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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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Thursday
Feb092017

Greenpeace campaigner on ground in Japan puts high Fukushima radiation readings in perspective

This is a recent note by Kendra Ulrich, Senior Global Energy Campaigner, Greenpeace Japan, and Beyond Nuclear board member, on the high radiation levels found recently in the ruined Fukushima reactors.

"Just a quick update on the Fukushima Unit 2 situation... Some english language stories have implied that the incredibly high levels of radiation recently recorded by a robot (530 sieverts!!) are a "spike" in radiation levels. We here in Japan have been cross-checking the Japanese press and it would appear that this is a confusion of the Japanese reporting - lost in translation, if you will. While this IS the highest ever recording, it is likely not a new situation. This is the closest TEPCO has been to the pedestal and, likely, molten core. As such, radiation levels would be extremely high - though some experts are speculating the nearly unfathomable levels in Unit 2 are an indication not only of molten fuel nearby, but that it is not covered by water (despite the 316 tonnes of water pumped into Units 1-3 daily). Though this does not appear to be a new emergency situation, it clearly shows both how little TEPCO and the Abe government know about the actual situation inside the reactors and how very far they are from "decommissioning." As we have been saying, this is an ongoing radiological crisis and one that will continue -- onsite and offsite -- for the foreseeable future."

Thursday
Feb092017

Lost in translation: Fukushima readings are not new spikes, just the same “hot mess” that’s always been there

The ongoing Fukushima nuclear catastrophe has been back in the news lately following record high readings at the reactor site. Radiation levels were estimated to be 530 sieverts per hour, the highest recorded since the triple core meltdown in March 2011.

But upon further examination, the story has been misreported, in part due to mistranslation. In fact, according to Nancy Foust of SimplyInfo.org, interviewed on Nuclear Hotseat, there was no spike. High readings were in expected locations that TEPCO was only able to access recently. Therefore, the reading became evident because workers were getting closer to the melted fuel in more dangerous parts of the facility. In other words, it’s not a new hot mess, just the same hot mess it’s always been, pretty much from the beginning. The good news is nothing has changed. The bad news is – nothing has changed.

The confusion was initially caused by a translation error that SimplyInfo.org thinks occurred between the Kyoto News and Japan Times.  Since this happened, Foust and her group have been trying to get news sources to correct the stories, with limited success.  

The elevated radiation levels are inside containment (good news) in ruined unit 2 and were discovered using a camera, not proper radiation monitors. Therefore, the high reading may not be reliable since it is an estimate based on interference data with the camera. (It has been reported that the 530 Sievert/hour figure could be 30% too low, or 30% too high. 530 Sieverts/hour equates with 53,000 Rems/hour, a dose rate that would deliver a fatal dose of radiation to a person a short distance away, with no radiation shielding, in a minute or less exposure time.) TEPCO is planning on sending in a robot properly equipped with radiation detectors to take a reliable reading. Although no date has been given, TEPCO indicates it expects to deploy the robot within 30 days or so.

Foust theorizes that the bulk of the melted irradiated nuclear fuel is probably right below the reactor vessel burned into the concrete below. No one knows if melted irradiated nuclear fuel has gone into the ground water below that.

Monday
Feb062017

'Fukushima catastrophe ongoing: Leakage on a daily basis’ 

RT interviews Beyond Nuclear on recent measurements showing 53,000 Rem per hour (deadly to humans within a minute or less, at close range, in the absence of radiation shielding), or higher, radiation dose rates in the melted down Unit 2 reactor at Fukushima Daiichi, Japan. (The interview includes a section about the chronic, and acute, leaks of radioactive wastewater into the Pacific Ocean from the site. In Sept., 2015, Greenpeace published a report on the various streams of radioactive wastewater at the Fukushima Daiichi site.)

Friday
Feb032017

Trump & Abe regard joint marketing of nuclear power plants in third party countries as pillar of U.S.-Japan economic cooperation

As reported by the Asahi Shimbun, regarding the Feb. 10 Abe-Trump summit:

The draft proposal contains five main pillars for economic cooperation that “would bring about economic growth and jobs in both nations and further strengthen ties.”

Another pillar would involve cooperation in developing markets in nations other than Japan and the United States. The goal is to develop a market of $150 billion over 10 years through joint development of commercial jets and marketing of nuclear power plants. (emphasis added)

An earlier meeting between President-elect Trump, and Prime Minister Abe, held last November in New York City, caused a stir when Trump's daughter, Ivanka Trump, attended, despite lacking proper security clearances. 

NBC News has reported on the conflicts of interest created by Trump hosting Abe at his golf resort in Florida. Remarkably, the article reports that Abe's grandfather, Japanese Prime Minister Shinsuke Kishi, similarly golfed with Sen. Prescott Bush, father of George H.W. Bush, and grandfather of George W. Bush, as well as President Dwight D. Eisenhower, at Burning Tree Country Club in Greenwich, Connecticut in 1957.

Kishi had been imprisoned for three years as a Class A War Criminal after WWII. But the U.S. saw him as their best hope for pro-U.S. leadership in Japan, and released him. Kishi's -- and Abe's -- Liberal Democratic Party has ruled Japan for almost all of its post WWII history.

The Liberal Democratic Party was founded in the mid-1950s. One of its founding planks was pro-nuclear power. It turns out that the U.S. CIA had a hand in that.

After the Castle Bravo H-bomb fallout disaster on March 1, 1954, the Eisenhower administration sent the CIA to Japan to sell "Atoms for Peace" as a balm to soothe public anger. Eisenhower had delivered his infamous "Atoms for Peace" speech at the UN General Assembly in New York City just a few months earlier, on Dec. 8, 1953.

The CIA recruited Shoriki, the owner of Japan's largest t.v. station and newspaper, as a secret CIA agent, to help sell nuclear power to the Japanese people. Shoriki also co-founded the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan. Shoriki's CIA agent status was not revealed until 2006.

Abe has continued the Liberal Democratic Party's pro-nuclear policies, despite the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear catastrophe, and despite pressure from his own wife, Akie, and his mentor in politics, former Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi. Koizumi has alleged Abe lied, when he told the International Olympic Committee that the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe was "under control," in his successful bid to secure the 2020 Summer Games for Tokyo.

Tuesday
Jan032017

Fate of Fukushima No. 2 nuclear plant remains unknown

As reported by Jiji, and reprinted in Japan Times.

As the article reports, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party of Japan has shrugged its shoulders, and and said it is up to Tokyo Electric Power Company to decide if and when Fukushima Daini is decommissioned.

The opposition Democratic Party of Japan has called for immediate decommissioning.

The Prefecture of Fukushima, for its part, has called for Fukushima Daini to be decommissioned, consistently, since the beginning of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear catastrophe on 3/11/11.

In addition, Mycle Schneider et al., in the annual World Nuclear Industry Status Report, have predicted that Fukushima Daini will likely never operate again.

Fukushima Daini is located just seven miles south of Fukushima Daiichi (Daini means Two, while Daiichi One, in Japanase).

The four reactors at Fukushima Daini narrowly averted catastrophe on 3/11/11 themselves. The grid was largely lost there as well, and all emergency diesel generators were destroyed by the tsunami. The plant was saved by a single surviving off-site power line.

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