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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Japan’s massive accumulation of nuclear weapons-usable plutonium

Japan’s intentional plutonium surplus https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2017/08/39a5a7121fcf-opinion-japans-intentional-plutonium-surplus.html ByAlan J. Kuperman, KYODO NEWS , 17 Aug 17,

 Japan owns nearly 50 tons of separated plutonium. That is enough for over 5,000 nuclear weapons. Yet Japan has no feasible peaceful use for most of this material.

This raises an obvious question: How did a country that forswears nuclear arms come to possess more weapons-usable plutonium than most countries that do have nuclear arsenals?

Some argue it is the unforeseen consequence of unexpected events, such as the failure of Japan’s experimental Monju breeder reactor, or the Fukushima accident that compelled Japan to shut down traditional nuclear power plants.

Indeed, Kyodo News quoted a former U.S. government official last year making such a claim. He asserted that “The accumulation of plutonium by Japan was not anticipated by Congress or any agency of the U.S. government,” when Washington in 1988 gave Japan 30-year approval to separate plutonium from spent fuel originally supplied by the United States or irradiated in U.S.-technology reactors.

But that is false.

Japan’s massive accumulation of nuclear weapons-usable plutonium was foreseen three decades ago.

In testimony submitted to the U.S. Congress in March 1988, and published that year, Dr. Milton Hoenig of the Nuclear Control Institute — where I worked at the time — documented how Japan’s planned separation of plutonium from spent fuel greatly exceeded its planned recycling of such plutonium in fresh fuel. The inevitable result, he predicted, was that Japan would accumulate enormous amounts of separated plutonium.

As his testimony detailed: “By the end of the year 2017…according to present plans, about 255 metric tons of Japanese-produced plutonium will have been separated in reprocessing plants in Japan and Europe. The announced plans of Japan demand the use of some 130 metric tons of separated plutonium as reactor fuel through the year 2017, mainly in light-water reactors in a commercial program to begin in 1997.”

Thus, he concluded, Japan’s declared plans would yield 125 tons of surplus plutonium by 2017.

Subsequent unforeseen events did not cause Japan’s huge plutonium stockpile, as the U.S. official claimed, but actually reduced it somewhat. Notably, Japan has postponed the commercial operation of its huge Rokkasho reprocessing plant, which could separate another eight tons of plutonium each year.

The hard truth is that creation of a plutonium surplus was not an accident but the inevitable consequence of Japanese nuclear policy that the U.S. government acquiesced to in 1988.

Why did Japan intentionally acquire a stockpile of plutonium sufficient for thousands of nuclear weapons? Neighboring countries suspect it is to provide Japan the option of quickly assembling a large nuclear arsenal. Not surprisingly, both China and South Korea are now pursuing options to separate more plutonium from their own spent nuclear fuel.

Three urgent steps are necessary to avert this latent regional arms race. First, Japan should terminate its Rokkasho plant, which is an economic, environmental, and security disaster. The last thing Japan needs is more surplus plutonium.

Second, the United States and Japan should seize the opportunity of their expiring 1988 deal to renegotiate new terms restricting plutonium separation, which could also serve as a model for ongoing U.S.-South Korea nuclear negotiations.

Finally, innovative thinking is needed to shrink Japan’s plutonium stockpile. In light of the worldwide failure of breeder reactors, and post-Fukushima constraints on traditional reactors, most of Japan’s plutonium will never become fuel. Instead, it should be disposed of as waste. The U.S. government has recently made a similar decision, abandoning plans to use recovered weapons plutonium in fuel and instead intending to bury it.

U.S.-Japan collaboration to dispose of surplus plutonium in a safe, secure and economical manner could help make up for the misguided bilateral decisions that created this problem 30 years ago.

(Alan J. Kuperman is associate professor and coordinator of the Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Project — www.NPPP.org — at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin.)

