Wednesday, 23 July 2014

TEPCO using secondhand tanks to store radioactively contaminated water

Roughly 20 or more of the water tanks holding radioactively contaminated water at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant are secondhand, it has been learned -- a fact that plant owner Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) had not previously disclosed.

In August 2013, highly radioactive water was found leaking from one of the plant's tanks. A TEPCO representative refused to comment on whether that tank was one of the used ones.

The secondhand tanks and the tank that leaked are all types assembled by bolting steel pieces together, known as "flange" models. TEPCO has said flange tanks can be used for five years. When questioned by Mainichi Shimbun, a representative for the utility commented, "We do not believe that used tanks have a shorter usable lifespan."

However, an inside source with a Tokyo company that supplied TEPCO with the tanks told the Mainichi, "We don't guarantee the tanks for five years as a company, and they are not made to be completely leak-proof in the first place."

According to the source, TEPCO ordered tanks from the company in Tokyo's Chuo Ward after the March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake to store contaminated water, but since it would take too much time to make new ones, in around May 2011, the manufacturer supplied TEPCO with 20 to 30 used flange tanks -- mud-storage tanks that it had been renting out to businesses such as construction firms.

Multiple private investigation firms have said that the tank supplier reported high profits for June 2011 as the nuclear disaster created heavy demand for its water tanks and enabled it to sell off "depreciated" tanks. The reference to the tanks as "depreciated" is believed to indicate that a considerable amount of time had passed since their manufacturing date. The flange tanks provided by the company after this point are thought to have been new ones.

In the August 2013 incident at the Fukushima plant, around 300 tons of contaminated water was found to have leaked from a flange tank. Criticism grew over the fact that this tank had been taken apart, reassembled and moved on the plant grounds before the leak occurred. At a news conference around this time TEPCO said that this tank and two others had been relocated, but it made no mention of secondhand tanks.

Since October 2012, the company has been creating and supplying TEPCO with welded tanks that are more resistant to leaks, but most of the flange tanks, including the secondhand ones, are still being used at the Fukushima plant.

It has also been learned from an inside source at the manufacturer that even after TEPCO started to use welded storage tanks, it continued to build new flange tanks for around a year. The source suggests that this was to save money, as it was not until September 2013 that the government decided to apply public funds to the tanks' purchase. According to the source, welded tanks cost anywhere from two to three times as much as flange tanks.

TEPCO reports that as of April 22 this year there were 332 flange tanks and 552 welded tanks at the Fukushima plant. The utility plans to start replacing the flange tanks with welded tanks this coming September to prevent more leaks.

July 23, 2014(Mainichi Japan)

Is the UN report underplaying Fukushima?: IPPNW issues scathing critique

Fukushima: Bad and Getting Worse
There is broad disagreement over the amounts and effects of radiation exposure due to the triple reactor meltdowns after the 2011 Great East-Japan Earthquake and tsunami. The International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) joined the controversy June 4, with a 27-page “Critical Analysis of the UNSCEAR Report ‘Levels and effects of radiation exposures due to the nuclear accident after the 2011 Great East-Japan Earthquake and tsunami.’”

IPPNW is the Nobel Peace Prize winning global federation of doctors working for “a healthier, safer and more peaceful world.” The group has adopted a highly critical view of nuclear power because as it says, “A world without nuclear weapons will only be possible if we also phase out nuclear energy.”
UNSCEAR, the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation, published its deeply flawed report April 2. Its accompanying press release summed up its findings this way: “No discernible changes in future cancer rates and hereditary diseases are expected due to exposure to radiation as a result of the Fukushima nuclear accident.” The word “discernable” is a crucial disclaimer here.

Cancer, and the inexorable increase in cancer cases in Japan and around the world, is mostly caused by toxic pollution, including radiation exposure according to the National Cancer Institute.[1] But distinguishing a particular cancer case as having been caused by Fukushima rather than by other toxins, or combination of them, may be impossible – leading to UNSCEAR’s deceptive summation. As the IPPNW report says, “A cancer does not carry a label of origin…”

UNSCEAR’s use of the phrase “are expected” is also heavily nuanced. The increase in childhood leukemia cases near Germany’s operating nuclear reactors, compared to elsewhere, was not “expected,” but was proved in 1997. The findings, along with Chernobyl’s lingering consequences, led to the country’s federally mandated reactor phase-out. The plummeting of official childhood mortality rates around five US nuclear reactors after they were shut down was also “unexpected,” but shown by Joe Mangano and the Project on Radiation and Human Health.

