nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

One Fukushima Tepco employee’s Leukemia certified, how many of the subcontracted employees ignored?

ghjkklkl.jpg
In the background, from left, the No. 1, 2, 3, and 4 reactor buildings of the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant are seen, in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, on Oct. 31, 2016. In front are tanks used to store contaminated water.
Gov’t certifies Fukushima TEPCO employee’s leukemia as work-related illness
The leukemia that developed in a Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) employee in his 40s working on the aftermath of the damaged Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant was certified as a work-related illness by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare on Dec. 13, it has been learned.
According to the ministry, the man was in charge of ensuring the safety of the reactors at the Fukushima plant since April 1994. After the reactor meltdowns in March 2011, he donned protective clothing and a mask and also led the effort to cool the overheating reactors with water. He developed leukemia in February last year and is currently receiving treatment.
Over the roughly 19 years that he worked at the nuclear facility, he was exposed to some 99 millisieverts of radiation. Of that, approximately 96 millisieverts occurred after the accident. As the radiation exposure levels exceeded the ministry’s baseline of 5 millisieverts per year multiplied by years of employment, his cancer was certified as being linked to his work at the nuclear power station.
This marks the third case of receiving work-related illness certification for developing leukemia in the aftermath of the nuclear disaster.
 
Ex-Fukushima plant worker granted compensation
Japan’s labor ministry has certified that a former worker at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is eligible for work-related compensation after developing leukemia from radiation exposure.
The worker in his 40s is employed by Tokyo Electric Power Company, which operates the plant in the northeastern prefecture of Fukushima. He worked at the plant for more than 19 years until last year. He maintained equipment among other jobs.
That period includes the 9 months following the nuclear accident at the plant, which started on March 11th, 2011.
The ministry says during those months, he checked out damage from the quake-generated tsunami and injected water into the containment vessels of the No.1 and No.3 reactors.
The reactor cores melted down during the accident.
The ministry says he developed leukemia in February of last year and applied for work-related compensation.
The man was exposed to an accumulated 99.3 millisieverts of radiation. The ministry says that amount can cause the disease.
He is the 4th person to be recognized as eligible for work-related compensation after developing leukemia or thyroid cancer in relation to containment work at the plant.
Since the nuclear accident, a total of about 56,000 workers have been engaged in containment and decommissioning work at the plant through May of this year.
Advertisements

December 14, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima dome roof takes shape, but radiation remains high

4 dec 2017 dome roof n3
Construction continues on a domed roof on top of the No. 3 reactor building at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
High radiation levels are still limiting recovery work at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, a stark reality that reporters saw firsthand when they observed efforts to remove risk factors there.
Media representatives were invited into the plant in early December to see construction work, with the building of a domed roof over the No. 3 reactor building as the main focus.
4 dec 2017 dome roof n3 3.jpg
However, they were only allowed to stay on top of the roof for 20 minutes due to high radiation levels.
The roof is being put together directly above the storage pool for spent fuel. The dome is designed to prevent the spewing of radioactive materials when the fuel is actually removed from the pool.
The original roof of the No. 3 reactor building was severely damaged by a hydrogen explosion in the days following the March 11, 2011, Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, which led to the crippling of the Fukushima No. 1 plant.
4 dec 2017 dome roof n3 4.jpg
Spent fuel still remains in the storage pools located on the top floors of the No. 1 to No. 3 reactor buildings.
Plans call for removing the spent fuel first from the No. 3 reactor building.
Although the dome will help prevent the spread of radioactive materials, building parts and other debris as well as some equipment have still not been completely removed from the storage pool, which holds 566 fuel rods.
The collapsed roof and walls were removed to allow for the construction of the domed roof, which began in the summer. The domed roof is about 17 meters high, and a crane was also installed under it in November.
4 dec 2017 dome roof n3 2.jpg
Plans call for the removal of the spent fuel from the No. 3 building to begin in the middle of the next fiscal year.
Internal radiation exposure levels were measured before media representatives headed to the No. 3 reactor building. They were also required to don protective clothing as well as a partial face mask covering the mouth and nose from about 100 meters from the building.
Radiation levels close to the building were 0.1 millisieverts per hour.
An elevator installed into the scaffolding next to the reactor building took the media representatives to the roof, which had been covered with metal plates.
The so-called operating floor looked like any other newly constructed building roof, a sharp contrast to the twisted metal parts that covered the building shortly after the nuclear accident.
Tokyo Electric Power Co., the plant’s operator, captured video footage from within the reactors for the first time in July. Debris that appears to be melted nuclear fuel was found in various parts of the containment vessel.
To the south of the No. 3 reactor building stands the No. 4 reactor building, from where all the spent nuclear fuel has been removed.
To the north is the No. 2 reactor building, which avoided a hydrogen explosion. Beyond the building, cranes and other large equipment are working in preparation for the removal of debris from the No. 1 reactor building.
TEPCO officials cautioned media representatives about standing too long right next to the storage pool, which could be seen located about six meters below the roof. Debris was found within the pool while insulating material floated on the pool surface.
The radiation level near the pool was 0.68 millisieverts per hour. While that was a major improvement from the 800 millisieverts per hour recorded in the immediate aftermath of the nuclear accident close to seven years ago, it was still too high to allow for a stay of longer than 20 minutes.

December 4, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | Leave a comment

Vietnam’s ex-president admits Fukushima disaster played role in ditching foray into atomic power

n-namnuke-a-20171204.jpg
HO, CHI MINH CITY – Vietnam last year abandoned plans to build its first nuclear power plants with Japanese and Russian assistance due to heightened concern over the safety of atomic power following events including the Fukushima disaster, according to former President Truong Tan Sang.
“The situation in the world had changed,” Sang, 68, said in an interview in Ho Chi Minh City on Thursday. “Due to the fluctuations of the world situation, the Vietnamese people were very worried, especially the people in the area where the nuclear power plants were to be located. They had reactions. Therefore, we had to temporarily halt (the plans).”
The interview was his first with a foreign media outlet since stepping down from the post in April last year.
In scrapping the plans to build two multibillion-dollar nuclear plants in November last year, the government cited the country’s tight financial situation, claiming at the time that safety was not an issue.
On Vietnam’s territorial row with China in the South China Sea, Sang said his country welcomes the concerns of countries in and outside the region to contribute to ensuring peace and stability in the strategic waterway.
“We protect our interests on the basis of international law, and at the same time we also respect the interests of the countries concerned on the basis of international law,” he said.
“Japan is very close to Vietnam’s view,” he added, expressing hope for Tokyo’s continued support for its stance in the dispute.
On the economic front, he praised Japan for its active promotion of globalization, especially after U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a free trade agreement signed by 12 nations, including Vietnam and Japan.
“(Prime Minister) Shinzo Abe was one of the first leaders to promote and connect remaining countries together. As a result, at the APEC meeting in Danang recently, the TPP 11 meeting successfully took place,” he said.
On bilateral relations, he said the relationship between the two countries is “very good. There is no obstacle.”
“The extensive strategic partnership in all areas has been strengthened, bringing clear benefits,” he said.
By taking advantage of Japan’s advanced technology and Vietnam’s abundant natural and human resources, he expressed hope for greater cooperation in areas such as high-quality infrastructure, high-tech agriculture and renewable energy.
“Vietnam learns from the experience and realities of countries around the world to perfect the organizational model of our political system,” he said, indicating the necessity of reform of Vietnam’s ruling Communist Party and government based on global trends and the domestic situation.

December 4, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

Image shows extent of damage to reactor at Fukushima plant

1 dec 2017 corroded tubes reactor 3.jpg
Severely damaged parts of a device once used to move control rods are stuck in a hole inside the pressure vessel of the No. 3 reactor at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant. (Provided by International Research Institute for Nuclear Decommissioning)
An image taken by an underwater robot shows corroded tubes stuck in a hole created by melted fuel in the pressure vessel of the No. 3 reactor at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.
The image offers clues on the extent of the damage caused when fuel rods in the reactor melted through the bottom of the pressure vessel after the disaster at the nuclear plant unfolded in March 2011.
Tokyo Electric Power Co., operator of the plant, sent the specially designed robot into the reactor in July. The company earlier released images taken by the robot that showed ‘what is believed’ to be melted nuclear fuel debris.
In the image released on Nov. 30, TEPCO identified the severely corroded and damaged tubes as parts of a device used to move control rods. Normally, that device is located inside the pressure vessel.
TEPCO on Nov. 30 also said it would conduct another study inside of the containment vessel of the No. 2 reactor at the plant in January. The containment vessel surrounds the pressure vessel.
A telescopic stick more than 10 meters long and equipped with a camera will be used for the survey.

December 4, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , | Leave a comment

Marine radioecology after the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear accident: Are we better positioned to understand the impact of radionuclides in marine ecosystems?

1-s2.0-S0048969717330747-fx1_lrg.jpg
Highlights
• Marine radioecology studies at the FDNPP coast: process-based modelling and field investigations
• Dynamic modelling of transfer between seawater, sediments and the biological compartments
• New data on submarine groundwater discharges and ocean circulation of radionuclides
• We formulate a strategy for marine radioecology based on processes-based research.
• We highlight the need for more ecology knowledge in marine radioecology.
Abstract
This paper focuses on how a community of researchers under the COMET (CO-ordination and implementation of a pan European projecT for radioecology) project has improved the capacity of marine radioecology to understand at the process level the behaviour of radionuclides in the marine environment, uptake by organisms and the resulting doses after the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear accident occurred in 2011. We present new radioecological understanding of the processes involved, such as the interaction of waterborne radionuclides with suspended particles and sediments or the biological uptake and turnover of radionuclides, which have been better quantified and mathematically described.
We demonstrate that biokinetic models can better represent radionuclide transfer to biota in non-equilibrium situations, bringing more realism to predictions, especially when combining physical, chemical and biological interactions that occur in such an open and dynamic environment as the ocean. As a result, we are readier now than we were before the FDNPP accident in terms of having models that can be applied to dynamic situations.
The paper concludes with our vision for marine radioecology as a fundamental research discipline and we present a strategy for our discipline at the European and international levels. The lessons learned are presented along with their possible applicability to assess/reduce the environmental consequences of future accidents to the marine environment and guidance for future research, as well as to assure the sustainability of marine radioecology. This guidance necessarily reflects on why and where further research funding is needed, signalling the way for future investigations.

December 1, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | Leave a comment

Japan is poised to release into the Pacific one million tons of radioactive water contaminated by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant

Fukushima’s radioactive water grows by 150 tons a day and Japan doesn’t know what to do with it. Scientists vs fishermen and locals conflict.
26 nov icewall 3.png

Japan is poised to flood the Pacific with one million tons of nuclear water contaminated by the Fukushima power plant

Japan urged by experts to gradually release radioactive water into Pacific Ocean
Comes more than six years after tsunami overwhelmed Fukushima nuclear plant
The water is stored on site in around 900 large and densely packed tanks 
But if the tank breaks, the contents may not be able to be controlled 
The Japanese government is being urged by experts to gradually release radioactive water in to the Pacific Ocean more than six years after a tsunami overwhelmed the Fukushima nuclear power plant.
The water is stored on site in around 900 large and densely packed tanks and could spill should another major disaster strike. 
The government has been urged to release the water into the ocean as all the radioactive elements of the water except tritium – which has been said to be safe in small amounts – have been removed through treatment. 
But if the tank breaks, the contents may not be able to be controlled. 
Local fishermen are extremely hesitant to this solution because many consumers are still uncertain to eat fish caught off Fukushima, despite tests that say the fish is safe to eat. 
Today only about half of the region’s 1,000 fishermen go out and just twice a week because of reduced demand.  
Fumio Haga, a drag-net fisherman, said: ‘People would shun Fukushima fish again as soon as the water is released.’ 
Lab technicians mince fish samples at Onahama port in Iwaki, pack them in a cup for inspection and record details such as who caught the fish and where. 
Packaged fish then sold at supermarkets carry official ‘safe’ stickers.
Only three kinds of fish passed the test when the experiment began in mid-2012, 15 months after the tsunami. 
Over time, that number has increased to about 100.
The fish meet what is believed to be the world’s most stringent requirement: less than half the radioactive cesium level allowed under Japan’s national standard and one-twelfth of the US or EU limit, said Yoshiharu Nemoto, a senior researcher at the Onahama testing station.
The amount of radioactive water at Fukushima is still growing, by 150 tons a day.
The reactors are damaged beyond repair, but cooling water must be constantly pumped in to keep them from overheating. 
That water picks up radioactivity before leaking out of the damaged containment chambers and collecting in the basements.
There, the volume of contaminated water grows, because it mixes with groundwater that has seeped in through cracks in the reactor buildings. 
After treatment, 210 tons is reused as cooling water, and the remaining 150 tons is sent to tank storage. 
During heavy rains, the groundwater inflow increases significantly, adding to the volume.
The water is a costly headache for Tokyo Electric Power Co, the utility that owns the plant. 
To reduce the flow, it has dug dozens of wells to pump out groundwater before it reaches the reactor buildings and built an underground ‘ice wall’ of questionable effectiveness by partially freezing the ground around the reactors.
Another government panel recommended last year that the utility, known as TEPCO, dilute the water up to about 50 times and release about 400 tons daily to the sea – a process that would take almost a decade to complete. 
Experts note that the release of radioactive tritium water is allowed at other nuclear plants. 

November 28, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , | Leave a comment

Fukushima ‘ice wall’ linchpin not living up to high hopes

26 nov 2017 icewall
Although 34.5 billion yen ($309 million) in taxpayer money has funded an “ice wall” to keep out groundwater from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant site, the frozen barrier may not be meeting hopes and expectations.
In particular, the wall has been vulnerable to heavy rain brought by typhoons.
Reducing the volume of radiation-contaminated water is vital to proceeding with the removal of melted fuel from the reactors at the Fukushima No. 1 plant so it can be decommissioned.
But officials of Tokyo Electric Power Co., the operator of the plant, are still not completely sure if the ice wall is performing as designed.
Heavy rain appears to pose a major problem because the ice wall has so far proved incapable of stopping groundwater when typhoons have passed near the plant.
In theory, the ice wall should serve as a dam to prevent groundwater from the mountainside of the plant from flowing into the reactor buildings.
The total length of the wall is about 1,500 meters, and the wall surrounds the reactor and turbine buildings of four reactors at the No. 1 plant. Pipes have been buried about 30 meters deep at one-meter intervals.
26 nov icewall 2.png
Liquid at temperatures of minus 30 degrees have been poured into the pipes to freeze the surrounding ground. Freezing of the final section of the wall began on Aug. 22, but TEPCO officials on Nov. 22 still stopped short of offering an assessment of whether the ice wall was actually working as planned.
Utility officials have said that after about two months, ground temperatures where the freezing had begun have fallen below 0 degrees.
The estimated volume of groundwater that has leaked into the reactor and other buildings was 190 tons a day at the start of 2016, but it had decreased to 110 tons a day by early October.
However, the situation changed dramatically when two typhoons passed by in late October.
The groundwater level rose rapidly and the average daily flow of groundwater into the building basements for October was estimated to be 310 tons. That was close to the 400 tons that was flowing into the building basements before any measures were implemented to deal with the contaminated water.
There was no realistic expectation of building a ice wall that would keep out all groundwater because the pipes had to be buried in a way that would avoid underground piping from the reactors that were already in place. That meant there were underground portions that could not be frozen.
Masashi Kamon, a professor emeritus at Kyoto University who specializes in environmental geotechnics, said TEPCO should have considered a number of measures to stem the flow of groundwater from the long-term perspective of eventually removing the melted fuel from the reactors.
Another measure that is receiving more attention of late is pumping up groundwater from the 42 wells located around the reactor buildings and releasing it into the ocean. TEPCO plans to double the number of pumps and processing capacity of decontamination facilities by early 2018.
But other measures will likely have to be considered before work can begin to remove melted fuel from the reactor cores. The first step would be to remove as much as possible the highly radioactive water that remains in the reactor building basements. Such water poses a huge risk to the workers who will have to enter the buildings to remove the fuel.
Toyoshi Fuketa, chairman of the Nuclear Regulation Authority, said the ice wall was a measure implemented when the situation was much more serious, but that now is the time for calmer consideration about whether that investment of time and money was the proper one.

November 28, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , | Leave a comment

Japan still at a stalemate as Fukushima’s radioactive water grows by 150 tons a day

fukushimas-radioactive-water-grows.jpg
A Tepco official wearing radioactive protective gear stands in front of Advanced Liquid Processing Systems during a media tour at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in November 2014.
ONAHAMA, FUKUSHIMA PREF. – More than six years after a tsunami overwhelmed the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, Japan has yet to reach consensus on what to do with a million tons of radioactive water, stored on site in around 900 large and densely packed tanks that could spill should another major earthquake or tsunami strike.
The stalemate is rooted in a fundamental conflict between science and human nature.
Experts advising the government have urged a gradual release to the Pacific Ocean. Treatment has removed all the radioactive elements except tritium, which they say is safe in small amounts. Conversely, if the tanks break, their contents could slosh out in an uncontrolled way.
Local fishermen are balking. The water, no matter how clean, has a dirty image for consumers, they say. Despite repeated tests showing most types of fish caught off Fukushima are safe to eat, diners remain hesitant. The fishermen fear any release would sound the death knell for their nascent and still fragile recovery.
“People would shun Fukushima fish again as soon as the water is released,” said Fumio Haga, a drag-net fisherman from Iwaki, a city about 50 kilometers (30 miles) down the coast from the nuclear plant.
And so the tanks remain.
Fall is high season for saury and flounder, among Fukushima’s signature fish. It was once a busy time of year when coastal fishermen were out every morning.
Then came March 11, 2011. A magnitude 9 offshore earthquake triggered a tsunami that killed more than 18,000 people along the coast. The quake and massive flooding knocked out power for the cooling systems at the Fukushima nuclear plant. Three of the six reactors had partial meltdowns. Radiation spewed into the air, and highly contaminated water ran into the Pacific.
Today, only about half of the region’s 1,000 fishermen go out, and just twice a week because of reduced demand. They participate in a fish testing program.
Lab technicians mince fish samples at Onahama port in Iwaki, pack them in a cup for inspection and record details such as who caught the fish and where. Packaged fish sold at supermarkets carry official “safe” stickers.
Only three kinds of fish passed the test when the experiment began in mid-2012, 15 months after the tsunami. Over time, that number has increased to about 100.
The fish meet what is believed to be the world’s most stringent requirement: less than half the radioactive cesium level allowed under Japan’s national standard and one-twelfth of the U.S. or EU limit, said Yoshiharu Nemoto, a senior researcher at the Onahama testing station.
That message isn’t reaching consumers. A survey by the Consumer Affairs Agency in October found that nearly half of Japanese weren’t aware of the tests, and that consumers are more likely to focus on alarming information about possible health impacts in extreme cases, rather than facts about radiation and safety standards.
Fewer Japanese consumers shun fish and other foods from Fukushima than before, but 1 in 5 still do, according to the survey. The coastal catch of 2,000 tons last year was 8 percent of pre-disaster levels. The deep-sea catch was half of what it used to be, though scientists say there is no contamination risk that far out.
Naoya Sekiya, a University of Tokyo expert on disaster information and social psychology, said that the water from the nuclear plant shouldn’t be released until people are well-informed about the basic facts and psychologically ready.
“A release only based on scientific safety, without addressing the public’s concerns, cannot be tolerated in a democratic society,” he said. “A release when people are unprepared would only make things worse.”
He and consumer advocacy group representative Kikuko Tatsumi sit on a government expert panel that has been wrestling with the social impact of a release and what to do with the water for more than a year, with no sign of resolution.
Tatsumi said the stalemate may be further fueling public misconception: Many people believe the water is stored because it’s not safe to release, and they think Fukushima fish is not available because it’s not safe to eat.
The amount of radioactive water at Fukushima is still growing, by 150 tons a day.
The reactors are damaged beyond repair, but cooling water must be constantly pumped in to keep them from overheating. That water picks up radioactivity before leaking out of the damaged containment chambers and collecting in the basements.
There, the volume of contaminated water grows, because it mixes with groundwater that has seeped in through cracks in the reactor buildings. After treatment, 210 tons is reused as cooling water, and the remaining 150 tons is sent to tank storage. During heavy rains, the groundwater inflow increases significantly, adding to the volume.
The water is a costly headache for Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., the utility that owns the plant. To reduce the flow, it has dug dozens of wells to pump out groundwater before it reaches the reactor buildings and built an underground “ice wall” of questionable effectiveness by partially freezing the ground around the reactors.
Another government panel recommended last year that the utility, known as Tepco, dilute the water up to about 50 times and release about 400 tons daily to the sea — a process that would take almost a decade to complete. Experts note that the release of tritiated water is allowed at other nuclear plants.
Tritiated water from the 1979 Three Mile Island accident in the United States was evaporated, but the amount was much smaller, and still required 10 years of preparation and three more years to complete.
A new chairman at Tepco, Takashi Kawamura, caused an uproar in the fishing community in April when he expressed support for moving ahead with the release of the water.
The company quickly backpedaled, and now says it has no plans for an immediate release and can keep storing water through 2020. Tepco says the decision should be made by the government, because the public doesn’t trust the utility.
“Our recovery effort up until now would immediately collapse to zero if the water is released,” Iwaki abalone farmer Yuichi Manome said.
Some experts have proposed moving the tanks to an intermediate storage area, or delaying the release until at least 2023, when half the tritium that was present at the time of the disaster will have disappeared naturally.

November 28, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , | Leave a comment

Fukushima Cover-Up and Denial

735185_10204102131913471_4250740721271640913_n
 
Adam Broinowski, visiting research fellow at The Australian National University, 2017
Faced with the post-3.11 reality of government (and corporate) policy that protects economic and security interests over public health and well-being, the majority of the 2 million inhabitants of Fukushima Prefecture are either unconscious of or have been encouraged to accept living with radioactive contamination…
As Fukushima city resident Shiina Chieko observed, the majority of people seem to have adopted denial as a way to excise the present danger from their consciousness. Her sister-in-law, for example, ignored her son’s ‘continuous nosebleeds’, while her mother had decided that the community must endure by pretending that things were no different from pre-3.11 conditions. [Source: Shiina Chieko, interview with the author]…
Some, such as Yokota Asami (40 years old), a small business owner and mother from Kōriyama (60 km from FDNPS), demonstrated initiative in voluntarily evacuating her family. She decided to return (wearing goggles and a mask, she joked) in September 2011 when her son’s regular and continuous nosebleeds (in 30-minute spells) subsided. The Yokotas found themselves the victims of bullying when they called attention to radiation dangers… Her son was the only one to put up his hand when he was asked along with 300 fellow junior high school students if he objected to eating locally produced school lunches. He also chose not to participate in outdoor exercise classes and to go on respite trips instead. When it came time to take the high school entrance exam, he was told by the school principal that those who took breaks could not pass. He took the exam and failed. When he asked to see his results he found that he had, in fact, enough points to pass (the cut-off was 156 while he received 198 out of 250 points). [Source: Yokota Asami, interview with the author]…
Asami reported that doctors undertook paediatric thyroid operations while denying any correlation (inga kankei) with radiation exposures. They also urged their patients to keep their thyroid cancer a secret… Yokota also indicated she knew of students having sudden heart attacks and developing leukaemia and other illnesses. [Source: Yokota Asami, interview with the author]
This seems to be supported by Mr Ōkoshi, a Fukushima city resident, whose two daughters experienced stillbirths after 3.11. While Ōkoshi found that doctors have regularly advised women in the area to abort after 3.11, presumably to avoid miscarriages and defects, they do not discuss direct causes. He also observed regular illnesses experienced by many of his friends, and some sudden deaths. After a friend (62 years old) started saying strange things, he was diagnosed with brain dysfunction. He died quickly. Another friend (53 years old) was advised by a doctor to monitor a polyp in her breast. When she sought second opinions, she discovered she had accumulated an internal dose of 22 mSv and had a rapidly developing liver cancer. She also died quickly. [Source: Mr Ōkoshi, interview with the author]
There are many more such stories that are being actively ignored by the authorities. As Shiina put it, ‘we’re getting leukaemia and cataracts and we die suddenly. The TEPCO registrar has been inundated with complaints’. [Source: Shiina Chieko, interview with the author]

November 28, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima: A million tonnes of radioactive water still in storage after nuclear disaster

To dump into the ocean a million tonnes of radioactive water should be considered by the international community a crime against humanity and an ecocide against the environment. Whatever they say, whatever they lied, it will never be totally decontaminated and it will never be safe, no matter how many shills on the mainstream media are paid by the nuclear lobby to spin fairy tales in order to brainwash the public about ‘safety’.
9193576-16x9-large
The water is being stored in hundreds of large and densely packed tanks at the plant.
Japan cannot agree on what to do with a million tonnes of radioactive water being stored at the destroyed Fukushima nuclear power plant — and there is a chance it could spill if another major earthquake or tsunami were to strike.
The water is being stored in about 900 large and densely packed tanks at the plant, which was overwhelmed by a devastating tsunami more than six years ago.
Making matters worse, the amount of contaminated water held at Fukushima is still growing by 150 tons a day.
The stalemate is rooted in a fundamental conflict between science and human nature.
Experts advising the government have urged a gradual release of the water to the nearby Pacific Ocean. Treatment has removed all the radioactive elements except tritium, which they say is safe in small amounts
Conversely, if the tanks break, their contents could slosh out in an uncontrolled way.
Local fishermen are balking — they say the water, no matter how clean, has a dirty image for consumers.
Fumio Haga, a drag-net fisherman from Iwaki, a city about 50 kilometres down the coast from the nuclear plant, said releasing the water would end the local industry’s fragile recovery.
“People would shun Fukushima fish again as soon as the water is released,” he said.
9193574-16x9-large
Experts want a gradual release, but if the tanks break the water would slosh out
A new chairman at TEPCO, the embattled utility that owns the plant, caused an uproar in the fishing community in April when he expressed support for moving ahead with the release of the water.
The company quickly backpedalled, and now says it has no plans for an immediate release and can keep storing water through 2020.
Despite tests, many shoppers avoid Fukushima fish
Today, only about half of the Fukushima region’s 1,000 fishermen go out, and just twice a week because of reduced demand.
They participate in a fish testing program that sees lab technicians mince fish samples, pack them in a cup for inspection and record details such as who caught the fish and where.
9193572-16x9-large
The fish that make it to market meet what is believed to be the world’s most stringent requirements.
Only three kinds of fish passed the test when the experiment began in mid-2012, 15 months after the tsunami. Over time, that number has increased to about 100.
The fish that make it to market meet what is believed to be the world’s most stringent requirements, but that message is not reaching consumers.
Fewer Japanese shoppers shun fish and other foods from Fukushima than before, but one in five still do, according to a survey by Japan’s Consumer Agency.
Naoya Sekiya, a University of Tokyo expert on disaster information and social psychology, said the water from the nuclear plant should not be released until people were well-informed about the basic facts, and are psychologically ready.
“A release only based on scientific safety, without addressing the public’s concerns, cannot be tolerated in a democratic society,” he said.
“A release when people are unprepared would only make things worse.”

November 25, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima Darkness, Part Two

9193574-16x9-large.jpg
by Robert Hunziker
The impact of Fukushima Daiichi’s nuclear meltdown extends far and wide, as the hemispheric ecosystem gets hit by tons of radioactive water. Additionally, surreptitiousness surrounds untold death and illness, yet it remains one of the least understood and deceitfully reported episodes of journalism in modern history.
At the same time as Japan passed its totalitarian secrecy act in December 2013, it passed an obstructive Cancer Registration Law, which made it illegal to share medical data or information on radiation-related issues, denying public access to medical records, with violators subject to fines of two million Yen or 5-10 years in prison, a pretty stiff penalty for peeking into medical records, giving the appearance of somebody running scared.
Furthermore, and more egregiously yet, a confidentiality agreement to control medical information about radiation exposure was signed in January 2014 by IAEA, UNSCEAR, and Fukushima Prefecture and Fukushima Medical University. Thereafter, all info of illness from radiation is reported to a central repository run by Fukushima Medical Centre and IAEA. In turn, the Fukushima Centre for Environmental Creation was created in 2015 to communicate “accurate information on radiation to the public and dispel anxiety.” Ahem!
Well now, isn’t that convenient, a central depository controlled by the International Atomic Energy Agency –IAEA- to report on Fukushima Daiichi radiation exposure and medical illness. It’s not hard to figure that’s rotten to the core, sounding a lot like words lifted directly off the pages of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949).
Meanwhile, much, but not all, mainstream media reports about radiation-induced illnesses and deaths at Fukushima are feeble grossly incompetent journalism, as follows: “The latest update (in April) by the World Nuclear Association re the Fukushima disaster: There have been no deaths or cases of radiation sickness from the nuclear accident…” (Source: Michael W. Chapman, 5 Years Later, Deaths Caused by Radiation Leak at Fukushima -O-, CNS News, May 11, 2016).
According to The World Nuclear Association, as of October 2017: “There have been no deaths or cases of radiation sickness from the nuclear accident, but over 100,000 people were evacuated from their homes to ensure this. Government nervousness delays the return of many.”
Here’s one more statement of zero deaths at Fukushima, by Hannah Ritchie, published in Our World in Data, July 24, 2017: “In the case of Fukushima, although 40-50 people experienced physical injury or radiation burns at the nuclear facility, the number of direct deaths from the incident are quoted to be zero.”
And one more, an article in Forbes by Dr. James Conca, an expert on energy, nuclear and dirty bombs, “After Five Years, What Is The Cost Of Fukushima?” d/d March 10, 2016: “Strangely, the costs that never materialized were the most feared, those of radiation-induced cancer and death… No one received enough dose, even the 20,000 workers who have worked tirelessly to recover form this event.”
Au contraire, it is believed that official reports of Fukushima radiation-induced sicknesses and deaths are horribly underreported and/or intentionally manipulated to show few, if any, cases. Based upon numerous testimonials obtained by independent journalists and researchers in Japan and U.S, attorneys, there is considerable evidence of radiation-induced deaths and sicknesses.
Seemingly, somebody is dead wrong on the issue of radiation-induced deaths, whether it’s (1) official sources via mainstream news or (2) independent researchers/journalists/U.S. attorneys that claim to personally know of deaths. One of those two sources is dead wrong and seriously misleading the world, which, in and of itself, should be classified as a criminal act, like the Nazi Nuremberg trials (1945-49). In point of fact, if it can be proven that people are covering up and/or lying about Fukushima radiation-induced illness and death, they should be tried and imprisoned, similar to Nazi war criminals. The implications of widespread radiation are not a trifle.
When it comes to uncontrollable radiation, there’s an ecumenical obligation for full transparency as a basic right for all humanity, worldwide.
“It’s a real shame that the authorities hide the truth from the whole world, from the UN. We need to admit that actually many people are dying. We are not allowed to say that, but TEPCO employees also are dying. But they keep mum about it,” Katsutaka Idogawa, former mayor of Futaba (Fukushima Prefecture), Fukushima Disaster: Tokyo Hides Truth as Children Die, Become Ill from Radiation – Ex-Mayor, RT News, April 21, 2014.
Individual medical doctors in Japan have reported serious radiation-related problems, for example: “In April 2014, Dr Tsuda Toshihide, an epidemiologist at Okayama University, declared this a ‘thyroid cancer epidemic’ and predicted multiple illnesses from long-term internal radiation below 100 mSv/y and advocated for a program of outbreak (emergency or rapid) epidemiology in and outside Fukushima.” (Source: Adam Broinowski, PhD (author of 25 major academic publications and Post Doctoral Research Fellow, Australian National University): “Informal Labour, Local Citizens and the Tokyo Electric Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Crisis: Responses to Neoliberal Disaster Management,” Australian National University, 2017.
“Similarly, a Tokyo-based physician, Dr Mita Shigeru, circulated a public statement notifying his colleagues of his intention to relocate his practice to Okayama due to overwhelming evidence of unusual symptoms in his patients (roughly 2,000). Given that soil in Tokyo post-Fukushima returned between 1,000 and 4,000 Bq/kg, as compared to an average of 500 Bq/kg (Cs 137 only) in Kiev soil, Mita pointed to a correlation between these symptoms and the significant radiation contamination in Tōhoku and metropolitan Tokyo.” (Broinowski)
“The ashes of half a dozen unidentified laborers ended up at a Buddhist temple in a town just north of the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant. Some of the dead men had no papers; others left no emergency contacts. Their names could not be confirmed and no family members had been tracked down to claim their remains. They were simply labeled “decontamination troops” — unknown soldiers in Japan’s massive cleanup campaign to make Fukushima livable again five years after radiation poisoned the fertile countryside,” (Source: Mari Yamaguchi, Fukushima ‘Decontamination Troops’ Often Exploited, Shunned, AP & ABC News, Minamisona, Japan, March 10, 2016).
Mako Oshidori, director of Free Press Corporation/Japan, investigated several unreported worker deaths, and interviewed a former nurse who quit TEPCO: “I would like to talk about my interview of a nurse who used to work at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) after the accident… He quit his job with TEPCO, and that’s when I interviewed him… As of now, there are multiple NPP workers that have died, but only the ones who died on the job are reported publicly. Some of them have died suddenly while off work, for instance, during the weekend or in their sleep, but none of their deaths are reported.” (Source: The Hidden Truth about Fukushima by Mako Oshidori, delivered at the International Conference, Effects of Nuclear Disasters on Natural Environment and Human Health held in Germany, 2014 co-organized by International Physicians for Prevention of Nuclear War).
“They are not included in the worker death count. For example, there are some workers who quit the job after a lot of radiation exposure… and end up dying a month later, but none of these deaths are either reported, or included in the death toll. This is the reality of the NPP workers,” Ibid.
Greenpeace has been conducting radiation readings throughout Fukushima ever since 311. Accordingly, Greenpeace/Japan Press Release -Tokyo, 21 February 2017: “The Japanese government will soon lift evacuation orders for 6,000 citizens of Iitate village in Fukushima Prefecture where radiation levels in nearby forests are comparable to the current levels within the Chernobyl 30km exclusion zone – an area that more than 30 years after the accident remains formally closed to habitation. Seventy-five percent (75%) of Iitate is contaminated forested mountains.”
Over time, high levels of radiation from the mountains leach onto cleaned up areas down below. In point of fact, based upon several Greenpeace analyses throughout Fukushima Prefecture, former inhabitants of several communities are returning to towns and villages where spot checks show unacceptable levels of radiation.
“Faced with the post-311 reality of government (and corporate) policy that protects economic and security interests over public health and well-being, the majority of the 2 million inhabitants of Fukushima Prefecture are either unconscious of or have been encouraged to accept living with radioactive contamination. People dry their clothes outside, drink local tap water and consume local food, swim in outdoor pools and the ocean, consume and sell their own produce or catches. Financial pressure after 311 as well as the persistent danger of social marginalisation has made it more difficult to take precautionary measures (i.e. permanent relocation, dual accommodation, importing food and water) and develop and share counter-narratives to the official message. Nevertheless, some continue to conceal their anxiety beneath a mask of superficial calm.” (Broinowski)
“As Fukushima city resident Shiina Chieko observed, the majority of people seem to have adopted denial as a way to excise the present danger from their consciousness. Her sister-in-law, for example, ignored her son’s ‘continuous nosebleeds’; while her mother had decided that the community must endure by pretending that things were no different from pre-311 conditions.” (Broinowski)
Radiation exposure shows up years later as one of several illnesses. This gives the nuclear industry an advantage of time lapses in its position statements about the safety of nuclear energy. After all when enough time lapses, who knows for sure the cause of death?
However, Chernobyl provides a perfect case study of radiation-caused deaths of workers with a direct link, “liquidators,” exposed to Chernobly radiation (1986), keeping in mind that radiation takes several years to show up as cancer and other severe ailments:  “By 2001, of 800,000 healthy Russian and Ukrainian liquidators (with an average age of 33 years) sent to decontaminate, isolate and stabilise the reactor, 10 per cent had died and 30 per cent were disabled. By 2009, 120,000 liquidators had died, and an epidemic of chronic illness and genetic and perigenetic damage in nuclear workers’ descendants appeared (this is predicted to increase over subsequent generations). The full extent of the damage will not be understood until the fifth generation of descendants. By the mid-2000s, 985,000 additional deaths between 1986 and 2004 across Europe were estimated as a direct result from radiation exposure from Chernobyl.” (Broinowski)
Chernobyl likely foreshadows a dismal future for those exposed to Fukushima radiation whether residents, workers, or untold recipients throughout the extent of flowing seas, which is universal.
As Chernobyl clearly demonstrates: Over time, radiation cumulates in bodily organs. For an example of how radiation devastates human bodies generation by generation, consider: According to USA Today, Chernobyl’s Legacy: Kids With Bodies Ravaged by Disaster, April 17, 2016: “There are 2,397,863 people registered with Ukraine’s health ministry to receive ongoing Chernobyl-related health care. Of these, 453,391 are children — none born at the time of the accident. Their parents were children in 1986. These children have a range of illnesses: respiratory, digestive, musculoskeletal, eye diseases, blood diseases, cancer, congenital malformations, genetic abnormalities, trauma.”
As for Fukushima’s direct impact on Americans that helped at the time of the meltdowns, former Senator John Edwards is representing cancer-ridden sailors who interceded on a humanitarian basis aboard the USS Ronald Reagan. According to Edwards: “We have all these sailors. Sailors whose case is now five years old, who have died or are in the process of dying right now.” Edwards noted that some of his sailor clients have children born with birth defects. (Source: Bianca Bruno, Dying Navy Sailors Push for Trial on Fukushima Meltdown, Courthouse News.com, September 1, 2017).
Attorney Charles Bonner, representing US service members exposed to Fukushima fallout, Jul 21, 2015 (at 10:45 in on YouTube): We now have a 250+ young sailors with all kinds of illnesses, we’ve had three die. We had one of the sailors who came home and impregnated his wife. They gave birth to a little baby born with brain cancer and cancer down the spine, lived for two years, and just died in March of this year. (Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V0zGbG2dTvo&feature=youtu.be&t=645)
TEPCO’s attorney Gregory Stone claims his client accepts responsibility for the radiation released but maintains the amount sailors were exposed to was negligible. Stone: “People get sick at different times of their lives for different reasons.”
As people unceremoniously, more times than not anonymously, die from radiation exposure, the Abe administration keeps a tight lid on the reality and the potency of Fukushima Daiichi radiation. And, when faced with the prospect of not knowing what to do, bring on the Olympics! That’s pretty good cover for a messy situation, making it appear to hundreds of thousands of attendees, as well as to the world community “all is well.”
But, is it really?
Postscript: “These sailors are supposed to be very healthy. It’s not a normal situation. It is unbelievable that just in four or five years that these healthy sailors would become sick… I think that both the U.S. and Japanese government have something to hide.” Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi of Japan 2001-06 quoted in New York Times 12/31/2016.

November 25, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , | 1 Comment

Fukushima Darkness

“Japan is a totalitarian corporate state where corporate interests are protected from liability by layers of subcontractors and by vested interests of powerful political bodies and extremely harsh state secrecy laws. As such, it is believed that nuclear safety and health issues, including deaths, are underreported and likely not reported at all in most cases. Therefore, the worldview of nuclear power, as represented in Japan at Fukushima Daiichi, is horribly distorted in favor of nuclear power advocacy.”
The radiation effects of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant triple meltdowns are felt worldwide, whether lodged in sea life or in humans, it cumulates over time. The impact is now slowly grinding away only to show its true colors at some unpredictable date in the future. That’s how radiation works, slow but assuredly destructive, which serves to identify its risks, meaning, one nuke meltdown has the impact, over decades, of 1,000 regular industrial accidents, maybe more.
It’s been six years since the triple 100% nuke meltdowns occurred at Fukushima Daiichi d/d March 11th, 2011, nowadays referred to as “311”. Over time, it’s easy for the world at large to lose track of the serious implications of the world’s largest-ever industrial disaster; out of sight out of mind works that way.
According to Japanese government and TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company) estimates, decommissioning is a decade-by-decade work-in-progress, most likely four decades at a cost of up to ¥21 trillion ($189B). However, that’s the simple part to understanding the Fukushima nuclear disaster story. The difficult painful part is largely hidden from pubic view via a highly restrictive harsh national secrecy law (Act on the Protection of Specially Designated Secrets, Act No. 108/2013), political pressure galore, and fear of exposing the truth about the inherent dangers of nuclear reactor meltdowns. Powerful vested interests want it concealed.
Following passage of the 2013 government secrecy act, which says that civil servants or others who “leak secrets” will face up to 10 years in prison, and those who “instigate leaks,” especially journalists, will be subject to a prison term of up to 5 years, Japan fell below Serbia and Botswana in the Reporters Without Borders 2014 World Press Freedom Index. The secrecy act, sharply criticized by the Japanese Federation of Bar Associations, is a shameless act of buttoned-up totalitarianism at the very moment when citizens need and in fact require transparency.
The current status, according to Mr. Okamura, a TEPCO manager, as of November 2017: “We’re struggling with four problems: (1) reducing the radiation at the site (2) stopping the influx of groundwater (3) retrieving the spent fuel rods and (4) removing the molten nuclear fuel.” (Source: Martin Fritz, The Illusion of Normality at Fukushima, Deutsche Welle–Asia, Nov. 3, 2017)
In short, nothing much has changed in nearly seven years at the plant facilities, even though tens of thousands of workers have combed the Fukushima countryside, washing down structures, removing topsoil and storing it in large black plastic bags, which end-to-end would extend from Tokyo to Denver and back.
As it happens, sorrowfully, complete nuclear meltdowns are nearly impossible to fix because, in part, nobody knows what to do next. That’s why Chernobyl sealed off the greater area surrounding its meltdown of 1986. Along those same lines, according to Fukushima Daiichi plant manager Shunji Uchida: ”Robots and cameras have already provided us with valuable pictures. But it is still unclear what is really going on inside,” Ibid.
Seven years and they do not know what’s going on inside. Is it the China Syndrome dilemma of molten hot radioactive corium burrowing into Earth? Is it contaminating aquifers? Nobody knows, nobody can possibly know, which is one of the major risks of nuclear meltdowns, nobody knows what to do. There is no playbook for 100% meltdowns. Fukushima Daiichi proves the point.
“When a major radiological disaster happens and impacts vast tracts of land, it cannot be ‘cleaned up’ or ‘fixed’.” (Source: Hanis Maketab, Environmental Impacts of Fukushima Nuclear Disaster Will Last ‘decades to centuries’ – Greenpeace, Asia Correspondent, March 4, 2016)
Meanwhile, the world nuclear industry has ambitious growth plans, 50-60 reactors currently under construction, mostly in Asia, with up to 400 more on drawing boards. Nuke advocates claim Fukushima is well along in the cleanup phase so not to worry as the Olympics are coming in a couple of years, including events held smack dab in the heart of Fukushima, where the agricultural economy will provide fresh foodstuff.
The Olympics are PM Abe’s major PR punch to prove to the world that all-is-well at the world’s most dangerous, and out of control, industrial accident site. And, yes it is still out of control. Nevertheless, the Abe government is not concerned. Be that as it may, the risks are multi-fold and likely not well understood. For example, what if another earthquake causes further damage to already-damaged nuclear facilities that are precariously held together with hopes and prayers, subject to massive radiation explosions? Then what? After all, Japan is earthquake country, which defines the boundaries of the country. Japan typically has 400-500 earthquakes in 365 days, or nearly 1.5 quakes per day.
According to Dr. Shuzo Takemoto, professor, Department of Geophysics, Graduate School of Science, Kyoto University: “The problem of Unit 2… If it should encounter a big earth tremor, it will be destroyed and scatter the remaining nuclear fuel and its debris, making the Tokyo metropolitan area uninhabitable. The Tokyo Olympics in 2020 will then be utterly out of the question,” (Shuzo Takemoto, Potential Global Catastrophe of the Reactor No. 2 at Fukushima Daiichi, February 11, 2017).
Since the Olympics will be held not far from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident site, it’s worthwhile knowing what to expect, i.e., repercussions hidden from public view. After all, it’s highly improbable that the Japan Olympic Committee will address the radiation-risk factors for upcoming athletes and spectators. Which prompts a question: What criteria did the International Olympic Committee (IOC) follow in selecting Japan for the 2020 Summer Olympics in the face of three 100% nuclear meltdowns totally out of control? On its face, it seems reckless.
This article, in part, is based upon an academic study that brings to light serious concerns about overall transparency, TEPCO workforce health & sudden deaths, as well as upcoming Olympians, bringing to mind the proposition: Is the decision to hold the Olympics in Japan in 2020 a foolish act of insanity and a crude attempt to help cover up the ravages of radiation?
Thus therefore, a preview of what’s happening behind, as well as within, the scenes researched by Adam Broinowski, PhD (author of 25 major academic publications and Post Doctoral Research Fellow, Australian National University): “Informal Labour, Local Citizens and the Tokyo Electric Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Crisis: Responses to Neoliberal Disaster Management,” Australian National University, 2017.
The title of Dr. Broinowski’s study provides a hint of the inherent conflict, as well as opportunism, that arises with neoliberal capitalism applied to “disaster management” principles. (Naomi Klein explored a similar concept in The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, Knopf Canada, 2007).
Dr. Broinowski’s research is detailed, thorough, and complex. His study begins by delving into the impact of neoliberal capitalism, bringing to the fore an equivalence of slave labor to the Japanese economy, especially in regards to what he references as “informal labour.” He preeminently describes the onslaught of supply side/neoliberal tendencies throughout the economy of Japan. The Fukushima nuke meltdowns simply bring to surface all of the warts and blemishes endemic to the neoliberal brand of capitalism.
According to Professor Broinowski: “The ongoing disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station (FDNPS), operated by Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), since 11 March 2011 can be recognised as part of a global phenomenon that has been in development over some time. This disaster occurred within a social and political shift that began in the mid-1970s (ed. supply-side economics, which is strongly reflected in America’s current tax bill under consideration) and that became more acute in the early 1990s in Japan with the downturn of economic growth and greater deregulation and financialisation in the global economy. After 40 years of corporate fealty in return for lifetime contracts guaranteed by corporate unions, as tariff protections were lifted further and the workforce was increasingly casualised, those most acutely affected by a weakening welfare regime were irregular day labourers, or what we might call ‘informal labour.”
In short, the 45,000-60,000 workers recruited to deconstruct decontaminate Fukushima Daiichi and the surrounding prefecture mostly came off the streets, castoffs of neoliberalism’s impact on “… independent unions, rendered powerless, growing numbers of unemployed, unskilled and precarious youths (freeters) alongside older, vulnerable and homeless day labourers (these groups together comprising roughly 38 per cent of the workforce in 2015) found themselves not only (a) lacking insurance or (b) industrial protection but also in many cases (c) basic living needs. With increasing deindustrialisation and capital flight, regular public outbursts of frustration and anger from these groups have manifested since the Osaka riots of 1992.” (Broinowski)
The Osaka Riots of 25 years ago depict the breakdown of modern society’s working class, a problem that has spilled over into national political elections worldwide as populism/nationalism dictate winners/losers. In Osaka 1,500 rampaging laborers besieged a police station (somewhat similar to John Carpenter’s 1976 iconic film Assault on Precinct 13) over outrage of interconnecting links between police and Japan’s powerful “Yakuza” or gangsters that bribe police to turn a blind eye to gangster syndicates that get paid to recruit, often forcibly, workers for low-paying manual jobs for industry.
That’s how TEPCO gets workers to work in radiation-sensitive high risks jobs. Along the way, subcontractors rake off most of the money allocated for workers, resulting in a subhuman lifestyle for the riskiest most life-threatening jobs in Japan, maybe the riskiest most life-threatening in the world.
Japan has a long history of assembling and recruiting unskilled labor pools at cheap rates, which is typical of nearly all large-scale modern industrial projects. Labor is simply one more commodity to be used and discarded. Tokyo Electric Power Company (“TEPCO”) of Fukushima Daiichi fame adheres to those long-standing feudalistic employment practices. They hire workers via layers of subcontractors in order to avoid liabilities, i.e. accidents, health insurance, safety standards, by penetrating into the bottom social layers that have no voice in society.
As such, TEPCO is not legally obligated to report industrial accidents when workers are hired through complex webs or networks of subcontractors; there are approximately 733 subcontractors for TEPCO. Here’s the process: TEPCO employs a subcontractor “shita-uke,” which in turn employs another subcontractor “mago-uke” that relies upon labor brokers “tehaishilninpu-dashi.” At the end of the day, who’s responsible for the health and safety of workers? Who’s responsible for reporting cases of radiation sickness and/or death caused by radiation exposure?
Based upon anecdotal evidence from reliable sources in Japan, there is good reason to believe TEPCO, as well as the Japanese government, suppress public knowledge of worker radiation sickness and death, as well as the civilian population of Fukushima. Thereby, essentially hoodwinking worldwide public opinion, for example, pro-nuke enthusiasts/advocates point to the safety of nuclear power generation because of so few reported deaths in Japan. But, then again, who’s responsible for reporting worker deaths? Answer: Other than an occasional token death report by official sources, nobody!
Furthermore, TEPCO does not report worker deaths that occur outside of the workplace even though the death is a direct result of excessive radiation exposure at the workplace. For example, if a worker with radiation sickness becomes too ill to go to work, they’ll obviously die at home and therefore not be reported as a work-related death. As a result, pro-nuke advocates claim Fukushima proves how safe nuclear power is, even when it goes haywire, because there are so few, if any, deaths, as to be inconsequential. That’s a boldfaced lie that is discussed in the sequel: Fukushima Darkness – Part 2.
“As one labourer stated re Fukushima Daiichi: ‘TEPCO is God. The main contractors are kings, and we are slaves’. In short, Fukushima Daiichi clearly illustrates the social reproduction, exploitation and disposability of informal labour, in the state protection of capital, corporations and their assets.” (Broinowski)
Indeed, Japan is a totalitarian corporate state where corporate interests are protected from liability by layers of subcontractors and by vested interests of powerful political bodies and extremely harsh state secrecy laws. As such, it is believed that nuclear safety and health issues, including deaths, are underreported and likely not reported at all in most cases. Therefore, the worldview of nuclear power, as represented in Japan at Fukushima Daiichi, is horribly distorted in favor of nuclear power advocacy.
DW article cited in Fukushima Darkness: http://www.dw.com/en/the-illusion-of-normality-at-fukushima/a-37885120 “Robots and cameras have already provided us with valuable pictures,” says Uchida, adding: “But it is still unclear what is really going on inside.”
And Full-text (PDF) of Adam Broinowski’s cited research paper is available here:

November 23, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , | Leave a comment

Once severely damaged Fukushima reactor building opened to media to showcase progress

Tepco’s representatives and METI’s officials have spent 15 minutes at the top floor of the reactor 3 building, 30 meters above the ground.
0,08mSv/per hour on the platform and 0,7mSv/per hour near the fuel pool with its 566 fuel assemblies supposed to be unloaded within 6 months. According to Tepco, workers cannot stay up there more than one hour or two per day….
The real content of that fuel pool is still mysterious, as no whole picture of that pool has ever been released.
22 nov 2017 reacytor 3 pool.JPG
The top floor of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant’s No. 3 reactor building is seen on Nov. 21, 2017. The spent fuel pool can be seen at lower left. (Mainichi)
The top level of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant’s No. 3 reactor building was opened to the news media on Nov. 21.
The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry along with plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) guided reporters to the reactor building’s top floor for a tour lasting about 15 minutes.
The building was badly damaged by a hydrogen explosion in the first days of the Fukushima nuclear crisis in March 2011. However, the debris has been cleared away, and radiation that had stood at 800 millisieverts per hour just after the reactor meltdowns was measured at 0.08 mSv/h on the 7-meter-high platform, on which fuel removal equipment and other devices have been installed, on Nov. 21. Closer to the fuel pool, the figure rose to 0.7 mSv/h. According to TEPCO, workers are limited to just one to two hours on the platform.
22 oct 2017 reactor 3.JPG
The top floor is about 30 meters from the ground. The spent fuel pool currently contains 566 fuel assemblies, and preparations are underway to start the removal process as early as mid-fiscal 2018, with equipment for the job already installed on the platform. A net currently covers the pool to prevent anything — or anyone — from falling in.
A semi-cylindrical cover is also being constructed to prevent radioactive materials from escaping when fuel removal operations begin.

November 23, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima Class Action Federal Lawsuit Filed in Boston Against General Electric

Fukushima-I-696x325.jpg
GE sued for Fukushima disaster
Lawsuit alleges unsafe design, cost cutting
Japanese property owners and businesses near the Fukushima nuclear plant that melted down after a devastating 2011 tsunami filed a $500 million class-action lawsuit against General Electric for negligently designing the doomed plant.
The lawsuit, filed yesterday in federal court in Boston, claims the explosions and release of radioactive material at the Fukushima reactors — likely the most costly industrial accident in history at $200 billion — were caused by GE’s unsafe design of the reactors and further efforts to cut costs that also undercut safety during the construction of the plant.
As a result, the area around Fukushima, according to the lawsuit, became a “ghost town.”
“There are no people. Roads are guarded by men in hazmat suits. And no one will ever live there again,” the lawsuit said.
GE said in a statement it became aware of the lawsuit today and is “thoroughly reviewing the matter.”
The company pushed into the nuclear industry in the 1960s and offered a “cheap reactor … with a significantly smaller, but less safe containment than industry standard” that safety experts repeatedly raised concerns about, the lawsuit said.
GE designed all six reactors at Fukushima — building two on site and advising on the construction of the rest. Original designs for the power plant called for it to be built near a bluff 115 feet above sea level. But GE — to save money — lowered the bluff to 80 feet, court papers say, “dramatically increasing the flood risk.”
Backup systems in the event of a problem at the nuclear plant were also woefully lacking, causing the cooling system to fail, the suit states.
 
General Electric Named in Federal Lawsuit Regarding Fukushima
General Electric is facing a federal lawsuit because of the Fukushima nuclear disaster that happened on March 11, 2011. The class action lawsuit asks for $500 million and was filed by residents, medical clinics, and companies in Boston who allege that they were affected by the disaster. The plaintiffs allege that they represent more than 150,000 Japanese citizens affected from the nuclear disaster.
Federal Lawsuit Alleges GE Failed to Properly Maintain Nuclear Power Plant
In the federal complaint, filed on November 17, 2017, GE faces serious allegations including failure to properly maintain the Fukushima:
“GE designed and largely constructed the entire Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant at the center of the dispute, and for many years, directly or indirectly through its affiliates, was responsible for the maintenance of the [plant]. To this day, GE has paid literally nothing toward the massive economic and business destruction its actions and failings have caused.”
Reuters.com reported on December 8, 2016 that Japan had more than $188 billion in losses.
The plaintiffs allege that although the Fukushima disaster occurred in 2011, GE’s plan to “dominate the commercial nuclear power industry” in the 1960s meant that the defendant misrepresented how safe the plant would be so that they could earn more money.
GE continues to offer its “heartfelt sympathy” to those who were affected, but wants the matter handled under Japanese nuclear compensation law. Under that law, power plant operators are liable for the damages caused by the incident, regardless of what caused it. A company spokesperson went on to say that the Japanese government found that a tsunami was ultimately responsible and it was not the fault of how the reactor was designed.
GE was made aware of the lawsuit on November 19, 2017 and they are “thoroughly reviewing the matter.”

November 23, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , , , | Leave a comment

Tepco Says The Fukushima Cleanup ‘Is Progressing’, But at a Painstaking Pace

Last July 2017 Tepco’s remotely piloted robots transmitted view of what could be melted radioactive fuel inside Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant’s destroyed reactors — actually Tepco wants to believe that it is melted radioactive fuel but has not been able to get it confirmed since then.
tl5ymnfkrwpkzzynwxmw.jpg
The Fukushima Cleanup Is Progressing, But at a Painstaking Pace
Earlier this year, remotely piloted robots transmitted what officials believe was a direct view of melted radioactive fuel inside Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant’s destroyed reactors—a major discovery, but one that took a long and painful six years to achieve. In the meantime, the program to clean up the destroyed reactors has seen numerous setbacks and concerns, including delays on Japanese electrical utility Tepco’s timetable to begin removing the highly radioactive fuel and continued leakage of small amounts of radioactive substances.
Japanese officials are now hoping that they can convince a skeptical public that the worst of the disaster is over, the New York Times reported, but it’s not clear whether it’s too late despite the deployment of 7,000 workers and massive resources to return the region to something approaching normal. Per the Times, officials admit the recovery plan—involving the complete destruction of the plant, rather than simply building a concrete sarcophagus around it as the Russians did in Chernobyl—will take decades and tens of billions of dollars. Currently, Tepco plans to begin removing waste from one of the three contaminated reactors at the plant by 2021, “though they have yet to choose which one.”
“Until now, we didn’t know exactly where the fuel was, or what it looked like,” Tepco manager Takahiro Kimoto told the Times. “Now that we have seen it, we can make plans to retrieve it.”
“They are being very methodical—too slow, some would say—in making a careful effort to avoid any missteps or nasty surprises,” Union of Concerned Scientists nuclear safety director David Lochbaum added. “They want to regain trust. They have learned that trust can be lost much quicker than it can be recovered.”
Currently, radiation levels are so high in the ruined facility that it fries robots sent in within a matter of hours, which will necessitate developing a new generation of droids with even higher radiation significantly smaller, but less safe containment than industry standard” that safety experts repeatedly raised concerns about, the lawsuit said.
GE designed all six reactors at Fukushima — building two on site and advising on the construction of the rest. Original designs for the power plant called for it to be built near a bluff 115 feet above sea level. But GE — to save money — lowered the bluff to 80 feet, court papers say, “dramatically increasing the flood risk.”
Backup systems in the event of a problem at the nuclear plant were also woefully lacking, causing the cooling system to fail, the suit states. ge_sued_for_fukushima_disaster tolerances. Authorities have built a crane on the roof of one melted-down reactor, unit No. 3, to remove fuel, Phys.org reported, though it will not actually be in use until at least April 2018. Disposal of low level waste such as “rice straw, sludge and ash from waste incineration” has only just begun, the Japan Times wrote. The eventual disposal of more dangerous waste will be much more difficult.
At the same time, criticism of the government’s approach is also mounting with concerns it is pressuring residents to return to an area where radiation exposure remains many times the international standard.

November 23, 2017 Posted by | Fukushima 2017 | , | Leave a comment