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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
Apr172014

"Fukushima towns seek to protect historic sites ahead of hosting waste facilities"

As reported by the Asahi Shimbun, local officials and historians from Okuma and Futaba -- the host towns of the sprawling, and wrecked, Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant -- will don radiation protection suits and comb the countryside. They are striving to document historic (and pre-historic) cultural heritage sites, in an effort to prioritize their preservation.

The national government of Japan is targeting the two towns to host an interim storage site for radioactively contaminated debris generated by clean-up efforts across Fukushima Prefecture.

As the article reports: "According to the central government’s blueprint, the planned site will occupy 16 square kilometers [6.2 square miles] --11 square km [4.25 sq. mi.] in Okuma, or 15 percent of the town’s overall land area, and 5 square km [1.9 sq. mi.] in Futaba...Although the Fukushima prefectural government as well as Okuma and Futaba town halls have yet to decide on the proposed facilities, the central government plans to start shipments of waste in January." (emphasis added)

One ancient cultural heritage site was discovered after a 25 year search:

"Kiyoe Kamata, a 71-year-old historian from Okuma, said he is taking part in the on-site inspection to help preserve Miwatarijinja, a small Shinto shrine."

Ironically, Kamata had organized a sunset viewing event at the shrine, which was to have taken place a week after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear catastrophe began.

The article reports: "To keep alive the memory of their local cultural heritage, Kamata, who now lives as an evacuee in Sukagawa in the prefecture, published a book at his own expense and gave 500 copies to Okuma residents who scattered across the nation after the nuclear accident. With a flood of requests for copies, 300 more were printed."

“If we can maintain the shrine, the bond between locals may remain strong,” Kamata said.

Thursday
Apr172014

"Utilities expected to secure sufficient power supplies this summer"

As reported by the Asahi Shimbun, Japan's electric utilities will be able to meet demand this summer without requiring conservation efforts by their customers, even though all of Japan's 48 still-operable atomic reactors remain closed amid safety concerns after the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe, which began on 3/11/11. The melted down and exploded nuclear power plant continues to release radioactivity into the Pacific Ocean, more than three years later.

Before the Fukushima catastrophe, Japan had 54 commercial atomic reactors. But Units 1, 2, 3, and 4 were destroyed at Fukushima Daiichi. Eventually, Tokyo Electric decided to simply retire and decommission the immediately adjacent Units 5 and 6 as well, even though theoretically, they were still operable.

Wednesday
Apr162014

"Estimated radiation doses of Fukushima returnees withheld for half a year"

As reported by the Asahi Shimbun, the Japanese national government withheld radiation survey results for a half-year, taken in Fukushima Daiichi fallout contaminated communities such as Tamura, Fukushima Prefecture.

The surveys showed that residents would be exposed to more than 100 millirem per year from the contamination.

One such community was given the go-ahead to re-occupy its evacuated homes on April 1st. The government did not even let on that such testing had been underway for six months, even though they held a number of meetings with the community's nuclear evacuees about moving back into their abandoned homes. The government only made the data available after pressed to do so by the Asahi Shimbun on April 15th.

Although the 100 mR/yr exposure level is the ultimate clean-up goal, in the meantime, dose rates of 2 Rem/year will be allowed (20 times the 100 mR/yr level), even for children, pregnant women, the old, the infirm, etc. 2R/yr is how much radioactivity a German nuclear power plant worker is limited to.

Thursday
Apr102014

"Three Years After the Fukushima Dai-Ichi Disaster: Bringing he Focus Back on Life"

The fireball and mushroom cloud from Operation Castel Bravo, March 1, 1954As posted at the Fairewinds Energy Education website, Chiho Kaneko, a member of the Board of Directors of Fairewinds Energy Education, discusses how:

The Fukushima Daiichi disaster opened the door to see how this is not merely a Japanese crisis. It is a crisis that transcends geography and time. We traced the roots of this crisis back 60-years to the fishing boat Daigo Fukuryumaru, or #5 Lucky Dragon, and American efforts to force nuclear power upon the Japanese people.

The website includes a link to the video, as well as the transcript of Chiho Kaneko's remarks.

Thursday
Apr032014

"The Hottest Particle"

Arnie GundersenAs posted on the Fairewinds Energy Education website:

Three years ago, Fairewinds was one of the first organizations to talk about “hot particles” that are scattered all over Japan and North America’s west coast. Hot particles are dangerous and difficult to detect. In this video Mr. Kaltofen discusses the hottest hot particle he has ever found, and it was discovered more than 300 miles from the Fukushima Daiichi site. If Fairewinds Energy Education was a Japanese website, the State Secrets Law would likely prevent us from issuing this video.  Arnie Gundersen [photo, left] provides a brief introduction and summary to the video.