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India must oppose dumping of radioactive waste into the Pacific, but IAEA and Indian govt downplay the dangers

Silence on Fukushima Disaster Exposes our Approach to Nuclear Safety and Why India must Oppose Dumping of Radioactive Water Into the Pacific, BYSONALI HURIA,  JANUARY 17, 2021  Next year, the operator of the tsunami-hit Fukushima nuclear plant would start releasing radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean. A number of nations are up in arms against it, but Indian authorities are not rising to the occasion to protect its most vulnerable against the impending disaster.

SONALI HURIA explains what is at stake for people and the environment. 

THE new year has begun on a grim note with a toxic gas leak at the Rourkela Steel Plant in Odisha on 6 January, which claimed the lives of four contractual workers. This is the latest in a disconcerting string of industrial accidents in India over the last few years, which have remained peripheral to the mainstream media narrative.

It appears that India has learned precious little from the Bhopal gas disaster, which has ebbed from public memory even as the accident site remains contaminated and survivors continue to await an elusive justice.

Against this backdrop, as we approach the tenth anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, it may be pertinent to think of what a nuclear accident might mean for the country’s already shoddy industrial safety record and systemic inadequacies, especially as the Fukushima disaster now poses a formidable new challenge to which India’s response, so far, has been active denial and muted silence.

“Fukushima” has become synonymous with the devastating and ongoing nuclear accident that occurred off the eastern Pacific coast of Japan in 2011.

Japan’s nuclear regulator, the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) reportedly stated as recently as in December 2020 that the reactor buildings of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant continue to record “lethal” levels of radiation, thus posing a “serious challenge” to decommissioning efforts.


Among the many vexing problems precipitated by the accident is the disposal of the contaminated water from the beleaguered nuclear plant.

The acerbic debate within Japan on the disposal of this radioactive water came to a head recently when the Japanese government made it clear that beginning 2022, the operator of the Fukushima plant, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), would start releasing radioactive water from the wrecked plant into the Pacific Ocean—a task envisaged to be accomplished over the next several years as part of larger decommissioning efforts.

Since the devastating earthquake and tsunami off the Pacific coast of Tōhoku triggered a meltdown at the three units of the nuclear plant in March 2011, cleanup efforts have required, among other things, the pumping of tens of thousands of tons of water to cool the smouldering reactor fuel cores.

However, this has led to a steady on-site accumulation of heavily contaminated water—as of 2020, TEPCO has nearly 1.23 million metric tons (and counting) of highly radioactive wastewater on its hands that has been stored in nearly 1,044 tanks…………


Greenpeace International has warned that carbon-14, which TEPCO affirmed is present in the contaminated tank-water for the first time in August 2020, has the “potential to damage human DNA”.

Tokyo’s decision has understandably ruffled feathers globally.

The Republic of Korea, China, and Chile, state parties to the London Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter, have repeatedly called for international deliberation and resolution of the problem, even as South Korea, which has banned all seafood imports from the region since the accident, has formally called upon the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to dissuade Japan. While the North Korean state media described the proposed discharge as a “criminal act”, a coalition of environmental and citizens’ groups from Taiwan petitioned the Japanese government in November 2020, expressing their objections.

The IAEA has confined itself to assisting the Japanese government rather than question or evaluates the proposed water disposal plan. It has demonstrated yet again that it is not the international nuclear watchdog many believe it to be.

UN Special Rapporteurs on hazardous wastes, right to food, rights to assembly and association, and the rights of indigenous people have also urged Japan not to use the present pandemic as a “sleight of hand” to release the radioactive water without any credible consultation within and outside Japan regarding a decision that will have a long-lasting impact on the environment and human health.


The stakes for India cannot be overstated either.

