New Fukushima disaster discovery


This video from Canada says about itself:

Fukushima Fallout: Cesium-137 in Fish

13 October 2015

Based on research by Alex Roslin that was published in the Georgia Straight, Dr. Edwards describes the measured levels of cesium-137 in fish from the Fukushima Daiichi triple meltdown.

From SimplyInfo:

New Meltdown Byproduct Found Far From Fukushima Daiichi

February 4th, 2016

Another type of material has been found by researchers that is tied to the meltdowns at Fukushima Daiichi. We have reported extensively over the years on the finding of “black stuff” around mainland Japan. This is a highly radioactive black sand like material that had gathered in gutters and roads as far away as Tokyo. Analysis of materials of that type has linked them to the meltdowns inside the reactors at Fukushima Daiichi. This new finding is also linked directly to the reactor meltdowns.

From Nature.com about this:

Internal structure of cesium-bearing radioactive microparticles released from Fukushima nuclear power plant

3 February 2016

Abstract

Microparticles containing substantial amounts of radiocesium collected from the ground in Fukushima were investigated mainly by transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and X-ray microanalysis with scanning TEM (STEM). Particles of around 2 μm in diameter are basically silicate glass containing Fe and Zn as transition metals, Cs, Rb and K as alkali ions, and Sn as substantial elements. These elements are homogeneously distributed in the glass except Cs which has a concentration gradient, increasing from center to surface.

Nano-sized crystallites such as copper- zinc- and molybdenum sulfide, and silver telluride were found inside the microparticles, which probably resulted from the segregation of the silicate and sulfide (telluride) during molten-stage. An alkali-depleted layer of ca. 0.2 μm thick exists at the outer side of the particle collected from cedar leaves 8 months after the nuclear accident, suggesting gradual leaching of radiocesium from the microparticles in the natural environment.

Defiant to the end, last of Group of Six anti-nuclear scientists about to retire — The Asahi Shimbun: here.

Group to monitor trial of former Tepco executives to clarify truth about Fukushima disaster — The Asahi Shimbun: here.

Japanese musicians protest against nuclear energy


This video from Japan says about itself:

Iconic signs praising nuclear power taken down in town near Fukushima plant

22 December 2015

FUTABA, FukushimaRemoval of signs dating back around 25 years that praise nuclear energy began here on Dec. 21, with authorities having judged that the signs have overly deteriorated from age.

After taking the signs down, the Futaba Municipal Government intends to preserve them as remembrances of the 2011 nuclear disaster.

Starting at around 10:30 a.m., workers carefully set about removing the two signs while confirming their state of damage. The work is planned to be finished by around early January. The signs will be stored temporarily in a warehouse on the town office premises.

The signs are located in a restricted area that is presently uninhabitable due to radiation danger from the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant disaster. The municipal government had planned to dispose of the signs after taking them down.

One sign, which reads “Nuclear power: Energy for a bright future,” was installed in 1988 along National Route 6 in front of the town gymnasium.

The other, which reads “Nuclear power: A prosperous future and hometown development” was installed in 1991 near the entrance to the town office.

Both signs were set up by the municipal government, which took applications from the public for pro-nuclear slogans in order to push for more nuclear reactors.

Thirty-nine-year-old Yuji Onuma, who thought of the slogan for the sign in front of the gymnasium as a child, however, argued that they should be kept in place as a memorial in order to show future generations the mistakes of the past.

In June of this year, Onuma submitted 6,902 signatures for his cause that had been collected from people including participants at anti-nuclear gatherings to the Futaba government. The municipal government has responded by considering a relocation of the signs to a park being planned by the prefectural government in Futaba and the adjacent town of Namie.

Following the disaster, Onuma, who grew up in Futaba, evacuated to Koga, Ibaraki Prefecture, where he has started a solar power business to help bring about a society free of nuclear power. He showed up to watch the beginning of the removal work on Dec. 21, commenting, “I’m very disappointed” that the signs were not being kept in place. He added, “To make sure we aren’t manipulated by national policy again, I want them to be sure to put the signs on display after taking them down.”

On Dec. 21, Futaba Mayor Shiro Izawa released a comment saying, “We will take down the signs due to their deterioration, but we will preserve them as the town’s valuable property. Once Futaba has recovered, we are thinking of newly restoring and displaying the signs as disaster memorial.”

December 21, 2015 (Mainichi, Japan)

By James McNair:

Book review: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised: Protest Music After Fukushima

January 7, 2016 01:17 PM

In July 2012, famed Japanese musician Ryuichi Sakamoto spoke at a rally in Tokyo’s Yoyogi Park organised by the anti-nuclear organisation Sayonara Genpatsu. When the Academy Award-winning composer expressed his sorrow at the re-opening of Oi Nuclear Power Plant, which had taken place two weeks earlier, his words caught the imagination of his fellow campaigners: “Why is it necessary to expose life to danger, just for the sake of electricity?” he wondered to loud applause.

As Noriko Manabe underlines, Sakamoto obviously wasn’t demonising electricity; rather he was flagging up the dangers of using nuclear fission to produce it in the light of the specific nature of Japan’s infrastructure as exposed at Fukushima. Nonetheless, Japan’s pro-nuclear Twitter users erupted, wondering how Sakamoto’s techno-pop group The Yellow Magic Orchestra would have faired unplugged, and circulating photos of him mid-speech, his microphone and iPhone circled in red.

Soon, national newspaper the Sankei Shimbun, daily circulation 1.6 million, had a pop at Sakamoto, too: “Having become popular by using lots of electricity, you live in a high-end condominium in New York”, it foamed. As with Sakamoto’s Twitter-based critics, the inference was that to use electricity and be anti nuclear-power was inherently hypocritical, inconsistent.

In The Revolution Will Not be Televised, Manabe explores how musicians post-Fukushima have protested against nuclear power despite censorship of their work and against powerful social mores. These include koe o dasanai, which translates as the built-in Japanese reluctance to speak up, and kuki, the prevailing atmosphere of compliance that tends to characterise wider Japanese society.

If the book’s title name-checks the 1970 poem and song by Gil Scott-Heron, it’s also appropriate shorthand for the Japanese media’s general reluctance to report on the activities of the anti-nuclear movement. But as Manabe explains, “the government doesn’t explicitly censor the media. The industry imposes it upon itself in deference to its advertisers, and the nuclear industry is among the biggest.”

Manabe is a professor of music at Princeton University with a doctorate in ethnomusicology and music theory, so naturally this is an academic book. Its musicology-imbued chapter on Japanese protest music at demonstrations won’t be for everyone, but for all its recherché infographics and specialisms, The Revolution Will Not be Televised is clearly and engagingly written.

It’s somewhat strange, the author argues, that the country that suffered the horrific atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki remained so accepting of nuclear power. It was only after March 11, 2011 – when the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami caused a meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant – that public sentiment began to turn and many of the country’s 48 reactors were shut down.

Public opinion polls had reflected a clear surge in anti-nuclear feeling, with about 70 per cent of the population favouring a phase-out of nuclear power. But in August, Japan restarted its reactor at the Sendai Plant in Kyushu, and operators of some 25 other reactors have reportedly applied for restart permits.

Japan is the world’s second-largest market for pop music, and given the genre’s traditional alliance with protest of all kinds, one might expect the country’s anti-nuclear musicians to be highly visible and transparently vocal. But Manabe’s book shows that things aren’t that simple – and for many reasons. For one, the lyrics of all commercial recordings have to be cleared by the Recording Industry Ethics Regulatory Commission, aka Recorin. Established in 1952, Manabe calls it a group mindful of music’s “powerful influence on the psychological state, spirit and behaviour of the nation’s people”.

An even more taxing hurdle, Manabe explains, is the National Association of Commercial Broadcasters, a body that prohibits attempts – or perceived attempts – “to disgrace the authority of the government or its agencies”.

Unsurprisingly, any commercial recordings with an anti-nuclear sentiment have had to be codified to slip through the censor’s net. The concept album 2012, by Osaka’s Acid Black Cherry, for example, is an original fairy tale about the Fukushima accident. Even beyond “official” censorship, artists have sometimes been rapped on the knuckles by their record companies. Manabe records how, back in 1988, Kiyoshiro Imawano, leader of rock band RC Succession, wove some blatantly anti-nuclear lyrics into his versions of Elvis Presley’s Love Me Tender and Eddie Cochran’s Summertime Blues.

When the then-director of Japanese music at Toshiba EMI demanded that Imawano drop the songs from his forthcoming album Covers, Imawano refused. Toshiba EMI pulled the album, and later placed a notice in Japan’s three biggest newspapers stating that the record had been “too wonderful” to release.

Manabe’s book also has a fascinating chapter on how Japanese anti-nuclear music/protest functions in cyberspace. For campaigning musicians both professional and amateur, the internet’s attractions are manifold. The lack of censorship and the anonymity offered are key, but as the author explains, cyberspace also allows protesting musicians to collaborate freely, and to mobilise and sometimes even educate like-minded followers. She also notes that the Web has become “a repository of [protest] music that the recording industry would not normally release”.

It was via YouTube, in April 2011, for example, that pop star Kazuyoshi Saito chose to launch It Was Always A Lie, one of the Japanese anti-nuclear movements key anthems. The song panned the Japanese media’s claims that nuclear power was safe, and when Kazuyoshi sang it online, his face obscured by a cowboy hat and dark glasses, it went viral.

Kazuyoshi’s representatives eventually conceded that he was behind the song, but his record company declined to release the track commercially, arguing that “considerations for related companies”, and “the existence of many different opinions on nuclear power” had to be taken into account.

The Revolution Will Not be Televised also explores anti-nuclear demonstrations at music festivals, and via music-fuelled street protests, and one of the key points Manabe makes is that brushes with the law can be far more damaging and stigmatising for the individual than in the West. Protesters arrested in Japan can be held for up to 23 days while the police decide whether to indict them, and there is no bail. “If you’re held for several days, you’ll lose your job,” notes Hajime Matsumoto, leader of the band Shiroto no Ran.

James McNair writes for Mojo magazine and The Independent.

Pro-nuclear propaganda sign removal in Fukushima


This video says about itself:

Fukushima Exclusion Zone Swallowed By Nature (new photos)

18 October 2015

Never-Before-Seen Images Reveal How The Fukushima Exclusion Zone Was Swallowed By Nature

Polish photographer Arkadiusz Podniesinski travelled to the site of the Fukushima nuclear disaster last month to see the location with his own eyes. When he obtained permits to enter the roughly 20km (12.5 mile) Exclusion Zone, he was confronted with a scene similar to one from a post apocalyptic film. Podniesinski previously photographed the area around the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

“It is not earthquakes or tsunami that are to blame for the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station, but humans,” writes Podniesinski on his website. He undertook the project so that he could draw his “own conclusions without being influenced by any media sensation, government propaganda, or nuclear lobbyists who are trying to play down the effects of the disaster, and pass on the information obtained to as wider a public as possible.”

More info: podniesinski.pl.

Audio by Stefan Kartenberg called Letting It go on CCDigMixter.

Abandoned vehicles are slowly swallowed up by nature on a stretch of road near the power plant

Some of the cars have entirely disappeared in the wild grass

Podniesinski shows a radiation reading of 6.7 uSv/h

A chained-up motorcycle is slowly absorbed into the field

These contaminated televisions were collected and piled up as part of the cleaning efforts

Cobwebs hang above the scattered products in this abandoned supermarket

Another photo from within a supermarket feels eerily similar to those from post-apocalyptic movies

This abandoned computer lab covered in animal droppings is from a village near the plant

A dining table with portable cookers ready to prepare food looks like it was left in haste

These go-karts have had their last race in an entertainment park located within the 12.5mile exclusion zone

Musical instruments including a piano litter the floor of this classroom

The earthquake which started the tsunami damaged buildings as well

These bicycles were left behind when residents fled

Classes were interrupted mid-lesson by the disaster

An empty arcade, now without patrons

This aerial photo taken by a drone shows one of the dump sites that contain thousands of bags of contaminated soil

Bags of radioactive soil are stacked one on top of the other to save space

Landowners have been told that these contaminated bags will be disposed of, but many people remain skeptical

Cows started to get white spots on their skin soon after the accident. One farmer believes this is due to the cows eating contaminated grass
“Nuclear energy is the energy of a bright future” reads the sign

From the Asahi Shimbun daily in Japan:

Removal work starts on ‘bright future’ pro-nuclear sign in evacuated Fukushima town

December 21, 2015

By MASAKAZU HONDA/ Staff Writer

FUTABA, Fukushima Prefecture–Workers removed lettering of a signboard that praises nuclear energy here on Dec. 21, despite opposition from the slogan writer who became an anti-nuclear activist after the Fukushima disaster emptied his hometown.

Two signboards in Futaba, including one that says, “Genshiryoku–Akarui Mirai no Energy” (Nuclear power is the energy of a bright future), became ironic symbols of the disaster at the nearby Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in March 2011. The other sign’s message is: “Genshiryoku–Kyodo no Hatten Yutakana Mirai” (Nuclear power will bring hometown development and an affluent future).

All residents of Futaba, which co-hosts the plant, were ordered to evacuate after the meltdowns.

The letters were removed from one signboard that stands over the town’s main street, which connects National Route No. 6 and JR Futaba Station.

The town assembly decided to remove the signs by the end of March 2016, citing “possible dangers of parts of the signs falling off due to dilapidation.”

However, Yuji Onuma, 39, who wrote the “bright future” slogan when he was a sixth-grader in Futaba, and others asked the town to keep signboards in place “for the sake of passing down the horrors of the nuclear accident and lessons learned from the accident to future generations.”

When the workers were taking down the letters, Onuma, who now lives in Koga, Ibaraki Prefecture, and his supporters held up panels saying, “Does removal mean reconstruction?” and “We cannot obliterate the past.”

The group had submitted to the Futaba government a petition signed by about 6,900 people from the town and elsewhere opposing the removal of the two signs.

Futaba Mayor Shiro Izawa has said the town will keep the signs “in a recoverable condition” at a warehouse, suggesting the possibility that the signs and their pro-nuclear slogans may later go on display at a new facility.

About 3,600 officials and residents have taken part in nuclear disaster drills near Japan’s Sendai Nuclear Power Plant. The plant was the first to be reopened following the 2011 Fukushima disaster, despite warnings over tectonic risks. The drills in Kagoshima Prefecture in southwestern Japan, within 30 km of the power plant, simulated a serious nuclear accident, Kyodo news reported. At least 1,200 residents who were living within 5 km from the Sendai plant were evacuated by buses and other vehicles: here.

Japan to allow removal of ‘designated waste’ label from Fukushima crisis — Chicago Tribune: here.

Behind the scenes: Waste disposal site a dilemma for Fukushima — The Yomiuri Shimbun: here.

Wild swans return to Fukushima, Japan


This video says about itself:

Approximately 250 swans happily chatter away at sunset (though the video makes it look lighter) on the Kitakamikawa (river) in Japan, February 21, 2013. [Northern pintail] Ducks are mixed in.

From the Asahi Shimbun daily in Japan:

Return of swans a welcome sight in Fukushima town emptied by nuclear disaster

December 17, 2015

By YOSHITAKA ITO/ Staff Writer

OKUMA, Fukushima Prefecture–A flock of swans have returned to this coastal Fukushima town to pass the winter, giving hope to residents who remain evacuated from Okuma since the disaster unfurled at the nearby Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in 2011.

At the mouth of the Kumagawa River in Okuma, located just 3 kilometers from the crippled plant, 17 swans have made it their winter haven since late November.

A volunteer patrol group comprising retired Okuma town officials feed the idyllic birds as part of their daily routine in the hopes that their return will herald that of all the approximately 10,000 evacuated residents.

“It is comforting to see these birds returning to this town as if nothing had happened here,” said Tsunemitsu Yokoyama, 63, one of the six members of the group, which calls itself the “old men’s squad.”

Dressed in protective suits, Yokoyama and another member of the group fed rice to the swans on Dec. 12 at the river’s mouth. A number of large concrete blocks from a breakwater that was wrecked by the towering tsunami triggered by the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011, remain scattered about the area.

After the triple meltdowns at the nuclear plant, a large portion of the town, which co-hosts the crippled plant with Futaba, was designated as difficult-to-return zones, forcing all residents to scatter across the country.

“I wish the town could reward these birds with a resident certificate or something because they are eager to live here instead of all of us,” said Yokoyama, the former chief of the town’s disaster recovery section.

According to the photo with the article, the swans are whooper swans; though Bewick’s swans winter in Japan as well.

The man leading the daunting task of dealing with the Fukushima nuclear plant that sank into meltdowns in northeastern Japan warns with surprising candor: Nothing can be promised: here.

Deadly radiation in Fukushima


This music video from Japan says about itself:

“The Scrap” punk band blasts Fukushima aftermath. Thousands still homeless after earthquake and tsunami. Nobutaka Takahashi, lead vocal, “The Scrap”. Wednesday, May 23, 2012.

From the Japan Times:

Deadly 9.4 sieverts detected outside Fukushima reactor 2 containment vessel; checks stop

Oct 30, 2015

Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Thursday that radiation levels of up to 9.4 sieverts per hour have been detected near a reactor containment vessel at the meltdown-hit Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

Sept. 4-25 checks found the extremely high radiation levels in a small building containing a pipe that is connected to the reactor 2 containment vessel at the plant, which was devastated in the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami, Tepco said.

Exposure to such a dosage for some 45 minutes would result in death. Tepco said it expects decontamination work at the site to take at least one month.

Although details surrounding the high radiation levels remain scarce, the highest contamination was detected near the floor of the building, according to the company.

Tepco had planned to begin checking the inside of the containment vessel in August by using a remote-controlled robot, but high radiation levels have stalled the examination.

Extremely high radiation levels and the inability to grasp the details about melted nuclear fuel make it impossible for the utility to chart the course of its planned decommissioning of the reactors at the plant.

Time has come for an ‘honorable retreat’ from Tokyo 2020 [Olympics] over Fukushima — Dr. Brian Victoria, The Japan Times: here.

Cancer and Fukushima: Who to trust? — The Japan Times: here.

JAPAN Nuclear Fuel Ltd announced yesterday that it was postponing the opening of a nuclear fuel reprocessing plant until September 2018. The company cited regulators’ lengthy inspection procedures and the time needed for safety upgrades: here.

Radioactive waste mounts up as residents resist post-Fukushima disposal plans — The Asahi Shimbun: here.

Fukushima confirms 11 new thyroid cancer cases among young people — The Asahi Shimbun: here.

Radiation from Japan nuclear disaster spreads off U.S. shores — Reuters: here.

Dec. 10, 2015 – Updated 02:54 UTC+1. The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant says levels of radioactivity in underground tunnels have sharply risen: here.