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Japanese Government – aided by the IAEA – puts nuclear victims at risk with forced resettlement scheme

The worst nuclear disaster in a generation at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant – which began in March 2011 – is still very much an ongoing crisis that will not be solved for the foreseeable future. Most of the massive radioactive releases were carried out to the Pacific Ocean by the prevailing winds at that time of year. But, on the nights of March 15th and 16th, the winds turned carrying an enormous amount of radiation inland. Land, especially to the northwest of the crippled reactor site, was heavily contaminated.

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Greenpeace investigations into areas where the Japanese government is intensively decontaminating with the intention of lifting evacuation orders by March 2017 have made a shocking discovery: in Iitate – one of the priority targets of the Abe Government’s plan – radiation dose levels are comparable to those in the 30km exclusion zone around Chernobyl. Even more surprising, this was true even around homes that had already been supposedly “decontaminated.”

What on earth would motivate the Japanese Government to do such a thing to the tens of thousands of nuclear victims and decontamination workers?

To answer that question, it is first important to understand a bit of background on Iitate: the region – referred to as Iitate Village – is actually a 200 km2 area of heavily forested hills, mountains, and lakes, interspersed with farm fields, and homes. It lies 28 – 47 km to the northwest of the destroyed Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, in the direct path of the heaviest on-land radioactive fallout.

Although the Abe Government has stated on its website that it is “decontaminating” Iitate – even going so far as to say on the Ministry of Environment website that 100% of the forest has already decontaminated – you have to dig through several different pages to discover that they are only referring to about a ¼ of the land area of Iitate.

In other words, of the 200 km2 of Iitate Village only 56 km2 are targeted for decontamination. Of that tiny fraction, the percentage comprised of the 10-20m into the forests along the roads and around people’s houses has been supposedly completed.

Except even that small amount of the forest isn’t finished. Decontamination efforts in these small bits of forests were still ongoing in July 2015.

And what strikes you when you see it is not just the swarms of people raking away at the woodland floor and trimming blades of grasses by hand in these first 10-20m of forest along the roads, but the enormity of the vast mountains upon mountains of dense, lush forest stretching out behind them as far as the eye can see.

You feel sorry for them. You also admire their intensive effort, meticulous work, and commitment. They are working in sweltering heat, in full radiation suits, boots, gloves and masks; not even their eyes are visible. And they are doing intense physical labor for almost no impact. Many of these workers are the residents of other impacted areas, like Minamisoma, who lost their jobs in farming, forestry, fishing or services due to the nuclear disaster. So they are working in the only growing industry in the region: radioactive decontamination.

It’s surreal. And it’s heartbreaking.

On 27 March, 2011, Greenpeace radiation investigations in Iitate had revealed extremely high levels of contamination, which led our organisation to urgently recommend to the Japanese government the immediate evacuation of the more than 6000 residents. Until that point, the residents of Iitate had been told that evacuation was not required. Evacuation did not begin until 22 April. And still, eight weeks after the start of the accident, in early June, over 1200 people remained in Iitate. As a result, the people of Iitate were the most exposed to radiation of all citizens of Fukushima prefecture.

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Iitate has since become an iconic area within the story of Fukushima: a constant reminder to the Japanese public and the international community that a major nuclear disaster is not confined to a small “emergency planning” zone around the reactor site. The impacts are far reaching, destroy entire regions and communities, rip people from the fabric of their lives, and cannot be repaired.

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 the pro-nuclear agenda to normalize the Fukushima nuclear disaster. If the public can be convinced that mere 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 those opposed to nuclear restarts.

The effort to minimize the impact of the disaster on the nuclear industry has been aided by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), an agency charged with the promotion of nuclear energy in its charter. 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 primary foundation for Abe’s current policy of forced resettlement.

The reality is this myth making requires that the people of Fukushima prefecture – especially the people of Iitate – be the sacrificial lambs for the nuclear industry. This is not only wholly unjust, but is a violation of their human rights.

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They have already been exposed to more radiation than any other population in the region. To deliberately force them back to areas where dose rates reach up to 20 millisieverts per year puts them at significant, unacceptable, and unnecessary risk.
After all, this is not the confusion that ensues after a nuclear disaster. This is a thought-out plan of forcing people back into their heavily contaminated former homes, no matter what the cost – both in wasteful, ineffective decontamination of these areas and in human health risks.
Compounding the gross injustice of the Abe Government’s forced resettlement policy, by focusing on creating a myth of a return to normalcy – and therefore investing vast amounts in expensive and futile decontamination – it is therefore utterly neglecting the contaminated areas that were never evacuated. Rather than addressing this urgent need to reduce the radiation risks to these populations, whom are currently living in contaminated areas, the government is more interested in deceiving the public in Japan and globally by creating illusions in places like Iitate.
What is clear is that the damage done to the people of Fukushima prefecture, and especially Iitate, is irreversible and irreparable. Their entire communities and way of life were destroyed by the nuclear disaster at Fukushima Daiichi, with no prospect for a safe return in the foreseeable future.
At minimum, we as Greenpeace, demand: 1) no lifting of the evacuation order in Iitate; 2) Exemptions and Government support for those determined to return after having full and accurate information regarding the risks; and, 3) full compensation for their loss of livelihood, property, community, mental distress, and health risks incurred, so that they may fully support themselves to move forward to pursue whatever life they so choose.
To keep the victims of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in limbo, many crammed into tiny temporary housing cubicles, for nearly five years is inhumane. To force these citizens back into such heavily contaminated areas via the economic leverage the Government holds over them is a gross iniquity. And for the International Atomic Energy Agency to assist the Japanese Government in the propaganda war being waged on Fukushima victims not only undermines whatever credibility it may have, but amounts to it being an accomplice in a crime against the people of Japan.
Kendra Ulrich is Senior Global Energy Campaigner for Greenpeace Japan.
Source: Greenpeace
http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/news/Blogs/nuclear-reaction/Fukushima-nuclear-victims-forced-resettlement-Iitate/blog/53584/

