Wildfires kill Chilean wildlife


This video from Chile says about itself:

3 February 2017

Amidst the forest fires emergency and the usage of SuperTanker and Ilyushin IL-76 aircraft to fight against the phenomenon, the Chilean game company Glacial Games demonstrated “SuperTanker The Game”, a new smartphone game that features foreign aircraft and politicians. The game, which can be downloaded for free on IOS and Android smartphones, allows its players to fly planes, dodge obstacles and put out the flames that consume the forests.

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet and former President Sebastian Pinera, but also Russian President Vladimir Putin are the game’s characters the players can pick to pilot the planes with. By tapping on only two buttons, the players can collect the water and release it over the burning trees.

The profits from playing this game will go the victims of the wildfires in Chile. There are plans to add more foreign politicians’ characters to the game.

You can download the game for Android phones here.

This 2015 video is called Chile’s beautiful scenery and wildlife.

From BirdLife:

‘Worst ever’ forest fires ravage Chile’s wildlife

By Irene Lorenzo, 3 Feb 2017

As strong winds continue to fuel the forest fires that are battering central and southern Chile, wild animals are fleeing the forests towards inhabited areas in search of food and shelter. CODEFF (BirdLife in Chile) has mobilized volunteers to help them.

A series of wildfires with multiple focal points have been affecting the central and southern regions of Chile since mid-January, stoked by high temperatures, low humidity and strong winds. The extension of these fires has been described by the media as the worst forest fire in Chile’s history, affecting seven of the country’s 15 regions.

The fires have already had a terrible human cost; thousands of people have had to abandon their homes for their safety, and over 1,500 houses have been completely destroyed. Eleven people have been confirmed dead, many of them firefighters. Fortunately, thanks to the efforts of both local emergency services and international aid from countries such as the United States, Mexico and Peru, the country’s people are getting the help they need.

But humans aren’t the only species affected by the wildfires. Those that live in safe areas have reported that wild animals have started fleeing into towns, leaving their habitats to look for food and shelter. Wildlife rehabilitation centres across the country are treating all manner of animals affected by the fires: various species of snakes, birds and even larger felines such as the colocolo Leopardus colocolo and the cougar Puma concolor.

The regions of central Chile are very rich in biodiversity and host a variety of endemic species such as the Chilean mouse opossum Thylamys elegans and the Kodkod Leopardus guigna. It’s difficult to estimate the real damage these fires are causing in these forests but we do know that over 511 thousand hectares have already been burned as of 31 January. Of these, more than 50% is land used for forestry, around 20% are prairies and bushes, another 20% are native forest and the rest is agricultural land.

From the beginning, CODEFF has been contributing to the tracking, rescue, care and recovery of wildlife affected by the fires. They are working with teams of veterinarians and have trained over 100 volunteers to offer help in the most affected areas.

CODEFF is running a campaign to collect medicines and medical supplies for the treatment of burned animals. Safety equipment is also welcome, as it is used for volunteers – this includes helmets, filter masks, leather gloves and safety shoes.

They are also coordinating with various government agencies and other NGOs to go to the most remote areas in search of injured animals.

One of the main concerns at the moment is that some of the areas affected by the wildfires have been assessed as being Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) by BirdLife International. The damage needs to be assessed and sadly CODEFF can only monitor the situation for now. Analyses are being carried out through remote sensing and once they have more information, they will deploy new teams to help the affected wildlife.

If you wish to help CODEFF’s work, an account has been made available to collect funds to cover the expenses of this emergency. Please contact finanza@codeff.cl for details.

If you live in Chile and own medical supplies and safety equipment you could donate, please get in touch with Mauricio.valiente@codeff.cl.

This 26 January 2017 video is about the wildfires in Chile.

Fukushima radiation worse than ever


This video from Japan says about itself:

The Radioactive Forest of Fukushima

27 January 2017

FULL Documentary 2017. The Fukushima nuclear accident in 2011 turned the surrounding towns into a desolate land, making the area into a “radioactive forest”. Without human presence, the land is roamed by wildlife like civets, macaques and wild boars. A project is underway to study the deserted areas by attaching a camera to wild boars to record the conditions of the former farmlands. 5 years after the disaster, we take a close look at how radiation has affected the wildlife, and what it entails for us humans.

From Kyodo news agency in Japan:

Highest radiation reading since 3/11 detected at Fukushima No. 1 reactor

The radiation level in the containment vessel of reactor 2 at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 power plant has reached a maximum of 530 sieverts per hour, the highest since the triple core meltdown in March 2011, Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings Inc. said.

