Spotlight: Fury sparked in Japan as companies found duping foreign refugees into decontamination work in Fukushima 2017-03-17 TOKYO, March 17 (Xinhua)— “Such scams are a shame to Japan,” said a reporter from Tokyo Metropolitan Television Broadcasting Corp., referring to a recently-exposed scandal involving labor dispatch agencies duping foreign refugees into doing decontamination work in Fukushima.Various local media have exposed recently that some Japanese companies have swindled foreign refugees into doing decontamination work in Fukushima with empty promises that such work might help extend their visas to stay in Japan.
Fifty-year-old Hosein Moni and 42-year-old Hosein Deroaru from Bangladesh were both caught in such a scam, according to a recent report by the Chunichi Shimbun, one of the largest newspapers in Japan.
The two came to Japan in 2013 seeking to be recognized as political refugees. In Japan, foreigners are given temporary permission to stay for up to six months at one application before they are recognized as refugees and given status as residents.
According to government data, the number of refugees actually afforded recognition as refugees in Japan is disproportionately low among developed nations, while the numbers of those applying for refugee status has been rapidly increasing in recent years in Japan.
The government received some 5,000 such applications in 2014, but only 11 were granted refugee status, according to the data.
Moni and Deroaru were told by a so-called labor dispatch agency in Nagoya that they could do decontamination work in exchange for an extension of their visa.
The two, knowing little Japanese and trying to seize every opportunity they could, accepted the job and worked in Fukushima for three months in 2015.
But when they finished their work and went to the local immigration bureau to extend their stay, they were told by officers there that they knew nothing about such a policy.
They later found out that the construction company that had hired them had changed its company name, and its Fukushima branch had closed.
Half of the 20 workers that they had worked with in Fukushima were foreigners, many of whom had been applying for refugee status in Japan, the pair later recalled. Their work mainly involved clearing away contaminated soil with spades, and while they were at work might well have been affected by high levels of radiation. “The radiation detectors we brought with us kept sounding alarms, which was rather scary,” they were quoted as saying.
The incident, after been exposed by local media, also caused a splash on social network sites. Many Japanese netizens felt indignant that such scams were happening in their homeland…….
Most of the foreign workers could hardly speak Japanese. As anti-radiation brochures provided by the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. (TEPCO), were only available in Japanese or English, many of the workers could not understand it, Ishikawa was quoted as saying.
The foreign workers, to some extent, saved the contractors and TEPCO by pushing forward the decommissioning work of the nuclear plant, remarked the report…..http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2017-03/17/c_136137295.htm
A total of 32,760 workers at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant had an annual radiation dose exceeding 5 millisieverts as of the end of January, according to an analysis of Tokyo Electric Power Co. data.
A reading of 5 millisieverts is one of the thresholds of whether nuclear plant workers suffering from leukemia can be eligible for compensation benefits for work-related injuries and illnesses.
Of those workers, 174 had a cumulative radiation dose of more than 100 millisieverts, a level considered to raise the risk of dying after developing cancer by 0.5 percent. Most of the exposure appears to have stemmed from work just after the start of the crisis on March 11, 2011.
The highest reading was 678.8 millisieverts.
Overall, a total of 46,490 workers were exposed to radiation, with the average at 12.7 millisieverts.
The number of workers with an annual dose of over 5 millisieverts increased 34 percent from fiscal 2013 to 6,600 in fiscal 2014, when workloads grew to address the increase in radiation-tainted water at the plant. The number was at 4,223 in the first 10 months of fiscal 2015, which ends this month, on track to mark an annual decline.
A labor standards supervision office in Fukushima Prefecture last October accepted a claim for workers compensation by a man who developed leukemia after working at the plant, the first recognition of cancer linked to work after the meltdowns as a work-related illness. Similar compensation claims have been rejected in three cases so far, according to the labor ministry.
The average radiation dose was higher among Tepco workers at the plant than among workers from subcontractors in fiscal 2010 and 2011. Starting in fiscal 2012, the reading was higher among subcontractor workers than among Tepco workers.
The average dose for subcontractor workers was 1.7 times the level of Tepco workers in fiscal 2013, 2.3 times in fiscal 2014 and 2.5 times in fiscal 2015 as of the end of January.
A separate analysis of data from the Nuclear Regulation Authority showed that the average radiation dose of workers at 15 nuclear power plants across the country, excluding the Fukushima No. 1 and No. 2 plants, fell to 0.22 millisievert in fiscal 2014, when none of the plants was in operation, down 78 percent from 0.99 millisievert in fiscal 2010.
Brexit bill prompts Anglesey nuclear power plant concerns, BBC, 7 February 2017 Plans to build a nuclear plant on Anglesey will face big challenges if the UK leaves a European nuclear cooperation institution due to Brexit, according to an expert.
Prof Dr Glyn O Phillips said leaving Euratom would make it difficult to get staff for projects like Wylfa Newydd.
The UK will leave the body if the bill to trigger Article 50 to start the process of leaving the EU is approved……
Prof Phillips, winner of international science awards, said that withdrawal from Euratom “will be destructive to any nuclear work in the UK” as European resources have been centralised at Cern in Geneva, Switzerland.
“They are trying to build a centre now in Manchester, to bring some kind of training but, in the end, all our researchers go back and forth to Cern,” he said in an interview BBC Cymru Fyw.
“If that link is cut and we can’t keep the connection, then I can’t see how we could ever produce the workforce that is vital to maintain the new power stations that they are talking about.”
He said training is “crucially important” to staff the next generation of plants, and that doing so is dependent on “working with other people”.
“I don’t see cutting ourselves off through Brexit bringing any new jobs. It just means that you cannot use other people’s resources.”…….http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-wales-north-west-wales-38884641
6.4 million Americans now work in the traditional energy and the energy efficiency sector, which added more than 300,000 net new jobs in 2016, or 14 percent of the nation’s job growth.
“This report verifies the dynamic role that our energy technologies and infrastructure play in a 21st century economy,” said DOE Senior Advisor on Industrial and Economic Policy David Foster. “Whether producing natural gas or solar power at increasingly lower prices or reducing our consumption of energy through smart grids and fuel efficient vehicles, energy innovation is proving itself as the important driver of economic growth in America, producing 14 percent of the new jobs in 2016.”
The solar industry is particularly shining bright.
“Proportionally, solar employment accounts for the largest share of workers in the Electric Power Generation sector,” the report, released on Jan. 13, states. “This is largely due to the construction related to the significant buildout of new solar generation capacity.” Overall, the U.S. solar workforce increased 25 percent in 2016.
According to the report, solar—both photovoltaic and concentrated—employed almost 374,000 workers in 2016, or 43 percent of the Electric Power Generation workforce. This is followed by fossil fuels, which accounts for 22 percent of total Electric Power Generation employment, or 187,117 workers across coal, oil and natural gas generation technologies.
Wind generation is seeing growth in employment with a 32 percent increase since 2015. The wind industry provides the third largest share of Electric Power Generation employment with 102,000 workers at wind firms across the nation.
The reason behind this growth in the solar sector is due to the high capacity additions in both distributed and utility-scale photovoltaic solar, the report said. In fact, construction and installation projects represented the largest share of solar jobs, with almost four in ten workers doing this kind of work, followed by workers in solar wholesale trade, manufacturing and professional services.
In a sign of promise for the booming industry, solar employers reported that they expect to increase employment by 7 percent this year.
Solar is becoming the cheapest form of electricity production in the world, according to statistics from Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Last year was the first time that the renewable energy technology out-performed fossil fuels on a large scale.
How Did 2016 Fare For U.S. Energy Employment?
British nuclear weapons workers to go on strike over Atomic Weapons Establishment pensions dispute The Independent, 12 Jan 17 Staff manufacture and maintain nuclear weapons including the Trident programme Lizzie Dearden @lizziedearden Employees responsible for manufacturing and maintaining the UK’s nuclear weapons are to go on strike.
Workers at the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) are to stage two 48-hour walk-outs as part of a long-running dispute over pensions.
Unite said 600 of its members, who work as managers, craft and manual workers at the AWE’s two sites at Aldermaston and Burghfield in Berkshire, will strike on 18 and 30 January.
A spokesperson said workers felt “deeply betrayed” by promises made decades ago guaranteeing their pensions, when they were transferred from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to the private sector, being broken………
“The four days of strike action later this month are not being taken lightly. It is not a ‘political’ strike, but one taken reluctantly by our members who have no desire to see thousands of pounds wiped off their retirement incomes.”
Unite claimed new pensions proposals, which would see the AWE’s pension contributions lowered, violated pledges made in a ministerial statement to the Commons in the 1990s. The AWE, owned by a consortium of Lockheed Martin, Jacobs Engineering and Serco, is contracted by the MoD to build and maintain nuclear warheads for Royal Navy submarines. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/british-nuclear-weapons-factory-workers-berkshire-go-on-strike-prospect-union-awe-atomic-weapons-a7523516.html
Nuclear workers in strike threat at Wylfa and Trawsfynydd, Daily Post 4 Jan 17 Union leaders are to meet to discuss potential action over a pensions row Union leaders representing nuclear workers at Wylfa and Trawsfynydd are to consider strike action over pensions.
The unions said 16,000 workers at 19 sites across the UK face cuts under plans by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority to make savings of £660 million.
They include hundreds of Magnox staff at Wylfa on Anglesey, which is currently de-fuelling after ending operations at the end of 2015, and Trawsfynydd in Gwynedd, which is being decommissioned.
The unions said the Government’s expectation is that the final salary pension schemes in place across the NDA estate will be reformed by April 2018.
Justin Bowden, GMB national officer, said: “There is no justification for this attack on the pensions of these nuclear workers and their communities.
“These pension funds are in a sound state and underwent considerable reform 10 years ago…….http://www.dailypost.co.uk/business/business-news/nuclear-worker-strike-threat-wylfa-12409439
DAVE LOCHBAUM, DIRECTOR, NUCLEAR SAFETY PROJECT UCS DECEMBER 13, 2016, Disaster by Design/ Safety by Intent #62
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) revised its regulations requiring nuclear plant workers to be fit for duty on March 31, 2008, to include measures intended to protect against mistakes made by workers impaired by fatigue. Specifically, Subpart I, “Managing Fatigue,” was added to 10 CFR Part 26, “Fitness for Duty Programs.”………http://allthingsnuclear.org/dlochbaum/protecting-against-fatigued-nuclear-plant-workers
Civil nuclear police: Working to 65 ‘physically impossible’, BBC News, 24 August 2016 Representatives of 1,250 armed police officers who protect UK civil nuclear sites have challenged a rule forcing them to work beyond the age of 60.
While most UK police can retire at 60, Civil Nuclear Constabulary officers must work until 65 under a new law.The Civil Nuclear Police Federation says it will be “physically impossible” for officers in their mid-60s to protect the public from terrorism.
It has taken the case to London’s High Court to try to get the rule changed.
It argues its officers have the most physically demanding role in the police service and will not be able to maintain their standards of fitness and weapons proficiency into their 60s.
A government spokesperson said the Civil Nuclear Police Authority – which oversees the Civil Nuclear Constabulary (CNC) – was “considering how to implement changes and reforms”.
The changes were brought in as part of the Public Service Pensions Act………
Analysis By Danny Shaw, BBC home affairs correspondentUnlike other forces that are in the headlines nearly every day – the Met, West Midlands and Greater Manchester Police, for example – you don’t hear a lot about the Civil Nuclear Constabulary.
Much of its work goes unseen, guarding nuclear sites in remote corners of the UK and protecting material in transit.However, it is vital work, particularly at a time when the terrorism threat level is graded “severe” with an attack assessed as “highly likely”. That’s one reason why its officers are incensed – and baffled – by pension changes which mean they’d have to work until at least 65 before retiring……..http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-37169994
The move would boost employment when oil prices have dropped, reduce carbon emissions and help shift the economy toward green industries, according to the report released Friday by Greenpeace, the Alberta Green Economy Network and Gridworks Energy Group.
“The government can start putting people back to work without having to wait for the price of oil to go back up,” co-author David Thompson said Friday, which was also Earth Day.
The report estimates 68,400 positions are available from energy efficiency upgrades on more than 183,000 older homes and other buildings, requiring spending of $1 billion over five years.
Another 30,000 to 40,000 places would come from building LRT lines at a cost of more than $3.6 billion, along with the unpriced expansion of bike lanes, sidewalks and other sustainable transportation.
As well, there could be 46,780 jobs created by 2020 by almost doubling the amount of wind power to seven per cent of the electricity grid, boosting solar and geothermal production, and improving energy efficiency and storage.
No price tag is attached to this development. The provincial budget calls for investing $6.2 billion raised by the new carbon levy in green infrastructure, renewable energy, energy efficiency and other work over five years.
Many communities are already shifting toward renewable power.
The Lubicon Lake First Nation of Little Buffalo, 465 kilometres northwest of Edmonton, put in an 80-panel, 20.8-kilowatt solar electricity system next to its health centre last summer. The Louis Bull First Nation at Maskwacis, 70 kilometres south of Edmonton, will start installing 340 solar panels on four public buildings next month, training residents to work in this field and cutting electricity bills, councillor Desmond Bull said.
The approximately $300,000 cost is being covered with money from the federal government.
The project is intended to help the environment as well as produce economic development, Bull said.
“There’s not really any template or model for how First Nations can move in this direction.”
City of Edmonton chief economist John Rose cautioned this week that governments need to be prudent about major investments in renewable energy, but Thompson said Alberta has big wind and solar resources.
“We can learn from the mistakes others have made … We can go down the tunnel and hopefully get less scratched.”
Cosmic radiation: Apollo astronauts 5 times more likely to die from heart disease, says study Rt.com 29 Jul, 2016 The first study of Apollo astronauts – the only people to have traveled beyond Earth’s protective magnetic shield – has found that those who ventured to the moon are five times more likely to die from heart disease.
The NASA and Florida State University study revealed its findings on Thursday. They state that so far three Apollo astronauts, including Neil Armstrong, the first person to walk on the moon, have died from cardiovascular disease, apparently as a result of the extreme cosmic radiation they were exposed to during their missions. The researchers concentrated on a small group for the study: 42 astronauts who flew in space, seven of whom were Apollo veterans, the other 35 being non-flight astronauts.
The study, published in the Scientific Reports journal, found that Apollo astronauts are four to five times more likely to die from cardiovascular disease death than astronauts who either never entered space or only flew on low-altitude missions.
“These data suggest that human travel into deep space may be more hazardous to cardiovascular health than previously estimated,” it said. https://www.rt.com/usa/353865-apollo-study-heart-disease/#.V5smTINhh9Q.facebook
Uranium is the dirty underbelly of nuclear – scientist http://www.engineeringnews.co.za/article/uranium-is-the-dirty-underbelly-of-nuclear-scientist-2016-07-21 21ST JULY 2016 BY: NEWS24WIRE Anti nuclear sentiment tends to focus onnuclear waste or operational risks, but more focus should be on the “dirty underbelly” of uranium mining, according to a science adviser.
“Whenever people get excited about nuclear power stations, they kind of forget where the actual uranium comes from,”Dr Stefan Cramer, science adviser for environmentalist groupSafcei, told Fin24 in an interview recently.
“Nuclear is a fallacy, both economically and environmentally,” Cramer, who was born in Germany but not now lives in Graaff-Reinet, claimed.
“Uranium mining is the dirty underbelly of this whole nuclearcycle,” he said. “It’s where it all starts.”
“One must stop nuclear industries in (their) tracks because it leaves future generations with an immeasurable task and legacy,” he said. “The best point to start is at the source, where the whole cycle of nuclear technology begins, and that is at uranium mining.
“Uranium mining is very much the dirtiest part of the entire industry.”
Anti-uranium mining boost Cramer’s focus on anti-uranium mining was given a boost this month when Australian company Tasman Pacific Minerals Limited said it is downsizing its mining application in South Africa by almost 90%.
“Overall, the area covered by Tasman’s new and existingmining right and prospecting right applications in the Western and Eastern Cape will reduce by almost 300 000 ha to approximately 465 000 ha,” it said.
Tasman is punting job creation as necessitating the success of its new application. “Currently very few opportunities for additional economic development exist,” it said in a recent report.
“Tasman believes that uranium mining has a significant role to play in improving the economic outlook of the region, not only from an employment perspective, but also in the economic activity that is generated by associated businessactivities that extend beyond mining itself.”
The jobs argument
Cramer said the focus on job creation is “a very powerful argument… that sways in particular local communities”.
“We desperately need jobs in the Karoo,” he said. “The Karoo is an area of high poverty, (with) very low employment opportunities. Any opportunity is usually highly welcome and it is to be welcomed because we need jobs desperately. Buturanium mining is a very poor process to create jobs.
“If we are really serious about job creation in the Karoo, there are other opportunities, which are much more valuable.
“Agriculture is still the main employment opportunity and needs to be protected and improved. Agri-tourism is a very new and very fast rising opportunity, but the best (opportunity) of all is renewable energy.”Renewable energy jobs boost
“South African already has 28 000 jobs in the renewable energy industry as compared to 2 600 in the nuclearindustry,” said Cramer. “Even the most ambitious job projections in the nuclear field would be up to 30 000 jobs if they whole country is run onnuclear energy. If we go into renewable energies, it’s an order of magnitude.
“The Department of Energy predicts up to 350 000 jobs inrenewable energy, so uranium mining is clear(ly) not a good strategy,” he said.
Cramer said nuclear is also a fallacy from a democratic point of view, “because it creates a veil of secrecy over this whole industry”. “That is clearly shown in our court case against the South African government for its failure to disclose the contents of an agreement with Russia,” he said.
http://capitalandmain.com/latest-news/issues/labor-and-economy/green-state-golden-state-clean-energy-policy-makes-good-jobs-0719/ by Dean Kuipers July 19, 2016 California’s deserts are blooming with windmills and solar farms and, according to a new University of California, Berkeley report, these large-scale projects are creating top quality jobs. The Link Between Good Jobs and a Low Carbon Future, issued by the Don Vial Center on the Green Economy at Berkeley’s Labor Center, finds that despite the one-off nature of large, clean energy construction projects, these renewable-power enterprises are creating high-paying, long-lasting blue-collar jobs.
July 20, 2016
Rising temperatures caused by climate change may cost the world economy over $US2 trillion ($A2.63 trillion) in lost productivity by 2030 as hot weather makes it unbearable to work in some parts of the world, according to UN research.
It showed that in Southeast Asia alone, up to 20 per cent of annual work hours may already be lost in jobs with exposure to extreme heat with the figures set to double by 2050 as the effects of climate change deepen.
Across the globe, 43 countries will see a fall in their gross domestic product (GDP) due to reduced productivity, the majority of them in Asia including Indonesia, Malaysia, China, India and Bangladesh, Tord Kjellstrom, a director at the New Zealand-based Health and Environment International Trust, said. Indonesia and Thailand could see their GDP reduced by six per cent in 2030, while in China GDP could be reduced by 0.8 per cent and in India by 3.2 per cent.
Kjellstrom authored one of six papers on the impact of climate change on health that were put together by the United Nations University’s International Institute for Global Health in Kuala Lumpur and published in the Asia Pacific Journal of Public Health.
Kjellstrom warned that the lowest-paid workers – those in heavy labour, agricultural and manufacturing – were most at risk of exposure to extreme heat.
The other papers in the series showed around 2.1 million people worldwide died between 1980 and 2012 due to nearly 21,000 natural catastrophes such as floods, mudslides, extreme heat, drought, high winds or fires.
In Asia Pacific, 1.2 billon people have been affected by 1215 disasters – mostly floods, cyclones and landslides – since 2000.
The first three months of 2016 have broken temperature records and 2015 was the planet’s warmest year since records began in the 19th century.