear reactors are finally cooled down? But it is not going to be an easy job since by Tokyo’s own estimates the full decommissioning of the wrecked nuclear site could take up to 40 years.
Could the 2020 Tokyo Olympics be canceled?
The Fukushima catastrophe released in the air many radioactive pollutants such as cesium-134, cesium-137, strontium-90, iodine-131, plutonium-238 and other so-called radionuclides that emit ionized (alpha and beta) particles. With lifespan exceeding hundreds of years, these radioactive pollutants will continue to pose a radiation threat for many decades to come. One eyewitness testifies about the failure of Japan’s decontamination measures (Maxime Polleri, “The Truth About Radiation in Fukushima: Despite Government Claims, Radiation From the 2011 Nuclear Disaster Is Not Gone,” The Diplomat, March 14, 2019):
“…mountains of black plastic bags, filled with contaminated soil or debris, can be seen in many parts of Fukushima…. As such, decontamination does not imply that radiation has vanished; it has simply been moved elsewhere. Yet in rural regions, where many of the bags are currently being disposed, far away from the eyes of urban dwellers, residents are still forced to live near the storage sites. Many rural residents have criticized the actual efficacy of the decontamination projects. For instance, vinyl bags are now starting to break down due to the build-up of gas released by rotten soil. Plants and flowers have also started to grow inside the bags, in the process tearing them apart. With weather factors, residual radioactivity inside the bags will eventually be scattered back into the environment.”
But with the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympics, it is doubtful that the secretive Japanese government will ever acknowledge this threatening reality. For example, the Japanese have been silent about the current extent of radiological contamination of the seas surrounding Japan—obviously for fear that the Tokyo Olympics scheduled to be held next year may be canceled.
The Official Cover-up
In the past, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco), the crippled nuclear-power plant’s sole owner and operator,
“has all but admitted (that) Fukushima’s radiation leaks are spiraling out of control. In addition to the leaking water storage units that are unleashing hundred of tons of radioactive water each day, Tepco now says (that) 50% of its contaminated filtration capability has been taken offline due to corrosion. The result is that radiation leaks are escalating out of control and attempted remediation efforts are faltering” (“Fukushima in Free Fall,” NaturalNews.com, August 27, 2013).
The traditionally close-mouthed Japanese bureaucrats have been far less truthful and much more evasive about the gravity of the Fukushima nuclear crisis than the Russians ever were about their Chernobyl disaster. Only in June 2011—three whole months after the Fukushima nuclear accident—did Tokyo announce that meltdowns had actually occurred in three of the six reactors. “From day one,” the NaturalNew.com article continues,
“the Fukushima fiasco has been all about denial: Deny the leaks, shut off the radiation sensors, black out the news and fudge the science. Yet more than two years later, the denials are colliding with the laws of physics, and Tepco’s cover stories are increasingly being blown wide open.” (ibid.)
Buried under a virtual tsunami of compensation-seeking lawsuits, Tepco, “once a behemoth that virtually controlled Japan’s energy policy“ (Haruko Satoh, “Fukushima and the Future of Nuclear Energy in Japan: The Need for a Robust Social Contract,” ARI, June 29, 2011), has survived to this day as Japan’s biggest energy giant only thanks to the LDP government which seems to be more than willing and eager to bail it out. Despite the attempted cover-up by pro-nuclear Japanese cabinets and the Japanese news media alike, Japan’s own nuclear-safety watchdog—the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA)—gave Fukushima’s nuclear catastrophe the worst possible rating for radiological danger, Level 7 (“major accident”)—the same rating as the Chernobyl disaster—in accordance with the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale (INES) standards established by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in 1990.
Showing how more than two years after the disaster the waters of the Pacific Ocean were actually “boiling” off the coast of Fukushima in what it called “a viral photo of the day,” Before It’s News (“’Boiling Sea’ Off Fukushima Viral Photo of the Day,” August 30, 2013) asked rhetorically, “…if this radiation keeps leaking, and there is no way to stop it, will boiling seas spread all the way across the Pacific Ocean to the West Coast of the United States? If so, what happens then?”
How was the critically important oceanic animal and plant life affected by the radioactive contamination? Tokyo has denied that due to higher radiation levels it is dangerous to eat any fish caught by Japanese fishermen, but the government has reinstated its earlier fishing ban. Could it be that all of Japan has been poisoned? Moreover, is the whole planet going to be eventually contaminated by Fukushima’s many tons of radioactive material released into the air and sea? Again according to Harvey Wasserman,
“A worst-case cloud would eventually make Japan an uninhabitable waste-land. What it could do to the Pacific Ocean and the rest of us downwind approaches the unthinkable” (“14,000 Hiroshimas Still Swing in Fukushima’s Air,” The Free Press, October 9, 2013).
The Fukushima nuclear accident and its tragic consequences have taken place at the worse possible time for Japan, given its huge national debt (which is more than twice the size of its annual GDP) and protracted economic slump lasting now for almost three decades. Japan’s economic downturn started with the bursting of Tokyo’s stock-market and real-estate “bubbles” in the 1990s and was gravely exacerbated by the global Great Recession of 2008-2009 sparked by America’s own banking and real-estate crises. The international community should have by now pressed the U.N. Security Council to consider and adopt a binding resolution to close down Japan’s hazardous nuclear-energy industry, given the major economic, public health and public safety risks involved.
Is Japan’s nuclear industry doomed?
But Japan’s nuclear power may already be doomed, with its nuclear units being gradually taken “offline” in the wake of the Fukushima fiasco (“After Fukushima, Does Nuclear Power Have a Future?” The New York Times, October 10, 2011). In September 2013, the new Liberal Democratic Party Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ordered the shutdown—supposedly for routine maintenance and safety checks—of its last nuclear reactor at Oi that was still working after all the other 53 operating reactors had been closed down for one reason or another. Facing pressure from the Japanese public which has turned decisively against nuclear energy, the previous Prime Minister, Yoshihiko Noda of the Democratic Party of Japan, had announced in September 2012 a major change in Japan’s energy policy, pledging to shut down all nuclear power for good by the 2030s, thus angering the all-powerful Japanese captains of industry.
In power since December 2012, Shinzo Abe’s LDP cabinet has been warning about the steep economic costs of pulling the plug on Japan’s nuclear energy, mainly in the form of escalating and very expensive energy imports, especially for a country which lacks fossil fuel reserves. Under tremendous pressure from the “iron triangle” community of electricity utilities, heavy industry, ministry bureaucrats and academic experts, known as the “nuclear village,” Prime Minister Shinzo has been trying to restart as many nuclear reactors as the still hostile domestic public opinion would permit him.
Following the Fukushima accident, as each Japanese nuclear reactor entered its scheduled maintenance and refueling outage, it was not returned to operation. Between September 2013 and August 2015, Japan’s entire reactor fleet was suspended from operation, leaving the country with no nuclear generation. But in 2018 Prime Minister Shinzo’s cabinet restarted five nuclear power reactors (U.S. Energy Information Administration, “Japan Has Restarted Five Nuclear Power Reactors in 2018,” November 28, 2018). He is facing a new and unexpected obstacle—the renewed and strengthened Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA), which had been reformed and given more regulatory powers and administrative independence after Fukushima, especially since this now independent agency has to declare any nuclear plants safe before they could restart. There is also the implacable opposition of many prefectures, towns and villages which, under the law, have a say over the reopening of any local or nearby nuclear plants (“Electricity in Japan: Power Struggle,” The Economist, September 21, 2013). In spite of the determination of the ruling LDP to keep Japan’s ailing nuclear industry alive, its days may already be numbered (Sumiko Takeuchi, “Is There a Future For Nuclear Power in Japan?” Japan Times, July 16, 2019).
Rossen Vassilev Jr. is a journalism senior at the Ohio University in Athens, Ohio.

August 22, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , | Leave a comment