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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
Mar042018

Former students return to school 7 years after nuclear disaster

As reported by TAKUYA IKEDA in the Asahi Shimbun.

Although the article does mention radioactivity decontamination efforts, it does not specifically address contamination levels on items the former students are retrieving and taking home from their abandoned elementary school.

Friday
Mar022018

TEPCO defends Fukushima ‘ice wall,’ but it is still too porous

As reported by the Asahi Shimbun.

The so-called "ice wall" has already cost $322 million.

The article reports:

It costs more than 1 billion yen [$9.5 million] a year in electricity fees to keep the wall frozen.

Despite these steep subsidies to Tokyo Electric by the public for its recovery operations from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear catastrophe it caused, the ice wall is only partially effective, if that!

Thursday
Mar012018

SEVEN YEARS AFTER: Fukushima fish sold overseas for first time since nuclear disaster

As reported by KAZUMASA SUGIMURA in the Asahi Shimbun.

The article reports:

Seafood from the prefecture has since then only been permitted to be shipped after having its safety confirmed through radiation level checks.

Prefectural officials said no seafood had been found to show radiation levels higher than the national standards for almost three years.

However, no details re: the exact methodology of "radiation level checks" is provided by the article.

Testing food for radioactive contamination requires sophisticated methodology. Simply passing a hand held radiation detector over fish, for example, could easily miss contamination that is present, incorporated into the fish flesh.

Internal exposure to ionizing radiation carries even more hazard than external exposure. This is especially true if the hazardous radionuclides then incorporate themselves into human physiology, after the person eats contaminated food.

As Dr. Rosalie Bertell warned decades ago, bio-accumulation (also known as bio-magnification, and bio-concentration) of radioactive contamination up the food chain is a major concern, as in the aftermath of a nuclear power plant catastrophe like at Fukushima. Humans are at the top of the food chain, at risk of receiving concentrated hazardous radioactivity doses, as by eating contaminated seafood.

The fishing cooperatives of the area, however, have led the effort to prevent Tokyo Electric from dumping around a million tons of radioactive waste water, severely contaminated with tritium, into the ocean -- as a supposed "dilution" or disposal method. As Michael Keegan of Coalition for a Nuclear-Free Great Lakes put it at an anti-nuclear gathering in Chicago in June 2010, "Dilution as a solution for radioactive pollution is a delusion!"

 


Wednesday
Feb212018

Roof completed for removal of spent fuel rods at Fukushima plant

As reported by HIROSHI ISHIZUKA in the Asahi Shimbun.

The article focuses on Tokyo Electric's plans to begin removing 566 irradiated nuclear fuel assemblies from the Unit 3 "wet" storage pool at Fukushima Daiichi. Those operations could begin this autumn.

The roof is intended to keep radioactivity contained during these operations, so it doesn't escape into the environment.

Some years back, during dismantling operations at Unit 3, large-scale hazardous radioactivity fallout in the form of dust was stirred up, to blow downwind and fallout on rice paddies. It was yet another nuclear disaster, in an ongoing nuclear catastrophe. And it was due to Tokyo Electric's incompetence and carelessness.

Unit 4's "wet" storage pool had come precariously close to boiling dry in March and April 2011. The only reason it did not was through sheer luck, it was later reported. A gate separating the "wet" storage pool and the adjacent reactor cavity was damaged on its edges by either the earthquake or the explosion that damaged Unit 4. The edges of the gate allowed water, which was fortuitously located in the reactor cavity, to flow into the "wet" storage pool. If this had not happened, the pool could have boiled down to the tips of the irradiated nuclear fuel assemblies by about a month into the nuclear catastrophe, as reported by the likes of the U.S. Natioinal Academy of Science.

The Japanese Prime Minister serving in 2011, Naoto Kan, later publicly revealed that he had had a secret contingency plan in the works. Had the Unit 4 pool boiled dry, and its irradiated nuclear fuel caught fire, he would have evacuated 35 to 50 million people from metro Tokyo and northeastern Japan, to escape the fallout. The fallout, especially of Cesium-134 and Cesium-137, would have been an order of magnitude worse than the reactor releases from three meltdowns! This according to the likes of Bob Alvarez of Institute for Policy Studies.

Unit 4's irradiated nuclear fuel was transferred out of its "wet" storage pool as a top priority post-catastrophe. The entire Unit 4 reactor building, including the "wet" storage pool, was on the brink of collapse, due to the damage from the hydrogen explosion that wrecked it.

Unit 3's reactor building was also rubblized by the biggest explosion of all that fateful week. The explosion left the pool filled with large chunks of debris that had rained down. It also left the pool uncovered, facing the open sky.

Tuesday
Feb202018

TEPCO ordered to pay damages for 102-year-old man's suicide