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Pope Francis meets with victims of Japan’s 3/11 disasters

wh_pope_231220.jpgPope Francis meets with victims of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami on Monday in Tokyo.

 

November 25, 2019

Pope Francis on Monday met with victims of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that devastated northeastern Japan, a day after railing against the destructive power of nuclear weapons in the atomic bomb-hit cities of Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

The gathering in Tokyo was set because the pope wanted to meet with those who suffered from what he calls the “triple disaster” involving the quake, tsunami and the meltdown of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

In the first papal visit to Japan in 38 years, conducted under the theme of Protect All Life, the pope had wanted to visit disaster-hit areas but could not because of his full schedule, according to people close to him.

Three victims were to recount to him their experiences — a high school student who fled to Tokyo from the nuclear disaster in Fukushima Prefecture, the head of a kindergarten in Iwate Prefecture who lost a student in the tsunami, and a Buddhist priest who survived the disasters.

The event came ahead of separate meetings with Emperor Naruhito and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe scheduled for later in the day in the Japanese capital.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/11/25/national/pope-francis-victims-japan-311-disasters/?fbclid=IwAR19_P_jfm98_Lgld8bfzAOoPZPXySM59Lblx5BjZ7Zv8yHpt3JdF1RqxpU#.Xdvx_dVCeUl

November 25, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , | Leave a comment

Pope Francis urges fresh efforts for Fukushima victims

wh_pope_231220.jpgPope Francis attends a meeting with victims of the 2011 “triple disaster” in Tokyo, on Nov 25, 2019.

November 25, 2019
TOKYO (AFP) – Pope Francis called on Monday (Nov 25) for renewed efforts to help victims of Japan’s 2011 “triple disaster” of earthquake, tsunami and the Fukushima meltdown, noting “concern” in the country over the continued use of nuclear power.
 
On the penultimate day of his long-cherished trip, Pope Francis had an emotional encounter with survivors of that fateful day on March 11, 2011, when a 9.0-magnitude earthquake followed by a 17m-high tsunami devastated much of north-eastern Japan and killed nearly 16,000 people.
 
The 82-year-old pontiff paid tribute to those who rushed to the assistance of the victims “with outpourings of prayers and material and financial aid”.
 
“We should not let this action be lost with the passage of time or disappear after the initial shock; rather, we should continue and sustain it,” Pope Francis said.
 
The wave swept away everything before it, washing away people, buildings and farms, and also damaging cooling systems at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, sparking the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.
 
Nearly half a million people fled their homes in the first days after the quake, and even today, roughly 50,000 remain in temporary housing.
 
The pope heard harrowing testimony from survivors of that day, such as Ms Toshiko Kato, who headed a Catholic kindergarten and lost her home in the tsunami.
 
“I remember that when I stood in the rubble where my home had been. I was thankful for being given life, for being alive and for just being able to appreciate it,” she told the pope.
 
“Through this earthquake, I received much more than I lost. Many people from all over the world opened their hearts and I was able to find hope from seeing people come together to help one another.”
 
However, the head of the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics noted that some of those feel “forgotten” and face ongoing issues of contaminated land and the long-term effects of radiation.
 
The pope stopped short of intervening in the debate over nuclear power in Japan, merely noting that bishops in the country have called for atomic plants to be shelved.
 
“In turn, this involves, as my brother bishops in Japan have emphasised, concern about the continuing use of nuclear power; for this reason, they have called for the abolition of nuclear power plants.”
 
In 2016, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Japan made a statement saying: “What Japan has experienced in the five-and-a-half years since the Fukushima disaster convinces us that we must inform the world of the hazards of nuclear power generation and appeal for its abolition.”
‘POWERFUL INSPIRATION’
 
Later Monday, the pope, who has described his feelings of “fondness and affection” for Japan, will hold a Mass in the huge Tokyo Dome stadium and hold private talks with Japan’s new Emperor Naruhito and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
 
There are also rumours he may meet a death row convict and make comments criticising the death penalty, which is carried out in Japan with significant public support.
 
The emotional centrepiece of his four-day trip was his initial trip to Nagasaki, a city forever associated with the dropping of a nuclear bomb that eventually killed at least 74,000 people.
 
There, the Argentine lashed out at the concept of nuclear deterrence and prayed in the rain for the victims of those killed in the “unspeakable horror” of the bomb.
 
He then travelled to Hiroshima, the first city to suffer an atomic attack, where he denounced as a “crime” the use of nuclear power as a weapon.
 
In both cities, he met people who survived the bombings, and listened to their tales of the horror.
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Pope Francis attends a meeting for peace at the memorial cenotaph at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park in Japan, on Nov 24, 2019.
 
The final day of his trip on Tuesday takes in meetings with young students at Sophia University before he concludes his Asian tour.
 
The first leg of the tour was in Thailand – like Japan, a country with a small Catholic minority. There are an estimated 440,000 Japanese Catholics.

 

November 25, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , | Leave a comment

Pope Francis calls for a ‘world without nuclear weapons’ during Nagasaki visit

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Pope Francis speaking at the Nagasaki hypocenter memorial. Photograph: Ciro Fusco/EPA
November 24, 2019
Pontiff urges disarmament as he tours Japan’s atomic bomb sites and meets survivors of the 1945 attacks
Pope Francis has condemned the “unspeakable horror” of nuclear weapons during a visit to Nagasaki, one of two Japanese cities destroyed by American atomic bombs towards the end of the second world war.
 
