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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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Tuesday
Jun282011

Thousands of anti-nuclear shareholders make their voices heard at Tepco annual meeting

Reuters reports that a large block of thousands of anti-nuclear shareholders made their voices heard at Tokyo Electric Power Company's annual meeting, campaigning in favor of a nuclear phase-out by the company that was only stopped by the influence of large institutional investors. A recent poll showed that nearly 70% of Japanese respondents favored a permanent closure of any reactors currently shut down for maintenance or inspections, even if that meant blackouts this summer during the peak annual demand. A whopping 35 of 54 atomic reactors are still shut down in Japan, a full three months and three weeks since the start of the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe. BBC entitled its coverage of the clamor "Tepco faces shareholder wrath following nuclear crisis." Greenpeace protestors outside the meeting held signs reading TEPCO: The worst Ever Polluting COmpany.

Tuesday
Jun282011

15 tons of radioactively contaminated water leaks from storage tank at Fukushima Daiichi

Reuters reports that a storage container for radioactively contaminated cooling water at Fukushima Daiichi has sprung a leak and spilled 15 metric tons of its contents onto the ground. Also, the latest attempt to restart the water decontamination system yesterday was aborted after just an hour and a half of operations. Tokyo Electric Power Company is desperately trying to decontaminate over 100,000 tons of radioactively contaminated cooling water. It has run out of containers or locations to store any more, despite the ongoing need to douse the three melted down cores, lest they burn deeper through plant facilities and even the ground. Especially considering the rainy season, radioactively contaminated water could again start overflowing into the ocean.

Monday
Jun272011

Ancient warnings against Atomic Age risks

A photo [left] from a viewpoint of facing the village taken at the spot slightly below the stone monumentA photo from the village’s point of view (i.e. facing the coast)

In the Japanese federal government's report to the International Atomic Energy Agency on the Fukushima Daiichi catastrophe dated June 7th, it is mentioned that:

"These areas [in northeast Japan] are rias type coastlines that have, historically, suffered significantly from giant tsunamis in the 15m range [almost 50 feet] such as the Meiji Sanriku Tsunami (1896) and the Showa Sanriku Tsunami (1933), the lesson of preparation against a 15m-class tsunami has been instructed...In the Aneyoshi area, Miyako City in Iwate Prefecture, there is a stone monument with the warning not to build houses in the area lower than that point as shown in Fig. III-1-17 (...[right] picture) ["Fig. III-1-17 Photos of a stone monument and tsunami invading area below the stone monument."] at the entrance (height 60 m) [nearly 200 feet] of the village, showing lessons learned from runups of the two historical tsunamis mentioned above. By observing this lesson, the area was able to avoid casualties this time even though the tsunami ran up (the actual runup height was 38.9 m) [nearly 130 feet] near the village as shown in the figure ([left] picture)."

Any attempt to claim that the 15 meter tsunami which struck Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant could not have been predicted because it was just too unthinkably large is directly contradicted by known Japanese history dating back 80 years, 115 years, even over 1,000 years. 

 

 

Sunday
Jun262011

Japanese public skeptical of government efforts to reassure on nuclear safety post-Fukushima

Agence France Presse reports that an attempt to assure local residents that nuclear power is safe did not go over too well in Saga Prefecture on Japan's southern island today. The P.R. blitz by the nuclear power industry, in the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi catastrophe, has been met by skepticism and concern, NHK World reports. The area the Japanese government chose to roll out its first attempt at restoring public trust post-Fukushima, Saga Prefecture, is home to an active anti-nuclear movement. It has long campaigned to prevent the loading of plutonium fuel into Unit 3 at the Genkai nuclear power plant. Beyond Nuclear's Kevin Kamps, as part of a speaking tour across Japan, was privileged to be in Saga City last August 9th, Nagasaki Day -- and Saga City is near this city destroyed by an American plutonium bomb in 1945. He took part in a protest involving scores of people, who rallied with banners, then marched to the court house to deliver hundreds of thousands of petition signatures as a lawsuit was filed against the local nuclear utility, seeking to block it from loading experimental plutonium fuel into it reactor. The 'safety myth,' well-financed for decades by the Japanese nuclear power establishment in industry and government, has been shattered by the Fukushima Daiichi catastrophe. NHK World also reported that 50 people protested the government meeting, challenging its constrained format and obvious intent to pave the way for the restart of the nearby Genkai nuclear power plant even as the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear catastrophe drags on.

Sunday
Jun262011

METI official critical of Japanese federal govt. failures at Fukushima pressured to resign

The Mainichi Daily News reports that a long-time official in the Japanese federal Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI), which both regulates and promotes nuclear power, has been pressured to resign his post after criticizing the federal government's failures in the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear catastrophe. Shigeaki Koga, who has served in the ministry for 31 years, is resisting his sudden termination. Previously, he criticized the "revolving door" between high level positions in METI and the Japanese nuclear power industry -- a dynamic which media reports shortly after the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe began hinted may have contributed to the false sense of safety that led to the disaster.