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The ” task force” stage of Olympic cancellation ?

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Tokyo Olympic coronavirus task force set up

February 6, 2020

The organizing committee for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games has launched a task force to respond to the spread of the new coronavirus.

The organizer told reporters on Thursday that it set up the task force on Tuesday headed by Director General Toshiro Muto.

It said officials already held a first meeting and talked about the need for cooperation with relevant organizations such as the central government and Tokyo metropolitan government, as well as the International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Committee over the virus outbreak.

They plan to discuss concrete measures to ensure the safety of athletes and spectators in the run-up to the torch relays that start in March, test events and the Olympic and Paralympic Games this summer.

Muto said he finds no problem in holding the Games, and his committee will closely monitor the situation in a calm manner, and take every step necessary to ensure safe conditions for athletes and spectators.

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20200206_50/?fbclid=IwAR3ltb5he-giqSgOWS49g44G5nFeDnJp1gBhZHidvZvjNDeML5XRV44Aez0

Tokyo 2020 Organisers set up task force to counter coronavirus

TOKYO (Reuters) – Tokyo Olympics organisers have set up a task force to coordinate with public health authorities on how to respond to the growing coronavirus epidemic.

Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto said at a press briefing on Thursday that he chaired the newly created Novel Coronavirus Countermeasures Task Force, which held its first meeting on Feb. 4. A second briefing would be held as early as tomorrow, he said.

Muto said on Wednesday that the coronavirus spread could throw “cold water” over the 2020 Games momentum. At Thursday’s briefing, he pledged that the event “would go on as planned.”

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-health-olympics-taskforce/tokyo-2020-organisers-set-up-task-force-to-counter-coronavirus-idUSKBN2001DN?fbclid=IwAR1_CgUFP19OUsZI76HPBXNn_Z2vokOkCF3cybrVDVvIHhnGRyZnlK_jjAU

February 6, 2020 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Fukushima and the 2020 Olympics

by Shaun Burnie –  5 February 2020

As 2020 is the year the Olympics and Paralympics come to Japan, this is an exciting time for sports and for the people of Japan. Amidst all the excitement however, there is the ongoing nuclear crisis in Fukushima prefecture. Labeled as the ‘Reconstruction Olympics’, Prime Minister Abe in 2013 declared that the situation at Fukushima Daiichi was under control. Seven years later there still remains a nuclear emergency at the nuclear plant and surrounding areas. In addition to the enormous challenges of how to safely manage over 1 million tonnes of contaminated water at the site and as much as 880 tonnes of molten nuclear fuel for which there is no credible solution, there remain wider issues regarding radioactive contamination of the environment, its effect on workers and Fukushima citizens, including evacuees and their human rights.

01Greenpeace radiation survey team in Fukushima, Japan

 

These issues were the subject of a 28 January 2020 documentary

broadcast by the U.S. network HBO as an investigative report by the program ‘Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel ’, the U.S.’s most-honored sports journalism series (with 33 Sports Emmy Awards, including 19 for Outstanding Sports Journalism) during the opening episode of its 26th season. 

What does it mean to host the Olympics and Paralympics in the context of an ongoing nuclear disaster, the effects of which are still being felt by tens of thousands of Japanese citizens? What does it tell about the Japanese government and its commitment to respecting the values of transparency and the human rights of its citizens? These are some of the important questions raised by HBO and they warrant careful consideration in the months leading up to this year’s summer games.

02Greenpeace radiation survey team in Fukushima, Japan

 

Greenpeace Japan applauds Olympic values and spirit, while recognizing that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has the responsibility to ensure the Olympic Games have a minimum impact on the environment and leave a positive legacy for those hosting the Games. The IOC has an opportunity to do this in a way that fulfills the ideals of the environment as the third pillar of Olympism – sustainability – by making the Games a showcase for environmental solutions. Simultaneously, we recognize that hosting the Olympics and Paralympics requires the Japanese Government to ensure absolute safety for athletes, international visitors, and the Japanese public alike. 

The decision to host two sporting events in Fukushima city raises genuine and important questions over radiation risks. The route of the Olympic Torch relay in all the municipalities of Fukushima prefecture includes the districts of Iitate, Namie, and Okuma where Greenpeace Japan’s Nuclear Monitoring & Radiation Protection Team has discovered radioactive hotspots, both in the open areas as well as in the remaining radiation exclusion zones, that remain too high even by revised governmental standards. What does all this mean for the hosting of Olympic events, including for athletes and visitors?

