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Eight Years on, Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Still Poses Health Risks

https://havanatimes.org/?p=149927  March 9, 2019 By Akio Matsumura HAVANA TIMES – On March 11, we commemorate the 8th anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. To an outside observer, this anniversary passes as a technical progress report, a look at new robot, or a short story on how lives there are slowly returning to normal.

Yet in Japan, the government has not figured out how to touch or test the irradiated cores in the three crippled reactors, which continue to contaminate water around the site of the melt down. The government does not know where it will put that radioactive material once it can find a way to move it.

Meanwhile, the government and site operator are running out of room to store the contaminated water, which is filling up more and more tanks. The cleanup is estimated to take forty years and the cost is estimated at $195 billion.

The latest publicly released findings of radiation levels are from 2017, when Tokyo Electric Power Company had to use a remote-controlled robot to detect the levels in Reactor 2, since no human can approach the crippled reactor.

The rates read 530 sieverts per hour, the highest since the March 2011 meltdown. We have no reason to believe that they have fallen since then. Remote-control robots are being used in the other reactors as well, indicating that radiation levels are similarly high there.

Even using the robot, work can only be carried out for very short times, since the robots can only stand 1000 sieverts of exposure – less than two hours in this case.

This is an extremely high amount of radiation. After TEPCO published the rate, the Asahi Shimbun reported that “an official of the National Institute of Radiological Sciences said medical professionals have never considered dealing with this level of radiation in their work.”

The Japan Times quoted Dr. Fumiya Tanabe, an expert on nuclear safety, who said that the “findings show that both the preparation for and the actual decommissioning process at the plant will likely prove much more difficult than expected.”


Fukushima’s Children Need International Attention

There have been many victims of this disaster. Thousands of people have been displaced from their homes. Local fishermen are worried that the government will proceed with its plan to dump the storage tanks of contaminated water into the ocean.

Others worry that the flow of the radioactive wind and contaminated water are reaching North America and will continue to do so for the next forty years.

Above all of these important issues, it is the children of Fukushima who most need our attention. They are at risk of higher rates of cancer because of their exposure to the contamination from the initial explosion. In Chernobyl, the only comparable case we have, more than 6,000 cases of thyroid cancer were found in children according to the UN through 2005.

There is evidence that thyroid cancer rates are higher among Fukushima’s children than the national population, but it is a latent disease: it is still too early to tell what the full impact will be. But it is clear the case needs action.

Scientists will always offer different opinions, swayed first by uncertainty, but also, sadly, by politics, money, and ambition.

Some will claim that the evidence has been exaggerated, underestimated, or that perhaps we’re at too early a stage to be certain. Or that we need more time to clarify the results. I have seen many instances of these arguments at the United Nations and international science conferences. Why do we wait and make another mistake?

Helen Caldicott, a medical doctor and founding president of Physicians for Social Responsibility, part of a larger umbrella group that was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985, wrote: “The truth is that most politicians, businessmen, engineers and nuclear physicists have no innate understanding of radiobiology and the way radiation induces cancer, congenital malformations and genetic diseases which are passed generation to generation. Nor do they recognize that children are 20 times more radiosensitive than adults, girls twice as vulnerable as little boys and fetuses much more so.”

UNICEF Can Lead

We face many complex challenges of climate change, poverty alleviation, and national security. The health and welfare of children must always be our top priority. They are our future; our deepest purpose is to care and provide for them. By deciding not to fully investigate the effects of Fukushima, we fail them.

We all agree with that personally, but which institution is best positioned to carry out the mission? To me, UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund, is the only answer. Indeed, putting children above national security is at UNICEF’s core.

Maurice Pate, an American humanitarian and businessman who joined UNICEF at its inception in 1947, agreed to serve as the Executive Director upon the condition that UNICEF serves the children of “ex-enemy countries, regardless of race or politics.” In 1965, at the end of Pate’s term, the organization won the Nobel Peace Prize.

To this day, its mission includes a commitment to “ensuring special protection for the most disadvantaged children – victims of war, disasters, extreme poverty, all forms of violence and exploitation and those with disabilities.” The children of Fukushima deserve the protection of UNICEF.
——
*Akio Matsumura is also the Secretary General of the Global Forum Moscow Conference hosted by President Gorbachev at the Kremlin in 1990 as well as of the Parliamentary Earth Summit Conference hosted by Brazil National Assembly in Rio de Janeiro in 1992

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March 10, 2019 Posted by | children, Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

Japan’s culture of cover-up and denial about the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe

Trust fails to recover from nuclear disaster, Borneo Bulletin    Simon Denyer  ……….facts and spreadsheets supplied by the government are one thing.

Rebuilding trust among locals may be significantly harder, thanks to a culture of cover-ups and denials that contributed to the nuclear accident and continues to dog Japan’s efforts to restart its nuclear industry, experts say.

…….. at least 24 countries and territories ban some produce from Fukushima. South Korea and China still impose a total food ban. The US prohibits Fukushima produce such as mushrooms, leafy vegetables and broccoli. Fishermen now only ply the seas two days a week: Fish from Fukushima, which once enjoyed a high reputation in Tokyo’s fish market, is no longer the flavour of the day.

The government blames “harmful rumours”, a phrase that dominated the two-day press tour and has been labelled the fourth disaster to hit Fukushima, after the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident.

Yet there is a much deeper trust deficit that remains extremely hard to overcome.

Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the operator of the ill-fated plant, spent two months after the nuclear disaster denying that a meltdown had occurred. TEPCO later apologised for a “cover-up” that remains the source of much bitterness among people here.

Katsunobu Sakurai, former mayor of the nearby town of Minamisoma, said TEPCO gave out very little information about the disaster during a chaotic evacuation that ultimately led to the deaths of 3,700 people, including many elderly people whose medical care was interrupted.

In 2012, TEPCO was forced to admit that it had failed to heed safety warnings before the accident, or even consider the risk of a large tsunami, because it feared doing so would undermine public confidence in the industry.

Experts say TEPCO has still failed to come clean about the problems associated with decommissioning the reactors and

Bags of nuclear waste generated after the meltdown of one of Fukushima’s nuclear power plants in 2011 are now stored in the nearby town of Naraha. MUST CREDIT: photo for The Washington Post by Shiho Fukada.

decontaminating the environment.

“To me, talking about ‘harmful rumours’ sounds like they are making someone else the bad guy or villain, as if they are blaming people for saying negative things because they don’t understand science and radiation,” said Riken Komatsu, a community activist in Onahama.

“But those who have lost our trust do not have the right” to talk about harmful rumours, Komatsu added.

The government and TEPCO say the nuclear power plant itself could take 30 or 40 years to decommission and estimates the cleanup will cost 22 trillion yen (USD200 billion).

But in 2015, the plant’s manager told London’s Times newspaper that the technological challenges involved in removing hundreds of tonnes of molten radioactive fuel from three reactors could mean decommissioning will take 200 years.

The Japan Center for Economic Research, a conservative think tank, estimates the cleanup bill could come to 50 trillion to 70 trillion yen (USD460 billion to 640 billion).

One of the biggest problems involves groundwater that seeps into the reactor buildings, mixes with cooling water and becomes radioactive.

TEPCO has been trying to limit water contamination ever since the accident, creating a mile-long “ice wall” of sunken, frozen soil around the reactors to keep water out, and another concrete wall to prevent it from reaching the ocean.

In 2016, TEPCO admitted that the ice wall was only slowing – but not preventing – water seeping in. Today, around 100 cubic metres of groundwater still become contaminated at Fukushima every day, and one million tonnes of radioactive water is stored in 994 huge tanks around the site.

A new tank fills up every seven to 10 days, and storage space is running out.

TEPCO had initially claimed that 26 out of 27 radioactive nuclides had been removed from that water through an advanced treatment system, living only tritium behind.

But after reports by Kyodo news and local media, and a protest by fishermen, the company acknowledged last September that 80 per cent of the tanks contain water that is still contaminated with dangerous radioactive elements, including strontium-90, a bone-seeking radionuclide that causes cancer.

Launching his successful bid for the 2020 Summer Olympics, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the situation at Fukushima was “under control”. One of his predecessors, Junichiro Koizumi said the water crisis showed that was a lie.

