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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
Jul042012

Restart of Ohi Unit 3 complicated by turbine vibration

Prime Minister Noda has approved the restart of two reactors at Ohi nuclear power plant in Fukui Prefecture on the Sea of Japan, despite up to 200,000 protestors at his official residence in Tokyo last Friday eveningAs conveyed by Lucas Hixson at Enformable Nuclear News, the first restart of an atomic reactor in Japan after the March 11, 2011 beginning of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear catastrophe has been delayed by at least a day, due to excessive vibration in the plant's turbine -- even though the reactor is only running at 5% power levels.

Wednesday
Jul042012

Two walls bulging at "tilting" Fukushima Daiichi Unit 4 reactor building 

Due to mounting domestic and international pressure, Japan's nuclear and environmental minister Goshi Hosono inspects the Fukushima Daiichi Unit 4 high-level radioactive waste pool (its surface covered by a white plastic tarp) in late May, 2012The New York Times has reported that the Tokyo Electric Power Company has admitted that two of the walls at Fukushima Daiichi Unit 4 are bulging, while the entire reactor building itself is tilting. Fears are mounting that a large earthquake could collapse the building, or its high-level radioactive waste storage pool containing 1,331 irradiated nuclear fuel assemblies. Without cooling water, the high-level radioactive waste could quickly catch fire, emitting catastrophic amounts of deadly radioactivity directly into the environment. Despite downplaying and even denying the potential for catastrophe, Tepco has accelerated its plans to remove the irradiated nuclear fuel from the vulnerable pool by later this year.

Monday
Jul022012

Will imminent report on Japan nuclear disaster point to earthquake?

A Japanese parliamentary panel is due to release - as early as this week - the results of its in investigation into the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. The report could point to what many experts have already asserted was the cause: the magnitude 9.0 earthquake. Despite denials by the government and TEPCO, a number of seismologists and other experts have suggested the earthquake and not the tsunami caused the meltdowns. Fumiya Tanabe, a former senior researcher at the government's Japan Atomic Energy Agency, conducted his own analysis of data released by the government and Tepco, and concluded that reactor No. 2's cooling facility, called a suppression chamber, was likely seriously damaged by the earthquake, possibly releasing radioactive substances. If that were the case, all other reactors of similar design—11 of which are still in use in Japan— "would come under close scrutiny," Mr. Tanabe said. Concerns have already been raised about the two Oi reactors approved for restart that, seismologists say, could be situated on an active fault line. An estimated 150,000 people demonstrated outside Prime Minister Noda's residence on Friday. Oi unit 3 was restarted on Sunday.

Friday
Jun292012

Deadly radiation doses in basement of Fukushima Daiichi Unit 1

Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) has detected record levels of radioactivity in the basement at Fukushima Daiichi Unit 1, Agence France Press reports. The article states:

"Radiation levels above radioactive water in the basement reached up to 10,300 millisievert an hour, a dose that will kill humans within a short time after making them sick within minutes.

The annual allowed dose for workers at the stricken site is reached in only 20 seconds."

10,300 MSv/hr, or 1,030 Rem/hr, means workers cannot approach such areas. Robots and remote control equipment must be used. The problem is, the technology doesn't yet exist. Robotic equipment sent into Unit 2 several months ago was quickly short-circuited by high radiation fields. Decommissioning is expected to take decades and cost tens of billions of dollars or more.

When robots failed in high radiation fields in Chernobyl in 1986, human "bio-robots" were sent in instead. Countless thousands of the 800,000 to 1.2 million "liquidators" -- mostly young male privates in the army -- thrown at Chernobyl have died early deaths in the quarter century since.

Friday
Jun292012

Sisters are doing it for themselves in Japan; take on "nuclear village"

6.29 "One Vote Rebellion! Women Will Change Politics, Livelihoods and Nuclear Power!"Women’s Appeal in Front of the Japanese Parliament

From our colleague, Kaori Izumi ([pictured) in Japan: "On June 7th, Fukushima women carried out a ‘Die-In’ in front of the Prime Minister’s Office, demanding an end to the plan to restart of Ohi nuclear power plant. Prime Minister Noda’s answer on June 8th to these women’s outcry was “We will restart Ohi in order to protect people’s livelihoods and its safety has been secured.” Noda is now trying to restart Ohi, ignoring a possibly active fault crossing right under the nuclear power plant. We, however, have never handed over our lives to you; Noda, your political life is over.                 

To the members of the Parliament, are you doing your best as representatives of Japanese citizens? Despite the fact that more than 70% of Japanese are against the restart of Ohi nuclear power plant, the Noda government is forcing its restart. We support you, the MPs who empathize with the people of Fukushima and who are making all their efforts to ensure the safety and the livelihoods of the people and children in Japan at the expense of your own political lives. In all of Japan’s areas we are going to ask each and every MP if they have agreed or disagreed to the restart of the Ohi.                

Women in Fukushima have since 3.11 appealed to the world: “Please do not repeat Fukushima! Do not let anybody suffer like we are doing!” The decision to restart Ohi is indeed blaspheme against the Japanese people. Women got outraged, stood up and got together. To women in Japan, please send your representative to the 6.29 Women’s Action. We appeal to women in the world to please continue your protest at the Japanese embassies until the day when the restart of Ohi is withdrawn.