Tepco said on Thursday that the blazing radiation reading was taken near the entrance to the space just below the pressure vessel, which contains the reactor core.

The high figure indicates that some of the melted fuel that escaped the pressure vessel is nearby.

At 530 sieverts, a person could die from even brief exposure, highlighting the difficulties ahead as the government and Tepco grope their way toward dismantling all three reactors crippled by the March 2011 disaster.

Tepco also announced that, based on its analysis of images taken by a remote-controlled camera, that there is a 2-meter hole in the metal grating under the pressure vessel in the reactor’s primary containment vessel. It also thinks part of the grating is warped.

The hole could have been caused when the fuel escaped the pressure vessel after the mega-quake and massive tsunami triggered a station blackout that crippled the plant’s ability to cool the reactors.

The searing radiation level, described by some experts as “unimaginable,” far exceeds the previous high of 73 sieverts per hour at the reactor.

Tepco said it calculated the figure by analyzing the electronic noise in the camera images caused by the radiation. This estimation method has a margin of error of plus or minus 30 percent, it said.

An official of the National Institute of Radiological Sciences said medical professionals have never considered dealing with this level of radiation in their work.

According to the institute, 4 sieverts of radiation exposure would kill 1 in 2 people.

Experts say 1,000 millisieverts, or 1 sievert, could lead to infertility, loss of hair and cataracts, while exposure to doses above that increases the risk of cancer.

According to Tepco, readings of surface radiation on parts used inside a normally operating pressure vessel can reach several thousands sieverts per hour.

The discovery spells difficulty of removing the fuel debris to decommission at the plant. The government and Tepco hope to locate the fuel and start removing it in 2021.

In the coming weeks, the utility plans to deploy a remote-controlled robot to check conditions inside the containment vessel, but the utility is likely to have to change its plan.

For one thing, it will have to reconsider the route the robot takes into the interior because of the hole in the grating.

Also, given the extraordinary level of radiation, the robot would only be able to operate for less than two hours before it is destroyed.

That is because it is designed to withstand exposure of up to 1,000 sieverts. Based on the calculation of 73 sieverts per hour, the robot could run for more than 10 hours, but 530 sieverts per hour means it would be rendered inoperable in less than two hours.

Tepco has been probing reactor 2’s containment vessel since last week.

On Monday, it found a black mass deposited on the grating directly under the pressure vessel. The images, captured using a camera attached to a telescopic arm the same day, showed part of the grating was missing. Further analysis found the 2-meter hole in an area beyond the missing section on the structure.

If the deposits are confirmed to be melted fuel, it would be the first time the utility has found any of it at the three reactors that suffered core meltdowns.

The world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986 triggered core meltdowns in reactors 1 through 3. Portions of the core in each reactor are believed to have melted through their pressure vessels and pooled at the bottom of their containment vessels.

The actual condition of the melted fuel remains unknown because the radiation is too high to check it.

Meanwhile, a nuclear research organization unveiled on Friday a robot that will be tasked with surveying reactor 1 at the complex.

Tepco plans to send the robot into reactor 1 in March, while its survey plan for reactor 2 remains unclear because of the high radiation levels.

The stick-like robot is 70 cm long and equipped with a camera, according to the International Research Institute for Nuclear Decommissioning.

During a robotic survey in April 2015, the operator found no major obstacles in the path planned in reactor 1 but found water accumulating in the basement.

In the upcoming survey, it hopes to examine the water by deploying a camera and a radiation sensor.

The man blocking the world’s largest nuclear plant says he grew opposed to atomic energy the same way some people fall in love. Previously an advocate for nuclear power in Japan, Ryuichi Yoneyama campaigned against the restart of the facility as part of his successful gubernatorial race last year in Niigata. He attributes his political U-turn to the “unresolved” 2011 Fukushima Dai-Ichi disaster and the lack of preparedness at the larger facility in his own prefecture, both owned by Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings Inc.: here.

According to TEPCO, 8 Fukushima workers have developed leukemia; 5 workers have developed malignant lymphoma; and 2 workers have multiple myeloma: here.

Fukushima, Japan, disaster news


This video says about itself:

9 October 2015

FUKUSHIMA, JAPAN — Cases of thyroid cancer among children living close to the Fukushima nuclear power plant have increased fiftyfold since 2011, four Japanese researchers said Tuesday in a report.

Since the meltdown in March 2011, annual thyroid cancer rates in Fukushima Prefecture have been 20 to 50 times the national level, said a team led by professor of environmental epidemiology at Okayama University Toshihide Tsuda.

The findings were based on screenings of around 370,000 Fukushima residents aged 18 or younger at the time of the accident. The study said the increase “is unlikely to be explained by a screening surge.” The researchers point to radiation exposure as a possible factor in the increase in thyroid cancer cases.

The Fukushima Prefecture Government identified 104 thyroid cancer cases as of late August.

An area extending about 20 kilometers from the nuclear plant has been declared an exclusion zone.

FUKUSHIMA — Ten more people were diagnosed with thyroid cancer as of late September this year in the second round of a health survey of Fukushima Prefecture residents, which began in April 2014, a committee overseeing the survey disclosed on Dec. 27: here.

Fate of Fukushima No. 2 nuclear plant remains unknown — The Japan Times: here.

NRA: Ice wall effects ‘limited’ at Fukushima nuclear plantThe Asahi Shimbun: here.

The future of nuclear energy in Japan, nearly six years after the 2011 Fukushima disaster — ABC News: here.

A maverick former Japanese prime minister goes antinuclear — The New York Times: here.

Fukushima causing cancer, Japanese government admits


This video says about itself:

The Thyroid Cancer Hotspot Devastating Fukushima‘s Child Survivors

10 March 2014

Radiating the People: Worrying new claims say childhood cancer cluster has developed around Fukushima radiation zone

It’s what post-Fukushima Japan fears the most; cancer. Amid allegations of government secrecy, worrying new claims say a cancer cluster has developed around the radiation zone and that the victims are children.

In a private children’s hospital well away from the no-go zone, parents are holding on tight to their little sons and daughters hoping doctors won’t find what they’re looking for. Thyroid cancer. Tests commissioned by the local authorities have discerned an alarming spike here. Experts are reluctant to draw a definitive link with Fukushima, but they’re concerned.

“I care because I went to Chernobyl and I saw each child there, so I know the pain they went through”, says Dr Akira Sugenoya, a former thyroid surgeon. What terrifies parents most is a government they feel they can’t trust. It’s created a culture of fear; one which has led a number of women post-Fukushima to have abortions because they were worried about birth defects. “The doctors in Fukushima say that it shouldn’t be coming out so soon, so it can’t be related to the nuclear accident. But that’s very unscientific, and it’s not a reason we can accept”, Dr Sugenoya insists. “It was disclosed that the Fukushima health investigation committee was having several secret meetings. I feel the response has been unthinkable for a democratic nation”, Dr Minoru Kamata from the Japan Chernobyl Foundation says.

ABC Australia

From Japan Safety blog:

First thyroid cancer case in Japan recognized as Fukushima-related & compensated by govt — RT

January 8, 2017

A man who worked at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan during the disastrous 2011 meltdown has had his thyroid cancer recognized as work-related. The case prompted the government to finally determine its position on post-disaster compensation.

The unnamed man, said to be in his 40s, worked at several nuclear power plants between 1992 and 2012 as an employee of Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. He was present at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant during the March 11, 2011 meltdown. Three years after the disaster, he was diagnosed with thyroid gland cancer, which the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare confirmed on Friday as stemming from exposure to radiation.

The man’s body radiation exposure was totaled at 150 millisieverts, almost 140 of which were a result of the accident. Although this is not the first time that health authorities have linked cancer to radiation exposure for workers at the Fukushima plant, it is the first time a patient with thyroid cancer has won the right to work-related compensation.

There have been two cases previously, both of them involving leukemia.

The recent case prompted Japan’s health and labor ministry to release for the first time its overall position on dealing with compensation issues for workers who were at the Fukushima plant at the time and after the accident. Workers who had been exposed to over 100 millisieverts and developed cancer five years or more after exposure were entitled to compensation, the ministry ruled this week. The dose level was not a strict standard but rather a yardstick, the officials added.

As of March, 174 people who worked at the plant had been exposed to over 100 millisieverts worth of radiation, according to a joint study by the UN and the Tokyo Electric Power Company. There is also an estimate that more than 2,000 workers have radiation doses exceeding 100 millisieverts just in their thyroid gland, Japanese newspaper the Asahi Shimbun reported.

The 2011 accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant was the worst of its kind since the infamous 1986 catastrophe in Chernobyl, Ukraine. After the Tohoku earthquake in eastern Japan and the subsequent tsunami, the cooling system of one of the reactors stopped working, causing a meltdown. Nearly half a million people were evacuated and a 20-kilometer exclusion zone was set up.