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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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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.

Sunday
Mar132016

FIVE YEARS AFTER: Government reluctant to specify SDF role in nuclear crisis

As reported by Asahi Shimbun, even five years after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear catastrophe began, it is still unclear what role Japan's Self Defense Forces (SDF), as well as firefighters and police, are to play in future nuclear power disasters. More.

Friday
Mar112016

Thom Hartmann's "Conversations with Great Minds," featuring Beyond Nuclear

Thom Hartmann, The Big PictureThom Hartmann (photo, left) hosted Beyond Nuclear's Reactor Oversight Project Director, Paul Gunter, and Radioactive Waste Watchdog, Kevin Kamps, for an installment of "Conversations with Great Minds" on his "The Big Picture" television program. (Their interview goes from the 30-minute mark till the end of the program.) They discussed the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe, five years on, in light of the bigger picture regarding nuclear power, across the U.S. and around the world.

(Clarifications and corrections: It is reported that there are now 750,000 tons, or more than 200 million gallons, of highly radioactive waste water stored at Fukushima Daiichi. Also, while the Japanese government's "permissible" level of radioactive cesium contamination in solid food was 500 Bq/kg for a short time after the Fukushima catastrophe began, it was then lowered, due to public pressure, to 100 Bq/kg several years ago. The U.S. standard, by way of comparison, is 1,200 Bq/kg -- twelve times weaker than Japan's, one of the weakest/worst such standards in the world. Canada's runs a close second, at 1,000 Bq/kg.)

Friday
Mar112016

CTV interviews Beyond Nuclear on "5 years since Fukushima disaster: 100 thousand people still displaced"

Canadian television channel CTV interviewed Beyond Nuclear's Radioactive Waste Watchdog, Kevin Kamps, regarding the ongoing Fukushima nuclear catastrophe, including what it means for the Pacific coastline of North America. Every day, 300 tons (300,000 liters, or 80,000 gallons) of radioactively contaminated groundwater flows, uncontrolled, into the Pacific Ocean. About a year ago, this ongoing plume of radioactive contamination began lapping up on the shoreline of North America.