Speaking on the second day of the first papal visit to Japan for 38 years, Francis urged world leaders to end the stockpiling of nuclear weapons, saying it offered their nations a false sense of security.
 
“Convinced as I am that a world without nuclear weapons is possible and necessary, I ask political leaders not to forget that these weapons cannot protect us from current threats to national and international security,” he told hundreds of people at the city’s rain-drenched atomic bomb hypocenter park on Sunday.
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Rebecca Johnson
 
Earlier, Francis had placed a wreath and prayed at the foot of a memorial to the 74,000 people who died instantly and in the months after the US dropped a nuclear bomb on Nagasaki on 9 August 1945, three days after it had carried out a nuclear attack on Hiroshima, in which 140,000 people died by the end of the year.
 
“This place makes us deeply aware of the pain and horror that we human beings are capable of inflicting upon one another,” Francis said, standing next to a large photograph of a young boy carrying his dead baby brother on his back at a crematorium in the aftermath of the attack on Nagasaki.
 
Francis was given the photograph several years ago and has since distributed tens of thousands of copies. He was due to meet the widow and son of Joe O’Donnell, the American military photographer who took it.
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A photo taken by US marine Joe O’Donnell, showing a boy carrying his dead brother on his back after the Nagasaki bombing. Photograph: Vincenzo Pinto/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
 
The 82-year-old pontiff, who will visit Hiroshima later Sunday, has long been a vocal opponent of nuclear weapons. The Holy See was among the first countries to sign and ratify a 2017 nuclear prohibition treaty. But nuclear powers, and countries such as Japan that fall under the US nuclear umbrella, have refused to sign it.
 
“In a world where millions of children and families live in inhumane conditions, the money that is squandered and the fortunes made through the manufacture, upgrading, maintenance and sale of ever more destructive weapons, are an affront crying out to heaven,” Francis said.
 
He urged world leaders to recommit to arms control efforts and the eventual abolition of nuclear weapons. “We need to ponder the catastrophic impact of their deployment, especially from a humanitarian and environmental standpoint, and reject heightening a climate of fear, mistrust and hostility fomented by nuclear doctrines.”
 
A survivor of the Nagasaki bombing said he hoped the pope’s words would make nuclear powers think seriously about disarmament. Describing his experience 74 years ago as “a living hell,” Minoru Moriuchi, an 82-year-old Catholic, said: “My father’s sister ran away to our house with her two children and I never forgot the sight – their bodies were reddish-black and completely burnt.
 
“Four other relatives were brought in … but they didn’t look like humans,” he told Agence France-Presse.
 
In Hiroshima, Francis was due to meet ageing survivors of the atomic bombings – the hibakusha – at the city’s peace memorial park.
 
The symbolism of his visit to Nagasaki extends beyond its tragic place in wartime history.
 
Francis was scheduled to pay tribute at a site in the city devoted to martyrs among Japan’s earliest Christians, whose religion was banned by the country’s shogun rulers in the early 1600s. Suspected believers were forced to renounce their faith or be tortured to death. Many continued to worship in secret, as “hidden Christians” until the ban was lifted in the late 1800s.
 
Francis is the first pope to visit Japan – where there are fewer than half a million Catholics – since 1981, when John Paul II traveled to Nagasaki and Hiroshima to call for the abolition of nuclear weapons amid cold war tensions between the US and the Soviet Union.
 
On Monday, Francis will meet survivors of the March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster, as well as Japan’s new emperor, Naruhito, and the prime minister, Shinzo Abe.
 

November 25, 2019 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

Japan gov’t tells embassies risk of contaminated Fukushima water ‘small’

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In this Aug. 1, 2019 photo taken from a Mainichi helicopter, storage tanks for radioactively contaminated water are seen on the grounds of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture.
November 21, 2019
TOKYO (Kyodo) — The Japanese government on Thursday told embassy officials from nearly 20 countries that the health risk to humans of water contaminated by the Fukushima nuclear disaster would be “significantly small” even if it is entirely released into the ocean and atmosphere.
The briefing session was held to explain how the contaminated water is being dealt with after it is treated via an advanced liquid processing system that does not remove tritium and that causes small amounts of other radioactive materials to remain.
Government officials explained the health risk to humans would be “significantly small,” as discharging the treated water into the Pacific Ocean and atmosphere over the course of a year would lead to between just one-1,600th and one-40,000th of the radiation that humans are naturally exposed to, Foreign Ministry officials said.
The briefing session, attended by 19 embassy officials from 17 countries and a region, was held as the Japanese government has yet to decide what to do with the treated water that continues to build up following the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Water used to cool the melted-down cores and ground water near the crippled plant contains some radioactive materials, and is currently being collected and stored in tanks on the plant grounds.
The tanks storing the water are expected to become full by the summer of 2022, according to Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., the operator of the nuclear power plant disabled by a magnitude-9.0 earthquake and ensuing tsunami on March 11, 2011.
At the meeting, one embassy official asked whether other radioactive materials besides the relatively non-toxic tritium could be removed from the water before being discharged into the water.
A Japanese government official responded that it is possible if purification equipment is used, the officials said.
A similar explanation was offered Monday by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry at a government subcommittee on the issue.
The government plans to finalize its decision on how to deal with the water after the subcommittee draws a conclusion.
Among attendees at Thursday’s briefing session, South Korea had referred to the treated water as contaminated water at a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency in September and expressed concern over ocean discharge.
But the country did not raise any objections at the briefing session, the officials said.

