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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
Apr012012

"Fukushima...radiation so high -- even robots not safe"

Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps appeared on Thom Hartmann's "The Big Picture" last Thursday, discussing a recent U.S. Geological Survey report on Fukushima fallout across the U.S., as well as the latest revelations of fatal radiation dose levels inside Fukushima Daiichi Unit 2.

Friday
Mar302012

Fukushima's radioactivity found in California kelp; levels spiked, then disappeared. 

Kelp off Southern California was contaminated with short-lived radioisotopes a month after Japan’s Fukushima accident, a sign that the spilled radiation reached the state's coastline, according to a new scientific study. Scientists tested giant kelp from the ocean off Orange County and other locations after the March, 2011 accident and detected radioactive iodine at peak concentrations 250-fold higher than levels found in West Coast kelp before the nuclear accident. “Basically we saw it in all the California kelp blades we sampled,” said biology professor Steven Manley of California State University, Long Beach. The radioactivity had no known effects on the giant kelp, or on fish and other marine life, and it was undetectable when the kelp was tested again a month later. Iodine 131 “has an eight-day half life so it’s pretty much all gone,” Manley said. “But this shows what happens half a world away does effect what happens here. I don’t think these levels are harmful but it’s better if we don’t have it at all.” Environmental Health News

Friday
Mar302012

Very high radiation, little water in Japan reactor 

One of Japan's crippled nuclear reactors still has fatally high radiation levels and hardly any water to cool its fuel, according to an internal examination that reinforces doubts about the plant's stability.

A tool equipped with a tiny video camera, a thermometer, a dosimeter and a water gauge was used to assess damage inside the No. 2 reactor's containment chamber Tuesday for the second time since the tsunami swept into the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant a year ago.

The data collected showed the damage from the disaster is so severe, the plant operator will have to develop special equipment and technology to tolerate the harsh environment and decommission the plant, a process expected to last decades.

The other two reactors that had meltdowns could be in even worse shape. The No. 2 reactor is the only one plant workers have been able to closely examine so far.  Seattle PI 

Tuesday
Mar202012

Cesium found in plankton 600 km away

Radioactive cesium believed to have been released during the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant has been found in plankton about 600 kilometers east of the facility, according to a Japan-U.S. joint research team.

The amount of cesium detected in the plankton was far below the government's provisional limit of 500 becquerels per kilogram for marine products, according to the team led by Jun Nishikawa, research associate at the University of Tokyo's Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute.

However, follow-up studies will be necessary because the radioactive cesium is likely to have accumulated in fish that eat plankton, the team said.

The findings will be reported to a conference of the Oceanographic Society of Japan set for Tuesday. The Yomiuri Shimbun.

Friday
Mar162012

Beyond Nuclear's Cindy Folkers discusses Fukushima radiation health effects

See this interview with RT on the Fukushima catastrophe and what is happening today, particularly with respect to human health. Folkers contends that those in Japan who have not yet been moved out of the contaminated areas should be evacuated immediately since even small levels of internal contamination (between 30-50 Bq/kg of cesium) can cause disease.