An external committee established by TEPCO to advise the board of directors said it is “very frustrated” at the company’s inability to communicate properly. ……… https://borneobulletin.com.bn/trust-fails-to-recover-from-nuclear-disaster/

March 10, 2019 Posted by | Japan, Reference, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Fukushima’s radioactive water – over 1000 tanks of it, and no solution in sight

8 years on, contaminated water remains big problem for Fukushima clean-up, Japan Today, Mar. 10   By Kiyoshi Takenaka  OKUMA

Eight years after the Fukushima nuclear crisis, a fresh obstacle threatens to undermine the massive clean-up: 1 million tons of contaminated water must be stored, possibly for years, at the power plant.

Last year, Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) said a system meant to purify contaminated water had failed to remove dangerous radioactive contaminants.

That means most of that water – stored in 1,000 tanks around the plant – will need to be reprocessed before it is released into the ocean, the most likely scenario for disposal.

Reprocessing could take nearly two years and divert personnel and energy from dismantling the tsunami-wrecked reactors, a project that will take up to 40 years.

It is unclear how much that would delay decommissioning. But any delay could be pricey; the government estimated in 2016 that the total cost of plant dismantling, decontamination of affected areas, and compensation, would amount to 21.5 trillion yen ($192.5 billion), roughly 20 percent of the country’s annual budget.

Tepco is already running out of space to store treated water. And should another big quake strike, experts say tanks could crack, unleashing tainted liquid and washing highly radioactive debris into the ocean.

Fishermen struggling to win back the confidence of consumers are vehemently opposed to releasing reprocessed water – deemed largely harmless by Japan’s nuclear watchdog, the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) – into the ocean.

“That would destroy what we’ve been building over the past eight years,” said Tetsu Nozaki, head of the Fukushima Prefectural Federation of Fisheries Co-operative Associations. Last year’s catch was just 15 percent of pre-crisis levels, partly because of consumer reluctance to eat fish caught off Fukushima.

SLOW PROGRESS

On a visit to the wrecked Fukushima Daiichi plant last month, huge cranes hovered over the four reactor buildings that hug the coast. Workers could be seen atop the No. 3 building getting equipment ready to lift spent fuel rods out of a storage pool, a process that could start next month.

In most areas around the plant, workers no longer need to wear face masks and full body suits to protect against radiation. Only the reactor buildings or other restricted areas require special equipment.

Fanning out across the plant’s property are enough tanks to fill 400 Olympic-sized swimming pools. Machines called Advanced Liquid Processing Systems, or ALPS, had treated the water inside them. …..

The utility has promised to re-purify the water if the government decides that releasing it into the ocean is the best solution. It is the cheapest of five options a government task force considered in 2016; others included evaporation and burial.

TEPCO and the government are now waiting for another panel of experts to issue recommendations. The head of the panel declined an interview request. No deadline has been set.

……… STORING INDEFINITELY

Another option is to store the water for decades in enormous tanks normally used for crude oil. The tanks have been tested for durability, said Yasuro Kawai, a plant engineer and a member of Citizens’ Commission on Nuclear Energy, a group advocating abandoning nuclear energy.

Each tank holds 100,000 tons, so 10 such tanks could store the roughly 1 million tons of water processed by ALPS so far, he said.

The commission proposes holding the tritium-laced water, which has a half life of 12.3 years, in tanks for 123 years. After that, it will be one thousandth as radioactive as it was when it went into storage.

No Safe Dose – Berkeley

Although experts caution that tanks would be vulnerable to major quakes, Japan’s trade and industry minister, Hiroshige Seko, said the committee would consider them anyway.

“Long-term storage … has an upside as radiation levels come down while it is in storage. But there is a risk of leakage,” Seko told Reuters. “It is difficult to hold the water indefinitely, so the panel will also look into how it should be disposed of eventually.”

Space is also a problem, said Akira Ono, TEPCO’s chief decommissioning officer. By 2020, the utility will expand tank storage capacity by 10 percent to 1.37 million tons, and about 95 percent of total capacity will probably be used by the end of that year, he said.

“Tanks are now being built on flat, elevated spots in stable locations,” Ono said. But such ideal space is getting scarce, he added.

Many local residents hope TEPCO will just keep storing the water. If it does get released into the ocean, “everyone would sink into depression,” said fishing trawler captain Koichi Matsumoto. …… https://japantoday.com/category/national/Eight-years-on-contaminated-water-remains-big-problem-for-Fukushima-clean-up

March 10, 2019 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

“Recovery Olympics” does not impress everyone

‘Recovery Olympics’ moniker for 2020 Games rubs 3/11 evacuees the wrong way, Japan Times, BY MAGDALENA OSUMISTAFF WRITER, 11 Mar 19,  This is the fourth in a series examining how the northeast and the nation are progressing with efforts to deal with the March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis.The town of Rifu on the outskirts of Sendai is set to host 10 soccer matches during the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics in line with the organizers’ plan to tout the games as the “Recovery Olympics.”

For Rifu, expectations are high the 2020 Games will draw international attention and lure more tourists, as Tohoku’s tourism sector struggles to recover from the Great East Japan Earthquake and ensuing tsunami on March 11, 2001. As part of the plan, an arena in Miyagi Prefecture is set to get a face-lift for the games. …….

The central government hopes the quadrennial sports event will serve as a platform to show that the nation has recovered from the disasters.

But recovery wasn’t one of the original themes for the Tokyo Games. The concept was added when it became apparent Tokyo wouldn’t be able to secure all the venues needed in the capital or its vicinity. When organizers thus turned to the disaster-hit prefectures of Miyagi and Fukushima, which will host the softball and baseball games, the recovery spin was born, with officials saying the event would contribute to reconstruction.

Moreover, the reconstruction plan for the Tohoku region is expected to end when fiscal 2020 closes in March 2021, putting an end to various central government subsidies that helped both victims and municipalities.

“The Tokyo 2020 Games have become a goal for us to show the region has recovered,” said Yasuki Sato, a Miyagi Prefecture official tasked with coordinating the preparations.

But residents in the area view the preparations as something happening in the background. In fact, some believe they are actually hindering the region’s recovery……. https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/03/10/national/recovery-olympics-moniker-2020-games-rubs-3-11-evacuees-wrong-way/#.XIXon8kzbGg

March 10, 2019 Posted by | Japan, politics | 1 Comment

Junichiro Koizumi now a formidable foe to the nuclear industry

As someone who believes he was deceived by the nuclear power lobby during his time as prime minister, he sees it as his duty.

“Just as Confucius said, for someone not to correct themselves after making a mistake — that is a true mistake.”

As Japan’s leader, Junichiro Koizumi backed nuclear power. Now he’s a major foe. WP By Simon Denyer, Akiko Kashiwagi contributed to this report.March 10 TOKYO — With his shock of white hair, his love for Elvis and his reputation as a maverick, Junichiro Koizumi was a burst of color in the sober, dark-suited world of Japanese politics more than a decade ago.

Today, Koizumi has come out of retirement to join a battle against the entrenched business and political interests he had tangled with in the past. A man known for his simple catchphrases has a new one to impart: “Zero nuclear power.”

Eight years after the March 11, 2011, nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, Koizumi is back in the spotlight, trying to harness the public’s growing distrust of nuclear power and rid his country of an industry he once promoted as prime minister from 2001 to 2006.

His reversal on nuclear power reflects a wider reconsideration across Japan after the Fukushima disaster, which was triggered by an earthquake and tsunami.

A February 2018 poll by Japan’s Asahi Shimbun newspaper found 61 percent of respondents against the nation’s nuclear power plants being restarted and 27 percent in support.

“Momentum is building,” Koizumi said in an interview. “I am getting a strong response. It’s only a matter of time.”

Embarrassed by his own role in advocating nuclear power, Koizumi says he has learned from his mistakes. But Japan’s establishment remains firmly behind nuclear plants, even as other nuclear critics often point out the dangers posed by Japan’s quakes and tsunamis, a word Japan gave the world.

“The disaster brought a severe crisis, but we can turn crisis into opportunity. We can manage ourselves with renewables,” he said. “Take Germany, for example. They saw the disaster in Japan and changed their energy policy. But of all countries, Japan has not changed. It’s truly incomprehensible.”

Japan shut down all of its 54 reactors after the Fukushima catastrophe. Explosions in three reactors sent a cloud of radioactive dust across vast swaths of northeastern Japan and forced 165,000 people to flee their homes.

But since Shinzo Abe was reelected prime minister in 2012, his government has been on a mission to get the nuclear power industry back on its feet.

Nine reactors have already been restarted, six more applications to restart have been approved by a new, nominally independent Nuclear Regulation Authority, and the government wants nuclear power to contribute 20 percent to 22 percent of the nation’s energy by 2030.

….A damning report by an independent parliamentary panel in 2012 concluded that the Fukushima Daiichi disaster was “profoundly man-made,” caused by a disregard of the risks of earthquakes by an industry determined to preserve the illusion that nuclear power was absolutely safe.

Instead of supervising the nuclear power industry, METI colluded with it, the report said. It said the risks of nuclear power were downplayed in a culture of “reflexive obedience” and a “reluctance to question authority.”

…… why are elected politicians so determined to press ahead? The answer, Koizumi asserted, lies in those same vested interests he has spent the best part of his career fighting.

……. So much money has also been invested in the industry that there is a reluctance to write investments off. But Koizumi says nuclear power is neither economic nor necessary. The country, he noted, survived without it for two years without a single blackout.

……. Other voices of criticism struggle to be heard.

Shigeaki Koga, an energy industry expert, says his career was sidelined at METI after he expressed doubts about the safety of nuclear power, until he was ultimately forced to resign. He has since emerged as a leading public critic of nuclear power.

Kunihiko Shimazaki, one of Japan’s leading seismologists, warned of the risks of earthquakes and tsunamis along the country’s northeast coast for years before the disaster struck, but his reports were generally ignored or buried. After March 2011, he served for two years with the nuclear regulator, and spoke out forcefully, but his term was not renewed.

……….. As someone who believes he was deceived by the nuclear power lobby during his time as prime minister, he sees it as his duty.

“Just as Confucius said, for someone not to correct themselves after making a mistake — that is a true mistake.”

     https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/as-japans-leader-junichiro-koizumi-backed-nuclear-power-now-hes-a-major-foe/2019/03/09/d1106ee8-4037-11e9-85ad-779ef05fd9d8_story.html?utm_term=.fdaa32b9fba7

March 10, 2019 Posted by | Japan, politics | Leave a comment

Eight years later, Fukushima nuclear wreck still resulting in mounting tons of radioactive water, with no solution

Eight years after triple nuclear meltdown, Fukushima No. 1’s water woes show no signs of ebbing, Japan Times, BY RYUSEI TAKAHASHI, STAFF WRITER, 8 Mar 19,

This is the first in a series examining how the northeast and the nation are progressing with efforts to deal with the March 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear crisis.

Nearly a thousand storage tanks are scattered across the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, holding a staggering 1.1 million tons of treated water used to keep its melted reactor cores cool while they rust in the sun.

Plant manager Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., or Tepco, plans to build more of the gigantic tanks to hold another 0.27 million tons, which is roughly the equivalent of 108 Olympic-size swimming pools. The new tanks are expected reach full capacity in four or five years

Each tank takes seven to 10 days to fill and holds between 1,000 to 1,200 tons of liquid, Tepco officials told reporters during a tour in February organized by the Japan National Press Club. It’s been eight years since Fukushima No. 1 suffered three core meltdowns triggered by tsunami following the Great East Japan Earthquake, but the situation with the tanks may be a sign Tepco has yet to get the facility under control.

“Space isn’t a big issue at this point in time, but five or 10 years from now, after we’ve started removing the melted fuel debris, we’re going to need facilities to store and preserve it,” Akira Ono, president of Fukushima No. 1 Decontamination and Decommissioning Engineering Co., a Tepco unit overseeing the decommissioning process, said at a news conference in January.

The water issue is eating up both space and resources, but a solution is unlikely to emerge anytime soon.

The International Atomic Energy Agency published a report in November that said the physical constraints of the site “leave little room for additional tanks” beyond what Tepco has allocated.

The IAEA report went on to say it believes storing tainted water in “above ground tanks . . . can only be a temporary measure while a more sustainable solution is needed” and a “decision on the disposition path should be taken urgently.”

Beyond 2020, Tepco has not allocated any additional space for holding treated water on the site and has no plans to do so at this time. The utility said the tanks will likely become a headache if they remain at the plant.

“At that point, we may need to rethink how we’re using the space,” Ono said.

Eight years ago when the monstrous tsunami hit, the entire plant lost power and reactors 1, 2 and 3 lost coolant, causing their cores to overheat. The fuel rods consequently melted, dripping molten fuel that burned through their pressure vessels and pooled in their primary containment vessels. Reactors 1, 3 and 4 then suffered hydrogen explosions.

Tepco must inject water into the reactors indefinitely to keep the melted cores cool, but water tainted by contact with the fuel and associated debris has been leaking from the damaged containment vessels and into the basements of the reactor buildings, where tons of fresh groundwater flows in daily through holes in their damaged walls.

The contaminated water is pumped out and passed through a filtration device called the Advanced Liquid Processing System — which is supposed to remove every radionuclide except for tritium — and stored in the tanks.

Tepco has taken steps to limit the amount of groundwater seeping into the reactor buildings, including wells to intercept and divert it and an underground ice wall around the buildings to block any inflow.

According to Tepco, however, about 83 tons of water are seeping into the reactor buildings each day. Although this is an improvement from some 300 tons in previous years, Tepco must keep making more tanks.

At the moment, Tepco is waiting for a government panel’s advice on what to do with the tritium-tainted water. The panel is considering five disposal methods: ground injection, sea discharge after diluting the tritium concentration, discharging it as steam, discharging it as hydrogen, and solidification followed by underground burial……

there are concerns about the impact an ocean discharge may have on fisheries still trying to recover from the nuclear crisis.

Fishing in the area has resumed on a trial basis and workers still perform radiation checks before shipping their hauls to fish markets. The waters off Fukushima Prefecture are at the confluence of two ocean currents — the Oyashio from the north and Kuroshio from the south — which make for the good fishing grounds that have been a vital part of the agrarian prefecture’s economy.

Eight years after the meltdowns, however, residents are still struggling to convince the world that fish from the area are safe to eat. Many believe public perception alone will cripple Fukushima’s fishing industry anew if the tainted water is expelled into the ocean — even if the tritium has been reduced to below international standards.

Trust issues continue to plague Tepco after it claimed ALPS was filtering every radionuclide from the cooling water except tritium. Last August it came to light that the allegedly treated water still contained other dangerous contaminants, including iodine, cesium and strontium. Some of the concentrations were above current safety limits.

This has further angered Fukushima residents and made it harder to get their approval for dumping the water held by the tanks into the sea.

During a public hearing hosted by METI in August, participants urged the government and Tepco to consider finding an off-site location to store the water instead of discharging it into the ocean.

“Without a national debate and without the understanding of Japanese citizens or the countries importing our products, as a fisherman of Fukushima Prefecture, I strongly oppose the plan to discharge the treated water into the ocean,” Tetsu Nozaki, chairman of the Fukushima Prefectural Federation of Fisheries Cooperative Association, told the hearing.

“To release the ALPS-treated water into the ocean, at this time, would deal a disastrous blow to the fishermen of Fukushima and rob them of their hard work and motivation,” he said…….

Meanwhile, the crippled plant faces other serious challenges — including how to extract the molten fuel…….

Miyano said Tepco and the government — with the help of scientists, nuclear physicists and engineers from around the world — are inventing new technologies as they devise a way to remove the debris……. https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/03/07/national/eight-years-triple-meltdown-fukushima-no-1s-water-woes-slow-recede/#.XIMmYMkzbGh

March 9, 2019 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | 3 Comments

The indigenous fight for the truth on Fukushima’ s radioactive impact on the world

The future of all life: Indigenous sovereignty and the Fukushima nuclear disaster, Bay View, National Black Newspaper,  by Harun Minhaj, March 4, 2019 In 2011, an unprecedented series of die-offs began to strike dead hundreds of millions of sea creatures in the northern Pacific Ocean. As one sailor who frequently travels the Pacific remarked in October of 2013:

“I’ve done a lot of miles on the ocean in my life and I’m used to seeing turtles, dolphins, sharks and big flurries of feeding birds. But this time, for 3,000 nautical miles, there was nothing alive to be seen.”

What precipitated such a dramatic devastation of marine life in the Pacific Ocean?

Just a few months before the die-offs began, the meltdown of three nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Complex in Japan caused the greatest pollution of the marine environment by radioactive contaminants in history. Far from over, these releases are still ongoing.

