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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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Monday
Oct292012

"A Mountain of Radioactive Waste 70 Years High: Ending the Nuclear Age," Chicago, December 1-3

A number of experts have confirmed they will speak, including (alphabetical by last name): Kinnette Benedict, Executive Director & Publisher, Bulletin of the Atomic ScientistsRobert Chavez, indigenous youth anti-uranium activist, Okayowingeh (San Juan Pueblo), New Mexico; Diane D'Arrigo, Radioactive Waste Project Director, Nuclear Information and Resource ServiceKay Drey, Beyond Nuclear board member, and nearly four decade long anti-nuclear activist; Norma M. Field, Ph.D., Robert S. Ingersoll Distinguished Service Professor in Japanese Studies in East Asian Languages and Civilizations, University of Chicago; Arnie Gundersen, Chief Engineer, Fairewinds AssociatesPaul Gunter, Reactor Oversight Project Director, Beyond NuclearKristen Iversen, author, Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky FlatsArne Jungjohann, Director for the Environment and Global Dialogue Program of the Washington, D.C. office, Heinrich Boell FoundationKevin Kamps, Radioactive Waste Watchdog, Beyond Nuclear; and Dr. Arjun Makhijani, President, Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, and author, Carbon-Free and Nuclear-Free: A Roadmap for U.S. Energy PolicyDr. Jeff Patterson, Board of Directors, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Madison, Wisconsin; Kathleen Rude, conducting Active Hope (a workshop to deal with Nuclear Despair, based on the works of Joanna Macy); Kendra UlrichFriends of the Earth USA, Washington, DC; Charmaine White Face, Coordinator, Defenders of the Black Hills, Rapid City, South Dakota; and  Akiko YoshidaFriends of the Earth, Tokyo, Japan

In addition, a film has been confirmed to be screened: The Atomic States of Americaby Sheena Joyce and Don Argot of 9.14 Pictures in Philadelphia.

Finally, on Monday, December 3rd, an optional field trip to Red Gate Woods is being organized. This is the forest preserve in the southwestern suburbs of Chicago where Fermi's first radioactive wastes of the Atomic Age were buried under a mound of earth, and marked with a simple stone marker. Bicycle and hiking paths pass close by. Previous tours to the site have not registered higher than normal background radioactivity levels, although concerns persist about eventual leakage of radioactivity from the site into the environment. We will be sure to take radiation monitors on our Dec. 3rd field trip, in order to document radioactivity levels, as well as to protect ourselves.

Friday
Oct262012

"The Rust-Bucket Reactors Start to Fall"

Harvey WassermanHarvey Wasserman, editor of Nukefree.org and author of Solartopia, has written a blog inspired by the announced closure of the Kewaunee atomic reactor in Wisconsin. He begins by stating 'The US fleet of 104 deteriorating atomic reactors is starting to fall. The much-hyped "nuclear renaissance" is now definitively headed in reverse.'

He points out that Kewaunee may be but the first domino to fall, describing the impact of "low gas prices, declining performance, unsolved technical problems and escalating public resistance" at numerous other old, age-degraded, troubled reactors across the U.S., including San Onofre, CA; Crystal River, FL; Cooper and Fort Calhoun in NE; Vermont Yankee; Indian Point, NY; Oyster Creek, NJ; and Davis-Besse, OH. But Harvey also points out the momentum applies to new reactors as well, such as at Vogtle, GA and Summer, SC, as well as overseas, in the wake of Fukushima, not only in Japan, but also India, and even Europe, led by Germany's nuclear power phase out.

About Japan, Harvey writes "A fuel pool laden with radioactive rods still hangs precariously in the air at Fukushima, casting an even harsher light on the two dozen GE reactors of similar design still operating here [in the U.S.]. All but two of Japan's reactors remain shut while an angry debate rages over whether any of the rest will ever reopen."

Harvey, a senior advisor to Greenpeace USA and Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS), will address "From Fukushima to Fermi-3: Getting to Solartopia Before It's Too Late" in Dearborn, MI on Dec. 7th at the official launch event for the new organization, the Alliance to Halt Fermi-3.

Thursday
Oct182012

Full report of the Japan Diet's “Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Committee”

The English translation of the National Diet of Japan’s “The Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Committee” is now publicly available.  The central message of the extensive investigation, first published in Japanese along with a translation of the Executive Summary in July 2012, is that the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe was “a profoundly man-made disaster” despite being triggered by the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami.   The special investigation concluded that the on-going nuclear disaster was the result of “willful negligence” and the collusion between an entrenched bureaucracy of government, a “captured regulator” and the nuclear industry “to put their organizational interests ahead of their paramount duty to protect public safety.”

Chairman Kiyoshi Kurokawa warns, “The consequences of negligence at Fukushima stand out as catastrophic, but the mindset that supported it can be found across Japan. In recognizing that fact, each of us should reflect on our responsibility as individuals in a democratic society.” In fact, Kurokawa’s words and the content of this report are more urgently addressed and need to be heeded by citizens of the United States and the other nuclear states before the next nuclear catastrophe as the result of an identical formula of willful negligence, collusion to prioritize production over safety and the Nuclear Regulatory Capture.

Monday
Sep242012

Town hosting stricken Fukushima No. 1 plant bans residents from returning for five more years

The assembly of one of the towns hosting the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant approved a reconstruction plan Friday that assumes none of its residents will be allowed to go home for at least the next five years. The Japan Times


Friday
Sep142012

Japan will be nuclear-free sometime in the 2030s

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has finally done what tens of thousands of Japanese people have been urging - agreed to phase out nuclear power in that country entirely. After demonstrators surrounded his residence every Friday and tens to hundreds of thousands of Japanese took to the streets in unprecedented protests, the Japanese government has agreed to have all nuclear power plants shut down by the 2030s. Noda admitted that the majority of the Japanese public favored a transition to zero use of nuclear power. The government had also been considering 15% and 25% usage. But the continuing aftermath of the Fukushima Daiichi triple reactor meltdowns, and the perilous state of unit 4 at the site along with on-going radioactive releases made a continued pro-nuclear policy untenable. More.