03Greenpeace radiation survey team in Fukushima, Japan

 

By conducting extensive radiation investigations, Greenpeace Japan attempts to explain the complex radiological environment, where nothing is straightforward, and where judging precise risks to health at the individual level is near impossible. In an effort to better understand and explain the radiological situation in parts of Fukushima, as well as the ongoing issues of human rights for both Fukushima citizens and decontamination workers, Greenpeace Japan will be publishing its latest radiation survey results in early March 2020.

Shaun Burnie is Senior Nuclear Specialist at Greenpeace Germany.

https://www.greenpeace.org/international/story/28509/fukushima-and-the-2020-olympics/

February 6, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima 2020 | , , , | Leave a comment

Radioactive 2020 Olympics Torch Run – WTFutaba? Beverly Findlay-Kaneko

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February 5, 2020

Radioactive 2020 Olympics Torch Relay will run through Futaba, town next to Fukushima Daiichi, near former location of PR sign, “Nuclear Power: Energy for a Bright Future.” (pictured above) Runners and tourists will NOT be wearing decontamination garb, unless they’re smart – and if they’re really smart, they won’t be there..

This Week’s Featured Interview:

  • Radioactive 2020 Olympics UPDATE: Beverly Findlay-Kaneko again joins us with on-the-ground information about the Olympics torch relay, including blog post interviews with former residents of Futaba, the town that hosted the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility, translated from the Japanese exclusively for Nuclear Hotseat.

http://nuclearhotseat.com/2020/02/05/radioactive-2020-olympics-torch-run-wtfutaba-beverly-findlay-kaneko/?fbclid=IwAR0sanV0xfZS1dcclbbSEoacP69H4iNTozz93ghjADgFzq7_xxRS_cItKAk

February 6, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima 2020 | , , , , | Leave a comment

A trip to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant: Full-body suits and three layers of socks

This article is just another slick piece of propaganda, downplaying the dangerosity of the situation, a situation still not resolved that after  9 years of lies and cover-up, still not under control.

Among the many B.S.  a very good example of its deceitful spin: ” Tepco officials later showed me containers of crystal clear water that had been through ALPS. They said it would be safe to release the liquid into the environment after mixing it with fresh water to meet regulations.”

Sorry Mister, crystal clear water does not make it safe when you’re talking about radioactive water, because remember radiation is invisible. Invisible indeed are the various types of radionuclides contained in that “crystal clear water” that they intend to dump into our ocean. Because as TEPCO admitted last year, their ALPS failed to remove  all the Cesiums, Strontium and others, beside Tritium…

The Olympics are near… So the spinned propaganda is up in all japanese media trying to make us all believe how good everything is at Fukushima Daichi nuclear plant, and in contaminated Fukushima prefecture and Tokyo…

 

Employees of TEPCO wearing protective suits and masks are seen inside a radiation filtering  ALPS at tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Okuma town, JapanEmployees of Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. wear protective suits and masks inside a radiation filtering Advanced Liquid Processing Systems (ALPS) at the tsunami-crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in January.

Feb 5, 2020

OKUMA, FUKUSHIMA PREF. – Reuters was recently given exclusive access to the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, where three reactors melted down in 2011 after a powerful earthquake and tsunami overwhelmed the seaside facility.

It was my fourth visit to the plant since the disaster to report on a massive clean-up. Work to dismantle the plant has taken nearly a decade so far, but with Tokyo due to host the Olympics this summer — including some events less than 60 km (38 miles) from the power station — there has been renewed focus on safeguarding the venues.

Nearly 10 years into the decadeslong clean-up some progress has been made, with potentially dangerous spent fuel removed from the top of one damaged reactor building and removal underway from another.

But the melted fuel inside the reactors has yet to be extracted and areas around the station remain closed to residents. Some towns have been reopened farther away but not all residents have returned.

This time I was taken to the site’s water treatment building, a cavernous hall where huge machines called Advanced Liquid Processing Systems (ALPS) are used to filter water contaminated by the reactors.

 

Reuters journalist Aaron Sheldrick wearing a protective suit, visits the Tokyo Electric Power Co's (TEPCO) tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Okuma townJournalist Aaron Sheldrick visits the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

On my first visit in 2012 I had to wear full protective gear put on at an operations base located in a sports facility about 20 km south of the nuclear plant called J-Village, where the Olympic torch relay will start in March. Then I was taken to the site by bus.

This time I was driven by van from a railway station in Tomioka — a town that was re-opened in 2017 — about 9 km away, with no precautions. More than 90 percent of the plant is deemed to have so little radioactivity that few precautions are needed. Nevertheless, reporting from there was not easy.

Before entering the plant itself, which is about the size of 400 football fields, I was asked to take off my shoes and socks, given a dosimeter to measure radiation levels, three pairs of blue socks, a pair of cloth gloves, a simple face mask, a cotton cap, a helmet and a white vest with clear panels to carry my equipment and display my pass.

I put on all three pairs of socks and the rest of the gear given to me, later including rubber boots. I was to change in and out of different pairs of these boots many times — I lost count — color coded according to the zone we passed through, each time putting them in plastic bags that would be discarded after use.

After reaching the ALPS building in a small bus, I was decked out in protective equipment, a full-body Du Pont Tyvek suit along with two sets of heavy surgeon-like latex gloves that were taped fast to the outfit.

I also had to put on a full-face mask after taking off my glasses since it would not fit otherwise and told to speak as loudly as possible due to the muffling effect of the gear.

Will you be able to see?” asked one official from Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., the plant’s operator. I nodded with as much conviction as I could muster and we entered the building, which was quite dark, making it even harder to see.

 

An employee of Tokyo Electric Power Co's uses a geiger counter next to storage tanks for radioactive water at tsunami-crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Okuma town, Fukushima prefectureA Tepco employee uses a geiger counter next to storage tanks for radioactive water. 

In the ALPS building I was taken up and down metal stairways that passed around piping, machinery, testing stations, changing in and out of the rubber boots as we crossed yellow and black demarcations, warning signs everywhere for areas that could not be entered.

As well as being dark, it was surprisingly quiet, given the machinery. My dosimeter alarm kept going off as the radiation levels rose. Tepco officials later showed me containers of crystal clear water that had been through ALPS. They said it would be safe to release the liquid into the environment after mixing it with fresh water to meet regulations.

About 4,000 workers are tackling the cleanup at Fukushima, including dismantling the reactors. Many wear protective gear for entering areas with higher radiation.

The plant resembles a huge construction site strewn in areas with twisted steel and crumpled concrete, along with cars that can no longer be used, while huge tanks to hold water contaminated by contact with the melted fuel in the reactors increasingly crowd the site.

Some wreckage is still so contaminated it is left in place or moved to a designated area for the radiation to decay while the important work on the reactor buildings is underway.

As we moved back into the so-called green zone we passed through a building where I was to take off the protective gear in a precise order in stages, with each piece going into a particular waste basket for each item. Gloves were first, then the facemask, after which the suit and socks were taken off at different locations until I was left with one pair for passing back through the various security cordons.

I was then given my external dosimeter reading, which was 20 microsierverts, about two dental x-rays worth.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/02/05/national/fukushima-no1-nuclear-plant-trip/?fbclid=IwAR296KIn5lW-tvFkB12QN0hnMQrcyNbsblJCJrijZehyWmo87WnsEK3DgoQ#.XjsO5iNCeUl

February 6, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima 2020 | , , , | Leave a comment

High-level radiation at Fukushima Daiichi No.2 reactor

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February 4, 2020

Japan’s nuclear regulators say high-level radiation was detected last month in the No.2 reactor building of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority last October resumed its probe into what caused the accident at the plant following the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

The results of a survey carried out last Thursday on the top floor of the building were disclosed at a meeting of commissioners and experts on Tuesday.

A meltdown took place at the reactor after the 2011 accident.

A robot on the floor directly above the reactor detected 683 millisieverts of radiation per hour.

The plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company, had also detected high levels of radiation there after the accident.

The site remains inaccessible to humans nine years later.

Commissioners and experts were also shown video of the No.4 reactor, which avoided a meltdown but experienced a hydrogen explosion. The video shows a steel frame believed to have been exposed by the blast.

The regulation authority plans to compile the data into a report this year, not only to determine the cause of the accident but also for work to decommission the reactors.

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20200204_41/

February 6, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima 2020 | , , | Leave a comment

Japan tries to explain to embassies that releasing Fukushima Radioactive water into ocean is ‘safe’

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Japan assures diplomats tainted Fukushima water is safe

Feb. 3 (UPI) — The Japanese government said Monday the planned release of tainted water from Fukushima would have no impact on oceans.

During an information session for foreign embassy officials in Tokyo, the Japanese foreign ministry sent signals of reassurance regarding a plan to release tritium-tainted water from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, the Mainichi Shimbun and Kyodo News reported.

A total of 28 diplomats representing 23 countries were in attendance, according to reports.

The water comes from Fukushima, where 170 tons of water is contaminated every day at the plant that was severely damaged during a catastrophic earthquake in March 2011. Water has been poured to cool the melted fuel, according to Kyodo.

Japan has been purifying the contaminated water using an advanced liquid processing system, or ALPS. The process does not remove tritium and leaves traces of radioactive elements.

Tokyo has defended its plan to release the water, but neighboring countries, including South Korea, are opposed to the measure.

On Monday, officials from Japan’s ministry of economy, trade and industry said they do not think there would be an impact on surrounding countries.

Japanese fishermen also oppose the measure. Releasing the water into the ocean could affect sales of local seafood, they say.

Japan is planning to release the tritium-tainted water at a time when it is taking stricter measures against travelers from China.

Jiji Press reported Monday Japan turned away five foreign nationals originating from Hubei Province following new restrictions at the border.

Foreigners who have stayed in the Chinese province in the past 14 days or who hold passports issued in the province are banned from entry, according to the report.

Japan has confirmed 20 coronavirus cases since the outbreak in China in December. Japanese airports have built new quarantine stations exclusively for travelers from mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau, according to local press reports.

https://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2020/02/03/Japan-assures-diplomats-tainted-Fukushima-water-is-safe/7381580755235/

 

Japan tries to explain to embassies merits of releasing Fukushima water into ocean

February 4, 2020

TOKYO – The Japanese government on Monday tried to impress upon embassy officials from nearly two dozen countries the merits of a plan to release radioactive water from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the ocean.

A briefing session was held at the Foreign Ministry in Tokyo to give an update on how more than 1 million tons of water that have been treated and kept in tanks at the crippled complex will be disposed of as storage space is quickly running out.

Both releasing the water into the Pacific Ocean and evaporating it are “feasible methods” as there are precedents for them in and out of Japan, though the former, in particular, could be carried out “with certainty” because it would be easier to monitor radiation levels, the government explained.

It has said the health risks to humans would be “significantly small,” as discharging the water over a year would amount to between just one-1,600th to one-40,000th of the radiation that humans are naturally exposed to.

But the discharge could cause reputational damage to the fishing and farming industries in the surrounding area, raising the need for countermeasures, the government said in the briefing, which came after the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry on Friday submitted a draft report on the methods to a subcommittee on the issue.

About 170 tons of water is contaminated at the Fukushima plant every day as it is poured onto the wreckage to cool the melted fuel or as it passes through as groundwater.

The contaminated water is being purified using an advanced liquid processing system, or ALPS, though the process does not remove tritium and has been found to leave small amounts of other radioactive materials.

Tanks used to store the treated water are expected to reach capacity by summer 2022.

Local fishermen have voiced opposition to releasing the water into the ocean out of fears that consumers would stop buying seafood caught nearby. Neighboring countries, including South Korea, which currently bans seafood imports from the area, have also expressed unease.

But no embassy officials voiced such concerns at Monday’s briefing, according to the industry ministry.

The briefing was attended by 28 embassy officials from 23 countries and regions — Afghanistan, Belgium, Benin, Brazil, Britain, Cambodia, Canada, Cyprus, East Timor, France, Germany, Italy, Indonesia, Jordan, Lebanon, Moldova, Panama, Russia, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey and the European Union.

https://japantoday.com/category/national/japan-tells-embassies-merits-of-releasing-fukushima-water-into-ocean

February 6, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima 2020 | , , , , , | Leave a comment

‘An Appalling Act of Industrial Vandalism’: Japanese Officials Do PR for Plan to Dump Fukushima Water Into Ocean

The Japanese government told embassy officials from nearly two dozen countries that releasing the water into the ocean was a “feasible” approach that could be done “with certainty.”

fukushima-embassy-officials-dump-water-oceanStorage tanks for radioactive water stand at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s (TEPCO) Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant on Jan. 29, 2020 in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan. Tepco hosted a media tour to the nuclear plant wrecked by an earthquake and tsunami in 2011.

February 03, 2020

As cleanup of the 2011 Fukushima disaster continues, the Japanese government made its case to embassy officials from 23 countries Monday that dumping contaminated water from the nuclear power plant into the ocean is the best course of action.

According to Kyodo News, officials from the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry claimed releasing the water and evaporating it are both “feasible methods” but said the former could be done “with certainty” because radiation levels could be monitored.

There’s more than one million tons of contaminated water already stored at the plant, with 170 tons more added each day. Utility TEPCO says there will be no more capacity for tanks holding contaminated water by 2022.

As Agence France-Presse reported, “The radioactive water comes from several different sources—including water used for cooling at the plant, and groundwater and rain that seeps into the plant daily—and is put through an extensive filtration process.”

That process still leaves tritium in the water and “has been found to leave small amounts of other radioactive materials,” Kyodo added.

The session for embassy officials followed Friday’s recommendation by a Japanese government panel that releasing the water into the ocean was the most feasible plan. As Reuters reported Friday:

The panel under the industry ministry came to the conclusion after narrowing the choice to either releasing the contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean or letting it evaporate—and opted for the former. Based on past practice it is likely the government will accept the recommendation.

Local fishermen oppose the plan and Reuters noted it is “likely to alarm neighboring countries.”

They’re not alone.

Nuclear policy expert Paul Dorfman said Saturday, “Releasing Fukushima radioactive water into ocean is an appalling act of industrial vandalism.”

Greenpeace opposes the plan as well.

Shaun Burnie, a senior nuclear specialist the group’s German office, has previously called on Japanese authorities to “commit to the only environmentally acceptable option for managing this water crisis, which is long-term storage and processing to remove radioactivity, including tritium.”

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/02/03/appalling-act-industrial-vandalism-japanese-officials-do-pr-plan-dump-fukushima

February 6, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima 2020 | , , | Leave a comment

Virus poses stark challenges to Abe’s tourism goals as Tokyo Olympics loom

Some experts say the coronavirus crisis is likely to continue for several months, possibly affecting the Tokyo Olympics starting July 24 — a nightmare scenario for Abe, who has tried to use the world’s largest sporting event to promote the Japanese economy and thereby further drum up voters’ support for his government.

According to a simulation by a medical team led by Gabriel Leung, the dean of the University of Hong Kong’s faculty of medicine, the number of infections in five Chinese mega-cities — Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Chongqing — would peak between late April and early May, meaning the crisis would still continue further beyond that period.

 

n-inbound-b-20200201-scaledTourists stroll near Kiyomizu Temple, a popular sightseeing spot in Kyoto, on Thursday. Japan’s recent tourism boom is being tested amid the coronavirus outbreak.

January 31, 2020

The coronavirus outbreak is posing myriad challenges for the Japanese economy, including a key Abe administration policy initiative — the promotion of inbound tourism.

In recent years, inbound tourism has been one of the few sectors to see rapid growth in the long-stagnant Japanese economy. Top government officials, especially Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, have touted the country’s “exploding” inbound tourism as a successful example of their “structural reform” deregulation initiatives.

In fact, everything looked to be on track until recently. The number of foreign tourists skyrocketed from 8.36 million in 2012 to 31.88 million in 2019, largely thanks to the yen’s depreciation and Suga’s initiative to ease Japan’s visa conditions for tourists from other Asian countries, most notably China.

Total spending by foreign tourists in Japan likewise surged from an estimated ¥1.1 trillion to ¥4.8 trillion during the same period, with Chinese tourists spending as much as 36.8 percent of total tourism expenditures in 2019, followed by Taiwanese at 11.4 percent and South Koreans at 8.7 percent.

It has been confirmed that the effects from inbound tourism … is turning into one of the main growth engines of the Japanese economy,” declared the Japan Tourism Agency in its 2018 white paper.

By becoming a tourism-oriented country, we have created a large and robust industry that is driving regional revitalization throughout Japan,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe boasted in his annual policy speech in January last year.

But that rosy vision of “a tourism-oriented country” has recently been put in doubt.

Since July, the number of South Korean tourists, typically the second-largest ethnic group among visitors, plummeted by more than 50 percent as nationalistic sentiment in both countries flared up over thorny history and trade issues.

In December, the number of tourists from the country who came to Japan stood at 248,000, down 63.6 percent from the same month in the previous year. Experts had already said it had become impossible for Abe’s government to meet its target of 40 million foreign tourists in 2020.

And then the coronavirus hit. Beijing has taken the extraordinary step to ban all Chinese from going overseas on group tours, effective Jan. 27. The number of Chinese tourists, the largest group by nationality, is expected to fall drastically as a result.

Some experts say the coronavirus crisis is likely to continue for several months, possibly affecting the Tokyo Olympics starting July 24 — a nightmare scenario for Abe, who has tried to use the world’s largest sporting event to promote the Japanese economy and thereby further drum up voters’ support for his government.

According to a simulation by a medical team led by Gabriel Leung, the dean of the University of Hong Kong’s faculty of medicine, the number of infections in five Chinese mega-cities — Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Chongqing — would peak between late April and early May, meaning the crisis would still continue further beyond that period.

The best case scenario, you would have something … where we go through the spring into the summer, and then it dies down,” David Fisman, a professor at the University of Toronto, was quoted as saying by media reports.

During an Upper House Budget Committee session Wednesday, Liberal Democratic Party member Motoyuki Fujii pointed out it took about six months to contain the SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) crisis in 2003, which was caused by a similar virus and infected about 8,000 people and killed 774 from Nov. 2002 to Aug. 2003.

The new coronavirus, which was first officially confirmed in Wuhan on Dec. 31, has already infected at least around 9,800 and killed 213, according to the tally compiled by the South China Morning Post as of Friday.

I’m concerned. … Now we have exactly about six months before the Olympic Games will start in July,” Fujii said.

I’d like the government to make its maximum efforts to get rid of the effects of the infectious disease by the time we will have the Olympic Games,” he added.

In response, Seiko Hashimoto, the minister in charge of the Olympics and Paralympics, said that “measures against infectious diseases including the new coronavirus are very important” in organizing the event.

I believe safety and the sense of security must be ensured to make the Tokyo Olympics successful,” Hashimoto said.

It is still probably too early to predict any effects on the Tokyo Games, as many key details of the new coronavirus still remain unknown.

But the outbreak has also highlighted a legal loophole and Japan’s apparent unpreparedness to deal with serious outbreaks of infectious disease in general.

Medical experts were shocked to learn that a carrier of the novel coronavirus could infect others even during the incubation period, when no symptoms are apparent. However, under the law, quarantine officers are not allowed to force a person showing no symptoms to undergo a medical test to determine whether that person is a carrier of a designated infectious disease.

In fact, two Japanese citizens who arrived at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport from Wuhan on a government-chartered airplane Wednesday refused to be tested for the virus. They went home from the airport and did not stay at a housing facility prepared by the government.

Two people have refused to undergo a virus test. We tried to persuade them for hours but there was no legally binding power. It’s very regrettable,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe admitted during an Upper House budget committee session Thursday.

On the political front, a setback in the promotion of inbound tourism is likely to deal a heavy blow to Abe as he struggles to carve out a legacy for his administration, which began in December 2012. Abe’s term as the president of the ruling LDP will expire in September next year.

His Abenomics policy mix consists of three main components: ultraloose monetary easing by the Bank of Japan, aggressive fiscal spending by the government and structural economic reforms, most notably deregulation.

Many economists have regarded monetary easing and fiscal spending as temporary measures to buy time, given the ballooning central government debt.

Structural economic reforms, in particular deregulation, is the key to achieve sustainable growth, they say, and promotion of inbound tourism has been often pointed out as one of the few successful cases of Abe’s structural reform initiatives.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/01/31/national/virus-abes-tourism-goals-tokyo-olympics/#.XjWiJSNCeUk

February 6, 2020 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Fukushima and the 2020 Olympics

February 6, 2020 Posted by | Japan, politics | Leave a comment

Permafrost thawing -“fast and dramatic, affecting landscapes in unprecedented ways

 

February 6, 2020 Posted by | ARCTIC, climate change, Reference | Leave a comment

Sea-level rise – an Unmanaged climate risks to spent fuel from U.S. nuclear power plants.

Unmanaged climate risks to spent fuel from U.S. nuclear power plants: The case of sea-level rise  https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0301421519306937?fbclid=IwAR3G1uXQ-mz1KU1_ENXztdqIdICVZPsgO6Rw-qvQ1jHHPiGPUuumd7OHcjw

Author links open overlay panelLisa MartineJenkinsRobertAlvarezSarah MarieJordaan

Highlights

Climate change will result in new risks to nuclear power operations.
•Spent fuel sites will be subject to risks from sea-level rise.
•A long-term spent fuel management plan is needed to mitigate risks.
•Short-term solutions to mitigate risks are recommended.
Abstract

Climate change and its accompanying sea-level rise is set to create risks to the United States’ stockpile of spent nuclear fuel, which results largely from nuclear power. Coastal spent fuel management facilities are vulnerable to unanticipated environmental events, as evidenced by the 2011 tsunami-related flooding at the Fukushima plant in Japan.

We examine how policy-makers can manage climate risks posed to the coastal storage of radioactive materials, and identify the coastal spent fuel storage sites that will be most vulnerable to sea-level rise.

A geospatial analysis of coastal sites shows that with six feet of sea-level rise, seven spent fuel sites will be juxtaposed by seawater. Of those, three will be near or completely surrounded by water, and should be considered a priority for mitigation: Humboldt Bay (California), Turkey Point (Florida), and Crystal River (Florida).

To ensure policy-makers manage such climate risks, a risk management approach is proposed. Further, we recommend that policy-makers 1) transfer overdue spent fuel from cooling pools to dry casks, particularly where located in high risk sites; 2) develop a long-term and comprehensive storage plan that is less vulnerable to climate change; and 3) encourage international nuclear treaties and standards to take climate change into account.

February 6, 2020 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment

U.S. Democrats call for five-year extension to nuclear arms treaty with Russia

Dems call for five-year extension to nuclear arms treaty with Russia,  . https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2020/feb/5/dems-call-five-year-extension-nuclear-arms-treaty-/  By Lauren Meier – The Washington Times – Wednesday, February 5, 2020

The leading Democrats on the House and Senate Foreign Relations Committees are urging President Trump to strike a renewed nuclear arms treaty with Russia as the last such treaty between the two nuclear powers is set to expire in one year.

In a statement Wednesday, Rep. Eliot Engel of New York and Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey called on Mr. Trump to negotiate an extension with Russian President Vladimir Putin to continue the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) for an additional five years.

“This treaty has constrained Russia’s nuclear forces, provided strong and detailed verification measures to ensure Russia adheres to its commitments, and allowed the United States the flexibility to maintain a safe, secure, modern, and effective nuclear deterrent,” the members wrote.

They highlighted data exchanges and on-site inspections of nuclear facilities that are authorized under the Obama-era treaty that “provide unique insights into Russia’s nuclear forces and greatly assist our military in carrying out its deterrence mission.”

The U.S. and Moscow are the major signatories of the treaty, which limits the number of deployable American and Russian nuclear weapons to no more than 1,550.

The White House already pulled the U.S. out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty with Russia dealing with shorter-range “tactical” nuclear weapons, over what the U.S. says is Moscow’s continued noncompliance with the terms of the Cold War-era pact.

Mr. Putin has opened the door to immediately extending the treaty, which is set to expire in February 2021

February 6, 2020 Posted by | politics international, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

 Russian Orthodox Church rethinks its practice of blessing nuclear weapons

Russian priests shouldn’t bless nuclear weapons, other weapons of mass destruction, Orthodox Church says, https://www.foxnews.com/world/russian-priests-shouldnt-bless-nuclear-weapons-other-weapons-of-mass-destruction-orthodox-church-says 5 Feb 20The Russian Orthodox Church thinks its priests should discontinue the practice of blessing weapons of mass destruction that inflict death upon thousands of people, according to a proposal published Monday.

The church released a draft document outlining its stance on the blessing of Orthodox Christians “for the performance of military duty” and “defense of the Fatherland.”

Russian priests have longed sprinkled holy water on various weapon systems, including submarines, ballistic missiles and space rockets, among others.

“It is not reflected in the tradition of the Orthodox Church and does not correspond to the content of the Rite of blessing of military weapons, and therefore, the use of this order to “sanctify” any kind of weapon, the use of which could lead to the death of an undetermined number of people, including weapons, should be excluded from pastoral practice indiscriminate action and weapons of mass destruction,” the church wrote.

The proposal noted the blessing of military vehicles used on land, air and sea is not  the “blessing of guns, rockets or bombing devices that the Lord is asking for, but the protection of soldiers.”

The proposals will be discussed on June 1 and the public is being asked to weigh in the debate, Reuters reported.

The request comes as the church and the Russian military continue to forge close ties. The armed forces are building a sprawling cathedral at a military park outside Moscow

February 6, 2020 Posted by | Religion and ethics, Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The Russian Orthodox Church just might cease its blessing of nuclear weapons

 

THE RUSSIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH MAY STOP BLESSING NUCLEAR WEAPONS    https://futurism.com/the-byte/russian-orthodox-blessing-nuclear-weapons   JULY 10TH 19__DAN ROBITZSKI 

A faction of clergy within the Russian Orthodox Church wants to end the eyebrow-raising practice of blessing the country’s nuclear missiles.

First of all, yes: Russian priests currently sprinkle holy water on nuclear missiles as part of an old tradition in which Orthodox priests bless soldiers and their weapons, reports Religion News Service. But that may change, as some priests feel that intercontinental ballistic missiles belong in a different category from individual firearms.

Faith Militant

The Russian military and the Russian Orthodox church have long worked hand in hand, according to RNS, framing many of the country’s military conflicts as holy wars. The nuclear arsenal even has its own patron saint — RNS reports that St. Seraphim’s remains were found in a Russian town that housed several nuclear facilities.

As such, the push to stop blessing nukes faces strong opposition among members of the clergy, such as the high-ranking priest Vsevolod Chaplin, who referred to the country’s nukes as “guardian angels.”

“Only nuclear weapons protect Russia from enslavement by the West,” Chaplin once said, per RNS.

Changing Hearts

One priest, Dmitry Tsorionov, parted from the more militant aspects of the Orthodox Church after seeing men willingly sign up to fight Russia’s wars “under the banner of Christ,” he told RNS. Now he wants to see less warmongering among the clergy.

“It was not uncommon to see how church functionaries openly flirted with these toxic ideas,” he told RNS. “It was only then that I finally realized what the blessing of military hardware leads to.”

February 6, 2020 Posted by | culture and arts, Religion and ethics, Russia, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Ontario Power Generation says ‘no’ to proposed nuclear waste disposal site following opposition from Saugeen FN

Ontario Power Generation says ‘no’ to proposed nuclear waste disposal site following opposition from Saugeen FN Manitoulin Expositor, By Michael Erskine, February 5, 2020  SAUGEEN FIRST NATION – The Saugeen Ojibway Nation (comprised of the Chippewas of Saugeen First Nation and the Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation) were asked to vote on a proposal to host a deep geologic repository (DGR) close to the shores of Lake Huron on the site of the Bruce nuclear power station. The response of the band membership was a resounding no, with 1,058 no votes out of 1,232 total votes (170 voted yes, with four spoiled ballots).

“This vote was an historic milestone and momentous victory for our people,” said Ogimaa Lester Anoquot in a release following the vote on Saturday. “We worked for many years for our right to exercise jurisdiction in our territory and the free, prior and informed consent of our people will be recognized.”

Ontario Power Generation (OPG) spokesperson Fred Kuntz accepted the result, noting that “OPG respects the decision of the SON community. We followed the SON process. So we will uphold our 2013 commitment not to proceed with the DGR at the Bruce site without their support, and now we will move forward to develop an alternate solution.”

February 6, 2020 Posted by | business and costs, Canada | Leave a comment