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Fukushima Daiichi Reactor 2: new investigation

Tepco has just released the results of an investigation made in the containment of reactor 2. Nothing really new, apart from a found assembly element, we are waiting for radioactivity measurements now.
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A new 10-hour investigation was conducted in the Fukuishima Daiichi reactor 2 containment enclosure, according to a report released by Tepco on January 19, 2018. However, Tepco does not indicate the date of the operation. The images and measurements were taken using a 13 meter probe with a camera. TEPCO will only broadcast the radioactivity measurements later.
 
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Photo: an assembly element was found
 
 
According to this document, TEPCO gives two main informations:
– The entire bottom of the base of the reactor base is covered with deposits of sandy and clay.
– Some fuel assembly components have fallen to the base of the reactor base and are considered fuel debris.
 
 
As usual, Tepco does not use the word “corium”. It does not speak more about the radioactive environment of the place which is lethal (a last year made measure at this place was 530 Sieverts) but promises to return soon. I will update this page when the information falls.
 
 
The deposit of sandy and clay types is what is at the bottom of the enclosure and which had already been spotted last year around the pedestal. This vase prevents a clear view of the bottom of the enclosure because the slightest movement of the camera, the water is troubled.
 
 
For the first time, Tepco discloses a diagram showing the inside of the reactor pedestal. We see :
– an upper platform, which was already known, which allows access to control rods located just below the reactor vessel. This, according to the February 2017 report, is pierced with a hole 5 meters in diameter. It is the mass of the corium coming from the tank during the meltdown that made this hole.
– an intermediate platform that Tepco claims has not been piereced (but the diagram does not show it in full)
– An annular lower platform bordering the wall of the pedestal, which Tepco also claims that it has no hole. But, same remark, the diagram shows only half.
 
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The piece of assembly that emerges very clearly from a pile of various materials is an upper tie plate. It is surmounted by a bar (“bail handle”), a kind of handle for moving the assembly using an articulated arm. This photo makes it possible to deduce that at least one whole assembly has passed through the tank, which implies that the tank has a hole of at least the width of an assembly (approximately 50 cm). The probe has certainly taken pictures of this hole but Tepco do not release them.

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Type of assembly element found on the lower platform of the No. 2 reactor pedestal.
 
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This element is the upper part that we see for example in these assemblies of the reactor pool
 
Toshiba’s probe, during its presentation in Yokohama, December 22, 2017. The telescopic arm carries a panoramic camera.
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Here are the photos of the interior of the BR2 containment building released by Tepco on January 19, 2018:
 
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Here are some pages from the report on the same date:
 
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Tepco’s full report of 19 January 2018

[pdf] HANDOUTS_180119_01-E

Source : http://www.fukushima-blog.com/2018/01/reacteur-2-de-fukushima-daiichi-nouvelle-investigation.html

Special thanks to Pierre Fetet of the Fukushima Blog

Translation Hervé Courtois (Dun Renard)

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January 21, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , , | Leave a comment

Insufficient testing will mean playing radiation roulette for the consumers

Fukushima Pref. to stop blanket radiation checks on rice, start random testing
 
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A woman, left foreground, participates in a tour to experience the blanket screening of Fukushima-produced rice for any radioactive materials.
 
FUKUSHIMA — The Fukushima Prefectural Government will halt blanket radiation screening of rice produced in the nuclear disaster-hit prefecture in favor of random checks as early as 2020, it has been learned.
Testing all of the prefecture’s annual rice output of some 10 million bags costs 6 billion yen a year. Meanwhile, no cases of rice exceeding the government-set limit of 100 becquerels of radioactive cesium per kilogram have been found in the past three years, according to the prefectural government. However, blanket testing will continue for the time being in areas once subject to evacuation orders in the wake of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant disaster.
The prefecture set up a panel comprising officials from Japan Agricultural Cooperatives (JA) and consumer group members in July last year to discuss the inspection system. The prefectural government presented the plan to curtail the rice screening on Jan. 18, which was largely agreed to by the panel, and is set to finalize the plan shortly. Random testing has already been introduced for Fukushima Prefecture vegetables and fruits.
When the blanket screening on Fukushima rice began in 2012, there were 71 bags of rice produced that year with radioactive cesium levels exceeding the national limit, accounting for 0.0007 percent of all bags, according to the prefectural government. After natural attenuation of cesium and farmers’ soil management progressed, there were no cases of bags exceeding the limit from 2015 onward, while 99.99 percent of bags dipped under the minimum detection limit of 25 becquerels of cesium per kilogram.
In response, the prefectural government determined that it would be appropriate to switch to random screening after a two- to three-year preparatory period.
As areas where evacuation orders have been lifted are still working to resume rice farming, blanket screening will remain in place in those areas until enough data has been accumulated to guarantee product safety. Farmers who grow rice for their own consumption can have it tested upon their request.
The prefectural government has footed some 5 billion yen of the some 6 billion yen a year needed for the blanket screening, and has demanded plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. pay the same amount in compensation. The remaining 1 billion yen has been subsidized by the central government.
Fears remain among farmers and distributers, though, over whether the current image of Fukushima rice as “safe as it has been screened” would change to “dangerous unless tested” under the new screening policy.
“I want authorities to come up with ways that allow everyone to feel at ease eating Fukushima rice,” said Hitoshi Saito, 62, a farmer from Date, Fukushima Prefecture. Saito went on to question “how consumers will feel” about the scaling back on the inspection system.
In a questionnaire conducted by the prefectural government last year, 40 percent of farmers in Fukushima requested more efficient screening on locally produced rice, while another 40 percent demanded that blanket testing continue. Ten percent said no screening was necessary.
Shin Nagamine, 43, a farmer from the town of Aizubange, hailed the new policy, but added, “It’s unknown whether consumers will accept it in terms of ‘safety.’ I want the central and prefectural governments to get the word out to the whole country the fact that Fukushima rice is safe and secure.”
Fukushima to scale back rice radiation checks
Fukushima Prefectural Government plans to scale back radiation checks on rice harvested in the prefecture.
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FUKUSHIMA – Fukushima Prefectural Government plans to scale back radiation checks on rice harvested in the prefecture, officials said Thursday.
The prefectural government is considering switching to sample tests, from blanket checks on all bags, within a few years for rice produced in areas not close to Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, the officials said.
But some farmers have sought to keep the full checks in place. The prefectural government aims to make a final decision by the end of March.
Blanket radiation checks began in 2012 following the triple meltdown at the nuclear plant in March 2011.
From the 2012 harvest 71 bags of rice had levels of radiation that exceeded the safety limit, which is set at 100 becquerels per kilogram.
But the number has since declined, and no such bags were found between 2015 and 2017. Taking the results into consideration, the prefectural government has been reviewing the test method to reduce costs and manpower.

January 21, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , | Leave a comment

TEPCO claims to have found ‘fuel debris’ in No. 2 reactor

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TEPCO finds ‘fuel debris’ in No. 2 reactor
 
The operator of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says it has found what looks like fuel debris in the plant’s No. 2 reactor.
The nuclear accident occurred in March, 2011.
 
Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, on Friday looked inside the containment vessel of the No. 2 reactor.
 
TEPCO confirmed, for the first time, the existence of chunks that are believed to be a mixture of melted nuclear fuel and parts of bindings.
 
The company plans to determine how to remove the debris based on the results of the investigation.
 

January 19, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , | Leave a comment

Is Japan ready to trust Tepco with nuclear power again?

The nuclear operator has been granted permission to restart two of its reactors on the Sea of Japan coast, revenues from which it needs to offset massive compensation payments stemming from the Fukushima disaster
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Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Station.
At a quiet end-of-year meeting, Japan’s nuclear power regulators recently gave the Tokyo Electric Power Co. (Tepco) official permission to restart two of its nuclear reactors on the Sea of Japan coast – reactors which have been idle for the better part of ten years.
This was not the first time the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) had approved a restart – it has okayed 12 reactors, owned by four utilities, since coming into being in 2013. But it was the first time the authorities had openly questioned a utility’s competence to operate a reactor – any reactor.
The authority added “eligibility” to its list of concerns – meaning Tepco’s eligibility to run a nuclear plant. “Tepco is different from other power companies,” said former chairman Shunichi Tanaka.
Tepco isn’t just any utility. It owned and operated the four reactors destroyed in the March 11, 2011 “triple disaster” of earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown in Fukushima prefecture. It also owns seven undamaged reactors on the opposite side of Japan, which it desperately wants to begin producing power – and revenue – to offset its enormous liabilities.
The nuclear authority’s actions are the first approvals it has extended to operators of boiling water reactors, or BWRs – the same type of reactor that suffered multiple meltdowns in the Fukushima accident. BWRs also have some safety concerns that are unique to them. About half of Japan’s 40-odd currently-operable nuclear power plants are BWRs.
The seven Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plants on the Sea of Japan coast constitute the largest commercial nuclear power complex in the world. Each is capable of producing enough electricity to light up a small city. They were shut down after the 2007 earthquake and then shut down again after 3/11.
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Signs from an anti-nuclear protest against the Japanese government in Tokyo.
 
Tepco’s management is eager – to say the least – to get at least the two reactors (Units 6 and 7) approved and on-line in order to produce revenues that will offset the massive compensation payments stemming from the disaster, and to cover the cost of imported fossil fuels.
Returning at least two reactors to operations would yield about 200 billion yen (US$1.8 billion) in added revenues. It has been a part of the utility’s business plan almost from the time of the accident, without much expectation – until late last month – that it could be realized.
Tepco’s President Tomoaki Kobayakawa testified before the authority several times last summer, reassuring the commissioners of Tepco’s commitment to safety. He also said he would see the decommissioning of the Fukushima plants “through to the end.”
He turned the question of competence around by insisting that his utility needs the revenue from operating the two K-K plants so that it can fulfill its responsibilities to the Fukushima safety and decommissioning project.
“It seems Tepco’s response on competency is to shift the focus to ‘financial competency,’” said Caitlin Stronell of the Citizens Nuclear Information Center. In any event, the authority seemed persuaded enough to give a green light to a restart, despite the lingering fears from the Fukushima disaster.
Tepco says approximately 6,000 staff and contract workers are laboring at the Kashiwazaki plant, or almost as many workers as are employed in the decommissioning activities at Fukushima. Among other safety features, they have erected a 50 meter-high seawall to guard against future tsunamis.
Hydrogen re-combiners have been installed to prevent a repeat of the hydrogen explosions that rocked the Fukushima Daiichi units. They have also stored 20,000 tons of water in a nearby hilltop reservoir to provide cooling water using gravity, rather than diesel pumps, to keep cores from melting in any loss-of-coolant accident.
Tepco’s operations on the Sea of Japan were compromised in 2007, when the site was hit by the Chuetsu Earthquake measuring 6.7 on the Richter Scale.
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That earthquake caused relatively little structural damage and never came close to a Fukushima-style meltdown. However, it was discovered that the severity of the quake exceeded the design criteria, which resulted in a lengthy shutdown for all seven reactors as Tepco struggled to meet stricter rules.
The utility was in the process of bringing three reactors back on-line when the Great East Japan Earthquake struck in March 2011, putting the big seven out of operation once again and eventually shutting down all of Japan’s commercial reactors.
Successive governors of Niigata prefecture have taken a very cautious position on restarting any of the K-K plants. Three-term Governor Hirohiko Izumida always maintained that he would not approve any restart until the exact causes of the Fukushima disaster are fully known. His recently elected successor, Ryuichi Yomeyama, has the same policy.
This will continue to be an issue for Tepco, for in this area of policy, the national government follows the advice of the governor.

January 18, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , | Leave a comment

Airborne radiation near Fukushima nuke plant still far higher than gov’t max

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In this July 27, 2017 file photo, contaminated water storage tanks are seen on the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant grounds, in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture.
 
Airborne radiation in “difficult to return” zones around the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant was as high as around 8.48 microsieverts per hour as of summer last year, according to data presented by the government nuclear watchdog on Jan. 17.
The Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) released the results of the July-September 2017 measurements at a regular meeting on the day. The highest reading was taken in Futaba, Fukushima Prefecture — one of the municipalities hosting the Fukushima No. 1 plant.
Following the March 2011 triple meltdown, the government set a long-term radiation exposure limit of 1 millisievert per year, which breaks down to an hourly airborne radiation dose of 0.23 microsieverts.
The NRA took airborne radiation readings in the Fukushima Prefecture towns of Futaba, Okuma, Namie and Tomioka, and the village of Katsurao. The highest reading registered in the previous year’s survey was 8.89 microsieverts per hour, in Katsurao.
Some of the NRA members at the Jan. 17 meeting pointed to study results showing that human exposure doses are relatively small compared to airborne doses. Regarding the calculation that an annual dose of 1 millisievert is equivalent to hourly exposure of 0.23 microsieverts, NRA Chairman Toyoshi Fuketa stated, “That was decided right at the start of the nuclear disaster, so it can’t be helped that it’s a cautious number.” He added, “If we don’t revise (that calculation) properly, it could hinder evacuees’ return home.”

January 18, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , | 1 Comment

Tepco to resume attempt to probe damaged reactor at Fukushima No. 1 plant

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The operator of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant has said it will resume late this week a survey of the crippled No. 2 reactor using a telescopic arm, hoping to obtain images of melted nuclear fuel.
In Friday’s survey, Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. aims to investigate the area beneath the reactor’s pressure vessel, through which nuclear fuel is believed to have melted. The step is needed to help develop a plan for removing the fuel for the ultimate decommissioning of the plant.
Tepco, in announcing the move on Monday, said it will insert a 13-meter long pipe at the bottom of the pressure vessel and then deploy a camera at the tip of the pipe to film the bottom of the outer primary containment vessel, where fuel is believed to have accumulated.
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The device will also measure the temperature and radioactivity levels in the area. The survey is expected to take one day.
In January last year, an inserted camera with a limited view captured possible melted fuel in the interior of the No. 2 reactor.
The following month, Tepco attempted a survey using a scorpion-shaped robot inside the unit, but the effort ended in failure due to a technical flaw.
Nearly seven years after the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that wrecked the plant, details of the damage to the reactors remain largely unknown due to high levels of radiation.
Reactors 1, 2 and 3 at the four-reactor plant suffered core meltdowns due to a loss of cooling water in the world’s worst nuclear crisis since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

January 18, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , | Leave a comment

Bike Project to Bring Tourists Back to Fukushima

In case you are interested, don’t forget to bring with you a good protective mask to stop you from inhaling radioactive nano particles….
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Can this bike project bring tourists back to Fukushima?
(CNN) — It’s been over six years since the northeast coast of Japan’s Honshu island was hit by a devastating earthquake, leading to a deadly tsunami and nuclear disaster.
The hardest hit of all the affected prefectures, Fukushima is still fighting to lure tourists back to its beautiful natural landscapes.
Among the locals helping revive the local travel industry is Jun Yamadera, founder of bike share company Fukushima Wheel, based in the prefecture’s capital of the same name.
“In the year of 2011, we have almost no people,” says Yamadera. “It really hurt my feelings. That’s my main motivation to start this project.”
Like other bike share systems, Fukushima Wheel encourages citizens and tourists to explore the city on a shared bicycle. But there’s so much more to the project.
It also serves as a cost-effective way to collect big data from the city through citizen science. An environmental sensor has been mounted on each bike, measuring data such as radiation levels, temperature, air pollution and more.
The wheels are equipped with LED displays that can be customized to show advertisements.
The project also comes with a complementing smartphone app that doubles as a city guide, offering points-of-interest and discounts to the venues around you. It also measures how much you’ve exercised and carbon emissions.
Fukushima Wheel is still in development stage but it has already received enthusiastic praises from media and tech fairs around the world.

January 18, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , | Leave a comment

Should GE’s Mark 1 Nuclear Reactor Be Recalled Worldwide Like a Faulty Unsafe Automobile?

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The following news piece represents the fifth in a 15-part mini-series titled, Nuclear Power in Our World Today, featuring nuclear authority, engineer and whistleblower Arnie Gundersen. The EnviroNews USA special encompasses a wide span of topics, ranging from Manhattan-era madness to the continuously-unfolding crisis on the ground at Fukushima Daiichi in eastern Japan. The transcript is as follows:

Josh Cunnings (Narrator): Good evening and thanks for joining us at the EnviroNews USA news desk for the fifth segment in our 15-part mini series, Nuclear Power in Our World Today. In our previous episodes, we explored several Manhattan-era messes in the United States, but tonight, we begin by discussing the troublesome situation on the ground at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant on Japan’s eastern coast.

Now, if you trace Japan’s troubles back far enough, then once again, you’re going to find yourself right back here in the good old U S of A — in the state of California — during the 1970s — with General Electric at the helm.

The project that we’re referring to was the development of the Mark 1 boiling water nuclear reactor — the very same model which melted entirely in units 1, 2 and 3 at Fukushima.

Now, when it comes to people who are qualified to talk about the many issues and problems surrounding the Mark 1, few could be more capable than former nuclear reactor operator and engineer Arnie Gundersen. As a matter of fact, the distinguished expert is all too familiar with the ins and outs of the design.

So, without further ado, here’s another excerpt from this simply fantastic interview with Arnie Gundersen by EnviroNews USA Editor-in-Chief Emerson Urry. Take a listen.

Urry: And so speaking about these reactors and the technical components — you were actually involved with the Mark 1. And I remember reading that some of the engineers that worked on that project had resigned way back then in 1972, yet General Electric was still apparently willing to pimp this reactor out essentially, all over the planet. What can you tell us about the Mark 1 reactor, and your understanding of what happened back then with these engineers, and how General Electric has been able to spread this reactor to all corners of the globe, with really no consequence. We saw Greenpeace had started a petition to make General Electric and Hitachi, and maybe a couple others of the service providers, actually pay for the damage there, but has there been any culpability? [Editor’s Note: Urry intended to say “1976” not “1972” in this passage]

Gundersen: Fukushima Daiichi has four units — one, two, three, four — and they’re all Mark 1 designs. In addition, there’s another 35 in the world, including 23 here in America, that are the same design. A group of three engineers quit General Electric in 1976 because they realized the design was not safe. Two of the three are still alive and living here in California, and they are my personal heroes. They understood before any of us did how seriously we really didn’t understand what it was that the engineers were doing.

Excerpt From Greenpeace Video With Dale Bridenbaugh

Bridenbaugh: My boss said to me, that if we have to shut down all of these Mark 1 plants, it will probably mean the end of GE’s nuclear business forever.

I started with GE immediately after I got out of college as a mechanical engineer, and I started out as a field engineer responsible for supervising the construction and startup of power plant equipment across the United States.

In the first ten or fifteen plants that GE sold of the large-scale commercial boiling water reactors, they did so on what’s called a “turnkey” basis. They built the whole thing, get it operating, and then they turn the key over to the utility, and the utility then is theoretically capable of operating it to produce electricity.

Fukushima 1 was basically a turnkey plant provided to TEPCO by GE. In 1975 the problem developed that became known at the Mark 1 plants — the some 24 Mark 1 units in the United States, and also those overseas, including the Fukushima units — had not taken into account all of the pressures and forces that are called hydrodynamic loads that could be experienced by the pressure suppression units as a result of a major accident. We didn’t really know if the containments would be able to contain the event that they were supposedly designed to contain.

Not only were there the containment problems that existed with the Mark 1s, which I was very familiar with, but there were a number of other problems with the GE boiling water reactors and with the nuclear program in general. And I got disillusioned with the speed with which these problems were being addressed, and then in the middle of the night I called my boss at GE and I said, “My recommendation is that we tell the U.S. utilities that GE cannot support the continued operation of these plants.” And my boss said to me, “Well, it can’t be that bad Dale, and keep in mind that if we have to shut down all of these Mark 1 plants it will probably mean the end of GE’s nuclear business forever.” That conversation occurred at about midnight on January 26, and that clinched my decision on resignation on February 2.

The accident that occurred in Fukushima, it’s some two years later now, and we don’t really know the condition of the reactor core; we don’t really know the condition of the containment. The radiation levels are so high inside the containment that it’s very difficult to get in there. It will be years before that plant site is cleaned up.

The damage that has been experienced at Fukushima is so great and so extensive that I don’t think any one utility, certainly TEPCO, has the capability to be able to pay for all of that. So, it becomes a national issue. I think it would be a good idea to not have reliance on nuclear units. They’re very risky enterprises. And I would like to see a world that is provided with electricity by alternative energy supplies.

Gundersen: When Maggie [Gundersen] and I were walking one day in February [a month] before the [Fukushima] accident, she said to me, “Where is the next accident going to be?” And I said, “I don’t know where, but I know it’s going to be in a Mark 1 reactor.” And, I’m not alone. It’s not like I was clairvoyant. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission had a report that they published in 1982, and they said there was an 85 percent chance, if there was a meltdown in a Mark 1 reactor, that the containment would explode. The writing was on the wall.

Urry: How many of these things are still out there in operation today?

Gundersen: In the U.S., all 23 continue to run, and as a matter of fact, the staff of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission recommended some pretty substantial improvements, and the politically appointed commissioners, who have no nuclear background, overrode the staff and said, “no, we’re not going to do those changes.” So, the Commission has been actively involved in thwarting the safety improvements that everybody knows are needed.

Script for General Electric Television Commercial

Voice of Child Narrator: My mom, she makes underwater fans that are powered by the moon. My mom makes airplane engines that can talk. My mom makes hospitals you can hold in your hand. My mom can print amazing things, right from her computer. My mom makes trains that are friends with trees. My mom works at GE.

Cunnings: If GE, a company that successfully weaseled its way out of paying any taxes whatsoever in the U.S. wants to boast night and day on the mainstream media airwaves — the same mainstream media which it once nearly monopolized — that it “brings good things to life” and makes “underwater fans that are powered by the moon” and locomotives that “talk to trees” perhaps the company should also bother to mention its own manufacture and sales of faulty nuclear power reactors that quite frankly, bring good things to an early death.

Oh, and by the way, the company not only builds the reactors that breed uranium into plutonium for bombs, oh no, its role goes much deeper. In fact, GE is in the business of manufacturing the actual bombs too. “We bring good things to life.” Seriously? Let’s get real.

Documentary Film Trailer for Deadly Deception: General Electric, Nuclear Weapons and Our Environment

Narrator: The Hanford Nuclear Reservation, a massive 570-square-mile facility, where General Electric made plutonium for the U.S. military.

Subject #1: I began loosing my hair, which I had long naturally curly hair.

Narrator: [Of] 28 families who lived in a small area near Hanford, 27 of them had suffered severe health problems.

Subject #1: … and the physician said that I had the most severe case of hypothyroidism he’d ever seen in his career…

Narrator: … all of which are associated with exposure to high doses of radiation.

Subject #2: We took twice the amount that the Children of Chernobyl took. There was absolutely no warning. They came and said, “You’re safe.”

Narrator: According to the business press, General Electric is the most powerful company in the United States, and GE is rapidly expanding its control of markets worldwide.

Subject #3: I’d like to wake Jack Welch up in the middle of his atomic power lab; let him explain why their husbands died of cancer related to the asbestos.

Subject #4: I find their ads disgusting. I find that ad disgusting.

Narrator: Four million individuals and 450 organizations in the U.S., Canada and around the world, have decided to join the GE boycott.

Subject #4: Are you asking us to clean up your toxic waste again!?

Subject #5: What GE does is not bring good things to life. They mislead the American public.

Subject #6: General Electric is in this business of building weapons for profit — not for patriotism, not for the country, not for the flag, but for profit.

Ronald Reagan: Until next week then, good night for General Electric.

Excerpt from Fairewinds Associates Video, Featuring Arnie Gundersen on the GE Mark 1 Reactor

Gundersen: This picture of a boiling water reactor containment is taken in the early 70s. It was taken at Browns Ferry [Nuclear Plant], but it’s identical to the Fukushima reactors. Now, let me walk you through that as I talk about it.

There are two pieces to the containment, the top looks like an upside down light bulb, and that’s called a “drywell.” Inside there is where the nuclear reactor is. Down below is this thing that looks like a doughnut, and that’s called the “torus,” and that’s filled almost all the way with water. The theory is that if the reactor breaks, steam will shoot out through the light bulb into the doughnut, creating lots of bubbles, which will reduce the pressure. Well, this thing’s called a “pressure suppression containment.” Now, at the bottom of that picture is the lid for the containment. When it’s fully assembled, that lid sits on top. The containment’s about an inch thick. Inside it is the nuclear reactor that’s about eight inches thick, and we’ll get to that in a minute.

Well, this reactor containment was designed in the early 70s, late 60s, and by 1972 a lot of people had concerns with the containment. So, in the early 70s, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission recognized this containment design was flawed. In the mid-70s, they realized the forces were in the wrong direction; instead of down, they were up, and large straps were put into place.

Well, then in the 80s, there was another problem that developed. After Three Mile Island engineers began to realize that this containment could explode from a hydrogen buildup. That hadn’t been factored into the design in the 70s either. Well, what they came up with for this particular containment was a vent in the side of it.

Now, a vent is designed to let the pressure out, and a containment is designed to keep the pressure in. So, rather than contain this radioactivity, engineers realized that if the containment were to survive an explosion they’d have to open a hole in the side of it called a “containment vent.”

Well, these vents were added in the late 1980s. And they weren’t added because the Nuclear Regulatory Commission demanded it. What the industry did to avoid that was create an initiative and they put them in voluntarily. Now, that sounds really proactive, but in fact, it wasn’t. If the Nuclear Regulatory Commission required it, it would have opened up the license on these plants to citizens and scientists who had concerns. Well, by having the industry voluntarily put these vents in it did two things: One, it did not allow any public participation in the process to see if they were safe. And the second thing is that it didn’t allow the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to look at these vents and say they were safety related. In fact, it sidetracked the process entirely.

Well, these vents were never tested until Fukushima. This containment was never tested until Fukushima. And it failed three times out of three tries. In retrospect, we shouldn’t be surprised.

Looking at the procedures for opening these vents, in the event electricity fails, requires someone fully clad in radiation gear to go down to an enormous valve in the bowels of the plant and turn the crank 200 times to open it. Now, can you imagine, in the middle of a nuclear accident, with steam and explosions and radiation, expecting an employee to go into the plant and turn a valve 200 times to open it?

So, that was the second Band-Aid fix that failed, on a containment that 40 years earlier, was designed too small.

Well, with all this in mind, I think we really need to ask the question: should the Mark 1 containment even be allowed to continue to operate? The NRC’s position is: well, we can make the vents stronger. I don’t think that’s a good idea.

Now, all those issues that I just talked about are related to the Mark 1 containment. The next thing I’d like to talk about is the reactor that sits inside that containment. So, that light bulb and that doughnut are the containment structure; inside that is where the nuclear reactor is.

Now, on a boiling water reactor, the nuclear control rods come in at the bottom; on a pressurized water reactor they come in from the top. All of the reactors at Fukushima, and 35 in the world in this design, have control rods that come in from the bottom. Now, that poses a unique problem and an important difference that the NRC is not looking at right now.

If the core melts in a pressurized water reactor, there’s no holes in the bottom of the nuclear reactor, and it’s a very thick eight to 10-inch piece of metal that the nuclear reactor core would have to melt through. But that didn’t happen at Fukushima.

Fukushima was a boiling water reactor; it’s got holes in the bottom. Now, when the nuclear core lies on the bottom of a boiling water reactor like Fukushima, or the ones in the U.S., or others in Japan, it’s easier for the core to melt through because of those 60 holes in the bottom of the reactor. It doesn’t have to melt through eight inches of steel. It just has to melt through a very thin-walled pipe and scoot out the hole in the bottom of the nuclear reactor. I’m not the only one to recognize that holes at the bottom of a boiling water reactor are a problem.

Last week an email came out that was written by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission right after the Fukushima accident, where they recognize that if there’s a core meltdown, and it’s now lying as a blob on the bottom of the nuclear reactor, these holes in the bottom of the reactor form channels, through which the hot molten fuel can get out a lot easier and a lot quicker than the thick pressurized water reactor design. Now, this is a flaw in any boiling water reactor, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is not recognizing that the likelihood of melting through a boiling water reactor like Fukushima, is a lot more significant than the likelihood of melting through a pressurized water reactor.

The third area is an area we’ve discussed in-depth in a previous video, and that’s that the explosion at Unit 3 was a detonation, not a deflagration. It has to do with the speed of the shockwave. The shockwave at Unit 3 traveled faster than the speed of sound, and that’s an important distinction that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and the entire nuclear industry, is not looking at.

A containment can’t withstand a shockwave that travels faster than the speed of sound. Yet, all containments are designed assuming that doesn’t happen. At Fukushima 3 it did happen, and we need to understand how it happened and mitigate against it in the future on all reactors.

Now, I measured that. I scaled the size of the building versus the speed at which the explosion occurred, and I can determine that that shockwave traveled at around 1,000 feet per second. The speed of sound is around 600 feet per second. So, it traveled at supersonic speeds that can cause dramatic damage to a containment. They’re not designed to handle it. Yet, the NRC is not looking at that. [Editor’s Note: Gundersen intended to say “miles per hour,” not “feet per second” in this video.]

So, we’ve got three key areas where the NRC, and the nuclear industry, don’t want people to look, and that’s: 1) should this Mark 1 containment even be allowed to continue to operate?

Cunnings: In America, when a vehicle, or even a part in a vehicle, is deemed unsafe for the population at large, the government forces automakers into costly and multi-billion dollar recalls — and the mainstream media does its part by shaming those culprit companies, relentlessly beating them to a bloody pulp for their negligence and their reckless endangerment of innocent American citizens.

The Mark 1 nuclear reactor is an extremely outdated model with obvious design flaws. Apparently, it has so many problems, that as Mr. Gundersen pointed out, three of the engineers who originally designed it ended up resigning because they knew it wasn’t safe — and that was well before Three Mile Island or Chernobyl ever happened — long before the public had experienced the fright, and health consequences of a full-scale nuclear meltdown.

Surely, after the triple meltdowns at Fukushima, Japan, it appears the Mark 1 is far from safe, yet here in the U.S., the government continues to let operators drive this faulty nuclear vehicle down the road — knowing full well that it could fall apart and crash, harming, or even killing innocent Americans at any time.

Perhaps the government should consider holding nuke-plant manufacturers, like GE, to the same standards it demands from automakers, and punish them with shameful recalls when they market a piece of faulty equipment that poses any danger to the public.

So, just what would a recall of the Mark 1 nuclear reactor look like, and who would issue or enforce it? The Nuclear Regulatory Commission? And how could enough political will ever be mustered for such a massive undertaking? It would surely cost more than any auto recall ever has, but frankly, who should give a damn (except for General Electric’s shareholders of course)? I mean, if it ain’t safe, then it just ain’t safe mate. Besides, after paying zero taxes, GE’s pockets should be plenty deep enough to handle such an event — right? The concept of an all-out recall on the antiquated General Electric Mark 1 reactor is one that we will continue to explore. As a matter of fact, in tomorrow’s show, we’ll discuss the problems with the Mark 1 a little further.

Tune in then for episode six in our series of short films, Nuclear Power in Our World Today, with esteemed expert and whistleblower Arnie Gundersen.

Signing off for now — Josh Cunnings — EnviroNews USA.

Source:
Should GE’s Mark 1 Nuclear Reactor Be Recalled Worldwide Like a Faulty Unsafe Automobile?
Related articles:
Fukushima: Mark 1 Nuclear Reactor Design Caused GE Scientist To Quit In Protest
Experts Had Long Criticized Potential Weakness in Design of Stricken Reactor
23 GE-Designed Reactors in in 13 states Similar to Japan’s

January 18, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018, Reference, safety | , | Leave a comment

Radioactive debris + methane deadly balloon near Soma elementary school

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From Oz Yo January 1, 2018
Haramachi ward, Soma City ~ 50km north of Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant: radioactively contaminated vegetation stored in plastic bags piled up and covered by a tarp. When the organic matter decays it produces methane which has in this case built up inside the well-sealed tarp. There’s an elementary school just beyond this … hopefully no children, or ignorant/reckless adults, will be tempted to ‘experiment’ with this deadly balloon.

 

January 18, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , | Leave a comment

An assessment on the environmental contamination caused by the Fukushima accident

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Highlights

Different mechanisms of the release of the radionuclides into the atmosphere and cooling water.

Atmospheric releases mainly governed by the volatility of the radionuclides.

Significant releases of long-lived radionuclides including 137Cs and 90Sr into the cooling water.

Abstract

The radiological releases from the damaged fuel to the atmosphere and into the cooling water in the Fukushima Daiich Nuclear Power Plant (FDNPP) accident are investigated. Atmospheric releases to the land and ocean mostly occurred during the first week after the accident whereas continuous release from the damaged fuel into the cooling water resulted in an accumulation of contaminated water in the plant during last six years. An evaluation of measurement data and analytical model for the release of radionuclides indicated that atmospheric releases were mainly governed by the volatility of the radionuclides. Using the measurement data on the contaminated water, the mechanism for the release of long-lived radionuclides into the cooling water was analyzed. It was found that the radioactivity concentrations of 90Sr in the contaminated water in the Primary Containment Vessel (PCV) of unit 2 and unit 3 were consistently higher than that of 137Cs and the radioactivity concentration of 90Sr in the turbine building of unit 1 in year 2015 was higher than that in year 2011. It was also observed that the radioactivity concentration of long-lived radionuclides in the contaminated water in the FDNPP is still high even in year 2015. The activity ratio of 238Pu/239+240Pu for the contaminated water was in the range of 1.7–5.4, which was significantly different from the ratios from the soil samples representing the atmospheric releases of FDNPP. It is concluded that the release mechanisms into the atmosphere and cooling water are clearly different and there has been significant amount of long-lived radionuclides released into the contaminated water.

January 16, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima Will Go Down in History As the Biggest Coverup

The cover-up of the effects of the Fukushima nuclear disaster is disgusting.
To deny the existing dangers to people’s lives in the name of  reconstruction is criminal and not a solution to those real existing dangers. Misinformation is their science. Deception is their art.
They worship at the altar of the Japanese Yen.
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5 more minors in Fukushima Pref. at time of nuclear accident diagnosed with thyroid cancer
FUKUSHIMA — Five more people in Fukushima Prefecture who were 18 and under at the time of the 2011 nuclear accident were diagnosed with thyroid cancer as of the end of September this year, a prefectural investigative commission announced at a Dec. 25 meeting.
Fukushima Prefecture established the commission to examine the health of residents after the March 2011 triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. A total of 159 Fukushima prefectural residents who were aged 18 and under when the meltdowns occurred have now been diagnosed with thyroid cancer.
The commission stated on Dec. 25 that “it is difficult to think the cases are related to radiation exposure” from the disaster.
Unify efforts to spread accurate information about Fukushima Pref.
To accelerate the reconstruction of Fukushima Prefecture, where an accident occurred at a nuclear power plant, it is vital to have active, concerted efforts by the government.
The Reconstruction Agency has compiled a strategy of eradicating misconceptions and reinforcing risk-related communication regarding the post-disaster reconstruction of Fukushima. It will serve as a basic policy for the ministries and agencies involved with transmitting information, both at home and abroad, concerning the current state of Fukushima as well as its appeal.
Previously, the ministries and agencies dealt with individual problems through a sort of symptomatic treatment. It is hard to say that the agency, which is supposed to unify assistance to the affected areas, functioned sufficiently in taking measures against the damage wrought by misconceptions. With the ministries and agencies concerned coordinating under the same strategy, it is hoped that tangible results can be achieved.
Three points have been put forth as major pillars of the strategy: get people to know; get people to eat; and get people to come.
The strategy is based on the current situation in which biases and discrimination against Fukushima still remain. It is important for people to accurately understand the current situation on the basis of scientific data.
With regard to “getting people to know” Fukushima, measures will be taken to disseminate a correct understanding about radiation in the prefecture.
Messages to be transmitted via TV and the internet will convey such objective facts as: radiation exists in our daily life; the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant differs from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident; and radiation is not infectious.
Visiting is most effective
It will also be explained that the amount of radiation in the prefecture has declined to a level almost identical to that of other prefectures, except in the vicinity of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.
Bullying of schoolchildren who evacuated the prefecture also cannot be overlooked.
Through the strategy, revisions will be made to a supplementary reader on radiation for primary, junior high and high school students across the country. Training for teachers and board of education staff will also be increased. To protect children, it is first vital for teachers to correctly understand the effects and characteristics of radiation.
In “getting people to eat” Fukushima products, measures will be taken to tout the safety of agricultural and marine products produced in Fukushima. The current circumstances, in which products reach the market after undergoing strict inspection, will be conveyed to people.
Although nearly seven years have passed since the accident, these products are not priced in line with their quality. The per kilogram price of peaches grown in 2016 was ¥115 lower than the national average. The peaches were a popular product before the nuclear accident, thanks to such factors as Fukushima’s relative proximity to the Tokyo metropolitan area.
Countries such as South Korea still restrict the import of Fukushima products. The government, for its part, should tenaciously appeal to these countries to scrap their restrictions.
“Getting people to come” to Fukushima is also important. The impact on local tourism still remains. While the country’s tourism industry is thriving thanks to a surge in foreign visitors to Japan, the number of tourists to Fukushima hovers at about 90 percent of what it was before the accident.
Through the strategy, efforts will be made to transmit images that convey a positive impression of Fukushima through the internet and other mediums. A large number of people actually visiting Fukushima and understanding what it’s like — that can be considered the most effective measure against the problem of misconceptions.
Fukushima dairy farmers look to large-scale ‘reconstruction farms’ to revive battered industry
Dairy farmers in Fukushima Prefecture plan to build what they call “reconstruction farms” by fiscal 2020 as part of efforts to boost the industry in the areas tainted by the 2011 nuclear disaster.
The Fukushima Dairy Farmers’ Cooperative, their industry body, is eyeing three locations for the new farms — Minamisoma’s Odaka Ward, the town of Kawamata’s Yamakiya district and the village of Iitate — which residents were forced to flee after the triple core meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 power plant.
The envisaged farms would host a combined 1,600 cows for milk production and also host a research and development hub for cutting-edge biotechnology, according to people familiar with the plan.
The introduction of milking robots for mass production is one of the key features of the plan. The dairy farmers will also tie up with Zenrakuren, the industry’s nationwide body, to improve R&D, the people said.
Under the plan, Minamisoma would raise some 1,000 cows, Kawamata would take care of 200 to 300 and Iitate 350. The Minamisoma site would become a mass distribution center with a cold storage facility for produced milk.
Other facilities to be built for the farms include a production center for nutrient-rich cattle feed and a research center for fertilized eggs. They will work toward producing high-quality breeds — not only milk cows but also wagyu.
The people familiar with the plan emphasized the benefits of scale that would result by combining the operations of each dairy farmer and minimizing the running costs. That would help stabilize their business, they said.
Last year, cattle feed production facilities started up in Minamisoma and Kawamata, with another in Iitate soon to follow suit to supply the new farms, they said.
Cooperation with academic circles is also within the scope of the new project. Fukushima University will offer a new course on related studies from April 2019, and the dairy farmers hope that cooperating with the university will help foster a new generation of human resources for the industry.
Minamisoma plans to build lodgings for students and researchers, including those from Fukushima University and other institutions from across the country. Dairy farmers who want to experiment with new business methods would also be welcome.
The cost of building the farms is estimated at around ¥12 billion. The Fukushima Prefectural Government is negotiating with the municipalities involved in the project and plans to make use of a central government subsidy for reconstruction projects.
According to the Fukushima Dairy Farmers’ Cooperative, large-scale farming is seen as the key to the industry’s future as the population grays, leaving farms with a lack of successors.
Within Fukushima, milk producers are aging fast, and slashing production costs is the top priority. Even if there are young dairy farmers with aspirations, there aren’t enough opportunities for them to start up, the cooperative said.
It also hopes that running large-scale farms with cutting-edge R&D functions would give consumers peace of mind about product safety by accurately grasping data related to radiation in milk and pasture grass.
In 2015, the Fukushima cooperative launched the prototype for a large-scale support base for local farmers in the city of Fukushima. But Minoru Munakata, the head of the cooperative, said the business environment remains harsh.
“We hope running mass-scale farms will lead to cutting costs. We will work to make it a success,” he said.

January 16, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Regulator urges release of treated Fukushima radioactive water into sea

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The chief of Japan’s nuclear regulator said Thursday water at the crisis-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant that contains radioactive tritium even after being treated should be released into the sea after dilution.
“We will face a new challenge if a decision (about the release) is not made within this year,” Nuclear Regulation Authority Chairman Toyoshi Fuketa told a local mayor, referring to the more than 1 million tons of coolant water and groundwater that has accumulated at the facility crippled by the 2011 disaster triggered by a devastating quake and tsunami.
As local fishermen are worried about the negative impact from the water discharge, the Japanese government and Fukushima plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. have not made a final decision on the treated water, which is currently stored in tanks.
In his meeting with Yukiei Matsumoto, mayor of Naraha town near the Fukushima plant, Fuketa said, “It is scientifically clear that there will be no influence to marine products or to the environment” following the water release.
The nuclear regulator chief underlined the need for the government and Tepco to quickly make a decision, saying, “It will take two or three years to prepare for the water release into the sea.”
At the Fukushima plant, toxic water is building up partly because groundwater is seeping into the reactor buildings to mix with water made radioactive in the process of cooling the damaged reactors.
Such contaminated water is treated to remove radioactive materials but tritium, a radioactive substance considered relatively harmless to humans, remains in the filtered water as it is difficult to separate even after passing through a treatment process.
At other nuclear power plants, tritium-containing water is routinely dumped into the sea after it is diluted. The regulator has been calling for the release of the water after diluting it to a density lower than standards set by law.
With limited storage space for water tanks, observers warn tritium could start leaking from the Fukushima plant.
On March 11, 2011, tsunami inundated the six-reactor plant, located on ground 10 meters above sea level, and flooded the power supply facilities.
Reactor cooling systems were crippled and the Nos. 1 to 3 reactors suffered fuel meltdowns in the world’s worst nuclear catastrophe since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

January 11, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Experts doubt lifting of Japan food ban

Concerns linger about imports from nuclear radiation area
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Quarantine officers inspect king crabs imported from Japan in Taicang, East China’s Jiangsu Province in December 2016.
The curbs on imports of Japanese food produced in areas hit by the country’s nuclear crisis will not be easily relaxed or lifted, and Chinese consumers won’t accept such imports given food safety concerns, experts said.
 
The comments came after reports in the Japanese media said that China will probably relax import restrictions on Japanese food that were put in place after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, signaling an improvement in relations between the two countries.
 
A report by Kyodo News Agency on January 1 said that China has proposed talks with Japan on whether to ease or lift an import ban on food from 10 prefectures imposed after the meltdown at the Fukushima No.1 nuclear plant, citing related diplomatic sources.
 
China has offered to set up a working group to discuss the matter in response to a request by a group of Japanese lawmakers led by Toshihiro Nikai, secretary-general of Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party, who visited Beijing and held talks with the Chinese side about relaxing import restrictions on December 29, 2017, said the Kyodo report.
 
It also noted that Zhi Shuping, head of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ), China’s quality watchdog, made the proposal when he met with Nikai that day.
 
The AQSIQ banned imports of food produced in 10 prefectures in Japan including Miyagi, Nagano and Fukushima in 2011, amid fears of radiation contamination following the disaster.
 
The quality watchdog did not reply to a request for comment from the Global Times as of press time. Neither has any official statement from the Japanese side been released.
 
The Kyodo report said the talks were “a sign that the governments of the two countries are looking for ways to mend ties as they mark [in 2018] the 40th anniversary of the signing of the treaty of peace and friendship between Japan and China.”
 
But this view was seen as overly optimistic by some Chinese experts.
 
Chen Zilei, deputy director of the National Association for the Japanese Economy, told the Global Times on Wednesday that the beginning of such talks does not mean an easing or lifting of the ban is imminent.
 
“The beginning of negotiations might signal an improvement in bilateral relations, but we have our own supervision standards and requirements for imported goods, which will not be changed,” Chen said.
 
Besides, Japan needs to publicize the accident-related information in a more open and transparent way in order to address the concerns, Chen said, adding that this would be a prerequisite for carrying out the negotiations.
 
“It is also Japan’s obligation to the international community,” he noted.
 
Many countries and regions, including China, the US, South Korea, Singapore and the EU, have curbed imports of food products from areas near the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant over fears of potential contamination, although some have recently eased their restrictions.
 
The EU has decided to ease import restrictions on Japan’s farm and marine products, including rice, the Japan Times reported in November.
 
Consumers’ concern
 
Ruan Guangfeng, director of the science and technology department at the China Food Information Center, told the Global Times on Wednesday that the radiation in the areas near Fukushima has returned to the level before the disaster happened, according to the related data.
 
“Even if the import ban is lifted, consumers do not need to worry too much, as the import checks will only be stricter,” Ruan noted.
 
However, not all consumers will draw confidence from the scientific conclusion, according to Zhu Danpeng, a food industry analyst.
 
“In terms of the industrial side, there is no big problem based on the efforts of the Japanese government as well as the long time it has taken to restore the situation. However, it is the consumer end, which takes up 80 percent of the importance in the food industry, that plays the key role,” Zhu told the Global Times on Wednesday.
 
“Most consumers have a psychological barrier against accepting food from the nuclear radiation areas,” Zhu said, noting that Japanese seafood has not been very popular in the Chinese market over the past two years, partly due to increasing competition from products from countries such as Denmark, Norway and Canada.
 
“Friends around me have declined to eat any Japanese seafood since the accident took place since you cannot tell whether it is from the radiation-stricken area or not,” he said.
 

January 11, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , , | Leave a comment

China must exercise caution in lifting ban on import of Japanese food

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According to Kyodo News Agency, China and Japan recently held talks on whether to ease or lift the ban on food imports from 10 Japanese prefectures imposed after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, with the Chinese government offering to set up a working group on the issue. There has been no official confirmation from the Chinese side.
 
The earthquake, which rocked Japan in March, 2011, caused a radiation leak from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station after which the Chinese government immediately banned food from Japanese prefectures surrounding the facility. Neither Beijing nor Tokyo has released any statement on lifting the ban, yet the Kyodo News Agency report attracted wide attention.
 
Since Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe returned to power in late 2012, rebuilding people’s confidence in affected areas both at home and abroad has become his major task. During the lower house election in 2014, Abe tasted grilled fish in Fukushima. When Britain’s Prince William visited Japan in 2015, Abe invited him to visit Fukushima and enjoy local food with ingredients from local producers. Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono brought Fukushima peach juice to British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson during his visit to the UK in December 2017.
 
The Abe administration has been proactively promoting the safety of Fukushima food on public occasions, with little success. According to research revealed by the NHK Broadcasting Culture Research Institute in 2016, many people are feeling more anxious about radiation in Fukushima. According to Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, China, the US, Russia, South Korea, Singapore and other countries have kept their bans on importing food produced in some regions or sometimes from the whole country. This has been an awkward reality for Abe’s administration.
 
It remains to be seen whether the working group will be eventually established. But it is an indisputable fact that Abe’s administration has repeatedly requested the Chinese government to lift the ban on food imports over the past few years. For example, during the agricultural vice-ministerial meeting in Beijing in 2016, the Japanese side had hoped that China will remove food import restrictions. However, China did not give any specific reply. When Toshihiro Nikai, secretary general of Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party, visited Beijing in December last year, he also expressed his wish of easing the import ban to the head of China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine.
 
It can be argued that China is Japan’s primary destination for food exports from affected areas including Fukushima. This is not only because China has a huge market, but also because any Chinese move will be likely followed by other Asian countries.
 
With recent improvements in Sino-Japanese ties, the possibility of setting up a special working group cannot be ruled out. However, even if the group is established, Beijing may not completely lift import restrictions on Japanese food. On the one hand, the key to lifting the ban lies in whether food products from Japan can meet Chinese standards. On the other, Chinese people’s doubts over the food in the affected areas also play a crucial role. Even if imported food from Japan’s disaster-affected region passed Chinese tests, it is not very likely to appear on Chinese dining tables given the distrust of the Chinese public.
 
China and Japan are lately cooperating in a number of fields including economy and politics. Import and export of agricultural products is a vital link in the cooperation trail. According to a Xinhua report in March, some food from Japan’s affected areas was flowing to China via e-commerce platforms, posing a severe safety risk to Chinese consumers. Therefore, when it comes to lifting the ban on food from disaster affected areas, China should exercise caution. Political interaction is important, but people’s well-being is above all.
By Chen Yang Source:Global Times Published
The author is a PhD candidate at the Graduate School of Sociology at Toyo University.

January 9, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , , | Leave a comment

NUCLEAR MIGRANTS

By Cécile Asanuma-Brice,
Researcher in urban sociology,
Franco-Japanese Institute Tokyo UMIFRE 19-CNRS /
CLERSE Laboratory, University Lille 1-CNRS
 
Translation Hervé Courtois & Kingsley Osborn
 
The explosion of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant on 11 March 2011 caused serious radioactive contamination that forced tens of thousands of people to flee their homes. Because this proves the impossibility of managing a nuclear accident, the refuge is not desired by the national authorities who opted for a nuclear action, nor by the international authorities. At first the authorities provided aid and shelter, but all aid was interrupted in April 2017 at the same time as the reopening of part of the former evacuation zone in order to force the migrants to return to life in the contaminated territories.
 
Chapter breakdown
– Summary
– A morning like any other
– The effects of resilience
– This new earthquake revives anger
– Despite common sense, the return to the former evacuation zone organized by the authorities takes place
– What is the real situation?
– Progress, and life: what science is entitled to question
 
 
We can not finish counting the years of what we have too quickly called the “after” Fukushima , however we might wish it, as the ‘’after’’ hour has not yet come. The situation has never stopped deteriorating. The insolvable problems are still too numerous on the nuclear plant site for one to evoke an “after” which would suggest a resolved situation allowing a new beginning. While information on the subject is scarce, and attempts to respond to a self-appeasing desire under the approval of the international authorities in charge of the issue by propagating the magic formula of “everything is fine”, in fact this is not the truth. Far from being “under control”, the management of this disaster resulting in the destruction of 40% of the prefecture’s landscape continues its course, showing every day the human inability to contain the nuclear disaster. After so many years, the corium [1] of reactors 1, 2, and 3 have still not been detected. The only information we have is that they are no longer in the tanks. More than 800 tons of highly radioactive material has escaped from its confinement to penetrate the groundwater. The position of the material cannot even be pinpointed precisely because of a high level of radioactivity preventing humans, and even robots, from approaching it. The coriums must be permanently cooled, during all these years, by more than 300 tons of water [2] which daily become contaminated in contact with the radioactive material. This highly contaminated water is in turn stored in tanks around the reactors, nearly one million cubic meters stored at present. Authorities regularly announce dumping some of the water in the sea because of the inability to store all the liquid. No solution has yet been found at this barrel of Danaides, subject to human management and its mistakes. Thus, in December 2016 the injection of cooling water into the reactor 3 was suspended inadvertently…
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Figure 1. Map of the distribution of contamination in Bq / m² (Source: Japanese Ministry of Education and Research, September 2011. Translation and adaptation: Cécile Asanuma-Brice, Géoconfluences, 2017.)
 
 
It is not without surprise that we see the ardor of international organizations, as well as the Japanese government, wanting to force home the people who fled in the aftermath of the March 11, 2011 disaster, generating waves of migrations towards the south of the country, most generally towards the urbanized zones. More than six years after the explosion of the plant, and present more than ever on this rural territory, the members of the institutions engaged in the nuclear world [3], engage in “humanitarian work” in defense of peasants at risk, praising the benefits of resilience (Asanuma-Brice, 2015), pointing out the sufferings of becoming refugee and the health consequences of the stress in the face of the disaster, while however at the same time displaying an agnostic attitude to the epidemiological results now showing more than 184 children under 18 as having to be operated on for cancer of the thyroid out of a limited sample of 270,500 people [4]. This point, taboo in political and scientific institutional circles, is nevertheless fundamental, because it is this assessment that determines the protection policies to be implemented, or not, in the event of an accident. If the explosion of a nuclear power plant and the dispersion of the isotopes it contains are not dangerous for health and for life as a whole ,then why? Why leave in the event of an explosion? Why evacuate the populations whose community life destroyed? Why spend so much money decontaminating? Why the need to create specific research centers on radio-protection since it would be useless to protect oneself from it? And finally, why use these same harmless isotopes to achieve the ultimate weapon of destruction that is brandished in the face of the world at every diplomatic tension? In short, we need to restore consistency in our discourse and analysis. If the inhabitants of Fukushima have taken refuge, or have been evacuated (even if the evacuation organized by the administration was very late) it is because there is a real danger which we all know, scientists, military and citizens.
 
Our critical position as an urbanist is to propose in this text an assessment of the migratory situation and measures developed for the control of population movements, especially through housing policies, but also through attempts to revive the local economy in Fukushima six years after the disaster. Our analysis presents the results of studies carried out on the psychological effects of policies compelling residents to return to the territories of the former evacuation zone while the situation is still unstable, and we question the motivations behind the political will to return populations to areas still contaminated.
 
For six years now, we have been going to the scene of the disaster every month to follow as closely as possible not only the protection policies or management implemented by the various administrative bodies, but also by the populations themselves. Follow-up was done by regular queries, in the form of interviews, at the various temporary housing locations, with the associations in charge of the accompaniment to the shelter or to the health follow-up, with the inhabitants, refugees or not, as national and international administrators. This also led us to participate in various workshops and symposia organized by these different actors. They took part in the international conferences that we conducted each year, embracing the most diverse themes related to this disaster.
 
At first, however, we must give back to these analyses the context that is theirs, a land, that of Japan, whose seismic environment remains restless and will continue to be so because the country is a volcanic archipelago, located at the junction between the Eurasian plate, the sub-plate called “Love” to the west, that of Okinawa and that of the Yangze (north / south), the Philippine plate to the south, the Pacific plate to the east, and the Okhotsk plate to the north. Such a location leads us to think that human temerity cannot ignore the cause of earthquakes, which won’t be stopped by political arrogance.
 
 
A morning like any other
November 22, 2016, 6 am, Kanagawa Prefecture, south of Tokyo. The walls are shaking and the floor is spinning slowly, endless seconds. The commentator responsible for informing about the situation broadcasts in a repeating loop, “A tsunami is coming, run away quickly! Be sure to flee! Remember the March 2011 earthquake! Do not go to see the tides, run away to the mountains, hills or somewhere high enough to shelter yourself, run away! “.
 
With tight throats, glued on TVs that loop images of seashores on which are displayed in red capital letters, “Tsunami! Flee away! ” we become aware of the situation; a magnitude 7.3 earthquake occurred 75 km from the Fukushima shoreline, recording level 5 shocks. The vertical movements of the tectonic plates pose a risk of imminent tsunami. At 8 am, tsunamis of various heights have already reached the Tohoku shores of Chiba, measured up to 1.4 m in the port of Sendai, and 1 m in each of the two nuclear power plants at Fukushima. Because it is there that all eyes are fixed. Not without reason. About an hour after the earthquake, the cooling system of building 3 of the Fukushima Dai-ni power plant breaks down due to strong shocks, according to the authorities. We hold our breath…. An hour and a half later, to the relief of everyone, the system is reset.
 
The effects of resilience
 
[5]During the entire morning of November 22, speakers and televisions constantly order the inhabitants to take refuge, the journalists posted on the places envisaged for this purpose are, to our astonishment, surrounded by only a few people. “All the trauma came back with this earthquake. Most people could not move from home, as if paralyzed, overwhelmed by the despair of all those years when the practice of moving into shelter has remained impossible for most of us. Seniors in temporary housing turned off their television sets and acted as if nothing had happened.” (Mari Suzuki, resident of Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture). The resilience advocated by the national and international authorities who participated in the management of the consequences of the 2011 nuclear accident has emerged, despite the will of the victims. The population of areas polluted by radioactivity whose land has not been retained in the evacuation zone, are for the most part in a state of advanced depression, after five years of fighting for recognition of their right to refuge remains unanswered. Additionally, the government announced the reopening of part of the still unstable evacuation zone around the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant as of March 2017,in fact causing the cessation of payment of monthly compensation used by some to relocate elsewhere and the closure of temporary housing. This constraint to return is mentally unbearable for people who have rebuilt their lives in host communities with a more stable environment.
 
This new earthquake revives anger
 
Hiroki Suzuki, a journalist in his forties, came to the gates of the evacuation zone a few hours after the earthquake. He waves his dosimeter which displays 7.09 microsievert / hour [6], while the natural average in the region was 0.04 microsievert / hour before the accident. “Look, we are lied. Still, always lied to …’’ he exclaims, without being able to hide a rage tinged with despair. Yet it was crossing this border of the evacuation zone two days earlier, that Professor Hayano of the University of Tokyo organized an inspection trip of the works at the nuclear power plant and of the evacuation zone, accompanied by thirteen high school students dressed in their simple school uniforms, without any type of protection. The earthquake occurred just after the study trip had generated a wave of discontent among residents, as reflected on social networks. Participant in several public revitalization projects in the region is Professor Hayano, among them is the ETHOS project conducted with the collaboration of IRSN, a project today at term to teach residents to live in a contaminated environment with a view to economic rationalization of the management of the consequences of a nuclear accident. As an adept of resilience, Professor Hayano ignores the consequences of a nuclear accident, ignoring hundreds of epidemiological studies on the issue, believing that fear of radioactivity is not justified. This initiatory trip was therefore intended to show students that they were not struck by radioactivity even though they would go to areas where the irradiation was highest, and that fear should give way to managerial reason. This attitude, considered irresponsible by many colleagues, ignores the most basic knowledge of radiation protection, that radioactivity acts on the human body, not suddenly, but in a process that spans several years.
 
This episode will have marked the people’s minds, because neither the seismic situation, the level of radioactivity nor the operating status of nuclear power plants (the November 22 earthquake proved it again with a new failure of the cooling system) should not allow such political tranquility. By a correlation, since the magnitude 7.8 New Zealand earthquake of November 13, 2016, we expected a new earthquake in Japan. Not by the law of series, but according to the tectonic sequence observed in 2011, when the Japanese earthquake was preceded by the earthquake of Christchurch in New Zealand, of magnitude 6.3. This phenomenon was verified during the Kumamoto earthquake in southern Japan on Kyushu Island, April 20, 2016, also announced by an earthquake in Christchurch February 14, of magnitude 5.8. This combination of earthquakes is the result of the pressures caused by the Pacific plate common to both archipelagos.
 
Thus, if the tsunami warning was suspended on the entire area a few hours after the earthquake, the number of replicates left a heavy concern. In just over a day no less than 90 aftershocks were recorded. The earthquake of November 22, 2016, followed by a strong aftershock on November 24 of magnitude 6.1 was accompanied by a new earthquake in New Zealand of magnitude 6.3 which, according to the director of earthquake information planning, Mr. Kouji Nakamura, would predict a new class 7 earthquake in Japan in the following months.
 
Despite common sense, the return to the former evacuation zone organized by the authorities takes place
 
Mr. Nakamura’s predictions were not long in coming. On February 26, 2017, at 4.49 pm, a new earthquake of magnitude 5 shook the ground of Fukushima but nothing disturbed the decision of programmed return made in 2013, the date when the Japanese government established a large budget, split among all the ministries and intended to develop risk communication in order to influence populations about their return. In April 2017, the Japanese government reopened a part of the evacuation zone around the Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, simultaneously lifting housing aid for the refugee population. Other incentives such as tax exemption for those planning to build new homes in the area are also introduced [7]. Following imperturbably the planning developed several years upstream, which in essence is disconnected from the present situation, and to the astonishment of the international institutions responsible for managing the nuclear issue, committed to setting up a management system that allows the existence of nuclear power, the Japanese government compels the population to return to live on areas still sometimes highly contaminated, by gradually abolitshing the evacuation zone (Figure 2).
2
Figure 2. Prohibited areas and return area in Fukushima Prefecture (Source of maps: METI Translation and adaptation: Cécile Asanuma-Brice, Géoconfluences, 2017.)
 
3
Figure 3. Reopening of the village of Iitate. Authorities greet residents under a meter displaying 0, 21 microsievert / h, with the greeting used when a family member comes home: “Welcome back! (Source of the Image: Kyodo News)
In fact, public investments for reconstruction have often been pharaonic for the construction of oversized buildings for an absent population. Thus, the only municipality of Iitate will receive a budget of 1.7 billion euros for the reconstruction of various public facilities. Only 10 to 20 percent of the population has returned to most villages, despite the constraints they face.
 
A resident of the village of Iitate declared on February 19, 2017, during a conference organized in Fukushima by researchers and former inhabitants of the village: “We are told that there is no problem. Just do not go on the “hot spots”. You can not go to the mountains, nor go near the rivers, do not go to the right or to the left … How do you want us to live here ?! “. A former member of the communal council, testifies: We moved six years ago now. Why should we return to a desert village where the environment does not allow us to live freely and safely? [8].
 
What is the real situation?
 
4.png
Figure 4. Estimated total of refugees is 39 600 person on February 2017
Source : Official data, published by Fukushima Minpo Journal on March 2017. Translation : Cécile Asanuma-Brice. Realisation : J.-B. Bouron, Géoconfluences, 2017.
 
Since most people did not register in the refugee counting database, it is difficult to establish an accurate mapping of the situation. Nevertheless, the map at the time of the facts allows us to establish trends (Asanuma-Brice, 2014). It reported 160,000 refugees by the time they were highest in May 2012.The inhabitants had mainly taken refuge in the countryside of the surrounding Prefectures (Yamagata, Niigata), as well as in the capital, Tokyo [9].
 
5
Figure 5. Number of refugees in and out of Fukushima Prefecture (Source: according to official data, relayed by Fukushima Minpo newspaper, March 3, 2017. Translation-adaptation: Cécile Asanuma-Brice and Géoconfluences, 2017.)
 
Six years later, the authorities estimate this figure at 80,000 refugees, including 40,000 outside the department, and 40,000 internally displaced persons. However, the distribution has changed somewhat as the majority of refugees outside the Prefecture are now exclusively located in Tokyo and 80% of these people would be relocated to rental apartments in the public or private sector [10]. This figure does not include all persons whose refugee status has changed to that of a migrant, all those who, after six years spent outside their village, have rebuilt their lives elsewhere and have administratively registered their move to another municipality.
 
This leads us to question the relevance of the term “refugee”, because most evacuees “voluntarily” or not, have rebuilt their lives, failing to rebuild their environment, elsewhere. Six years. This corresponds to a complete school cycle, which is why most families with children no longer plan to return to live in the area. They… moved.
 
The situation is harder for the elderly. Some of them have been relocated to the 15,561 temporary housing units built inside the Prefecture. Thus those over 65 years old represent more than 40% of the people relocated in these so-called “temporary” cities. For the most part, these people had to agree to move to collective public housing built for this purpose and are, in fact, no longer included in the figures for refugees. While in July 2012, 33,016 inhabitants lived in these temporary housing, this figure drops to 12,381 in February 2017, reaching the lowest rates after April 2017. As of January 31, 2017, 3,028 public rental units of the 4,890 originally planned were built in 15 municipalities in the Prefecture (Figure 6).
 
6
Figure 6. Map of dwellings built for refugees in Fukushima Prefecture (Data source: Fukushima Minpo, March 3, 2017. Translation-adaptation: Cécile Asanuma-Brice and Géoconfluences, 2017.)
 
 
Another portion of seniors lived, since the happening, in a private rental park. Renting an apartment in the city was often seen as temporary, waiting for the results of the gigantic policy of public decontamination. People have been left in hope for two years, and then the government stopped providing them with housing assistance, pretending that it is possible to return. Some reconnaissance trips to the scene are enough to awaken their conscience. The landscapes have been destroyed by decontamination, scraped soils, torn trees, sacks of contaminated soil extending as far as the eye can see in the fields. The house has deteriorated. Habitat rehabilitation companies are no longer there, nor are there any neighbors. Their children, grandchildren, have started a new life elsewhere and do not want to come back to an environment that still has high levels of contamination. It is, however, impossible for them to maintain their large farm buildings alone; empty, heavy, are these stones, like their spirits drowned in an ultimate hope forever unfulfilled. Those who try to return fall into a depressive spiral that leads to suicide for majority of them.
 
A documentary made by the NHK on January 9, 2017 tries to sound the alarm, but to no avail. Titled “And yet, I tried to live” [11], it bears witness to the end of life of these people, mostly elderly, victims of an isolation that will often be fatal to them. Professor Tsukiji [12], Waseda University, psychologist and director of the Disaster Situations Laboratory published the results of a study proving that the constraints to return on these still unstable territories would generate a consequent wave of suicides. It remains inconsequential on the planning decision-making machine that was put in place four years earlier. These human sacrifices are accepted by all in the silence of a world that continues to be nuclearized.
 
Progress, and life: what science is entitled to question
 
This brings us back to a larger reflection developed by Max Weber a century ago, who himself used the writings of Leo Tolstoy about the meaning of death in our civilized societies. According to him, death for the civilized man (Kulturmensch) cannot make sense in that the life of each individual is constitutive of an infinite process which he seeks: progress. Nobody will ever be able to reach a goal, a climax, since progress is an infinite process. In this the finite time of life is only part of its momentum. Weber connects this reflection with another that I think is fundamental to put in the agora of sciences (human or not): “Does progress “, as such, have a discernible meaning beyond the technique, so that putting oneself to its service would be a meaningful vocation? ” (Weber, 1969). This question, formulated a century ago, remains unansswered; our societies continue to multiply human sacrifices on the altar of innovation for a purpose whose existence is not on a human scale.
 
Cécile ASANUMA-BRICE
Researcher in urban sociology, Franco-Japanese Institute Tokyo UMIFRE 19-CNRS / CLERSE Laboratory, University Lille 1-CNRS
 
Notes :
[1] Corium: Technical term for the core of nuclear reactors.
[2] Data from TEPCO, January 27, 2017.
[3] IAEA: National Agency for Atomic Energy, the CEPN: Center for the Study on the Evaluation of Protection in the Nuclear Field, or the IRSN: Institute for Radioprotection and Nuclear Safety.
[4] According to the results of the sanitary committee official returns on February 20, 2017.
[5] On Resilience, refer to our article: C. Asanuma-Brice (23 November 2015) “From Vulnerability to Resilience, Reflections on Protection in the Event of Extreme Disasters”, Public Reason Review.
6] The microsievert / hour is the unit generally used to measure the impact of radioactive radiation on humans.
[7] Minpo Journal, January 18, 2017
[8] Conference on the return of the inhabitants of Iitate (Fukushima) 19.02.2017
[9] Regarding the housing policies set up after the disaster, see our article: C. Asanuma-Brice (2011), “Japanese social housing, when the notion of” public “is right,” Revue Urbanisme, Nov. 2011.
[10] Survey of March 13, 2017, Fukushima Prefecture
[11] NHK, 2017
[12] Takuya Tsujiuchi Waseda Institute of Medical Anthropology on Disaster Reconstruction, “Mental Health Impact of the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster: Post-Traumatic Stress and Psycho-socio-economic Factors”, Fukushima Global Communication Program, working paper series, number 8, December 2015.
 
Bibliography
Scientific articles and publications
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Arendt Hannah, 1967, Responsabilité et jugement, Poche.
Asanuma-Brice Cécile, 2017, “Atomic Fission and Japan’s Nuclear Meltdown: When politics prevails over scientific proof”, in Christophe Thouny et Mitsuhiro Yoshimoto (dir.), Planetary Atmospheres and Urban Society After Fukushima, Singapore, Springer Verlag, pp. 95-112.
Asanuma-Brice Cécile, 2016, « À Fukushima, la population est dans une situation inextricable », Le Journal du CNRS.
Asanuma-Brice Cécile, 2016, « La mémoire de l’oubli, une forme de résistance à la résilience », publication des actes du colloque « Après le désastre, réponses commémoratives et culturelles », Université de Tokyo.
Asanuma-Brice Cécile, 2015, « De la vulnérabilité à la résilience, réflexions sur la protection en cas de désastre extrême : le cas de la gestion des conséquences de l’explosion d’une centrale nucléaire à Fukushima », Revue Raison Publique.
Asanuma-Brice Cécile, 2014, “Beyond reality: The management of migratory flows in a nuclear catastrophe by a pro-nuclear State”, The Asia-Pacific Journal, vol. 12-1, November.
Asanuma-Brice Cécile, 2012, « Les politiques publiques du logement face à la catastrophe du 11 mars », Ebisu, n° 47, juin.
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Takuya Tsujiuchi, Maya Yamaguchi, Kazutaka Masuda, Marisa Tsuchida, Tadashi Inomata, Hiroaki Kumano, Yasushi Kikuchi, Eugene F. Augusterfer, Richard F. Mollica, 2016, High Prevalence of Post-Traumatic Stress Symptoms in Relation to Social Factors in Affected Population One Year after the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster
Hecht Gabrielle, 2004, Le Rayonnement de la France. Énergie nucléaire et identité nationale après la seconde guerre mondiale, Paris, La Découverte.
Jonas Hans, 1979, Le principe de responsabilité, Flammarion, Champs essai.
影浦 峡(2011)3.11後の放射能「安全」報道を読み解く: 社会情報リテラシー実践講座 、岩波科学 — Kageura Kyo, 2011, Déchiffrer les rapports concernant la contamination “fiable”/”sûre” après le 3.11 : cours pratiques d’initiation au décodage de la littérature concernant l’information sociale”, édition scientifiques Iwanami [en japonais]
影浦 峡(2013)信頼の条件―原発事故をめぐることば 、岩波科学 — Kageura Kyo, 2013, Les conditions de la confiance – Les paroles autour du nucléaire, édition scientifiques Iwanami [en japonais]
Pelletier Philippe, 2012 « La guerre de Fukushima », Hérodote, 2012/3 (n° 146-147), p. 277-307.
Ribault Thierry et Ribault Nadine, 2012, Les sancuaires de l’abîme. Édition L’encyclopédie des nuisances.
Riesel René, 2008, « À propos du désastre en cours », in Catastrophisme, administration du désastre, et soumission durable, Édition L’encyclopédie des nuisances.
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Thébaud-Mony Annie, 2008, Travailler peut nuire gravement à votre santé. Sous-traitance des risques, mise en danger d’autrui, atteinte à la dignité…, La Découverte, 2008. Compte-rendu d’Igor Martinache dans Lectures.
Weber Max, 1963, Le savant et le politique, conférences à l’université de Munich de 1917 à 1919, Paris, Éditions 10-18.
 
Press and public publications of the author
Asanuma-Brice Cécile, 2017, « Fukushima : une catastrophe sans fin », Sciences et avenir.
Asanuma-Brice Cécile, 2016, « Fukushima, Temps de la fin contre fin des temps », Sciences et avenir, 21 mars 2016.
Asanuma-Brice Cécile, 2016, « Japon : “La centrale nucléaire de Sendai réveille le traumatisme de mars 2011” », Le Monde.
Asanuma-Brice Cécile, 2015, « Fukushima, Bilan d’une situation sanitaire inquiétante », Médiapart, octobre 2015.
Asanuma-Brice Cécile, 2014, « La légende Fukushima », Libération, septembre 2014.
Asanuma-Brice Cécile et Ribault Thierry, 2013, « “Crime d’Etat” à Fukushima : “L’unique solution est la fuite” », Le Nouvel Observateur-Rue 89, juillet 2013.
Asanuma-Brice Cécile, 2011, « La réouverture contestée des écoles irradiées de Fukushima », Le Nouvel Observateur-Rue 89, Mai 2011.
 
Source :
Cécile Asanuma-Brice, « Les migrants du nucléaire », Géoconfluences, octobre 2017.

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