August 18, 2017 Posted by | - plutonium, Japan | Leave a comment

Never again – new Hibakusha victims – no nuclear weapons – Sueichi Kido

New head of A-bomb sufferers’ group strives for a world with no new hibakusha https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20170812/p2a/00m/0na/025000c, August 13, 2017 (Mainichi Japan) “The dropping of an atomic bomb is an act decided by humans. Likewise, if humans decide to work together, we can eliminate nuclear weapons.” These were the words uttered by 77-year-old Sueichi Kido, who took over from Terumi Tanaka, 85, in June, as secretary-general of the Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations after Tanaka had served in the role for 20 years.

August 14, 2017 Posted by | Japan, PERSONAL STORIES, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Unexploded bomb found at Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant

Bomb found at Fukushima nuclear plant — Officials concerned device could explode — “Military unit is headed to the site” — “Police have cordoned off the surrounding area” http://enenews.com/breaking-bomb-found-at-fukushima-nuclear-plant-military-unit-is-headed-to-the-site-police-have-cordoned-off-the-surrounding-area

August 10th, 2017
By ENENews Mainichi, Aug 10, 2017 (emphasis added): Suspected bomb found on premises of Fukushima power plant: TEPCO — What appears to be an undetonated bomb has been discovered on the premises of the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) announced on Aug. 10. The device was discovered buried in the ground at a parking lot currently undergoing maintenance in the western corner of the premises… Police have cordoned off the surrounding area

Kyodo, Aug 10, 2017: Unexploded ordnance found at Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant

NHK, Aug 10, 2017: Unexploded bomb found near Fukushima plant — Police are checking what appears to be an unexploded bomb found near the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant… Police were sending the pictures of the object to the Self-Defense Forces to determine whether it could explode

BBC, Aug 10, 2017: Fukushima disaster: ‘WW2 bomb’ found at Japan nuclear site — A suspected unexploded bomb has been found at the site of the Fukushima nuclear plant… Tepco said construction work was immediately suspended after the object was found and a temporary exclusion zone put in place while bomb disposal experts were deployed…

AP, Aug 10, 2017: Officials say the rusty object is about 85 centimeters (33 inches) long and 15 centimeters (6 inches) wide. A military unit is headed to the site

AFP, Aug 10, 2017: Japan’s Jiji Press reported that under such circumstances police call in bomb disposal experts from Japan’s military.

August 12, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima continuing, incidents, Japan | Leave a comment

Haunting photographs of 1945 Hiroshima and Nagasaki

If you’re against war, get this book: The photos will haunt you http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201708100035.html By SONOKO MIYAZAKI/ Staff Writer August 10, 2017 A boy standing at rigid attention with the dead body of his infant brother strapped to his back at a crematorium in Nagasaki is one of searing images of the city’s destruction after the U.S. atomic bombing in 1945.

In a book published Aug. 9, Kimiko Sakai, the widow of Joe O’Donnell, the photographer who snapped the image, tells the story of her husband’s life work through photographs he shot in Japan in the immediate aftermath of the war.

Aug. 9 marked the 72nd anniversary of the bombing as well as the 10th anniversary of O’Donnell’s death at the age of 85.

The 192-page book, titled “Kamisama no Finder: Moto-Beijugun Cameraman no Isan” (God’s finder: the legacy of a former war photographer), was published by the Tokyo-based Word of Life Press Ministries.

After Japan’s surrender, O’Donnell, who was attached to the U.S. Marine Corps, traveled to Hiroshima, Nagasaki and other Japanese cities to document the wartime devastation. He stayed in Japan from September 1945 to March 1946.

He took 300 or so photographs for his private use.

He believed it was wrong to drop the atomic bombs after witnessing the sufferings of the victims.

But O’Donnell didn’t exhibit these pictures for decades because of prevailing U.S. sentiment that the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki hastened the end of World War and saved many American lives.

O’Donnell later decided to exhibit the photographs in the hope they would help advance the anti-war movement.