July 23, 2015 Posted by | Japan | , , , , | Leave a comment

Latest Report on Radiation Levels in Fukushima 7/21/15

Vande Putte, Sekiguchi & Tadano: “Latest report on Radiation levels in Fukushima” Jan Vande Putte: Greenpeace Belgium Energy Campaigner, Radiation Protection Advisor
Mamoru Sekiguchi: Greenpeace Japan Energy Campaigner
Yasushi Tadano: Lawyer for Fukushima evacuees
~~~
Japan “decontaminates” areas slowly to allow 54,800 people to return home to previously evacuated area. Itate – most exposed area 230 square KM with 6,000 people. Miyakoji uSv/hr at one meter above ground. At around 8:00 – what about the Ground Water?
Lifting evacuation orders for 54,000 people. Scanning roads vs offroads. Impossible to decontaminate forrest, sodium iodide test, 11,500+ points tested ~ 96% higher than government standards.
30% of points above 1mS/hr contamination.
Choice of returning home or not,
Dam water used for agriculture. Ganbe dam sediment sampling of silt from July 2015.
Forest will Never be decontaminated. The rainwater flows down the side of the hills and collects below – near houses, etc. So you have Contamination – then they “decontaminate” just to be recontaminated.
Underestimating risk of living indoor vs. outdoor exposure.
The forests are considered “decontaminated”when they simply “decontaminate” 20 meters to the side of the forest. Nothing can be done in the forests themselves.
Wsate piling up.
3 million bags of contaminated soil (etc) have already piled up. They expect 20-30 million cubic meters of waste to accumulate “temporarily” – and the bags are ripping open. No permanent storage place selected yet. “temporary storage” defined as THIRTY YEARS.
Low level exposure discussions. Extremes not practical. ICRP vs. ECRR risk model (internal vs. external contamination). Lifetime exposure adds up.
Absolutely unacceptable levels of exposure.
Cesium-137 with a 30 year HALF LIFE is primarily in top 5 cm of soil.
Insects helping with decomposition decreasing.
Wild fires in chernobyl reliberating radioactive elements –
recreating imminent risks.
Plant mutations, cicada bugs sounds declined – depopulation.
Burning radioactive waste at a new plant – using a “filter”. Incinerators.
Plant mutations questions.
Compensation for displaced people to cease if they move back to their contaminated (decontaminated) homes. 100,000 yen/month “compensation” – not enough to restart in a new location – leading more people to require welfare.
Citizens told to smile, be happy and don’t complain while they attempt to restart Sendai Nuclear Power plant (TEPCO) in an earthquake zone and very close to an active Volcano that just blew.
All the contamination – but what about the compounded social disaster that follows?
Government abandons people. “Normalization” strategy – ignore it and everything will be fine. Smile and shut up.
Disrupting people’s lives – Sendai NPP restart.

https://youtu.be/-3uFC4S3h2c Vande Putte, Sekiguchi & Tadano: “Latest report on Radiation levels in Fukushima”

July 23, 2015 Posted by | Japan | , , , , | Leave a comment

Highway opens near Fukushima nuclear power plant

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June 23, 2015 Posted by | Japan | , , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima radioactive waste storage operator’s intranet infected by virus

The internal computer network of the state-run Japan Environmental Storage & Safety Corp., which manages temporary storage sites for decontaminated waste from the Fukushima nuclear disaster, has been infected by a computer virus, the Environment Ministry said Wednesday.
The operator also known as JESCO, an Environment Ministry affiliate, is investigating whether any information has been leaked, ministry officials said.
JESCO will run interim facilities to be set up on land in Fukushima Prefecture to store radioactive soil and other waste. Facility buildings have yet to be built amid slow progress in negotiations with landowners.
JESCO’s computers do not store information on the landowners, which is kept at the Environment Ministry, the officials said.
JESCO shut down the network’s external communications Tuesday night after a firm monitoring the network detected unintended data transmission, they said.
The Environment Ministry temporarily halted transportation of waste scheduled for earlier Wednesday, but the operation resumed later, the officials said.
The Japan Pension Service and the Tokyo chamber of commerce recently announced their respective computer networks had been hacked, causing data leaks of confidential information.
Source : Japan Times
http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/06/17/national/fukushima-radioactive-waste-storage-operators-intranet-infected-by-virus/#.VYMqK0bJrIV

June 18, 2015 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Radiated Fukushima Prefecture soil disposal facility to be nationalized

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FUKUSHIMA – Environment Minister Yoshio Mochizuki told Fukushima Prefecture leaders Friday that the central government plans to nationalize a private facility intended for the disposal of relatively low radioactive waste in the prefecture.
In a meeting with Fukushima Gov. Masao Uchibori and others, Mochizuki also said the government plans to launch a new subsidy program for revising the local economy.
The ministry was to utilize the facility, which handles industrial waste, for the final disposal of such radioactive waste under an outsourcing contract, but it accepted the local demand for the nationalization.
Uchibori said in the meeting that he welcomes the ministry’s policy.
Koichi Miyamoto, mayor of the town of Tomioka where the facility is located, was understanding of the ministry’s move.
The facility will be used for the final disposal of waste tainted with radioactive materials released from Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant damaged in the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
It will accept waste with radioactivity levels of up to 100,000 becquerels per kilogram.
Waste and soil with higher radioactivity levels are to be kept at an interim storage facility, which will be constructed at a site straddling the towns of Okuma and Futaba.
Source : Japan Times
http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/06/06/national/radiated-fukushima-prefecture-soil-disposal-facility-to-be-nationalized/#.VXPAaUZZNBS

June 8, 2015 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

2 Fukushima waste storage sites to be built

Japan’s environment ministry will soon start building two more temporary stockyards to store radioactive waste from decontamination work in Fukushima Prefecture. A nuclear accident took place there in 2011.

The stockyards are facilities to temporarily store contaminated soil and other waste before it goes to a main storage facility that has yet to be built.

The ministry already has two such stockyards in the region of Futaba and Okuma towns. The two towns host the damaged nuclear plant. The stockyards can store 20,000 cubic meters of waste.

With the two new stockyards to be built in the same region, the ministry has now nearly secured enough land to carry out its plan to transfer more than 40,000 cubic meters of waste gathered from 43 municipalities in the prefecture in a year.

Work to transfer radioactive waste to the existing stockyards began in March. But the ministry has only transferred 3,000 cubic meters of waste. That’s less than a tenth of the planned annual total amount.

As for the entire site of the main storage facility planned for the same area, the Environment Ministry faces the challenge of negotiating with more than 2,300 landowners. Only a few have so far agreed to sell their land.

The planned main storage facility is for intermediate storage until a site is secured for final disposal. Legislation obliges the government to ensure the waste stored in the main storage facility is moved to a final disposal site outside Fukushima Prefecture within 30 years.
Source : NHK
http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20150604_23.html

June 5, 2015 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Opponents of nuclear waste site hold symposium to counter gov’t forum on same day

Residents attend a symposium on opposition to a plan to build a radioactive waste site in Shioya, Tochigi Prefecture, on May 14, 2015. (Mainichi)
UTSUNOMIYA — While the Environment Ministry held a forum here on the night of May 14 on building disposal sites for radioactive waste and other debris caused by the Fukushima nuclear disaster, opponents of one candidate site held a large-scale symposium in Shioya.
The ministry held the forum in the prefectural capital in connection with plans to build disposal sites in Tochigi and four other prefectures. Meanwhile, the opponents held the symposium in Shioya, about 22 kilometers away from Utsunomiya, under the theme of local natural riches.
About 180 people attended the Environment Ministry’s forum, the second in a series that began in April in Sendai. Officials in charge of designated radioactive waste briefed the participants on the disposal scheme and sought their understanding for constructing a disposal site in the prefecture. Some of the participants made remarks such as, “If it’s so safe, build it in Tokyo,” and, “We can’t trust the central government because it covers up bad data.”
The Environment Ministry told the Mainichi Shimbun that it held the forum — designed to win understanding from Tochigi prefectural residents — in Utsunomiya rather than Shioya because transportation in the prefectural capital was more convenient, allowing more people to attend.
The symposium in Shioya, organized by a coalition of groups opposed to the proposed disposal site, drew about 1,100 people. Its venue, a high school gym, was packed with local residents and about 200 people watched the event on an outdoor screen. The participants confirmed their resolve to protect the local environment. A 72-year-old man said, “The Environment Ministry’s forum is an event only for convenient explanations. If we participate, we will be counted as supporters.”

Source: Mainichi
http://mainichi.jp/english/english/newsselect/news/20150515p2a00m0na006000c.html

May 15, 2015 Posted by | Japan | | Leave a comment

Move to weaken U.S. nuclear security regulation, despite oil spill disaster

Certain nuclear energy supporters are trying to weaken regulation of new nuclear reactors in any proposed climate and energy or energy-only legislation.

Did the Nuclear Industry and Politicians Learn Anything from the BP Oil Spill? : CleanTechnica, by Zachary Strachan, 24 June 2010, A major factor causing the BP oil spill to be the disaster that it is turning out to be is deregulation of the oil industry. You would think that if people, especially politicians, learned one thing from this disaster, it would be that we need strong government oversight of risky technologies.It seems right now that some in the nuclear industry and Congress have missed that completely or just haven’t heard the news about the BP oil spill at all. Continue reading

June 25, 2010 Posted by | Canada, safety | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Nuclear wastes, like diamonds, are forever

THE NUCLEAR INDUSTRY AND RADIOACTIVE WASTES – our theme for June 2010. “The question whether one generation of men has a right to bind another, seems never to have been started either on this or our side of the water. Yet it is a question of such consequences as not only to merit decision, but place also, among the fundamental principles of every government.” – Thomas Jefferson, September 6, 1789

Half-life is the period of time it takes for a radioisotope atom to degrade to a state having half of its original intensity

As you can see the continued production, use, and dumping of such waste materials as depleted uranium and plutonium, into the world’s air, land, and water leaves a permanent problem for our children, grandchildren. great-grand-children ….

May 30, 2010 Posted by | Christina's notes | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

No real solution for Hanford’s deadly nuclear weapons waste

one of the biggest challenges the US nuclear weapons complex, and consequentially, the Department of Energy, has ever had to deal with………… the tanks were leaking, and the government had failed to report the leaks and the spreading contamination……….

Cleaning Up After The Cold War: Hanford’s Tank Waste, Daily Kos:by Page van der Linden  May 23, 2010 “…..the remote sites around the United States, consisting of laboratories and manufacturing facilities, the complex that made The Bomb possible. And unless you’re very familiar with this complex, or you’re a resident of the Pacific Northwest, you may not know about a remote part of Washington State known as the Hanford Site Continue reading

May 24, 2010 Posted by | USA, wastes | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Australian Aboriginals fight Govt’s draconian nuclear waste plan

YouTube – Muckaty Voices

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xcuNpT84Ov

The proposed waste dump law excludes the Muckaty Traditional Owners from procedural fairness and appeal rights, removes Aboriginal Heritage and environmental protections and overrides any Commonwealth, State and Territory laws that could be used to oppose or challenge the dump plan.

From the campfire to cyberspace: Radioactive waste concerns go global, Natalie Wasley, 18 May 2001 Aboriginal Traditional Owners opposed to a radioactive waste dump at Muckaty Station in the Northern Territory of Australia have taken their campaign to a global online audience. Continue reading

May 18, 2010 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, indigenous issues | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

U.S. Energy dept in legal trouble over nuclear wastes, and still no solution

Utilities sue Energy Department to stop nuclear waste management fees, The Hill, By Ben Geman – 04/05/10 Nuclear power companies and state utility regulators are suing the Energy Department.The companies filed the lawsuit to force the suspension of a fee that utility customers pay for federal management of nuclear waste……….The Obama administration has abandoned plans for the long-delayed Yucca Mountain waste site, and Energy Secretary Steven Chu has created a “blue ribbon” commission to help create a new long-term waste policy. Continue reading

April 6, 2010 Posted by | Legal, USA | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

One year’s taxpayer payment to UK nuclear executives £19.5 million

included paying £3.8 million in taxpayer-funded bonuses to staff during 2008…The payments, which ranged from an average of just under £12,000 to nearly £37,000, were made on top of regular salary payments totalling £19.5 million.

Top jobs go in shake-up at nuclear quango,  The Times April 3, 2010, Two of Britain’s most highly paid civil servants have been axed and dozens more jobs are under threat at the quango charged with cleaning up nuclear plants, The Timeshas learnt. Continue reading

April 3, 2010 Posted by | business and costs, UK | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Niger: Tuareg activist speaks out in Germany, against nuclear giant AREVA

Uranium Mining in Niger ‘Tuareg Activist Takes on French Nuclear Company’ 2 April 2010, The Blogger: For the past 40 years, the French state-owned company Areva has been mining uranium for Europe’s nuclear power needs in Niger, one of the poorest countries on Earth. One local activist is taking on the company, claiming that water and dust have been contaminated and workers are dying as a result of its activities…..He said he was the founder of an environmental organization in the city of Arlit in northern Niger. He said that Areva, a French company, is mining uranium there. He also described the alleged dark side of Areva’s operations: millions of tons of radioactive waste, contaminated water and serious illnesses. And Deutsche Bank was partially connected to this, Alhacen said, because it lends a lot of money to Areva….
Mysterious Illnesses Alhacen founded his organization, Aghirin Man, nine years ago, when he noticed that many of his fellow workers were dying of mysterious illnesses. In Alhacen’s Tuareg language, Aghirin Man means “Protection of the Soul” The Blogger: Uranium Mining in Niger ‘Tuareg Activist Takes on French Nuclear Company’

April 3, 2010 Posted by | 2 WORLD, politics international | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Stimulus spending goes to nuclear waste cleanup states

it’s not clear to me that this has much of a stimulative effect on the American macroeconomy

Gotcha on stimulus spending? Washington Examiner, By: Michael Barone, 2 April 2010, “…………lots of stimulus dollars went to the 4th district of Washington, which is on the other side of the Cascades from Olympia, and which with the South Carolina 3rd is the only non-state capital district among the top 25 districts on de Rugy’s list. What these two districts have in common is the presence of two Energy Department nuclear manufacturing sites—the Hanford Site and the Savannah River Site.

These have had huge pollution problems, and have been part of a multi-year, multi-billion-dollar cleanup process. I gather that the Energy Department was in a position to ramp up this process quickly and got a lot of stimulus funds to do so.

This may be a worthy use of federal dollars; these sites were contaminated because we were sloppy in the development of nuclear weapons during World War II and the Cold War, and it may very well make sense to clean them up. In effect we’re paying for past wars, as we do when we pay for veterans’ benefits. But it’s not clear to me that this has much of a stimulative effect on the American macroeconomy. Gotcha on stimulus spending? | Washington Examiner

April 3, 2010 Posted by | USA, wastes | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment