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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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Wednesday
Feb032016

Green Action, Japanese people, oppose latest nuclear restart

Green Action issued a press release on January 29, strongly opposing the restart of the Takahama Nuclear Power Plant Unit 3 located in the seismically active Wakasa Bay region of Japan. "Takahama Unit 3 is being allowed to restart by Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) even though it does not meet NRA stardards for evaluating seismic motion, whereby the variations from the average recorded earthquake motions of past earthquakes must be taken into consideration," stated the press release.  "The plant is not safe from earthquakes.  "The NRA also approved the plant’s restart even though Kansai Electric, the owner operator, 

does not have plans for constructing a seismic isolation building which would act as a control 
center in the event of a serious accident involving an earthquake. Such a building existed at 
Fukushima Daiichi and is considered by Tepco to have been the lifeline for not worsening the 
accident. 

"Clearly, the lessons of the March 11, 2011’s Fukushima Daiichi accident have not been 
learned by the regulator and Kansai Electric."  Read the full press release.

Monday
Nov022015

Beyond Nuclear on Thom Hartmann's "The Big Picture": "Fukushima Can Now Kill You Within 45 Minutes"

Thom Hartmann, host of "The Big Picture," interviewed Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps regarding news that radiation dose rates of 940 Rem per hour have been detected in a room outside of Fukushima Daiichi Unit 2's containment structure.

As acknowledged by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC):

Lethal Dose

The dose of radiation expected to cause death to 50 percent of an exposed population within 30 days (LD 50/30). Typically, the LD 50/30 is in the range from 400 to 450 rem (4 to 5 sieverts) received over a very short period.

Thus, the 940 Rem (or 9.4 Sievert) radiation doses just documented at Fukushima Daiichi could deliver a lethal dose to person, lacking radiation shielding and at close range, in less than a half-hour.

It is for this reason that Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) must send remote controlled robotic probes into such high radiation fields, in order to take measurements, photos, videos, etc. The probes have often broken down under such intense radiation levels -- their electronic circuitry gets "fried" by the gamma rays.

Thom and Kevin discuss what this means for the decommissioning of Fukushima Daiichi, as well as the ongoing release of 300 to 400 (metric) tonnes (around 80,000 to more than 100,000 U.S. gallons) per day of radioactively contaminated groundwater into the Pacific Ocean, which can then bio-concentrate up the food chain to impact human health.

Tuesday
Sep222015

Beyond Nuclear on "The Big Picture": Radioactive flood waters, seafood contamination, growth of Japanese anti-nuke movement

Radio and t.v. news anchor Thom HartmannTelevision news host Thom Hartmann of "The Big Picture" on RT (photo, left) interviewed Beyond Nuclear's radioactive waste watchdog Kevin Kamps on the latest from Fukushima Daiichi: historic floods after Typhoon Etau washing entire radioactively contaminated landscapes downstream, to contaminate new areas, or even to re-contaminate previously de-contaminated areas; the chronic release of radioactive groundwater into the ocean, bio-accumulating in the seafood chain; and the successes of the Japanese anti-nuclear power movement, including one of its newest members, former Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi.

Tuesday
Sep222015

Beyond Nuclear on RT: Resettlement near Fukushima Daiichi a radioactive "illusion of normality"

RT hosted Beyond Nuclear's radioactive waste watchdog, Kevin Kamps, who described the Japanese government's attempt to resettle nuclear evacuees in radioactively contaminated towns like Naraha as a futile effort to create the "illusion of normality." The segment comes on the heels of a study published by two University of Southern California professors, which argues that the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear catastrophe was inevitable, given Tokyo Electric Power Company's denial of obvious earthquake and tsunami risks at the northeastern Japan seaside location. One of the authors is also interviewed.

Monday
Sep142015

Greenpeace: IAEA Fukushima Report ignores science and downplays disaster impacts

Greenpeace International has released the following press release, reprinted with permission:

IAEA Fukushima Report ignores science and downplays disaster impacts 

Greenpeace and citizens’ groups challenge agency’s report

Vienna, 14 September 2015 - Greenpeace, together with Japanese civil society organisations, has sent a letter to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Yukiya Amano, challenging the conclusions of the IAEA’s Fukushima report as inadequate and flawed.