The catalyst for this was when he gazed on a sculpture evoking Jesus on the cross and engulfed by flames at a church in Kentucky in 1989. The life-size work, titled “Once,” was created for the repose of the tens of thousands of people killed in that atomic bombings, with photos of victims pasted all over the body. O’Donnell was stunned.

After that, O’Donnell until his death held exhibitions of his photos in the United States and Japan to convey the horrors of nuclear war.

The image of the boy at the crematorium stayed with him. O’Donnell recalled that the boy stared motionless as bodies were being burned and he awaited his turn. He also noticed that the boy’s lips were caked with blood because he was biting them so hard, although no blood spilled.

Sakai agreed to a proposal to publish the book after she was contacted by the publisher two years or so ago. Sakai, who lives in Tennessee, said she accepted out of respect for her husband’s commitment to the anti-war cause.

“My husband photographed his subjects as fellow human beings, not as an occupier,” she said in a recent interview with The Asahi Shimbun.

Asked if she had a message for those working to rid the world of nuclear arsenals, she said, “Just ‘not to forget,’ which is important.”

August 11, 2017 Posted by | history, Japan, Reference, resources - print, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Ibaraki Governor vows not to allow restart of Tokai No. 2 nuclear plant

August 10, 2017 (Mainichi Japan)  MITO, Japan (Kyodo) — Ibaraki Gov. Masaru Hashimoto said Thursday he will not consent to restarting the sole reactor at the Tokai No. 2 nuclear power plant in Tokaimura, which went offline in March 2011 just as a nuclear disaster unfolded in neighboring Fukushima Prefecture.
 Hashimoto’s pledge, coming on the day his campaigning for a seventh term as governor officially got under way, goes further than his previous stance on the issue, in which he had set conditions for a restart.

“I will not approve a restart,” Hashimoto said at an event marking the start of his official campaign for the Aug. 27 gubernatorial election. “I will steer in the direction of not accepting nuclear power,” he told his supporters….. https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20170810/p2g/00m/0dm/075000c

August 11, 2017 Posted by | Japan, politics | Leave a comment

Toshiba’s $8.8b in losses

Delayed Toshiba earnings report reveals $8.8b in losses By Tech Wire Asia | 10th August 2017 | @techwireasia AFTER several delays, Toshiba Corp. has finally released an audited earnings report, which revealed the company’s losses are valued at JPY965.7 billion (US$8.8 billion) for the 2016-2017 financial year ending March this year, reported Bloomberg.

Though a startling number, it should be noted those losses are comparable to the initial estimates by independent analysts who predicted Toshiba would lose an average of JPY977.4 billion (US$8.9 billion). Toshiba’s own outlook was far more bleak, with their own financial officials reporting they expected to lose JPY1.01 trillion (US$9.2 billion)…..

suspicions about the company’s opaque finances have resulted in slipping stock prices, a situation exacerbated by the bankruptcy of its Westinghouse nuclear business…..

The company is facing a possible delisting from the Tokyo Stock Exchange as a result of the manipulation of its account books. The matter is under investigation and if Toshiba fails to clean up its act and pull itself out of the red by next March, expulsion is almost a given…….http://techwireasia.com/2017/08/toshiba-earnings-report-huge-losses/#mMpeeOZFUAVImZpQ.97

August 11, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, Japan | Leave a comment

Olympic games in Fukushima: Is it safe?

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Fukushima city is going to host Olympic baseball and softball games in 2020.
What is the level of radio-contamination there? This is the question on everybody’s mind, spectators and players from all over the world. Is it really safe?

Baseball and softball games will take place in Azuma Sports Park in Fukushima city.

 

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Fukushima prefecture provides the information below on the radiation measurements of the Park.

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Measurements of the airborne radiation dose in the baseball stadium: No 13-16
Those of the softball stadium: No 4
The lines above and below indicate the value of the radiation dose at 1cm and 5cm above the ground.