In an unanticipated moment of candidness, nuclear health scientists from within the Indian establishment—the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) and the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS)—have warned that the release of the Fukushima wastewater containing “radioactive isotopes such as cesium, tritium, cobalt and carbon-12” will prove disastrous for human and aquatic health across the world’s coastal belts by crippling fishing economies and causing a “spectrum of diseases, including cancer”……..

the Indian government, in particular, its nuclear establishment, has consistently downplayed the risks associated with nuclear energy to public and environmental health, even labelling public concerns surrounding radiation “myths”, and whose first reactions to the Fukushima nuclear accident were of impudent denial.

…  EAS Sarma, former Union Power Secretary to the Government of India, has exhorted the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) to apprise the Prime Minister’s Office of the “far-reaching implications” of the proposed release of the radioactive Fukushima water, and for India to take a firm stand at the IAEA against this unilateral decision of the Japanese government.

TEPCO has reportedly already been draining hundreds of tonnes of contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean. Noting with dismay the abject silence of the DAE and India’s Environment Ministry in this regard, Sarma identifies the lack of a robust nuclear regulatory body or mechanism in India as responsible for this lack lustre approach to an issue of great import for the health of the people of the country and the larger marine ecology of the region.

Domestically, it is time to pause and think whether India is equipped to handle an accident of the scale of Fukushima—a nuclear Bhopal?

Sarma’s letter to the Cabinet Secretary also underscores the need for the government to recognise the magnitude of the devastation wrought by nuclear accidents, the inability of TEPCO to handle the disaster even a decade since its occurrence, and thus to pause its own plans “to import reactors on a large scale and enlarge nuclear power generation capacity”.


In effect, therefore, the IAEA has demonstrated yet again that it is not the international nuclear watchdog many believe it to be. In her fascinating new account of the Chernobyl nuclear accident, Manual for Survival, the environmental historian, Kate Brown, explores the IAEA’s complicity in downplaying the accident and denying radiation impacts in exposed Chernobyl children and even asserting that “radiation anxiety” stems from “irrational fears”, as nuclear technocrats across the globe are prone to doing.

In the tenth year of the ongoing Fukushima accident, therefore, it is imperative that a dialogue be initiated on the need for an effective international nuclear monitoring regime that isn’t also tasked with the responsibility of promoting nuclear energy.

Domestically, it is time to pause and think whether India is equipped to handle an accident of the scale of Fukushima—a nuclear Bhopal?

At the very least, it is time India’s government demonstrates that it is willing and able to deploy its purportedly surging international stature and influence under Prime Minister Narendra Modi to protect the country’s environment and the health of its vulnerable communities against the Fukushima water release, which appears a near certainty now.

January 18, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima continuing, India, oceans, politics international | Leave a comment

Thyroid cancer at ages 0 and 2 at the time of the nuclear accident-Health survey in Fukushima Prefecture January 2021

Thyroid cancer at ages 0 and 2 at the time of the nuclear accident-Health survey in Fukushima Prefecture Posted by: ourplanet Posted on: Thu, 01/14/2021 –00:46 (Japanese only)

(Translated from Google) The “Prefectural Health Survey” Review Committee was held in Fukushima City on the 15th to discuss the health survey of Fukushima citizens following the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. For the first time, it was discovered that two infants, a 0-year-old girl and a 2-year-old girl at the time of the accident, were diagnosed with thyroid cancer.


This time, the result of the fourth round of thyroid examination until June last year was newly announced. The number of children diagnosed with suspected thyroid cancer by fine needle cytology increased by 6 from the previous time to 27, and the number of children who underwent thyroidectomy increased by 3 from the previous time to 16 children. Up to now, 252 patients have been diagnosed with thyroid cancer or suspected thyroid cancer from prior examination, of which 203 have undergone thyroid surgery. 202 people, excluding one, were confirmed to have thyroid cancer.