The International Physicians’ analysis is severely critical of UNSCEAR’s current report which echoes its 2013 Fukushima review and press release that said, “It is unlikely to be able to attribute any health effects in the future among the general public and the vast majority of workers.”

“No justification for optimistic presumptions”
The IPPNW’s report says flatly, “Publications and current research give no justification for such apparently optimistic presumptions.” UNSCEAR, the physicians complain, “draws mainly on data from the nuclear industry’s publications rather than from independent sources and omits or misinterprets crucial aspects of radiation exposure”, and “does not reveal the true extent of the consequences” of the disaster. As a result, the doctors say the UN report is “over-optimistic and misleading.” The UN’s “systematic underestimations and questionable interpretations,” the physicians warn, “will be used by the nuclear industry to downplay the expected health effects of the catastrophe” and will likely but mistakenly be considered by public authorities as reliable and scientifically sound. Dozens of independent experts report that radiation attributable health effects are highly likely.

Points of agreement: Fukushima is worse than reported and worsening still
Before detailing the multiple inaccuracies in the UNSCEAR report, the doctors list four major points of agreement. First, UNSCEAR improved on the World Health Organization’s health assessment of the disaster’s on-going radioactive contamination. UNSCEAR also professionally “rejects the use of a threshold for radiation effects of 100 mSv [millisieverts], used by the International Atomic Energy Agency in the past.” Like most health physicists, both groups agree that there is no radiation dose so small that it can’t cause negative health effects. There are exposures allowed by governments, but none of them are safe.

Second, the UN and the physicians agree that  areas of Japan that were not evacuated were seriously contaminated with iodine-132, iodine-131 and tellurium-132, the worst reported instance being Iwaki City which had 52 times the annual absorbed dose to infants’ thyroid than from natural background radiation. UNSCEAR also admitted that “people all over Japan” were affected by radioactive fallout (not just in Fukushima Prefecture) through contact with airborne or ingested radioactive materials. And while the UNSCEAR acknowledged that “contaminated rice, beef, seafood, milk, milk powder, green tea, vegetables, fruits and tap water were found all over mainland Japan”, it neglected “estimating doses for Tokyo …  which also received a significant fallout both on March 15 and 21, 2011.”

Third, UNSCEAR agrees that the nuclear industry’s and the government’s estimates of the total radioactive contamination of the Pacific Ocean are “far too low.” Still, the IPPNW reports shows, UNSCEAR’s use of totally unreliable assumptions results in a grossly understated final estimate. For example, the UN report ignores all radioactive discharges to the ocean after April 30, 2011, even though roughly 300 tons of highly contaminated water has been pouring into the Pacific every day for 3-and-1/2 years, about 346,500 tons in the first 38 months.

Fourth, the Fukushima catastrophe is understood by both groups as an ongoing disaster, not the singular event portrayed by industry and commercial media. UNSCEAR even warns that ongoing radioactive pollution of the Pacific “may warrant further follow-up of exposures in the coming years,” and “further releases could not be excluded in the future,” from forests and fields during rainy and typhoon seasons when winds spread long-lived radioactive particles – a and from waste management plans that now include incineration.

As the global doctors say, in their unhappy agreement with UNSCAR, “In the long run, this may lead to an increase in internal exposure in the general population through radioactive isotopes from ground water supplies and the food chain.”

Physicians find ten grave failures in UN report
The majority of the IPPNW’s report details 10 major errors, flaws or discrepancies in the UNSCEAR paper and explains study’s omissions, underestimates, inept comparisons, misinterpretations and unwarranted conclusions.

1. The total amount of radioactivity released by the disaster was underestimated by UNSCEAR and its estimate was based on disreputable sources of information. UNSCEAR ignored 3.5 years of nonstop emissions of radioactive materials “that continue unabated,” and only dealt with releases during the first weeks of the disaster. UNSCEAR relied on a study by the Japanese Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) which, the IPPNW points out, “was severely criticized by the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission … for its collusion with the nuclear industry.” The independent Norwegian Institute for Air Research’s estimate of cesium-137 released (available to UNSCEAR) was four times higher than the JAEA/UNSCEAR figure (37 PBq instead of 9 PBq). Even Tokyo Electric Power Co. itself estimated that iodine-131 releases were over four times higher than what JAEA/UNSCEAR) reported (500 PBq vs. 120 BPq). The UNSCEAR inexplicably chose to ignore large releases of strontium isotopes and 24 other radionuclides when estimating radiation doses to the public. (A PBq or petabecquerel is a quadrillion or 1015 Becquerels. Put another way, a PBq equals 27,000 curies, and one curie makes 37 billion atomic disintegrations per second.)

2. Internal radiation taken up with food and drink “significantly influences the total radiation dose an individual is exposed to,” the doctors note, and their critique warns pointedly, “UNSCEAR uses as its one and only source, the still unpublished database of the International Atomic Energy Association and the Food and Agriculture Organization. The IAEA was founded … to ‘accelerate and enlarge the contribution of atomic energy to peace, health and prosperity throughout the world.’ It therefore has a profound conflict of interest.” Food sample data from the IAEA should not be relied on, “as it discredits the assessment of internal radiation doses and makes the findings vulnerable to claims of manipulation.” As with its radiation release estimates, IAEA/UNSCEAR ignored the presence of strontium in food and water. Internal radiation dose estimates made by the Japanese Ministry for Science and Technology were 20, 40 and even 60 times higher than the highest numbers used in the IAEA/UNSCEAR reports.

3. To gauge radiation doses endured by over 24,000 workers on site at Fukushima, UNSCEAR relied solely on figures from Tokyo Electric Power Co., the severely compromised owners of the destroyed reactors. The IPPNW report dismisses all the conclusions drawn from Tepco, saying, “There is no meaningful control or oversight of the nuclear industry in Japan and data from Tepco has in the past frequently been found to be tampered with and falsified.”

4. The UNSCEAR report disregards current scientific fieldwork on actual radiation effects on plant and animal populations. Peer reviewed ecological and genetic studies from Chernobyl and Fukushima find evidence that low dose radiation exposures cause, the doctors point out, “genetic damage such as increased mutation rates, as well as developmental abnormalities, cataracts, tumors, smaller brain sizes in birds and mammals and further injuries to populations, biological communities and ecosystems.” Ignoring these studies, IPPNW says “gives [UNSCEAR] the appearance of bias or lack of rigor.”

5. The special vulnerability of the embryo and fetus to radiation was completely discounted by the UNSCEAR, the physicians note. UNSCEAR shockingly said that doses to the fetus or breast-fed infants “would have been similar to those of other age groups,” a claim that, the IPPNW says, “goes against basic principles of neonatal physiology and radiobiology.”  By dismissing the differences between an unborn and an infant, the UNSCEAR “underestimates the health risks of this particularly vulnerable population.” The doctors quote a 2010 report from American Family Physician that, “in utero exposure can be teratogenic, carcinogenic or mutagenic.”
6. Non-cancerous diseases associated with radiation doses — such as cardiovascular diseases, endocrinological and gastrointestinal disorders, infertility, genetic mutations in offspring and miscarriages — have been documented in medical journals, but ate totally dismissed by the UNSCEAR. The physicians remind us that large epidemiological studies have shown undeniable associations of low dose ionizing radiation to non-cancer health effects and “have not been scientifically challenged.”

7. The UNSCEAR report downplays the health impact of low-doses of radiation by misleadingly comparing radioactive fallout to “annual background exposure.” The IPPNW scolds the UNSCEAR saying it is, “not scientific to argue that natural background radiation is safe or that excess radiation from nuclear fallout that stays within the dose range of natural background radiation is harmless.” In particular, ingested or inhaled radioactive materials, “deliver their radioactive dose directly and continuously to the surrounding tissue” — in the thyroid, bone or muscles, etc. — “and therefore pose a much larger danger to internal organs than external background radiation.”

8. Although UNSCEAR’s April 2 Press Release and Executive Summary give the direct and mistaken impression that there will be no radiation health effects from Fukushima, the report itself states that the Committee “does not rule out the possibility of future excess cases or disregard the suffering associated…” Indeed, UNSCEAR admits to “incomplete knowledge about the release rates of radionuclides over time and the weather conditions during the releases.” UNSCEAR concedes that “there were insufficient measurements of gamma dose rate…” and that, “relatively few measurements of foodstuff were made in the first months.” IPPNW warns that these glaring uncertainties completely negate the level of certainty implied in UNSCEAR’s Exec. Summary.

9. UNSCEAR often praises the protective measures taken by Japanese authorities, but the IPPNW finds it “odd that a scientific body like UNSCEAR would turn a blind eye to the many grave mistakes of the Japanese disaster management…” The central government was slow to inform local governments and “failed to convey the severity of the accident,” according to the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission. “Crisis management ‘did not function correctly,’ the Commission said, and its failure to distribute stable iodine, “caused thousands of children to become irradiated with iodine-131,” IPPNW reports.

10. The UNSCEAR report lists “collective” radiation doses “but does not explain the expected cancer cases that would result from these doses.” This long chapter of IPPNW’s report can’t be summarized easily. The doctors offer conservative estimates, “keeping in mind that these most probably represent underestimations for the reasons listed above.” The IPPNW estimates that 4,300 to 16,800 excess cases of cancer due to the Fukushima catastrophe in Japan in the coming decades. Cancer deaths will range between 2,400 and 9,100. UNSCEAR may call these numbers insignificant, the doctors archly point out, but individual cancers are debilitating and terrifying and they “represent preventable and man-made diseases” and fatalities.

IPPNW concludes that Fukushima’s radiation disaster is “far from over”: the destroyed reactors are still unstable; radioactive liquids and gases continuously leak from the complex wreckage; melted fuel and used fuel in quake-damaged cooling pools hold enormous quantities of radioactivity “and are highly vulnerable to further earthquakes, tsunamis, typhoons and human error.” Catastrophic releases of radioactivity “could occur at any time and eliminating this risk will take many decades.”
IPPNW finally recommends urgent actions that governments should take, because the UNSCEAR report, “does not adhere to scientific standards of neutrality,” “represents a systematic underestimation,” “conjures up an illusion of scientific certainty that obscures the true impact of the nuclear catastrophe on health and the environment,” and its conclusion is phrased “in such a way that would most likely be misunderstood by most people…”

John LaForge works for Nukewatch, a nuclear watchdog and anti-war group in Wisconsin, and edits its Quarterly.

[1] Nancy Wilson, National Cancer Institute, “The Majority of Cancers Are Linked to the Environment, NCI Benchmarks, Vol. 4, Issue 3, June 17, 2004

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Abe Declares He Will Start Japan’s Nuclear Plants No Matter What

Abe Declares He Will Start Japan’s Nuclear Plants No Matter What

July 21st, 2014

Japanese PM Abe made a statement over the weekend that he would restart Japan’s nuclear plants “by some means or other”. Hinting that he would ignore the rule of law or the will of the people as he already has in other unpopular political power grabs this year.

He made the statement at a meeting with business executives in Fukuoka.

How to Spot Pro Nuclear Pr Firms and Other Boot-licking Mass Murdering Crazy Nuclear Lapdogs

Its simple really ,if your watching or reading main stream media and they use key words while talking nuclear that includes anything containing Potassium 40 like potato chips drinking water or everyday objects its time to switch the program off  before it programs you .  Of course almost everything on earth has potassium 40 in it but why is it in a conversation about man made ionized radiated elements ,is it a accident ? How difficult is it to tell the defference between a banana and ionized radiated 12 ft nuclear fuel rod is anyones guess . Radon is another red herring as it also is normal radiation found at insignificant levels throughout earth and is used to cover up nuclear fallout repeatedly in media . Radon is also used to scare homeowners and inundate the innocent with radiation is everywhere mentality . How many home owners have ever died of Radon gas again, oh that's right none but according to experts its a epidemic and it is one of the leading cause of lung cancer right .

Wait a second everything on earth is here because it is genetically superior and because it is acclimated to natural radiation ,bananas will not mutate fruit flys k  . But now WHO says its a major contributor to cancer and we are suppose to believe that life on earth didn,t adapt to Radon or natural radiation umm m'kay  . Those assertions are too ridiculous to take serious but a great way to shake down the home building industry and acclimating the trendy's to radiation is everywhere syndrome and have a radiation boogeyman to convoluted man made radiation with   .

 When a nuclear apologist critter spots easy prey or is provided a platform they get strait to work .  Their job as a nuclear lapdog is to throw insignificant terms into the nuclear equation to confuse  and distort normal true background  radiation with killer man made radiation by constantly repeating the same keywords .

 The viewers and readers have all heard for 70 years how man made radiation is like Banana's from main stream media verbatim . Did you know if you eat a Banana you basically in lay mans terms off gas that potassium 40 like is in banana's because it is homeostasis . Your body can not hold more potassium 40 nothing on earth can  . Other popular  misdirections by creepy nuclear critters  is " did you know potatoes have natural radiation in them " once again this is homeostasis its natural and your body is adapted too easily handle that  .

Go watch any video of the nuclear apologist they usually only do interviews at night  after the sun goes down because sunlight can easily destroy their credibility . Once darkness descends you will hear them say " your drinking water has 7500 Bq of natural potassium 40 in it so having 1200 Bq/Kg of man made ionized Cs 137  in your food is ok ' . 

But Potassium 40 is irrelevant its homeostasis you off gas the same amount , Cs 137 accumulates its accumulative and its a man made iodized radioactive particle . These atoms and particle do not exist on the moon and the sun doesn,t make them , the sun creates elements we destroy elements they are completely different in every possible way .  

If you ingest man made radiation it causes your body to instantly attack it , it sequesters into your organs and bones . Your body will try to entomb it you call that cancer tumors and as long as its putting out energy your body has a auto immune response to it . That is using up your body's reserves until that tumor is found and removed or well you know .

You will always hear the good old nuclear apologist say you will get more radiation from a Dental or Chest Ex-rays  or we all live in a natural radiated environment . Or the radiation from japan is less then you would be getting by flying on a plane from Solar Radiation  . If you have ever hear a nuclear expert say any of the above  then you know your listening too or reading a pro nuclear PR spin doctors . The ocean is too big , it can never make its way over here , or it will take 10 years for the ocean to bring anything across when the jet streams deposited radiation over the entire Northern Hemisphere in less than 7 days and it continued unabated for 7 months . If the ocean currents only travel at 1 mile per hour 24 hours a day its here in 229 days , but it coming out of fukushima every day pretending its not pouring into the ocean is not a solution   .

 Remember the ocean is not that big when you take into context everyday 300 tons of radioactive water is hemorrhaging into the pacific . Well if it was just one day maybe i could look the other way but its daily for over 1200 days 24 hours a day 1440 minutes a day every day forever . Lets put that into perspective on St Pattys Day some community s pour 25 to 40 pounds of dye into rivers to temporary change the color of the river right . Well what would happen if you poured a 1000 pounds of dye that didn,t lose its color for 100s or 1000s of years in a 5000 mile river every minute of those 1440 minutes in each day for over 1200 days and then got into a plane and flew down that 5000 mile river to see where the dye  went  . How far down that 5000 mile river would you have to go before you do not find that the river all the estuaries and lakes and ponds etc etc  are not effected by doing that every minute for 1200 days . My guess is everything right to the ocean would be a brightly different color .

 What you need to do is get some distance between the nuclear creature and yourself . Do not I repeat do not crouch down to the same height of nuclear creatures , make yourself look taller as they can attack without provocation and slowly back away as nuclear critters are notorious known to attack from behind . Under no circumstances should you make direct eye contact with nuclear critters , look just above their hairlines because they can control your mind with their eyes and make you say stupid unsubstantiated gibberish like you will get more radiation from a banana than from radioactive fall out anywhere on earth even if you stood in the middle of the Fukshima military industrial complexes DEW production facility aka nuclear power plants   .

It has been said that if you sprinkle holy water on a nuclear scientist they have to tell you the truth for the next 3 minutes , even though it is not recommended you get that close because of nuclear verbal diarrhea  .   According to nuclear critters  7400 Bq/m3 of Cs-137 is EPA standard in drinking water  and after all you get 7500 Bq of potassium 40 in a glass of drinking water so its safe according to nuclear apologist .  Anyone who says anything different is a alarmist and is just fear mongering .  Besides all that ionized man made Uranium 238 will decay is 4.5 billion years so have a bananas because after all nuclear scientist are probaly right a banana and a 12 ft nuclear fuel rod are impossiable to tell apart .

Stigmatized workers quitting Tepco in droves

Stigma, pay cuts and risk of radiation exposure are among the reasons why 3,000 employees have left Tepco, the utility at the center of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. Now there’s an additional factor: better paying jobs in the feel-good solar energy industry.

Engineers and other employees at Tokyo Electric Power Co. were once typical of the nation’s corporate culture that is famous for prizing loyalty to a single company and lifetime employment with it. But the March 2011 tsunami that swamped the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, sending three reactors into meltdown, changed that.

Tepco was widely criticized for being inadequately prepared for tsunami despite Japan’s long history of being hit by giant waves and for its confused response to the disaster. The public turned hostile toward the nuclear industry and Tepco, or “Tohden” in Japanese, became a dirty word.

Only 134 people quit Tepco the year before the disaster. The departures ballooned to 465 in 2011, another 712 in 2012 and 488 last year. Seventy percent of those leaving were younger than 40. When the company offered voluntary retirement for the first time earlier this year, some 1,151 workers applied for the 1,000 available redundancy packages.

The exodus, which has reduced staff to about 35,700 people, adds to the challenges of the ongoing work at Fukushima to keep the meltdowns under control, remove the fuel cores and safely decommission the reactors, which is expected to take decades.

The factors pushing workers out have piled up. The financial strain of the disaster has led to brutal salary cuts while ongoing problems at Fukushima No. 1, such as substantial leaks of irradiated water, have reinforced the image of a bumbling and irresponsible organization.

“No one is going to want to work there, if they can help it,” said Akihiro Yoshikawa, who quit Tepco in 2012.
After leaving he started a campaign called “Appreciate Fukushima Workers,” trying to counter what he calls the “giant social stigma” attached to working at Fukushima No. 1.

Many of the workers, as residents of the area, also lost their homes to no-go zones, adding to personal hardships.
The Fukushima stigma is such that some employees hide the fact they work at the plant. They even worry they will be turned away at restaurants or that their children will be bullied at school after a government report documented dozens of cases of discrimination.

While Tepco is out of favor with the public, the skills and experience of its employees that span the gamut of engineers, project managers, maintenance workers and construction and financial professionals, are not.

Energy industry experience is in particular demand as the development of solar and other green energy businesses is pushed along by generous government subsidies.

Currently the government pays solar plants ¥32 per kilowatt hour of energy. The so-called tariff for solar power varies by states and cities in the U.S., but they are generally lower than Japan’s version. The rate in Germany is about half that in Japan.

Sean Travers, Japan president of EarthStream, a London-based recruitment company that specializes in energy jobs, has been scrambling to woo Tepco employees as foreign companies do more clean energy business in Japan.
“Tepco employees are very well trained and have excellent knowledge of how the Japanese energy sector works, making them very attractive,” he said.

Two top executives at U.S. solar companies doing business in Japan, First Solar director Karl Brutsaert and SunPower Japan director Takashi Sugihara, said they have interviewed former Tepco employees for possible posts.
Besides their experience, knowledge of how the utility industry works and their contacts, with both private industry and government bureaucracy, are prized assets.
“It’s about the human network and the Tepco employees have all the contacts,” said Travers, who says he has recruited about 20 people from the utility and is hoping to get more.

Since September 2012, all Tepco managers have had their salaries slashed by 30 percent, while workers in nonmanagement positions had their pay reduced 20 percent.
But last year, Tepco doled out ¥100,000 bonuses to 5,000 managers as an incentive to stay on.

Survey: 80% of municipalities eager to promote renewable energy

About 80 percent of municipal governments across Japan are keen to promote renewable energies in the hope that the new energy sources, technology and sales revenue will help revitalize regional development, a survey shows.

The Asahi Shimbun and Hitotsubashi University carried out a joint survey to mark the second anniversary of the government feed-in-tariff system introduced in July 2012 to kick-start the market for renewable energy.

Of 1,279 municipal governments that responded, 74 percent said they currently operate power facilities using renewable energies.

More than 60 percent said that local governments, corporations and citizens groups are involved in the operation of renewable energy plants, symbolizing local initiatives to promote recyclable energies.

The industry ministry has reported the number of power plants using renewable energy and their outputs in each of the qualified prefectures. But this is the first time that an extensive survey has been conducted to uncover each municipality’s scope of use of renewable energies and its willingness to introduce them in the future.

The Asahi Shimbun and a research team of Hitotsubashi University led by Shunichi Teranishi, a specially appointed professor of environmental economics, sent out inquiries to all 1,741 municipalities across Japan and had received responses from 1,279 local governments as of July 21.

Asked why they are promoting recyclable energies, the municipalities said they want to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, develop sources for local energy production, effectively use idle lands and promote regional development.

Although the municipalities have long purchased electricity and fossil fuels from outside sources, the development of locally produced new energy can play a key role in sustaining their economies, alleviating the impact of population decline.

In Akita Prefecture, about 100 local manufacturing companies are working together to develop a “Made in Akita” wind power generator in a project led by the prefecture and a local bank.

It is an ambitious project to locally produce the more than 20,000 parts needed to construct the wind turbine. Such equipment is currently manufactured by major electronics companies.

“The popularization of renewable energy has increasingly allowed local municipalities to produce electricity on their own,” said Tetsunari Iida, director of the Institute for Sustainable Energy Policies.

Iida said the development of renewable energies is a move away from the "colony model" of energy consumption, in which local communities depend on outside energy producers.

"It is important for local communities to develop energy sources by their own initiatives and circulate the benefits within their communities,” he said.

The survey also said that 284 municipalities cited the lack of sufficient capacity in their local energy transmission network as an obstacle to introduce locally produced energy.

The problem stems from the fact that Japan’s energy transmission network is created on a mass production and consumption model, and local networks are given relatively low capacity.

As many as 402 local governments said difficulties in financing is a major obstacle, while 388 cited the lack of know-how.

Although the industrial groups have called for a review of the current feed-in-tariff system on grounds it causes higher utility prices, about 30 percent of local municipalities said the system should be maintained to help promote renewable energy.

Let's Get Irradiated! - New Poster In Fukushima City

Aloha from Hawaii,

I want to get your attention to this poster which has been circulated and posted in Fukushima city for a while.

It says Let’s Get Irradiated ("hibaku-shiyo!” in Japanese), and claims there is no acute health effect up to 250 mSV.
It also say that you should go outside and play, all the laundry should be hang outside to get the sun.

I agree if it is not radioactive outside.

This poster is made by Fukushima-city it says, but I doubt it.  I will be investigating.
If you are interested in following up, please send me a reply.

Yumi Kikuchi/ Fukushima Kids Hawaii

P.S. Today we are picking up 5 people (4 children one chaperon) from Fukushima at Hilo airport of Hawaii. In 3 days, 7 more (5 babies and two mothers) are coming to Kona and we are picking them up. We host them here for free to give them some respite from radiation exposure.

From Yumi Kikuchi and Dick Allqire 



Fukushima rice finds a home in Kumamoto shochu

The owner of a ramen shop in central Kyushu believes he has just the right elixir for those who are shunning produce grown in southern Tohoku as a result of the nuclear disaster there: Kumamoto shochu made with Fukushima rice.

Kumamoto is Kyushu Island, South of Japan.


Nuclear waste - the unanswered questions that won't go away


The recent closure of five US power stations is forcing the industry to confront big questions about radioactive waste, writes Paul Brown. Who is to pay the mounting costs of managing the wastes and keeping them secure? And precisely where will be their final resting place?

Long-term employment is hard to find these days, but one career that can be guaranteed to last a lifetime is dealing with nuclear waste.

The problem and how to solve it is becoming critical. Dozens of nuclear power stations in the US, Russia, Japan, and across Europe and Central Asia are nearing the end of their lives.
And when these stations close, the spent fuel has to be taken out, safely stored or disposed of, and then the pressure vessels and the mountains of concrete that make up the reactors have to be dismantled. This can take between 30 and 100 years, depending on the policies adopted.

In the rush to build stations in the last century, little thought was given to how to take them apart 40 years later. It was an age of optimism that science would always find a solution when one was needed, but the reality is that little effort was put into dealing with the waste problem. It is now coming back to haunt the industry.

Nuclear waste as a business opportunity
Not that everyone sees it as a problem. A lot of companies view nuclear waste as a welcome and highly profitable business opportunity.

Either way, because of the dangers of radioactivity, it is not a problem that can be ignored. The sums of money that governments will have to find to deal with keeping the old stations safe are eye-wateringly large.

They will run into many billions of dollars - an assured income for companies in the nuclear waste business, stretching to the end of this century and beyond.

The US is a prime example of a country where the nuclear waste issue is becoming rapidly more urgent.

The problem has been brought to the fore in the US because five stations have closed in the last two years. The Crystal River plant in Florida and San Onofre 1 and 2 in California (see photo) have closed down because they were judged too costly to bring up to modern standards.

Two more - Kewaunee in Wisconsin and the Vermont Yankee plant - could no longer compete on cost with the current price of natural gas and increased subsidies for renewables.

Who is to pay the mounting costs?
Nuclear Energy Insider, which keeps a forensic watch on the industry, predicts that several other nuclear power stations in the US will also succumb to premature closure because they can no longer compete.

The dilemma for the industry is that the US government has not solved the problem of what to do with the spent fuel and the highly radioactive nuclear waste that these stations have generated over the last 40 years.

They have collected a levy - kept in a separate fund that now amounts to $31 billion - to pay for solving the problem, but still have not come up with a plan.

Since it costs an estimated $10 million dollars a year to keep spent fuel safe at closed stations, electricity utilities saddled with these losses, and without any form of income, are taking legal action against the government.

The US government has voted another $205 million to continue exploring the idea of sending the waste to the remote Yucca Mountain in Nevada - an idea fought over since 1987 and still no nearer solution. Even if this plan went through, the facility would not be built and accepting waste until 2048.

The big problem for the US, the utility companies and the consumers who will ultimately pay the bill is what to do in the meantime with the old stations, the spent fuel, and the sites.
Much of the fuel will be moved from wet storage to easier-to-manage dry storage, but it will still be a costly process. What happens after that, and who will pay for it, is anyone's guess.

The industry is having a Nuclear Decommissioning and Used Fuel Strategy Summit in October in Charlotte, North Carolina, to try to sort out some of these issues.

In the Europe, similar problems
But America is not alone. The UK has already closed a dozen reactors. Most of the rest are due to be retired by 2024, but it is likely that the French company EDF, which owns the plants, will try to keep them open longer.

The bill for dealing with existing nuclear waste in Britain is constantly rising and currently stands at £74 billion, even without any other reactors being decommissioned.

The government is already spending £2 billion each year trying to clear up the legacy of past nuclear activities, but has as yet found no solution to dealing with the thousands of fuel rods still in permanent store at power stations.

As with the US, even if a solution is found, it would be at least 2050 before a facility to deal with this highly dangerous waste could be found. By that time, billions of dollars will have been expended just to keep the used fuel from igniting and causing a nuclear meltdown.
It is hard to know how the industry's finances could stand such a drain on its resources without going bankrupt.

Similar problems are faced by Germany, which is already closing its industry permanently in favour of renewables, and France, with more than 50 ageing reactors.

Japan, still dealing with the aftermath of the Fukushima accident in 2011, is composed of crowded islands where few people will welcome a nuclear waste depository.

Many countries in the former Soviet bloc with ageing reactors look to Russia - which provided them - to solve their problems. But this may be a false hope, as Russia has an enormous unsolved waste problem of its own.

The easy answer - prevaricate and hope for the best
In all these countries, the issue of nuclear waste and what to do with it is a problem that has been put off - both by the industry and politicians - as an issue to be dealt with sometime in the future. But the problem is becoming more urgent as the costs and the volume of waste rises dramatically.

Unlike any other form of generation, even dirty coal plants, getting rid of nuclear stations is no simple matter. To cleanse a nuclear site so that it can be used for another industrial use is difficult. Radioactivity lasts for centuries, and all contamination has to be physically removed.

For many critics of the industry, the nuclear waste issue has always been a moral issue - as well as a financial one - that should not be left to future generations to solve.

The industry itself has always relied on its continuous expansion, and developing science, to deal what it calls "back end costs" at some time in the distant future.

But as more stations close, and fewer new ones are planned to raise revenue, putting off the problem no longer seems an option, either for the industry or for the governments that ultimately will have to pick up the bill.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Why many of decontamination volunteers died

Original Text from Zukunashi no Hiyamizu's Blog :

“Genpatsu Mondai” wrote a blog article in the May 21, 2014 titled “Joining the volunteer with Fukushima citizens result in sudden death!!! Two of fifteen students in the neighborhood already died from an unknown cause”.
In this article, you can read many dead cases of volunteers who went to Fukushima and worked there. They went to contaminated area and worked for decontamination as volunteers. I am wondering why many of them died…
Suspected causes are as follows;
1. Volunteers stay and work in the area where there is much fallout radioactivity and with a high air dose rate.
2. Volunteers lack equipment against radioactivity. They do not wear Tyvek, just wear easy mask. In fact, they are supposed to wear Tyvek and high-performance mask because they are in highly contaminated area.
3. Volunteers often eat a boxed meal sold at convenience stores and also eat it outdoors.
4. Volunteers cannot always stay at a room with perfectly clean up, low level of air dose rate and air conditioner with air cleaning filter.
5. Sometimes volunteers have to wait outdoors for long time because they have to make a round trip between their accommodations and sites of work. Thus they could be exposed to the radiation internally in addition to external exposure even during off-work period.
Now let’s take this case in a comparison with the case that a doctor goes to contaminated area as a volunteer.
A doctor arrives at a destination and rides on a courtesy car to and from the doctor's accommodation, or takes a taxi for its own traveling. A doctor stays at a luxury hotel with perfectly clean up rooms. And also, a doctor has many choices as for meals. 
The lower the air dose rate is, the less you are exposed to the radiation externally. And the less you breathe open air, the less you are exposed to the radiation internally naturally.
I think that he can reduce these risks in case that someone goes to contaminated area on business.
Otherwise, I do not think volunteers take a taxi for each traveling. Basically the purpose of volunteers is to go to the contaminated area where the air dose rate is high and to work there. They are surely exposed to the radiation internally if they spent long time to stay outdoors without wearing a mask.
There are some cases that people in Tokyo suffer an array of health problems after working for decontamination around their houses like roof and yard without sufficient degree of protection against radioactivity. They might well be able to take a bath not so long after such a work for decontamination.
And I guess they should clean up their rooms and take care of not to eat contaminated ingredients because they are enough to clean up outside the house. But they upset their health even in familiar place!!!
You can imagine easily how dangerous it is to work for decontamination in a strange place and to stay unequipped accommodations.
In the first place, it is dangerous to work for decontamination. 
And I do not think decontamination works so well. If you would still go there, please pay for the fully-equipment against radioactivity including gas mask!!! Of course you have to replace Tyvek on a daily basis, and also discard all your shoes and clothes before leaving contaminated area. 
Unless you can do them, you should not go to work for decontamination as a volunteer.