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Japan

Until the Fukushima accident, Japan had 55 operating nuclear reactors as well as enrichment and reprocessing plants which had suffered a series of deadly accidents at its nuclear facilities resulting in the deaths of workers and releases of radioactivity into the environment and surrounding communities. Since the Fukushima disaster, there is growing opposition against re-opening those reactors closed for maintenance.

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Thursday
Mar262015

"Aileen Mioko Smith: Anti-Nuclear Feminist"

Smith amidst the 2012 "Occupy METI" (Ministry for Economy, Trade, and Industry) anti-nuclear protests in Tokyo in 2012Heidi Hutner, Director of the Stony Brook University Sustainability Program, has honored Aileen Mioko Smith, Executive Director of Green Action in Kyodo, Japan as a "Wonder Woman Who Has Made History," in Ms. Blog's Women's History Month Series.

As the article describes, Smith has decades of anti-nuclear grassroots (and additional environmental and feminist) activism under her belt, including interviewing hundreds of survivors of the Three Mile Island meltdown, collecting four million signatures onto petitions against nuclear power in Japan in the late 1980s, fending off plutonium mixed oxide fuel use in Japanese reactors for decades, and helping lead the remarkably successful nationwide resistance to reactor restarts in Japan in the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe.

Beyond Nuclear is privileged and honored to work closely with Smith, from hosting speaking tour exchanges in Japan and the U.S. (see various web posts in Sept. 2011), to featuring her TMI work (see article on page 4 of our TMI newsletter), to nominating her as a keynote speaker at the August 2011 Musicians United for Safe Energy (MUSE) concert, as well as for a 2014 Nuclear-Free Future Award.

In late 2013, Smith published "The Potential of Japan's Anti-Nuclear Citizens' Movement to End Nuclear Power and Implement Change in Japan's Energy Policy: What Needs to Be Undertaken to Meet this Challenge." For the fourth anniversary of the ongoing Fukushima nuclear catastrophe, Smith published a Power Point presentation entitled "Nuclear Phase Out in Japan."

Thursday
Mar192015

TEPCO admits Fukushima Daiichi Unit 1 core completely melted down

News sources report that Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) has concluded --as already widely  speculated-- that the entire reactor core for Fukushima Daiichi Unit 1 completely melted down following Japan's March 11, 2011 nuclear catastrophe. TEPCO is using “muon” detectors for the imaging of cosmic rays coming from outer space as they pass matter like the concrete and steel of Fukushima and absorbed in high-density molecular materials like uranium in an effort to locate the destroyed radioactive reactor cores.  Muon imaging for Units 2 and 3 is still underway.

SimplyInfo reports that the x-ray like imagery indicates that the center portion of the bottom of the reactor pressure vessel appears to be missing and that the melted reactor core material has exited and relocated outside of the reactor vessel.

The exact location of the destroyed reactor cores for Fukushima Daiichi Unit 1, Unit 2 and 3 remain unknown.  The muon technique is not useful for melted nuclear fuel at the base of the containment or beyond which cannot be imaged as the cosmic particles are not coming from below the reactors. TEPCO is attempting to probe beneath the wreckage for missing reactor core material with advanced robotics.

Friday
Mar132015

"Fukushima...Yet Another Radioactive Leak!"

Thom Hartmann, host of "The Big Picture"On March 12, Thom Hartmann hosted Beyond Nuclear's Radioactive Waste Watchdog, Kevin Kamps, on "The Big Picture" to discuss a massive leak of 750 tons (200,000 gallons) of highly radioactive rainwater at Fukushima Daiichi, Japan. Ironically, the leak was revealed by Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) on March 10th, the eve of the fourth annual commemoration of the beginning of the nuclear catastrophe.

On March 11th itself, Thom also hosted Kevin on his radio show, to give status updates about "4 Years of Fukushima Fallout." (Despite being a radio show, the clip includes a video recording of the interview as well.)

Thursday
Mar122015

"Fukushima four years later..."

Chiho Kaneko, Fairewinds Energy Education board member, along with Alfred Meyer of PSR's national board, and Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps, in the Carbon-Free/Nuclear-Free contingent at the People's Climate March in New York City, Sept. 2014.On March 12, Margaret Prescod hosted Fairewinds Energy Education board member, Chiho Kaneko (photo, left) on Pacifica Radio's "Sojourner Truth," to discuss the status at Fukushima, four years on (listen to the top audio clip).

Wednesday
Mar112015

CCNE: "The State of Affairs and Ongoing Challenges of the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster: A Civil Society Response Towards Recovery"

A new report from Citizens' Commission on Nuclear Energy (CCNE), "The State of Affairs and Ongoing Challenges of the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster: a Civil Society Response Towards Recovery," was launched on the occasion of the 4th anniversary of the beginning of the Fukushima nuclear disaster and also on the occasion of the United Nation's 3rd World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR), held in Sendai, Japan, not very far from Fukushima.

The report intends to answer questions such as:

-  What have been the impacts of the Fukushima nuclear disaster?
-  What is the current condition of the victims of the nuclear disaster?
-  What is going on at the nuclear plant site and what risks still exist?
-  What mistakes did authorities make in response to the nuclear disaster?
-  What countermeasures are now necessary to cope with the situation?