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340,000 to evacuate Fukushima, landslide fears(- and what about the nuclear waste bags?)

Why doesn’t the news media explore the question of what is happening to Fukushima’s bags of radioactive nuclear debris?

October 26, 2019 Posted by | Fukushima continuing, wastes | 1 Comment

Activists urge Japan to avoid Fukushima in Tokyo Olympics

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Oct 10, 2019
South Korean civic groups on Thursday kicked off a global campaign against potential radiation risks during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, demanding that Japan ban Fukushima food products and cancel games at the Japanese city.
 
“We launch an international campaign to protect thousands of athletes and visitors at the Tokyo Olympics from radiation risks and to stop the Japanese government from using the Olympics as a tool” to conceal lingering damages from the Fukushima nuclear crisis, the environmental groups told a press briefing in Seoul.
 
Taking part in the initiative are a handful of Korean environmental organizations, consisting of activists and academics, as well as major environmental and anti-nuclear groups based in Germany, Taiwan and the Philippines.
The civic groups demanded the Japanese government and Olympics organizers refrain from providing food produced near Fukushima and cancel games scheduled to be held in the city. They also urged the torch relay to be held in areas outside of Fukushima, which was hit by the nuclear disaster caused by a 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
 
They also claimed that if Japan seeks to misuse Olympic events for a political or commercial purpose, it would goes against the Olympic spirit.
 
The environmental groups said they plan to collect signatures through an online website and hold international conferences to raise awareness on the risks of radiation.
 
Some baseball and softball games are scheduled to take place at Fukushima Azuma Baseball Stadium, according to the Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games website.
 
It also shows that a 121-day torch relay will “commence on March 26, 2020, in Fukushima Prefecture and start its journey southwards” in an aim at “showcasing solidarity with the regions still recovering from the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.” (Yonhap)

October 20, 2019 Posted by | Japan | , , , | Leave a comment

Hiroshima residents exposed to A-bomb ‘black rain’ developed health problems: lawyers

Hiroshima residents exposed to A-bomb ‘black rain’ developed health problems: lawyers

October 16, 2019 (Mainichi Japan)  HIROSHIMA — Nearly all of the 85 plaintiffs in a class action lawsuit who claim to have been exposed to radioactive “black rain” that fell on Hiroshima and surrounding areas in the immediate aftermath of the U.S. atomic bombing of the city in 1945 have been diagnosed with health problems that could be related to radiation, their lawyers said.

The plaintiffs, of whom eight have already died, and their representatives have brought the case to the Hiroshima District Court, demanding the Hiroshima prefectural and municipal governments provide them health care benefits on the basis that they were exposed to the radioactive rain outside the designated area set by the central government. Research by the legal team representing the plaintiffs have revealed that almost all of the plaintiffs have been diagnosed with health issues that “radiation cannot be ruled out” as their causes.

The state has issued certificates for A-bomb survivors who were in the designated area near the epicenter. These certificates enable them to receive free medical care. As the actual health damage caused by the radioactive black rain remains unclear, however, the central government in 1976 named a 19-kilometer by 11-kilometer area northwest from the state-designated radiation exposure area “a special health checkup zone.” Those who were in this zone are subject to free health checkups, and if they develop illnesses involving at least one of 11 kinds of disorders that the government lists as potentially radiation-related, such as cardiovascular diseases, they are given the certificates…….https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20191016/p2a/00m/0na/006000c

October 20, 2019 Posted by | health, Japan, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Hurricane Hagibis Spreads Fukushima Radiation (But No, 2,667 Bags of Decontaminated Waste were NOT Washed Away!) 

 Nuclear HotSeat  BY NHADMIN  OCTOBER 16, 2019    Fukushima Hurricane Hagibis Flooding  deluge of water washes full bags of “decontaminated” soil, plants, and other radioactive matter into Furumichi river near the Japanese city of Tamura in Fukushima Prefecture (above). No report yet on how much radioactive material from the decomposing, torn waste bags was washed back into the environment.  http://nuclearhotseat.com/2019/10/16/fukushima-hurricane-hagibis-flooding-spreads-radiation-risks/

October 17, 2019 Posted by | Japan | 1 Comment

Distribution of highly radioactive microparticles in Fukushima revealed

Distribution and origin of highly radioactive microparticles in Fukushima revealed, Science Daily 

Date:
October 16, 2019
Source:
University of Helsinki
Summary:
New method allows scientists to create a quantitative map of radioactive cesium-rich microparticle distribution in soils collected around the damaged Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Nuclear Power Plant (FDNPP). This could help inform clean-up efforts in Fuksuhima region.
Distribution, number, source, and movement of the microparticles in the environment has remained poorly understood

A large quantity of radioactivity was released into the environment during the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident. The released radioactivity included small, poorly soluble, cesium-rich microparticles. The microparticles have a very high radioactivity per unit mass (~1011 Bq/g), but their distribution, number, source, and movement in the environment has remained poorly understood. This lack of information has made it hard to predict the potential impact of the radioactive microparticles.

However, a study just published in the scientific journal Chemosphere, involving scientists from Japan, Finland, France, and the USA, addresses these issues. The team, led by Dr. Satoshi Utsunomiya, Ryohei Ikehara, and Kazuya Morooka (Kyushu University), developed a method in 2018 that allows scientists to quantify the amount of cesium-rich microparticles in soil and sediment samples.

They have now applied the method to a wide range of soil samples taken from within, and outside, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear exclusion zone, and this has allowed them to publish the first quantitative map of cesium-rich microparticle distribution in parts of Fukushima region.
Three regions of interest within 60 km from the Fukushima Daiichi site………https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/10/191016111125.htm

October 17, 2019 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

Typhoon Hagibis floods carry away Fukushima nuclear waste bags in their thousands

Ed. note. Since we published  the article below, Nuclear Hotseat has corrected the misleading information about 2667 bags of radioactive debris being washed away.

2,667 Radioactive Bags From Fukushima Swept Away By Typhoon Hagibis   https://newspunch.com/1667-radioactive-bags-fukushima-swept-away-typhoon-hagibis/, October 14, 2019 Baxter Dmitry   As Typhoon Hagibis hammered Japan on Saturday, thousands of bags containing radioactive waste at Fukushima were reportedly carried into a local stream by floodwaters.Experts warn the radioactive bags could have a devastating environmental impact across the entire Pacific region, reports Taiwan News.

According to Asahi Shimbun, a temporary storage facility containing 2,667 bags storing radioactive contaminants from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster were “unexpectedly inundated by floodwaters brought by Typhoon Hagibis.

Torrential rain flooded the storage facility and released the bags into a waterway 100 meters from the site.

Officials from Tamara City in Fukushima Prefecture said that each bag is approximately one cubic meter in size.

Authorities were only able to recover six of the bags by 9 p.m. on Oct. 12 and it is uncertain how many remain unrecovered while the potential environmental fallout is being assessed.

The radioactive waste swept away by Typhoon Hagibis represents the latest setback for Fukushima officials who have struggled to adequately quarantine the radiation.

StatesmanJournal reports: Seaborne radiation from Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster has been detected on the West Coast of the United States.

Cesium-134, the so-called fingerprint of Fukushima, was measured in seawater samples taken from Tillamook Bay and Gold Beach in Oregon, researchers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution are reporting.

Because of its short half-life, cesium-134 can only have come from Fukushima.

Also for the first time, cesium-134 has been detected in a Canadian salmon, the Fukushima InFORM project, led by University of Victoria chemical oceanographer Jay Cullen, is reporting.

In both cases, levels are extremely low, the researchers said, and don’t pose a danger to humans or the environment.

Massive amounts of contaminated water were released from the crippled nuclear plant following a 9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami in March 2011. More radiation was released to the air, then fell to the sea.

October 15, 2019 Posted by | Fukushima continuing, wastes | Leave a comment

Climate and nuclear threats join in Japan’s multibillion-dollar typhoon disaster.

October 15, 2019 Posted by | climate change, Japan | Leave a comment

Bags of debris from Fukushima disaster swept away in typhoon

October 15, 2019 Posted by | climate change, environment, Japan, wastes | Leave a comment

Ex-trade minister Hiroshige Seko involved in nuclear gifts scandal

October 14, 2019 Posted by | Japan, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

A million tonnes of radioactive water and nowhere to go – Fukushima

At Fukushima plant, a million-tonne headache: Radioactive water,  https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asia/at-fukushima-plant-a-million-tonne-headache-radioactive-water-11972442 FUKUSHIMA, 11 Oct 19, : In the grounds of the ravaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant sits a million-tonne headache for the plant’s operators and Japan’s government: Tank after tank of water contaminated with radioactive elements.

What to do with the enormous amount of water, which grows by around 150 tonnes a day, is a thorny question, with controversy surrounding a long-standing proposal to discharge it into the sea, after extensive decontamination.

The water comes from several different sources: Some is used for cooling at the plant, which suffered a meltdown after it was hit by a tsunami triggered by a massive earthquake in March 2011.

Groundwater that seeps into the plant daily, along with rainwater, add to the problem.

A thousand, towering tanks have now replaced many of the cherry trees that once dotted the plant’s ground.

Each can hold 1,200 tonnes, and most of them are already full.

“We will build more on the site until the end of 2020, and we think all the tanks will be full by around the summer of 2022,” said Junichi Matsumoto, an official with the unit of plant operator TEPCO in charge of dismantling the site.

TEPCO has been struggling with the problem for years, taking various measures to limit the amount of groundwater entering the site.

There is also an extensive pumping and filtration system, that each day brings up tonnes of newly contaminated water and filters out as many of the radioactive elements as possible.

HIGHLY RADIOACTIVE

The hangar where the decontamination system runs is designated “Zone Y” – a danger zone requiring special protections.

All those entering must wear elaborate protection: a full body suit, three layers of socks, three layers of gloves, a double cap topped by a helmet, a vest with a pocket carrying a dosimeter, a full-face respirator mask and special shoes.

Most of the outfit has to burned after use.

“The machinery filters contain radionuclides, so you have to be very protected here, just like with the buildings where the reactors are,” explained TEPCO risk communicator Katsutoshi Oyama.

TEPCO has been filtering newly contaminated water for years, but much of it needs to go through the process again because early versions of the filtration process did not fully remove some dangerous radioactive elements, including strontium 90.

The current process is more effective, removing or reducing around 60 radionuclides to levels accepted by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for water being discharged.

But there is one that remains, which cannot be removed with the current technology: Tritium.

Tritium is naturally present in the environment, and has also been discharged in its artificial form into the environment by the nuclear industry around the world.

There is little evidence that it causes harm to humans except in very high concentrations and the IAEA argues that properly filtered Fukushima water could be diluted with seawater and then safely released into the ocean without causing environmental problems.

“ABSOLUTELY AGAINST IT”

But those assurances are of little comfort to many in the region, particularly Fukushima’s fishing industry which, like local farmers, has suffered from the outside perception that food from the region is unsafe.

Kyoichi Kamiyama, director of the radioactivity research department at the regional government’s Fisheries and Marine Science Research Centre, points out that local fishermen are still struggling eight years after the disaster.

“Discharging into the ocean? I’m absolutely against it,” he told AFP.

At the national government level, the view is more sanguine.

“We want to study how to minimise the damage (from a potential discharge) to the region’s reputation and Fukushima products,” an Industry Ministry official said.

The government is sensitive to fears that people inside Japan and further afield will view any discharge as sending radioactive waste into the sea.

No decisions are likely in the near-term, with the country sensitive to the international spotlight that will fall on Japan as it hosts the Olympic Games next year.

Environmentalists are also resolutely opposed to any discharge into the sea, and Greenpeace argues that TEPCO cannot trusted to properly decontaminate the water.

The solution, said Greenpeace senior nuclear specialist Shaun Burnie, “ultimately can only be long-term storage and processing.”

October 12, 2019 Posted by | Fukushima continuing | Leave a comment

Appeal against acquittal of Tepco executives over Fukushima nuclear disaster

With appeal of Tepco acquittal, thousands hit by Fukushima nuclear disaster seek closure, KAHOKU SHIMPO, JAPAN TIMES, OCT 11, 2019

Plaintiffs have appealed a ruling handed down by the Tokyo District Court in mid-September that found three former Tokyo Electric Power Co. executives not guilty of professional negligence. A class action lawsuit against the executives claimed they had failed to apply the proper safety measures to prevent the 2011 disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, despite being aware of the devastating effect tsunami would have.

Ruiko Muto, the 66-year-old leader of the class action lawsuit against former Tepco executives, has tirelessly conducted talks around the country since the nuclear disaster in 2011, which saw three of the six core reactors of the Fukushima No. 1 power plant go into meltdown after massive tsunami struck the facility.

“Grassroots efforts are what pushes forward the social change we need to see,” she said, adding, “awareness spreads only when each individual starts to think about the issue at hand.”

Muto has campaigned for the end of nuclear power for over 30 years. Seeing the devastating effects of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident in the former Soviet Union catapulted her into the anti-nuclear movement…..

