The chief manager of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, Masao Yoshida (pictured left), died of cancer on July 9th aged 58. Yoshida disobeyed Tepco's orders and inundated the three reactors with sea water to provide cooling. Tepco hesitated, as doing so would guarantee the reactors would never be usable again due to salt water corrosion. Yoshida even affirmed the carrying out of Tepco's orders to NOT use sea water, verbally over the phone, while hand writing a note to his assistant to go right ahead and order sea water cooling. Tepco only learned of this at a later date.
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.
'A survivor of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima who later became an evacuee from the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant is the subject of a monodrama being performed at Haiyuza Theater in Tokyo.
Masahiro Endo had the misfortune of twice being exposed to high levels of radiation in his lifetime. Actor Hiroshi Kamiyama, 80, who has been performing one-person shows, is telling Endo’s life and story on stage. The show runs through Aug. 4.
“Aug. 6 and March 11. The two never-to-be-forgotten dates have been carved into my body and my life,” Endo, 87, said in an interview near his current residence in Sagamihara, Kanagawa Prefecture...
...He wrote about his life and his thoughts--that he has not been to Hiroshima after 1945 because he did not want to remember the horrors of the aftermath of the atomic bomb; his involvement in a campaign to attract a nuclear power plant; and the campaign in which he tried to convince landlords to support a plant, saying, “Nuclear power is a peaceful industry, unlike the atomic bomb. As a hibakusha, I understand the horrors of radioactivity. We guarantee safety.”
Yamaguchi learned in June that Endo had been greatly affected by the Fukushima nuclear accident. She and Kamiyama visited Endo and interviewed him. The hibakusha accepted her request to write a script for a monodrama based on the interview.
“As I had believed that Japan would win the war, I believed that nuclear power is safe,” Endo said. “I feel ashamed.”
He said he will see the monodrama in Tokyo.
“I would be happy if my experience will be of any help for peace,” he said.
Endo also said he would like to visit Hiroshima, to come to grips with his experience from nearly 70 years ago.'
The Asahi Shimbun has reported that 4 mysterious, small-sized objects, each emitting high radiation doses, have been discovered some 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) south of the blasted Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The objects include what appear to be: 1) possibly rubber, with a radiation dose of 1 milliSievert per hour (100 millirem/hour); 2) possibly bark, with a dose of 2.4 mSv/hr (240 mR/hr); 3) possibly plastic sheet, with a dose of 36 mSv/hr (3.6 Rem/hr); and 4) possibly wood chips, with dose of 0.78 mSv/hr (78 mR/hr). The small objects have been taken back to Fukushima Daiichi for further study, although Tepco itself is seeking outside support, as independent critics are also calling for.
A 3.6 R dose is very high to be found on (possibly) a shred of plastic, randomly laying on the ground.
Given that, as reported by MIT, "studies made after the atomic bomb explosions in 1945 at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, half of the people died whose entire bodies were exposed to 450,000 millirems [450 R] of radiation from the atomic bomb. All persons died whose bodies were exposed to 600,000 millirems [600 R] of radiation," 125 hours of exposure to the debris would kill half the people who came in close contact with it; 166 hours of exposure would kill all persons coming into close contact.
For several long years, an environmental coalition comprised of NIRS, Beyond Nuclear, Public Citizen, and Southern Maryland CARES co-intervened against the proposed new atomic reactor at Calvert Cliffs, Maryland on the Chesapeake Bay, and won. The death blow in the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) licensing proceeding was dealt by a contention against foreign ownership of U.S. atomic reactors, argued pro se by NIRS executive director Michael Mariotte. Baltimore-based Constellation Energy abandoned the project, leaving French government-owned Electricite de France (EDF) holding the bag with 100% ownership stakes, a clear violation of the U.S. Atomic Energy Act of 1954. Reading the writing on the walls, no other U.S. nuclear utility stepped forward to fill the void. The project was doomed, and ultimately defeated.
As NIRS states in its press release below, "Earlier this week, EDF announced that it is permanently leaving the U.S. nuclear power market and will no longer attempt to build new reactors here."
NIRS went on: "The issue has come up again at the South Texas Nuclear Project, where intervening organizations have charged that the two nuclear reactors proposed there would be owned, controlled and dominated by the Japanese company Toshiba. The NRC staff agrees with the intervenors and issued a letter stating that a license cannot be granted for the project. An Atomic Safety and Licensing Board has scheduled a hearing on the matter in October."
In fact, not only Toshiba of Japan, but also its supposed competitor, Hitachi of Japan, as well as Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco), and finally the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC), were involved with South Texas Project's proposed new reactors.
(Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps, while on a national anti-nuclear speaking tour of Japan, had the honor and privilege of presenting a coalition letter, signed by scores of U.S. groups, to officials from the Japanese national Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI), as well as JBIC. The letter urged METI and JBIC to not invest Japanese taxpayer funds in proposed new atomic reactors in the U.S., as at South Texas Project, due to the financial (not to mention the radiological) risks. The meeting took place in Tokyo, in August 2010. Kevin was there alongside Japanese environmental allies, including from Green Action Kyodo, Citizens Nuclear Information Center Tokyo, and Friends of the Earth Japan. Seven months later, Tepco's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear catastrophe began.)
Shortly after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear catastrophe began on 3/11/11, the U.S. partner in the new reactors project at South Texas Project, NRG Energy of Princeton, NJ, walked away.
Now NRC is trying to loosen its rules prohibiting foreign ownership of U.S. reactors. NIRS put out the following message:
"[T]oday NIRS submitted lengthy comments to the NRC--supported by 65 other groups [including Beyond Nuclear] -- urging the strengthening of the rules implementing the Atomic Energy Act's ban on foreign ownership, control or domination. The legislative history of the Act shows that Congress intended that no more than about 25% of a reactor can be foreign-owned, but the NRC has moved far away from that over the years. It's time that the agency do what Congress intended and actively prevent foreign control of U.S. nuclear reactors. Here is a press release about the comments; here are the comments themselves (pdf); and here are comments submitted today by Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) [photo, above left] (also pdf).
The NRC is planning a webinar on the issue on August 21. Here is the information; contact the NRC if you'd like to speak during this meeting."
Beyond Nuclear on Thom Hartmann radio show regarding worsening radioactivity releases at Fukushima Daiichi
On July 11th, Thom Hartmann (photo, left) interviewed Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps on his radio show about the cancer death of Masao Yoshida, Tokyo Electric Power Company's (Tepco) general manager of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, and leader of the "Fukushima 50" who tried, at great personal risk, but unsuccessfully, to prevent the three reactor meltdowns of March 2011. Thom also asked Kevin about reports that radioactivity releases from Fukushima Daiichi have increased nearly 100-fold in recent weeks and months, and what this means in terms of radioactivity hazard for Japanese seafood, rice, and other exports to the United States.
A day earlier, Sam Sachs on RT interviewed Kevin about the same issues.