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.



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.


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.


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.


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.


Comparing working conditions for "bio-robots" (that is, workers) at Fukushima Daiichi with Chernobyl

A blog post at Lucas Whitefield Hixson compares the humidity, heat, and high radiation at Chernobyl in 1986 to Fukushima Daiichi today, as Japanese workers are now suffering heat stroke and dehydration as summer temperatures making already difficult working conditions even more unbearable. Workers wear 20 pounds of protective gear and respirators, to fend off radioactive particles and gases, although such suits do not protect against X-ray like gamma radiation -- thick lead would be required to block that. Included is a documentary with footage and commentary regarding the hazards faced by Chernobyl "liquidators" in the first days and weeks after the Chernobyl catastrophe began, including shoveling by hand chunks of highly radioactive debris back into the gaping maw of the exploded reactor. Dose rates of 7,000 Roentgen per hour led to 45 second shifts for "liquidators". Even that short a shift would deliver close to a 10 Roentgen dose. It is not clear from the documentary, however, how many such shifts individual "liquidators" were forced to undertake.