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Authorities deceive the public on radiation from Fukushima Daiichi

Dr Yamashita is only one among a host of politicians, bureaucrats, experts and advertising and media consultants who support the post-3.11 safety mantra of anshin (secure 安心), anzen (safe 安全), fukkō (recovery 復 興). Through public meetings, media channels, education manuals and workshops,54 local citizens in Fukushima Prefecture were inundated with optimistic and reassuring messages.
At the same time, to reduce ‘radiophobia’ and anxiety, while focusing on the psychological impact from stress, health risks from radiation exposures have been trivialised and/or normalised for the general public.
This approach is backed up by international nuclear-related agencies. As stipulated on 28 May 1959 in the ‘WHA12-40’ agreement, the WHO is mandated to report all data on health effects from radiation exposures to the IAEA, which controls publication.
Nevertheless, it is no longer possible to ignore a significant body of research, including 20 years of scientific studies compiled in Belarus and Ukraine that show serious depopulation, ongoing illnesses and state decline.

Informal Labour, Local Citizens and the Tokyo Electric Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Crisis: Responses to Neoliberal Disaster Management Adam Broinowski {extensive footnotes and references on original]  September 2018, “……… (Official Medicine: The (Il)logic of Radiation Dosimetry On what basis have these policies on radiation from Fukushima Daiichi been made? Instead of containing contamination, the authorities have mounted a concerted campaign to convince the public that it is safe to live with radiation in areas that should be considered uninhabitable and unusable according to internationally accepted standards. To do so, they have concealed from public knowledge the material conditions of radiation contamination so as to facilitate the return of the evacuee population to ‘normalcy’, or life as it was before 3.11. This position has been further supported by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which stated annual doses of up to 20 mSv/y are safe for the total population including women and children.43 The World Health Organisation (WHO) and United Nations Scientific Commission on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) also asserted that there were no ‘immediate’ radiation related illnesses or deaths (genpatsu kanren shi 原発 関連死) and declared the major health impact to be psychological.

While the central and prefectural governments have repeatedly reassured the public since the beginning of the disaster that there is no immediate health risk, in May 2011 access to official statistics for cancer-related illnesses (including leukaemia) in Fukushima and southern Miyagi prefectures was shut down. On 6 December 2013, the Special Secrets Protection Law (Tokutei Himitsu Hogo Hō 特定秘密保護法) aimed at restricting government employees and experts from giving journalists access to information deemed sensitive to national security was passed (effective December 2014). Passed at the same time was the Cancer Registration Law (Gan Tōroku Hō 癌登録法), which made it illegal to share medical data or information on radiation-related issues including evaluation of medical data obtained through screenings, and denied public access to certain medical records, with violations punishable with a 2 million yen fine or 5–10 years’ imprisonment. In January 2014, the IAEA, UNSCEAR and Fukushima Prefecture and Fukushima Medical University (FMU) signed a confidentiality agreement to control medical data on radiation. All medical personnel (hospitals) must submit data (mortality, morbidity, general illnesses from radiation exposures) to a central repository run by the FMU and IAEA.44 It is likely this data has been collected in the large Fukushima Centre for Environmental Creation, which opened in Minami-Sōma in late 2015 to communicate ‘accurate information on radiation to the public and dispel anxiety’. This official position contrasts with the results of the first round of the Fukushima Health Management Survey (October 2011 – April 2015) of 370,000 young people (under 18 at the time of the disaster) in Fukushima prefecture since 3.11, as mandated in the Children and Disaster Victims Support Act (June 2012).45 The survey report admitted that paediatric thyroid cancers were ‘several tens of times larger’ (suitei sareru yūbyōsū ni kurabete sūjūbai no ōdā de ōi 推定される有病数に比べて数十倍の オーダーで多い) than the amount estimated.46 By 30 September 2015, as part of the second-round screening (April 2014–March 2016) to be conducted once every two years until the age of 20 and once every five years after 20, there were 15 additional confirmed thyroid cancers coming to a total of 152 malignant or suspected paediatric thyroid cancer cases with 115 surgically confirmed and 37 awaiting surgical confirmation. Almost all have been papillary thyroid cancer with only three as poorly differentiated thyroid cancer (these are no less dangerous). By June 2016, this had increased to 173 confirmed (131) or suspected (42) paediatric thyroid cancer cases.47

The National Cancer Research Center also estimated an increase of childhood thyroid cancer by 61 times, from the 2010 national average of 1–3 per million to 1 in 3,000 children. Continue reading


September 22, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima continuing, radiation, Reference, secrets,lies and civil liberties, spinbuster | 4 Comments

Exploding Michael Shellenberger’s extraordinary sales pitch for nuclear weapons

Nuclear power’s weapons link: Cause to limit, not boost exports Victor GilinskyHenry Sokolski, September 20, 2018 The criticism that supporters of US nuclear exports have found most difficult to counter has been that their wares give an importing country a big leg up on getting a bomb. For decades the exporters’ response has been to pretend this was not so. Now comes Michael Shellenberger, a prominent nuclear power advocate, who casts all this aside. Yes, he writes, there is a strong link between nuclear electricity and weapons, and in fact most countries that built nuclear power plants did so with weapons at least partly in mind. But this is not so much a confession as a sales pitch. He thinks the weapons potential of nuclear power plants actually prevents war—the weapons shadow cast by nuclear plants itself deters enemies—and that this attribute should be exploited as a sales advantage by US nuclear exporters.

