Japanese demonstrate against nuclear power

Sixty thousand Japanese citizens marched in central Tokyo today to press their government to ditch nuclear energy in favour of renewables in light of the ongoing Fukushima nuclear disaster: here.

The 60,000-strong rally was the largest since the March 11 earthquake that triggered the Fukushima nuclear plant meltdown: here.

Japan’s citizens are not happy about nuclear power. And they’re taking to the streets to make their voices heard: here.

Fukushima Nuclear Crisis Update for September 20th-22nd, 2011: here.

Nuclear contamination found beyond Japan no-go zone: here.

Third Fukushima nuclear plant worker dies: here.

Fukushima ‘hot spots’ raise radiation fears: here.

Japanese Government Nixed Idea of Obama Visiting, Apologizing for, Hiroshima: here.

Britain: Coalition ministers were accused of jumping the gun today by pushing through a new generation of nuclear power stations without learning the lessons of the Japanese Fukushima disaster.

Angry villagers living near a recently built nuclear power plant in southern India blocked a main road to demand its closure on Thursday, saying they don’t believe the facility is safe.

7 thoughts on “Japanese demonstrate against nuclear power

  1. Residents near Fukushima mountains face nuclear recontamination every rainfall

    Workers decontaminate the roof of a home in Fukushima on July 24 with high-pressure jets of water. (Mainichi)

    As the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Plant drags on, worries are growing particularly among Fukushima Prefecture residents over drawn-out and in some cases apparently futile nuclear decontamination operations.

    The unease is especially strong in areas in and around mountains that must be repeatedly decontaminated, as every rainfall brings a new batch of radioactive substance-contaminated leaves and soil washing down from the hills. Since some 70 percent of Fukushima Prefecture is mountainous, such instances of regular recontamination could occur over a broad area, while the same effect has also been observed in some undeveloped areas of cities.

    The central government is considering paying for any decontamination operations conducted by local governments at sites with radiation emissions of 1 millisievert per year or more, but residents in places faced with regular recontamination after every major rainfall are concerned the national government may not keep the cleanup funding flowing.

    The city of Fukushima decontaminated its Onami and Watari district in July and August after a surge in local radiation levels. In the week following the end of the operation, the city took fresh radiation readings at 885 points, of which seven actually registered levels exceeding those found before the decontamination. One gutter measured even showed a rise from 3.67 microsieverts per hour before the cleanup to 4.63 after the work.

    “Radiation increased close to the mountains and in spots where water and soil washed down the slopes,” the Fukushima Municipal Government stated.

    One 52-year-old resident of the city’s Onami district, whose home backs onto woodland slopes, told the Mainichi that soil washes into her backyard with every rainfall. Radiation emissions at her front door are 1 microsievert per hour or less, but in the backyard they’re more than 2 microsieverts per hour.

    “Everywhere around here is in the same situation,” she says.

    Meanwhile, a man living in the Watari district with his wife and his son’s family discovered that the waterway running by his property had cesium levels of more than 300,000 becquerels after a citizen’s group did tests in the area.

    “There’s no point in doing just one round of official decontamination,” he told the Mainichi. “We residents will get nowhere near anything like peace of mind if decontamination operations can’t be done regularly.”

    According to guidelines in a Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries study released on Sept. 30, removing fallen leaves and other natural forest debris from the area within about 20 meters of residential properties is effective in keeping contamination at bay. However, the guidelines also warn that “conifer needles also accumulate radioactive cesium over time, and can normally be expected to fall after three to four years,” signaling a constant and long-term need to keep clearing properties of fallen needles.

    The municipality of Fukushima has created a plan to bring radiation exposure in all inhabited areas of the city to below a microsievert per hour within two years. As part of this, cleanup operations will begin in the Onami district in October. No schedule has been set for decontaminating the city’s mountains and forests, but the municipal government is considering removal of the leaf soil (soil made up of decaying leaves) within 75 meters of local properties, pending the consent of land owners — significantly more than the forestry ministry’s 20-meter guideline. It’s thought that the decontamination process will have to go on for a long time to come, but the city has said it has yet to receive confirmation that financial support will continue to flow from the central government.

    Furthermore, the problem of where to put all the contaminated material collected in the cleanups remains a serious headache. The central government has begun considering national forests as dump sites, but according to a disposal official in Date, Fukushima Prefecture, “’20 meters of forest’ applied to every region here would be an enormous amount of material. Setting aside a site for that much soil is extremely difficult. On top of that, how could we secure enough workers to do the job?”

    On top of concerns about the sheer volume of contaminated material and manpower, there is also the issue of the important natural roles played by forests, such as collecting water that eventually ends up as well water. The village of Kawauchi, removed from the emergency evacuation standby zone at the end of September, is almost 90 percent mountain forest, and depends on streams and well water for all its fresh water needs.

    The village plans to decontaminate all the forest under its jurisdiction over the next 20 years, but “the village needs the forests to guarantee its source of fresh water,” the decontamination project official said. “Is there no way to do decontamination while at the same time preserving the functions of the forest, without cutting down the trees?”

    (Mainichi Japan) October 11, 2011


  2. Radiation hotspot detected in Tokyo

    (AFP, Oct 13)

    A radiation hotspot has been detected in Tokyo, reports said Thursday as researchers carry out stringent tests to map how far contamination has spread from the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant. Japanese media said researchers found radiation levels of 3.35 microsieverts per hour along a street in the west of the capital — 220 kilometres (136 miles from Fukushima — much higher than previously reported levels.

    According to calculations based on the Japanese science ministrya’s criteria, the equivalent annual dose in the hotspot would be 17.6 millisieverts, just below the 20 millisieverts per year threshold that requires evacuation. The reading is also higher than levels measured recently at Iitate, an area in Fukushima prefecture that has been evacuated.

    The reading in Setagaya was taken one metre above the ground near a hedge, national broadcaster NHK said, while other parts of the same sidewalk showed lower readings.

    The reading came after ward authorities said Wednesday that levels of 2.7 microsieverts per hour had been detected on October 6, higher than levels of less than 0.1 microsieverts in other parts of Setagaya according to official data.

    The higher readings come as more tests illustrate how far fall-out from the Fukushima disaster have spread, with elevated levels of radioactive caesium recently found as far away as Yokohama, more than 241 kilometres (150 miles) from the plant.

    Radiation fears are a daily fact of life in many parts of Japan following the earthquake and tsunami-sparked meltdowns at the plant, with reported cases of contaminated water, beef, vegetables, tea and seafood.

    Variable winds, weather and topography result in an uneven spread of contamination, experts say, and radioactive elements tend to concentrate in places where dust and rain water accumulate such as drains and ditches.

    Setagaya ward did not immediately confirm Thursday’s reading. “We don’t know the cause (of the high radiation levels) yet. We are asking experts to find it urgently and decontaminate the area,” a spokeswoman said.

    She added that the high readings have been shown only in a two-metre long area and below 1.5 metres from the ground.

    “We also plan to check sand in the ward’s 258 parks over one month from late October,” she told AFP.

    Radiation levels in the area have not fallen since the ward’s efforts to decontaminate it on October 6, and authorities are instructing children to avoid the walkway as they go to school.

    Setagaya Mayor Nobuto Hosaka told TBS: “I thought the reading must be a mistake when I first heard. We will push ahead with decontamination after confirming levels are high.”

    The March 11 earthquake triggered a tsunami that tore into Japan’s northeast coast, leaving 20,000 people dead or missing, while sparking meltdowns and explosions at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

    The subsequent release of radiation forced the evacuation of tens of thousands from a 20 kilometre (12 mile) radius from the plant and spots beyond in the world’s worst nuclear accident since the Chernobyl disaster in 1986.


  3. Bad beef worries restaurants, shops

    Retailers and restaurant operators have voiced disappointment and frustration as they are believed to have unknowingly sold meat contaminated with radioactive cesium from Fukushima Prefecture. Supermarket chain Fuji Grand’s Anan outlet in Tokushima Prefecture sold 103 packages of the beef in question between June 8 and 11. “We’re sorry for inconveniencing our customers,” said Hiroaki Nishiyama, outlet manager and food section chief. The supermarket put up notices Tuesday warning of the radiation-tainted beef and is returning the money of customers who purchased it.



  4. Hanford Nuclear Reservation: The Energy Department (USDOE) and EPA c

    Posted by: “Richard Frager” science@zzz.com

    Sat Oct 15, 2011 5:18 am (PDT)

    The agencies chose ‘cover-up’ instead of ‘clean-up.’

    The Energy Department (USDOE) and EPA ignored a massive outpouring of public comment in their decision to leave enough Plutonium in soil to make dozens of nuclear weapons. Instead they chose to just cover highly radioactive Cesium, plutonium and chemical sites with 15 feet of dirt.

    Heart of America Northwest turned out 200 people to meetings and hundreds of additional commenters urged that USDOE be required to dig up Plutonium with chemical wastes. Many of you joined us in urging EPA to adopt the same standard for the maximum amount of Plutonium allowed to be left in soil as USDOE is being required to cleanup to at Lawrence Livermore National Lab or Johnson Atoll in the Pacific.

    In response to our comments, the agencies reduced the allowable level for leaving Plutonium in soil to one third of the incredibly high level proposed by USDOE. However, the allowed level will still be 78 times higher than USDOE is being required to cleanup at other sites!!

    Heart of America Northwest provided the agencies with a notice of intent to sue if they chose to leave the Plutonium and chemicals in some of these sites to which federal and state hazardous waste law applies. (To support our lawsuit donate now at the left sidebar)

    The decision adopted the heavily criticized plan to only dig up 2 feet of soil in the most dangerous Plutonium liquid waste trenches. Massive amounts of Plutonium were discharged with acids and chemical wastes – which move the Plutonium through soil. Decades ago, some Plutonium had already moved far below the surface towards groundwater, but USDOE refused to do testing (characterization) of how far it has moved in recent decades.

    Claims that the USDOE had characterized many of the waste sites were exposed as false after Heart of America Northwest was able to obtain the underlying investigation documents – which USDOE and the TPA agencies only made available AFTER the initial public meetings had occurred. The cleanup decision for two miles of ditches, for example, are being based on sampling done in the 1950s and 1970s – before USDOE even acknowledged that it had to sample for toxic chemical wastes under hazardous waste laws. That sampling had found Plutonium had moved forty feet below the trenches in just a couple of decades, yet, the cleanup plan announced assumes that the Plutonium has moved no more than two feet more in the last forty years – without any sampling to confirm this highly challenged assumption.

    Even with the incredibly poor characterization and use of unsupported optimistic future exposure assumptions, cancer risks projected for people exposed to these sites range as high as nearly ninety percent in 150 years, and only reducing to 46 % in one thousand years. (Z Ditches Table 19.200 page 58 of Record of Decision). If the agencies are wrong in claiming that they can prevent any exposure to soil from excavations (e.g., utility lines) for 24,000 years the cancer risk to may be as high as one in ten!(P. 57)

    The final decision responds to Heart of America Northwest’s notice of violation of hazardous waste laws by acknowledging that these laws may apply, and states that the agencies will apply their standards as cleanup proceeds. This does not meet the fundamental requirements of the laws to allow the public to see, and comment on and appeal actual permit conditions for cleanup. If they don’t follow the law, we will take legal actions as necessary.




  5. Pingback: Fukushima nuclear disaster victims are angry | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  6. Pingback: Fukushima nuclear capitalists linked to Yakuza criminals | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  7. Pingback: Fukushima groundwater cesium levels rising | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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