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Japan: Fukushima clean-up workers, including homeless, at grave risk of exploitation, say UN experts

 

GENEVA (16 August 2018) – Japan must act urgently to protect tens of thousands of workers who are reportedly being exploited and exposed to toxic nuclear radiation in efforts to clean up the damaged Fukushima Daichi Nuclear Power Station, say three UN human rights experts*.

Workers hired to decontaminate Fukushima reportedly include migrant workers, asylum seekers and people who are homeless,” said the experts.

We are deeply concerned about possible exploitation by deception regarding the risks of exposure to radiation, possible coercion into accepting hazardous working conditions because of economic hardships, and the adequacy of training and protective measures.

We are equally concerned about the impact that exposure to radiation may have on their physical and mental health,” they added.

Contamination of the area and exposure to radiation remains a major hazard for workers trying to make the area safe seven years after the catastrophic nuclear meltdown which followed damage to the power plant from an earthquake and subsequent tsunami.

Tens of thousands of workers have been recruited over the past seven years under the decontamination programme. Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare indicates on its website that 46,386 workers were employed in 2016; and the Radiation Worker Central Registration Centre of Japan has indicated that as many as 76,951 decontamination workers were hired in the five-year period up to 2016.

The people most at risk of exposure to toxic substances are those most vulnerable to exploitation: the poor, children and women, migrant workers, people with disabilities and older workers. They are often exposed to a myriad of human rights abuses, forced to make the abhorrent choice between their health and income, and their plight is invisible to most consumers and policymakers with the power to change it,” said the experts.

Detailed reports that the decontamination contracts were granted to several large contractors, and that hundreds of small companies, without relevant experience, were subcontracted, are of concern. These arrangements, together with the use of brokers to recruit a considerable number of the workers, may have created favourable conditions for the abuse and violation of workers’ rights.”

The UN rights experts have engaged in a dialogue with the Government since last year and have taken into account a recent reply to their most recent concerns.

As part of its Universal Periodic Review, Japan recently ”accepted to follow up” on a recommendation from other States to restore radiation levels to those before the disaster to protect the human right to health of pregnant women and children, among several other recommendations. The experts strongly urge the Government to lower the allowable dose of radiation to 1 mSv/year to protect children and women who may become pregnant.

The UN experts remain available to advise on how best to address the ongoing issue of exposure of workers to toxic radiation following a previous response by the Japanese Government, and on the need to strengthen protection for workers.

In September, one of the UN experts, Baskut Tuncak, will present a report to the UN Human Rights Council, calling on States and employers to strengthen protection for workers from exposure to toxic substances, and proposing principles in that regard.

ENDS

(*) The UN experts: Mr. Baskut Tuncak, Special Rapporteur on the implications for human rights of the environmentally sound management and disposal of hazardous substances and wastes, Ms. Urmila Bhoola, Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, including its causes and consequences,and Mr. Dainius Puras, Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health

Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

UN Human Rights, country page – Japan

For further information and media requests, please contact:
Ms Lilit Nikoghosyan (+41 22 917 9936 / lnikoghosyan@ohchr.org ) or
Mr. Alvin Gachie ( +41 22 917 9971 / agachie@ohchr.org ) or  srtoxicwaste@ohchr.org

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts please contact Mr. Jeremy Laurence, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+41 22 917 9383 / jlaurence@ohchr.org)

This year is the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the UN on 10 December 1948. The Universal Declaration – translated into a world record 500 languages – is rooted in the principle that “all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” It remains relevant to everyone, every day. In honour of the 70th anniversary of this extraordinarily influential document, and to prevent its vital principles from being eroded, we are urging people everywhere to Stand Up for Human Rightswww.standup4humanrights.org

https://www.ohchr.org/en/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=23458&LangID=E

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August 17, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

New reactor being built in western Japan applies for safety checks

safe_image.php.jpeg
This file photo taken on May 21, 2018, shows Shimane Nuclear Power Plant’s No. 3 reactor in Matsue, Shimane Prefecture, western Japan. (Kyodo)
August 10, 2018
TOKYO (Kyodo) — Chugoku Electric Power Co. on Friday applied to the government for safety screening of a nuclear reactor it is constructing, opening up the possibility of it becoming Japan’s first newly built reactor to go into operation since the 2011 Fukushima crisis.
Work on the No. 3 unit at the Shimane plant in Matsue, Shimane Prefecture, is almost complete and safety checks by nuclear regulators may proceed faster than for another reactor in northeastern Japan that is also under construction.
The No. 3 reactor will have a maximum output of 1,373 megawatts, making it one of the largest in the country. It is a boiling water reactor, the same type as those at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s disaster-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Chugoku Electric was initially aiming to activate the reactor in December 2011 after starting construction in 2006. But the plan was postponed following the Fukushima nuclear crisis, triggered by a massive quake and tsunami disaster that hit northeastern Japan.
The crisis led to the introduction of more stringent safety standards for nuclear power plants. Around 10 reactors have resumed operation in Japan after clearing the safety hurdles, but there has been no case in which new reactors have been activated after the disaster.
“With existing nuclear reactors currently restarting, we thought it is possible to file for checks of the No. 3 unit (even though it is a new reactor),” Tatsuo Kitano, managing executive officer of the utility based in Hiroshima Prefecture, told reporters.
The latest development came a day after Shimane Gov. Zembee Mizoguchi officially gave the green light for Chugoku Electric’s application for government screening.
But prospects remain unclear on when the reactor will be put into service as the utility will not just have to clear the safety tests but also again seek local consent for operation.
Chugoku Electric is spending around 500 billion yen ($4.5 billion) on safety measures for the No. 3 reactor, aiming to finish the work by September 2019.
The other new reactor that is seeking to start operation is being built at Electricity Power Development Co.’s Oma nuclear power plant in Aomori Prefecture.
The company known as J-Power applied for government safety checks in 2014, but the process has been drawn out. The Oma reactor is expected to become the world’s first commercial reactor to run fully on plutonium-uranium mixed oxide fuel.

August 17, 2018 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Cesium Concentrated in Particles – Fukushima radiation

Fukushima Radiation Concentrated in Particles, Hot Spots, Laboratory equipment Wed, 08/15/2018 – by Seth Augenstein – Senior Science Writer – @SethAugenstein  “….

August 17, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima continuing, radiation | Leave a comment

Tens of thousands rally for removal of US base off Okinawa

 https://www.theage.com.au/world/asia/tens-of-thousands-rally-for-removal-of-us-base-off-okinawa-20180812-p4zx0r.html, By Mari Yamaguchi 12 August 2018 —  Tokyo:  Tens of thousands of protesters in Okinawa vowed to stop the planned relocation of a U.S military base, saying they want it off the southern Japanese island entirely.

August 13, 2018 Posted by | Japan, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Primed Minister Abe rejects Japan’s participation in UN nuclear test ban treaty

Abe should keep pledge to lead on elimination of nuclear weapons, Asahi Shimbun , August 10, 2018 

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, representative of the government of Japan, and atomic bomb survivors, witnesses to the horrific scenes of 1945, appeared to have little language in common.

That unfortunate scene, almost too painful to bear, was repeated again this summer.

During the peace memorial ceremonies to mark the 73rd anniversary of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the mayors of the two cities and a representative of atomic bomb survivors all expressed their positive hopes for the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and called on Tokyo to take serious action.

But Abe did not even mention the treaty during his speeches at the ceremonies. When he met with atomic bomb survivors, he said Tokyo has a “different approach” to the shared goal of eliminating nuclear weapons, thereby denying Japan’s participation in the pact.

The nuclear weapons ban treaty, adopted last year with approvals of 122 countries at the United Nations, embodies the fruition of longstanding calls by atomic bomb survivors. The treaty’s spirit, which stresses the inhumane nature of nuclear arms, has a universal value that has much in common with “human security,” one of the stated pillars of Japan’s diplomacy.

Abe, however, did not even pay homage to the significance of the pact, any more than he did last year………

Abe described himself as a “mediator” for bridging the gap between nuclear weapon states and non-nuclear weapon states. Given that, his words would sound persuasive only if he took initial action to call on nuclear weapon states to reduce their nuclear arsenals.

Far from that, Foreign Minister Taro Kono has “highly appreciated” a new strategy of nuclear arms buildup that was set out by the U.S. administration of President Donald Trump. By no means would Japan be able to live up to its duty of a country that suffered atomic bombings if it were only ratifying a military policy that could be described as representing a superpower’s egotism………….http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201808100022.html

August 11, 2018 Posted by | Japan, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Safety review sought for new Japanese reactor

 WNN 10 August 2018

Chugoku becomes the second Japanese utility to apply to the NRA for pre-operation safety inspections for a new nuclear power reactor since the Fukushima Daiichi accident. The first was Japan Electric Power Development Corp (J-Power), which applied in December 2014 for inspections of unit 1 at its Ohma nuclear power plant, also an ABWR, being built in Aomori prefecture. However, with construction of Shimane 3 more advanced than Ohma 1, Shimane 3 is likely to be the first new reactor to begin operating in Japan. http://www.world-nuclear-news.org/Articles/Safety-review-sought-for-new-Japanese-reactor

August 11, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, Japan | Leave a comment

Strange thought processes that resulted in the nuclear bombing of Nagasaki

The Nagasaki bombing mission: excused by “just NOT following orders” http://www.litbyimagination.com/2018/08/the-nagasaki-bombing-mission-excused-by.html    The thought process that never happened on August 9, 1945:

“Well, let’s see here. The reserve fuel tank pump was broken before take-off, and we knew it, so we were supposed to call off the mission then. Next, we failed to rendezvous over Yakushima with one of the crucial planes in the mission. At the primary target of Kokura we encountered cloud cover and flak. Now we are so dangerously low on fuel that there’s a good chance we’re going to lose the bomb and our lives by ditching in the Pacific. If we carry out the mission at the secondary target, and survive, there’s a good chance we’ll be court-martialed for not following orders to abort the mission if troubles like these arose. Hmmm. Let’s just spare Nagasaki, get back to base safely, and hope this war is over soon before we have to drop the second bomb.”

Unfortunately, the commanding officers of Bockscar, the plane that dropped the bomb on Nagasaki, were eager to not look like failures after the “success” of the Enola Gay over Hiroshima three days earlier. The full story is told in the article “The harrowing story of the Nagasaki bombing mission“ (Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, August 4, 2015). After encountering the many troubles listed above, the plane went to the secondary target, Nagasaki, and the pilot determined to drop the bomb by radar through the cloud cover, against specific orders to drop it only with a clear view of the target. “Fortunately,” there was an opening in the clouds over the Urakami district, which was not the intended target over the center of the city. They hastily decided to drop the bomb there, then headed toward Okinawa for an emergency landing. They approached Okinawa with empty fuel tanks, expecting they would have to ditch in the ocean and die. The crew was literally willing to die rather than return as “failures” compared to their colleagues who had flown on the Enola Gay. In this regard, they were much like the fictional Major T.J. King Kong in Dr. Strangelove who carried out a suicide mission in order to start WWIII.

August 10, 2018 Posted by | history, Japan, USA, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Public outcry makes TEPCO stop selling Fukushima nuclear power plant souvenirs

Tepco halts sales of souvenirs from Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant following public outcry. Japan Times, BY CHISATO TANAKA, STAFF WRITER, 9 Aug 18 

Tepco suspended the sale of souvenirs at its crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant Wednesday — just eight days after launching the products — following public outcry that it was looking to profit from the 2011 disaster.

Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. had been selling plastic file folders imprinted with pictures of the Nos. 1 to 4 units at the crisis-hit plant at two of the facility’s convenience stores since Aug. 1, after receiving requests for memorabilia from visitors and workers.

But the sales by the utility immediately drew criticism with many people posting angry comments on social media. One comment said Tepco was responsible for the disaster and “had no right to profit from” it, adding that the move was “arrogant and showed scant consideration for the disaster victims.” Others said the plant operator should at least donate the proceeds from the sales to local residents and charities……https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2018/08/09/national/tepco-halts-sales-souvenirs-fukushima-no-1-nuclear-plant-following-public-outcry/#.W2y2aCQzbGg

August 10, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

Hiroshima survivors tell of that day on 6th August 1945

Hiroshima-landscape

‘I still hate the glow of the sun’: Hiroshima survivors’ tales, https://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/31704344/i-still-hate-the-glow-of-the-sun-hiroshima-suvivors-tales/  May 26, 2016, Hiroshima (Japan) (AFP) – For survivors of the world’s first nuclear attack, the day America unleashed a terrible bomb over the city of Hiroshima remains seared forever in their minds.

Though their numbers are dwindling and the advancing years are taking a toll, their haunting memories are undimmed by the passage of more than seven decades.

On the occasion of Barack Obama’s offering of a floral tribute on Friday at the cenotaph in Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park — the first ever visit by a sitting US president — some of them share their stories with AFP.

Emiko Okada

Emiko Okada, now 79, was about 2.8 kilometres (1.7 miles) from ground zero and suffered severe injuries in the blast. Her sister was killed.

“All of a sudden a flash of light brightened the sky and I was slammed to the ground. I didn’t know what on earth had happened. There were fires everywhere. We rushed away as the blaze roared toward us.

“The people I saw looked nothing like human beings. Their skin and flesh hung loose. Some children’s eyeballs were popping out of their sockets.

“I still hate to see the glow of the setting sun. It reminds me of that day and brings pain to my heart.

“In the aftermath, many children who had evacuated during the war came back here, orphaned by the bomb. Many gangsters came to Hiroshima from around the country and gave them food and guns.

“President Obama is a person who can influence the world. I hope that this year will be the beginning of knowing what actually happened in Hiroshima and Nagasaki under the mushroom clouds.”

Keiko Ogura

Keiko Ogura, now 78, has devoted her life to keeping alive the memory of the devastating day. Continue reading

August 4, 2018 Posted by | history, Japan, Reference, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Ahead of Olympic Games, Fukushima nuclear power plant gets an extreme makeover

Extreme makeover: Fukushima nuclear plant tries image overhaul, Channel News Asia, 3 August 18, 

FUKUSHIMA: Call it an extreme makeover: In Japan’s Fukushima, officials are attempting what might seem impossible, an image overhaul at the site of the worst nuclear meltdown in decades.

At the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, there’s a flashy new administrative building, debris has been moved and covered, and officials tout the “light” radioactive security measures now possible.

“You see people moving around on foot, just in their uniforms. Before that was banned,” an official from the plant’s operator TEPCO says.

“These cherry blossoms bloom in the spring,” he adds, gesturing to nearby foliage.

If it sounds like a hard sell, that might be because the task of rehabilitating the plant’s reputation is justifiably Herculean.

………TEPCO officials have been gradually trying to rebrand the plant, bringing in school groups, diplomats and other visitors, and touting a plan to attract 20,000 people a year by 2020, when Tokyo hosts the Summer Olympics.

Officials point out that protective gear is no longer needed in most of the plant, except for a small area, where some 3,000 to 4,000 workers are still decontaminating the facility.

Since May, visitors have been able to move around near the reactors on foot, rather than only in vehicles, and they can wear “very light equipment,” insists TEPCO spokesman Kenji Abe.

That ensemble includes trousers, long sleeves, a disposable face mask, glasses, gloves, special shoes and two pairs of socks, with the top pair pulled up over the trouser hem to seal the legs underneath.

And of course there’s a geiger counter.

The charm offensive extends beyond the plant, with TEPCO in July resuming television and billboard adverts for the first time since 2011, featuring a rabbit mascot with electrical bolt whiskers called “Tepcon”.

But the upbeat messaging belies the enormity of the task TEPCO faces to decommission the plant.

It has installed an “icewall” that extends deep into the ground around the plant in a bid to prevent groundwater seeping in and becoming decontaminated, or radioactive water from inside flowing out to the sea.

But about 100,000 litres of water still seeps into the plant each day, some of which is used for cooling. It requires extensive treatment to reduce its radioactivity.

Once treated, the water is stored in tanks, which have multiplied around the plant as officials wrangle over what to do with the contaminated liquid.

There are already nearly 900 tanks containing a million cubic metres of water – equal to about 400 Olympic swimming pools.

And the last stage of decommissioning involves the unprecedented task of extracting molten nuclear fuel from the reactors…….https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asia/extreme-makeover–fukushima-nuclear-plant-tries-image-overhaul-10586540

August 4, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima continuing, spinbuster | Leave a comment

TEPCO considers scrapping some reactors – at request of municipalities

NHK 2nd Aug 2018 The president of Tokyo Electric Power Company says the utility is
considering scrapping some of the reactors at its Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant,
at the request of one of the 2 municipalities that host the nuclear
facility. TEPCO President Tomoaki Kobayakawa revealed for first time the
request is under consideration during a meeting with Kashiwazaki Mayor
Masahiro Sakurai. The pair met in the Niigata Prefecture city located on
the Japan Sea coast on Thursday.
https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20180802_36/

August 4, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, Japan, politics | Leave a comment

Japan’s NRA plans nuclear wastes burial at least 70 meters deep for about 100,000 years

Mainichi 2nd Aug 2018 , The Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) plans to require that highly
radioactive waste generated when nuclear reactors are decommissioned be
buried underground at least 70 meters deep for about 100,000 years until
the waste becomes no longer hazardous.

Moreover, disposal sites for such waste should not be built in areas that could be affected by active faults
or volcanoes. The plan is part of the proposed regulatory standards on
disposal sites for radioactive waste from dismantled nuclear reactors,
which the NRA approved on Aug. 1. The NRA will hear opinions from power
companies operating nuclear plants and other entities before finalizing the
regulatory standards.
https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20180802/p2a/00m/0na/008000c

August 4, 2018 Posted by | Japan, wastes | Leave a comment

Japanese children will pass on the history of Nagasaki’s horror nuclear bombing on 9 Aug 1945

Mini-storytellers’: Japanese children pass on horror of Nagasaki bombings, As more and more survivors who directly witnessed the nuclear attack die, students are taking on responsibility for telling their stories, Guardian    Daniel Hurst in Nagasaki, 2 August 18 

The 500 students at Shiroyama Elementary School gather in the assembly hall on the ninth day of every month to sing a song. This is no ordinary school anthem, however.

Dear Children’s Souls deals with the most traumatic chapter in the school’s long history: the moment 1,400 students and 28 staff members died when the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the southern Japanese city of Nagasaki in the closing stages of the second world war.

Nearly 73 years have passed since the bombing of Nagasaki on 9 August 1945 – and Hiroshima three days earlier – but the school feels a special responsibility to keep the memories alive.

“Shiroyama Elementary School is situated closest to the ground zero of the A-bombing compared to other municipal elementary schools in Nagasaki,” explains the softly spoken principal, Hiroaki Takemura, adding that the hypo-centre was just 500m away.

“The feelings for peace are very strong here.”The task is becoming increasingly vital as more and more of the survivors who directly witnessed the events pass away. The ranks of these survivors, known as hibakusha, have halved over the past two decades and their average age is now 82. As they become less mobile, they find it more difficult to travel and give first-hand accounts of the horrors of nuclear war in the hope of preventing any repeat amid growing global tensions. Continue reading

August 3, 2018 Posted by | history, Japan, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Japan keen to have a nuclear export business: it all depends on building nuclear reactors in the UK

Japan and Hitachi pin nuclear export hopes on U.K. project in Wales https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2018/07/29/business/japan-hitachi-pin-nuclear-export-hopes-u-k-project-wales/#.W14xP9IzbGg, BY JUNKO HORIUCHI KYODO 

A nuclear power plant project in Britain is giving Japan a glimmer of hope for spurring infrastructure exports, a key growth strategy of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Hitachi Ltd. and the U.K. government started official talks last month on building new reactors in Wales, with a goal of firing them up in the first half of the 2020s.

The outlook for the ¥3 trillion project is unclear, with both sides facing a string of challenges in the talks going forward.

For Tokyo, the plan is one of its few remaining major overseas projects on the horizon, with other nuclear power generation plans discontinued or facing cancellation.

The government’s bet on nuclear power plants as a pillar of infrastructure exports comes as the likes of Germany, Italy, Taiwan and South Korea are pulling out of atomic power generation.

Critics argue that a surge in safety costs and accident worries caused by the 2011 Fukushima disaster, in addition to the lack of viable disposal solutions for radioactive waste, mean there is no justification for keeping faith in nuclear energy. Compounding the sector’s decline is the rapidly dropping cost of tapping such renewable energy sources as wind and solar power.

Still, some emerging economies look like they will need new nuclear power plants, and Japanese builders see few chances to construct new ones anytime soon in Japan.

“The Japanese government has been pushing hard for exports of nuclear power plants but it’s clear that it’s not going well,” said Tadahiro Katsuta, a professor at Meiji University. “The government will spare no effort in giving momentum to the exports.”

If the project in Britain proves successful, it will give the government “a good excuse” to push harder abroad, he said.

Before the official talks began, Hitachi had told Britain it might not take part in the project to build two advanced boiling water reactors on the Isle of Anglesey in Wales, because the price tag had soared higher than initially estimated.

But an offer by London to shoulder about two-thirds of the cost convinced Hitachi stay in. Tokyo welcomed its decision to begin the talks.

“The nuclear business overseas is significant … it would lead to strengthening and maintaining human resources and technology for nuclear power in Japan,” Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Hiroshige Seko told a news conference.

Under the agreement, the British government will subsidize much of the cost through direct investment and loan guarantees, according to sources close to the matter.

“We are currently examining the financial and cost issues of the project, before making a final decision in 2019 on whether to invest in the project,” Hitachi Chief Financial Officer Mitsuaki Nishiyama said Friday at a news conference to announce earnings.

For Hitachi, nuclear power is a core operation. It wants to increase revenue from the business by more than 33 percent to ¥250 billion over the four years through March 2022, mainly through boosting overseas revenue.

Rival Toshiba Corp. exited overseas nuclear operations after incurring huge losses in the United States, a decision that could cripple Tokyo’s efforts to promote Japanese nuclear plants abroad.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., is pursuing a nuclear power plant project in Turkey. But it hit a snag when it saw safety-related costs surge and trading house Itochu Corp. walked away from the project.

In another blow to the government, Vietnam in 2016 decided to abandon a plan to build its first nuclear power plant with Japanese assistance due to tight state finances.

Those failures have led to an increased focus on the new power station in Wales. But London and Hitachi still need to address such issues as how to spread the remainder of the costs among Hitachi, local companies and Japan-backed financial institutions. They also need to determine who should be held liable if there’s a major accident.

They are also at odds over how much the electricity produced at the plant should cost. Britain at one point offered a price some 20 percent lower than what Hitachi wanted, a source familiar with the matter said.

“A key focus of discussions with Hitachi has been and will continue to be achieving lower-cost electricity for consumers,” Greg Clark, British business and energy secretary, told Parliament last month.

The two sides also need to talk to residents and win over those worried about the new power station.

“We have a major multinational and two governments supposed to be democracies playing a high-stakes game of poker … without any transparency or scrutiny for the people that they are representing,” Mei Tomos, a resident of Wales, said at a news conference in Tokyo during a recent visit to Japan.

“We have seen the destruction which nuclear power can cause. It is really too much to expect us to take the same risks. Even if such an accident didn’t happen at Anglesey we will still be faced with over a hundred years of storage of nuclear waste on site which presents a massive danger to us,” another resident, Robert Davies, said at the news conference.

July 30, 2018 Posted by | Japan, marketing, politics international, UK | Leave a comment

Japan has amassed enough plutonium to make 6,000 nuclear bombs

Economist 25th July 2018 Japan has now amassed 47 tonnes of plutonium, enough to make 6,000 bombs.
What is Japan doing with so much plutonium? Plutonium is at the heart of
Japan’s tarnished dream of energy independence. Spent fuel from nuclear
reactors can be reprocessed to extract plutonium, which is then recycled
into mixed oxide, or MOX, fuel. This was intended for use in Japan’s
reactors but most of its nuclear power plants have been offline since the
2011 Fukushima disaster.

Tougher safety checks have failed to reassure the
nuclear-phobic public that the reactors can be restarted. And Japan’s
nuclear-energy fleet is ageing. Taro Kono, Japan’s foreign minister, has
admitted that this situation is “extremely unstable”.

Japan’s status as a plutonium superpower is increasingly under scrutiny. The government
says it has no intention of building a bomb. But China and other countries
question how long it can be allowed to stockpile plutonium. Analysts worry
about a competitive build-up of plutonium in Asia.

Moreover Japan’s stock, which is weapons-grade, is reprocessed and stored in France and
Britain. It is moved across the world in heavily armed convoys. America
says those shipments and the storage of plutonium in civilian sites present
a potential threat to non-proliferation goals: they could be redirected to
make weapons, or targeted by terrorists. It is nudging its ally to start
reducing the hoard.
https://www.economist.com/the-economist-explains/2018/07/25/why-does-japan-have-so-much-plutonium

July 27, 2018 Posted by | - plutonium, Japan | Leave a comment