Shellenberger’s assessment of the nuclear power-weapons link is important rhetorically because it comes from the nuclear side of the house. He has been celebrated by the nuclear industry and the conservative press as one of the new breed, “pro-technology,” environmental activists who joined the nuclear ranks and are not afraid to do battle with their colleagues over nuclear power. So, his admission about the closeness of civilian and military nuclear technology—realistically what lawyers call a declaration against interest—carries a certain weight and may convince people who have up to now resisted the notion.

But Shellenberger goes on. He was always a bit unrestrained in his advocacy of nuclear power, and in speaking of nuclear weapons he surpasses himself. In an earlier piece, he presents an anecdotal case on why nuclear weapons were a cure-all for world conflict.

He said if only “weak” France had nuclear weapons in 1940 then “strong” Germany would not have attacked. But what if Germany was the one with the bomb?

He also points to India and Pakistan: They had three large wars before they armed themselves with nuclear weapons but none afterwards, only “border skirmishes” with relatively low casualties. And if such conflicts got out of hand and led to nuclear weapon use, well, not to worry—Shellenberger cites an academic “expert” who claims that the nuclear conflict would surely be contained at the “tactical” level. In truth, of course, no one has any idea.

That the presence of nuclear weapons has reduced the frequency of war is an arguable proposition. But one only has to consider the experience of the Cuban Missile Crisis to realize it comes at the price of gambling on nuclear war. Most people have forgotten about them, but our nuclear forces are still on alert, and their use is not ruled out. The “experts” speak of deployment for deterrence only, but deterrence is predicated on use in certain circumstances.

All these inescapable uncertainties apparently got swept away in Shellenberger’s mind by the “Eureka” moment he describes in the latest article: Based on a paper by a couple of political science professors, he asserts that a nuclear power program itself provides a significant level of “deterrence-related” benefits—“a bomb isn’t even required.” He says that when he thought of this, he almost fell off his chair. Why, he wondered, was this fact “not being promoted as one of nuclear power’s many benefits?”

One reason is that it’s a ridiculous proposal based on half-baked ideas.

But there is a serious side to this too. Unfortunately, his views, foolish as they are, are not so different from primitive views privately held in high official and semi-official nuclear circles. It is useful to bring them out of hiding, and we have to thank Shellenberger for that.

Take the Bush Administration’s 2005 nuclear deal with India. It tore a gaping hole in the Non-Proliferation Treaty and yet was described as promoting nonproliferation. Is there anyone so foolish as to believe that hypocrisy? Or to doubt that India’s interest in the arrangement was mainly fortifying its nuclear weapons? And wasn’t the notion of supporting India as a strategic foil to China at the core of US interest?

Consider also the current administration’s efforts to negotiate a nuclear agreement with Saudi Arabia to facilitate nuclear exports to that country. One doesn’t even have to speculate about the Saudis’ interest in bombs—the Crown Prince famously made that clear. And from the US side, it is also clear that a reason to put nuclear technology in the hands of the Saudis is to frighten Iran.

The immediate nuclear issue now is what controls, if any, our government should impose on the proposed US-Saudi nuclear cooperative agreement. The sensible course from the security point of view, which Secretary of State Pompeo has publicly backed, is to make sure Saudi Arabia will not have the capacity to produce nuclear explosives—a controlling condition called the gold standard. But the Saudis are pushing back on that—for obvious reasons—and their supporters in the administration would like to relax the export controls that would apply, in part to get the business but also to have another stick to shake at Iran.

We should have none of this. It has been settled US policy for decades that we don’t want more countries with nuclear weapons or countries threatening to make them. Where we haven’t been consistent in applying that policy regarding nuclear power exports, we need to make corrections, not by exporting more, but less.

September 21, 2018 Posted by | spinbuster, USA, weapons and war | Leave a comment

The second nuclear industry stillbirth – Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMRs)

 SMR – The Second Make-Believe Renaissance – Gordon Edwards, 18 Sept 18 SMR stands for “Small Modular Reactor(s)”. It is the latest effort by an increasingly desperate nuclear industry to create a “Nuclear Renaissance”. Nuclear Renaissance I
……. The originally planned renaissance depended on plants that were larger-than-ever and safer-than-ever. The French company Areva proudly announced the EDF reactor. “The first two EPR projects, in Olkiluoto, Finland, and Flammanville, France, were meant to lead a nuclear renaissance but both projects ran into costly construction delays” and so many billions of euros over budget that Areva was virtually bankrupted, but was bailed out by the French government. “Construction commenced on two Chinese EPR units in 2009 and 2010. The Chinese units were to start operation in 2014 and 2015,[11] but the Chinese government halted construction because of safety concerns.”…….
  The Canadian “Advanced CANDU Reactor” (ACR) never saw the light of day either, and led to the sale of the AECL CANDU division to SNL-Lavalin for a paltry $15 million in 2011. ACR was supposed to be another cornerstone of the Nuclear Renaissance, originally planned for either 1000 MW or 700 MW. It did not make it out of the womb.
  Nuclear Renaissance II So now the nuclear industry, imagining itself rising from the ashes of its own calamitous failure, is launching a NEW nuclear renaissance based on “Small Modular Reactors” (SMRs). There is no precise definition of an SMR except that it should be no more than 300 MW in power output, and could be as little as 10 MW or less.
…… There is a bewildering variety of SMR designs, using uranium, plutonium, or thorium in the fuel, using molten salt, liquid metal, or ordinary water as coolant, but all intended to run for a long time with a replaceable core.
The Catch-22 in all of this is that Small Reactors are NOT cheaper than large reactors, quite the contrary! Because of the safety features that must be included in order to be licensed needed to contain the enormous inventory of intensely radioactive fission products and extremely radiotoxic actinides and prevent them from escaping, these SMR’s can only begin to break even if they are purchased in the THOUSANDS of units. The economies of scale only kick in when they are mass-produced. So mass-marketing is absolutely essential
  Already the Canadian government (which has, at least tentatively, bought into this SMR scheme through its adherence to “NICE: Nuclear Innovation = Clean Energy”) is scouring the country for possibilities. In Alberta dozens of SMRs might be employed to “cook” the oil sands in order to extract the bitumen. In the northern regions SMRs might be used to replace diesel generators, especially in arctic and subarctic conditions. In New Brunswick SMRs could be sold to appease those who have over the years clamoured for a second Lepreau.
 But it is pretty certain that none of these plans could be realized without very hefty federal subsidies, because these SMRs will be initially sold at a loss just to “prime the pump” in hopes that a profitable market will eventually materialize. And of course the SMRs themselves are purely conjectural at this point, none have them have been built or licensed or operated. It will take at least a decade or two to get them up and running, if ever that happens. Meanwhile the economic prospects for nuclear, especially in the west, are dismal. As the senior vice-president of Exelon said recently:
Due to their high cost relative to other generating options, no new nuclear power units will be built in the US, an Exelon official said Thursday.
“The fact is — and I don’t want my message to be misconstrued in this part — I don’t think we’re building any more nuclear plants in the United States. I don’t think it’s ever going to happen,” William Von Hoene, senior vice president and chief strategy officer at Exelon, told the US Energy Association’s annual meeting in Washington. With 23 operational reactors, Exelon is the US’ largest nuclear operator.
 “I’m not arguing for the construction of new nuclear plants,” Von Hoene said. “They are too expensive to construct, relative to the world in which we now live.”
Von Hoene’s stance includes so-called small modular reactors, or SMRs, and advanced designs, he said.
 “Right now, the costs on the SMRs, in part because of the size and in part because of the security that’s associated with any nuclear plant, are prohibitive,” Von Hoene said.
“It’s possible that that would evolve over time, and we’re involved in looking at that technology,” Von Hoene said. “Right now they’re prohibitively expensive.”
 In a later article I will address the particular kind of SMR intended for NB. It is a kind of mini-breeder in the sense that it uses plutonium in the fuel and liquid sodium as coolant. Bad news! …. 

September 18, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Change public view of nuclear from “acceptance” to “DEMAND” – the new spin from International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

September 17, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, spinbuster | 2 Comments

EDF misrepresents Greenpeace – Greenpeace DOES see the Hinkley mud as radioactive and toxic

Glamorgan Gem 13th Sept 2018 , Greenpeace has complained that EDF Energy, which owns the power station at Hinkley Point, has misrepresented the Greenpeace position on the dredging of mud from the Hinkley site and its disposal off the south Wales coast.

EDF says the mud poses no risk and Natural Resources Wales says it is safe, but local campaigners are demanding more tests are done. Disposal of the
mud began on Monday, September 10.

On Wednesday this week Greenpeace released a statement demanding that EDF stops stating that Greenpeace accepts the mud isn’t ‘toxic’. A Greenpeace spokesman said: “We request in the strongest terms that EDF ceases from stating that Greenpeace accepts that the mud is not toxic as that is not our current view.§ionIs=news&searchyear=2018

September 17, 2018 Posted by | spinbuster, UK | Leave a comment

The Fukushima nuclear crisis: How communities, doctors, media, and government have responded

Chapter Title: Informal Labour, Local Citizens and the Tokyo Electric Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Crisis: Responses to Neoliberal Disaster Management Chapter Author(s): Adam Broinowski Book Title: New Worlds from Below [extensive footnotes and references on original]

Faced with the post-3.11 reality of government (and corporate) policy that protects economic and security interests over public health and wellbeing, the majority of the 2 million inhabitants of Fukushima Prefecture are either unconscious of or have been encouraged to accept living with radioactive contamination. People dry their clothes outside, drink local tap water and consume local food, swim in outdoor pools and the ocean, consume and sell their own produce or catches. Financial pressure after 3.11 as well as the persistent danger of social marginalisation has made it more difficult to take precautionary measures (i.e. permanent relocation, dual accommodation, importing food and water) and develop and share counter-narratives to the official message. Nevertheless, some continue to conceal their anxiety beneath a mask of superficial calm.

As Fukushima city resident Shiina Chieko observed, the majority of people seem to have adopted denial as a way to excise the present danger from their consciousness. Her sister-in-law, for example, ignored her son’s ‘continuous nosebleeds’, while her mother had decided that the community must endure by pretending that things were no different from pre-3.11 conditions.75 Unlike the claim that risk is evenly distributed, it is likely that greater risk is borne by those who eat processed foods from family restaurants and convenience stores, as well as infants, children and young women who are disproportionately vulnerable to internal radiation exposures. Most mothers, then, have an added burden to shield their children while maintaining a positive front in their family and community.