The disaster upended daily life as local residents knew it and tore apart the social fabric of societies and communities around the area. Eight and a half years on, the victims are still grappling with the loss of their homes, and are turning to the courts for answers and closure….https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/10/11/national/tepco-acquittal-fukushima-nuclear-disaster-closure/#.XaDi30YzbIU

October 12, 2019 Posted by | Japan, Legal | Leave a comment

A-bomb survivor Toshiki Fujimori urges nuclear haves and have-nots to join hands on abolition  

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/10/11/national/atomic-bomb-toshiki-fujimori-nuclear-haves-have-nots/#.XaDl-0YzbIUJIJI  NEW YORK – Hibakusha Toshiki Fujimori called for nuclear states and non-nuclear states to cooperate on abolishing atomic weapons as a meeting on the subject was held at U.N. headquarters in New York on Thursday.

Fujimori, 75, assistant secretary-general at the Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations (Nihon Hidankyo), urged both sides to join forces to bring about a peaceful world.

Fujimori was exposed to radiation from the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945, while his mother was carrying him on her back to a hospital. After the bombing, six of his 12 family members died, Fujimori said.

Three days after, the second U.S. atomic bomb devastated Nagasaki.

NEW YORK – Hibakusha Toshiki Fujimori called for nuclear states and non-nuclear states to cooperate on abolishing atomic weapons as a meeting on the subject was held at U.N. headquarters in New York on Thursday.

Fujimori, 75, assistant secretary-general at the Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations (Nihon Hidankyo), urged both sides to join forces to bring about a peaceful world.

Fujimori was exposed to radiation from the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945, while his mother was carrying him on her back to a hospital. After the bombing, six of his 12 family members died, Fujimori said.

Three days after, the second U.S. atomic bomb devastated Nagasaki.

October 12, 2019 Posted by | Japan, opposition to nuclear, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Nuclear industry in Japan – as corrupt as ever?

Hidden gold, ‘murky’ payoffs threaten Japan nuclear revival,  Straits Times,  TOKYO (BLOOMBERG) 9 Oct 19, – A payoff scandal has struck Japan’s nuclear world, threatening to delay the restart of idled reactors in what’s becoming the industry’s biggest crisis since the Fukushima meltdown of 2011.The issue, which emerged at the end of last month, centres around how an influential municipal official in a town that hosts a nuclear plant spent years doling out large gifts to executives of its operator, one of the country’s biggest power producers.

It’s an example of how big business and small towns work together, sometimes at the expense of corporate governance.

The payments to senior management at Kansai Electric Power Co included hundreds of millions of yen, US currency, vouchers for tailored suits and even gold coins hidden in a box of candy.

To make matters worse, the official in question was close to – and received money from – a company that won construction work from the utility.

The news is a blow to an already deeply unpopular industry as it seeks to resume operations at plants that were shuttered after Fukushima. It’s likely to have an impact beyond Kansai Electric, with the government’s top spokesman, who called the payoffs “murky,” vowing to investigate whether there are similar cases at other companies.

It’s also a headache for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has set his stall as a proponent of nuclear power, a cheaper source of energy than imported fuels such as oil, coal and natural gas. And questions in Parliament about the scandal may delay Mr Abe’s efforts to pass a US trade deal and proceed towards changing the country’s pacifist Constitution.

…….The scandal is the latest exposure of governance issues at Japanese companies, which include the arrest last year of Nissan Motor Co’s chairman for concealing more than US$140 million (S$193 million) in compensation and Kobe Steel’s indictment in 2018 for falsifying quality data.

Kansai Electric chairman Makoto Yagi and president Shigeki Iwane bowed in apology at a three-hour public briefing last week as they detailed how they and 18 other executives received almost 320 million yen (S$4.12 million) in cash and presents from 2006 to 2018 from Mr Eiji Moriyama, the former deputy mayor of Takahama town, where a nuclear power plant is located. Mr Moriyama died at the age of 90 in March……..

The immediate risk for Kansai Electric is that the issue may delay the restart of three of its reactors, including two in the town in question, Takahama. Every month a reactor stays offline saddles the utility with extra fuel costs of 3.6 billion yen ……….

Kansai Electric’s investigation will leave no stone unturned to determine the cause and events surrounding the payments, the company said in an e-mailed response. The utility will also make efforts to ensure that this type of incident doesn’t happen again, it said.

In a sense, the goings-on at Kansai Electric suggest things haven’t changed in the nuclear industry. They mirror what independent investigators said in a 2012 report led to the scale of the Fukushima meltdown: collusion between government officials and a power company.

“This is the nuclear village at its worst,” Temple University’s Mr Kingston said, referring to the nexus of companies, politicians, bureaucrats and others that promote atomic power. “The cosy and collusive ties are a hotbed of corruption and raise questions about other plants.” https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/east-asia/hidden-gold-murky-payoffs-threaten-japan-nuclear-revival

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

KEPCO execs’ acceptance of huge gifts angers local consumers, Fukushima evacuees

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Kansai Electric Power Co. Chairman Makoto Yagi, left, and President Shigeki Iwane, center, head to a news conference in Osaka’s Fukushima Ward on Oct. 2, 2019.
 
October 3, 2019
OSAKA — The finding that Kansai Electric Power Co. (KEPCO) executives accepted a huge amount of gifts from a former senior official of a town hosting one of its nuclear plants has sparked anger among local consumers and people who evacuated to the Kansai region in western Japan in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear crisis.
It has also come to light that the late senior official, Eiji Moriyama, former deputy mayor of the Fukui Prefecture town of Takahama, himself received 300 million yen in commission from a local construction company that was hired for projects at a nuclear complex. This has raised suspicions that money paid by KEPCO to the construction company was returned to the utility in the form of gifts from the top local government official, who had influence on nuclear power projects.
“The electricity bills we paid ended up being pocketed by executives of KEPCO,” lamented a 78-year-old man from Amagasaki, Hyogo Prefecture, west of Osaka. He also criticized the company’s in-house punishments — including two-month pay cuts and severe reprimands — as being “too lenient.” “They should gracefully step down,” he said.
Hideo Iida, secretary-general of the liaison council of Osaka consumers affairs organizations, described the executives’ acceptance of the huge gifts as “outrageous.” He said the money and gifts that KEPCO executives accepted from Moriyama “can obviously be traced to money collected from consumers as electricity bills.”
“Specific reasons why KEPCO, which is a major company in the Kansai region and a contractee, were so afraid of Moriyama (that they say they couldn’t return the money and gifts to him) remain unclear. Further information disclosure is necessary,” he said.
A 44-year-old woman who voluntarily fled from the city of Fukushima to Osaka Prefecture with her three children following the outbreak of the nuclear crisis in March 2011, said the scandal has deepened her distrust in electric power companies.
“I thought, ‘Oh no, not again,'” she said. “While there are no prospects for restoration of the (nuclear) disaster-hit areas, a massive amount of money is being moved behind the scenes to restart idled nuclear plants. It’s so insincere,” she lamented.
At the latest news conference, KEPCO President Shigeki Iwane, who also heads the Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan, expressed enthusiasm about promoting the use of atomic power.
“KEPCO executives accepted cash and gifts from Moriyama apparently because the utility felt that it couldn’t win local residents’ understanding of restarting nuclear power plants if it went by an orthodox method. They should keep in mind that the nuclear disaster threatened people’s livelihoods,” said the woman.

October 8, 2019 Posted by | Japan | , , , | Leave a comment

Scandal-hit head of Japan’s Kansai Electric has no plans to resign

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October 2, 2019
Scandal highlights corporate governance challenges
* Executives admitted taking $3 million in cash and gifts
* Official had sought support for local economy -report
By Junko Fujita
TOKYO, Oct 2 (Reuters) – The president of Japan’s Kansai Electric Power Co has no intention of resigning, he said on Wednesday, after admitting that he and 19 company employees had received payments and gifts worth 320 million yen ($3 million).
The scandal, at a time when the Japanese public’s trust in nuclear power companies is already at rock-bottom, suggests that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for better corporate governance still has a long way to go in the world’s third-largest economy.
Shigeki Iwane, who admitted last week to receiving payments, told a news conference he wanted to stay in his position and regain the public’s confidence.
“I want to fulfil my responsibilities by taking leadership in finding the cause of what happened and taking preventive measures,” Iwane told a news conference broadcast live on NHK.
Kansai Electric earlier announced that its internal investigation found that 20 executives, including Iwane, had received cash, gift certificates and business suits from Eiji Moriyama, the now deceased deputy mayor of Takahama, where the company has a nuclear power station.
The report did not give an overall total of how much had been paid, but Iwane has previously said he and the others received 320 million yen in cash and gifts over a seven-year period.
Moriyama exerted influence over local government officials, the internal report said, and sought to influence them to support the local economy and use local businesses as suppliers.
The payments raise governance concerns because they were disclosed only after the matter was raised by the local tax bureau, said Moody’s analyst Yukiko Asanuma.
“The cash payments … add to existing negative public sentiment around nuclear power generation,” Asanuma said.

October 8, 2019 Posted by | Japan | , , , | Leave a comment