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Stopping covering the Fukushima nuclear disaster

April 11, 2023

The Fukushima Nuclear disaster will continue to affect the people on location and others, as well as our environment for many more years, I will not continue.

I have been following the Fukushima nuclear accident for the past 12 years, spending a lot of time in sharing those news, to the somehow detriment of my own personal life.

Unlike some other people I entered this activity without seeking to make money or gain fame, I am just a simple citizen living on my basic minimum retirement pension. I shared Fukushima news weekly for the past 12 years but on the other hand I was unable to go visit my daughter in Iwaki, Fukushima since June 2011, because my financial situation is very tight, and Japan is way too expensive, overpriced for my meager wallet.

That situation has been tearing apart, on one hand to share Fukushima news and on the other hand to be unable to visit my own daughter in Fukushima. 

I cannot take it anymore, so I decided to end this situation, to stop sharing the Fukushima news, to stop my lttle Fukushima blog, to disengage myself from it all, and to finally concentrate only on my little personal life. 

That attitude of the Japanese government is nothing new. They have always lack a sense of responsibility, hiding behind hypocritical denials and false excuses, lies and covering-up.

The Japanese government has always faced accusations with duplicity when it comes to various events and issues that have marred their history. Some of these issues include the Nanjing massacre, Korean and Filipina sex slaves during World War II, the Minamata tragedy affecting thousands of lives, whale and dolphin fishing, the Fukushima nuclear disaster, and the dumping of radioactive water into the Pacific Ocean.

One of the most controversial events in Japan’s history is the Nanjing massacre, which occurred in 1937 when Japanese forces invaded the Chinese city of Nanjing. During the six-week occupation, Japanese soldiers carried out a brutal campaign of murder, rape, and looting, resulting in the deaths of an estimated 300,000 Chinese civilians and prisoners of war. Despite overwhelming evidence of the massacre, the Japanese government has been accused of downplaying its significance and even denying that it occurred.

Another issue that has caused controversy is the use of Korean and Filipina women as sex slaves during World War II. These women, known as “comfort women,” were forced into sexual servitude by the Japanese military, with an estimated 200,000 women being subjected to this treatment. Despite numerous apologies and compensation payments made to some of the victims, the Japanese government has been accused of failing to fully acknowledge and take responsibility for this atrocity.

Minamata disease is a neurological disease caused by severe mercury poisoning. Signs and symptoms include ataxia, numbness in the hands and feet, general muscle weakness, loss of peripheral vision, and damage to hearing and speech. In extreme cases, insanity, paralysis, coma, and death follow within weeks of the onset of symptoms. A congenital form of the disease affects fetuses in the womb, causing microcephaly, extensive cerebral damage, and symptoms similar to those seen in cerebral palsy.

Minamata disease was first discovered in the city of Minamata, Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan, in 1956, hence its name. It was caused by the release of methylmercury in the industrial wastewater from a chemical factory owned by the Chisso Corporation, which continued from 1932 to 1968. It has also been suggested that some of the mercury sulfate in the wastewater was also metabolized to methylmercury by bacteria in the sediment. This highly toxic chemical bioaccumulated and biomagnified in shellfish and fish in Minamata Bay and the Shiranui Sea, which, when eaten by the local population, resulted in mercury poisoning. The poisoning and resulting deaths of both humans and animals continued for 36 years, while Chisso and the Kumamoto prefectural government did little to prevent the epidemic.

As of March 2001, 2,265 victims had been officially recognized as having Minamata disease and over 10,000 had received financial compensation from Chisso. By 2004, Chisso had paid $86 million in compensation, and in the same year was ordered to clean up its contamination. On March 29, 2010, a settlement was reached to compensate as-yet uncertified victims.

In addition to these human rights abuses, Japan has also faced criticism for its continued practice of whale and dolphin fishing. Despite a global ban on commercial whaling, Japan continues to hunt whales under the guise of “scientific research,” and dolphins are also hunted and captured for use in entertainment parks. Many animal rights activists and conservationists have called for an end to these practices, but the Japanese government has been accused of prioritizing economic interests over environmental concerns.

Another event that has caused significant controversy is the Fukushima nuclear disaster, which occurred in 2011 after a massive earthquake and tsunami struck Japan. The disaster resulted in a meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant and the release of radioactive materials into the environment. While the Japanese government initially downplayed the severity of the disaster, it has since been accused of covering up information and failing to adequately respond to the crisis.

Perhaps one of the most recent controversies surrounding Japan involves the planned dumping of radioactive water from the Fukushima plant into the Pacific Ocean. Despite widespread opposition from environmental groups and neighboring countries, the Japanese government has defended the plan, claiming that the water will be treated and diluted before being released. However, many remain skeptical of these claims and fear the potential consequences of this decision.

In conclusion, the Japanese government has been accused of duplicity when it comes to a variety of issues that have marred their history and present-day actions. From human rights abuses to environmental disasters, the Japanese government has been criticized for downplaying or denying the severity of these events and failing to take responsibility for their actions. As such, it is imperative that the government is held accountable for its actions and takes concrete steps towards acknowledging and rectifying these issues.

The Japanese government as learned nothing from this nuclear tragedy, which they have conveniently sweeped under the carpet. Economics in their eyes always more important than people’s lives, PM Kishida promoting as of today the rebirth of nuclear full blast, wheras the consequences of the Fukushima nuclear disater have neither been yet adressed nor solved.

Best wishes to you,

Hervé Courtois


April 11, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , , , | 1 Comment

Many Fukushima mayors reluctant to take stand on nuke energy shift

The crippled No. 1 reactor at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant

March 4, 2023

Several mayors of the three prefectures hardest hit by the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami showed a reluctance to voice an opinion about the government’s return to a reliance on nuclear power. 

The recent Asahi Shimbun poll showed the sensitivity of the issue particularly in areas that still have not completely recovered from the twin disasters.

In December, the government made a dramatic shift in nuclear energy policy that would allow for construction of new reactors and the extension of the operating life of those already built.

The Asahi Shimbun polled mayors of 37 municipalities along the Pacific coast in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures along with five others in Fukushima where evacuation orders were issued following the triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

In addition, mayors of three municipalities lying within a 30-kilometer radius of the Onagawa plant in Miyagi Prefecture were also asked their views.

Of the 45 mayors, 19 were somewhat or totally opposed to a reversion to nuclear energy, while 14 were somewhat or totally in favor.

But the mayors of six municipalities that either host the Fukushima No. 1 plant or are in close proximity to the plant did not take a clear stand on any of the questions in the survey.

When the mayors were contacted individually, many said with so many residents still living as evacuees away from their municipalities, expressing a clear opinion on nuclear energy would only further divide those with differing views.

One mayor had in the past voiced clear stands on the central government’s reconstruction policy, but that led to letters sent to the municipal government criticizing those comments.

“I always feel internal turmoil about whether criticism directed at me and the municipal government will also not be turned on the evacuees” who live in various parts of Japan, the mayor said. 

Another mayor said, “I do not want residents to feel troubled by my comments about the central government’s nuclear energy policy.”

With part of the municipality still designated a “difficult-to-return zone” and the population and infrastructure nowhere close to the levels before the disasters, the mayor said, “Now is the time to put every effort into reconstruction.”

The mayor said taking a clear stand on nuclear energy issues might create division among local residents.

Toshiyuki Kanai, a professor of local public administration at the University of Tokyo, said it was understandable why the mayors were reluctant to take a clear stand because municipalities had to seek the cooperation of the central government for their reconstruction efforts.

“It is important that effects on local governments in such policy areas as reconstruction do not arise because of their opposition to nuclear energy policy,” Kanai said.

Eight Fukushima mayors did say they were either somewhat or totally opposed to returning to a reliance on nuclear energy.

The only Fukushima mayor who was somewhat in favor of nuclear energy was Ikuo Yamamoto of Tomioka.

But in response to questions from The Asahi Shimbun, Yamamoto recalled the difficulties he faced with discussions about a final storage site for low-level radioactive waste from the Fukushima nuclear accident. 

“In my heart, I am opposed,” he said. 

But Yamamoto added that in general terms he understood that nuclear energy was effective in preventing global warming and was also instrumental at a time when fuel prices for thermal power generation were surging.

The mayors were also asked if they thought the Kishida administration had done an adequate job of explaining to the public why a move back toward nuclear energy was needed.

Thirty-one mayors said they felt either somewhat or totally negative about the government’s efforts. Even nine mayors who favored reverting back to nuclear energy felt the Kishida administration had done a poor job of explaining the reason for doing so.

(This article was written by Wataru Netsu, Shoko Rikimaru, Keitaro Fukuchi and Takemichi Nishibori.)

March 5, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , , , , | 1 Comment

Japan to Delay Ocean Dumping of Contaminated Waste Water from Fukushima

To delay but not to give up. One step backward to jump two steps forward at a later time…. Typical Japanese government shrewd tactics!

by John Laforge March 3, 2023

Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno announced in January that his government would delay its plan to pump over 1.37 million tons of watery radioactive waste into the Pacific Ocean from the devastated six-reactor complex at Fukushima-Daiichi. With the country facing harsh international pressure to cancel the dumping, Matsuno acknowledged “the need to gain public support,” for the plan, the Associated Press reported January 12. The wicked water is now being collected in large tanks that were hastily built near the wrecked reactors.

Fierce criticism of the deliberate pollution scheme has come from China, South Korea, other Pacific Rim countries, scientists, environmental groups, UN human rights experts, and the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), an alliance of 17 Pacific island nations. Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida also indicated that the government wants a postponement of the dumping operation — designed by the Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) — until it is “verifiably safe to do so,” Thomas Heaton reported February 16 for Civil Beat.

The PIF, independent states where according to Reuters up to half of the world’s tuna is sourced, was crucial in forcing Japan’s apparent retreat. The PIF warned that contaminating the Pacific could harm the fishing that its economies depend on. Mary Yamaguchi reported on January 12 for the AP: “Some scientists say the impact of long-term, low-dose exposure to tritium and other radionuclides on the environment and humans is still unknown and the release plan should be delayed. They say tritium affects humans more when it is consumed in fish.” A scientific expert panel assembled by the PIF urged a reconsideration of the dumping “because it was not supported by data and more information was needed,” Ken Buesseler, with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, said in January.

Japan announced in April 2021 that it would allow Tepco to pump the nearly 1.4 million tons of liquid radioactive waste into the public commons of the Pacific Ocean beginning in spring 2023. Tepco says it intends to dilute the material and pump it into the sea for the next 30 to 40 years using an underground tunnel now under construction. Media attention has focused on the tritium (radioactive hydrogen) in the wastewater which cannot be removed by Tepco’s (failed) filtering system and has generally ignored mention of the long-lived carbon-14 in the water, which likewise cannot be removed.

Often unreported about the plan is the failure of Tepco’s wastewater filer system, dubbed the “Advanced Liquid Processing System,” which has not removed the dozens of long-lived radioactive substances — including ruthenium, cobalt-60, strontium-90, cesium-137, and even plutonium – that the company said it would filter.

The water becomes radioactively contaminated (150 tons more every day) after being poured over hundreds of tons of melted, ferociously radioactive uranium — and in reactor #3 plutonium — fuel, the hot wreckage amassed deep inside the foundations of the three destroyed nuclear reactors, units 1, 2 and 3. All three suffered catastrophic meltdowns following the Great Tohoku Earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011. Some of the contaminated waste is groundwater that reaches the melted fuel after pouring through cracks in the reactors’ foundations caused by the earthquake. Dr. Buesseler Science magazine in 2020, “Many other isotopes are in those tanks still, and over 70 percent [of 1.37 million tons] would have to be cleaned up further before they might consider even releasing….”

Moreover, reactor 3 which was packed with “mixed oxide” fuel made of combined uranium and plutonium, suffered a huge hydrogen explosion at 11 a.m. on March 14, and Tepco announced that on March 21 and 22, in soil collected on the Fukushima site, plutonium was detected. Hydrogen explosions also caused severe damage to reactors 1 and 2, and to the waste fuel pool of reactor 4. (Three additional hydrogen explosions caused severe damage: to reactor 1 on March 11, and to reactor 2 and to the waste fuel pool of reactor 4 on March 15.)

In April 2021, Cindy Folkers, a radiation and health hazards specialist at Beyond Nuclear in Maryland, told Brett Wilkins of Common Dreams, “TEPCO data show that even twice-through filtration leaves the water 13.7 times more concentrated with hazardous tritium — radioactive hydrogen — than Japan’s allowable standard for ocean dumping, and about one million times higher than the concentration of natural tritium in Earth’s surface waters.”

Secretary Matsuno said in his January statement that the delayed dumping plan “includes enhanced efforts to ensure safety.” This vague reassurance comes from the same authorities that caused the triple meltdown and consequently the worst radioactive contamination of the Pacific Ocean in history; it follows two years of iron-clad declarations from Tepco and government regulators that contaminating the ocean will be safe. The plan to add more radioactive poisons to the Pacific in order to save money has also been approved by the U.S. government and the UN International Atomic Energy Agency.

John LaForge is a Co-director of Nukewatch, a peace and environmental justice group in Wisconsin, and edits its newsletter.


March 5, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , , , | Leave a comment

The Fukushima controversy.

A well written article. Dr Imran Khalid raises all the important points. Definitely a must read!

Dr Imran Khalid March 04, 2023

The world is watching Japan with bated breath as the country contemplates a controversial move to dump nuclear wastewater from its Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean. This decision has generated intense opposition from neighbouring countries, including China and the 17-member Pacific Islands Forum – turning what was once an “internal” issue into a global concern. The potential hazards posed by radioactive water to marine ecology and marine biology in the Pacific Ocean have now become a matter of global concern. Earlier this year, Japan announced plans to discharge over 1.3 million metric tons of contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean. This decision was met with serious concerns from stakeholders due to the potential for irretrievable damage to marine life. The nuclear waste is a product of the meltdown of the Daiichi nuclear reactors in March 2011. The disaster was caused by a massive earthquake, which triggered a tsunami that inundated the reactors. The resulting nuclear waste was being stored in around 1,000 tanks, which have been reaching their storage capacity limit. The decision to discharge this contaminated water into the ocean is a cause for concern for several reasons. Firstly, it has the potential to cause irreparable damage to the marine ecology and marine biology in the Pacific Ocean. The risk of contamination spreading beyond the Pacific Ocean also means that this issue is not just a local or regional one. It has the potential to impact global ecosystems and biodiversity. Radioactive contamination can have long-term effects on marine life, which could impact entire ecosystems. This could have knock-on effects that would be felt for years to come. Secondly, this decision sets a dangerous precedent that could lead to similar actions being taken in other parts of the world. Thirdly, there are concerns that the decision to discharge the contaminated water into the ocean has been taken unilaterally, without proper consultation with stakeholders. This raises questions about transparency and accountability, and it could undermine efforts to promote responsible environmental management practices. Safe and effective alternatives for disposing of water contaminated by nuclear material from the Fukushima nuclear power plant exist, including evaporation or underground storage. However, the Japanese government has chosen to discharge the water into the ocean, which is the “least expensive” but speedy solution. This decision suggests that Tokyo’s primary focus is not on preventing or minimising harm to human health and the environment.

Moreover, it is essential that there is proper consultation with stakeholders about the best way to manage this situation. This includes engaging with local communities and inhabitant groups in the Pacific Islands, who may have unique perspectives on the potential impacts of this decision. This issue highlights the importance of responsible environmental management practices and the need for greater transparency and accountability in decision-making processes. The decision to discharge contaminated water into the ocean has caused outrage among the international community. Ironically, Japan announced its plans to discharge the contaminated water into the ocean while the IAEA task force was about to visit Japan for a review. This decision has raised concerns about Japan’s transparency and accountability in addressing the issue. Proper consultation and engagement would ensure that all stakeholders are heard and that the most responsible and sustainable solution is chosen. This issue highlights the importance of responsible environmental management practices and the need for greater transparency and accountability in decision-making processes.

The lack of independent verification of data and evidence provided by Japan also raises concerns for the Pacific islands and international organisations regarding the dumping of nuclear wastewater into the ocean. Japan’s disregard for an opposition is a significant concern, as the lack of criticism from the US and the West emboldens Japan to ignore the concerns of its people and the international community. The delegation of the Pacific Island Forum (PIF) Secretariat recently met with Japanese officials to discuss Tokyo’s plan to release contaminated wastewater from the Fukushima nuclear power station. While Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs assures that the water has been treated to meet regulatory standards, Pacific Island countries are deeply concerned about the potential consequences of this release. The Pacific Islanders’ connection to the ocean is fundamental to their way of life. It has molded the cultural and historical essence of their communities, and there exists an indissoluble bond between the ocean. As a result, they feel a strong sense of guardianship over the Pacific Ocean and are rightfully alarmed by Japan’s plan to release contaminated water into it. The same is the case with China and South Korea who have been continuously pursuing this issue and putting all kinds of diplomatic pressure on Tokyo to desist from such a controversial step.