Some, such as Yokota Asami (40 years old), a small business owner and mother from Kōriyama (60 km from FDNPS), demonstrated initiative in voluntarily evacuating her family. She decided to return (wearing goggles and a mask, she joked) in September 2011 when her son’s regular and continuous nosebleeds (in 30-minute spells) subsided. The Yokotas found themselves the victims of bullying when they called attention to radiation dangers, and were labelled non-nationals (hikokumin 非国民) who had betrayed reconstruction efforts. Her son was the only one to put up his hand when he was asked along with 300 fellow junior high school students if he objected to eating locally produced school lunches. He also chose not to participate in outdoor exercise classes and to go on respite trips instead. When it came time to take the high school entrance exam, he was told by the school principal that those who took breaks could not pass. He took the exam and failed. When he asked to see his results he found that he had, in fact, enough points to pass (the cut-off was 156 while he received 198 out of 250 points). The Yokotas decided that it was better to be a ‘non-national’ and protect one’s health. Their son moved to live in Sapporo.76

In March 2015, Asami reported that doctors undertook paediatric thyroid operations while denying any correlation (inga kankei 因果 関係) with radiation exposures. They also urged their patients to keep their thyroid cancer a secret to enhance their employment or marriage prospects, although it would be difficult to conceal the post-operation scar.77 Yokota also indicated she knew of students having sudden heart attacks and developing leukaemia and other illnesses.78

This seems to be supported by Mr Ōkoshi, a Fukushima city resident, whose two daughters experienced stillbirths after 3.11. WhileŌkoshi found that doctors have regularly advised women in the area to abort after 3.11, presumably to avoid miscarriages and defects, they do not discuss direct causes. He also observed regular illnesses experienced by many of his friends, and some sudden deaths. After a friend (62 years old) started saying strange things, he was diagnosed with brain dysfunction. He died quickly. Another friend (53 years old) was advised by a doctor to monitor a polyp in her breast. When she sought second opinions, she discovered she had accumulated an internal dose of 22 mSv and had a rapidly developing liver cancer. She also died quickly.79 There are many more such stories that are being actively ignored by the authorities. As Shiina put it, ‘we’re getting leukaemia and cataracts and we die suddenly. The TEPCO registrar has been inundated with complaints’.80

While radiation contamination is clearly a health and environmental issue, state-corporate methods deployed by executives to protect (transnational) financial, industry and security interests and assets also make it a political issue.81 As things do not change by themselves, rather than turning one’s frustration inward in self-blame, turning to prayer or deceiving oneself into returning to pre-3.11 lifeways in contaminated areas, Shiina states that people, particularly those most affected, must develop political consciousness.

To achieve this ambitious objective is not as complicated as it might sound. Nishiyama Chikako (60 years old), for example, returned to Kawauchi village to run for the local assembly after the mandatory order was lifted in December 2011. She found, as she commented in her blog, a link between TEPCO and the tripling of the Kawauchi budget post-3.11. Subsequently, she reported that her blog was shut down by unknown hackers on several occasions.82

This sort of information and communication control appears to be widespread. After 3.11, the central government hired advertising companies Dentsū and Hakuhōdō (formerly McCann Ericson Hakuhodo) to run a ‘public acceptance’ campaign. Young teams were dispatched nationwide to conduct ‘public opinion guidance’ (yoron yūdō 世論誘導). The teams consisted of casual labour (earning 2,000–4,000 yen per hour) hired under a confidentiality clause (shuhi gimu 守秘義務) to manipulate information (jōhō kōsaku 情報工作) and harass internet users.83

Media professionals have been subjected to similar tactics. The Asahi TV journalist Iwaji Masaki (Hōdō Station), one of the few mainstream journalists covering the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident in depth, for example, was intimidated by police for interviewing (December 2012) informal nuclear workers who showed shoddy decontamination practices that entailed contaminated waste disposal rather than removal and the mother of a child with thyroid cancer. Airing the program was delayed until August 2013. Before he could complete his planned segments on the US$1 billion class action for compensation for unusual and serious illnesses filed against TEPCO, General Electric, Hitachi and Tōshiba in 2015 by sailors from the USS Ronald Reagan (which provided assistance quickly after the disaster, and among whose crew 250 were ill and three had died),84 on 29 September 2013, Iwaji was reportedly found dead in his apartment (having suffered carbon monoxide poisoning in a sealed room as he slept). Much speculation followed on social media, including both plausible reasons for suicide and testimonies from friends that knew him well that Iwaji himself stated he would never commit suicide, but the story was conspicuously ignored by major news channels.85

The former mayor of Futaba village Idogawa Katsuichi was harassed on social media for calling attention to illnesses and for the resettlement of pregnant women and children. When Kariya Tetsu characterised Idogawa in his popular manga series (Oishinbo 美味しんぼ), and depicted the manga’s main character as suffering from nosebleeds after visiting Fukushima, Kariya’s editors shut the series down following accusations of ‘spreading rumours’ from some readers, media commentators and high level politicians. Similarly, Takenouchi Mari, a freelance journalist and mother who evacuated from Fukushima in 2011, received thousands of slanderous messages and threats to her two-year-old son and her property after criticising the co-founder of Fukushima ETHOS on her blog in mid-2012. She too reported that her internet account was suspended and her request for a police investigation ignored. She was counter-sued for harassment and subjected to a criminal investigation and civil law suit.86

Among the activists who have been arrested for anti-nuclear protests, the academic Shimoji Masaki of Hannan University (9 December 2012) was arrested by Osaka Prefectural Police and charged with ‘violating the Railway Operation Act’ for walking through an Osaka station concourse while participating in a demonstration against radioactive waste incineration (17 October 2012). Shimoji had reiterated that residents, due to radioactive incineration (which was due to commence in Osaka in February 2013), would be forced to bear the burden of air, food and water contamination.8

Despite such obstacles to developing a political consciousness as well as the obvious difficulties in permanently resettling large populations, it has been not only evacuees who have had to think about their fundamental life priorities after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear distaster. Some have adopted real (not only psychological) self-protection mechanisms. The  voluntary Fukushima Collective Health Clinic (Fukushima Kyōdō Shinryōjo 福島共同診療所), for example, is founded on three principles: respite (hoyō 保養), treatment (shinryō 診療) and healing (iryō 医療). Co-founder Dr Sugii, advocates a return to the 1 mSv/y limit, and seeks to inform those who for whatever reason cannot move from contaminated areas in Fukushima Prefecture.88 This is modelled on Belrad, the independent health clinic in Belarus run by Alexey Nesterenko, which prioritises knowledge, safety and open information on radiation and its health impacts. 86