November 25, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , | Leave a comment

109 Fukui officials received money in Kansai Electric gift scandal

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November 21, 2019
Can someone say quid pro quo? In a scandal that continues to rock the Fukui prefecture, an investigation involving a former mayor and major utility has now found that more than 100 former and current gov’t officials received gifts or money!
This photo taken from a Kyodo News helicopter on May 30, 2019, shows the No. 3, left, and No. 4 reactors at Kansai Electric Power Co.’s Takahama nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture, central Japan.
November 21, 2019
FUKUI, Japan (Kyodo) — A total of 109 current and former Fukui prefectural officials received money and other gifts from a former deputy mayor of Takahama who is at the heart of a gift scandal involving Kansai Electric Power Co., an investigative committee said Thursday.
The committee set up by the prefecture last month had been looking into whether Eiji Moriyama exercised influence over the central Japan prefecture’s public work projects, after the late deputy mayor of Takahama was found to have given massive gifts to the utility’s top officials.
The revelation that the utility officials received a total of 320 million yen ($3 million) worth of gifts from 2006 led to the resignation of its Chairman Makoto Yagi. Kansai Electric operates a nuclear plant in Takahama and Moriyama, who died in March, served as an adviser to its subsidiary for more than 30 years.
The three committee members, all lawyers, interviewed about 300 people including former governors, deputy governors and other senior officials in compiling their report.
Moriyama had also served as a human rights researcher for the prefecture between 1971 and 2018.

November 25, 2019 Posted by | Japan | , , , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima persimmons to be presented to Pope

Wanting to use the Pope visit to slyly promote contaminated food….
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November 21, 2019
A Japanese Catholic from Fukushima Prefecture plans to present local specialty persimmons to Pope Francis during his visit to Japan from Saturday.
Chuichi Ozawa from Koriyama City has been granted an audience with the pontiff next week.
As a member of the Koriyama Catholic Church, Ozawa has worked to support people affected by the 2011 earthquake and Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident.
Ozawa proposed presenting Aizu-mishirazu persimmons to the Pope to help dispel concerns about the safety of Fukushima produce due to the accident.
The Vatican Embassy in Tokyo accepted the offer.
The persimmons are known for their creamy texture and refreshing sweetness.
Ozawa visited a farmer in the Aizu region on Thursday and received more than 50 persimmons specially chosen for their colors and shapes.
He plans to bring the fruit to the embassy on Friday.
Ozawa says if the Pope eats the persimmons, it will lift the spirits of Fukushima farmers.

November 25, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

Japan: Environmentalists say Fukushima water too radioactive to release

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November 20, 2019
Officials in Japan have claimed that water exposed to radiation in the Fukushima nuclear disaster is now safe to dump into the Pacific. Environmentalists say the water is too contaminated. Julian Ryall reports.
Environmental groups are skeptical of a Japanese government declaration claiming that contaminated water stored at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant is safe to release into the ocean.
Officials from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry addressed a government committee Monday, and said that the health risk associated with releasing water that absorbed radionuclides in the aftermath of the March 2011 nuclear accident would be “small.”
During the hearing, the officials said that releasing the water over the course of one year would cause exposure amounting to a miniscule fraction of the radiation that humans are naturally exposed to annually. 
The officials said that storage facilities are already close to capacity, with over 1 million tons of contaminated water being stored in steel tanks on the site in northeast Japan.
Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the operator of the Fukushima plant, estimates that with around 120 tons of ground water leaking into the basement levels of the three reactors that suffered meltdowns as a result of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, the storage tanks will reach capacity in the summer of 2022. 
Contamination questions
TEPCO and the government have long believed that the best way to dispose of the water is to simply release it into the ocean. They claimed until this year that contaminated water had been cleansed by a so-called advanced liquid processing system to the point that virtually all the radionuclides had been reduced to “non-detect” levels. 
Leaked TEPCO documents, however, show that varying amounts of 62 radionuclides — including strontium, iodine, cesium and cobalt — have not been removed from the water. 
The company has also been criticized for refusing to permit independent organizations to test the water that is being stored at the site.
Nevertheless, environmentalists fear that preparations are under way to release the water into the environment. 
“Even a year ago, when the first report on options for disposing the treated water was presented to the committee, it seemed clear to me even then that the preferred option was to release it into the ocean,” said Azby Brown, the lead researcher for Tokyo-based nuclear monitoring organization Safecast Japan. Other options included evaporation and burying the water.
“My take on this is that they have already reached a decision and that all these discussions now on the options are purely theater.”
Calls for added storage capacity
Safecast, Greenpeace and other environmental organizations have called for the company to build more tanks on the site. Additionally, when the area within the plant perimeter is full, they advocate building more storage on adjacent farmland that can no longer be used because it is too highly contaminated.
Brown said TEPCO officials ruled that option out on the grounds that they want to limit the tanks to the existing site. 
“Honestly, I don’t see much evidence of genuine consideration of the other options,” he said.
Others are more optimistic that the government and TEPCO will eventually conclude that it would be too damaging to their reputations to dump the water into the Pacific. 
“They do seem to be coming back to this option regularly, but once you start to look at the logistics of it, very quickly it’s clear that it’s virtually impossible,” said Hideyuki Ban, co-director of the Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center. 
“We do not know the levels of radionuclides in the water they say has been treated, but the best guess we have is that levels of tritium are at about 1 million becquerels per liter,” he said.
“The government has set a level of 60,000 becquerels per liter as the target before the water is released, but TEPCO says they want to get it down to 1,500 becquerels.”
“To do that is going to take a long time, and then every tank of water that was going to be released would have to be tested to make sure that it meets those standards,” Ban said. “We think that they would be better off just deciding to keep storing the water for the next 30 years.”
The best of bad options?
TEPCO said that a final decision on how to dispose of the water will be made by the government after all the available options have been taken into consideration.
But a company official told DW that time is running out for a decision to be made.
“In three years, the capacity that we are adding at the site at the moment will be used up and there is nowhere else to build tanks,” he said. “We have a three-year window for the government to decide on a policy and a course of action.”

