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Fukushima’s Three Nuclear Meltdowns Are “Under Control”: That’s a Lie

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by William Boardman / June 23rd, 2019

The implementation of the safe decommissioning of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station is a unique complex case and expected to span several decades: the IAEA Review Team considers that it will therefore require sustained engagement with stakeholders, proper knowledge management, and benefit from broad international cooperation.

– Report by IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) Review Team, January 30, 2019

The bland language of the official IAEA report is itself a form of lying, offering the false appearance of reassurance that a catastrophic event will be safely managed “for several decades.” There is no way to know that: it is a hope, a prayer, a form of denial. The IAEA, as is its job in a sense, offers this optimism that is unsupported by the realities at Fukushima.

On April 14, 2019, Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, visited the Fukushima meltdown site. According to The Asahi Shimbun’s headline, “Abe [was] pushing idea that Fukushima nuclear disaster is ‘under control’.” Abe entered the site wearing a business suit and no protective clothing to shield him from radiation. He stood on elevated ground about 100 meters from a building holding one of the melted-down reactors. He had his picture taken. He told reporters, “The decommissioning work has been making progress in earnest.” Abe’s visit lasted six minutes. This was a classic media pseudo-event, designed to be reported despite its lack of actual meaning – for all practical purposes it was another nuclear lie.

The entire Fukushima site remains radioactive at varying levels, from unsafe to lethal, depending on location. The site includes six reactors, three of them in meltdown, and at least as many fuel pools, some of which still contain fuel rods. The site has close to a thousand large storage tanks holding more than a million tons (roughly 264.5 million gallons) of radioactive wastewater.

The prime minister’s stage-managed visit placed him on a platform where the radiation level “exceeds 100 micro-sieverts per hour,” a low level but less than safe. That’s why Abe’s visit lasted only six minutes. Prolonged exposure to that level of radiation is not healthy. A year’s exposure to 100 micro-sieverts per hour would total 87,600 micro-sieverts in a year. How bad that would be is debatable. By way of illustration, even US regulations, not known for their stringency, allow American nuclear workers a maximum annual radiation exposure of 50,000 micro-sieverts.

Translation: the Prime Minister was posing in an area of dangerous radiation level and pretending it was all fine. Call it lying by photo op.

The first thing to know about the Fukushima meltdowns is that they are not even close to being over. The second thing to know about the Fukushima meltdowns is that no one really knows what’s going on, but officials routinely and falsely issue happy-talk reassurances that just aren’t true. The third thing to know about the Fukushima meltdowns is that they won’t be over for years, more likely decades, perhaps even ever.

Now, more than eight years after the triple reactor meltdown at Fukushima, the status of the three melted reactor cores remains somewhat contained but uncontrolled, with no end in sight. No one knows exactly where the melted cores are. No one has any clear idea of how to remove them or how to dispose of them safely. For the foreseeable future, the best anyone can do is keep the cores cooled with water and hope for the best. Water flowing into the reactors and cooling the cores is vital to preventing the meltdowns from re-initiating.

Clean groundwater continues to flow into the reactors. Then radioactive water flows out into the Pacific. Continuously. A frozen ice wall costing $309 million diverts much of the groundwater around the site to the Pacific Ocean. The water flow is not well measured. Some contaminated water is stored on site, but the site’s storage capacity of 1.37 million tons of radioactive water may be reached during 2020.

One proposed wastewater solution is to dilute the stored radioactive water and then dump it in the Pacific. Fukushima fishermen oppose this. Radioactivity in Fukushima fish has slowly declined since 2011, but the local fishing industry is only at 20 percent of pre-meltdown levels.

When it exists, reporting on Fukushima continues to be uneven and often shabby, buying into the official rosy view of the disaster, as The New York Times did on April 15. The day after Abe’s visit to Fukushima, the Times reported that an operation to begin removing fuel rods from a fuel pool was a “Milestone in Fukushima Nuclear Cleanup.” The Times, with remarkable incompetence, couldn’t distinguish clearly between the fuel pool and the melted reactor cores:

The operator of Japan’s ruined Fukushima nuclear power plant began removing radioactive fuel rods on Monday at one of three reactors that melted down after an earthquake and a tsunami in 2011, a major milestone in the long-delayed cleanup effort….

The plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power, said in a statement that workers on Monday morning began removing the first of 566 spent and unspent fuel rods stored in a pool at the plant’s third reactor. A radiation-hardened robot had first located the melted uranium fuel inside the reactor in 2017.

That is such a botch. The fuel pool is a storage pool outside the reactor. It contains fuel rods that have NOT melted down. They could melt down if the pool loses its cooling water, but for now they’re stable. The fuel pool has nothing more to do with the melted reactor cores than proximity. The fuel pool is outside the reactor, the melted cores are somewhere near the bottom of the reactor. The melted cores are beyond any remediation for the foreseeable future. To pretend that the start of fuel rod removal is any kind of meaningful milestone while the three melted cores remain out of reach is really to distort the reality of Fukushima.

The summer Olympics are planned for Tokyo in 2020. In 2013, two years after the Fukushima meltdowns, Prime Minister Abe pitched the Tokyo site by telling the Olympic Committee in reference to Fukushima: “Let me assure you, the situation is under control.”

This was a lie.

Even now, no one knows where the melted reactor cores are precisely. One robot has made one contact so far. Radiation levels at the core are lethal. There is, as yet, no way to remove the cores safely. They think they’re going to remove the cores with robots, but the robots don’t yet exist. The disaster may not be as out of control as it was, but that’s about the best that can be honestly said, unless there’s another tsunami.

Official government statistics show pediatric cancers almost doubling since the Fukushima meltdowns of 2011. Thyroid cancers are reaching epidemic levels. The Japanese government refuses to track leukemia and other cancers. The official Fukushima death toll is more than 18,000, including 2,546 who have never been recovered. Most of Fukushima prefecture remains uninhabitable due to high radiation levels.

On March 21, 2019, Dr. Helen Caldicot offered an assessment much closer to the likely truth:

They will never, and I quote never, decommission those reactors. They will never be able to stop the water coming down from the mountains. And so, the truth be known, it’s an ongoing global radiological catastrophe which no one really is addressing in full.

The Japanese government doesn’t want to address Fukushima in full because it wants to re-start all its other nuclear power plants. TEPCO doesn’t want to address Fukushima in full because it wants to stay in business as long as the Japanese government is willing to make the company profitable with billions of dollars in bailouts. The IAEA and the rest of the nuclear industry don’t want to address Fukushima in full because they don’t want to see the over-priced, over-subsidized, and ultimately dangerous nuclear industry die from its own shortcomings. With billions of dollars at stake, who needs the truth?

https://dissidentvoice.org/2019/06/fukushimas-three-nuclear-meltdowns-are-under-control-thats-a-lie/

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June 27, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , | Leave a comment

Voices of Fukushima power plant disaster victims strengthens call to ban nuclear energy

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Two IAEA experts examine recovery work on top of Unit 4 of TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station on 17 April 2013 as part of a mission to review Japan’s plans to decommission the facility.
June 6, 2019
[ACNS, by Rachel Farmer] Japanese parish priests shared stories of suffering from victims of the Fukushima nuclear disaster at an International Forum for a Nuclear-Free World held in Sendai, Japan, last week. A joint statement from the forum, due out next month, is expected to strengthen the call for a worldwide ban on nuclear energy and encourage churches to join in the campaign.
The forum, organised by the Nippon Sei Ko Kai (NSKK) – the Anglican Communion in Japan – follows the NSKKs General Synod resolution in 2012 calling for an end to nuclear power plants and activities to help the world go nuclear free.
The disaster in 2011 followed a massive earthquake and tsunami which caused a number of explosions in the town’s coastal nuclear power station and led to widespread radioactive contamination and serious health and environmental effects. The Chair of the forum’s organising committee, Kiyosumi Hasegawa, said: “We have yet to see an end to the damage done to the people and natural environment by the meltdown of TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. I do think this man-made disaster will haunt countless people for years to come. We still see numerous people who wish to go back to their hometowns but are unable to. We also have people who have given up on ever going home.”
One pastor, Dr Naoya Kawakami, whose church was affected by the tsunami and is the General Secretary of the Sendai Christian Alliance Disaster Relief Network, Touhoku HELP, explained how he had supported sufferers in the aftermath and heard from priests supporting the survivors. He said: “I have been more than 700 times to meet with more than 180 mothers and about 20 fathers, all of whom have seen abnormalities in their children since 2011. . . Thyroid cancer has been found in more than 273 children and many mothers are in deep anxiety.
“The more the situation worsens, the more pastors become aware of their important role. The role is to witness . . . pastors who have stayed in Fukushima with the ‘voiceless survivors’ are showing us the church as the body of Jesus’s resurrection, with wounds and weakness . . . sufferers are usually in voiceless agony and most people never hear them.”
The forum was attended by bishops, clergy and lay representatives from each diocese, together with representatives from the US-based Episcopal Church, USPG, the Episcopal Church of the Philippines, the Diocese of Taiwan, the Anglican Church of Korea, and also ecumenical guests. International experts took part, along with local clergy who shared individual stories from those directly affected by the disaster.
Keynote lecturer Prof Dr Miranda Schreurs, from the Technische Universität München in Germany, launched the forum at Tohoku Diocese’s Cathedral, Sendai Christ Church. The professor currently serves as a member of the Ethic Commission for Safe Energy Supply and significantly influenced Germany’s nuclear free energy policy. Other speakers included the Bishop of Taiwan, David Jun Hsin Lai, and Amos Kim Kisuk from the Anglican Church of Korea.
During the week delegates from outside Japan visited sites and towns near the nuclear power plant. They also visited St John’s Church Isoyama and “Inori no Ie” (House of Prayer) in Shinchi, Fukushima, to offer prayers for all the victims of the disaster.
The NSKK Partners-in-Mission Secretary, Paul Tolhurst, said the visit to Fukushima had brought home the reality of the situation for local people. “Driving past the power station and seeing the ghost town around us as the Geiger counter reading kept going up is something I won’t forget”, he said. “It was like the town time forgot – they still seem to be living the incident, while the rest of Japan has moved on.”
Arguing for an end to nuclear power, NSKK priest John Makito Aizawa said: “Both religiously and ethically, we cannot allow nuclear power plants to continue running. They produce deadly waste, which we have no way of processing into something safe.
“More than 100,000 years are necessary for the radiation of such deadly waste to diminish to the level that it was in the original uranium. This alone is a strong enough reason to prohibit nuclear power plants. Insistence on restarting nuclear power plants seems to come from the insistence on getting more and more money and profit.”
He added: “I am no scientist or engineer of nuclear power generation. I am no expert. Still, as Christians, and to live as humans, I am certain this is an issue we cannot afford to ignore.”
The forum’s statement is expected to call for a goal of conversion to renewable sources of energy and set out ways to build a network to take forward denuclearization and how the church can play its part.

