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The unpalatable truth in Ukraine

“When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable unpalatable, must be the truth.”

And when this final scenario comes to pass, who will have won the war in Ukraine?

Well, it won’t be Ukraine.

The Hill. BY ANDREW LATHAM, OPINION CONTRIBUTOR – 06/02/22 ”…………………………………… “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” – Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

And the truth is, once we have eliminated all the impossible scenarios, the least improbable outcome of the war in Ukraine is a Russian victory.

Note that I did not say such an outcome would be desirable. Russia’s inevitable victory is anything but. Nor did I say it would be total. The outcome of this war is going to fall far short of the Kremlin’s initial hopes and expectations. Nor, finally, did I say it would be without significant cost. Any conceivable Russian victory now will entail such a loss of blood and treasure that it will have to be judged Pyrrhic at best.

But it will be a victory nonetheless — and we in the West had better come to grips with that hard truth.

Let’s begin by eliminating the impossible.

The first unrealistic endgame is the reduction of Ukraine to a vassal state of the Russian empire. This would entail the kind of operation initially envisioned by the Kremlin: a quick decapitating military strike, the installation of a pro-Moscow regime in Kyiv and either the formal incorporation of Ukraine into the Russian Federation or its informal incorporation into a Russian sphere of influence (like Belarus).

While perhaps the initial objective of Russia’s “special military operation,” this outcome is now obviously an impossibility. ………………………………….

The second impossible scenario is the total defeat of the Russian military and the restoration of Ukraine to its pre-2014 borders. In this scenario, the Ukrainian military, having blunted the initial Russian offensive, launches a successful counter-offensive that ultimately drives the Russians not only out of the territories they captured in 2022 but out of the Donbas and Crimea as well. The resulting political dispensation would be an independent Ukraine restored to its internationally recognized borders and free to join NATO and/or associate with the European Union (EU) as it saw fit. 

While advocated by many within and beyond Ukraine, this outcome is simply impossible. …………………………..

Indeed, there is no reason to believe that they will even be displaced from much of the territory they have seized along the coast of the Sea of Azov……………… despite the willful delusions of some and the idealistic hopes others, this outcome is simply impossible.

The third and final impossible scenario is a limited Ukrainian victory that would reverse all or most of the Russian gains since Feb. 24, 2022. In this scenario, while the Donbas and Crimea remain in Russian hands, all the territory captured by Russia since its recent re-invasion would be liberated by Ukrainian forces and restored to Ukrainian control.

While once viewed as a realistic outcome, by now it should be obvious that this is impossible. Just as Ukraine lacks the ability to liberate all its pre-2014 territory, it also lacks the ability to liberate the recently conquered territory in the Donbas or along the Azov coast. Unlike in the north of Ukraine, these territories are central to Russian interests in Ukraine and, as such, Russia simply will not withdraw from them as it withdrew from Kyiv earlier in the war. Nor will Ukrainian forces – themselves, it should be noted, suffering terrible attrition all along the battle front and growing weaker with each passing day – be strong enough to compel them to do so. No, like the previous two scenarios, this one is simply an impossibility.

And that leaves only one other conceivable outcome: a fragmented and partly dismembered Ukraine, neither fully part of the West nor entirely within the Russian sphere of influence. A Ukraine fragmented in that the whole of the Donbas and perhaps other territories will be left beyond Kyiv’s control; partly dismembered in that Crimea will remain part of Russia (at least in Russian eyes); and not fully part of the West in that it will not be free to join NATO or even to have a meaningful partnership with the EU. Simply put, this outcome is not only not impossible, it’s not even improbable.

And when this final scenario comes to pass, who will have won the war in Ukraine?

Well, it won’t be Ukraine. While such an outcome will satisfy the basic existential goals of Kyiv, it will be a far cry from the more maximalist ambitions expressed both before and after Feb. 24. No, when this scenario inevitably comes to pass, it will clearly be a defeat for Kyiv.

Similarly, such an outcome will not satisfy the maximalist ambitions of those in Moscow who thought that their initial thunder run would resolve the Ukraine issue once and for all. But it will satisfy the Kremlin’s most basic and fundamental geopolitical desideratum: a neutralized Ukraine beyond both the geopolitical ambit of NATO and the geoeconomic orbit of the EU. It will also “restore” Crimea to its rightful place in Russia. And finally, it will demonstrate that interfering in Russia’s natural sphere of influence is unwise. In these ways, when the impossible has been eliminated, the resulting outcome will clearly be a victory for Moscow.

………………..when it comes to thinking about the possible outcomes of the war in Ukraine, perhaps it ought to read something more like: “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable unpalatable, must be the truth.”

Andrew Latham is a professor of international relations at Macalester College in Saint Paul, Minn., and a non-resident fellow at Defense Priorities in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter @aalatham.  https://thehill.com/opinion/international/3509458-the-unpalatable-truth-in-ukraine/

June 7, 2022 Posted by | politics international, Ukraine, weapons and war | Leave a comment

ELON MUSK IS NOT A RENEGADE OUTSIDER – HE’S A MASSIVE PENTAGON CONTRACTOR

while the 50-year-old businessman presents himself as a maverick science genius – an act that has garnered him legions of fans around the world – a closer inspection of his career shows he earned his fortune in a much more orthodox manner. First by being born rich, then by striking it big as a dot-com billionaire, and finally, like so many others, by feeding from the enormous government trough.

Perhaps more seriously though, SpaceX’s close proximity to both the military and the national security state marks it out as a key cog in the machine of U.S. empire, allowing Washington to spy, bomb or coup whoever it wants.

ALAN MACLEOD, Mint Press News, MAY 31ST, 2022 ”………………………………………….. Musk has deliberately cultivated this image of himself: a real life Tony Stark figure who thinks for himself and is not part of the established order. But behind this carefully constructed façade, Musk is intimately connected to the U.S. national security state, serving as one of its most important business partners. Elon, in short, is no threat to the powerful, entrenched elite: he is one of them.

TO UKRAINE, WITH LOVE

Musk, whose estimated $230 billion fortune is more than twice the gross domestic product of Ukraine, has garnered a great deal of positive publicity for donating thousands of Starlink terminals to the country, helping its people come back online after fighting downed the internet in much of the country. Starlink is an internet service allowing those with terminals to connect to one of over 2,400 small satellites in low Earth orbit. Many of these satellites were launched by Musk’s SpaceX technologies company.

However, it soon transpired that there is far more than meets the eye with Musk’s extraordinary “donation.” In fact, the U.S. government quietly paid SpaceX top dollar to send their inventory to the warzone. USAID – a government anti-insurgency agency that has regularly functioned as a regime-change organization – is known to have put up the cash to purchase and deliver at least 1,330 of the terminals.

Starlink is not a mass-market solution. Each terminal – which is, in effect, a tiny, portable satellite dish – has a markedly limited range, and is useful only in hyper-local situations. Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s Minister of Digital Transformation, estimated that the 10,000 Starlink terminals were allowing around 150,000 people to stay online.

Such a small number of people using the devices raises eyebrows. Who is important enough to be given such a device? Surely only high-value individuals such as spies or military operatives. That the Starlinks are serving a military purpose is now beyond clear. Indeed, in a matter of weeks, Starlink has become a cornerstone of the Ukrainian military, allowing it to continue to target Russian forces via drones and other high-tech machinery dependent on an internet connection. One official told The Times of London that he “must” use Starlink to target enemy forces via thermal imaging.

Starlink is what changed the war in Ukraine’s favor. Russia went out of its way to blow up all our comms. Now they can’t. Starlink works under Katyusha fire, under artillery fire. It even works in Mariupol,” one Ukrainian soldier told journalist David Patrikarakos.

The reference to Mariupol alludes to the infamous Nazi group, the Azov Battalion, who have also reportedly been using Musk’s technology. Even in a subterranean cavern beneath Mariupol’s steelworks, Azov fighters were able to access the internet and communicate with the outside world, even doing video interviews from underground. In 2015, Congress attempted to add a provision to U.S. military aid to Ukraine stipulating that no support could go to Azov owing to their political ideology. That amendment was later removed at the behest of the Pentagon.

Dave Tremper, Director of Electronic Warfare at the Pentagon, sang SpaceX’s praises. “How they did that [keeping Ukrainian forces online] was eye-watering to me,” he said, adding that in the future the U.S. military “needs to be able to have that agility.”

ROCKETMAN

Such a statement is bound to get the attention of SpaceX chiefs, who have long profited from their lucrative relationship with the U.S. military. SpaceX relies largely on government contracts, there being almost no civilian demand for many of its products, especially its rocket launches.

Musk’s company has been awarded billions of dollars in contracts to launch spy satellites for espionage, drone warfare and other military uses. For example, in 2018, SpaceX was chosen to blast a $500 million Lockheed Martin GPS system into orbit. While Air Force spokesmen played up the civilian benefits of the launch, such as increased accuracy for GPS devices, it is clear that these devices play a key role in global surveillance and ongoing drone wars. SpaceX has also won contracts with the Air Force to deliver its command satellite into orbit, with the Space Development Agency to send tracking devices into space, and with the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) to launch its spy satellites. These satellites are used by all of the “big five” surveillance agencies, including the CIA and the NSA.

Thus, in today’s world, where so much intelligence gathering and target acquisition is done via satellite technology, SpaceX has become every bit as important to the U.S. war machine as more well-known companies like Lockheed Martin and Boeing. Without Musk’s company, the U.S. would not be able to carry out such an invasive program of spying and drone warfare around the world. Indeed, China is growing increasingly wary of this power, and is being advised to develop anti-satellite technologies to counter SpaceX’s all-seeing eye. Yet Musk himself continues to benefit from a general perception that he is not part of the system.

From its origins in 2002, SpaceX has always been extremely close to the national security state, particularly the CIA. Perhaps the most crucial link is Mike Griffin, who, at the time, was the president and COO of In-Q-Tel, a CIA-funded venture capital firm that seeks to nurture and sponsor new companies that will work with the CIA and other security services, equipping them with cutting edge technology. The “Q” in its name is a reference to “Q” from the James Bond series – a creative inventor who supplies the spy with the latest in futuristic tech………………………..

While at NASA, Griffin brought Musk in for meetings and secured SpaceX’s big break. In 2006, NASA awarded the company a $396 million rocket development contract – a remarkable “gamble” in Griffin’s words, especially as it had never launched a rocket before. As National Geographic put it, SpaceX, “never would have gotten to where it is today without NASA.” And Griffin was essential to this development. Still, by 2008, SpaceX was again in dire straits, with Musk unable to make payroll. The company was saved by an unexpected $1.6 billion NASA contract for commercial cargo services. Thus, from its earliest days, SpaceX was nurtured by government agencies that saw the company as a potentially important source of technology.

NUKING MARS & BACKING COUPS

Like Henry Ford, Musk went into the automobile business, purchasing Tesla Motors in 2004. And also like Henry Ford, he has shared some rather controversial opinions. In 2019, for instance, he suggested that vaporizing Mars’ ice caps via a series of nuclear explosions could warm the planet sufficiently to support human life. If this was done, it would arguably not even be his worst crime against space. During a 2018 publicity stunt, he blasted a Tesla into outer space using a SpaceX rocket. However, he did not sterilize the vehicle before doing so, meaning it was covered in earthly bacteria – microorganisms that will likely be fatal to any alien life they encounter. In essence, the car is a biological weapon that could end life on any planet it encounters.

NUKING MARS & BACKING COUPS

Like Henry Ford, Musk went into the automobile business, purchasing Tesla Motors in 2004. And also like Henry Ford, he has shared some rather controversial opinions. In 2019, for instance, he suggested that vaporizing Mars’ ice caps via a series of nuclear explosions could warm the planet sufficiently to support human life. If this was done, it would arguably not even be his worst crime against space. During a 2018 publicity stunt, he blasted a Tesla into outer space using a SpaceX rocket. However, he did not sterilize the vehicle before doing so, meaning it was covered in earthly bacteria – microorganisms that will likely be fatal to any alien life they encounter. In essence, the car is a biological weapon that could end life on any planet it encounters.

Musk also attracted attention when he appeared to admit that he worked with the U.S. government to overthrow Bolivian President Evo Morales in 2019…………………..  The new government quickly invited Musk for talks. When asked on Twitter point blank whether he was involved in Morales’ ouster, Musk responded, “We will coup whoever we want! Deal with it.”………………………..

WORLD’S RICHEST MAN, FUNDED BY TAXPAYERS

In addition to the billions in government contracts Musk’s companies have secured, they also have received similar numbers in public subsidies and incentives. Chief among these is Tesla, which benefits greatly from complex international rules around electric vehicle production. In a push to reduce carbon emissions, governments around the world have introduced a system of credits for green vehicles, whereby a certain percentage of each manufacturer’s output must be zero-emission vehicles. Tesla only produces electric cars, so easily meets the mark.

However, the system also allows Tesla to sell their excess credits to manufacturers who cannot meet these quotas. In a competitive market where each manufacturer needs to hit certain targets, these credits are worth their weight in gold, and net Tesla billions in profit every year. For example, between 2019 and 2021 alone, Stellantis, which owns the Chrysler, Fiat, Citroen and Peugeot brands, forked out nearly $2.5 billion to acquire Tesla U.S. and European green credits.

This bizarre and self-defeating system goes some way to explaining why Tesla is worth more by market cap than Toyota, Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, GM, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, and Volvo put together, despite not being even a top-15 car manufacturer in terms of units sold.

Musk’s company also received significant government backing in its early stages, receiving a $465 million low-interest loan from the Department of Energy in 2010, at a time when Tesla was on the rocks and its future was in doubt.

Like many giant companies, Tesla is able to play states off against each other, each job-hungry location bidding against the others to give the corporation as much free cash and tax incentives as possible. In 2020, for example, Austin gave Tesla more than $60 million in tax breaks to build a truck plant there.

This, however, was small fry in comparison to some of the deals Musk has signed. The State of New York handed Musk over $750 million, including $350 million in cash, in exchange for building a solar plant outside of Buffalo – a plant that Musk was bound to build somewhere in the United States. Meanwhile, Nevada signed an agreement with Tesla to build its Gigafactory near Reno. The included incentives mean that the car manufacturer could rake in nearly $1.3 billion in tax relief and tax credits. Between 2015 and 2018, Musk himself paid less than $70,000 in federal income taxes.

Therefore, while the 50-year-old businessman presents himself as a maverick science genius – an act that has garnered him legions of fans around the world – a closer inspection of his career shows he earned his fortune in a much more orthodox manner. First by being born rich, then by striking it big as a dot-com billionaire, and finally, like so many others, by feeding from the enormous government trough.

Perhaps more seriously though, SpaceX’s close proximity to both the military and the national security state marks it out as a key cog in the machine of U.S. empire, allowing Washington to spy, bomb or coup whoever it wants.

It is for this reason that so much of the hysteria, both positive and negative, over Musk’s ongoing purchase of Twitter is misplaced. Elon Musk is neither going to save nor destroy Twitter because he is not a crusading rebel challenging the establishment: he is an integral part of it.  https://www.mintpressnews.com/elon-musk-not-renegade-outsider-cia-pentagon-contractor/280972/

June 7, 2022 Posted by | Reference, spinbuster, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Canada’s nuclear waste liabilities total billions of dollars. Is a landfill site near the Ottawa River the best way to extinguish them?

Gordon Edwards, an activist and consultant with the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, accused CNL of obscuring the origin and hazardous nature of much of the waste. He said the worst of it includes cobalt-60 imported into Canada from other countries by private companies. He questioned why taxpayers should pay for its disposal.‘They’re not being up front in telling people where these wastes are coming from,”

This is big business: Ottawa sends AECL more than half a billion dollars annually to pay for remediation efforts alone.

“It’s just piled right on top of a sloping hillside surrounded by wetlands, one kilometer from the Ottawa River,” “It would be hard to come up with a worse technology and site for permanent nuclear waste disposal.

The Canadian Nuclear Laboratories’ proposed site for disposing radioactive waste has opponents watching with apprehension. Here’s what you need to know about the Near Surface Disposal Facility

  GLOBE AND MAIL,  MATTHEW MCCLEARN, 6 June 22, DEEP RIVER, ONT.   One glance at Building 250 confirms that its demolition will be complicated.

Workers clad in protective gear are busy removing its asbestos cladding, which has been gridded off in orange ink into alphanumerically labelled boxes. The four-story wood structure cannot simply be knocked down with a wrecking ball. Before methodical dismantling can begin, virtually every plank, floor covering and panel must be studied and characterized.

Building 250 is one element of a multi-billion-dollar headache for the federal government. It’s among the oldest buildings at Chalk River Laboratories, 200 kilometers northwest of Ottawa, which long served as Canada’s premier nuclear research facility. Today the facility’s operator, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL), is addressing the resulting radioactive waste. It has already torn down 111 buildings, but Building 250 is among the most hazardous: it contained radioactive hot cells and suffered fires that spread contaminants throughout.

CNL needs a specially designated place to dispose of this hazardous detritus. This week, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission held final hearings for its environmental review of the Near Surface Disposal Facility (NSDF), CNL’s proposed landfill site for radioactive waste on what is now a thickly wooded hillside at Chalk River. Its decision is expected sometime around the end of this year, and no small number of opponents are watching with apprehension.

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June 7, 2022 Posted by | Canada, Reference, wastes | Leave a comment

Nuclear Contaminated Water From Fukushima Should Never Be Out Of One’s Mind

Nuke Contaminated Water From Fukushima Should Never Be Out Of One’s Mind,  https://nation.com.pk/2022/06/07/nuke-contaminated-water-from-fukushima-should-never-be-out-of-ones-mind/ By Zhou Dingxing.  Jun 7, 2022,  In 2011, the “3/11” earthquake in Japan caused the meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant reactor core, unleashing enormous amounts of radioactive material. The operator of the plant, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), decided to pour in seawater to cool the reactor and contain the leakage. And because the used seawater became highly contaminated with radioactive material, TEPCO had to put it in storage tanks. A decade on, the nuclear contaminated water generated by the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant are about 150 tons per day in 2021, and will reach the upper limit of the storage tank capacity of 1.37 million tons in the spring of 2023.

According to estimates by the Japan Centre for Economic Research, it will cost 50-70 trillion yen (about $400-550 billion) to scrap and decontaminate the reactor, the bulk of which goes to the treatment of contaminated water. So in April 2021, the Japanese government announced that the problem of increasing amounts of nuclear contaminated wastewater would be addressed by dumping it into the sea. On May 18, 2022, the Japan Atomic Energy Regulatory Commission granted initial approval for TEPCO’s ocean dumping plan.

After the Fukushima nuclear accident, the Japanese government set up the “Nuclear Damage Compensation and Decommissioning Facilitation Corporation” (NDF), which is an official agency with 50.1 percent of TEPCO’s voting rights, in order to prevent TEPCO from going bankrupt. In other words, TEPCO is now under direct jurisdiction and control of the Japanese government. It is not hard to see that both TEPCO and the Japanese government are the masterminds behind the nuclear contaminated water dumping plan, because for them, this is the most expedient, cost-effective and trouble-saving way. Japan would need to spend only 3.4 billion yen (about $27 million) according to this plan. But the threat to nature, the environment and human life as a result of such reckless actions was probably never on their minds.

NUCLEAR CONTAMINATED WATER IS NOT NUCLEAR TREATED WATER

Monitoring data collected in 2012 showed that the concentration of Cesium in the waters near Fukushima was 100,000 becquerels per cubic meter, which is 100 times higher than what was detected in the Black Sea after the Chernobyl nuclear leak. Ten years later in 2021, 500 becquerels of radioactive elements per kilogram of weight could still be detected in the flat scorpionfish caught by Japanese fishermen off the coast of Fukushima Prefecture, or five times higher than Japan’s own standards. In the 11 years since the nuclear disaster, one or two thyroid cancer cases have been reported for every 60,000 children in Fukushima Prefecture, much higher than the normal rate.

The Japanese government and TEPCO have repeatedly claimed that nuclear contaminated water is “safe” to be dumped into the ocean because it would go through the multi-nuclide removal system (Advanced Liquid Processing System, ALPS). But it is only the radioactive substance called “Tritium” that has reached this standard. And what Japan doesn’t say is that, even after treatment, the water still contains other radioactive substances such as Strontium 90 and Carbon 14 that cause genetic mutation in the ecosystem.

Since the release of the ALPS-related report, the Japanese government has not held any briefings or hearings for the public. And in order to justify the dumping plan, the Japanese government contacted citizen and groups to ask them to stop using the words “nuclear contaminated water”, and use “nuclear treated water” instead. Vigorous public relations (PR) efforts have also been carried out to whitewash the plan. In the 2021 budget of the Japanese Reconstruction Agency, PR expenses related to the Fukushima nuclear accident have increased to 2 billion yen (around $16 million), over four times than the previous year figure. The money has been used on professional teams to weaken and remove negative public opinion in Japan and abroad about the nuclear contaminated water through various propaganda programs.

Furthermore, TEPCO’s track records for handling the nuclear accident have been filled with deception and distortion. In 2007, TEPCO admitted that it had tampered with data and concealed potential safety hazards in a total of 199 regular inspections of 13 reactors in its nuclear power plants since 1977, including the cooling system failure in the Fukushima nuclear accident. One week after the 2011 nuclear accident when experts had already made the judgment that the cores of Units 1 to 3 of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant had melted, the company still refused to announce the truth to the public, and instead chose to use “core damage,” a term that was significantly less alarming. With a past so bad it is hard to make one believe that TEPCO will dump “safe” nuclear contaminated water into the sea.

WAVES OF OPPOSITION AT HOME AND ABROAD

The Japanese government has so far failed to provide sufficient and credible explanations on the legitimacy of the nuclear contaminated water dumping plan, the reliability of nuclear contaminated water data, the effectiveness of the purification devices, and the uncertainty of the environmental impact. To promote the plan under such circumstances has only brought about wide criticism and questions by various communities in Japan and beyond.

Up to 70 percent of the people in Fukushima Prefecture have expressed opposition to the dumping plan. Konno Toshio, former president of Fukushima University, was opposed to advancing the ocean dumping plan without prior understanding at home and abroad, because this plan could affect future generations and must be treated with great caution. The fishery cooperatives and local councils in Miyagi Prefecture, which is adjacent to Fukushima Prefecture, believe that the dumping of nuclear contaminated water into the ocean may affect the safety of local aquatic products and cause significant economic losses to related industries. Already, 180,000 people in Japan have signed the petition to the Japanese government to adopt disposal options other than ocean dumping.

Vladimir Kuznetsov, academician at the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, said that radioactive substances in the nuclear contaminated water can only be partially filtered, and the treated water still contains extremely dangerous radionuclides, which will pollute marine life and spread to the entire ocean through fish migration. This will gravely harm the global marine environment and cause serious harm to the health of people in the periphery. According to a research model established by GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, half of the Pacific Ocean will be polluted in less than 57 days if nuclear contaminated water is dumped at the speed announced by Japan.

Voices of justice

Japan’s ocean dumping plan of nuclear contaminated water is a serious threat to the marine environment, and it damages marine interests of the neighbors and other littoral countries. It also violates multiple international conventions such as the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, the Convention on Assistance in Nuclear Accidents or Radiation Emergencies, and the Convention on Nuclear Safety as well as principles of the international law. Many countries, including China, have expressed concern over or opposition to it.

The Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement criticizing the Japanese government for not consulting with or providing any related information to its neighbors when the decision was made, and expressing grave concern over Japan’s dumping of nuclear polluted water into the ocean. The South Korean Foreign Ministry summoned the Japanese ambassador to Seoul to make a serious protest against Japan’s unilateral decision while large crowds gathered in front of the Japanese embassy to protest. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has launched an assessment of Japan’s plan.

The spokesperson of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs has repeatedly pointed out that Japan’s dumping of nuclear contaminated water into the ocean is extremely irresponsible, and demanded that Japan fully consult with neighbouring countries, other stakeholders, and relevant international institutions to find a proper way to dispose of the nuclear contaminated water, before which the dumping into the ocean shall not be initiated.

The ocean is a treasure for all mankind and our home for survival. It is essential for sustainable development and our future. To dump nuclear contaminated water from Fukushima into the ocean is a major issue that bears on the environment for human survival and health, it is not just Japan’s internal affairs. Although keenly aware of the grave harm to the global marine environment caused by the dumping of such water into the sea, Japan has attempted to push through the plan without exhausting all other safe methods. Such an opaque and irresponsible approach is unacceptable, let alone trusted by countries in the region and the larger international community.

The author is a scholar on international studies

June 7, 2022 Posted by | Japan, oceans, Reference, wastes | Leave a comment

TEPCO apologizes for the first time in the name of its president to the plaintiffs in the evacuees’ lawsuit

Kazuyoshi Takahara (center), representative of TEPCO’s Fukushima Reconstruction Headquarters, and others bow to plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed by evacuees of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident.

June 5, 2022
On June 5, TEPCO apologized in the name of President Tomoaki Kobayakawa to the plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit filed by residents evacuated from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident seeking compensation for the “loss of their hometown,” saying that the accident “ruined their lives and caused irreparable damage both physically and mentally. This is the first time that TEPCO has apologized to the plaintiffs of a class action lawsuit in the name of its president.

 The apology was made in Futaba-cho, Fukushima Prefecture, where TEPCO’s Fukushima reconstruction headquarters is located, after the Supreme Court ruled in March that TEPCO should pay compensation in excess of the national standard. However, President Kobayakawa did not visit the site, and Kazuyoshi Takahara, the head of the Fukushima Reconstruction Headquarters, said, “The accident has caused great damage to our irreplaceable lives and hometowns. He read out a letter of apology and bowed his head.

 Naoko Kanai, 56, secretary general of the plaintiffs’ group, said, “We would like to accept your sincere apology with all sincerity. We believe that these words are a pledge to spare no effort to restore the lives of local residents without the arrogance of a large corporation.
https://www.asahi.com/articles/ASQ6566MSQ65UGTB00C.html?iref=pc_photo_gallery_bottom

June 7, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , | 1 Comment

TEPCO apologizes to evacuees of nuclear power plant after losing lawsuit: “The accident ruined my life”

Kazuyoshi Takahara (second from right), representative of the Fukushima head office, and other TEPCO employees apologize to Atsuo Hayakawa (second from left), leader of the plaintiffs’ group, and others after the company lost a lawsuit claiming damages in Futaba Town, Fukushima Prefecture, on the afternoon of June 5.

June 5, 2022
In response to the final decision in a lawsuit filed by evacuees of TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, TEPCO met with the plaintiffs on June 5 at an industrial exchange center in Futaba-machi, Fukushima Prefecture, and told them, “The accident has caused great damage to our irreplaceable lives and hometowns, and we are deeply sorry that your lives have been ruined and that you have suffered irreparable damage to your bodies and minds. The accident has caused irreparable damage to your lives and hometowns, and has wrecked your lives and caused irreversible physical and mental damage. I am truly sorry.


 Kazuyoshi Takahara, representative of TEPCO’s Fukushima headquarters, read the letter of apology in the name of President Tomoaki Kobayakawa and handed it to the plaintiffs. Atsuo Hayakawa, 82, the head of the plaintiffs’ group, received the letter and demanded, “I want you to investigate the cause and responsibility for the failure to prevent the accident based on objective facts.
https://www.tokyo-np.co.jp/amp/article/181741?fbclid=IwAR2hQcp5pXdFFb8l989S0AFW8wObAlmwrsSaYgzmn-H4tJ2Q1JoIlBR7kK0

June 7, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , | Leave a comment

Governor of Shimane agrees to restart idled nuclear reactor

Chugoku Electric Power Co.’s Shimane nuclear power plant is located in Matsue, the capital of Shimane Prefecture.

June 2, 2022

Shimane Governor Tatsuya Maruyama has agreed to a restart of the No. 2 reactor at Chugoku Electric Power Co.’s Shimane nuclear power plant after more than a decade.

With the governor’s consent, the company’s procedures for obtaining local consent are completed, meaning it could come back online as early as next year, although it still requires final regulatory approval.

“If the reactor does not restart, the impact on the local economy will be huge,” Maruyama said during a plenary session of the prefectural assembly meeting on June 2, and added that the restart is now “inevitable.”

“It is important that the local consent was obtained,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said at a news conference on June 2.

“With the continuing rise in fuel prices and an energy supply bottleneck, it is necessary to utilize (nuclear power) to the maximum.”

After being suspended for about 10 years, this all but clears the way for the reactor, which is the only one in Japan located in a prefectural capital, to be restarted as early as fiscal 2023.

The utility had halted it in January 2012 for a regular inspection and has kept it offline since then.

The reactor passed the Nuclear Regulation Authority’s safety inspection in September 2021, and then in February this year, the city government of Matsue, which hosts the plant, agreed to restart it.

The No. 2 reactor is a boiling water reactor, the same type as the ones that melted down at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant in 2011.

Restarting it would mark the first time since the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake for a boiling water reactor to be brought back into operation.

But the company’s construction plan and safety regulations will first have to be accepted by the regulator, and construction of new safety countermeasures against the potential risk of earthquakes and tsunami must be completed.

Construction of those safeguards is expected to wrap up in February 2023.

About 460,000 people live in the evacuation area of the nuclear power plant. The figure is the third largest in Japan.

Under the evacuation plan, in the event of an emergency, many of the residents in the prefecture would be expected to evacuate to 49 municipalities in Hiroshima and Okayama prefectures.

The number of those who need support to evacuate, such as hospital patients, people with disabilities and pregnant women, is expected to be about 58,000.

They would be expected to evacuate by bus or social welfare vehicles arranged by the Shimane and Tottori prefectural governments.

But some have questioned the viability of the plan.

Concerns have been raised if adequate support exists for people who require special assistance to evacuate the area, whether Hiroshima and Okayama prefectures would be prepared to take in that many evacuees, and if evacuation routes could be secured in the event of a natural disaster.

https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14635842?fbclid=IwAR15pPzg_Rq3CPMV8FSYJQHCgA169bxqhwdn8SrWckfQAwh3DrGdaY2s26c

June 7, 2022 Posted by | Japan | , , , | Leave a comment

Japan’s Shimane Prefecture OKs restart of nuclear reactor

This photo taken from a Mainichi Shimbun helicopter on Sept. 11, 2021, shows, clockwise from right, the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 reactors at Chugoku Electric Power Co.’s Shimane nuclear power plant in Matsue, Shimane Prefecture.

June 2, 2022

MATSUE, Japan (Kyodo) — Shimane Prefecture in western Japan approved Thursday a plan to restart a nuclear reactor of the same type as those that suffered meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi plant following the massive 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

The green light for the No. 2 unit at Chugoku Electric Power Co.’s Shimane nuclear plant in the prefectural capital of Matsue was announced by Gov. Tatsuya Maruyama in a prefectural assembly session.

The company is seeking to restart the reactor in 2023 at the earliest. Inactive since 2012, it will likely be the country’s first boiling water reactor to be restarted since the Fukushima disaster.

Japan has been gradually restarting idled nuclear plants. But the reactors brought back online have been limited, so far, to another type — pressurized water reactors.

“I understand that (nuclear power) plays a certain role” in Japan’s energy policy, Maruyama said. “I thought that restarting is unavoidable at present, so I decided to accept it.”

Some residents visited the assembly to hear the governor’s remarks from the audience seats.

“I have opposed nuclear plants. Not to mention the danger, I think it is very unstable as an energy source. I want (the governor) to work by looking at citizens, not the state,” Masafumi Ashihara, a 72-year-old civic group member, said.

In Tokyo, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno told a press conference the central government will ensure safety is prioritized.

The Shimane plant is the only one in the country located in a prefectural capital. It is some 9 kilometers away from the prefectural government office.

In Japan, evacuation plans must be formulated for people living within 30 km of a nuclear plant.

About 460,000 people in six cities across Shimane and Tottori prefectures live within the evacuation area for the Shimane plant. The other heads of local governments in the area have already approved the plan to restart the reactor.

Still, concerns remain among residents over how effective the evacuation plan would be in a nuclear accident.

In Matsue, around 28,000 people who will need assistance evacuating, such as elderly residents, live within a 5 to 30 km radius of the plant, while approximately 1,700 such residents live in a 5 km radius, according to a survey by Kyodo News. Both figures are the highest among municipalities that host nuclear plants in Japan.

“We would need to thoroughly inform people, who may or may not be concerned about an accident, of the evacuation plan,” Maruyama said at a press conference.

Chugoku Electric cleared national safety standards in September 2021 for restarting the reactor. The utility is scheduled to complete its safety measures next February.

https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20220602/p2g/00m/0na/024000c

June 7, 2022 Posted by | Japan | , , , | Leave a comment

Court orders TEPCO to pay 73.5 million yen over Fukushima crisis

From front right, reactors No. 1, No. 2, No. 3, and No. 4 at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station operated by Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. are seen in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, on Feb. 13, 2021.

June 2, 2022

FUKUSHIMA, Japan (Kyodo) — A Japanese court on Thursday ordered the operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to pay a total of 73.5 million yen ($566,000) in compensation to current and former residents of Tamura City in the west of the complex hit by the March 2011 disaster for emotional distress.

But the 525 plaintiffs, who sought 11 million yen per person in damages from both Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. and the Japanese government, are considering appealing the ruling, some of them said in a press conference.

The Koriyama branch of the Fukushima District Court recognized the plaintiffs’ claim that they were anguished by losing previous joy, such as picking nearby wild plants and forging community ties, but dismissed the case against the state.

Presiding Judge Yohei Motomura noted that a government organization’s assessment released in 2002 of danger posed by possible quake-induced tsunami for the nuclear complex lacked accuracy, but it was still difficult for the state to foresee the magnitude of tsunami that hit the plant.

“Even if the government had exercised its regulatory authority and had TEPCO take countermeasures, it could not have been possible to prevent the tsunami from triggering the accident,” the judge said, awarding 2 million yen to each plaintiff.

Given that the plaintiffs had received compensation in the form of a monthly consolation fee of 100,000 yen from TEPCO through August 2012, the court ruled that most of the damages awarded in its ruling have already been paid.

A devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan’s northeast on March 11, 2011, triggered reactor meltdowns at the nuclear complex and sent plumes of radioactive material in the air.

Some areas of Tamura sit within a radius of 20- to 30-kilometers from the plant and were designated as emergency evacuation preparation zones the next month in the event of a worsened situation. The designation was lifted in September 2011.

Similar cases have been filed across Japan accusing the company and government of negligence over safety concerns about the plant.

https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20220602/p2g/00m/0na/053000c

June 7, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima District Court Orders TEPCO to Pay Compensation, Finding No Liability on the Part of the State

Plaintiffs’ lawyers hold up a paper that reads, “The government denies its responsibility for compensation,” after the ruling in the nuclear power plant lawsuit.

June 02, 2022
525 residents of the former emergency evacuation preparation zone in the Miyakoji district of Tamura City, Fukushima Prefecture, have filed a lawsuit against the government and TEPCO, claiming that they lost community ties and suffered emotional distress as a result of the accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. On April 2, the Koriyama Branch of the Fukushima District Court ruled in a lawsuit filed by 525 residents of the former emergency evacuation preparation zone in the Miyakoji district of Tamura City, Fukushima Prefecture, seeking a total of approximately 6 billion yen in damages from the government and TEPCO. The judge, Yohei Motomura, ordered TEPCO to pay approximately 7,350,000,000 yen in compensation. The court did not find the government liable.


Judge Motomura awarded approximately 1.2 billion yen in compensation to the residents for the anxiety caused by exposure to radiation and the emotional distress caused by the long-term evacuation. He calculated the amount of compensation by subtracting approximately 1.13 billion yen that the residents had already received. The court did not find that the government had foreseeability.


 According to the complaint, the plaintiffs had been enjoying gathering wild vegetables and mushrooms for their livelihood, but the nuclear power plant accident caused them to lose their connection to the natural environment of the area.


 After the verdict, Nobuyuki Imaizumi, 74, a plaintiff, said, “I have been working for eight whole years, and it is very disappointing that the government is not found responsible. As long as there are plaintiffs, we will fight until the end. Plaintiffs’ attorney Hiroyasu Hayashi expressed his intention to appeal, saying, “Given the current amount of money, there will be an extremely large number of plaintiffs who will appeal.
https://www.jiji.com/jc/article?k=2022060200741&g=soc&fbclid=IwAR33nh5nPAc5SeW_7vxHOlZOjo-ChhRWGJVjvxFaFhwWSaNbyjb8DwUMeHA

June 7, 2022 Posted by | Fuk 2022 | , , | Leave a comment

Hokkaido Electric ordered not to restart its nuclear reactors

Takeichi Saito, who heads the group of plaintiffs, speaks at a news conference after the Sapporo District Court’s ruling on May 31.

May 31, 2022

SAPPORO–In a blow to Hokkaido Electric Power Co., the Sapporo District Court on May 31 ordered that the reactors at its Tomari nuclear plant remain offline.

The utility has been seeking to soon bring the plant back into operation, as surging fuel costs for thermal power plants have pushed down its revenues.

Presiding Judge Tetsuya Taniguchi cited safety concerns in the ruling, siding with a request by more than 1,000 plaintiffs from the area who raised concerns there are not sufficient safeguards to protect it from natural disasters.

“A sea wall required under the nuclear regulations does not exist,” Taniguchi said. “The plaintiffs’ right (to life) could be violated even without judging other points of contention.”

But he dismissed the plaintiffs’ demand for decommissioning the plant, saying there is no specific circumstance that would warrant it.

The court ruling cannot force the plant to halt operations unless it is finalized at a higher court.

But it could impact the assessment by the government’s nuclear watchdog, the Nuclear Regulation Authority, which has been working for nine years to determine if the plant meets the new regulations.

A group of about 1,200 plaintiffs from in and outside of Hokkaido launched the suit against the power company in November 2011, after the triple meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant in March that year.

They sought a halt to the operation of the plant’s three reactors, arguing that their constitutional rights to life and health would be violated in the event of an accident involving the release of radioactive substances.

The three reactors were taken offline between April 2011 and May 2012 for regular checks and have remained idle since.

Hokkaido Electric applied for a restart in 2013, soon after the more stringent reactor regulations were enforced by the government following the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

The regulator has in the meantime been assessing whether the reactors meet the new safety standards.

But it is not clear when the assessment will end, mainly due to what the watchdog says is the utility’s lack of experts capable of engaging in discussions on safeguards against earthquakes, tsunami and volcanoes with NRA inspectors.

The central issue in the lawsuit was whether concrete danger should be anticipated by restarting the plant, which is located in the Shakotan Peninsula facing the Japan Sea.

The plaintiffs contended that an active seismic fault measuring up to 100 kilometers exists in waters about 15 km from the plant. They argued that the planned sea wall would not protect the plant from the anticipated maximum height of a potential tsunami strike.

They also said that an earthquake powerful enough to cause such a tsunami would liquify the ground and cause the sea wall to sink. And they contended that the plant is also suspected to sit along an active seismic fault.

With an overall output of 2.07 gigawatts, the plant accounted for about 40 percent of the electricity needs in Hokkaido prior to the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

But the plant remaining offline does not pose serious problems to the local power supply, partly because new thermal plants went into operation.

https://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/14634215?fbclid=IwAR0xR7m6l5-RSuv9CnahdBdSCOzS5W61nFmxXj5glVMmMBI7IKaovuJNiVg

June 7, 2022 Posted by | Japan | , , | 1 Comment

Court rules against restarting nuclear power plant in Hokkaido

This Sept. 25, 2021 file photo shows Hokkaido Electric Power Co.’s Tomari nuclear power plant in Tomari, Hokkaido.

May 31, 2022

SAPPORO (Kyodo) — A Japanese court on Tuesday ordered a nuclear power plant in Hokkaido to remain offline as requested by over 1,000 plaintiffs due to safety concerns, in a rare decision issued while the operator is seeking permission from authorities to restart the plant.

The Sapporo District Court ruled that Hokkaido Electric Power Co. should not resume operation of all three reactors at its Tomari nuclear plant in northern Japan in the suit filed in November 2011. It marks the third district court ruling for a nuclear plant to be suspended.

But the court rejected that the plant be decommissioned as requested by some 1,200 plaintiffs including local residents, in the first ruling on the scrapping of a nuclear power station.

All three reactors had been taken offline for regular inspections by May 2012 and remain idled, with Hokkaido Electric Power undergoing screening by the Nuclear Regulation Authority to restart them under tighter rules introduced after the 2011 Fukushima crisis.

In the latest in a series of similar suits filed since the nuclear crisis, Presiding Judge Tetsuya Taniguchi said the power company has “not provided evidence of the safety” of spent nuclear fuel stored at the plant and the plant does not have adequate protection against tsunami.

The court ruled that in the case of a plant accident, 44 of the plaintiffs who live within a 30-kilometer radius would have their human rights hindered.

Taniguchi added that the court had decided in January to terminate the hearing as the utility was not expected to be able to provide evidence for its claims in the foreseeable future.

“This is the first step toward creating a future without nuclear power plants in Hokkaido. It’s groundbreaking,” said 69-year-old Takeichi Saito, who led the group of plaintiffs.

But Hokkaido Electric Power said it cannot accept the ruling and will “promptly” file an appeal.

The company said in a release that it had repeatedly explained to the court the safety of the plant from both scientific and technical standpoints.

The case is a setback for the government’s efforts to reboot reactors that meet the post-Fukushima regulations after the nuclear disaster led to a nationwide halt of nuclear plants and increased dependence on coal-fired and gas-fired power generation.

Japan will likely need to rely on nuclear power to meet its goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 and cutting greenhouse gas emissions 46 percent in fiscal 2030 from fiscal 2013 levels. As of May 16, only 10 of the country’s 36 reactors have resumed operation under the stricter rules.

The country is also faced with the issue of reducing dependence on Russian coal and gas following Moscow’s aggression against Ukraine.

The plaintiffs argued there are active faults near the Tomari plant and in the nearby sea and the operator could be underestimating the size of potential earthquakes when designing the reactors’ quake resistance.

They claimed soil liquefaction could occur around seawalls near the plant in the event of an earthquake and the utility has not taken sufficient measures to protect against tsunami.

The power company countered that there are no active faults around the nuclear complex or in the nearby sea, and that the possibility of soil liquefaction is low.

Other district courts ordered the suspension of the Oi nuclear power plant’s No. 3 and 4 units in Fukui Prefecture in May 2014, and Tokai No. 2 located in Ibaraki Prefecture in March 2021.

However, no rulings over reactor suspension have been finalized. The order on the Oi plant was subsequently overturned by a high court and the Tokai No. 2 case is still pending.

https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20220531/p2g/00m/0na/042000c?fbclid=IwAR0-Quh6NneShgl2DFKU6TffIlsDtshZY8I3vL_Jp2-7_Y49h2e-QlVRZyo

June 7, 2022 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

Sapporo District Court orders injunction against operation of Tomari Nuclear Power Plant, rejects request for decommissioning

Plaintiffs and supporters in front of the Sapporo District Court on the afternoon of May 31, 2022, after the ruling to halt the operation of the plant.

May 31, 2022
On May 31, the Sapporo District Court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed by residents of the Tomari Nuclear Power Plant of Hokkaido Electric Power Company, demanding an injunction against the plant’s operation and its decommissioning.

 The case was brought by approximately 1,200 residents of the area surrounding the Tomari Nuclear Power Plant of Hokuden, demanding an injunction against the operation of Units 1 through 3, the removal of spent nuclear fuel, and the decommissioning of the plant on the grounds that the plant is not safe enough against earthquakes and tsunami.

 The case has been ongoing for more than 10 years, and arguments have been made as to whether there is an active fault line in the sea near the Tomari Nuclear Power Plant and whether tsunami countermeasures, such as seawalls, are sufficient.

 In the ruling on March 31, Judge Tetsuya Taniguchi of the Sapporo District Court ruled that “the defendant (Hokuden) has failed to explain with adequate data that there is no risk of liquefaction of the ground with regard to the seawall, and that it lacks safety against tsunami and is likely to infringe on the lives and personal rights (life and body) of residents in the vicinity,” and “the danger extends within 30 km of the Tomari Nuclear Power Plant. The court ruled that “since the danger is within a 30-kilometer radius of the Tomari Nuclear Power Plant, the operation of the plant should be enjoined in relation to the plaintiffs who live within the radius.

 The court dismissed the claim for removal of spent nuclear fuel, stating, “Although the danger is recognized, the plaintiffs are demanding removal of the spent fuel without limiting the destination of removal, and there is a possibility of violation of the personal rights of the residents of the destination area.” The court dismissed the claim on the grounds that “there is no danger” to the defendant. On the other hand, the court ruled that the defendant “must explain the lack of danger with reasonable data.

 The court dismissed the request for decommissioning of the plant on the grounds that “even if individual preventive measures such as shutting down the reactor are necessary, it is difficult to find concrete circumstances that would make such measures necessary until the plant is abolished.

 After the ruling, Hokkaido Electric Power commented, “Although we have explained the safety of the Tomari Nuclear Power Plant from a scientific and technical point of view based on the latest findings, we sincerely regret that our arguments have not been understood. We will promptly file an appeal.
https://www.uhb.jp/news/single.html?id=28578&fbclid=IwAR3i7r1omsmojtLOoTTliH2Qouj7cepCYSyhRwLM27vrcTzNtSSSW-w9BbM

June 7, 2022 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

Carbon dioxide levels are now 50% higher than during the pre-industrial era

Carbon dioxide levels are now 50% higher than during the pre-industrial era

CO2 has not been so high since before hominids walked upright – and are not dropping fast enough to avert catastrophe

June 7, 2022 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment