Fukushima radiation problems in Japan


This video says about itself:

Radioactive Salmon Discovered in Canada Linked to Fukushima Nuclear Contamination

22 December 2016

A team of research scientists from the University of Victoria in Canada discovered radioactive salmon due to Fukushima nuclear contamination.

Researchers at the Fukushima InFORM project in Canada, led by University of Victoria chemical oceanographer Jay Cullen, said they sampled a sockeye salmon from Okanagan Lake in British Columbia that tested positive for cesium 134.

This finding comes after seaborne cesium 123, which is thought to be an indicator of nuclear contamination from Fukushima, was detected on the West Coast of the United States this month.

It’s the first time Canadian experts confirmed the news that radioactive plume has made its way across the Pacific to America’s West Coast from the demolished Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in eastern Japan.

Cullen with his research team as well as 600 volunteers started their research on the Fukushima nuclear contamination in 2014 and have collected fish and seawater samples.

Cesium 134 is called the “footprint of Fukushima” because of its fast rate of decay. With a half life of only 2.06 years, there are few other places the dangerous and carcinogenic isotope could have originated.

“In 2015, we collected an individual fish that we could detect artificial radioactivity in the fish itself. This contrasts with almost all the other fish we’ve collected on the order of about 400 fish over those three years where we were unable to actually detect any artificial radionuclides in the individuals. In this particular one, we can detect cesium-137 which is artificial, a man made radio nuclide, and so we decided to have a more careful look to see if some of that contamination was related to Fukushima. The way that we do that is to look for cesium-134 and that isotope has a relatively short half life of two years, and if we see cesium-134 in a fish today, we know that it has been affected by Fukushima. When we count for longer, we can see smaller and smaller amounts of radioactivity,” said Jay Cullen, professor of the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences with the University of Victoria.

It is important to note that airborne radioactive fallout from the initial explosion and meltdowns at Fukushima in 2011 reached the USA and Canada within days, and circled the globe falling out wherever the currents and precipitation carried it – mostly to places unknown to this day.

More here.

US sailors who ‘fell sick from Fukushima radiation’ allowed to sue Japan, nuclear plant operator — The Telegraph: here.

From Kyodo news agency in Japan:

Fukushima’s tritiated water to be dumped into sea, Tepco chief says

July 14, 2017

Despite the objections of local fishermen, the tritium-tainted water stored at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant will be dumped into the sea, a top official at Tokyo Electric says.

“The decision has already been made,” Takashi Kawamura, chairman of Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., said in a recent interview with the media. …

As of July 6, about 777,000 tons were stored in about 580 tanks at the Fukushima plant, which is quickly running out of space.

Tepco’s decision has local fishermen worried that their livelihood is at risk because the radioactive material will further mar public perceptions about the safety of their catches.

Kawamura’s remarks are the first by the utility’s management on the sensitive matter. Since the March 2011 meltdowns were brought under control, the Fukushima No. 1 plant has been generating tons of toxic water that has been filling up hundreds of tanks at the tsunami-hit plant.

Kawamura’s comments came at a time when a government panel is still debating how to deal with the tritium issue, including whether to dump it all into sea.

Saying its next move is contingent on the panel’s decision, Kawamura hinted in the interview that Tepco will wait for the government’s decision before actually releasing the tainted water into the sea.

“We cannot keep going if we do not have the support of the state” as well as Fukushima Prefecture and other stakeholders, he said. …

But fishermen who make their livelihoods from sea life near the plant are opposed to the releases because of how the potential ramifications will affect their lives. …

Tachiya, of the cooperative that includes fishermen from the towns of Futaba and Okuma, which host the plant, took a swipe at Tepco’s decision, saying there has been “no explanation whatsoever from Tepco to local residents.”

On March 11, 2011, a tsunami inundated the six-reactor plant, situated 10 meters above sea level, and flooded the power supply, causing a station blackout. The cooling systems of reactors 1, 2 and 3 were thus crippled, leading to core meltdowns that became the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986.

Water is being constantly injected into the leaking reactors to keep the molten fuel cool, creating tons of extremely toxic water 24/7. Although it is filtered through a complex processing system, extracting the tritium is virtually impossible.

Fishermen express fury as Fukushima plant set to release radioactive material into ocean — The Telegraph: here.

” It’ll be a tough journey – previous robots sent in to the ruined nuclear reactor didn’t make it back. … ” View BBC News’ photo essay on Toshiba’s newest swimming robot, a “little sunfish” that is hoped to withstand off-the-charts radiation levels in Fukushima Daiichi’s wrecked containment vessel: here.

Or will this mechanical ‘little sunfish‘ fare as badly as living fish in the Pacific Ocean off Fukushima?

This video says about itself:

Japan’s Homeless Recruited to Clean Up Fukushima Radioactive Hotspots

30 December 2013

It is five o’clock in the morning and close to freezing point in Sendai, 360 kilometres (200 miles) north of Tokyo.

For those living rough, this station is one of the warmest places to sleep, however, their refuge is also a recruiting ground for labour brokers. The men in Sendai Station are potential labourers who can be dispatched to contractors in Japan’s nuclear disaster zone for a bounty of $100 a head.

Shizuya Nishiyama, who is 57, has been homeless for a year and sleeps on a cardboard box, next to a shop window in Sendai station.

Twice Nishiyama says he has been recruited to scrub down radioactive hotpots in Fukushima, 80 kilometres (50 miles) to the south.

“We’re an easy target for recruiters. We turn up here with all our bags, wheeling them around and around the station and we’re easy to spot,” Nishiyama said as the first passengers of the day hurried to their trains.

Nishiyama’s first employer in Sendai offered him $90 a day for his first job clearing tsunami debris unrelated to the Fukushima site. However, he was made to pay as much as $50 a day for food and lodging. He also was not paid on the days he was unable to work. On those days, though, he would still be charged for room and board. He decided he was better off living on the street than going into debt.

“They say to us: ‘Are you looking for work? Are you hungry?’ And if we haven’t eaten anything, they then offer to find us a job,” Nishiyama added.

Almost three years ago, a massive earthquake and tsunami levelled villages across Japan’s northeast coast and set off multiple meltdowns at the Fukushima nuclear plant. Today, the most ambitious radiation clean-up ever attempted is running behind schedule. The effort is being dogged by both a lack of oversight and a shortage of workers, according to a Reuters analysis of contracts and interviews with dozens of those involved.

In Sendai, the largest city on Japan’s tsunami-devastated northeast coast, homeless people like Nishiyama have flocked here in the hope of finding reconstruction work in the disaster zone.

Activists have said that those jobs are increasingly hard to find. Now more than 300 people live rough in Sendai, twice as many as before the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

For companies operating near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, that has presented an opportunity.

“There’s this problem where workers are reaching their radiation limits in Fukushima, and are not allowed to continue working. There’s actually an overall shortage of people available to do those dangerous jobs. So it’s to make up that shortfall that homeless people are now being made to risk their lives,” said Yasuhiro Aoki, a Baptist pastor and head of a support group for Sendai’s homeless.

The shortage of those willing and available to take on dirty and dangerous jobs in Fukushima has not pushed wages higher, workers, lawyers and volunteers said.

Responsibility for monitoring the hiring, safety records and suitability of hundreds of small firms involved in Fukushima’s decontamination rests with the top contractors, including Kajima Corp, Taisei Corp and Shimizu Corp, officials said.

As a practical matter, however, many of the construction companies involved in the clean-up say it is impossible to monitor what is happening on the ground because of the multiple layers of contracts for each job that keep the top contractors removed from those doing the work.

Wage data provided by police in one investigated case showed that after deductions for food and lodging, workers were left with an hourly rate of about $6, just below the minimum wage equal to about $6.50 per hour in Fukushima. Some of the homeless men ended up in debt after fees for food and housing were deducted, police said.

Aoki explained the homeless people’s situation further.

“Without any information about potential dangers, many homeless people are just put into dormitories – and the fees for lodging and food automatically docked from their wages. Then, at the end of the month, they’re left with no pay at all,” Aoki said.

Former wrestling promoter Seiji Sasa, 67 has recruited Sendai’s homeless for more than two decades.

He said he earns about 100 dollars for every introduction, and many of his recent hires are likely to end up in a radioactive workplace but that he didn’t ask questions.

“I don’t ask any questions, that’s not my job. I just find people and send them to work. I send them and get money in exchange. That’s it. I don’t get involved in what happens after that,” Sasa said.

“As a broker, it’s thanks to homeless people that I’ve been able to eat. I introduce them to work, receive money in return, and make my living. If what I did killed homeless people, then I’d be out of a job,” he added.

For Nishiyama, radiation is the last thing on his mind. He just wants to make it through the winter and prepare his cardboard box against the cold of the nights to come.

This Reuters report forgets to mention that recruiting these homeless people as nuclear radiation cannon fodder is done by Yakuza gangsters. This other Reuters report does mention that.

From Kyodo news agency in Japan:

Radiation levels exceeding state-set limit found on grounds of five Chiba schools

Jun 13, 2017

Radiation levels exceeding the government-set safety limit of 0.23 microsieverts per hour have been detected on the grounds of five schools in the city of Kashiwa, Chiba Prefecture, the prefectural board of education said Monday.

Between late April and mid-May, the board officials detected radiation levels of up to 0.72 microsieverts per hour in certain areas of the schools, including Kashiwa High School and Kashiwa Chuo High School. The areas — including soil near a school swimming pool and drainage gutters — are not frequented by students, but the board closed them off and will work to quickly decontaminate them, the officials said.

Kashiwa has been one of the areas with high radiation readings since the 2011 nuclear disaster at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s Fukushima No. 1 power plant.

According to NHK, the board of education had been checking the soil on the school premises in Kashiwa after radiation levels beyond the state limit were detected in shrubbery near the city’s public gymnasium. The board will announce the results of radiation tests at other schools in the prefecture around the end of July, NHK reported.

Radioactively-hot particles detected in dusts and soils from Northern Japan by combination of gamma spectrometry, autoradiography, and SEM/EDS analysis and implications in radiation risk assessment — Marco Kaltofen, Arnie Gundersen, ScienceDirect: here.

Radioactive hot particles still afloat throughout Japan six years after Fukushima meltdowns — BuzzFlash: here.

Increases in perinatal mortality in prefectures contaminated by the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident in Japan — U.S. National Library of Medicine: here.

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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.

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

Hisako SAKIYAMA, M.D.

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.

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.