In the fourth round of examination, it was found for the first time that a girl who was 0 years old and a girl who was 2 years old at the time of the accident were diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Since the age of the examination is not the actual age but the grade, the ages at the time of the examination are 9 years old (3rd grade of elementary school) and 11 years old (5th grade of elementary school), respectively. According to the previous test results of 27 patients, 5 patients had “A1 judgement” without nodules or tumors, and 16 people had “A2 judgement” with nodules of 5 mm or less or cysts of 2 cm or less, 5 mm or more. 5 people had a “B-judgement” with nodules or cysts of 2 cm or more, and 1 had not been examined. He had the smallest tumor size of 6.1 mm and the largest tumor was 29.4 mm.

What stands out in the results of the fourth round of examination is the high dose of radiation for people diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Of the 27 patients diagnosed as suspected of being malignant by fine needle cytology, 11 patients (40.7%) who submitted the basic survey questionnaire had an exposure dose of less than 1 mSv in 2 patients (18.1%) 4 months after the accident. The number of children exposed to 2mSv or more was the highest, with 4 (36.3%) from 1mSv to 2mSv and 5 (45.5%) from 2mSv to 5mSv. In particular, the two boys who were five years old at the time of the accident were both over 2mSv.

According to the results of the basic survey of all Fukushima residents, 62.2% are less than 1mSv, 31.6% are from 1mSv to 2mSv, and 5.5% are from 2mSv to 3mSv. Very different.

To review the mass examination at school At this review committee, a major shift was made to reviewing simultaneous examinations at schools. The test, which has found more than 200 people with thyroid cancer, raises the theory of “overdiagnosis” among experts who deny the effects of radiation exposure, saying that they are finding thyroid cancer that they do not have to find. There is a growing opinion that the mass examination at school should be reviewed.

Based on these opinions, the review committee decided to conduct an interview survey at schools in the prefecture on August 31st last time. This time, there was a report on the results of a survey conducted by the prefecture at 26 elementary and junior high schools and high schools in the prefecture.

At many schools, thyroid examinations were performed during class hours, criticized by Shoichiro Tsugane, a member of the National Cancer Center, saying, “You can’t take this without a strong will.” “The benefits of the test are not except that you can be reassured when you get negative. The discovery of thyroid cancer has little benefit in avoiding death or poor quality of life, especially when you are diagnosed with thyroid cancer. “I think it will be a huge disadvantage for those who do,” he said. “Thyroid examination in a group of asymptomatic healthy people is not desirable. I asked him to stop the mass examination at school. ..

In addition, Professor Toshiya Inaba of Hiroshima University also cut out at the school examination that “they are left behind” and said, “Parents are not worried. The school rents the venue. The prefectural medical college has an inspection. I understand each position well, but in the end, it is the people who are left unattended. ” He emphasized that the prefectures and medical colleges that are the subjects of the survey should explain more to children and students the significance of the test and the fact that it can be rejected.

Screenshot of Zoom chat from the meeting 2021

In response, Professor Satoshi Tomita of Fukushima University argued head-on. He criticized that “many Fukushima residents have anxiety about their health” and that members of the Prefectural Health Investigation Committee, especially members outside Fukushima Prefecture, are calling for the cancellation or reduction of examinations. He said that thyroid examination is a way to relieve the anxiety of Fukushima residents, “the anxiety of Fukushima residents, especially those with children, is left behind.” “It is dangerous to go in the direction of reduction easily.” “Thinking” was pointed out.

Ikuko Abe, chairman of the Fukushima Clinical Psychologists Association, who also lives in Fukushima Prefecture and has a close relationship with schools, agrees with this, saying, “I agree with Professor Tomita’s opinion.” “Given the anxiety about radiation that Fukushima residents have, thyroid examinations are very reassuring,” she said. “Reducing or eliminating the examinations still takes the opposite position. I want you to do it. “

What caught my eye in the discussion was the presence of Katsushi Tahara, director of the Ministry of the Environment’s Health and Welfare Department. The members of the review committee from the Ministry of the Environment have not said much, but have played a role in important aspects of policy change. This time too, Mr. Tahara considers the fact that the school is cooperating with the implementation of the examination, such as encouraging households whose delivery to Fukushima Medical University is delayed to submit again when the deadline has passed. About 30% of the children undergoing medical examinations at school were asked intensively about this point, such as confirming that the school side took over the collection of consent forms.

