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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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Monday
May162011

TEPCO failed to heed warnings about natural disaster impacts

Reuters: A government body conducted analyses on the damage tsunamis of various scale would inflict on a nuclear power plant, according to documents made public yesterday, adding to allegations that Japan and its largest utility failed to heed warnings.

The latest revelation, reported by the Mainichi daily, emerged as the government prepares to help the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) compensate victims of the crisis at the tsunami-crippled nuclear Fukushima Dai-ichi plant.

The government and TEPCO have repeatedly described the combination of the magnitude 9.0 earthquake and the ensuing 15m tsunami as beyond expectations. Read more.

Thursday
May052011

"Tepco is a murderer...I have no more tears left to shed."

Tepco president Shimizu, center, and company executives bow to evacuees to apologize for the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Koriyama evacuation center, Fukushima Prefecture, April 22, 2011. Photo by AFP, Getty.As reported by Reuters, those words came from an evacuee from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear catastrophe, as the head of Tokyo Electric Power Company sought his forgiveness. Eight of the evacuee's loved ones, including his 95 year old mother, had died in evacuation centers since the earthquake/tsunami/nuclear catastrophe triple blow began on Japan's northeast coast.

Thursday
May052011

Underground walls to prevent radioactive water discharges to ocean?

Reuters reports that Tokyo Electric Power Company is considering, among many other options, building 50 foot deep underground retaining walls, in yet another desperate attempt to prevent highly radioactive water -- generated by the tens of thousands of tons in the effort to cool the melting down reactor cores -- from reaching the sea.

Thursday
May052011

Nuclear power phase out, replacement by renewables, discussed in Japan

As reported by Reuters after an "Energy Shift Parade" by thousands in Japan demanding a nuclear power phase out, the idea of completing replacing nuclear power with renewables is now being opening debated in Japan.

Thursday
May052011

"They're basically getting ready to run a big experiment"

The Christian Science Monitor has quoted Ed Lyman of Union of Concerned Scientists as saying, in regards to Tokyo Electric Power Company's efforts to bring the 55% to 70% meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi Unit 1 reactor core to "cold shutdown," that "They're just stuck with doing whatever is going to work. The problem is, they're learning by experimentation – not by some well-thought through contingency plan." One fear is that the massive weight of cooling water being pumped into the Unit 1 reactor building could strain the damaged structures to the breaking point, especially if a large aftershock hits. More bad news: radioactive air in the Unit 1 reactor building is to be discharged to the external environment, to make the area safer for workers to enter; and the seabead around Fukushima Daiichi is still registering 100 to 1,000 times "normal" background radioactivity levels, evidence of an ongoing leak into the ocean.