To counteract the misinformation residents were exposed to post Chernobyl, over time and with limited resources, Belrad and other organisations have disseminated information and organised respite trips for children in affected areas. In 2015, for example, subsidised respite trips were organised for 50,000 children, and results have shown that  over  two  continuous years of respite those who accumulated 25– 35 Bq/kg had reduced the amount to 0 Bq/kg. Unlike the flat limit of 100 Bq/kg of Caesium in food in Japan (50 Bq/kg for milk and infant foods, 10  Bq/kg for drinking water), Belrad recommends an internal radiation limit of 10–30 Bq/kg in the body (although it advises below 10 Bq for infants to avoid lesions and heart irregularities).89 It should be noted that these limits do not guarantee safety against the effects of repeating internal radiation exposure from consuming contaminated foods, which is relative to the length of time the radiation remains and its location in the body.

While some communities, such as the town of Aketo in Tanohama, Iwate Prefecture, have struggled to block the siting of nuclear waste storage facilities,90 others are also organising to reduce radio-accumulation in their children through respite trips,91 as well as concentrating on indoor activities, measuring hotspots and decontaminating public areas and pathways, pooling funds for expensive spectrometers to monitor internal exposure and food and water, incorporating dietary radioprotection, as well as finding ways to reduce anxiety

Many local farmers cannot admit the already near-permanent damage to their land (which may continue for hundreds of years) because it would imply the devaluation of their property and produce as well as threatening their ancestral ties to the land, commitments and future plans. While many are keenly aware of their responsibilities, the push by the Fukushima and central governments to identify and gain access to markets for produce from irradiated areas would make it easier to overlook uncomfortable factors. Some have argued that given the reassurances of safety from the highest authorities, these offical figures should therefore relocate to contaminated areas and consume these products regularly. Despite the fairness of this statement, a more utilitarian logic has prevailed. In the name of reconstruction and revitalisation of Fukushima and the nation, the dilution of Fukushima produce with unirradiated produce to return measurements just under the required limits, radiation spikes in soil and food or the mutation of plants as Caesium replaces potassium (K40), for example, tend to be minimised. In this climate, the distribution and relabelling of Fukushima produce for urban and international markets (i.e. in a black market of cut-price bulk produce picked up by yakuza and other brokers) is likely to continue.

To date, the majority of evacuees have refused to return to (de)contaminated areas. Some claim they are yet to receive accurate information to justify it. Independent specialists such as Hosokawa Kōmei (Citizens’ Commission on Nuclear Energy), who develops models for transition to renewable alternatives, anticipate an increase in evacuee populations as they predict increased resettlement of Fukushima residents over 20–30 years.92 As some evacuees recognise the potential for second or third Fukushimas, they have sought to strengthen their collective identities and rights. Through local organisation and alternative life practices, whether in micro-scale ecovillages and transition towns93 with communal occupancies and squats, parallel currencies and local exchange systems (roughly 70 substantive projects), organic food co-ops, self-sufficient energy systems, local production and recycling, carpools and free kindergartens, such groups are seeking to reconstruct and model core social priorities, focusing on clean food, health and community cooperation rather than the internalised and dreary competition for material accumulation.

Although the accountability of authorities with prior knowledge has yet to be properly investigated, one of the largest groups of collective legal actions  to be mounted in Japanese history includes some 20 lawsuits by  10,000 plaintiffs. The Fukushima genpatsu kokuso-dan (Group of Plaintiffs for Criminal Prosecution 福島原発告訴団), formed on 20 April 2012, filed a criminal case (lodged 3 September 2013, Fukushima District Court) against 33 previous and present officers of TEPCO, government officials and medical experts for ‘group irresponsibility’ and the neglect of duty of care, environmental damage and harm to human health. Mutō Ruiko, one of the key plaintiffs, declared the main aim to be symbolic: to publicly record injury, reclaim the victims’ sense of agency and protect the next generation. In short, they were seeking recognition of wrong and harm done rather than primarily financial redress. This moderate aim was undoubtedly tempered by recognition of regulatory capture: those who were cavalier with safety procedures ‘were now in charge of restarts; those responsible for the “safety” campaign were now in charge of the Health Survey; [there has been] no responsibility for the SPEEDI cover-up; and TEPCO is not being held responsible for [faulty] decontamination’.94

The judgement of this case was handed down at the Tokyo District Court on the same day as the announcement of Tokyo’s successful Olympics bid (9  September 2013). The case was dismissed on the grounds that the disaster was beyond predictability (sōteigai 想定外), which made negligence  hypothetical.95 A citizens’ panel (Committee for inquest of Prosecution) overturned the dismissal and renewed the claim against three TEPCO executives on 18 December 2013. They demanded, alongside a  ruling of negligence against three former TEPCO executives, the inclusion of physical, economic, social and psychological harms: illness, paediatric underdevelopment (radiation exposures, excessive isolation indoors), financial losses (unemployment, loss in property value, rental costs of two homes, relocation, travel, etc.), family and community division, ijime (bullying いじめ) and stress. Many plaintiffs also claimed that their disrupted reliance upon nature,96 as inviolable and precious,97 should be recognised as harm. This too was dismissed and again a citizen’s panel found against the three TEPCO executives.98 In May 2015, 10 groups of plaintiffs formed a network named Hidanren (被弾連, Genpatsu Jiko Higaisha Dantai Renrakukai) comprising 20,000 people. The Fukushima kokuso-dan again made a claim to another citizens’ panel, which found in July 2015 in favour of indicting the three TEPCO executives for trial.99 In addition, a civil case filed in June 2015 by 4,000 plaintiffs from Iwaki seeking to prove negligence and not just harm sought to use previously withheld evidence to show fair warning of a 3.11-type scenario was given. This case focused the court on the operator’s calculation of risk probability of a tsunami of that size and, rather than aiming at financial compensation, it sought to deter nuclear operators from future negligent practices if ruled in favour. In anticipation of out-of-court settlements, the Japanese Government increased the budget for compensation payments to 7 trillion yen (US$56 billion).