To conduct hearings with the person to be inspected Following a survey of the school, the prefecture proposed to have a place to hear directly from the children and students who had been inspected. Questions were raised about the representativeness of the interviewees, and there was an opinion requesting a quantitative survey such as a questionnaire, but the prefecture’s proposal was approved because the survey took too long.

Regarding this “interview survey,” there was a harsh debate over the neutrality of the content, such as the opinion that a pilot study was unavoidable and that the voices of patients diagnosed with thyroid cancer should also be heard. With the strong push back of the constellation chairman, it was decided that the selection of the target audience and the holding method would be left to the chairperson and the prefecture. The results will be reported at the next meeting.

In response to the further shift to reviewing mass screening at school in this “interview,” Chiba parent and child of the “thyroid cancer support group Hydrangea Association” that supports families with thyroid cancer said, “Accident Among the 0-year-old and 2-year-old children at that time, a child with thyroid cancer appeared and my chest hurts. Thyroid cancer also has recurrence and metastasis, and early detection and early treatment are beneficial for the child. Given that the cancer was found in a school test, there can be no argument to eliminate the school test. ” The group has made offers to the prefecture three times in the past and opposes the reduction of inspections.

January 16, 2021 Posted by | children, Fukushima continuing, Reference | 1 Comment

In March 2011 Japan’s government considered evacuating the then Emperor Akihito further away from Fukushima


January 4, 2021 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

Fukushima nuclear clean-up hugely affected by discovery of lethal radiation levels

January 2, 2021 Posted by | decommission reactor, Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

Delay in removal of melted nuclear fuel from Fukushima No 1 Power plant, because of the pandemic

December 26, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

Fukushima nuclear debris removal to be delayed due to pandemic

December 24, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

Fukushima nuclear reactor no.1 – debris prevented from falling into fuel storage pool

Fukushima reactor one step closer to fuel removal, The operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has finished work to prevent large debris from falling into a fuel storage pool in the No.1 reactor building.

Tokyo Electric Power Company on Thursday released footage showing precautions it had taken to keep a broken crane from falling into the pool.

The crane, weighing 161 tons, has been hanging over the pool since a hydrogen explosion hit the building in March 2011. The pool is still holding nuclear fuel.

The video shows a platform being moved on rails to a spot directly under the broken part of the crane. A bag on the platform is then filled with mortar and fixed to the crane to hold it in place.

The entire process was done remotely due to high levels of radiation in the reactor building.

TEPCO plans to install a cover over the whole building before starting the removal of fuel from the pool as early as fiscal 2027.

November 28, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

Survey finds that most Fukushima evacuees do not intend to return

65% of Fukushima evacuees have no intention of returning home: survey
Sixty-five percent of the people who evacuated from Fukushima Prefecture after the March 2011 nuclear disaster have no intention of returning, according to a recent survey conducted by a Japanese university.

While the survey, conducted by a research facility at Kwansei Gakuin University, only received responses from 522 of 4,876 people to whom questionnaires were sent, it provided a rare insight into how former residents see the reconstruction of their former home.

The government of the northeastern prefecture has not carried out such surveys in recent years. There were over 36,900 evacuees within and outside the prefecture as of October, according to the prefectural government.

Among the 522 respondents who resided in the prefecture at the time of the nuclear meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant triggered by the massive quake and ensuing tsunamis, 341 people said they do not intend to return.

According to the survey conducted between July and September, 138 people said they plan to go back and 43 people did not answer or offer a valid response.

In response to a multiple-choice question asking why they have not returned to their homes, 46.1 percent said they still fear contamination of the environment, followed by 44.8 percent who said they have settled down in places they currently live.

November 28, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

Destructive potential of over a million tons of radioactive water into the Pacific

Almost Unnoticed Nuclear Pandemic Is Spreading in Japan, Manlio Dinucci,  MONTREAL (IDN) 4 Nov 20,It was not Covid-19, therefore the news went almost unnoticed: Japan will release over a million tons of radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear power plant into the sea. The catastrophic incident in Fukushima was triggered by the Tsunami that struck the north-eastern coast of Japan on March 11, 2011, submerging the power plant and causing the core of three nuclear reactors to melt.

The power plant was built on the coast just 4 meters above sea level with five-meter-high breakwater dams, in a tsunami-prone area with waves 10-15 meters high. Furthermore, there had been serious failures by the private company TEPCO (the Tokyo Electric Power Company) managing the plant, in the control of the nuclear plant: the safety devices did not come into operation at the time of the Tsunami.

Water has been pumped through the reactors for years to cool the molten fuel. The water became radioactive and was stored inside the plant in over a thousand large tanks, accumulating 1.23 million tons of radioactive water. TEPCO is building other tanks, but they will also be full by mid-2022.

TEPCO must continue pumping water into the melted reactors and has decided to discharge, in agreement with the government, the water accumulated so far into the sea after filtering it to make it less radioactive (however, to what extent it is not known) with a process which will last 30 years. There is also radioactive sludge accumulated in the decontamination filters of the plant, stored in thousands of containers, and huge quantities of soil and other radioactive materials.

As TEPCO admitted, the melting in reactor 3 is particularly serious because the reactor was loaded with Mox, a much more unstable and radioactive mix of uranium oxides and plutonium.

The Mox for this reactor and other Japanese ones was produced in France, using nuclear waste sent from Japan. Greenpeace has denounced the danger deriving from the transport of this plutonium fuel for ten thousand kilometres.

Greenpeace also denounced that Mox favours the proliferation of nuclear weapons, since plutonium can be extracted more easily and, in the cycle of uranium exploitation, there is no clear dividing line between civilian and military use of fissile material.

Up to now, around 240 tons of plutonium for direct military use and 2,400 tons for civil use (nuclear weapons can however be produced with them), were accumulated in the world (according to 2015 estimates), plus about 1,400 tons of highly enriched uranium for military use. A few hundred kilograms of plutonium would be enough to cause lung cancer to 7.7 billion inhabitants of the planet, and plutonium remains lethal for a period corresponding to almost ten-thousand human generations.

A destructive potential has thus accumulated, for the first time in history, capable of making the human species disappear from the face of Earth. The nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki; the more than 2,000 experimental nuclear explosions in the atmosphere, at sea and underground; the manufacture of nuclear warheads with a power equivalent to over one million Hiroshima bombs; the numerous accidents involving nuclear weapons and those involving civilian and military nuclear plants, all this has caused radioactive contamination that has affected hundreds of millions of people.

A portion of approximately 10 million annual cancer deaths worldwide – documented by WHO – is attributable to the long-term effects of radiation. In ten months, again according to the World Health Organization data, Covid-19 caused about 1.2 million deaths worldwide.

This danger should not be underestimated, but it does not justify the fact that mass media, especially television, did not inform that over one million tons of radioactive water will be discharged into the sea from the Fukushima nuclear power plant, with the result that it will further increase cancer deaths upon entering in the food chain.

November 26, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

Nuclear disaster: Fukushima schools frozen in time

Nuclear disaster: Fukushima schools frozen in time

November 17, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | 1 Comment

The accumulating radioactive water is another Fukushima disaster crisis

November 7, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima continuing, oceans | Leave a comment

Compensation claims recognised – workers made ill by working at Fukushima’s wrecked nuclear plant

Compensation claims related to Fukushima nuclear plant work total 269,

Oct. 31  2020l TOKYO  A total of 269 cases linked to the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant work have been deemed as job-related accidents and covered by compensation since the 2011 nuclear disaster, labor ministry officials say, underscoring the harsh conditions onsite workers still face.

