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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
May192016

FOE Japan: Urgent Petition regarding Fukushima decontamination: “No” to the Policy “To Use Contaminated Soil (Less than 8,000 becquerel/kg) for Public Works”

Our colleague Aileen Mioko Smith of Green Action Kyodo in Japan has asked us to sign onto this Friends of the Earth Japan petition (which we have done!), and to spread the word (which we are now doing!):

Urgent Petition regarding Fukushima decontamination: “No” to the Policy “To Use Contaminated Soil (Less than 8,000 becquerel/kg) for Public Works”

PETTITION DEADLINE: June 30, 2016
 
Download here for signing the petition via internet:
https://www.change.org/p/minister-of-environment-tamayo-marukawa-contaminated-soil-produced-by-the-nuclear-disaster-to-be-used-for-public-works?lang=en-US 

FULL TEXT OF PETITION:

To: Minister of Environment Tamayo Marukawa 

Urgent Petition: “No” to the Policy “To Use Contaminated Soil (Less than 8,000 becquerel/kg) for Public Works”— Don’t Contaminate the Environment, Don’t Force Radiation Exposure on the Entire Population 

On March 30, the Ministry of Environment (MOE) Investigative Committee on Strategy for Technological Innovation for Reducing and Recycling Temporarily Stored Contaminated Soil decided to allow the use of 
contaminated soil (lower than 8,000 becquerel/kg) for public works nationwide with “proper containment measures.” The committee argues that the additional effective dose for residents will be less than 10µSv/year, but the Nuclear Reactor Regulation Act that specifies 100 becquerel/kg or less as the threshold for reusing concrete and metals from nuclear power plants. MOE’s latest policy increases the threshold eighty-fold. 

Moreover, the Working Group on Safety Evaluation of the Effects of Radiation within the investigative committee met behind closed doors, and its meeting minutes have not been published. In fact, the goal of 
the committee is to increase an amount of radioactive waste for reuse in order to decrease an amount for final disposal. The committee seems to consider it inevitable to expose the entire Japanese population to radiation to implement the infeasible policy of “decontamination and repatriation” for Fukushima residents. 

MOE boasts that “the reconstruction of Fukushima and the Tohoku region not only constitutes a crucial project for the renewal of Japan but also will become an unprecedented source of knowledge and experience to be shared with international society.” But “proper containment measures” is unrealistic. Even strictly managed disposal sites contaminate their surroundings and groundwater; how can public works, which are not as strictly as managed, prevent contaminated soil from spreading radioactivity? Indeed, rainfall, erosion, and disasters can damage public works to trigger a significant release of radioactivity in the environment. Construction work will also expose laborers to radioactivity. If a huge earthquake occurs, roads will be damaged, exposing radioactive waste to the air. This is indeed a “national project” to force radiation exposure on the entire Japanese population, including children. We cannot, and will not, allow it. 

Petition Items 

1. Retract the policy to use decontaminated soil, which contains radioactive waste, for public works. 
2. Rethink the goal of the policy to “decontaminate and repatriate.” 
3. Enlist wider participation from people inside and outside Fukushima Prefecture in deciding on issues related to decontamination and disposal of decontaminated soil. 
4. Disclose all information regarding the Working Group on Safety Evaluation of the Effects of Radiation, including the names of members, meeting minutes, and reference materials. 

(Translated by Hiro Saito)

Contact: 
Friend of the Earth Japan 
Tel:+81-3-6909-5983 Fax:+81-3-6909-5986 
info@foejapan.org
Tuesday
May032016

Experts present startling findings around Fukushima and Chernobyl at commemorative event

Beyond Nuclear held a stimulating afternoon and evening of presentations, panel discussions and short films to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster and the 5th anniversary of the still on-going Fukushima nuclear catastrophe.  The event took place on May 3rd at the Goethe-Institut in Washington DC and was also supported by the Heinrich Böll Foundation North America.  Beyond Nuclear is also very grateful to our member cosponsors: James Cromwell, Alice and Lincoln Day, Dr. Ian Fairlie, Judi and Lou Friedman, Jay Hormel, Redwood Alliance, and Carolyn and Roy Treadway. Learn more.

Thursday
Apr282016

Hibakuaha's International Signature Campaign Launched. Please Support It

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Friends,

                Yesterday Peace & Planet Japanese member organizations Nihon Hidankyo, Gensuikyo and Peace Boat launched an international petition campaign urging support for the Hibakuksha’s call for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons.

                Please find the announcement and a link to the petition below. Better yet, please print out the petition, sign and circulate it.

                For a nuclear weapons-free, peaceful, just and sustainable world,

                Joseph [Gerson, Peace & Planet]
 
 

A starting joint action of the international signature campaign in support of the Appeal of the Hibakusha (A-bomb survivors of Hiroshima & Nagasaki) for the elimination of nuclear weapons was carried out at downtown Shibuya, Tokyo on April 27, 2016.

With a banner reading “Hibakusha Earnestly Desire Elimination of Nuclear Weapons” hanging high, Terumi Tanaka, secretary general of Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations (Nihon Hidankyo), called on passers-by to support the petition for the abolition of nuclear weapons.  He said, “I want hundreds of millions of people in the world to support the petition”.  Many Hibakusha took part in the action from Tokyo and nearby prefectures, and insisted that nuclear weapons must never be used again, speaking of their A-bomb experiences. Many peace organizations and individuals, which support the Appeal of the Hibakusha, also joined the street action and called for the start of negotiations on a treaty to prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons.  They include Japan Council against A and H Bombs (Gensuikyo), Japan Peace Committee, Peace Boat, Religions for Peace Japan, etc.

The Hibakusha and participants were so much encouraged to get support for the petition from young people, high school students, housewives and tourists from USA, UK, France and China.  A total of 277 signatures were collected in the 45-minute action.

Linked here, please find the Appeal of the Hibakusha and petition form

The Appeal of the Hibakusha was announced in April, 2016 in Tokyo, and this signature campaign was proposed and initiated by the Hibakusha and Nihon Hidankyo.  Japanese peace organizations and individuals are determined to jointly support and develop this campaign in Japan and the rest of the world.

Please send us your support message to the petition and spread this signature campaign in your country.

Sincerely,
Yayoi Tsuchida
Gensuikyo Assistant general secretary
Sunday
Mar202016

Bradford in BAS: When the unthinkable is deemed impossible: Reflecting on Fukushima

Peter A. Bradford, adjunct professor, Vermont Law School, and former Nuclear Regulatory Commissioner, Maine Public Utility Commission Chairman, and former New York State Public Utility Commission Chair, as well as Union of Concerned Scientists board member, has written a column in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists (BAS) that begins:

Nuclear power requires obedience, as well as massive subsidy and the suppression of competition from other forms of low-carbon energy. These are not attractive platform planks in market-oriented democracies, so subterfuge in the service of political clout is also needed.

Abhorrent prerequisites need not lead to political defeat these days. Raise enough money. Scare enough people. Demonize and hamstring enough alternatives. Hornswoggle enough regulators. Procure celebrity endorsements. Rhapsodize new designs transcending today’s shortcomings. Just don’t make fools of your backers, or befoul their living rooms.

That is where Fukushima fits in. A few times in the six-decade history of nuclear power, some event once deemed impossible has taken place—shifting the ground under politicians and investors and forcing the abandonment of plants well along or already built. [More.]

Sunday
Mar132016

FIVE YEARS AFTER: Fukushima towns co-hosting nuclear plant frozen in time

As reported by Asahi Shimbun, the host towns -- Okuma and Futaba -- of Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant -- now radioactive ruins -- are ghost towns, five years after the catastrophe began. A clock in an abandoned convenience store stopped the moment the 9.0 earthquake struck on 3/11/11, not unlike the clocks and wrist watches that stopped when the atomic bomb struck Hiroshima, Japan on August 6, 1945. Ordinary lives suspended -- such as laundry hanging on the line, is very similar to the ghostly, iconic images from the Chernobyl Dead Zone. Both homes and businesses are just like they were left (only, suffering the effects of the elements) by their former occupants, who had to flee immediately to escape the spreading, hazardous radioactivity.