June 27, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

The Fukushima Nuclear Disaster and the Tokyo Olympics

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By Professor Koide Hiroaki

The original Japanese text is available here

What was the Fukushima Nuclear Accident?

On March 11, 20011, the Tokyo Electric Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant was assaulted by a severe earthquake and tsunami, leading to a total power outage. Experts had been agreed that total outage would be the likeliest cause of a catastrophic incident. And just as anticipated, the reactors of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant suffered meltdowns and released enormous quantities of radioactive materials into the surrounding environment. According to the report submitted by the Japanese government to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), this accident released 1.5×1016 becquerels (Bq) of cesium 137 into the atmosphere—the equivalent of 168 Hiroshima bombs. One Hiroshima bomb’s worth of radioactivity is already terrifying, but we have the Japanese government acknowledging that the Fukushima disaster released 168 times the radioactivity of that explosion into the atmosphere.16

The cores of reactors 1, 2, and 3 melted down. The amount of cesium 137 contained in those cores adds up to 7×10^17 Bq, or 8000 Hiroshima bombs’ worth. Of that total, the amount released into the atmosphere was the equivalent of 168 bombs, and combined with releases into the sea, the total release of cesium 137 into the environment to date must be approximately equivalent to 1000 Hiroshima bombs. In other words, most of the radioactive material in those cores remains in the damaged reactor buildings. If the cores were to melt any further, there would be more releases into the environment. It is in order to prevent this that even now, nearly 8 years after the accident, water continues to be aimed by guesswork in the direction where the cores might be located. And because of this, several hundred tons of contaminated waste water are accumulating each day. Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) has constructed over 1000 tanks on site to store this water, but the total volume now exceeds one million tons. Space is limited, and there is a limit as well to the number of tanks that can be constructed. Tepco will be compelled to release these waters into the sea in the near future.

Obstacles to containing the disaster

Of course, the greatest priority is to secure the melted cores in as safe a condition as possible, but even with the passage of nearly eight years, neither their location nor their condition has been ascertained.17 The reason is that it is impossible to access those sites. Had this accident occurred at a thermal power plant, the problem would have been simple. In the beginning, there might have been fires burning over several days, but once they died down, it would have been possible to go to the site, investigate, repair, and restart operations. In the case of a nuclear power plant, however, anyone approaching the site would die. The government and Tepco have attempted to send in robots, but robots do not stand up well to radiation. The reason is that once their microchips are exposed, their programs get rewritten. Accordingly, almost all the robots sent in to date have failed to return.

 

1.pngReactor 2 Interior Probe, Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station: 1. Reactor pressure vessel 2. Melted fuel debris?  3. Tubing attached to camera  4.Primary containment vessel

“The melted core has fallen through the pedestal and out of the reactor pressure vessel. It cannot be retrieved. One hundred years from now, this accident will still not have been contained.” –Koide Hiroaki Source

Toward the end of January 2017, Tepco inserted a device resembling a remote-controlled endoscope into the concrete platform (pedestal) under the reactor pressure vessel. A large hole that had opened up in the steel scaffolding used by workers during maintenance, located directly under the pressure vessel, made it possible to ascertain the following: the fuel core had melted through the pressure vessel and fallen further down. The investigation yielded something even more important, however. For human beings, exposure to 8 sieverts (Sv) will result in certain death. The area directly under the pressure vessel measured 20 Sv/hour, but along the way, levels as high as 530 or 650 Sv were detected. These measurements, moreover, were found not inside the cylindrical pedestal, but between the wall of the pedestal and the wall of the containment structure. Tepco and the government had scripted a scenario wherein most of the melted core had been deposited, dumpling-like, inside the pedestal, to be retrieved and sealed inside a containment structure in the course of 30-40 years. According to this scenario, the conclusion of this process would signify the achievement of containment. In reality, however, the melted nuclear fuel had flowed out of the pedestal and scattered all around. Forced to rewrite their “roadmap,” the government and Tepco began talking about making an opening on the side of the containment structure through which the melted fuel could be grasped and removed. That, however, is an impossibility. It would entail severe worker exposure.18