The workers’ compensation claims that have been recognized by labor authorities include six cases of workers who developed cancer or leukemia due to radiation exposure, and four others who suffered from overwork-related illnesses, according to the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare officials.

Decommissioning of the Fukushima plant is still under way nearly 10 years after the massive earthquake and tsunami that devastated northeastern Japan triggered meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. To this day, about 4,000 people still work on site every day, with many at risk of radiation exposure.

The compensation claims that have been approved refer to the period since the March 2011 nuclear accident through Oct 1 this year.

According to the plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc, three people died between fiscal 2011 and 2019.

One worker, who wished to remain anonymous, told Kyodo News the pressure of working at a nuclear power plant as opposed to a normal working site is “incomparable.”

“I have to deal with so much anxiety and stress as I could never know what may happen inside a nuclear power plant,” said the man from Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture.

According to the worker, he wears two protective layers of clothing and tapes them together so there is no space between them, and also puts on a raincoat.

“I sweat a lot even in winter and I drink a lot of water,” he said, adding that several of his colleagues suffered from heat stroke or heat exhaustion while working at the plant.

TEPCO said a total of 98 people suffered from heat-related illnesses between fiscal 2011 and 2019, having had to wear masks and protective gear made of less permeable materials under the sweltering summer heat.

At the site of the Fukushima Daiichi plant, 313 accidents have occurred in the same period of time, including several fatal cases between 2014 and 2015 in which workers fell into a tank, TEPCO said.

Acknowledging that many accidents had occurred, a TEPCO official said, “We will continue to work with our contractors to prevent such incidents from happening.”

November 2, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima continuing, health | Leave a comment

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga soon to decide on disposal of Fukushima’s nuclear waste water

Reuters 21st Oct 2020, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said on Wednesday that he is aiming
to make a speedy decision on the disposal of contaminated water at the
tsunami-crippled Fukushima nuclear plant.

October 22, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

Japan’s government is appealing the landmark ruling about its responsibility for Fukushima nuclear accident

Landmark Court Ruling In Japan Holds Government Accountable For 2011 Nuclear Meltdown

October 17, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima continuing, legal | Leave a comment

Japan’s government planning to dump into the sea, the radioactive water from Fukushima No. 1 nuclear reactor

Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant wastewater looks headed for ocean, THE ASAHI SHIMBUN, October 16, 2020   The government is moving toward the controversial disposal method for contaminated water at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant of dumping it into the ocean.

Fishermen have fiercely opposed this disposal method at the plant, which experienced a triple meltdown in March 2011 following a magnitude-9.0 earthquake and tsunami, over fears of resulting negative publicity hurting their industry.

The central government is likely to hold a meeting of relevant Cabinet ministers before the end of October to make a formal decision on the dumping, sources said.

Before being dumped into the ocean, the stored water would be processed a second time and diluted with seawater to lower levels of radioactive materials below legally established standards.

It is expected to take about two years to prepare for the dumping process.

Water contaminated with radioactive materials continues to be produced at the Fukushima No. 1 plant at a daily rate of about 140 tons. Water used to cool melted spent nuclear fuel mixes in with groundwater that leaks into the reactor building.

Tokyo Electric Power Co., the operator of the plant, treats the contaminated water using equipment called advanced liquid processing systems, or ALPS, before storing the water in tanks on the plant grounds.

But about 1.2 million tons of processed water is being stored in tanks and TEPCO has estimated that tank capacity will be reached by the summer of 2022 even under the current plan to build more tanks.

Because about two years is needed to construct the necessary equipment to dispose of the contaminated water and to pass screening by the Nuclear Regulation Authority, a decision on disposal of the water was expected by this summer.

A subcommittee of experts set up by the economy ministry compiled a proposal in February that said the two realistic alternatives were to dump the water into the ocean or release it into the atmosphere. The panel added that dumping the water into the ocean was the method that could be implemented with certainty.

Since April, the government has conducted seven hearings involving local government officials, farming and fisheries organizations and business groups on the issue………

October 17, 2020 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment