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‘Political rhetoric, not science’: Greenpeace slams IAEA Fukushima report

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Greenpeace has lashed out against the conclusions of IAEA’s latest report on the Fukushima disaster, calling the claim that radioactive exposure is “unlikely” to result in increased thyroid cancer risk in children a political rhetoric rather than science.

On Monday, IAEA said that despite uncertainties about the radiation doses incurred by children immediately after the accident, “an increase in childhood thyroid cancer attributable to the accident is unlikely.”

READ MORE: Child cancers ‘attributable’ to Fukushima disaster ‘unlikely’ to increase – IAEA

On Tuesday, Greenpeace slammed the conclusions of the UN body as being ‘political rhetoric’.

“Nobody knows how much radiation citizens were exposed to in the immediate days following the disaster. If you don’t know the doses, then you can’t conclude there won’t be any consequences. To say otherwise is political rhetoric, not science,” said Kendra Ulrich, senior global energy campaigner with Greenpeace Japan.

Part of the reason why no solid data is available regarding the potential exposure of the civilian population, as IAEA notes, resulted from the chaos and unpreparedness of the authorities to deal with and document the radiological impact of the March 2011 industrial disaster. Besides security and design “weaknesses” at the nuclear facility, IAEA also noted the government’s failure to swiftly and uniformly distribute stable iodine to block radiological effects in humans.

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Greenpeace notes that those were evident failures on behalf of both Tepco and Tokyo, and remains certain that there is no safe level of radiation exposure following a nuclear disaster.

Meanwhile, Japanese media reported that yet another youth has been diagnosed with thyroid cancer, bringing the total number of young victims to 104, out of the 385,000 Fukushima Prefecture non-adult residents at the time of the accident.

At the same time, the prefectural government committee investigating the issue said that “as of now, it is unlikely for the thyroid cancers found in Fukushima Prefecture to have been caused by the nuclear power plant accident,” Asahi News quotes.

Greenpeace blames IAEA for being complicit in covering up the truth about the potential harm posed by Fukushima fallout.

“The IAEA report actively supports the Abe government’s and the global nuclear industry’s agenda to make it appear that things can return to normal after a nuclear disaster,” Ulrich said. She accused Tokyo of giving the green light for Fukushima residents to return home, despite the risk of further nuclear exposure.

The organization also criticized the government’s move to restart nuclear power plants in the country. Last month, the Japanese government approved the program, which would let evacuees temporarily return to their homes for up to three months. The program is a step towards lifting the evacuation order and encouraging people to go back to their former residencies.

“But there is nothing normal about the lifestyle and exposure rates that the victims are being asked to return to,” Ulrich continued. “To intentionally subject nuclear victims to raised radiation levels is unjustified, particularly when we have the tragic reminder of Chernobyl where we saw increased rates of cancers more than five years after the crisis.”

The environmental NGO claims that its July investigation registered radioactive contamination levels in Fukushima prefecture at such a “high level” that it would be “impossible” for people to return.

Tokyo plans to lift the evacuation order by spring 2017 for many parts of the evacuation area stretching to a 20-kilometer radius around the Fukushima plant in addition to other zones that had high levels of radiation. Currently about 79,000 people from 10 localities remain evacuated.

Source: RT

http://www.rt.com/news/314053-greenpeace-criticises-iaea-fukushima/

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September 3, 2015 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima Report Dangerously Downplays Ongoing Health Risks: Greenpeace

“The IAEA report actively supports the Abe government’s and the global nuclear industry’s agenda to make it appear that things can return to normal after a nuclear disaster.”

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A new report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) “downplays” the continuing environmental and health effects of the Fukushima nuclear meltdown while supporting the Japanese government’s agenda to normalize the ongoing disaster, Greenpeace Japan charged on Tuesday.

The Vienna-based IAEA released its final report Monday on the 2011 triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. While the agency pointed to numerous failings, including unclear responsibilities among regulators, weaknesses in plant design and in disaster-preparedness, and a “widespread assumption” of safety, it was more circumspect with regard to health concerns.

The Fukushima disaster released vast amounts of radiation, leading to fears that cases of thyroid cancer in children would soar as they did following the Chernobyl disaster of 1986.

The 200-page report sought to assuage those worries, stating: “Because the reported thyroid doses attributable to the accident were generally low, an increase in childhood thyroid cancer attributable to the accident is unlikely.”

That assertion wasn’t bulletproof, however. The report added: “[U]ncertainties remained concerning the thyroid equivalent doses incurred by children immediately after the accident.”

In a press statement, Greenpeace Japan seized on the information gap.

“The IAEA concludes that no discernible health consequences are expected as a result of the Fukushima disaster, but admits important uncertainties in both radiation dose and long-term effects,” said Kendra Ulrich, senior global energy campaigner with Greenpeace Japan. “Nobody knows how much radiation citizens were exposed to in the immediate days following the disaster. If you don’t know the doses, then you can’t conclude there won’t be any consequences. To say otherwise is political rhetoric, not science.”

The IAEA report conveniently comes as pro-nuclear Prime Minister Shinzo Abe systematically seeks to lift evacuation orders and re-start the country’s nuclear program.

“The IAEA report actively supports the Abe government’s and the global nuclear industry’s agenda to make it appear that things can return to normal after a nuclear disaster,” Ulrich said. “But there is nothing normal about the lifestyle and exposure rates that the victims are being asked to return to.”

In July, Greenpeace Japan charged that the IAEA “has sought to downplay the radiological risks to the population since the early days in 2011. In fact, it produced two documents that can be said to have laid the foundation and justification for Abe’s current policy of de facto forced resettlement.”

Exploring the political dynamics further, Ulrich wrote at the time:

Over four years after the triple reactor core meltdowns and exploded containment buildings at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, the majority of the Japanese public has remained opposed to any nuclear restart. The country has been completely nuclear-free for nearly two years, thanks in large part to significant public opposition, in spite of the massive pressure from nuclear utilities and the Abe government on local city governments.

However, these utilities are massively powerful and the Abe government is wholly in bed with them.

In an effort to reduce public opposition, Abe has been pushing forward the pro-nuclear agenda to ‘normalize’ a nuclear disaster. If the public can be convinced that less than five years after the worst nuclear disaster in a generation, citizens can go home and return to life the way it was before the disaster – with no additional health risks – then that is a powerful argument against the majority of Japanese citizens who oppose  nuclear reactor restarts.

Japan’s Asahi Shimbun newspaper reported Tuesday that evacuees from three Fukushima Prefecture localities who were displaced by the nuclear disaster started temporarily returning to their homes on Monday to prepare for their eventual permanent return.

“But applicants for the temporary stay program that began that day totaled 1,265, less than 10 percent of about 14,000 eligible as of Aug. 30,” the paper reported. “The small number indicates that an overwhelming majority of evacuees are still concerned about radiation levels and prospects for a return to normalcy in their hometowns.”

Source: Common Dreams

http://commondreams.org/news/2015/09/01/fukushima-report-dangerously-downplays-ongoing-health-risks-greenpeace?utm_campaign=shareaholic&utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=socialnetwork

September 2, 2015 Posted by | Japan | , , , | Leave a comment

IAEA’s final report on Fukushima disaster slams safety myth, downplays thyroid cancer fears

The IAEA released its final report Aug. 31 on the triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant that spewed out vast amounts of radiation, leading to fears that cases of thyroid cancer in children would soar.

However, the report downplayed those fears, stating: “Because the reported thyroid doses attributable to the accident were generally low, an increase in childhood thyroid cancer attributable to the accident is unlikely.”

The 200-page report, compiled by 180 experts from 42 IAEA member countries, was released along with five technical volumes totaling 1,000 pages, and is to be presented at the IAEA’s general meeting scheduled to start on Sept. 14.

The materials are available on the IAEA’s official website at (http://www-pub.iaea.org/books/IAEABooks/10962/The-Fukushima-Daiichi-Accident).

“A major factor that contributed to the accident was the widespread assumption in Japan that its nuclear power plants were so safe,” the IAEA stated, adding that facilities and emergency procedures to address a major accident, such as the one triggered by the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami, were woefully insufficient.

The report begins with the foreword by Yukiya Amano, director-general of the IAEA.

“There can be no grounds for complacency about nuclear safety in any country,” Amano wrote.

With regard to other causes of the Fukushima disaster, the report cited flaws in the design of nuclear facilities and emergency procedures. It also criticized the plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., for not having taken appropriate preparations in case outside power sources were lost for a prolonged period or anticipated accidents simultaneously occurring at multiple reactors.

The IAEA report pointed out that TEPCO did not take steps against towering tsunami inundating the plant even though it had anticipated that possibility based on a pre-disaster assessment by the government.

The final report also mentioned the effects of radioactive iodine released from the plant on the thyroid glands of children living near the nuclear facility.

But it also noted that uncertainties still linger about radiation doses children incurred immediately after the accident.

Source: Asahi Shimbun

http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201509010052

September 2, 2015 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

IAEA releases final biased report on Fukushima accident

The International Atomic Energy Agency says a major factor behind the 2011 Fukushima nuclear accident was a widespread assumption in Japan that nuclear power plants were safe.

The IAEA released a final report on Monday on the meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station. About 180 experts from more than 40 IAEA member countries contributed to the 1,200-page-plus report.

The report says that Japan was not sufficiently prepared for a severe nuclear accident due to the assumption that nuclear plants were safe. It says the Fukushima Daiichi plant had weaknesses in design and emergency preparedness.

The March 2011 accident came after a major earthquake and tsunami struck Fukushima Prefecture and the surrounding areas of northeastern Japan.

The report says the accident demonstrated the need to consider the potential for a combination of natural hazards to occur simultaneously. It says safety standards should also be continuously re-evaluated to consider advances in knowledge.

The report says no early radiation-induced health effects were observed among workers or members of the public.

It adds that although it can take decades for latent health effects to emerge, no discernible increase in such conditions is expected, given the low levels of radiation exposure among the general public.

The report also says thyroid abnormalities found in some children are unlikely to be associated with the nuclear accident, due to low exposure levels.

IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano says some of the factors that resulted in the Fukushima accident were not unique to Japan.

Amano says continuous questioning and openness to learning from experience are key to safety and are essential for everyone working in the industry.

The IAEA plans to submit the report to its General Conference this month to share the lessons on a wide scale and help improve the safety of nuclear plants.

“IAEA’s final report on Fukushima disaster slams safety myth, downplays thyroid cancer fears”

The International Atomic Energy Agency says a primary factor behind the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster was a mistaken “assumption” among plant operators about the safety of reactors.

Source: NHK

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20150901_13.html

September 2, 2015 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment