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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
Jun232011

Japanese government submits report to IAEA on Fukushima nuclear catastrophe

The federal government of Japan has transmitted a 750 page report to the International Atomic Energy Agency as part of an IAEA Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety, being held at the IAEA's headquarters in Vienna, Austria from June 20 to 24. Although called "preliminary," the report represents the single most comprehensive assessment compiled by the Japanese government since the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear catastrophe began on March 11th. An overview summarizes the report's main findings. It must be borne in mind that the IAEA's schizophrenic mandate is to promote nuclear energy as "atoms for peace," while also preventing the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Given that fatally flawed internal contradiction, risks of atomic energy often get downplayed, to put it mildly. For example, a 1957 "Memorandum of Understanding" between the IAEA and World Health Organization gives the IAEA an effective veto over WHO on any radiation health related matter, leading to such outrages as IAEA/WHO maintaining for 20 (1986 to 2006) years that just a few dozen people had died from Chernobyl's radioactivity releases (in 2006, IAEA/WHO upped the figure to 4,000, still far below Alexey Yablokov's figure of nearly a million deaths due to Chernobyl between 1986 and 2004). It should not be surprising, then, that IAEA has invoked secrecy on its Fukushima nuclear catastrophe meeting (see Bloomberg article)!

Thursday
Jun232011

Thom Hartmann interviews Kevin Kamps on risks at Monju experimental plutonium breeder reactor

Thom Hartmann of "The Big Picture" on RT TVBeyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps appeared on the Big Picture with Thom Hartmann at RT TV to discuss the risks of attempts to remove a 3.3 ton object accidentally dropped precariously close to the core of the Monju experimental plutonium breeder reactor in Japan. In addition, Thom and Kevin discussed the latest on the flooding risks at Nebraska's Fort Calhoun and Cooper atomic reactors along the historic swell on the Missouri River.

Tuesday
Jun212011

Risky repairs attempted at Monju experimental plutonium breeder, Japan's most dangerous and non-sensical reactor

The New York Times has reported that the Japanese government's Atomic Energy Agency will try yet again to dislodge a 3.3 ton object accidently dropped onto Monju's core last August, despite the high risks inherent with the reactor's volatile and toxic plutonium, as well as ultra-reactive liquid sodium coolant, inventories (1.4 tons, and 1,600 tons, respectively). Both Citizens Nuclear Information Center Tokyo, and the Council of the People of Fukui Prefecture Against Nuclear Power, are quoted, warning, as they have for decades, against Monju's many risks. The experiment, twenty years old, with a price tag of $12 billion and counting, has thus far produced electricity for a grand total of one hour.

Sunday
Jun122011

100 anti-nuclear rallies across Japan mark 3 months since Fukushima catastrophe began

Photo by Toru Yamanaka, AFPAgence France Presse has reported that 100 anti-nuclear rallies across Japan -- including in Tokyo (photo, left), Osaka, and Hiroshima -- took place on Saturday, marking three months since the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe began in the aftermath of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. The Tokyo rally was organized by the Japan Congress against Atomic and Nuclear Bombs. Greenpeace, after monitoring high radiation levels in the prefectural capital 40 miles from the Daiichi nuclear power plant, have called for the expanded evacuation of pregnant women and small children.

Sunday
Jun122011

Radiation levels too high for workers in Fukushima Daiichi Unit 3

May 2011 photo by Daisuke Tsuda, posted at Lucas Whitefield Hixson, shows devastation of Fukushima Daiichi Unit 3 after its March 14th hydrogen explosionNKH World public broadcasting in Japan has reported that a small team of Tokyo Electric Power Company workers entered the devastated Unit 3 reactor building at Fukushima Daiichi for a short time last Thursday, long enough to measure radiation dose rates at 10 rem per hour -- much too high for prolonged exposure. Before the catastrophe began, Japanese nuclear workers were limited to 5 rem per year of "acceptable" dosage. However, in the aftermath of the catastrophe, the Japanese federal government upped the "permissible" exposure to 25 rem per year. German nuclear power plant workers, by contrast, are limited to 2 rem per year of exposure under ordinary (non-emergency) nuclear working conditions. Work is needed within the rubble-ized Unit 3 reactor secondary containment building to install a circulating water system to cool the molten core, reported to have breached the reactor pressure vessel and now be spreading onto the primary containment structure's floor, lest it burn through. However, leakage pathways exist in the reactor pressure vessel and primary containment structure, as 6,400 tons of radioactively contaminated water have accumulated in the Unit 3 basement areas, NHK reports.