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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
Apr052017

3/11 ‘voluntary evacuees’ are on their own, says angry minister

Tuesday
Apr042017

Plaintiffs drop bid to block restarts of Fukui reactors after high court nixes landmark injunction

Tuesday
Apr042017

Fukushima disaster reconstruction minister apologizes over outburst at journalist

Monday
Apr032017

3/11 disaster still exacting a heavy toll on schools in Tohoku region

As reported by the Asahi Shimbun:

...Destruction due to the tsunami generated by the magnitude-9.0 earthquake and unlivable conditions created by the related accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant caused an outflow of job opportunities, which accelerated dwindling population problems that cities and towns in the region had already been facing. The phenomenon could result in a shortage of manpower for reconstruction efforts in the future.

...In 15 municipalities in Fukushima Prefecture, where evacuation orders were issued, the number of children will drop by 29 percent to 37,122 from the 2010 level.

The town of Namie, which had its evacuation order partially lifted on March 31, had 1,800 children enrolled in six elementary and three junior high schools before the quake. Of them, three town-run schools which were relocated to another town within the prefecture, will have a total of 13 students this April.

As attendance at elementary and junior high school nationwide usually decreases by around 1 percent each year, according to the basic survey of schools by Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, the decrease due to the disasters is quite significant.

Friday
Mar312017

Tepco's Fukushima: the most expensive industrial accident in history

As reported by Shaun Burnie in Asia Times, in an article entitled "Fukushima Bill: Six Years after Japan's Fukushima nuclear disaster, Toshiba and Westinghouse join Tokyo Electric Power in a Fight for Survival."

The article reports:

In November 2016, the Japanese Government announced a revised estimate for the Fukushima nuclear accident (decommissioning, decontamination, waste management and compensation) of ¥21.5 trillion (US$193 billion) – a doubling of their estimate in 2013.

But the credibility of the government’s numbers have been questioned all along, given that the actual ‘decommissioning’ of the Fukushima plant and its three melted reactors is entering into an engineering unkown.

This questioning was borne out by the November doubling of cost estimates after only several years into the accident, when there is every prospect Tepco will be cleaning up Fukushima well into next century.

And sure enough, a new assessment published in early March from the Japan Institute for Economic Research, estimates that total costs for decommissioning, decontamination and compensation as a result of the Fukushima atomic disaster could range between ¥50-70 trillion (US$449-628 billion). (emphasis added)

Shaun Burnie is a senior nuclear specialist with Greenpeace Germany, Tokyo. He has worked on nuclear issues worldwide for more than three decades, including since 1991 on Japan’s nuclear policy.