The potential long-term impacts on the marine environment and human health must be considered. Therefore, Japan must get the disposal of the Fukushima wastewater right. Pacific Islanders do not want the dumping of nuclear wastewater into the ocean to become the norm. Japan must take its reservations seriously, given that even its own fishing industry is deeply concerned about the current release plan.

March 5, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Scientists: Fukushima’s nuclear wastewater capable of producing cancers after release

A general view shows storage tanks for contaminated water at the Tokyo Electric Power Company’s (TEPCO) Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, in Okuma of Fukushima prefecture, January 20, 2023.

March 3, 2023

Treated nuclear wastewater from Japan’s damaged Fukushima power plant, which, if released into the Pacific Ocean as planned, will ultimately reach the High Seas, is “capable of producing cancers,” New Zealand scientists said on Friday.

Japan has planned to release treated nuclear wastewater from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean.

Jamie Quinton, head of the School of Natural Sciences, Massey University, said that in this original unprocessed wastewater, radioactive isotopes of concern were iodine-131 and caesium-137, and that they being used in nuclear medicine radiotherapy means that they have sufficient energy to cause cell death and mutation.

“In other words, they are capable of producing cancers,” Quinton said.

International law expert Duncan Currie addressed that Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS) treatment, at best, does not remove tritium, and there is next to no scientific information of the effects of tritium on the marine environment, including on different species.

Currie noted that the planned target in treating Fukushima nuclear wastewater is to remove other radioactive isotopes to “regulatory,” rather than detectable, levels.

Tests of ALPS treatment systems have not been encouraging, Currie said.

“There were several other radioactive products in the unprocessed water that is hazardous to live species and ecosystems. As organisms consume other organisms, more of these radioactive products accumulate in their bodies, which can, in turn, end up in humans. So these radioactive elements must be kept out of natural ecosystems as much as possible, especially the ocean,” Quinton said.

David Krofcheck, senior lecturer in Physics at the University of Auckland, agreed by saying the danger of indiscriminately releasing nuclear fission products into the ocean is that the products can find their way into the food chain.

“Once in the food chain, the long-lived nuclear fission heavy nuclei like cesium-137, strontium-90, and iodine-131 tend to concentrate in human muscle, bones, and thyroid, respectively. Cancers can be the result,” Krofcheck said.

New Zealand should be concerned over nuclear wastewater effects on the Pacific, Currie said, citing modeling that shows the movement of radioactive water to the North Pacific, including, for instance, through uptake in highly migratory fish and marine mammals.

Currently, an independent panel of global experts on nuclear issues is supporting Pacific Islands Forum nations in their consultations with Japan over its plans to discharge treated nuclear wastewater into the Pacific Ocean.

Quinton noted that if the release of wastewater into the ocean is to proceed, “getting the process correct and within regulations is of particular importance to Japan’s aquaculture-based industries.”

He said that it is in Japan’s economic interest to ensure that waterways remain below internationally acceptable levels for background radiation so that food safety is assured and their capacity for international trade remains unaffected.

March 5, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Ministry to delay trial on reusing Fukushima soil in Kanto areas

Residents in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Ward on Dec. 21 protest the Environment Ministry’s plan to reuse soil from Fukushima Prefecture at a site in Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden.

March 2, 2023

Local opposition has forced the Environment Ministry to delay the start of a trial on reusing soil that had been contaminated with radioactive fallout from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, sources said.

The ministry wanted to begin the trial within this fiscal year, which ends at the end of this month.

Under the plan, soil collected in Fukushima Prefecture during decontamination work following the triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant would be distributed to three sites in the Kanto region.

The government’s policy is to reuse the soil if its radioactivity level clears the safety threshold of 8,000 becquerels per kilogram to reduce the mountains of soil that will undergo final disposal.

As of the end of January, around 13.41 million cubic meters of soil had been transported to interim storage facilities in the towns of Okuma and Futaba in Fukushima Prefecture after decontamination work.

A law dictates that the soil must undergo final disposal outside Fukushima Prefecture by 2045.

Sites for the final disposal have not been decided.

The ministry decided to conduct the trial of reusing such soil on the premises of ministry-related facilities in Tokyo, Saitama Prefecture and Ibaraki Prefecture.

However, local residents expressed strong opposition to the plan at the ministry’s explanatory meetings in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Ward and Saitama Prefecture’s Tokorozawa in December.

In Tokorozawa, a neighborhood association consisting of residents living near the site of the trial adopted a resolution to oppose the plan.

The Tokorozawa mayor has also shown reluctance to accept the plan.

Asked if the ministry would go ahead with the trial despite the local opposition, an official at the ministry’s environmental restoration and resources circulation bureau said: “We will continue explaining the project by, for example, answering questions from local residents.

“We don’t plan to go through a process to gain an agreement with local residents about the project, so the ministry will make the final decision.”

Sources said the ministry has already decided to postpone the trial. It will continue holding explanatory meetings for residents in the three areas.

March 5, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima plant head: Too early to predict decommissioning

In this photo provided by the Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings (TEPCO), Akira Ono, President of Fukushima Daiichi Decontamination and Decommissioning Engineering Company, speaks during an online interview with the Associated Press in Tokyo, on March 1, 2023. The head of Japan’s tsunami-wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says details of the damages inside reactors are only beginning to unravel 12 years after the meltdowns, making it difficult to foresee what the place looks like even 30 years from now.

By MARI YAMAGUCHIMarch 3, 2023

In this photo provided by the Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings (TEPCO), Akira Ono, President of Fukushima Daiichi Decontamination and Decommissioning Engineering Company, speaks during an online interview with the Associated Press in Tokyo, on March 1, 2023. The head of Japan’s tsunami-wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says details of the damages inside reactors are only beginning to unravel 12 years after the meltdowns, making it difficult to foresee what the place looks like even 30 years from now. (TEPCO via AP)

TOKYO (AP) — The head of Japan’s wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant says details of the damage inside its reactors are only beginning to be known 12 years after it was hit by a massive earthquake and tsunami, making it difficult to foresee when or how its decommissioning will be completed.

The most pressing immediate task is to safely start releasing large amounts of treated but still radioactive water from the plant into the sea, Akira Ono said in an interview with The Associated Press.

The March 2011 earthquake and tsunami damaged cooling systems at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, causing three reactors to melt and release large amounts of radiation. The operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., has been able to stabilize the plant to the point where the company can better plan a decommissioning strategy, expected to be lengthy and exceedingly challenging.

“Going forward, we have to face unconceivably difficult work such as retrieving the melted debris” from inside the reactors, said Ono, who heads the plant and is president of Fukushima Daiichi Decontamination & Decommissioning Engineering Co.

Earlier this year, a remote-controlled underwater vehicle successfully collected a tiny sample from inside one of the three melted reactors — only a spoonful of about 880 tons of highly radioactive melted fuel and other debris that must be safely removed and stored.

The status of the debris in the primary containment chambers of the Unit 1, 2 and 3 reactors remains largely unknown, Ono said.

Removal of melted debris is set to start in Unit 2 sometime after September this year following a nearly two-year delay. The removal of spent fuel in the Unit 1 reactor’s cooling pool is set to begin in 2027 after a 10-year delay because of the need to dismantle parts of the building damaged by hydrogen explosions.

The plant should be ready for workers to finally concentrate on removing the melted debris from the reactors after all spent fuel is taken out of the cooling pools by 2031, Ono said.

The government is maintaining its original goal of completing the plant’s decommissioning by 2051. But some experts say removing all of the melted fuel debris by then is impossible and suggest a Chernobyl-style entombment of the plant, an option that could help reduce health risks while the plant’s radioactivity gradually decreases.

“I still consider this goal as a major guidepost,” Ono said. “We can’t say what will happen in 30 years. We can’t say, but roughly imagining the next 30 years, I believe that it is necessary to carefully and precisely build up the current plan in order to safely, steadily and quickly proceed with the decommissioning.”

Before that, however, the biggest issue is the disposal of large amounts of treated but still radioactive water from the plant, he said.

Water used to cool the three damaged reactors has leaked into the basements of the reactor buildings and has been collected and stored in about 1,000 tanks that cover much of the plant’s grounds.

The government and TEPCO say the tanks must be removed so facilities can be built for the plant’s decommissioning. The tanks are expected to reach their capacity of 1.37 million tons later this year.

Most of the radioactivity can be removed from the water during treatment, but tritium cannot be separated, and low levels of some other radionuclides also remain. The government and TEPCO say they will ensure the water’s radioactivity is far below legal limits and will dilute it with large amounts of seawater before its planned discharge into the ocean.

Local fishing communities have fiercely objected to the plan, saying their already damaged business will suffer more because of the negative image caused by the water release. Neighboring countries, including China and South Korea, and Pacific Island nations have also raised safety concerns.

TEPCO plans to finish construction of the facilities needed for the water discharge in the spring and then receive safety approval from nuclear regulators. A final inspection and report by an International Atomic Energy Agency mission are expected before the release begins.

The operator still needs to work on an “easy to understand” explanation and scientific evidence to help people understand the release, Ono said.

“The decommissioning of Fukushima Daiichi itself is based on the understanding and trust of everyone in society,” he said.

March 5, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , , , | Leave a comment

“I started prioritizing treatment over my dreams for the future”: Public testimony of a young woman diagnosed with thyroid cancer after Fukushima disaster 

by Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center · March 2, 2023

On January 27, 2022, a group of six young men and women from Fukushima Prefecture filed a class action lawsuit against Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), claiming that the thyroid cancer they had developed was linked to their exposure to radioactive contamination from the Fukushima nuclear disaster of 2011. The plaintiffs, who were aged 6 to 16 at the time of the disaster, are among the growing number of young people from Fukushima Prefecture who have been diagnosed with thyroid cancer or suspected thyroid cancer. According to the legal counsel, this rate of diagnosis—293 cases as of April 2022—is many tens of times higher than would be expected; pediatric thyroid cancer is very rare. Despite this, the Japanese government and TEPCO continue to deny the possibility of a causal connection between radiation exposure from the nuclear accident and rising cancer rates, instead claiming that an excess of cases has only been detected due to large-scale screening with advanced technology. For more detail and background on the 311 Children’s Thyroid Cancer Trial, read lead attorney Ido Kenichi’s statement here.

The first oral arguments were heard on March 26, 2022, at the Tokyo District Court. The following is the public testimony of one plaintiff, a young woman in her 20s, who was diagnosed with thyroid cancer when she was in high school. She describes the sobering trajectory of her life after diagnosis, from traumatic surgery and treatment to interrupted dreams of college graduation and employment. A recording of her testimony (in Japanese) can be heard on the website of Our Planet TV here.

Translated by Elicia Cousins

“It was my middle school graduation ceremony that day. “This is it, isn’t it!” My friends and I sat around chatting and taking lots of pictures with our digital cameras. I think it was snowing a bit at that time.

When the earthquake hit, I was video chatting with another friend about the graduation ceremony. At first, we casually noted that an earthquake was happening, but then the shaking suddenly got stronger and a ballpoint pen fell onto my head from somewhere. “Oh no!” (Yabai!) I heard someone say, and the call dropped.

My house is going to get crushed, I thought. The shaking continued for what felt like a hellishly long time.

I became aware of the nuclear accident when the actual explosion happened. I heard a rumor that radiation would turn the sky pink, but because that didn’t happen, I didn’t develop a sense of crisis.

March 16 was the day that that high school entrance exam results were posted. The trains were stopped because of the earthquake, so I heard the results at my middle school instead. I walked to school, and after seeing the results, I stood outside talking to my friend for a long time before walking back home again. I had no idea that radiation levels were very high that day.

My thyroid cancer was detected through the prefectural health survey.

I still have a very clear memory of the moment I found out. That day, I was wearing new clothes and sandals. My mom drove me to the examination.

There were several doctors involved in the examination process. Did the exam take a long time? Or was it quick? Now I’m not so sure. I can’t be certain, but I think that the moment the doctor took the ultrasound scan of my neck, their face clouded a bit. The examination was extensive.

People who had been called up after me were already finished with their exams. “You’re the only one who took longer,” my mom said. “Maybe you have cancer,” she joked as we left the venue. In that moment, I never suspected that I’d need a more detailed follow-up examination.

There were a lot of people at the hospital where I got my next examination. This time, I started to feel a bit uneasy. I got a blood test and another ultrasound. Something was wrong after all. Even I had realized that much. It was then decided that I’d need to do a fine needle aspiration cytology test. At that point, I was pretty sure that I had thyroid cancer.

In my case, the cluster of cells that needed to be sampled had hardened, so it was difficult to extract the sample. The terror of having a long needle going into my neck only grew, as did the feeling of just wanting to get it all over with. It finally worked after the third try.

Ten days later, the examination results came out. The results from that cytology test. Once again, there were a lot of people at the hospital. I found out that I had thyroid cancer.

But the doctor didn’t actually say that I had thyroid cancer, and instead told me in a roundabout way by explaining that I’d need surgery. I’ll never forget the shock of being told, “If you don’t get surgery, you’ll only live until age 23.”

The night before the surgery, I couldn’t sleep at all. I was filled with worry, and even though I felt like crying, there were no tears. But I thought, if this is what it will take to heal… so I went ahead with the surgery.

Things were way worse after the surgery.

When I came to, I felt fatigued and feverish. The anesthesia didn’t work well for me, I often threw up in the middle of the night, and I felt sick and nauseous. To this day, I can clearly remember how excruciating that experience was. I sometimes have nightmares about the surgery, hospitalization, and treatment.

After the surgery, my voice was gone, and I could hardly speak for three months.

I ended up enrolling at a university in a neighboring prefecture rather than my top choice school in Tokyo, partly because my family was worried about my illness. But I couldn’t even go to that school for very long, because my thyroid cancer came back.

The recurrence was detected at the very first health checkup I had after enrolling in college, and I had no choice but to quit. I hadn’t healed after all. And the cancer has even metastasized to my lungs. The feelings were unbearable. I didn’t heal. I didn’t know where to channel my emotions. This time, I really might not be able to live much longer, I thought.

Since I now knew how difficult surgery was, I became depressed thinking about having to go through it all over again. The second surgery ended up taking longer than expected, and because the cancer had metastasized to my lymph nodes quite a bit, the cut on my neck got bigger.

Once again, the anesthesia didn’t sit well with me and I threw up in the middle of the night. Having to suction phlegm out of my chest was particularly painful. After the second surgery I lost all sensation around my clavicle, and it still feels strange whenever I touch that area.

I’ve had people say some shockingly heartless things about my surgical scars. Like when someone asked if they were the result of a suicide attempt. People have said things that never would have crossed my mind. These surgical scars will never go away. Now I always pick clothing that will cover them up.

After the surgery, I had to get isotope treatment for the lesions caused by the lung metastasis. This is a treatment where you take concentrated radioactive iodine pills in order to expose the cancer cells to radiation.

I did outpatient treatment for the first and second round. For this treatment, since you’re ingesting radioactive iodine, you end up becoming an exposure risk to the people around you. After I got my dosage at the hospital I’d go home and isolate myself, but I was worried about exposing my family to radiation. I drank the iodine twice, but the cancer didn’t go away.

For the third round I needed to take a larger amount of iodine, so I had to stay at the hospital. My room at the hospital was at the end of a long, white hallway and through several doors. There were yellow and red signs pasted everywhere, warning of radiation. It was a hazardous area despite being inside a hospital. As for the room itself, you can only bring in previously approved items. That’s because anything you bring in becomes contaminated.

Nurses don’t come into that hospital room. The doctor just comes in once a day to do an examination. I felt bad that the doctor had to come in knowing that they’d be exposed to radiation. I didn’t want anyone to have to sacrifice themselves because of me.

Two or three doctors came into my room with the medicine. The medicine was in a cylindrical plastic case.

Drinking the medicine was a race with time. One doctor took the white capsule out with tweezers, placed it in a paper cup, and handed it to me.

They then immediately left the room, closing the lead door behind them and then instructing me through the speakerphone to drink the medicine. I quickly gulped down the medicine with some water.

After I swallowed, they checked the inside of my mouth through the door. They then held a radiation-monitoring device over my stomach to confirm that the capsule got there, and then I was instructed to lay down on the bed. The doctor then told me over the speakerphone to change the orientation of my body every 15 minutes.

As for food, I was first shown a meal on the TV screen in order to make sure that I could eat all of it without leaving anything on my plate. They didn’t want to give me any more than I could eat, so as to minimize the amount of contaminated waste.

That night, a wave of nausea suddenly came over me. I felt so sick. The feeling wouldn’t go away so I panicked and pressed the button to call the nurse, but the nurse didn’t come. I thought I’d better not throw up on the bed, so I rushed to the bathroom.

When I later told the nurse that I’d thrown up, they just prescribed some anti-nausea medicine. By then it was already past 2am, and I couldn’t sleep very well.

The next day onward, I completely lost my appetite, and I usually had them bring me just medicine and not meals. I threw up once or twice on the second day too.

Until then, I’d almost never thrown up in my life. I ended up bursting a blood vessel in my eye because of the strain of throwing up, and my eye became bright red. Through the door, the nurse checked my condition, and prescribed some eye drops.

I felt sick for the rest of the time I spent in that room. I was just waiting for the time to pass.

In that room, there was a square radiation monitoring device attached to the wall near the ceiling. It looked like an air conditioner. On the bottom right of the device was a display window that would show the radiation measurement. When I stepped closer to it, the number would shoot up, and when I stepped away the number would go down again.

I spent three days like this, and finally it became time to leave. I had to throw away everything I’d been wearing, like my pajamas, into a garbage can made of lead. I changed into the clothes I’d stored in a locker, opened the lead door, and walked with the nurse down the long hallway and through multiple doors.

After this treatment, one of the side effects I had to deal with was that I couldn’t produce saliva normally. It became difficult to swallow food with a low water content, and my sense of taste changed.

That hospitalization experience was the harshest yet. I don’t want to have to go through it again.

I went through such a painful experience, and yet the treatment didn’t work that well. It didn’t do what it was supposed to, and I ended up feeling like it was all a waste. Before, I was motivated to get treatment with the assumption that it would cure me. Now, I just think, I hope this treatment at least slows down the progression of my illness.

After becoming ill, I’ve started prioritizing cancer treatment over my dreams for the future. Because of treatment, I’ve given up on everything—college, the studies I’d been focusing on in order to pursue the career I wanted, and even going to concerts I’d been so excited for.

Of course, I didn’t actually want to give up on college. I wanted to graduate. I wanted to graduate and start working in a field I’m good at. I wanted to do the job hunt process (shukatsu) as a new graduate. I wanted to be carefree and chat with my friends, asking each other, “how was shukatsu?” I wanted to experience college life. These are all dreams that didn’t come true, and it’s hard to let them go.

The friends I went to middle and high school with have already graduated college, started working, and are leading stable new lives. I can’t help but look at them with envy. It’s hard, because I don’t want to feel this sort of resentment toward them.

It’s painful to see medical students at the hospital who are about the same age as me. I end up thinking, I should be a college student too.

Every time I go to the hospital, I think, I hope the tumor marker value hasn’t gone up. But lately, the value is higher every time, and I get crushed—what did I do wrong? Why is the number higher?

My overall health has been declining, and I struggle with sore shoulders, lower back pain, fatigue, and hands and feet that quickly go numb. I’m not sure if it’s because of the excessive amount of medicine I have to take, but I sometimes get heart palpitations or feel like I’m suffocating. The area of my neck where I got surgery also cramps very easily, and when that happens, I have to just endure the pain until it subsides.

I feel bad whenever I think about how much I’ve burdened my family and how much I’ve made them worry because of my illness. I don’t want to cause them any more pain.

I want to return to my old body. But as much as I pray for that, I will never get it back.  Through this trial, I hope that thyroid cancer patients are able to get proper compensation.”


March 5, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , | Leave a comment

Is Fukushima’s processed nuclear-contaminated water truly safe?

By Deng Zijun and Xu Zihe Published: Feb 27, 2023

Radioactive water generated by Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear plant 1.37 million tons.

It is still increasing at a rate of more than 100 tons per day.

About 70% of the treated water stored in tanks still exceeds regulatory standards and needs re-purification, according to Tokyo Electric Power Co.

Some radionuclides in the water cannot be fully removed by treatment.

March 5, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Fighting for Earth

Feb 28, 2023

South Korean civil groups gather in Seoul to protest Japan’s plan of dumping Fukushima nuclear-contaminated wastewater into the sea on February 28, 2023. The South Korean government has expressed its concerns over the potential release of radiation-contaminated water from the Fukushima plant into South Korean waters.

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How long will Fukushima’s nuclear-contaminated water affect the world?

Feb 28, 2023

The contaminated water may contain large amounts of radioactive carbon-14 and other radioactive isotopes. It takes tens or even hundreds of thousands of years for some atomic isotopes to decay.

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Japan’s Fukushima wastewater to reach Taiwan waters in 1.5 years

Japan set to release treated wastewater this spring or summer

March 1, 2023

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The treated radioactive water from Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant is expected to arrive in Taiwan’s waters in 1.5 years after its planned discharge this spring or summer, said a Taiwanese official.

The Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings (TEPCO) has implemented infrastructure for the wastewater release since last August and is likely to begin the work in the summer, said Atomic Energy Council Minister Chang Ching-wen (張靜文) at a legislative briefing on Wednesday (March 1).

A small portion of radionuclides could enter waters around Taiwan after the water’s discharge in one to one and a half years, Chang estimated, depending on the influence of seasonal winds and ocean currents.

The official said the council has ramped up data collection from Japanese authorities and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which monitors the activities and conducts safety assessments, to get a better grasp of the environmental impact of the move, wrote CNA.

Additionally, the council has put in place a laboratory for tritium detection, the first of its kind in Taiwan, which will examine to what extent fish and other marine life around the country’s waters are affected by the health hazard.

Tritium, a potential carcinogen at high levels, is a byproduct of nuclear power generation and has caused concerns over the fact that it cannot be removed with TEPCO’s treatment technologies. TEPCO has managed to reduce the levels of more than 60 isotopes in the water to meet standards, per AP.

Up to 1.3 million tons of treated nuclear wastewater will be dumped into the sea as the 1,000 tanks storing the water are reaching their maximum capacity in the aftermath of the meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi reactors in 2011.

March 5, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , , , | Leave a comment

The Government is “Preparing to Discharge Treated Water into the Ocean,” Despite Fishermen’s Declaration of Opposition… What is the Current Situation Surrounding the “Spring to Summer” Target?

February 26, 2023
At the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, preparations for the ocean discharge of treated wastewater are steadily advancing, and the construction of facilities is nearing its final stage. The government plans to begin discharging the water “around this spring or summer. The government and TEPCO have promised the Fukushima Prefectural Fisheries Federation that they will not discharge the water into the ocean without the understanding of the concerned parties, but it is still unclear how they will determine whether they have gained their understanding. The process is proceeding haphazardly, with the understanding that there will be a “release of radioactive materials. (The TEPCO is expected to complete the construction work by June.)

◆TEPCO plans to finish the work by June.

Construction is going well. At a press conference on August 22, Akira Ono, chief executive officer of TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Decommissioning Promotion Company, explained in an unaffected tone.
 TEPCO began construction of the facilities in August of last year. On August 14, TEPCO completed digging a hole in the seafloor at the discharge point about 1 km offshore, installing a reinforced concrete discharge port, and backfilling the hole. The digging of the undersea tunnel connecting to the discharge port began at the seaward site of Units 5 and 6 and was completed to approximately 830 meters. Work is also progressing on a water tank to be installed along the seafront to temporarily store treated water before discharge, as well as laying pipes to carry treated water from the tank area to the seaward side. TEPCO plans to complete all construction work by June.
 On April 14, TEPCO submitted a revised discharge plan to the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA), which includes details on the measurement of radiation levels before discharge. The procedures up to the release of radioactive materials are also being finalized.

◆Government to spend 80 billion yen on measures for fishermen and TV commercials
 The government is also hurrying preparations, creating a 50 billion yen fund for fishermen in a supplementary budget for FY2022. The fund is intended to support the continuation of the fishing industry and is targeted at fishermen nationwide. The FY 2009 supplementary budget also includes a 30 billion yen fund to purchase fishery products in the event of harmful rumors, for a total of 80 billion yen to be invested in measures for fishermen.
 In December of last year, the company began TV commercials to promote the fact that the tritium concentration in the treated water to be discharged into the ocean is lower than the government’s effluent standard. At a cabinet meeting held in January of this year, a target of starting the discharge of tritium from spring to summer was clearly stated, saying, “The menu necessary to ensure safety and to counter rumors has been prepared.

◆There is no prospect of gaining the necessary “understanding of all concerned parties.

However, it remains to be seen whether the actual release of radioactive materials will be possible. In 2003, the government and TEPCO promised in writing to the Fukushima Prefectural Federation of Fishermen’s Associations that “no disposal (ocean discharge) will take place without the understanding of all concerned parties. The National Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, in its chairman’s statement last November in response to the establishment of a 50 billion yen fund, praised the commitment, saying that it “was taken seriously as an effort to build a relationship of trust,” but also warned that “this alone will not ensure the fishermen’s understanding.
 Immediately after the cabinet meeting in January of this year, at which the timing of the release was outlined, the chairman issued a statement saying, “Our opposition to ocean discharge has not changed in the slightest,” thus maintaining his stance of opposition.
 The government and TEPCO officials simply stated that they would “continue to explain the situation to foster understanding,” and no further answers were given at the meeting held on January 25. It cannot be said that the fishermen “understand” the situation, yet they refuse to change their stance on releasing the water.

 Processed water at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Contaminated water generated during the cooling of melted-down nuclear fuel (debris) in Units 1-3 is purified and treated in the “Advanced Landfill Processor (ALPS). Tritium, a radioactive substance, could not be removed and remains in the water. Contaminated water is generated when cooling water to the reactors comes in contact with debris, and the amount increases when mixed with groundwater and rainwater that flows into the buildings. Currently, approximately 100 tons per day is generated, and the amount of treated water in storage was approximately 1,320,000 tons as of March 16. Including water in progress, 96% of the tank capacity has been filled.
 According to the government and TEPCO’s plan, a large amount of seawater will be mixed with the treated water to reduce the tritium concentration to less than 1/40th of the national effluent standard, and then the water will be discharged from the seafloor about 1 km offshore.

March 5, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , , , | Leave a comment

Displaced Fukushima Resident Deplores Nuclear Polluted Water Dumping Plan

February 26, 2023

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Deaf ear ill befits bid for Japan’s global status: China Daily editorial

February 27, 2023

Should Japan discharge nuclear waste water from its crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean? This is a question for the international community as a whole to answer, the islands in the Pacific Ocean in particular, not just the Japanese government.

The decision to dump the contaminated water into the ocean is not just a domestic issue of Japan when there is potential danger that the radioactive water may cause lasting damage to the marine ecology and marine resources all over the world.

Earlier this year, Japan unilaterally announced that it would start discharging the radioactive water in spring or summer, just before the International Atomic Energy Agency’s task force arrives in Japan for a review.

There are alternative ways to dispose of the nuclear contaminated water rather than just dumping it in the sea, which is an irresponsible choice by the Japanese government, cheap for Japan but expensive for the world. That is what has made the international community so outraged, as dumping such a large amount of nuclear waste water into the ocean is not the only feasible way to solve the problem.

Rather than taking into consideration the possible serious consequences dumping the toxic water into the ocean may cause the marine environment, which will hurt the fisheries the Pacific island countries rely on, and heeding the calls of the international community to reconsider its decision, the Japanese government is stubbornly rushing ahead regardless.

Given that related data and evidence provided by Japan are far from independent or verified, Pacific islands and international organizations have enough reasons to voice their concern about the matter and their opposition to what the Japanese government has decided to do.

Erring on the side of caution is essential in this matter, as it will be too late when the dumped nuclear wastewater causes serious damage to the marine ecology worldwide. It is more than necessary for the Japanese government to think twice about its decision to dump the water into the Pacific Ocean. It should heed the concerns of the Pacific island countries and the rest of the international community.

Japan should seek as much assistance as possible from other countries to find a safer means of disposing of the radioactive water in a cost-effective manner. Japan needs to take a global and long-term perspective on this matter and dispose of the water in a way that causes the least environmental impact, so as to set a good example and precedent for dealing with similar nuclear accidents elsewhere. If so, what Japan has done can be a contribution to humanity.

March 5, 2023 Posted by | Fuk 2023 | , , , | Leave a comment