Fukushima, Japan nuclear disaster news

This video from Japan says about itself:

3 February 2017

Radiation inside the containment vessel of the No. 2 reactor at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant measures as high as a deadly 530 sieverts per hour, the highest since the 2011 disaster, plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) announced on Feb. 2.

TEPCO calculated the radiation dose from video noise on footage it took inside the containment vessel in late January, when a camera was inserted to examine conditions inside and scout a route for a scorpion-like observation robot scheduled to go into the vessel later this month.

Deployment of the robot is also being reconsidered after two gaping holes were found along the robot’s planned path over a 5-meter-wide circular walkway inside the containment vessel, close to where the 530-sievert radiation dose was detected.

The holes in the metal grate walkway — one of unknown size and the other measuring about 1 meter square — make both routes considered for the robot impassable.

Six years after Fukushima, much of Japan has lost faith in nuclear power … Six years have passed since the Fukushima nuclear disaster on March 11, 2011, but Japan is still dealing with its impacts. Decommissioning the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant poses unprecedented technical challenges. More than 100,000 people were evacuated but only about 13 percent have returned home, although the government has announced that it is safe to return to some evacuation zones: here.

Asking the tough questions on Fukushima — The Japan Times.

The Japanese government may buy [contaminated soil], using soil from the Fukushima prefecture as landfill for “green areas” and parks, potentially subjecting citizens to dangerous radiation: here.

From the Asia Times:

Six years after Japan’s Fukushima nuclear accident three global nuclear corporations are fighting for their very survival.

The bankruptcy filing by Westinghouse Electric Co. and its parent company Toshiba Corp. preparing to post losses of ¥1 trillion (US$9 billion), is a defining moment in the global decline of the nuclear power industry.

However, whereas the final financial meltdown of Westinghouse and Toshiba will likely be measured in a few tens of billions of dollars, those losses are but a fraction of what Tokyo Electric Power Co. (Tepco) is looking at as a result of the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Sri Lankan garbage dump kills many people

This video says abot itself:

16 April 2017

Hopes faded on Sunday for the survival of an estimated 100 people trapped under a landslide at a giant rubbish dump in the Sri Lankan capital. Police say the known death toll from the disaster has risen to 26. Emergency workers are to resume their search on Monday after halting late on Sunday night. The 300-foot-high dump collapsed after flames engulfed it late on Friday, burying as many as 145 homes. The police say they are investigating whether the landslide was natural or man-made. Residents of the area, mostly living in shanties, had been demanding the removal of the dump, saying it was causing health problems. The government had said it would remove it soon, under an infrastructure plan.

By Vijith Samarasinghe and Wimal Perera in Sri Lanka:

At least 26 dead in garbage dump collapse in Sri Lanka

17 April 2017

The death toll from Friday’s collapse of a large portion of the massive garbage dump in Meethotamulla, in the suburbs of Colombo, rose to 26 by yesterday evening. The bodies of seven children, along with 19 adults, have been found so far. Another 12 injured have been admitted to the Colombo National Hospital. Residents told WSWS reporters that there could be as many as a 100 people still buried under the debris.

About 145 houses have been destroyed or buried by the collapsing garbage mountain. Around 645 people from 180 families have been displaced and are temporarily sheltering in a nearby primary school and other places without basic amenities. Because the Hindu traditional New Year festival day fell on April 14, visiting relatives may also have been inside the buried houses. The Sri Lanka Electricity Board warned people to leave the surrounding area because a high voltage power line has been damaged.

The tragedy has provoked shock and outrage across the country, compounding the political crisis of the goernment, which is already facing widespread opposition over its austerity policies. President Maithripala Sirisena has held meetings with ministers, military chiefs and government officials to announce assistance and compensation for the victims. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has cut short his tour of Asia “because of the disaster.”

With government approval, Colombo Municipal Council had established a huge garbage dump on a 16-acre block of land and heaped waste up to 30 metres high. Management of the dump lacked any scientific application or concern for the lives of nearby residents. Friday’s collapse destroyed all the houses in its southern boundary.

A woman, who had been waiting since Friday for the bodies of her brother, his wife and 12-year-old daughter to be unearthed, told the WSWS that no government officials or rescue teams reached the site for more than an hour after the disaster. “Residents themselves started searching for the buried people. Then the navy and police came with few shovels,” she said.

Facing rising anger, the government sent army “rescue teams” a few hours later. The army brigadier in charge of the disaster site told the media that a contingent of 600 has now been deployed.

Soldiers and rescue teams are searching the site with rented excavation machinery and without proper equipment or protective gear. This shows the lack of proper disaster preparedness by the government, despite the many landslides in recent years that have killed hundreds. In 2004, the Asian tsunami killed around 40,000 people in Sri Lanka.

Another woman told the WSWS: “For how long have we been saying that this [heap of refuse] would collapse!” She said that a university professor had warned last year that the garbage mountain could collapse due to the pressure of methane gas being produced inside. “All our cries fell on the deaf ears of governments! They did nothing until so many people were buried alive,” said a man who was waiting for information about relatives.

Law and Order Minister Sagala Ratnayaka, S.M. Marikkar, a government parliamentarian for the area, and Police Chief Pujith Jayasundara faced angry protests by local people when they visited the area.

“People told them that there’s no need to visit after so many have died. What we got when we protested against dumping of garbage here was baton charges,” a man told the WSWS. “Politicians, Buddhist monks, or Catholic priests, none of them are wanted here.”

Another man, now alone with his grandson, angrily explained that these were not deaths, but murders.

Conscious of the simmering anger, the government has deployed a large number of police and soldiers in the area. Under the pretext of “public safety,” the entire area has been cordoned off. The residents are still unable to salvage valuables from their houses.

Contingents of riot police armed with water cannon, tear gas and firearms are on stand-by in nearby towns such as Wellampitiya and Gothatuwa New Town.

More than 24 hours after the collapse, Deputy Finance Minister Harsha de Silva said that the problem had been building up more than 20 years and the government had now decided to immediately stop the dumping of garbage at the site.

Blaming the victims themselves, de Silva stated that the tragedy occurred because the families had refused to move from the area, despite being offered compensation. Locals, however, told the WSWS that there had not been a resettlement program, apart from verbal promises by officials for a pittance in compensation or for rent for a house at an alternative location.

These attempts to evict people are a part of the project initiated by the previous government of President Mahinda Rajapakse, and continued by the current government, to transform Colombo into an international financial and commercial hub. The government is now seeking to use the tragedy to push ahead with evictions.

For a long time this area was used as a place for dumping garbage. However, the dangerous situation developed after 2009 when it became Colombo’s main garbage disposal facility. People protested, warning against the potential disasters on many occasions in the past few years. In early 2014 the Mahinda Rajapakse government launched a violent police attack on the residents who were engaged in a sit-in for days blocking dumping.

During the campaign for the January 2015 presidential election, Ranil Wickremesinghe, then opposition leader, visited the area and told the residents that the problem of the garbage dump would be solved as soon as Maithripala Sirisena was elected. Yesterday he sent hypocritical condolences and cynically stated that the government had been on the point of solving the problem of the garbage dump. In reality, his government responded to local protests in May and December 2015 with brutal police attacks and the arrest of many residents.

The Meethotamulla garbage dump disaster is another tragedy generated by successive governments and the drive for profit. It demonstrates that the capitalist system cannot resolve even the most basic problems facing the masses. While President Sirisena has reportedly ordered an immediate stop to garbage disposal in the area and relief for the victims, his real concern is to prevent the disaster from becoming a focus for mounting anger against the government.

English Hillsborough football disaster, 28 years ago

This video says about itself:

15 April 2017

The Hillsborough disaster happened 28 years ago, 96 people were killed in the man-made catasrophe.

Fukushima cancer child not in government files

This video from the USA says about itself:

“What became clear in the Diet Fukushima Investigation Committee”

HD, 16 min 25 sec, in English


Member of Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Commission Risk Assessment of Low Dose Radiation in Japan
Former Senior Researcher in National Institute Radiological Science

Human Rights Now, Physicians for Social Responsibility, & Peace Boat US present:

“Experts call for immediate action to protect the right to health of women, children and others affected by the nuclear accident in Fukushima.”

March 13, Wednesday, 10:30AM to Noon, at the UN Church Center, NYC

WHAT: Since the March 2011 nuclear disaster in Fukushima, individuals and communities in Japan continue to be exposed to dangerous levels of radioactivity. There are serious concerns about consequent health effects for pregnant women, mothers, children and others in contaminated areas. Residents have a right to live in a safe and healthy environment, however, sufficient protective measures and support are not being provided. The right to access medical treatment and the medical data about one’s own body are being seriously denied.

A human rights expert from Japan, a medical doctor from Japan, and a medical doctor from the U.S. will speak about how the lives and health of local women, children and others in the Fukushima area are being affected after the disaster and what should be done to provide immediate relief. The actions called for in the December 15, 2012 Human Rights Now “Civil Society Statement” to immediately implement the recent recommendations by the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to health will be highlighted.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Japan: Fukushima cancer kid missing from official files

Saturday 1st April 2015

A CHILD who was diagnosed with thyroid cancer after a meltdown at Japan’s Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant is missing from government check-up data, medical workers warned yesterday.

The 3.11 Fund for Children With Thyroid Cancer, named after the date of the March 11 2011 disaster, said that the four-year-old is missing from a list of 184 cases of thyroid cancer in Fukushima.

Government officials claim that no-one younger than five got the cancer after the nuclear meltdown.

Dr Hisako Sakiyama, a fund representative, said that the missing record was alarming.

The boy, now 10, is receiving treatment at Fukushima Medical University, so she said it was inconceivable the university — which compiled the list — was unaware of the case.

Fukushima, worse radiation than ever

This video from Japan says about itself:

Fukushima Unit 2 Scorpion Probe Dies But Sends Back Some Data

Feb 16 2017

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Japan: Fukushima’s high radiation wrecks robot

Saturday 18th February 2017

Nuclear disaster site’s clean-up hits big trouble

ROBOT probes sent into a wrecked Fukushima nuclear reactor suggest that the clean-up process faces worse than anticipated problems, the plant operator admitted yesterday.

Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) said that the remote-controlled “scorpion” robot had been sent into the Unit 2 reactor’s containment vessel on Thursday to investigate the area around the core that melted six years ago.

However, its crawling function failed while climbing over highly radioactive debris.

The robot, carrying a dosimeter, thermometer and two small cameras, transmitted some data and visuals but failed to locate melted fuel, which is key to determining how to remove debris from the reactor.

The robot was abandoned inside the vessel at a point where it won’t block a future probe.

Preliminary examinations in recent weeks have detected structural damage to planned robot routes and higher-than-expected radiation inside the Unit 2 containment chamber, suggesting the need to revise robot designs and probes. Similar probes are planned for the two other melted reactors.

A tiny waterproof robot that can go underwater will be sent into Unit 1 in the coming weeks, but experts haven’t yet worked out a way to access the badly damaged Unit 3.

The operator needs to know the melted fuel’s exact location and condition and other structural damage in each of the three wrecked reactors to assess the best and safest ways to remove the fuel.

Despite the incomplete probe missions, Tepco is sticking to its schedule to determine methods for melted fuel removal this summer before starting work in 2021, said spokesman Yuichi Okamura.

The company is struggling with the plant’s decommissioning, which is expected to last decades, following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that led to the meltdown.

Tens of thousands of residents are still unable to return to their home because of high radiation.

Earlier this month, another robot, designed to clean debris for the main scorpion probe, had to return midway through because two cameras became inoperable after two hours when its total radiation exposure reached a maximum tolerance of 1,000 sievert. This level would kill a human within seconds.

Local servicemen may have radiation poisoning from Fukushima — San Diego City Beat, USA: here.

The Fukushima nuclear meltdown continues unabated — Helen Caldicott: here.