November 25, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , | Leave a comment

Fukushima Disappearing? An on-the-ground report by Beverly Findlay-Kaneko

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November 20, 2019

Fukushima Disappearing? An on-the-ground report by Beverly Findlay-Kaneko. She lived in Yokohama, Japan for 20 years until March 2011 after the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake.  She worked at Yokohama National University and The Japan Times.  Beverly has a Master’s degree in East Asian Studies from Stanford University, and speaks Japanese fluently.

Since returning from Japan, Beverly and her husband, Yuji Kaneko, have been active in raising awareness about nuclear issues, including the nuclear accident at Fukushima. Their main activities have included organizing speaking tours, giving presentations, networking in activist and nuclear-impacted communities in the U.S. and Japan, and co-producing the annual Nuclear Hotseat podcast “Voices from Japan” special on Fukushima

http://nuclearhotseat.com/2019/11/20/fukushima-disappearing-journey-thru-japans-radioactive-olympics-prefecture/?fbclid=IwAR04e80yp83NYpje_5JsVvPIP_3xdc3OcRspEwR0kGoa-4BF0vNRcki8JWM

November 25, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , | Leave a comment

South Korea nuclear regulator wants information on radioactive Fukushima water release

hjjmmlù.jpgA geiger counter measures a radiation level of 54.0 microsievert per hour near the No.2 and No.3 reactor buildings at Tokyo Electric Power Co’s (TEPCO) tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Okuma town, Fukushima prefecture, Japan February 18, 2019

November 20, 2019

SEOUL (Reuters) – Japan’s reluctance to disclose information about the release of radioactive water from its damaged Fukushima nuclear plant is hampering neighboring countries’ efforts to minimize the impact, the head of South Korea’s nuclear safety agency said on Wednesday.

Since the 2011 earthquake and tsunami caused a meltdown at some of the reactors the Fukushima plant, owner Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) has been storing radioactive water in tanks at the site from the cooling pipes used to keep the fuel cores from melting. The utility will run out of space for the water in 2022.

Japan has not yet decided how to deal with the contaminated water, but its environment minister said in September that radioactive water would have to be released from the site into the Pacific Ocean.

“We have been raising Japan’s radioactive water issue to the international community to minimize the impact … but as Japan hasn’t disclosed any specific plan and process we would need more details to run simulations and study,” Uhm Jae-sik, chairman of the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission, told Reuters.

In addition to the Fukushima crisis, safety concerns about nuclear energy have increased in South Korea following a 2012 scandal over the supply of faulty reactors parts with forged documents, prompting a series of shutdowns of nuclear reactors.

South Korea, the world’s fifth-largest user of nuclear power, targets a long-term phase out of atomic power to allay public concerns.

“Regardless of the government’s energy policy change, our primary goal is ensuring the safety of nuclear power,” Uhm said.

South Korea operates 25 nuclear reactors, which generate about a third of the country’s total electricity. Of the 25 reactors, 10 are offline for maintenance, according to the website of Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power.

(This story corrects the word “specific” to clarify meaning in translated quote in paragraph 4)

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-southkorea-nuclear/south-korea-nuclear-regulator-wants-information-on-radioactive-fukushima-water-release-idUSKBN1XU0N8

November 25, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , | Leave a comment

Japan grapples with serving Fukushima food at Olympics

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November 20, 2019

For years, Japan’s government has sought to convince consumers that food from Fukushima is safe despite the nuclear disaster. But will it serve the region’s produce at the Tokyo Olympics?

It’s a thorny subject for the authorities. They pitched the Games in part as a chance to showcase the recovery of areas affected by the 2011 tsunami and nuclear disaster.

Government officials tout strict checks on food from the region as evidence that the produce is completely safe, but it remains unclear whether athletes and sports teams from around the world will be convinced.

In the Fukushima region, producers are keen to see their products served at the Olympic village and have submitted a bid to the organisers.

“The Fukushima region has put forward food from 187 producers and is second only to Hokkaido when it comes to meeting the specified criteria in terms of range of products,” said Shigeyuki Honma, assistant director general of the local government’s agriculture and forestry planning division.

“Fukushima wants to serve athletes its rice, its fruits, beef and vegetables. But the committee still has to decide.”

In the years since the nuclear disaster, when tsunami waves overwhelmed the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, strict measures have been in place to screen all manner of local products.

And officials say the figures speak for themselves.

Japan allows a maximum of 100 becquerels of caesium radioactivity per kilogramme (Bq/kg). The European Union, by comparison, sets that level at 1,250 Bq/kg and the US at 1,200.

From April 2018 to March this year, 9.21 million bags of rice were examined, with not a single one exceeding the Japanese limit.

The same for 2,455 samples of fruit and vegetables, 4,336 pieces of meat and 6,187 ocean fish.

“Only river fish and wild mushrooms have on just six occasions been found to exceed the limits,” said Kenji Kusano, director of the Fukushima Agricultural Technology Centre, in Koriyama, the government’s main screening site.

– ‘Objective data’ –

But the figures have only gone some way to reassuring foreign officials: numerous countries including China, South Korea, and the United States maintain restrictions on the import of some or all produce from Fukushima.

South Korea, which is currently locked in a dispute with Japan over wartime issues, has been vocal about its concerns ahead of the Olympics, even raising the possibility of bringing in its own kitchen and food.

“We have requested the Olympic organisers to provide objective data verified by an independent third body,” the South Korean Sports and Olympic Committee said in a statement earlier this year.

“Since Japan repeatedly said its food from Fukushima is safe, we have demanded they provide statistics and data to back up their claims,” an official with the committee told AFP.

The position underlines a long-running problem for Japan: while it points to its extensive, government-mandated checks as proof of safety, many abroad feel the government is not an objective arbiter.

“Generally, Japanese citizens have faith in the government, and we haven’t felt the need to have checks carried out by independent parties,” said Kusano.

But lingering questions have left some officials feeling “perhaps (third-party checks) may be important from the point of view of foreigners,” he added.

– ‘Completely safe’ –

The International Olympic Committee said it was still weighing how to handle the matter.

“Food menus and catering companies for the Olympic Village are under discussion and have yet to be defined,” a spokesman told AFP.

The Tokyo 2020 organisers said promoting areas affected by the 2011 disaster remains a key goal.

“Supporting the area’s reconstruction efforts through the sourcing of its food and beverage products is one of our basic strategies; we are therefore seriously considering doing this,” 2020 spokesman Masa Takaya told AFP.

He said rules on what food and drink could be brought in independently by teams were still being reviewed.

And, pointing to the strict standards of Japanese checks, he said the organisers “are confident the food we will serve to athletes will be completely safe.”

In Fukushima, producers can only wait and hope for the best.

Tomio Kusano, a pear farmer in Iwaki on the Fukushima coast, struggled enormously after the disaster.

“My world really collapsed, but I never thought for a second of quitting,” he said.

And his perseverance is finally paying off, he said.

“I don’t get subsidies any more. My pears are inspected and there are no problems. They are selling well again in Japan, and Vietnam has started to import them.”

https://news.yahoo.com/japan-grapples-serving-fukushima-food-olympics-021559562–oly.html

 

November 25, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , | Leave a comment

Fukushima operator accused of cover-up over ‘contaminated’ water set to be poured into the Pacific

kjlm.jpgFukushima Dai-ichi operator Tepco said that concerns over security prevented independent testing of the water being stored in vast tanks

Fukushima operator accused of cover-up over ‘contaminated’ water set to be poured into the Pacific

19 November 2019

The Japanese government has been accused of a cover-up after it refused to allow independent testing of water from the Fukushima power plant that is likely to be released into the Pacific Ocean.

Officials at the industry ministry on Monday said the water stored at the crippled nuclear site was “safe” to release into the Pacific Ocean, despite concerns about radioactive material from environmental and citizens’ groups.

Following a recent visit to the plant, the Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) told The Telegraph that concerns over security prevented independent testing.

“Other organisations are not permitted to carry out tests of the water”, Hideki Yagi, a spokesman for Tepco, told The Telegraph.

“If we are going to allow external organisations to test the treated water then we would need to go through very strict procedures and due process because that water is contaminated. If it is taken outside this facility, then there need to be strict regulations”.

Both Greenpeace and the Citizens’ Nuclear Information Centre (Cnic), an anti-nuclear lobbying group, suggested that Tepco may be trying to cover up the true scale of contamination of water stores at the site.

Shaun Burnie, senior nuclear specialist for Greenpeace, says the refusal to permit third-party testing only serves to raise new concerns about plans to discharge the water into the ocean.

“Moving nuclear material always carries risk, but for the purpose of independent analysis it would be justified”, he said. “Tepco has lost trust across society in Japan as well as in the international community, including in South Korea, and providing samples for analysis would be in their best interests – unless they are covering something up.

“There are many questions about the effectiveness of Tepco’s … technology so providing samples that could verify their reports on content would go some way to demonstrating their commitment to transparency”, Mr Burnie added.

“It won’t remove doubts that they are covering up major issues at the site – but would be an improvement on the current situation”.