The report will be presented at the annual IAEA General Conference of Member States on Tuesday.

It draws conclusions where there are major uncertainties and lacking data, unjustifiably downplays the ongoing environmental and health effects, and misrepresents the current radiological crisis in the region, according to Greenpeace. The report also does not accurately reflect the utter failure of the nuclear industry, and most nuclear regulators globally, to learn and implement the lessons of the Fukushima disaster. In addition, it actively glosses over the seriously flawed nature of current nuclear regulation in Japan.

“The IAEA’s Fukushima report is more a lengthy propaganda tool for the nuclear industry than an authoritative and balanced scientific assessment of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. The IAEA concludes that no discernible health consequences are expected as a result of the Fukushima disaster, while it admits important uncertainties in both radiation dose and long-term effects. The truth is that nobody knows how much radiation citizens were exposed to in the immediate days following the disaster. If you don’t know the dose, then you can’t conclude there won’t be any consequences. To say otherwise is political rhetoric, not science,” said Greenpeace CEE Nuclear Energy Expert Jan Haverkamp.

The IAEA report also attempts to justify Japanese government policy of systematically lifting evacuation orders in increasingly contaminated areas in Fukushima. This then strips evacuees of compensation and may force many to return to areas where radiation levels remain dangerously high. (see Greenpeace investigation from July this year)

“The IAEA report actively supports the Abe government’s agenda to make it appear that things can return to normal after a nuclear disaster. The clear objective is to attempt to overcome public opposition in Japan to nuclear reactor restarts, which remains high. There is nothing normal about the exposure rates that former Fukushima citizens are being asked to return to. Only through the establishment of a truly independent international commission that can investigate the causes, consequences, and implications of the accident without prejudice, will the people of Japan be provided with a factual and balanced assessment,” said Shaun Burnie, senior nuclear specialist at Greenpeace Germany.

Only one nuclear reactor is currently operating in Japan, with 42 shut down. The Japanese government is seeking to operate at least 35 reactors over the coming years.

Letter to the IAEA Director General: http://bit.ly/1Oa2SFc

The IAEA Fukushima Daiichi Accident - Summary Report: A preliminary analysis: http://bit.ly/1L4ngpt

For further information:

Jan Haverkamp, Expert for Nuclear Energy, Greenpeace Central and Eastern Europe, Tel.: +48 534 236 502, E-Mail: jan.haverkamp@greenpeace.org

Shaun Burnie, Senior Nuclear Specialist, Greenpeace Germany, Tel: +49 151 64320548

Réka Tercza, Press Officer, Greenpeace CEE in Österreich, Tel.: + 43 (0)664 85 74 59 8, E-Mail: reka.tercza@greenpeace.org 

  

Notes to the editor: 

(1) See “Low-dose Extrapolation of Radiation-related Cancer Risk.” ICRP Publication 99. Ann. ICRP 35 4, 2005. Publication 99.  http://www.icrp.org/publication.asp?id=ICRP%20Publication%2099

(2) The internationally accepted model for calculating the risks of radiation exposure, the Non-Linear Threshold (LNT) model, stipulates that there is no safe level of radiation exposure. In addition, the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) in its 2005 report stated, “. . . that while existence of a low-dose threshold does not seem to be unlikely for radiation-related cancers of certain tissues, the evidence does not favour the existence of a universal threshold. The LNT hypothesis, combined with an uncertain DDREF (dose rate effectiveness factor) for extrapolation from high doses, remains a prudent basis for radiation protection at low doses and low dose rates.”

(3) A Greenpeace investigation in July this year revealed radioactive contamination in the forests and land of Iitate district in Fukushima prefecture so widespread and at such a high level that it will be impossible for people to safely return to their homes. Decontamination efforts conducted by thousands of workers are both limited in scope and are failing to significantly reduce radiation levels, while at the same time the vast expanses of highly contaminated forests and waterways remain impossible to decontaminate.

(4) In May, Greenpeace Japan released a preliminary analysis of the IAEA summary report and is currently reviewing the entire Fukushima report for an overall analysis.

[Kendra Ulrich, a Beyond Nuclear Board of Directors Member, serves as Senior Global Energy Campaigner for Greenpeace Japan.]