We notice that, as usual, Fukushima prefecture gives only measurements in terms of radiation dose. Based on this information, one might think that it would be relatively safe to play there or to attend the games. However, monitoring only the radiation dose is not enough for radioprotection. The radiation dose is an indication of external irradiation exposure. In this case, the measures of radioprotection will be to stay away from the radioactive objects or not to stay in their vicinity for a long time. But the radiation dose does not provide information to avoid the risk of internal irradiation. For this latter, it is necessary to monitor surface contamination density or concentration, in this case, of soil (in terms of Becquerels/m2 or Bq/kg), as well as the concentration of radioactive substances in the air (Bq/m3). The radioprotection measures against internal irradiation would be wearing protective gear and masks to avoid the radioactive substances from adhering to the skin and/or entering the body.

 

 

Here is some information provided by Yoichi OZAWA of « Fukuichi Area Environmental Radiation Monitoring Project », the group of which we have published several soil contamination maps in this blog. OZAWA took measurements on July 27 at the request of the ARD German TV channel team which was visiting Fukushima.

PowerPoint プレゼンテーション
Contamination concentration and density of 5cm surface soil around the Azuma Baseball Stadium

Point A : The entrance of the « Torimu no Mori» where children play.
Radiation dose at 1m above the ground : 0.12 μSv/h
Radiation dose on the ground : 0.19µSv/h
Surface concentration : 605 Bq/kg
Surface density : 47,300 Bq/m2

Point B : In front of the Multi-purpose Fields.
Radiation dose at 1m above the ground : 0.10 μSv/h
Radiation dose on the ground : 0.22µSv/h
Surface concentration : 410 Bq/kg
Surface density : 31,200 Bq/m2

To interpret these figures, let us remind you that in Japan, according to the Ordinance on Prevention of Ionizing Radiation Hazards, places where the effective dose is likely to surpass 1.3mSv in 3 months (approximately 0.6µSv/h of airborne radioactivity) or the contamination density to exceed 40,000Bq/m2 are designated as a « Radiation Control Zone » and public entry must be severely restricted. People under 18 years old are not allowed to enter, and even adults, including nuclear workers, cannot stay more than 10 hours. It is prohibited to eat, drink or stay overnight. To leave the zone, one has go through a strict screening to check for radioactive substances leaving the zone, a measure to protect the individual person as well as the environment.

We do not have the measures of surface density of the baseball nor softball stadiums, but in answering the question of the above German TV team, the information was given as to the decontamination work and radiation dose. There had been decontamination work, and the airborne radiation dose was about 0.04µSv/h in the baseball stadium.

Even when decontamination work has been carried out in the stadium, the mountains and woods behind the park have not been decontaminated, and wind and rain bring the radioactive substances towards the park. Besides, as we can see above, other places in the park are highly contaminated when we look at the surface contamination. They represent high risks of internal irradiation. Moreover, according to recent research, radioactive particles disseminated by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident are mostly insoluble in water. This characteristic makes the health hazard much worse than in the case of the usual water soluble Cesium (see English transcription of NHK documentary on Insoluble Radioactive Particles in this blog). We believe that this Park should not be open to the public, especially to children.

The small type of insoluble radioactive particles – also called Cesium balls -, are dispersed in the Tokyo metropolitan area. People who visit this area should be careful and should take adequate radioprotection measures especially when it is windy and the radioactive particles can be re-disseminated.

All in all, we believe that there is far too much risk for the players and spectators to participate in the Olympic games in Fukushima. Fukushima should not host the Olympic games. Furthermore, we are against holding the Olympic games in Tokyo.

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Read also :

Forest fire in the exclusion zone in Fukushima: Why monitoring the radiation dose is not enough for radioprotection

See the publication of August 4 2017 in the FB of Oz Yo

https://fukushima311voices.wordpress.com/2017/08/07/olympic-games-in-fukushima-is-it-safe/

August 7, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017, Fukushima continuing | , , , | 1 Comment

Hiroshima’s mayor urges that Japan join the UN nuclear weapons ban: PM Abe toes the USA line on keeping nuclear weapons

Hiroshima anniversary highlights contrasting nuclear views, TODAY,   AUGUST 7, 2017, TOKYO — Japan yesterday marked 72 years since the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima, with the nation’s traditional contradictions over atomic weapons again coming into focus.

The anniversary came after Japan sided last month with nuclear powers Britain, France and the United States to dismiss a United Nations treaty banning atomic weapons, which was rejected by critics for ignoring the reality of security threats such as North Korea. Japan is the only country to have suffered atomic attacks, in 1945.

 Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, speaking at the annual ceremony at Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park near Ground Zero, said Japan hoped to push for a world without nuclear weapons in a way that all countries can agree upon……..

This hell is not a thing of the past,” said Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui in his peace declaration at yesterday’s ceremony.

“As long as nuclear weapons exist and policymakers threaten their use, their horror could leap into our present at any moment. You could find yourself suffering their cruelty.

“Today, a single bomb can cause even greater damage than the bombs dropped 72 years ago.

“Humankind must never commit such an act,’’ he added, urging nuclear states, as well as Japan, to join the UN nuclear weapons ban treaty adopted in July.

Japanese officials have criticised the treaty as deepening a divide between countries with and without nuclear arms.None of the nine countries that possess nuclear weapons took part in the negotiations or voted on the treaty. Japanese officials routinely argue that they abhor nuclear weapons, but the nation’s defence is firmly set under the US nuclear umbrella.

In his message to Hiroshima, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the presence of some 15,000 nuclear weapons, along with “dangerous rhetoric regarding their use”, has exacerbated the threat they pose……

Many in Japan feel the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki amounted to war crimes and atrocities because they targeted civilians, and also because of the unprecedented destructive nature of the weapons…….http://www.todayonline.com/world/asia/hiroshima-anniversary-highlights-contrasting-nuclear-views

August 7, 2017 Posted by | Japan, weapons and war | 1 Comment

Brief fall in groundwater near Fukushima’s crippled nuclear reactors

NHK 3rd Aug 2017, The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says the
groundwater level briefly plummeted near a building that houses one of the
crippled reactors.

Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, says the fall
was observed in a monitoring well about 11 meters southwest of the No.4
reactor building on Wednesday. The utility says the groundwater level
temporarily sank roughly 1 meter below the level of contaminated water
inside the reactor building. The firm says the groundwater rose above the
usual level 23 minutes later.

A sharp fall in the groundwater level just
outside reactor buildings could cause contaminated water to leak from
inside the buildings.  https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20170804_06/

August 7, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

On Hiroshima Day, Greenpeace Japan strengthens its support for the UN nuclear weapons ban

“I want you to feel the presence of not only the future generations, who will benefit from your negotiations to ban nuclear weapons, but to feel a cloud of witnesses from Hiroshima and Nagasaki.”

“We have no doubt that this treaty can – and will – change the world.” – Setsuko Thurlow, a Hiroshima atomic bomb victim

The elimination of nuclear weapons has been the cause that Greenpeace campaigned so passionately and heavily for since 1971.

72 years after Hiroshima, where is Japan’s commitment to end nuclear weapons? http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/news/Blogs/nuclear-reaction/72-years-hiroshima-nagasaki-anniversary/blog/59983/  by Yuko Yoneda – 4 August, 2017  

Even with the passing of the UN’s Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty, Japan still remains an outlier, betraying the hopes of atomic bomb survivors from Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

It started with just 12 of them. With a bold mission, this group of activists set sail to Amchitka island off Alaska to protest the detonation of an underground US nuclear test. It was September 1971, and though the mission was initially unsuccessful, it was the beginning of what became Greenpeace, and just one of the many issues – the elimination of nuclear weapons – that the environmental organisation would campaign endlessly against.

Fast forward to 2017, and what was once a hard-fought battle and one of Greenpeace’s legacy issues, has now become a successful defeat. On 7 July, the United Nations adopted the “Nuclear Weapons Treaty” with an overwhelming majority – an epoch-making agreement that prohibits not only the development, experiment, manufacture, possession, and use of nuclear weapons, but also the “threat to use”. Nuclear and chemical weapons, and anti-personnel landmines and cluster bombs were also banned. The Treaty will be open for signature by states on September 20th.

To our disappointment, however, Japan did not join the 122 countries, or two-thirds of the United Nations member countries, that stood up to stop nuclear weapons. The peculiar absence of Japan, whose preamble explicitly recognizes “unacceptable suffering of and harm caused to the victims of the use of nuclear weapons (Hibakusha) as well as those affected by the testing of nuclear weapons” begs explanation.  

The Government of Japan expressed a concern that the Treaty that was negotiated only among non-nuclear weapon states could create “a more decisive divide” between the states with and without nuclear weapons. From a standpoint of realpolitik of the Cold War era, Japan is under an American nuclear umbrella, and as such, would violate a Treaty prohibiting the “threat to use” if it were to be a signatory. Therefore Japan sides with the nuclear weapons states (the US, Russia, China, France, UK, India, Pakistan, Israel, North Korea) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) countries that rely on the US nuclear umbrella.

The adoption of this historic Treaty by an overwhelming majority of the UN membership, nonetheless, represents a hard-won victory for people such as the Hibakusha (Japanese word for the surviving victims of the 1945 atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki), victims of American nuclear tests and their descendents, and grassroots activists who worked tirelessly against the European nuclear deployment and uranium mining in Australia. The Treaty is a long lasting legacy of their testimonies, protests and actions of the past decades, and keeps a hope alive for realization of the nuclear free world.

Setsuko Thurlow, a Hiroshima atomic bomb victim who now lives in Canada, told delegates of the Treaty negotiations:

“I want you to feel the presence of not only the future generations, who will benefit from your negotiations to ban nuclear weapons, but to feel a cloud of witnesses from Hiroshima and Nagasaki.”

“We have no doubt that this treaty can – and will – change the world.”

On the 72nd anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, we stand in solidarity with the survivors and those across the world who have campaigned against nuclear weaponry and call for Japan to join the Treaty. The elimination of nuclear weapons has been the cause that Greenpeace campaigned so passionately and heavily for since 1971. As the only country in the world hit by a nuclear attack, Japan’s commitment to the Treaty would not only be a long-fought win for the country’s tainted history, but also an important step towards a future world that is ultimately safe and nuclear free.

Yuko Yoneda is the Executive Director at Greenpeace Japan.

 

August 5, 2017 Posted by | Japan, opposition to nuclear | 2 Comments

Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) buying into failed French nuclear company AREVA

Reuters 31st July 2017, Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) will buy a 19.5 percent stake in nuclear reactor builder Areva New NP as part of the sale of the Areva unit to utility EDF, MHI said in a statement.

MHI confirmed it is also scheduled to acquire a 5 percent stake in nuclear fuel group New Areva Holding, formerly referred to as “NewCo”, by the end of this year.  http://af.reuters.com/article/commoditiesNews/idAFL5N1KM4MU

August 4, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, Japan | Leave a comment

Toshiba’s nuclear problems result in demotion by Tokyo Stock Exchange, possible delistment

In Cumbria 2nd Aug 2017, Toshiba, the owner of the company with plans for a £10bn Cumbrian nuclear new build, has been demoted to the second tier of the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

The Japanese giant- which has taken full control of NuGen, which is behind proposals for a power station at Moorside, near Sellafield – has also seen its share price drop following the move. It will no longer feature in the Nikkei 225 index of Japan’s top public companies also faces the prospect of being delisted from the stock exchange altogether.

This switch has happened because Toshiba’s liabilities exceeded its assets by several billion yen
following a write-off for its American nuclear division Westinghouse Electric, due to provide three AP1000 reactors for Moorside.  http://www.in-cumbria.com/Cumbria-nuclear-backer-Toshiba-sees-stock-exchange-demotion-82f05225-a586-4022-adf6-90d8e015c62b-ds

August 4, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, Japan, UK | Leave a comment

Harm from inhaled radioactive dust: new evidence from Hiroshima’s teenagers of 1945

Extent of A-bomb dust inhalation in 1945 underestimated: researchers https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20170731/p2a/00m/0na/004000cJuly 31, 2017 (Mainichi Japan)HIROSHIMA — The prevalence of acute symptoms among teenage soldiers exposed to dust particles as they helped out with relief operations in the aftermath of the 1945 U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima has been found to be at least 10 times higher than those who were unexposed, it has been learned.

August 2, 2017 Posted by | Japan, radiation, Reference | Leave a comment

Hiroshima, Nagasaki mayors to urge government to act on nuke ban treaty

,Japan Times, 1 Aug 17 KYODO KYODO AUG 1, 2017  The mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki will call on the government to help realize a treaty banning nuclear weapons at upcoming anniversaries marking the 1945 U.S. atomic bombings in their cities.

This year’s declarations follow the adoption in New York last month by 122 U.N. members of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. As a country under the U.S. nuclear umbrella, Japan did not participate, nor did any of the nuclear weapon states.

 Hiroshima Mayor Kazumi Matsui announced an outline of his declaration at a news conference on Tuesday, to be read out at a commemoration ceremony on the anniversary of the bombing on Aug. 6.

According to the outline, he will stress that the “hell” Hiroshima saw 72 years ago is not a thing of the past, saying, “As long as nuclear weapons exist and policymakers threaten their use, their horror could leap into our present at any moment.”…..

Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue is to read his declaration at the city’s ceremony three days later on Aug. 9. In Nagasaki, an estimated 74,000 people died from the bombing by the end of 1945.

“Action by civil society will be crucial in making the nuclear prohibition treaty an international norm,” Taue said at a news conference on Monday announcing the outline of his declaration. “I would like to call for coordination.”

Taue said he will call on the government to change its mind and join the treaty, while Matsui will urge the government to “manifest the pacifism in our Constitution” by “doing everything in its power to bridge the gap between the nuclear weapon and non-nuclear weapon states.”…..

Both the Hiroshima and Nagasaki declarations were drafted after meetings in recent months with hibakusha and experts. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/08/01/national/hiroshima-nagasaki-mayors-urge-government-act-nuke-ban-treaty/#.WYD_7xWGPGg

August 2, 2017 Posted by | Japan, politics, politics international, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Kansai Electric signs MOX N-fuel deal

 August 01, 2017 Jiji Press FUKUI  — Kansai Electric Power Co. said Monday it has concluded a contract to procure mixed oxide, or MOX, nuclear fuel for the Nos. 3 and 4 reactors at its Takahama nuclear power station in the central prefecture of Fukui.

The company signed the contract with Nuclear Fuel Industries Ltd. MOX fuel is a blend of uranium and plutonium extracted from spent nuclear fuel.

Kansai Electric became the first power supplier in Japan to conclude a deal to receive supply of MOX fuel since the March 2011 triple meltdown at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.

Nuclear Fuel Industries will take charge of the design of MOX fuel and other processes. The production will be commissioned to a group plant of French nuclear giant Areva SA. Under the deal, 32 sets of MOX fuel will be produced —16 sets each for the two reactors.

Kansai Electric concluded similar procurement deals in March and November 2008. In both cases, it was a few years before MOX fuel produced abroad arrived at the Takahama nuclear plant after the deals were concluded.

The Takahama Nos. 3 and 4 reactors, which went back online earlier this year, produce electricity using MOX fuel, a method called “plu-thermal” power generation.

“We will continue with plu-thermal while giving top priority to safety,” Kansai Electric said

August 2, 2017 Posted by | Japan, technology | Leave a comment