From the beginning, I have maintained that the only option is to construct a sarcophagus, covering the plant, as was done at the Chernobyl site in the former Soviet Union. That sarcophagus deteriorated to such an extent in 30 years’ time as to require coverage by a second sarcophagus, put in place in November 2016. The second sarcophagus is expected to last for 100 years. We do not yet know what measures will be available at that point. No one who is alive today can expect to see the containment of the Chernobyl disaster. All the more so in the case of Fukushima: the containment of this disaster will not have been achieved even after all who are alive today have died. Moreover, even if it were hypothetically possible to seal the molten core inside the containment structure, that will not mean that the radioactivity will have vanished. Indeed, it would be necessary to protect any such structure for hundreds of thousands to a million years.

 

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Imaging the aerial method of fuel debris retrieval at Fukushima Daiichi: Since it can not be helped, “Aerial Construction Method” to open a hole from the side of the containment vessel to take out the melted core is proposed, but it becomes a tremendous radiation exposure work. 1. Reactor pressure vessel 2. Primary containment vessel 3. Melted-through nuclear fuel (debris) a. Water flooding method of retrieval rejected  b. Remotely controlled drills and lasers to scrape off debris bit by bit under continuous spray of water  Source

Declaration of a Nuclear Emergency: The human consequences

Tragedy continues to unfold in the environs of the plant. On the day of the disaster, the government issued a Declaration of a Nuclear Emergency, and mandatory evacuation zones were expanded, beginning at 3 kilometers from the plant, then 10, then 20. Residents in those areas had to leave their homes, taking only what they could carry. Livestock and pets were abandoned. That is not all. Iitate Village, located 40-50 kilometers away from Fukushima Daiichi, received no warnings or instructions immediately after the accident, but one month later, because of extreme contamination, the entire village was ordered to evacuate.

What do we mean when we talk about happiness? For many people, happiness likely supposes uneventful days, one unfolding after the other, in the company of family, friends, neighbors, lovers. This is what was ruptured, one day, without warning. Evacuees first went to centers, such as gymnasiums, then to cramped temporary housing, then to “reconstruction” housing or public housing temporarily “declared” to be evacuee quarters. Family members with shared lives until then were scattered apart. Their livelihood destroyed, people have been taking their own lives out of despair.

This is not all. Even outside the mandatory evacuation zones, there emerged vast contaminated areas that by all rights should have been designated “radiation control zones.”19 These are areas where only radiation workers, those who earn their living by handling radiation, are permitted entry. And even those workers, once they enter a control zone, are not permitted to drink water or eat food. Naturally, it is forbidden to sleep. There are no toilets. The government, on the grounds that an emergency situation prevails, has scrapped the usual regulations and abandoned several million people to live in contaminated areas. These people, including infants, drink the water, eat, and sleep in those areas. They have of course been burdened with the risks associated with exposure. And thus abandoned, they are all surely subject to anxiety. Some, seeking to avoid exposure, gave up their jobs and evacuated with their entire families. Others, wishing to protect at least their children from exposure, have split up, with fathers staying behind to pursue their jobs in contaminated areas and mothers leaving with their children. But this has damaged household stability and wrecked family relationships. Staying in contaminated areas hurts the body, but evacuation crushes the soul. These abandoned people have been living in anguish every day for nearly eight years.

On top of this, in March of 2017, the government instructed those it had once ordered to leave, or those who had left of their own volition, to return to those contaminated areas so long as the radiation levels did not exceed 20 millisieverts/year (mSv). The housing assistance it had offered these people, however unsatisfactory, was terminated. This has inevitably meant that some people are forced to return. In Fukushima today, reconstruction is considered the highest priority. If people feel no choice but to live there, then of course, reconstruction becomes desirable. They cannot tolerate living in fear day after day. They would like to forget about the contamination, and fortunately or not, radioactivity is invisible. The central and local governments take active measures to make them forget. Anyone voicing concern or referring to contamination is subject to criticism: they are obstructing reconstruction.

20 mSv per year is the level of exposure permitted only for radiation workers, such as I once was. It is hard to forgive the fact that this level is now being imposed on people who derive no benefit from exposure. Moreover, infants and children, who are especially sensitive to radiation, have no responsibility for the recklessness of Japanese nuclear policy, let alone for the Fukushima disaster. It is not permissible to apply occupational levels of exposure to them. The government of Japan, however, says nothing can be done given the Declaration of a Nuclear Emergency. We can understand an emergency lasting for one day, a whole week, one month, or depending on the circumstances, even for one year. But in fact, the Declaration of a Nuclear Emergency has not been rescinded even after nearly eight years have passed. The government is eager to make people forget about the Fukushima disaster. Media have fallen silent. Most Japanese have been driven to forget that conditions are such that make it impossible to rescind the Declaration even while the regulations that should prevail have been scrapped. The principal culprit in radioactive contamination is cesium 137, with a half-life of 30 years. Even after the passage of 100 years, it will have diminished by only one-tenth. In point of fact, even after 100 years, Japan will be in a state of nuclear emergency.

Holding the Olympic Games in a state of nuclear emergency

The Olympic games have always been used to display national might. In recent years, they have become tools for businesses, especially construction companies, which create, and then destroy, large public structures, leading to a colossally wasteful society from which they derive stupendous profit. What is important now is for the state to mobilize all its resources so that the Declaration of a Nuclear Emergency can be rescinded as soon as possible. The priority should be to give relief to those who continue to suffer from the Fukushima nuclear disaster, and at the very least, to protect children, who are blameless, from exposure. The greater the risks facing a society, the more those in power seek to avert peoples’ eyes. The mass media will try to whip up Olympic fever, and there will come a time when those who oppose the Olympics will be denounced as traitors. So it was during World War II: the media broadcast only the proclamations from Imperial Headquarters, and virtually all citizens cooperated in the war effort. The more you thought yourself an upstanding Japanese, the more likely you were to condemn your fellow citizens as traitors. If, however, this is a country that chooses to prioritize the Olympic games over the blameless citizens it has abandoned, then I shall gladly become a traitor.

The Fukushima disaster will proceed in 100-year increments, freighted with enormous tragedies. Casting sidelong glances at the vast numbers of victims, the perpetrators, including Tepco, government officials, scholars, and the media, have utterly failed to take responsibility. Not a single one has been punished.20 Taking advantage of this, they are trying to restart the reactors that are currently stopped and to export them overseas. The Tokyo Olympics will take place in a state of nuclear emergency. Those countries and the people who participate will, on the one hand, themselves risk exposure, and, on the other, become accomplices to the crimes of this nation.

August 23, 2018

Acknowledgments

Let me begin by thanking colleagues at APJ-Japan Focus—Gavan McCormack, Satoko Norimatsu, and Mark Selden—for their encouragement in pursuing this translation. I am grateful to Eiichiro Ochiai and Bo Jacobs, whose work can also be found on this site, for their patient responses to my questions. Koide Hiroaki likewise responded generously. Errors that remain are my own (NF).

Koide Hiroaki wrote the original text in response to a request by Ms. Kusumoto Junko, who translated, printed, and shipped it along with her own statement to the various national Olympic committees. I am grateful to her for these actions. I also thank Mr. Koide for permission to produce this translation.

Related articles

Notes are by the translator.

Notes

1

Much of the following account draws on Koide’s multiple public lectures and interviews as well as author interview on July 22, 2018. For the college years, see especially the evocative essay, “Sōmatō no yō ni meguru omoide” [Like memories swirling on a revolving lantern], Narisuna No. 201 (September 2005), available here.

2

Of course, it was US President Dwight Eisenhower who launched the strategic dream of “peaceful uses” with its special implications for Japan with his “Atoms for Peace” speech before the UN General Assembly on December 8, 1953, not three months before the fateful Castle Bravo shot on Bikini atoll on March 1, 1954. See Yuki Tanaka and Peter Kuznick’s “Japan, the Atomic Bomb, and the ‘Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Power,’” APJ-Japan Focus (May 2, 2011) and Ran Zwigenberg, “The Coming of a Second Sun”: The 1956 Atoms for Peace Exhibit in Hiroshima and Japan’s Embrace of Nuclear Power,” APJ-Japan Focus (February 4, 2012).

3

Even while acknowledging its importance: see interview, “Koide Hiroaki-san ni kiku: ‘Genshiryoku mura’ de wa naku ‘genshiryoku mafia’ da” [Mr. Koide Hiroaki’s views: It’s not a “nuclear village” but a “nuclear mafia”] (March 24, 2015).

4

The relative poverty of the areas where nuclear power plants have been constructed is an integral aspect of siting considerations. Koide is acutely sensitive to these and other discriminatory practices. “Remote,” in any case, is an exquisitely relative designation in a country as small and densely populated as Japan. See here for a series of four maps of Japan, showing nuclear power stations in relation to major cities. If circles with a 20 km radius (12 miles) are drawn around each plant, major cities fall outside their perimeters. But the situation changes drastically if the circle is expanded to 100 kms (62 miles). Double that, to 200 kms (124 miles), and virtually all of Japan, never mind major cities, will be covered by overlapping circles.

5

As of April 2018, the Kyoto University Institute for Integrated Radiation and Nuclear Science (Kyoto Daigaku Fukugō Genshiryoku Kagaku Kenkyūsho).

6

Koide moreover considers the Kumatori site as having been acquired by deception, inasmuch as Kyoto University signed an official agreement guaranteeing the impossible: that no radioactive materials would be released into the air or in the effluent discharged from the Institute.