Hideyuki Ban, co-director of Cnic, said: “There would need to be lots of checks because there is a lot of water, but right now it looks very much to the outside world that they are trying to cover something up – as they have a long history of doing – and it would be very much in their best interests to be transparent on this.

“If they don’t, how will they ever get back any of the public trust that they have lost completely since the accident?” Mr Ban said.

During a recent visit to the plant, Tepco officials told The Telegraph that a decision on how to dispose of the water must be made soon as tanks at the site are already near capacity and there is limited space to construct new storage facilities. The company estimates that capacity will be reached in the summer of 2022.

The industry ministry on Monday told a government committee considering methods to dispose of the more than a million tons of water presently being stored in hundreds of tanks at the site that the risk to humans associated with releasing the water into the ocean would be “small”.

Discharging the water into the Pacific over the course of a year would amount to between just one-1,600th and one-40,000th of the radiation to which humans are naturally exposed, the ministry officials told the committee.

Estimates indicate that annual radiation levels near the release point after a release would be between 0.052 and 0.62 microsieverts at sea, the officials said, and 1.3 microsieverts in the atmosphere. That compares with around 2,100 microsieverts that humans come into contact with each year in everyday life.

The ministry how emphasised that no final decision has been reached on how or when the water will be disposed of.

The water became contaminated with radiation when it was used to cool three of the six reactors at the plant that suffered melt-downs after being damaged in the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Ground water is also seeping into the basement levels of the reactor buildings, with an additional 120 tons of water accumulating every day.

Tepco was forced to admit earlier this year that efforts to remove varying amounts of 62 radionuclides – including strontium, iodine, caesium and cobalt – from the water through the ALPS equipment had not been completely successful.

Officials of the company have added that testing of the water is presently carried out by Tokyo Power Technology Ltd, which it claims has advanced analytical skills and “very high” reliability. Tokyo Power Technology is a subsidiary of Tepco that was set up two years after the Fukushima disaster.

Monitoring is also conducted by the government-funded Japan Atomic Energy Agency and the Japan Chemical Analysis Centre.

Azby Brown, lead researcher for Tokyo-based monitoring organisation Safecast Japan, a group that monitors radiation, said the lack of transparency means the risks to marine life of releasing the water are relatively unknown.

“We don’t have enough data to evaluate the impact that any release with those concentrations will have on marine life,” he said.

“The expected doses that they are talking about are quite low and therefore the amount of radiation that is absorbed into marine life and then into humans when they eat fish would also be quite low.

“But that has to be full of caveats because the way that information has been presented is confusing and not transparent so ordinary people do not understand and cannot make informed decisions.”

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/11/19/fukushima-accused-cover-up-contaminated-water-set-poured-pacific/

fhj.jpgTepco has been accused of shielding up the trusty scale of contamination of water stores at the positioning

Fukushima accused of cover-up over ‘contaminated’ water set to be poured into the Pacific

November 19, 2019

The Eastern authorities has been accused of a quilt up after it refused to enable honest checking out of water from the Fukushima vitality plant that is doubtless to be launched into the Pacific Ocean.

Officers at the industry ministry on Monday said the water saved at the crippled nuclear plan used to be “capable” to release into the Pacific ocean, despite concerns about radioactive cloth from environmental and citizens’ groups.

Following a most modern consult with to the plant, the Tokyo Electrical Energy Co (Tepco) instructed The Telegraph that concerns over security prevented honest checking out.

“Assorted organisations are now not permitted to internet exams of the water”, Hideki Yagi, a spokesman for Tepco, instructed The Telegraph.

“If we’ll enable exterior organisations to take a look at the treated water then we would deserve to struggle thru very strict procedures and due route of because that water is rotten. If it is taken originate air this facility, then there wish to be strict rules”.

The corporate estimates water storage ability will seemingly be reached within the summer season of 2022

Both Greenpeace and the Electorate’ Nuclear Files Centre (Cnic), an anti-nuclear lobbying community, instructed that Tepco might perhaps well perhaps be attempting to quilt up trusty scale of contamination of water stores at the positioning.

Shaun Burnie, senior nuclear specialist for Greenpeace, says the refusal to permit third-internet collectively checking out only serves to fetch unique concerns about plans to discharge the water into the ocean.

“Transferring nuclear cloth repeatedly carries possibility, but for the unbiased of honest diagnosis it might perhaps perhaps truly perhaps be justified”, he said. “TEPCO has misplaced belief across society in Japan moreover within the worldwide community, including in South Korea, and providing samples for diagnosis might perhaps well perhaps be in their most efficient interests – unless they are maintaining something up.

“There are a form of questions regarding the effectiveness of Tepco’s … technology so providing samples that can additionally voice their reports on affirm material would scamper some technique to demonstrating their dedication to transparency”, Mr Burnie added.

“It will additionally now not settle away doubts that they’re maintaining up foremost points at the positioning – but might perhaps well perhaps be an development on the sizzling worry”.

Hideyuki Ban, co-director of Cnic, said: “There would deserve to be tons of assessments because there is a form of water, but decent now it looks to be very powerful to the originate air world that they’re attempting to quilt something up – as they bear a lengthy history of doing – and it might perhaps perhaps truly perhaps be very powerful in their most efficient interests to be clear on this.

“In the occasion that they don’t, how will they ever internet attend any of the general public belief that they bear misplaced fully since the accident?” Mr Ban said.

The tsunami water engulfed the vitality plant

Credit:
AP

During a contemporary consult with to the plant, Tepco officers instructed The Telegraph that a resolution on easy suggestions to internet rid of the water desires to be made rapidly as tanks at the positioning are already advance ability and there’s dinky suppose to create unique storage facilities. The corporate estimates that ability will seemingly be reached within the summer season of 2022.

The industry ministry on Monday instructed a authorities committee brooding about suggestions to internet rid of the higher than 1 million a form of water presently being saved in tons of of tanks at the positioning that the possibility to humans connected to releasing the water into the ocean might perhaps well perhaps be “small”.

Discharging the water into the Pacific over the route of a yr would quantity to between decent one-1,600th and one-40,000th of the radiation to which humans are naturally exposed, the ministry officers instructed the committee.

Estimates conceal that annual radiation phases advance the release level after a release might perhaps well perhaps be between 0.052 and nil.62 microsievert at sea, the officers said, and 1.3 microsieverts within the ambiance. That compares with spherical 2,100 microsieverts that humans reach into contact with each and each yr in everyday lifestyles.

The ministry how emphasised that no final resolution has been reached on how or when the water will seemingly be disposed of.

The water turned rotten with radiation when it used to be used to frosty three of the six reactors at the plant that suffered soften-downs after being broken within the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Ground water is additionally seeping into the basement phases of the reactor buildings, with an further 120 a form of water collecting each and on daily basis.

Tepco used to be compelled to admit earlier this yr that efforts to settle away varying quantities of 62 radionuclides – including strontium, iodine, caesium and cobalt – from the water thru the ALPS instruments had now not been fully a hit.

Officers of the corporate bear added that checking out of the water is presently implemented by Tokyo Energy Technology Ltd, which it claims has evolved analytical expertise and “very high” reliability. Tokyo Energy Technology is a subsidiary of Tepco that used to be arrange two years after the Fukushima catastrophe.

The magnitude 9 earthquake caused a large natural catastrophe

Credit:
EPA

Monitoring is additionally performed by the authorities-funded Japan Atomic Energy Agency and the Japan Chemical Prognosis Centre.

Azby Brown, lead researcher for Tokyo-essentially based totally mostly monitoring organisation Safecast Japan, a community that shows radiation, said the dearth of transparency technique the dangers to marine lifetime of releasing the water are quite unknown.

“We blueprint now not bear ample recordsdata to deem the affect that any release with these concentrations might perhaps well perhaps bear on marine lifestyles”, he said..

“The anticipated doses that they’re talking about are fairly low and attributable to this truth the quantity of radiation that is absorbed into marine lifestyles after which into humans after they eat fish would additionally be fairly low

“Nevertheless that must be paunchy of caveats for the reason that technique that recordsdata has been provided is confusing and now not clear so traditional of us carry out now not understand and might perhaps well perhaps now not assemble instructed decisions.”

https://headlinezpro.com/fukushima-accused-of-cover-up-over-contaminated-water-set-to-be-poured-into-the-pacific/

November 25, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , | Leave a comment

Undersea survey for new nuke plant deferred due to protests in western Japan

When will the Japanese government and big utilities ever learn? Aren’t three meltdowns at Fukushima Daiichi enough to teach them that there is NO future in building new nukes!

fghgjkkm.jpgA planned construction site for the Kaminoseki nuclear power station is seen in the foreground, while Iwaishima Island lies in the background, in the town of Kaminoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture, on May 29, 2019.

November 15, 2019

SHUNAN, Yamaguchi — An undersea boring survey for the construction of a nuclear power plant on a planned land reclamation site off Kaminoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture, has been deferred due to protests by local residents opposing the project.

Chugoku Electric Power Co. had originally planned to start the survey on Nov. 14 in waters off Kaminoseki in western Japan, and complete it by Jan. 30 next year. However, daily protests by anti-nuclear power residents aboard fishing boats and inclement weather had delayed measurements and other preparation work, prompting the power company to postpone the survey.

The Hiroshima-based utility intends to study whether there are active faults in the area by drilling the seabed to a depth of about 60 meters. The survey falls under preparations for safety screening accompanying construction of the Kaminoseki nuclear plant under new regulatory standards for nuclear complexes introduced in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. The Yamaguchi Prefectural Government had granted permission for the boring survey on Oct. 31.

The power company plans to start boring after ensuring safety in the area. Residents, meanwhile, say they will continue their protests.

https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20191115/p2a/00m/0na/010000c

November 25, 2019 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

As the Runit nuclear waste dome crumbles, Marshall Islanders want honesty and justice

‘People want justice’: Marshalls’ fury over nuclear information US withheld–  https://www.rnz.co.nz/international/programmes/datelinepacific/audio/2018723289/people-want-justice-marshalls-fury-over-nuclear-information-us-withheld  From Dateline Pacific,  21 November 2019

November 25, 2019 Posted by | history, Legal, OCEANIA, oceans, Reference, wastes | Leave a comment

UK’s embarrassing, expensive, intractable trouble with dead nuclear submarines

The Royal Navy Is Having Real Trouble Disposing Of Its Old Nuclear Submarines. It’s expensive. National Interest , by Michael Peck.  24 Nov 19,

Key point: Britain isn’t the only nation that has problems disposing of nuclear warships. When you need to dispose of an old car, you can take it to a junkyard.

But what do you do with a nuclear submarine whose reactor can make people glow in a most unpleasant way?

Britain has retired twenty nuclear submarines since 1980. None have been disposed of, and nine still contain radioactive fuel in their reactors, according to an audit by Britain’s National Audit Office. These subs spent an average of twenty-six years on active service—and nineteen years out of service.

“Because of this, the Department [Ministry of Defense] now stores twice as many submarines as it operates, with seven of them having been in storage for longer than they were in service,” the audit states.

Even worse is the price tag. Britain has spent 500 million pounds ($646.4 million) maintaining those decommissioned subs between 1980 and 2017. Full disposal of a nuclear sub would cost 96 million pounds ($112.1 million). As a result, the total cost for disposing of the Royal Navy’s ten active subs and twenty retired vessels would be 7.5 billion pounds ($9.7 billion), NAO calculated…….

The plan is to begin defueling subs, beginning with HMS Swiftsure, in 2023. But even then, the Ministry of Defense will have to deal with different subs that have different disposal requirements. “At present, the Department does not have a fully developed plan to dispose of Vanguard, Astute and Dreadnought-class submarines, which have different types of nuclear reactor,” NAO pointed out. “For the Vanguard and Astute-class it has identified suitable dock space which, if used, will need to be maintained.”

Interestingly, the British military gets an exemption when it comes to nuclear waste. “Within the civil nuclear sector, organizations must consider nuclear waste disposal during the design stage of power stations and nuclear infrastructure. The Department does not have a similar obligation.”

Britain isn’t the only nation that has problems disposing of nuclear warships. The Soviet Union sank nineteen nuclear vessels, and fourteen shipborne nuclear reactors, at sea, sparking fears of an environmental catastrophe. Even the U.S. Navy is struggling with how to dispose of nuclear subs and aircraft carriers, such as the decommissioned carrier USS Enterprise. https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/royal-navy-having-real-trouble-disposing-its-old-nuclear-submarines-98017

November 25, 2019 Posted by | UK, wastes, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Appeal from former political prisoner to Australia’s Prime Minister to help Julian Assange

“This is how diplomacy works,”   “You can pick up the phone, Mr Morrison, and speak with whoever the United Kingdom’s next prime minister is; requesting that Julian Assange not be extradited to the United States to face the very real possibility, if not the certainty, that he will die in prison.”   at right, Prime Minister Morrison

Former political prisoner pleads for Scott Morrison to not let Assange ‘die in jail’, The Age By Rob Harris, Filmmaker James Ricketson, who spent 15 months as a political prisoner in a Cambodian jail, has implored Prime Minister Scott Morrison to “pick up the phone” to his British counterpart to ensure Julian Assange does not die in prison.

There are growing fears for the psychical and mental health of the 48-year-old WikiLeaks founder, who is in a London prison fighting an extradition request to the United States, where he faces espionage charges relating to the release of classified files on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

In an open letter to Mr Morrison, Mr Ricketson has joined a “rising tide of voices” in support of Australian government intervention to bring Mr Assange back to Australia before full extradition proceedings in February.

“The evidence that Julian Assange is not being ‘treated fairly’ in accordance with UK law is now overwhelming, as is evidence of the psychological torture he is being subjected to in Belmarsh Prison,” Mr Ricketson writes.

“If Julian Assange does die in prison, will you, with a clear Christian conscience, be able to inform the Australian public, in all honesty, that you did all within your power (and more) to protect Assange’s legal and human rights.”

Mr Ricketson was arrested and charged with espionage in June 2017 for flying a drone over an anti-government rally in Phnom Penh. He was held in the notoriously overcrowded Prey Sar prison for 15 months until he was pardoned by Cambodian authorities.

The filmmaker said it was former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull who intervened to secure his release, despite the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s insistence that it could not interfere with another country’s legal proceedings.

“This is how diplomacy works,” he writes. “You can pick up the phone, Mr Morrison, and speak with whoever the United Kingdom’s next prime minister is; requesting that Julian Assange not be extradited to the United States to face the very real possibility, if not the certainty, that he will die in prison.”

A newly formed federal cross-party parliamentary group, comprising 11 MPs dedicated to advocating for the return of Mr Assange, will meet formally for the first time on Monday in Canberra. ….

Mr Morrison and Foreign Minister Marise Payne have repeatedly ruled out any intervention in the case, with the PM saying last month he believed Mr Assange should “face the music” in court.

The former Australian high commissioner to Britain earlier this month mocked the idea of Mr Morrison acting on calls from Mr Assange’s supporters to do all he could to bring him home from Belmarsh Prison, where he has been held since his April 11 arrest at the Ecuadorian embassy, which gave him asylum for almost seven years. https://www.theage.com.au/politics/federal/former-political-prisoner-pleads-for-scott-morrison-to-not-let-assange-die-in-jail-20191124-p53dks.html

November 25, 2019 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, civil liberties, politics, politics international | Leave a comment