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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
Apr152015

Judge rules against Japan nuke restart, cleanup of melted reactors non-existent 

A Fukui Prefecture court in Japan has ruled that the only real protection from a catastrophic nuclear accident is to keep the nation’s atomic reactors shut down.  Hideaki Higuchi, a local judge for Fukui, ordered that the Takahama nuclear power plant remain closed as there is not adequate proof that another disaster caused by an earthquake can be reliably averted if the atomic reactors are operating.  Judge Higuchi had previously ordered that the Ohi nuclear plant in Fukui also remain closed for the same reason. Judge Higuchi’s Takahama order overruled Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority’s decision to restart under revised regulatory standards.    In spite of the Abe government’s push to restart atomic power, Japan remains “Zero Nuclear” by popular demand and legal authority. 

The court order occurs as TEPCO officials admit that environmental cleanup of the Fukushima Daiichi disaster is centuries away.  Naohiro Masuda and Akira Ono , two top-level TEPCO senior managers charged with “decommissioning” the three melted Fukushima reactors say that a myriad of extremely complex and unproven technologies for removing, cleaning up and managing the melted reactor cores does not currently exist and “cannot say it is possible.” 

Dale Klein, a former U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chair and now TEPCO’s chief apologist for the bankrupt corporation’s reactor restart committee, also admitted that a cleanup technology is non-existent. He and TEPCO however continue to hold out hope that robotic technology can eventually be developed to cleanup the radioactive site which accumulates hundreds of tons of radioactive water each day.

Meanwhile, the latest in state-of-the-art robotic technology commissioned to locate one of melted cores had to be abandoned by TEPCO after it failed three hours on its journey into the wreckage.  The globally touted snake-like robot technology shut down before it could gather any information on the still missing and uncontained core material somewhere under Unit 1.

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).