7

See, for instance, “Tōdai nara katsudō dekinakatta; Kyōdai Koide jokyō ga konshun taishoku” [I couldn’t have sustained my activities at Todai; Kyodai assistant professor Koide retiring this spring], Sunday Mainichi, March 15, 2018; and “Koide Hiroaki Kyōdai jokyō teinen intabyū [Koide Hiroaki­, Kyoto University assistant professor, retirement intervew], Tokyo Shimbun, March 23, 2015, available here.

8

Text of speech, delivered in English, here.

9

See here.

10

Mainichi report, beginning with actual Board of Audit accounting from October 2018.

11

See “Japan’s Olympics Chief Faces Corruption Charges in France,” New York Times, January 11, 2019.

12

Radiation Doses Underestimated in Study of City in Fukushima,” Asahi Shimbun, January 9, 2019. See also “Journal flags articles about radiation exposure following Fukushima disaster” in Retraction Watch; and especially, Shin-ichi Kurokawa and Akemi Shima, “A Glass Badge Study That Failed and Betrayed Residents: A Study with Seven Violations of Ethical Guidelines Can Be No Basis for Government Policies,” Kagaku, Vol. 89:2, February 2019.

13

Shinsaigo ‘hōshasen niko-niko shiteiru hito ni eikyō nai’ Yamashita Nagasaki-dai kyōju ‘shinkoku na kanōsei’ kenkai kiroku” [“No radiation effects on people who keep smiling” post-earthquake: Record of “serious possibility” noted by Nagasaki University Professor Yamashita], Tokyo Shimbun, January 28, 2019.

14

Kantei ni ‘ekigaku chōsa fuyō’ Fukushima gempatsu jiko de Hōiken riji” [“No epidemiological study necessary”: Director of NIRS to Prime Minister’s Office following Fukushima nuclear accident], Tokyo Shimbun, February 18, 2019.

15

“‘Seika rirē’yūchi ni hisaichi Fukushima no jūmin ga hiyayaka na wake” [Why the disaster-afflicted residents of Fukushima are cool to hosting the ‘Olympic torch’ relay], Shūkan Kinyōbi (October 31, 2018). See also her “Follow Up on Thyroid Cancer! Patient Group Voices Opposition to Scaling Down the Fukushima Prefectural Health Survey,” APJ-Japan Focus (January 15, 2017).

16

Cesium 137, with a half-life of approximately 30 years, is a major source of long-term contamination after atmospheric nuclear weapons tests and nuclear power plant accidents. It has been the principal radionuclide of concern in Fukushima. The comparative calculation given here is based on Fukushima estimates released by the Japanese Government in its June 2011 “Report by the Japanese Government to the IAEA Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety—The Accident at TEPCO’s Fukushima Nuclear Power Stations” (see here for whole report with links to subsequent revisions and here for Chapter VI, “Discharge of Radioactive Materials to the Environment”),. The information on releases appears in table form as part of an August 26, 2011 Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) “News Release” on “Tokyo Denryoku Kabushikigaisha Fukushima Daiichi Genshiryoku Hatsudensho oyobi Hiroshima ni tōka sareta genshibakudan kara hōshutsu sareta hōshaseibushutsu ni kansuru shisanchi ni tsuite” [On the estimates of radioactive materials released by Tokyo Electric Power Company’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station and the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima] (see here). For its estimates of radionuclides released into the atmosphere by the Hiroshima bomb, this report cites the UNSCEAR [United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation] 2000 Report to the General Assembly with Scientific Annexes: “Sources and Effects of Ionizing Radiation,” Annex C, “Exposures to the Public from Man-made Sources of Radiation.” The reference is surely to Table 9 (p. 213), “Radionuclides produced and globally dispersed in atmospheric nuclear testing,” wherein the radionuclides are listed in identical order as the METI chart on Hiroshima, minus, of course, plutonium 239, 240, and 241 (the Hiroshima bomb, unlike Nagasaki, was a uranium weapon).

17

On 13 February 2019, Tepco released photos showing first contact with melted fuel debris in unit 2. See here.

18

See “Important Stories of Decommissioning 2018” by the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy, METI, for the government account of the roadmap, especially pages 20-24 on fuel retrieval.

19

Standards for such designation vary from country to country and within agencies of a given country. Koide’s discussion here is based on the standard of 40,000 Bq/m2 as the threshold of contamination, above which an area should be designated a control zone according to Japanese law.

20

There are currently more than 30 civil cases winding their way through the courts, but only one criminal proceeding in Tokyo District Course, with three former Tepco executives as defendants, charged with professional negligence resulting in death and injury. Since public prosecutors had twice declined to indict, the criminal charges and the trial came about only through the tenacity of a citizens’ group and a little-known system of judicial inquest, somewhat comparable to the US grand jury system minus prosecutorial involvement. See “Five-year prison terms sought for former TEPCO executives,” Asahi Shimbun, December 26, 2018.

https://apjjf.org/2019/05/Koide-Field.html

March 3, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , | Leave a comment

2019 Civil nuclear power in Japan, Fukushima

51983537_497459597324845_7943532234311467008_n.jpgKolin Kobayashi, accompanying Ex-Prime Minister Naoto Kan and his wife on their antinuclear campaigning tour in France last February 2019.

 

Numbers
Total number of plants: 19 plants
total number of reactors: 54 reactors active before Fukushima.
Number of closures decided: 21 reactors

Number of reactors restarted: 9, 1st dec 2018 (Genkai 3,4, Sendai1,2, Ooi 3,4, Takahama 3,4, Ikata 3)
Number of reactors passed to the control of the new standard: 9
Number of reactors under construction: 3 (Oma, totsu, Shimané)

Total shutdown of all plants:
Zero reactor for almost two years between May 2012 and August 2015. During this period, Japan used coal and fuel plants, but the increase in coal consumption did not exceed 10%. Natural gas + 9%
The share of electro-nuclear before Fukushima: 35%
The increase in solar production: 45 billion Khw that would exceed that of electronuclear (17 billion).

Concerns before the 8th year (March 11, 2019) of the Fukushima disaster
The accident continues and we are still under the state of emergency. It is not yet possible to confine the radioactivity.

Return of inhabitants:

Since the spring of 2017, the prepared areas to be opened are now open and the government and the Fukushima Department are urging people to return to their contaminated areas. Mr. Shunichi Tanaka, former chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, from Fukushima, settled in Iitate to show that there is no radioactive risk. The municipality of Iitaté (40-50 km north-west of Fukushima-Diichi) is a strategic place for both the pronucleair who want to erase this March 2011 bad memory and for the antinuclear who would like to demonstrate that there can be an important contamination even if you are 40 km away. The villagers were not informed that their village had been heavily contaminated. One month later, all residents were evacuated.

The Japanese and French lobbies work together to accredit the myth of radioactivity security, in the continuity of the Ethos project in Belarus, to bring back the inhabitants.

The propaganda of the Japanese and French lobbies plans to organize a study trip for international high school students to Japan, including French high school students, in Fukushima and also at the Fukushima-Daiichi site, to persuade people that the radioactivity is not very serious. A propaganda organized by Japanese and French scientists linked to the sphere of the international lobby ETHOS.

Discharge of contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean:

The quantity of contaminated water now exceeds 1,120,000 tons with more than 1,000 tanks. The limit of the storage margin in the Fukushima site will be reached in two years.

It is found that these waters contain not only more than 1000 trillion Bq in total tritium but also cesium 137 and 134 and strontium. TEPCO and the Japanese authorities recommend dumping it into the Pacific Ocean. They organized three public hearings during which the inhabitants and especially the fishermen were fiercely opposed to this solution. The citizens’ commission of nuclear power (associative organization of the independent scientists) recommends to store it in the large reservoirs for 100 years. For the moment the decision is suspended.

Reuse of contaminated land:

Recycling waste of less than 8000 Bq / kg is allowed.

After the decontamination work, the contaminated waste is stored in the plastic bags and there are today 16 million 50 000 bags: 1100 temporary deposits, 137 000 deposits on the premises. In the municipalities of Okuma and Futaba, two intermediate storage sites are being built, which must finally receive 22 million bags until 2020. To prevent the number of storage increases, the Japanese authorities allow to recycle / reuse contaminated soil of less than 8000 Bq / kg.

The CEO of Veolia said that it intends to make a trade of waste by exporting to Japan those from France of less than 8000Bq / kg.

Removal of the public dosimeters:

The Fukushima Department would like to remove public dosimetry indicators. There are public hearings and here too, residents oppose this decision.

Tokyo Olympics:

The situation created by preparations for the Tokyo Olympics is terrifying. It makes people forget Fukushima The trivialization of radioactivity and ethosian propaganda. The public and the Olympic Committee should be informed of the reality of the contamination.

( Read the text of Prof. Hiroaki KOIDE https://nuclear-news.net/2019/03/03/the-fukushima-nuclear-disaster-and-the-tokyo-olympics/ )

The health consequences:

In Minami-Soma, Fukushima County, according to the local * statistics of the Minami-Soma Municipal Hospital, the number of cases of thyroid cancer is 29 times higher than before the accident, cases of leukemia 10.8 times, lung cancers 4.2 times, childhood cancers 4 times, pneumonia 3.98 times.

* This does not represent the overall situation of the Fukushima Department, but it is significant.

Kolin Kobayashi

January 2019

March 3, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , | Leave a comment

Japan and Tepco again ordered to pay damages to Fukushima nuclear disaster evacuees

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February 20, 2019
Yokohama court orders government and TEPCO to pay $3.8m to 152 residents forced to flee homes after nuclear meltdown.
 
Presiding Judge Ken Nakadaira said the nuclear accident was preventable as the state could have foreseen as of September 2009, based on a projection by experts, that a massive tsunami similar to one that occurred in the ninth century could strike the area again and cause a complete power blackout at the plant.
 
He said it would have been “possible by the end of 2010” to implement steps such as installing emergency power generators that would have prevented damage to core reactors as well as hydrogen explosions that led to the release of massive amounts of radioactive materials outside the plant.
Nakadaira also criticized the state for its assessment before the disaster that Tepco’s anti-tsunami measures were adequate, saying it was a serious “mistake and failure.”
 
The ruling awarded compensation to 152 of the 175 plaintiffs, of whom 50 had evacuated voluntarily and 125 were forced to do so. They had each demanded ¥350,000 per month and compensation of ¥20 million for psychological damage due to “the loss of their hometown” in addition to compensation already paid by Tepco.
 
The ruling was the eighth among approximately 30 similar suits filed by more than 10,000 evacuees.
 
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February 23, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , , , | Leave a comment

Tokyo governor won’t speculate on Olympic bribery scandal

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February 18, 2019
TOKYO — The head of Tokyo’s city government has declined to weigh in on the future of Japanese Olympic Committee President Tsunekazu Takeda, who is being investigated for his part in an alleged bribery scandal.
Asked Monday if Takeda should resign, Tokyo Governor Yurkio Koike told reporters: “This is an issue for the JOC. Therefore, as the government of Tokyo, we are looking at what efforts need to be made in order to ensure the success of the games.”
Members of the JOC executive board are up for re-election this summer. There is speculation Takeda will not run, or could be replaced. French investigators believe he may have helped Tokyo win the 2020 Olympics in a vote by the International Olympic Committee.
Takeda has been JOC president since 2001. He is also a powerful IOC member and the head of its marketing commission. He has not stepped aside from either position while the IOC’s ethics committee investigates.
Takeda last month acknowledged he signed off on the payments but denied corruption allegations. An internal report in 2016 by the Japanese Olympic Committee essentially cleared Takeda of wrongdoing.
Tokyo is spending at least $20 billion to organize the Olympics. Games costs are difficult to track, but the city of Tokyo appears to be picking up at least half the bill.
Much of Japan’s focus has been to show that the Fukushima area is safe and has recovered from a 2011 earthquake, tsunami, and the meltdowns at three nuclear reactors.
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February 23, 2019 Posted by | fukushima 2019 | , | Leave a comment

Fukushima prosecutors demand TEPCO execs get 5 years for negligence that led to nuclear meltdown

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December 28, 2018
Fukushima prosecutors demand TEPCO execs get 5 years for negligence that led to nuclear meltdown
Japanese prosecutors have demanded the top three executives at Tokyo Electric Power Company receive five-year prison sentences for failing to take measures to prevent the disastrous triple meltdown of the Fukushima nuclear plant.
Ex-TEPCO chairman Tsunehisa Katsumata and former vice presidents Ichiro Takekuro and Sakae Muto have all pleaded not guilty to charges of professional negligence resulting in death and injury, claiming they could not have anticipated the tsunami that triggered the catastrophic meltdown – and that even if they had implemented preventative measures, they wouldn’t have been sufficient to prevent the disaster.
All three executives were told years before the accident that a tsunami could hit the plant, triggering just the sort of catastrophe that culminated in the 2011 meltdown, the prosecution claimed. Not only did the executives not attempt any preventative measures, but they didn’t even try to gather further information about how such an event might endanger the plant.
“It was easy to safeguard the plant against tsunami, but they kept operating the plant heedlessly,” the prosecution argued. “That led to the deaths of many people.” The trio faces responsibility for the deaths of 44 people, including 13 hospital patients forced to evacuate themselves amidst the chaos.
The executives claimed they had not been informed of the tsunami risk, opting to shift blame onto their underlings, according to NHK. 
While the Fukushima meltdown took place seven years ago, the prosecution has only just now delivered its sentencing recommendations in a trial that nearly did not happen. Public prosecutors twice chose not to seek indictments against the TEPCO brass, but an independent citizens’ panel pushed for a trial.
Last year, Fukushima victims won a landmark class action suit that found TEPCO officials had not adequately prepared for potential disasters. A $4.5 million payout was split among 3,800 plaintiffs.
The chain-reaction Fukushima disaster, beginning with an earthquake, leading to a tsunami and culminating in the worst meltdown since Chernobyl, is believed to have killed 19,000 people. The radiation released from that catastrophe has also begun taking its toll, with the first official radiation death tallied in September. The area surrounding Fukushima is still highly radioactive, and 30,000 people have been unable to return to their homes.

 

January 2, 2019 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima: Living a Disaster

Five years after the nuclear accident in Fukushima, an end to the disaster is not in sight. This short documentary tells the story of the people from Fukushima, forced to leave their homes without knowing if they could ever return, and explores the work that Greenpeace has been doing in the region since 2011. Sign the petition to end the nuclear nightmare and switch on renewables! http://grnpc.org/IgNDC

September 30, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , | Leave a comment