September 10, 2018 Posted by | Japan, media, politics, psychology - mental health, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Irrational optimism about Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMRs)

“Panglossian puffery”, says David Lowry. The report ignores the security and nuclear waste problems of small modular reactors.

The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) says this is yet another attempt to promote the benefits of SMRs despite large and quite possibly insurmountable hurdles to cross. The Government suggests the report was produced by an ‘independent’ group, yet at least half of the group have strong links to the nuclear industry, including the Nuclear Industry Association. The UK appear to be one of the few governments pursuing a strategy of promoting SMRs. Even France and Finland, the only other countries in Europe currently developing large nuclear projects, have no plans to develop such technology. Indeed France has just commissioned a whole raft of new smaller-scale solar energy projects.

the finance sector is accurate in being sceptical of new nuclear developments given the rapidly decreasing costs of renewable energy.

Rolls-Royce warned last month that it was preparing to shut down the [Small Modular Nuclear Reactor] project if the government did not make a long-term commitment to its technology.

Panglossian SMRs , NuClear News Sept 18, The government should subsidise the deployment of small modular nuclear reactors in order to speed the transition to a low carbon energy system, according to an independent review into the technology commissioned by Ministers. The Expert Finance Working Group on Small Reactors (EFWG) said in a report that government should offer subsidies for small nuclear reactors to help de-risk the technology and kickstart cost reductions. (1)

Small modular reactors (SMRs) generally have a capacity less than 600MW, with the costs ranging from £100 million to £2.3 billion, which the experts suggest could be delivered by 2030. The EFWG has recommended the government to help de-risk the small nuclear market to enable the private sector to develop and finance projects – it believes SMRs could be commercially viable propositions both in the UK and for an export market.

The report says the “Government should establish an advanced manufacturing supply chain initiative, as it did with offshore wind, to bring forward existing and new manufacturing capability in the UK and to challenge the market on the requirement for nuclear specific items, particularly Balance of Plant (BOP), thereby reducing the costs of nuclear and the perceived risks associated with it.”

Nuclear Energy Minister Richard Harrington said: “Today’s independent expert report recognises the opportunity presented by small nuclear reactors and shows the potential for how investors, industry and government can work together to make small nuclear reactors a reality. Advanced nuclear technologies provide a major opportunity to drive clean growth and could create high-skilled, well-paid jobs around the country as part of our modern Industrial Strategy.” (2) Continue reading

September 10, 2018 Posted by | Small Modular Nuclear Reactors, spinbuster, UK | Leave a comment

Pro nuclear lobbyist Michael Shellenberger enthuses for nuclear weapons. Has he lost the plot?

we can now add preventing war” to the list of nuclear energy’s superior characteristics – Shellenberger
Who are we to deny weak nations the nuclear weapons they need for self-defense? – Shellenberger
We “should be glad that North Korea acquired the bomb” according to Shellenberger. And on it goes ‒ his enthusiasm for nuclear weapons proliferation knows no bounds.
Understanding of the power-weapons connections, combined with opposition to nuclear weapons, is one of the motivations driving opposition to nuclear power.
Nuclear lobbyist Michael Shellenberger, learns to love the bomb, goes down a rabbit hole, NUCLEAR MONITOR , 7 Sept 18  Author: Jim Green ‒ Nuclear Monitor editor and national nuclear campaigner with Friends of the Earth Australia, NM865.4744 [original has many footnotes and references]

In 2015, Nuclear Monitor published a detailed critique of the many ways nuclear industry insiders and lobbyists trivialize and deny the connections between nuclear power (and the broader nuclear fuel cycle) and nuclear  weapons proliferation.

Since then, the arguments have been turned upside down with prominent industry insiders and lobbyists openly acknowledging power-weapons connections. This remarkable about-turn has clear origins in the crisis facing nuclear power and the perceived need to secure increased subsidies to prevent reactors closing and to build new ones. Continue reading

September 8, 2018 Posted by | spinbuster, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear enthusiasts not impressed with Michael Shellenberger’s “incoherent” support for nuclear weapons

Nuclear lobbyist Michael Shellenberger, learns to love the bomb, goes down a rabbit hole, NUCLEAR MONITOR , 7 Sept 18  Author: Jim Green ‒ Nuclear Monitor editor and national nuclear campaigner with Friends of the Earth Australia, NM865.4744 [original has many footnotes and references]
Michael Shellenberger is the latest nuclear lobbyist to acknowledge systemic
connections between the civil nuclear fuel cycle and weapons proliferation.
Bizarrely, he argues that nuclear weapons are a force for peace and he
promotes worldwide weapons proliferation.
‘Almost Trumpian in its incoherence’: Critical responses to Michael
Shellenberger’s promotion of nuclear weapons proliferation
Michael Shellenberger’s promotion of nuclear weapons proliferation has
attracted little or no support from nuclear enthusiasts but a good deal of
Environmental Progress attorney Frank Jablonski argues that
Shellenberger “seems to presume that if the nuclear non-proliferation
framework is eliminated, nuclear capabilities will be quickly equalized
through some kind of dystopian Oprah episode in which “YOU get a
weapon, YOU get a weapon, EVERYBODY gets a weapon!!!”. The resulting
equalization of capabilities will lead to peace, kind of in the vein of the NRA
slogan that “an armed (international) society is a polite society”…..