More than 400 tons of radioactive water have been flowing into the Pacific every day since the meltdowns began.

Although the full extent of the damage from Fukushima Daiichi has yet to be determined, the volume of these releases alone shows that we are dealing with something unprecedented in history.

Indigenous elders and scientific community sound the alarm

I was first alerted to the severity of the Fukushima disaster by Bay Area Indigenous Elder Zachary RunningWolf. A full-time activist and community leader in the Bay Area, RunningWolf has long campaigned for racial and environmental justice in a myriad of ways……..

For the last nine years, he has also led a four-day monthly stop driving boycott to combat global warming…

When RunningWolf ran for mayor of Berkeley in 2016, he made addressing Fukushima a central component of his campaign. For RunningWolf and many Indigenous elders concerned about the ongoing violence against Mother Earth, stopping the Fukushima nuclear crisis is of the highest priority.

Consider this call for action released in 2013 by a council of Indigenous elders called the Caretakers of Mother Earth:

“The People of the Earth understand that the Fukushima nuclear crisis continues to threaten the future of all life. We understand the full implications of this crisis even with the suppression of information and the filtering of truth by the corporate owned media and nation states. We strongly urge the media, corporations and nation states to acknowledge and convey the true facts that threaten us, so that the international community may work together to resolve this crisis, based on the foundation of truth” (emphasis added).

The deep concern expressed by RunningWolf and the Caretakers of Mother Earth about the impact of Fukushima’s radiation on the Pacific is shared by thousands of scientists. For instance, the platform adopted by the more than 5,000 scientists who make up the Society for Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry declared in 2014 that “the Fukushima nuclear accident on 11 March 2011 emerged as a global threat to marine biodiversity in the Pacific Ocean and human health in coastal communities.”

Other scientific organizations such as the Nordic Probabilistic Safety Assessment Group have gone even further. This institution – which is by no means “anti-nuclear” as it was founded by the nuclear utilities of Finland and Sweden – predicted in 2011 based on official estimates of radioactivity released into the Pacific that around 50-100 million fish would die from just one of the most deadly and prolific isotopes which had been released. ……….

Along with the unprecedented die-offs, a consistent set of symptoms frequently occurring together was observed across species:

Some of these symptoms (such as cancer, hair loss, and mutations) are well-known consequences of radiation sickness, while other more obscure ones such as high levels of parasites have been confirmed in studies of sea life to occur as a consequence of radiation. Altogether, only radiation sickness can produce such a widespread, prolonged epidemic exhibiting all these symptoms.

The genocidal impact of Fukushima radiation in the Pacific

It would be extremely foolish to assume this devastation in the Pacific Ocean will not profoundly impact human life. It is widely recognized that for numerous reasons our very survival depends on the health of the oceans, most notably because they produce the majority of the oxygen that we must breathe to live.

Native peoples, whose traditional livelihoods are often intimately bound up with the health of the ocean, are on the front line of this struggle. ……..

As aboriginal advocates have argued, the violence of nuclear contamination in desecrating their lands and culture must be recognized as a kind of cultural genocide. In this case, where the Pacific Ocean itself has been desecrated, Fukushima’s radiation must be recognized as constituting a genocidal assault on numerous Indigenous peoples’ cultures and livelihoods.

Furthermore, the radiation in Pacific seafood poses a significant health risk to the people who consume it. Estimates calculated by a wide variety of experts in nuclear power, chemistry and medicine show that this risk has been severely underestimated, and in fact more than 1 million people would die from cancer and other diseases if the consumption of radioactive Pacific seafood continues unabated.

In the Bay Area, Indigenous Blackfeet Elder RunningWolf has long been warning the public to avoid consuming Pacific seafood since even before the 2016 Berkeley mayoral race, while calling for the University of California – with its flagship campus located in Berkeley – to be held accountable for issuing no health warnings in turn.

As aboriginal advocates have argued, the violence of nuclear contamination in desecrating their lands and culture must be recognized as a kind of cultural genocide…………… https://sfbayview.com/2019/03/the-future-of-all-life-indigenous-sovereignty-and-the-fukushima-nuclear-disaster/

March 9, 2019 Posted by | environment, Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

The stigma continues, however much the propaganda spouts about the Fukushima nuclear ‘recovery’

The Fukushima nuclear disaster’s legacy: An inescapable stigma, Commentary: Pockets of innovation, like a drone testing field, have some hoping the region sheds its notoriety. But it’s not that simple. CNet

BY ROGER CHENG MARCH 7, 2019 The J-Village hotel and sports complex in Fukushima was immaculate, its grand lobby welcoming us with bright lights and pristine marble floors. Several furnished conference rooms stood ready to host one event after another.

There’ was just one jarring thing: the utter silence throughout the facility.

It was our first night in the Fukushima region, and my photographer, James Martin, and my interpreter had arrived a little after 10 p.m. Initially, we weren’t sure if this was the right location – we seemingly had the only vehicle in the parking lot, and a quick search of those conference rooms found no staff.

It wasn’t until we located the reception desk, tucked out of sight from the main lobby, that we found another human. The employee noted that only 15 guests were staying in the 200-room hotel.

Welcome to Fukushima.

That first night proved to be one of the more memorable moments in a trip that included a visit inside one of the most radioactive hotspots in the world, a look at a massive underground ice wall and a virtual reality experience that took me to places no human could survive. It stood out because it illustrated the long way this area has to go before any semblance of normalcy can return…….

Eight years on, there’s been little progress with the actual cleanup. While three of the six reactors have been safely decommissioned, the remaining three have proven to be such a challenge that Tokyo Electric Power Company, or Tepco, just last month finally succeeded in sending a robot down to the Unit 2 reactor to pick up some of debris in the highly radioactive core.  ………

Tepco and local government officials are pushing the concept of an “Innovation Coast” in the region through facilities like the Naraha Center for Remote Control Technology and the Robot Test Field in nearby Minamisoma. The idea is to tap into the investment already being made in the cleanup effort and create a Silicon Valley of robotics and drone technology.
“What we want to do is turn that on its head and create a positive image of Fukushima around the world,” Akifumi Kitashima, director of the robot industry promotion unit for the Fukushima prefectural government, says through an interpreter…….

there are reminders of the disaster everywhere. Drive on the nearby Joban Expressway and you’ll periodically run into signs with a readout of the radiation level. The daily weather report on the local evening news contains an update on the radiation in the area.

I periodically drove past fields containing hundreds of bags of radiated dirt.

At the same time as my tour of Daiichi in November, former Tepco executives were in court to deal with charges of professional negligence. Despite Tepco’s efforts to clean the mess up, there continues to be mistrust of the company and of nuclear power…….. https://www.cnet.com/news/the-fukushima-nuclear-disasters-legacy-an-inescapable-stigma/

March 9, 2019 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

University of California covers up the truth on Fukushima radiation

The future of all life: Indigenous sovereignty and the Fukushima nuclear disaster, Bay View, National Black Newspaper,  by Harun Minhaj, March 4, 2019  “………..As the Caretakers of Mother Earth have warned, the nuclear establishment has been working tirelessly to cover up and downplay the consequences of this nuclear disaster. The University of California has long played an essential role in this establishment, as it designed the core physical package of every single nuclear warhead in the U.S. arsenal. And now, formerly secret documents show that UC played an indispensable role in the federal response to – and cover-up of – the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

The estimates secretly forecasted by the LLNL’s model predicted very high doses to children in California from radioactive iodine, which is known to cause serious thyroid illnesses. Subsequent measurements found that this model’s predictions of radiation exposure in California were far more accurate than lower estimates and actually underestimated the radiation found 30 km off the coast of Japan.

Yet the UC never issued a single health warning to anyone living on the West Coast prior to their exposure to this deadly radiation. Instead, at the very time that the UC’s LLNL was modeling “estimates of possible plume arrival times and dose for U.S. locations,” UC Berkeley scientists were at the forefront of corporate media coverage on outlets such as ABC7 proclaiming brazen falsehoods such as “there is no plume.”

The LLNL’s model was continually being refined and updated “based on meteorological analyses and available field data” to ensure its predictions were maximally accurate, yet UC Berkeley scientists were simultaneously telling the public that “you cannot predict how the weather is going to carry radiation particles over the West Coast, if anything at all.”

Even worse was the initial UC Berkeley claim that the radiation reaching California was “not harmful at all” and posed “no risk to California,” despite the LLNL’s forecast of very high doses to children in California from radioactive iodine.

Meanwhile, the head of UC Berkeley’s Nuclear Engineering Department secretly admitted that “it is possible that we will find that some people have received doses … that could exceed the levels that current Protective Action Guidelines are designed to prevent.” The Protective Action Guidelines (PAGs) are legal limits on radiation exposure set by the EPA designed to minimize the risk of harm, and this professor subsequently suggested that, should they be exceeded, “this could provide a basis for immediate action to change PAGs.”

When UC Berkeley began testing for radioactive iodine from the Fukushima fallout in California, it found levels in rainwater up to 181 times the EPA’s safe drinking water standards. And although rainwater and tap water should not be conflated, radioactive isotopes climb their way up the food chain in increasing concentrations in numerous ways, such as the soil of produce farms and the pastures of milk-giving cattle.

The UC cover-up of West Coast fallout

Far from being incidentally related to the case, the University of California’s Lawrence Livermore National Lab (LLNL) was in fact the federal contractor given the responsibility of projecting the damage or “dose” from Fukushima Daiichi’s fallout to Japan, the Pacific Ocean and U.S.-occupied Turtle Island.

And, indeed, radioactive materials from Fukushima were detected across California’s food web, while UC Berkeley’s own measurements showed that food items such as milk were regularly exceeding the EPA’s PAGs in both 2011 and 2012 until they stopped taking these measurements.

The response to these findings was once again denial and distortion. The EPA soon increased its PAG “safe limit” by more than 400 times, to such a high level that all of these findings would retroactively cease to be considered health risks.

In the meantime, UC Berkeley engineers once again asserted there was no cause to worry and falsely minimized these readings by conflating external radiation as received from plane travel with the more dangerous internal radiation received through ingesting radioactive particles, which remain in the body emitting radiation for much longer and have the ability to concentrate in specific vulnerable organs such as the thyroid.

But the initial epidemiological evidence is in, and it already shows a variety of illnesses and deaths across the West Coast significantly correlated with the arrival and presence of Fukushima fallout, such as over 100 additional fetal deaths and birth abnormalities in the state of Washington in 2011 and increased rates of congenital hyperthyroidism in California infants born shortly after the meltdowns – around 1,500 additional borderline and severe cases.

The EPA soon increased its PAG “safe limit” by more than 400 times, to such a high level that all of these findings would retroactively cease to be considered health risks.

The University of California totally failed to make public the initial LLNL projections of “very high doses” to California infants and provide adequate health warnings – such as avoiding contaminated milk or taking natural iodine supplements – despite having this legal responsibility both as a federal contractor and as the operator of California’s Poison Control System, which administers such warnings on behalf of the California Emergency Medical Services Authority for the entire state.

The UC cover-up of Pacific fallout and seafood contamination

As serious as the consequences of the fallout on California were, the radiation California and the West Coast received was only a small fraction (<2 percent) of the total, of which the majority (~80 percent) fell into the Pacific.

From the very beginning, UC scientists were involved in studying the Pacific die-offs. Indeed, it was UC scientists who declared when studying the 2011 marine invertebrate mass die-offs that “[N]o previously documented mortality event has been so severe over such a large region …” Yet these UC scientists who had been studying this epidemic from the very beginning have failed to ever monitor the sick and dead animals for radiation, despite one of the lead scientists admitting that Fukushima could not be ruled out as a cause.

When their major study was published in 2018, it included no consideration of Fukushima or radiation whatsoever. Apparently, it was a moot point – the UC’s website on the die-offs had already been claiming for years there was “no evidence” of Fukushima radiation having an impact, even though they had never looked for any despite having already admitted it couldn’t be ruled out.

To make matters worse, one of the principal UC authors of this study falsely claimed that Fukushima radiation could not have precipitated the die-off, because “many more creatures would be affected.” By this time, the unprecedented and concurrent die-offs of fish, marine mammals and sea birds had already been reported.

In denying the impact of Fukushima on the Pacific, these scientists are hardly alone. Overand over again, UC professors – frequently in leadership positions and with government ties – have minimized the impact by relying on the widely debunked fallacy of “dilution.”

Yet dilution has been known to be a false solution to radiation for over 50 years now. In 1955, a once-secret memo from the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) – then headquartered in Berkeley – noted that the “dissipation of radioactive fallout in ocean waters is not a gradual spreading out of the activity from the region with the highest concentration to uncontaminated regions, but that in all probability the process results in scattered pockets and streams of higher radioactive materials in the Pacific.”

This is due to a variety of reasons, including the flow of currents and the role played by sediment and debris in transporting radiation. Furthermore, studies have shown that the bioconcentration of radioactive particles up the food chain increasingly amplifies its prevalence in smaller and larger marine organisms by factors ranging from 3 to 300.

While this memo may have previously been secret, the “no threshold” model of radiation has been well-established for almost as long, and is the accepted foundation of radiation protection for the Environmental Protection AgencyNational Academy of Sciences, and many other institutions.

In the 1960s, UC Berkeley Nuclear Scientist John Gofman established the Biomedical Research Division of the UC’s LLNL, when he was employed by the AEC to discredit findings which showed that “low level” radiation from nuclear weapons tests was exposing infants in surrounding areas to dangerous amounts of radiation.

Instead, Gofman’s research confirmed these dangers, and at the end of the decade he gave a report showing that there is no threshold beneath which radiation exposure is “safe”: lower levels correspond to a lower – b­ut very real – risk of disease. Consequently, dilution does nothing more than spread the impact of radiation amongst a larger population vulnerable to disease, with each individual facing a lower risk but the overall aggregate impact remaining the same.

The AEC disliked these findings and forced Gofman out of the LLNL, illustrating the reprisals nuclear scientists often face for challenging the pro-nuclear establishment.

Numerous projections of the spread of Fukushima radiation in the Pacific Ocean have predicted that, far from becoming increasingly diluted, once the radiation leaves the immediate vicinity of the Fukushima shoreline it would actually become increasingly concentrated as it approaches the West Coast due to the dynamics of ocean currents, with eventual peak concentrations reaching levels up to 10 times higher than off the coast of the rest of Japan.

There is no threshold beneath which radiation exposure is “safe”: lower levels correspond to a lower – b­ut very real – risk of disease.

What measurements are available not only confirm these projections, showing increasing concentrations traveling east across the Pacific Ocean roughly correlating to these models, they also show that the vast quantities of radioactive particles the Nordic PSA Group predicted would kill at least 50-100 million fish were indeed present throughout large areas of the Pacific Ocean.

In other words, a vast array of scientific knowledge, regulatory precedent, expert models, and empirical data directly contradicts the denials of the UC nuclear establishment that Fukushima’s radiation is of no concern in the Pacific due to “dilution.”

Once again, these denials have serious consequences not just in terms of the ecocidal impact of Fukushima Daiichi’s radiation on Pacific sea life. Based on the thoroughly disproven dilution fallacy, several prominent UC scientists have also denied that there are any health impacts from Fukushima radiation in the Pacific, including the risks entailed in eating contaminated seafood.

The Nordic Probabilistic Safety Assessment Group, however, founded by the nuclear utilities of Finland and Sweden and therefore not at all “anti-nuclear,” concluded in its 2011 report that even if seafood radiation levels from Fukushima stay below legal limits, more than 1 million people would die from just one of the elements of concern, cesium-137. They wrote:

“The fish, seafood, whale meat and seaweed consumed may have concentrations below legal limits, but the radioactive content will be increased from normal levels. As noted in Section 3.6.3, the ingestion dose could be substantial even if the legal limits for the foodstuff are preserved. This cycle will last for many generations, because of the food chain of fish and other marine fauna, and the radioactivity will be recycled and in fact the meat content will increase rather than decreasing by decay. Even if only one one-hundredth of the radioactivity (more than 1e15 Bq of CS137) were to enter this recirculation pattern, the collective whole body ingestion dose over many generations would exceed 1e7 Sv, sufficient to kill more than 1,000,000 people.”

As predictions of mass die-offs and increasingly concentrated radiation crossing the Pacific to the West Coast have already come true, ignoring the scientific evidence about the dangers this radiation poses to us too promises to have deadly consequences. With over 1 hundred million sea creatures having already perished as predicted by the nuclear utility-founded Nordic PSA Group, this institution’s estimate that more than 1 million people could also die if human consumption of Pacific seafood continues unabated is supported by a solid track record based on the scientific method, unlike the UC’s ongoing denials and distortions of even the most basic facts of the Fukushima disaster………….https://sfbayview.com/2019/03/the-future-of-all-life-indigenous-sovereignty-and-the-fukushima-nuclear-disaster/

March 9, 2019 Posted by | Fukushima continuing, secrets,lies and civil liberties, USA | Leave a comment

University of California’s role in the cover-up of radiation fallout in Japan from the Fukushima nuclear disaster

The future of all life: Indigenous sovereignty and the Fukushima nuclear disaster, Bay View, National Black Newspaper,  by Harun Minhaj, March 4, 2019 “…………The UC cover-up of the fallout in Japan

Further illustrating the international stakes and genocidal consequences of the UC cover-up is the role the university has played in Japan, where approximately 18 percent of the radioactive fallout landed.

Once again, the UC failed to warn the Japanese people of how serious the dangers posed by Fukushima’s fallout were, even as its secret model indicated the need to evacuate Tokyo, the largest metropolitan area in the world.

This recommendation was subsequently given by others such as Dr. Shigeru Mita, a physician who relocated his practice from Tokyo after observing symptoms of radiation sickness since 2011, and advises that inhabitants should leave the city due to the health consequences of the radiation there.

With over 1 hundred million sea creatures having already perished as predicted by the nuclear utility-founded Nordic PSA Group, this institution’s estimate that more than 1 million people could also die if human consumption of Pacific seafood continues unabated is supported by a solid track record based on the scientific method, unlike the UC’s ongoing denials and distortions of even the most basic facts of the Fukushima disaster.

Dr. Mita’s warning is buttressed by the epidemiological evidence, which indicates that the health consequences of Fukushima radiation are already taking a serious toll in Japan – and not just in Fukushima prefecture – including:

  • Thyroid cancer incidence more than doubling in Fukushima and several neighboring prefectures
  • A range of heart diseases increasing throughout Japan, with a 50 percent overall increase of heart attacks and 80 percent increase in Tokyo
  • Leukemia incidence more than doubling in Fukushima and several neighboring prefectures, with a 42 percent overall increase for Japan.
  • Backing up this epidemiological evidence is extensive radiation measurement, including one study which found that every one of its soil samples taken from a variety of places in Tokyo were so toxic that they would all be legally treated as radioactive waste by the U.S. government.

    And yet once again, the UC is at the forefront of denying that there are any serious health risks for the Japanese population, even for those with the greatest exposure still living in Fukushima.

    Consider the event hosted by the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and the Japanese Ministry of the Environment at UC Berkeley in 2017. Together, UC Berkeley and the Japanese government claimed that Fukushima had been 97 percent decontaminated of radiation, and insisted that the real issue to worry about was that “negative perception still persists across Japan and the world, causing economic and psychological damage within the region.”

  • Not mentioned by either party was the epidemic increase of disease or the protests this Japanese Ministry has continuously faced in Fukushima for forcing residents to accept toxic radioactive soil repurposed for developing farmland and constructing roads. Evacuees are now being forced to return to Fukushima, despite radiation levels in their homelands measured at up to 100x the international legal limit.

    One study … found that every one of its soil samples taken from a variety of places in Tokyo were so toxic that they would all be legally treated as radioactive waste by the U.S. government.

  • That the UC’s priority is not the well-being of Japan was tacitly admitted in a press releaseissued by the UC-managed Los Alamos National Lab (LANL), which includes a mere single sentence acknowledging that with the disaster, “At stake are Japan’s reputation, its public health and the health of its environment.” The next three paragraphs then elaborate in great detail the UC’s grave concern about the risk the disaster poses to Japan’s nuclear industry, while highlighting the cleanup’s priority of “rebuild[ing] public acceptance of nuclear power.”

    The report ends with a celebration of “the arc of Los Alamos’s history with Japan” as being “truly awesome,” neglecting entirely to mention the central role this UC lab played in committing genocide against the Japanese people with the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Hundreds of thousands of civilians were killed then by UC-designed nuclear weapons.

    Today, the UC is once again playing a central role in denying and covering up the deadly effects of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, which continues today as yet another genocide.

  • Although UC Berkeley was recently ranked the “No. 1 public university” by US News in 2018, corporate media refuses to recognize how it has served as the foremost academic partner of the largest military empire in history. This shameful reality is a manifestation of the twisted vision outlined in Dr. Gray Brechin’s “Imperial San Francisco,” which describes in detail how the white supremacist founders of UC Berkeley envisioned it playing a pivotal role in extending American Empire, with the construction of Berkeley’s nuclear laboratory as the crowning fixture of its “annexation” of the Pacific.

    As the U.S. military occupation of Japan continues to this day – with tens of thousands of soldiers and several bases still stationed in the country – the imperial and colonial dimension of the Fukushima disaster cannot be ignored. Fukushima Daiichi’s fuel was supplied by uranium forcibly extracted from aboriginal peoples’ land by permission of the Australian government.

    Although UC Berkeley was recently ranked the “No. 1 public university” by US News in 2018, corporate media refuses to recognize how it has served as the foremost academic partner of the largest military empire in history.

    And today, pressure from the U.S. government has played an important role in the Japanese government’s involvement in the cover-up, including legislation recently passed in Japan which criminalizes sharing epidemiological data and reporting or whistleblowing on the “state secrets” of the Fukushima disaster…………https://sfbayview.com/2019/03/the-future-of-all-life-indigenous-sovereignty-and-the-fukushima-nuclear-disaster/

 

March 9, 2019 Posted by | Japan, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

Fukushima nuclear workers still facing radiation danger, eight years on.

Eight years after Fukushima nuclear meltdown, workers still facing radiation risk https://www.peoplesworld.org/article/eight-years-after-fukushima-nuclear-meltdown-workers-still-facing-radiation-risk/  February 22, 2019   BY SHIMBUN AKAHATA  eight years since the nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. The NPP operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), says that it will soon conduct a probe into the containment vessel of the No. 2 reactor in order to find out the condition of the melted nuclear fuel inside, which means that TEPCO has yet to obtain even such basic information.

TEPCO officials recently said to Akahata that high-risk zones in the Fukushima Daiichi plant have become smaller and that now workers do not need to wear a full-face mask and a protective suit in 96 percent of the plant premises. This is because the level of radioactive materials in the air has decreased as a larger area of the site is now covered with concrete, according to officials. At the crippled nuclear power plant, the number of workers coping with the aftermath of the 2011 nuclear accident, though, is still more than 4,000 per day.

However, the hidden reality regarding contamination risks seems to differ from the impression the utility wanted to create by citing the figure “96 percent.” In a recently published survey of Fukushima workers conducted by TEPCO, of the respondents who are anxious about their exposure to radiation, nearly half feared that their health would be damaged in the future. In another question in the same survey, more than 40 percent were concerned about working at the nuclear power plant.

The most common reason for their concern was that they have no idea how long they need to work at the plant because it is unclear how much work remains to be done. They are also worried about the risk of radiation-induced health damage in the future with no guarantee of a stable income. Without a worker-friendly environment, the decommissioning of the crippled reactors will be extremely time-consuming.

The storage of radiation-contaminated water is another major issue. Around 100-150 tons of polluted water is produced every day at the plant, which means that a 1,000-ton tank is filled up in seven to ten days. Currently, around 1.1 million tons of radioactive water are stored on the plant premises, but under TEPCO’s plan, the maximum planned storage capacity is only 1.37 million tons.

In another survey of residents conducted by municipalities near the Fukushima plant, among the respondents who decided not to go back to their hometowns and who cannot decide whether to do so, many cited worries about the safety of the plant as a reason.

The government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, however, is still encouraging Fukushima evacuees to return to their homes, but as the nuclear disaster drags on.

March 9, 2019 Posted by | employment, Japan | Leave a comment

Schools refitted in Fukushima, but enrolment remains dismal

THE ASAHI SHIMBUN, March 1, 2019  Local governments in Fukushima Prefecture have spent billions of yen to create ideal education environments, including new or renovated school buildings, high-tech classes, free lunches and uniforms, and long-distance buses.

But these schools may be forced to close down. There just aren’t enough children in areas near the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant to sustain their operations.

The enrollment figures have dispirited local government officials, who agree that schools and their students are the key to recovery from the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident…….http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201903010026.html

March 9, 2019 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

Ineffective solutions being pursued to deal with the Fukushima nuclear reactors’ wreck

The future of all life: Indigenous sovereignty and the Fukushima nuclear disaster, Bay View, National Black Newspaper,  by Harun Minhaj, March 4, 2019 …………Allowed to participate only in Berkeley’s fifth mayoral debate, RunningWolf emphasized in his concluding remarks the importance of addressing the Fukushima nuclear crisis and holding the UC accountable for providing no solutions or health warnings. Ever since, he has been struggling against a complicit media which has refused to cover his story and corrupt local institutions which refuse to address or even investigate this election interference and the violation of not just numerous local and national laws, but many international laws as well. ………

By interfering with the election to keep RunningWolf out of office, local and state police departments have joined the UC in the cover-up of the continued threat Fukushima Daiichi poses through contaminated seafood and the ongoing impacts and leakage of radioactive fallout.

As a result, Fukushima Daiichi continues to leak deadly radiation into the Pacific, while RunningWolf is illegally being prevented from working towards a real solution and holding the UC responsible for its genocidal cover-up.

RunningWolf, along with nuclear experts such as whistleblower Arnie Gundersen, has long advocated that the first necessary solution is for the Fukushima Daiichi plants to be encased in a concrete sarcophagus like at Chernobyl, along with preparatory measures to prevent further contamination of the surroundings and end the ongoing leakage into the Pacific Ocean.

But as a number of Japanese experts have testified, this solution is being rejected “to avoid taking responsibility,” as it would require “admitting that no one can live near the plant for a generation.”

Once again, the UC is deeply complicit, by enabling the Japanese government and TEPCO (Fukushima Daiichi’s operator) to continue pursuing false solutions which do not stop the leakage or require “admitting defeat.”

The UC is intimately involved in an ongoing effort which has cost more than $100 million of Japanese tax revenue on a two-pronged effort using the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL)’s Muon Imaging Technology alongside expensive robots to find and remove melted fuel from inside the reactors. Yet after nearly eight years, much of this fuel has not yet been located and none of it has been removed, while the radiation continues to leak into the Pacific Ocean every day.

And once again, the UC’s priorities are clear, as this “solution” was showcased in the same LANL press release overwhelmingly concerned with “rebuild[ing] public acceptance of nuclear power” and protecting the Japanese nuclear industry, rather than with the impact on public health or the environment. https://sfbayview.com/2019/03/the-future-of-all-life-indigenous-sovereignty-and-the-fukushima-nuclear-disaster/

March 9, 2019 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

“Ice wall” – the effort to contain Fukushima’s radiation

How Fukushima’s underground ice wall keeps nuclear radiation at bay

Think Game of Thrones, but this one is underground and defends against a far more realistic threat.  CNet,

BY ROGER CHENG MARCH 8, 2019 

The intricate network of small metal pipes, capped off by six-foot-high metal scaffolding, shouldn’t stand out amid the numerous pieces of industrial equipment littered throughout the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. After all, it’s a power plant.

I take a closer look, and notice spheres of ice perched upon the smaller pipes, which line the center of the structure. The facility sits at the water’s edge, and there’s a brisk breeze blowing through.

e intricate network of small metal pipes, capped off by six-foot-high metal scaffolding, shouldn’t stand out amid the numerous pieces of industrial equipment littered throughout the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. After all, it’s a power plant.

I take a closer look, and notice spheres of ice perched upon the smaller pipes, which line the center of the structure. The facility sits at the water’s edge, and there’s a brisk breeze blowing through

………. The structure, which cost roughly $300 million, paid for by public funds, serves as critical protection, defending the Fukushima area from one of the most radioactive hotspots in the world. While Tokyo Electric Power Co., also known as Tepco, struggles to find a way to remove radioactive material from the facility – a process the government estimates could take more than four decades — the more immediate concern is what to do with the contaminated water leaking out from the facility……….

Ice cold

While the term “ice wall” has a colorful ring to it, engineers use the more academic-sounding term Artificial Ground Freezing.

…… calcium chloride solution is pumped down through a smaller inner pipe, and circulated back up a large outer pipe.

The coolant brings down the temperature of each pipe to -30 degrees Celsius, or -22 degrees Fahrenheit, and the pipes are spaced about three feet apart. The cold emanating from each one hardens the soil around it.

The point of the ice wall is to keep the groundwater that runs down from the mountains to the west from entering Fukushima Daiichi and mixing with the toxic water leaking out of the Unit 1, 2 and 3 reactors. That is,  keep the clean water on the outside of the wall, while the contaminated water stays inside.

Tepco and manufacturing partners, such as Toshiba and Mitsubishi, are working on robots to identify and determine how to clear out the radioactive materials in each of the reactors’ primary containment vessels, essentially the heart of each facility.

Until then, they need a way to slow or stop the flow of water into the facility.

……. With the wall in place, Tepco says it has been able to reduce the level of contaminated water generated from Daiichi. But a Reuters report in March 2018 found that the wall still let a fair amount of clean water in, adding to the volume of toxic water the company needs to deal with. Tepco, however, says it’s been effective in reducing the volume.

“We know this is not the end of our effort,” says a company spokesman. “We will be continuously working hard to reduce the amount of  generation of contaminated water.”

The leaky bucket

Imagine a leaky bucket that constantly needs to be filled with water. At the same time, the water from the leak needs to be collected and stored. And there’s no end in sight to this cycle.

That essentially is the problem that Tepco faces at Daiichi. The fuel rods stored in the three radioactive units constantly have to be cooled with fresh water, but leaks mean the company needs to be vigilant about keeping the tainted liquid from getting out of the facility’s grounds.

Since the accident nearly eight years ago, Tepco has collected 1.1 million tons of contaminated water in 900 tanks stored on the grounds at Daiichi. The company estimates it has enough space in the 37.7-million-square-foot facility to house an additional 270,000 tons of water, which means it would run out sometime in 2020.

“We’re conscious of the fact that we can’t keep storing more and more water,” Kenji Abe, a spokesman for Tepco’s decommissioning and decontamination unit, says through an interpreter.

……. So far, treatment technology from partner companies like Kurion and Sarry have enabled Tepco to remove 62 of the 63 radioactive elements from the water, but one, tritium, remains.

It’s this one element, which is bonded to the water at an atomic level, that means Tepco needs to keep collecting and storing the water.

……..  organizations such as Greenpeace have called for Tepco to keep storing the water, noting that much of the early batches of treated water far exceed safety limits for radioactive elements.

Given the sensitivities around Fukushima, Tepco must continue to store the water. A spokesman said the company isn’t planning to disperse the water. But it is one option being considered by the Japanese government, which ultimately makes the decision.

“Resolving the issue of the contaminated water is something we haven’t yet reached a final solution on,” Yagi says.

…….. The scientist explains that Japan has set a legal radioactivity limit of 60,000 becquerel per liter of tritium. But the treated water is still at 1.7 million Bq per liter, or roughly 30 times what’s deemed safe.

So, for now, Tepco must continue collecting the water. And the ice wall continues to stand, invisible to onlookers, as one of the most important lines of defense. https://www.cnet.com/news/how-fukushimas-underground-ice-wall-keeps-nuclear-radiation-at-bay/

March 9, 2019 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

Accusations of scientific misconduct concern city in Japan

Fukushima at 8: Accusations of scientific misconduct concern city in Japan http://www.beyondnuclear.org/radiation-health-whats-new/2019/3/7/fukushima-at-8-accusations-of-scientific-misconduct-concern.html Eight years after the Fukushima nuclear reactors exploded on Japan’s Northern coast, spewing radioactive particles into the air, across the land, and into the Pacific Ocean, the country continues to struggle with decontamination and relocation efforts. Determining the health impacts resulting from the nuclear disaster has been particularly fraught. For Date City, about 60 km from the ruined Fukushima reactors, and still blanketed by radioactive contamination from the ongoing catastrophe, the struggle for protection of health continues amid accusations of scientific misconduct and betrayal.

After the nuclear catastrophe began, Date City residents received glass badges that measured radioactivity. About four and a half years of measurements collected from these glass badges were used by Ryugo Hayano, Professor emeritus from the University of Tokyo and Makoto Miyazaki from Fukushima Medical University (FMU) to initially publish two studies in the Journal of Radiological Protection (JRP). Radiation policy makers in Japan often reference the second of these two studies, indicating they trust the data and conclusions it offers. However, earlier this year, Shin-ichi Kurokawa (Professor Emeritus of The High Energy Accelerator Research Organization) and Akemi Shima (resident of Date City) contended that this research and the studies using it, are compromised by serious ethical violations and scientific misconduct.

Date City officials requested the studies subsequent to their adoption of a 5 mSv annual radiation exposure limit, which represents a huge increase of radiation exposure to residents. Date City has also limited decontamination efforts in certain areas, and the former mayor Shoji Nishida, requested that the International Atomic Energy Agency proclaim 5 mSv per year safe, instead of the current 1mSv. More detailed information is coming to light as a new mayor of Date City has been elected.

Kurokawa first raised concerns about the second study in a peer-reviewed August 2018 letter sent to JRP. The JRP, a U.K. journal, has yet to publish Kurokawa’s critique, so he published it on a Cornell University website in December 2018. Kurokawa also published a timeline and further critique of Hayano’s response to the letter in Harbor Business Online in February 2019, original article in Japanese. This research has also been reported on Retraction Watch, a website that tracks published troubled papers, although there are more serious concerns than those RW highlights.

Hayano has admitted (English translation here) to a miscalculation that underestimated doses to Date City residents by three times. Hayano also admits to destruction of the data on which the studies were based, claiming this “deletion” was in accordance with research protocol of the study. But Kurokawa disputes that, pointing out that data destruction is a violation of Japan’s ethical guidelines on handling human data – guidelines that instruct researchers to keep the data as long as possible. This destruction of data, and failure to publish a promised third study, appear to conceal evidence that found very high internal doses of radioactivity in some residents of Date City.

The Date City glass badge experiment

The research used glass badge data from approximately 59,000 Date City residents. These badges, paid for and distributed by Date City, supposedly measured the external radioactivity that each individual was exposed to beginning about August 2011, approximately 5 months after the nuclear catastrophe began, until the summer of 2015. The mayor’s office of Date City provided both the glass badge data and data on internal exposures for individual residents.

According to research protocols agreed to with FMU, Miyazaki and Hayano planned to publish three studies based on these data. The first, comparing individual external doses to survey results of airborne radiation from the Government of Japan, was published in 2016. The second, a prediction of lifetime dose and an evaluation of the effect of decontamination on doses to individuals, was published in 2017. The third study, examining the relationship between external doses and internal doses, will not be published. Instead it has been replaced by a study on a different topic.

Where things went wrong

Bad glass badge data

Perhaps the experiment was doomed from the start as the Miyazaki-Hayano studies admit some residents of Date City may not have worn the glass badges on their bodies or actually lived at the address registered for the badge. Such improper badge use would immediately compromise any conclusions reached concerning individual doses, but the researchers used the data anyway.

Mishandling and destruction of data

In addition to questionable glass badge measurements, Kurokawa contends the Miyazaki-Hayano research suffers from mishandling and destruction of data that violates ethical guidelines:

  • Residents (research subjects) of Date City were not informed of the content of the research prior to the research commencing, and were not given opportunity to refuse use of their data. Miyazaki, being a municipal advisor on radiation to Date City as well as a study author, should have known how to handle this properly, yet he did not.
  • Miyazaki and Hayano failed to note that some residents had not consented to use of their data, a fact obvious in the data supplied to them by Date City. They further failed to obtain consent from those residents prior to use of their data.
  • Hayano presented data before the research protocol was submitted to, and approved by, an FMU Ethics review committee.
  • Residents were not told of the papers once they were published, nor were they told that the Mayor’s office of Date City had requested the papers be published. This presented a conflict of interest since the Date City Mayor’s office had an agenda (see slides 21 & 26) of encouraging residents to increase “resilience” while living in a contaminated environment. For residents, this means consuming contaminated food and restricting decontamination efforts per Date City’s new 5 mSv annual exposure limit. A few months after Date Mayor Shoji Nishida announced this “resiliency” policy, Miyazaki was hired as radiation advisor to the city.
  • Miyazaki and Hayano violated research protocol by replacing the third studyoriginally agreed to, with a study that said nothing about internal versus external doses.
  • At the conclusion of the research, all of the data were destroyed. According to records obtained by an information request filed by Shima, Kurokawa’s co-author of the Kagaku article, Hayano created an integrated database at the request of Date City, but did not share this database with the city. Therefore, when the database was destroyed, Miyazaki and Hayano knew that Date City could not replicate it or the data it contained.
  • Kurokawa points out that research conducted in Japan must follow the ethical guidelinesbased on the Declaration of Helsinki for proper protocols in handling medical and health research involving human subjects, such as valuing welfare of the research subjects over that of scientific results. FMU approved the Miyazaki-Hayano research papers under these protocols – protocols this research seriously violated by not allowing people to control use of their own data and by destroying the data after publication so that neither researchers nor the research subjects, can access it or replicate the studies.

    Underestimation of dose

    In addition to the mishandling of data, Kurokawa has discovered discrepancies in the values of cumulative doses in paper 2, which appear to underestimate actual doses. Hayano has, by his own admission, underestimated individual doses by three times. Professor Hayano says that he will issue a correction (corrigendum) for this dose underestimation, but has failed to completely answer the additional serious discrepancies, and the ethical violations of mishandling and destruction of data Kurokawa notes.

    Why the “phantom” third study matters

    The missing third study was supposed to investigate correlation between external and internal individual doses – a correlation Miyazaki and Hayano had already hypothesizedwould not exist. However, upon reviewing other data in Date City reports, the opposite was found: “[there was very] clear correlation between the external and internal doses…some cases with very high levels of internal exposure measurements.” Kurokawa offers his own hypothesis as to why Miyazaki and Hayano never published a paper on this third research question:

    The true reason for not publishing Paper 3 could be the discovery of a clear correlation between the external and internal doses with some residents showing internal exposure measurements of several thousand Bq even since 2015. Not publishing inconvenient results despite receiving the internal exposure dose data from Date City would have to be considered a violation of the Ethical Guidelines. (emphasis added)

    This correlation also reveals that Date City’s “resiliency” plan is not protecting its residents. Miyazaki and Hayano’s unwillingness to address internal dose evidence in the Date City data also calls into question Hayano’s other research on internal doses issues such as monitoring of food and whole body scans of children, the last publication of which appears to be in 2015.

    Mistaken assumptions based on faulty studies

    Japan’s Radiation Council (JRC) on setting standards for protecting people from radiation often references this ethically and scientifically compromised research in discussions, particularly the second paper, which was the focus of Kurokawa’s critical letter. Hayano’s work is often mentioned by other scientists and press as indication that doses from Fukushima radiation are low, that decontamination efforts paid for by Date City funds, might not have been necessary, and that living in an environment contaminated by “low” levels of man-made radiation is acceptable.

    Where was the peer-review?

    For its part JRP has now determined at this time that a correction for the dose underestimation is all that is needed, while an investigation into the consent issue is conducted. JRP claims to adhere to the Declaration of Helsinki for proper protocols in handling medical and health research involving human subjects. However, data misuse and destruction should require retraction of the papers, not correction.

    Kurokawa contends that underestimating 70-year lifetime doses by three times is a severe enough miscalculation that a mere correction will not suffice, implying the conclusions of the papers are now in jeopardy. Hayano is claiming, falsely, that JRPwants a rewrite of the paper. Even if JRP did want a rewrite, it is unclear how Hayano intends to accomplish this since the Date City data on which the original papers were based have been destroyed. Kurokawa states:

    There is no way to rewrite a paper when the research has already completed and all the data have been destroyed. Even if Date City were to re-supply the data to FMU, it would be considered new research and a new research proposal would have to be submitted to the Ethics Review Committee at FMU. A resulting paper would no longer be a revised version, but an entirely different paper based on new researchA scientist should never conceal such information, let alone pretend as if what was requested by JRP was a rewritten paper when it was a corrigendum that was actually requested. (emphasis in original English translation)

    To date, neither Miyazaki nor Hayano have responded in the customary fashion, which would be to answer Kurokawa’s original letter criticizing their published research point-by-point. Kurokawa has published an analysis of Miyazaki-Hayano paper 1 in the March issue of Kagaku in Japanese, and will be publishing detailed analysis of paper 2 in April 2019.

    Thanks to Yuri Hiranuma for input and review of this article and for the translations used to write it. See Yuri’s blog.

March 9, 2019 Posted by | Japan, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment