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Sociologist urges Japan to stop perpetuating nuclear colonialism

Japan should stop perpetuating nuclear colonialism, and instead respect the
sovereignty and self-determination of Pacific nations regarding the planned
discharge of radioactive wastewater from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear
Power Plant, a New Zealand sociologist has said.

The social aspects and major country relations around Japan’s decision to release the radioactive
wastewater from the defunct plant must be questioned, Karly Burch from the University of Auckland told Xinhua in a recent interview.

CGTN 11th March 2023


March 14, 2023 Posted by | Japan, politics international | Leave a comment

TODAY. The sadness of Fukushima.

The most popular news stories are about celebrities, sport, fashion, cute animals…..

And perhaps that’s a good thing. We don’t need to be miserable all the time – and the news, by its very being, means unusual and bad events.

In the middle of those unusual and bad events, we should pause, to think about the human beings involved, and what they’re going through.

In the midst of global hypocrisy about things nuclear – the Japanese government should surely take the cake. But the rest of the powerful world governments, too, deserve medals for hypocrisy.

Not only is it time to stop the whole insane toboggan-ride to nuclear annihilation. It’s also time to help the victims of previous nuclear destruction. It seems to me that the people of Fukushima have had little help from Japan, and the world community. They need a material helping hand, and also – to be listened to – their opinions on nuclear waste, on emptying radioactive trash water into the Pacific, on the wreckage to their fishing industry.

It is sadly paradoxical that the world media waxes jubilantly over “new nuclear” and nuclear submarines, while as much as possible, ignoring the anniversary of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear meltdown.

March 14, 2023 Posted by | Christina's notes | 4 Comments

Grief – Japan marks 12 years since Fukushima nuclear disaster as concerns grow over treated radioactive water release

9 News By Associated Press, Mar 12, 2023

Japan on Saturday marked the 12th anniversary of the massive earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster with a minute of silence, as concerns grew ahead of the planned release of the treated radioactive water from the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant and the government’s return to nuclear energy.

The 9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami that ravaged large parts of Japan’s northeastern coast on March 11, 2011, left more than 22,000 people dead, including about 3,700 whose subsequent deaths were linked to the disaster.

A moment of silence was observed nationwide at 2.46pm, the moment the earthquake struck.

Some residents in the tsunami-hit northern prefectures of Iwate and Miyagi walked down to the coast to pray for their loved ones and the 2,519 whose remains were never found.

In Tomioka, one of the Fukushima towns where initial searches had to be abandoned due to radiation, firefighters and police use sticks and a hoe to rake through the coastline looking for the possible remains of the victims or their belongings.

At an elementary school in Sendai, in Miyagi prefecture north of Fukushima, participants released hundreds of colorful balloons in memory of the lives lost.

In Tokyo, dozens of people gathered at an anniversary event in a downtown park, and anti-nuclear activists staged a rally.

The earthquake and tsunami that slammed into the coastal Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant destroyed its power and cooling functions, triggering meltdowns in three of its six reactors.

They spewed massive amounts of radiation that caused tens of thousands of residents to evacuate.

Over 160,000 people had left at one point, and about 30,000 are still unable to return due to long-term radiation effects or health concerns.

Many of the evacuees have already resettled elsewhere, and most affected towns have seen significant population declines over the past decade.

At a ceremony, Fukushima Gov. Masao Uchibori said decontamination and reconstruction had made progress, but “we still face many difficult problems.”

He said many people were still leaving and the prefecture was burdened with the plant cleanup and rumors about the effects of the upcoming release of the treated water.

The plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings, and the government are making final preparations to release into the sea more than 1.3 million tons of treated radioactive water, beginning in coming months.

The government says the controlled release of the water after treatment to safe levels over several decades is safe, but many residents as well as neighbours China and South Korea and Pacific island nations are opposed to it.

Fishing communities are particularly concerned about the reputation of local fish and their still recovering business.

In his speech last week, Uchibori urged the government to do utmost to prevent negative rumors about the water release from further damaging Fukushima’s image.

……….. Kishida’s government has reversed a nuclear phase-out policy that was adopted following the 2011 disaster, and instead is pushing a plan to maximise the use of nuclear energy to address energy supply concerns triggered by Russia’s war on Ukraine while meeting decarbonisation requirements.

He said last week that while the energy policy is the central government’s mandate, he wants it to remember that Fukushima continues to suffer from the nuclear disaster.

March 14, 2023 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | 1 Comment

$200billion nuclear submarine deal could cost the average Australian taxpayer about $13,000.

A $200billion nuclear submarine deal could cost the average Australian
taxpayer about $13,000. This is effectively the equivalent of every
Australian buying a new small car – an astonishing outlay on just a handful
of boats. But experts say the deal – despite the extraordinary price tag –
could be worth every cent.

Daily Mail 13th March 2023

March 14, 2023 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, politics | Leave a comment

Porky pies and half-truths from Australia’s USA- captured Prime Minister Albanese

Today’s significant AUKUS announcement about Australia’s acquisition of nuclear-powered submarines provides significant, long-term strategic benefits for all three countries……..a transformational moment for our nation [Ed. it sure does!transformed to a colony of USA’s military-industrial-complex]

…. provides significant, long-term strategic benefits [?] for all three countries……… our ability to be sovereign [?] ready.

……creating around 20,000 direct jobs [a very dubious claim – ?jobs for Americans and British military experts]

……… Businesses right across the country in every state and territory will have the opportunity to contribute to and benefit from these opportunities. [ a totally unlikely unrealistic claim, backed by no data]

…….. Importantly, the SSNs will be an Australian sovereign capability [is he joking or is he stupid?] …

March 14, 2023 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Aukus nuclear submarine deal loophole prompts proliferation fears

The scheme allowing nuclear materials in Australian submarines worries experts about the precedent of safeguard removal

Julian Borger in Washington, Guardian, 4 Mar 23

The Aukus scheme announced on Monday in San Diego represents the first time a loophole in the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) has been used to transfer fissile material and nuclear technology from a nuclear weapons state to a non-weapons state.

The loophole is paragraph 14, and it allows fissile material utilized for non-explosive military use, like naval propulsion, to be exempt from inspections and monitoring by the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). It makes arms controls experts nervous because it sets a precedent that could be used by others to hide highly enriched uranium, or plutonium, the core of a nuclear weapon, from international oversight………….

To mitigate the proliferation risk, the Australians have agreed not to have a training reactor on their territory, but train their submariners in the US and the UK instead. Australia will not enrich or reprocess the spent nuclear fuel, and the fissile material provided by the US and the UK will come in welded units that do not have to be refueled in their lifetime. Australia has undertaken not to acquire the equipment necessary to chemically reprocess spent fuel that would make it usable in a weapon.

…………. James Acton, co-director of the nuclear policy programme at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said. “But I still think there is real and concrete harm done.

“The primary problem with Aukus was always the precedent set, that Australia would be the first country that would remove nuclear fuel from safeguards for use in naval reactors,” Acton added. “My fear was never that Australia would misuse that fuel, but that other countries would invoke Aukus as a precedent for removing nuclear fuel from safeguards.”

“The primary problem with Aukus was always the precedent set, that Australia would be the first country that would remove nuclear fuel from safeguards for use in naval reactors,” Acton added. “My fear was never that Australia would misuse that fuel, but that other countries would invoke Aukus as a precedent for removing nuclear fuel from safeguards.”

March 14, 2023 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Lesson from Fukushima: Collusion in the nuclear domain

Nuclear power became an unstoppable force, immune to scrutiny by civil society. Its regulation was entrusted to the same government bureaucracy responsible for its promotion.”

Canada has not heeded these warnings. ……. The CNSC, mandated to protect the public and the environment, lobbied government to abolish full impact assessments for most “small modular nuclear reactors” (SMN

By Gordon Edwards & Susan O’Donnell | Opinion | March 13th 2023

This month marks the 12th anniversary of the Fukushima disaster, when three nuclear reactors in Japan suffered catastrophic meltdowns.

A tsunami knocked out the reactors’ cooling systems. The plant was shut down, but radioactivity sent temperatures soaring past the melting point of steel.

Radioactive gases mingled with superheated steam and explosive hydrogen gas, which detonated, spreading radioactive contamination over a vast area; 120,000 people were evacuated and 30,000 are still unable to go home.

Radioactively contaminated water from the stricken reactors has accumulated in 1,000 gigantic steel tanks, and despite objections from China, Korea and local fishers, Japan plans to dump it into the Pacific Ocean soon.

What caused this catastrophe? Most people blame the tsunami. The commission of investigation in Japan concluded otherwise. In its report to the National Diet, the commission found the root cause was a lack of good governance.

The accident “was the result of collusion between the government, the regulators and TEPCO [the nuclear company], and the lack of governance by said parties. They effectively betrayed the nation’s right to be safe from nuclear accidents. Therefore, we conclude that the accident was clearly ‘man-made.’ We believe that the root causes were the organizational and regulatory systems that supported faulty rationales for decisions and actions…”

The commission chairman wrote: “What must be admitted — very painfully — is that this was a disaster ‘made in Japan.’ Its fundamental causes are to be found in the ingrained conventions of Japanese culture: our reflexive obedience; our reluctance to question authority; our devotion to ‘sticking with the program’; our groupism; and our insularity… Nuclear power became an unstoppable force, immune to scrutiny by civil society. Its regulation was entrusted to the same government bureaucracy responsible for its promotion.”

Canada has not heeded these warnings. After Justin Trudeau was elected in 2015, his government did away with environmental assessments for any new reactors below a certain size, thus eliminating scrutiny by civil society. This leaves all decision-making in the hands of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) — an agency previously identified by an expert review panel as a captured regulator.

The CNSC, mandated to protect the public and the environment, lobbied government to abolish full impact assessments for most “small modular nuclear reactors” (SMNRs).

Back in 2011, in the midst of the media frenzy about the triple meltdown, Canadians were testifying at federal environmental assessment hearings for up to four large nuclear reactors to be built by Ontario Power Generation (OPG) at Darlington, about 50 kilometres east of Toronto’s edge. The Fukushima disaster was cited repeatedly as a warning.

The panel approved OPG’s plan, but the Ontario government was thunderstruck by the price tag, reputed to be over $14 billion per unit, and cancelled the project.

Now OPG wants to build a smaller reactor at the Darlington site. Since a full impact assessment has been ruled out, CNSC is using the report from 12 years ago as the basis for public interventions. The reactor now proposed (the BWRX-300) has no similarity to any of the reactors that were under consideration then or to any operating today in Canada. Ironically, it is a “miniaturized” version of those that melted down at Fukushima.

CNSC is legally linked to the minister of Natural Resources, who is also tasked with promoting the nuclear industry at home and abroad. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) warns that regulators must be independent of any agency promoting the industry.

One day after Canada’s Infrastructure Bank gave OPG a $970-million “low-interest loan” to develop the BWRX-300 at Darlington, the minister boasted to a Washington audience that it would soon become Canada’s first commercial SMNR.

CNSC president Rumina Velshi lauded the speed at which the licensing is proceeding, saying that Canada would be the first western country to approve an SMNR built for the grid.

CNSC is at least two years from approving the reactor. Nevertheless, OPG held a ground-breaking ceremony at Darlington in December. The licence to construct seems a foregone conclusion. When asked, CNSC freely admitted that from the day of its inception, it has never refused to grant a licence for any major nuclear facility.

Government, regulator and industry are already on board. Collusion? Or just co-operation?

Gordon Edwards is president and co-founder of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, a not-for-profit corporation established in 1975. He is a retired professor of mathematics and science at Vanier College in Montreal.

Susan O’Donnell is an adjunct professor at St. Thomas University and a member of the Coalition for Responsible Energy Development in New Brunswick.

March 14, 2023 Posted by | Canada, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, spinbuster | Leave a comment