September 8, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Following Chernobyl, Britain’s District Councils’ information role was limited to PR for the government

**Chernobyl & Sellafield**  Slugger O’Toole 26th Aug 2018 , The Chernobyl disaster released fission products into the atmosphere above the Ukrainian nuclear power plant on 25 and 26 April 1986 which drifted over the Soviet Union and Europe scattering radioactive contamination.
In the months and years that followed, UK government working groups wrote reports on “the Lessons of Chernobyl”.
“After some initial problems” officials in Northern Ireland were “closely involved” with the working party as it drew up plans to build a radiation monitoring network (RIMNET) to automate the measurement of radioactivity in the air at stations across the UK to aid the response to “peace time nuclear accidents”.
Official papers released under the 20 year rule in file NIO/28/2/44A [PDF] indicate that the Northern Ireland Office wished to site automated monitoring stations in Aldergrove; Silent Valley; Ballinrees; Castle Archdale; They also desired the continuous measurement of radioactivity levels in drinking water in key locations – the Silent Valley reservoir and at a DOE Water Extraction Plant at Dunore Point on Lough Neagh – which “provide the vast majority of the Northern Ireland
population with drinking water”.
If you head down to the Public Records Office you can check out file NIO/28/2/44A and read how the Secretary of
State Tom King’s office responded to a letter from the clerk of Omagh District Council In November 1987 who wrote “on behalf of a convocation of Councils … pledged to achieving the closure of the Sellafield Nuclear Complex”.
On the one hand … Mr S McKillop described the press release which accompanied the letter as “tendentious and unconstructively critical of government policy as regards nuclear installations generally” and prepared a draft response.
On the other … the official did concede that the council “does however raise a relevant practical issue as
regards the necessity, post Chernobyl of reviewing emergency planning procedures and the role of District Councils in the process”. However, he concluded that “it is difficult to identify any significant role for them within the monitoring or scientific assessment aspects of the Contingency Plan” and suggested that “their input may be confined mainly to a P/R
advisory role where indeed their access and proximity to the general public could prove a most valuable asset”.

August 27, 2018 Posted by | spinbuster, UK | Leave a comment

Scepticism, even among pro-nukers, about Russia’s much boasted floating nuclear power plant

The Nuclear Power Plant of the Future May Be Floating Near Russia, NYT 26 Aug 26   18  “………some environmental groups — even those open to a role for nuclear power as a substitute for traditional power plants — are skeptical.

For one, they are not convinced by Rosatom’s assurances of safety. Critics worry that during a tsunami, the 21,000-ton steel structure might not ride out the wave. In a worst-case scenario, they say, it would instead be torn from its moorings and sent barreling inland, plowing through buildings until it landed, steaming and dented and with two active reactors on board, well away from its source of coolant.

In such a case, Rosatom says, a backup power source and coolant on board would prevent the reactors from melting down, at least for the first 24 hours. “During this time we would consider what to do,” said Dmitri Alekseyenko, the deputy director for Rosatom’s floating reactor program. Regulators in the United States, however, require on-land reactors to operate for 72 hours in an emergency shutdown without external water supplies.

And the fact that the technology is well tested in Russian ships gives critics little solace, given a long history of spills and accidents involving nuclear-powered submarines and icebreakers operated by the Soviet and Russian navies.

In the 1960s and 1970s, the Soviet Union dumped reactors in the Kara Sea, in the Arctic Ocean north of Kola Bay. Russian nuclear submarines sank in 1989 and 2000, while one Russian nuclear icebreaker caught fire in 2011 and the reactor on another leaked radiation that year, according to Bellona, a Norwegian environmental group.

“The question is, would clients of Russia be comfortable with something like this being parked right at a pier in a major city?” Matthew McKinzie, director of the nuclear program at the Natural Resources Defense Council in Washington, said in a telephone interview.

A Greenpeace sailboat tailed the Akademik Lomonosov on its maiden voyage from a shipyard in St. Petersburg to Murmansk, where it will be fueled, flying a banner in English saying: “Floating Nuclear Reactor? Srsly?”  ….

August 27, 2018 Posted by | Russia, spinbuster, technology | Leave a comment

Exelon teaching kids about nuclear power – conflict of interest?

Exelon welcomes community to learn about nuclear power, Watertown Daily Times By DEBRA J. GROOM

“This is cool,” he said.

Dominick, 6, a first-grader at Hastings-Mallory Elementary School, visited the Exelon Generation nuclear plant site Tuesday with his grandmother Diane Giamartino as part of the annual Community Information Night. Nearly 200 people showed up to learn more about what the company does at its three Oswego nuclear plants and the different types of jobs available in the nuclear industry.

There were two buildings filled with “cool” things to see, according to Dominick.

In the first building, visitors could watch a 3D printer turn out these spinning toys that Dominick and other children could take home. The small plastic devices were made of one piece of plastic, but had parts that would spin in different directions……..

Dominick saw even more “cool” stuff in the other Exelon building — especially the nuclear plant control room simulator used by employees. The control room is the brain of the plant, a place filled with various lights and readings on a huge control-room board that supervisors, senior reactor operators and reactor operators keep their eyes tuned to 24 hours a day to ensure all systems in the plant are operating correctly.

Jill Lyon, speaking for Exelon, said the Community Information Nights have been held since 2014 to help area residents learn more about what goes on at the plants.

August 26, 2018 Posted by | Education, USA | Leave a comment

Fukushima prefecture to start 2020 Olympic Games Torch Relay

Fukushima begins talks on 2020 relay route 24 Aug 18 FUKUSHIMA (Jiji Press) — Fukushima Prefecture officials started discussions on Friday on selecting a torch relay route for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.They will submit a route plan to the Olympic organizing committee by the end of the year.

Fukushima, one of the three prefectures hit hardest by the March 11, 2011, powerful earthquake and tsunami, has been picked as the starting point for the relay to highlight progress in the reconstruction of affected areas.

“We’ll proceed with preparations for realizing a torch relay that is suited for the start of the Olympics symbolizing postdisaster reconstruction,” Fukushima Gov. Masao Uchibori said at the meeting.

Torch-bearers are scheduled to run through Fukushima for three days starting on March 26, 2020, as part of the 121-day relay across the nation’s 47 prefectures.

The Fukushima officials will also discuss ways to select torch-bearers and ensure the safety of the relay route.

August 25, 2018 Posted by | Japan, spinbuster | Leave a comment


The nuclear company Terrestrial Energy has joined those other pro nuclear spinners –

“Ecomodernists” “The Breakthrough Institute” “Generation Atomic” “Environmental Progress” “Bright New World” and others –  in their very modern very alternative  type of pro nuclear spin.  It’s a lovely touchy feely style, where you concentrate on things beautiful, a gorgeous glowing future – and the words “nuclear reactor” are barely mentioned.

Yes, they want a glowing future –   unfortunately, it’s the wrong kind of glow.

Terrestrial Energy has set up this new pro nuclear propaganda group  “ABOUT THE FOURTH GENERATION” – it’s all about “climate and clean energy” 

August 23, 2018 Posted by | spinbuster, technology, USA | Leave a comment

Japan’s 2020 Olympic Games a public relations cover-up of the Fukushima fiasco, for the nuclear industry

Pay no attention to that radiological disaster behind the curtains  by Bo, 

The government of Japan is clearly intending that the 2020 Olympics will function as a public relations win in which the image of Japan, and especially of Northern Japan and Fukushima are cleansed of images of radiological contamination. Even as the Fukushima Daiichi site itself, and the traces where the plumes of its explosions deposited fallout throughout the area remain un-remediated, the public perceptions will be remediated. This is typical of the behavior of governments in the developed world that suffer radiological disasters. The disasters themselves are so difficult to clean up, and take decades to even begin the clean up, that money is allocated for extensive public relations efforts. These become tasks that CAN be completed and CAN be considered successful. They function both to advance the public image agenda of the governments, and also deliver a sense of agency when the overall tone of nuclear disaster remediation is one of lacking effective agency.

Towards that end, the Japanese government is planning to integrate Fukushima sites and perceptions into the upcoming Olympics media fest. The journey of the Olympic torch through every prefecture of Japan will begin in Fukushima, a symbolic rebirth intended to facilitate the repopulating of the local communities that were evacuated, many of which have had few returnees since the government has declared them “safe” and cut public funds to those forcibly evacuated.

The government is also planning to hold multiple Olympic events in Fukushima prefecture including baseball and softball events. “Tokyo 2020 is a showcase for the recovery and reconstruction of Japan from the disaster of March 2011, so in many ways we would like to give encouragement to the people, especially in the affected area,”said Tokyo 2020 president Yoshiro Mori last March.

This active rebranding of Fukushima as safe involves removing physical reminders of ongoing risk. The central government has recently announced that it will be removing 80% of public radiation monitors from the region. An argument can be made that the presence of these monitors is theatrical in that they only measure external gamma radiation levels, which are not the primary risk to residents (this comes from internalizing radioactive particles that blanketed the region in the fallout of the plumes of the explosions of March 2011), and that positioning these gamma detectors in midair produces low readings since the particles are primarily on the ground. However, they are a tangible, embodied reminder that risk remains.

While there is a clearly an active campaign to rehabilitate the image of the region leading up to the 2020 Olympics, an effort that will no doubt intensify as the event draws near, there is also pushback and resistance in the local and national communities. A recent sculpture unveiled at the JR train station in prefectural capital Fukushima City (about 80km from the Daiichi nuclear site) has been stirring up controversy.  A Guardian article explained:

“The statue, by Kenji Yanobe, depicts a child dressed in a yellow Hazmat-style suit, with a helmet in one hand and an artistic representation of the sun in the other.
Yanobe said his Sun Child, which was installed by the municipal government after appearing at art exhibitions in Japan and overseas, was intended to express his desire for a nuclear-free world.
The artist said he did not mean to give the impression that local children needed to protect themselves from radiation more than seven years after the Fukushima Daiichi plant became the scene of the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.
He pointed out that the child was not wearing the helmet and that a monitor on its chest showed radiation levels at ‘000’.”

While some, including the mayor of Fukushima City, have praised the statue for emphasizing a hopeful future for local children, others have criticized the statue for suggesting that there is any danger to local children.

Regardless of how one interprets the sculpture, it does confront people with the fact that things are far from normal in the region. This, in spite of the central government’s strong efforts to implore people not to pay any attention to what is happening behind the curtains it has been raising.


August 20, 2018 Posted by | Japan, psychology and culture, secrets,lies and civil liberties, spinbuster | Leave a comment