Fukushima, Japan disaster news update


This music video by Hazardous Punk Architects is called Black Nebula (Tears Of Fukushima) [ORIGINAL PUNK ROCK SONG].

Fukushima return: at nuclear site, how safe is “safe?” — National Geographic Daily News: here.

Abe must act now to seal Fukushima reactors, before it’s too late — Letter to Shinzo Abe in the South China Morning Post: here.

Lessons of Fukushima: Reactor restarts are unwise — The Japan Times: here.

August water leak at No. 1 far more toxic than announced: Tepco — The Japan Times: here.

Gov’t team withholds high radiation data on three Fukushima sites — Mainichi: here.

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Fukushima disaster commemorated in Britain


This video is called Children Of The Tsunami: The Heartbreaking Stories Of Fukushima‘s Survivors.

By Luke James in Britain:

World marks Fukushima anniversary

Tuesday 11th March 2014

Ministers urged to learn the lessons of Japanese nuclear disaster

Anti-nuclear campaigners told Con-Dem ministers yesterday to learn the lessons of the Fukushima disaster “before it’s too late” for Britain.

Activists issued the demand before the third anniversary today of the incident which has left 160,000 Japanese people refugees in their own country.

Tens of thousands of people have rallied in Japan urging their government not to make the same mistakes again.

More than 15,000 people lost their lives in the immediate aftermath of an earthquake and tsunami that swept away homes along Japan’s coast.

And the radiation released by the wrecked Fukushima plant has left the surrounding area empty.

Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament leader Kate Hudson warned a meeting in Parliament yesterday that it presents a “stark lesson” for Britain.

“Just because the UK doesn’t experience earthquakes or tsunamis doesn’t mean we’re safe from the kind of catastrophe which occurred in Japan,” she told the Morning Star before the lobby.

“The Fukushima Daiichi plant suffered three meltdowns ultimately because power was lost to the cooling systems.

“That can happen anywhere and for a multitude of reasons, from a targeted attack, to technical malfunctions, to natural disasters causing power failures and structural damage – as recent flooding in the UK has made all too clear.”

Ms Hudson pointed out that recent flooding and earthquakes were near the proposed site of the new Hinkley C reactor.

She accused government ministers of making nuclear the “foundation” of their energy policy despite the risks and “exorbitant” cost.

“Nuclear power has shown itself to be a dangerous and expensive form of energy – we should learn the lessons of Fukushima before it’s too late.”

But campaigners will continue a week of action this evening with a candle-lit vigil outside the Japanese embassy in London to show solidarity with families still suffering the effects of the disaster.

Japanese Against Nuclear UK spokesman Shigeo Kobayashi said it would also send a message to Japanese PM Shinzo Abe to stop his bid to restart nuclear reactors.

He said: “Quite a majority of Japanese people here are against restarting mothballed nuclear power plants.

“But the Abe government is trying to mix the energy source and open them up again.

“All these nuclear power plants in Japan are coming to the end of their life and any similar nuclear accident would be a complete tragedy – the end of Japan.”

The Ghost cities of Fukushima — 60 Minutes: here.

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Good whale news from Japan


This video is called Humpback Whales – BBC documentary excerpt.

After bad news from Japan about taxpayer-funded killing of whales … and good news about Japanese demonstrating against whaling … now some more good news.

From Wildlife Extra:

Japan saves humpback breeding grounds

March 2014: It’s good news for humpbacks as Japan has designated the Kerama Islands and surrounding waters in Okinawa Prefecture as the country’s 31st national park and the first in three decades. These waters are also famed as a breeding ground for whales, including humpbacks who migrate to the tropical waters for mating between December and April every year.

The designated area includes 30 islets and reefs, and covers 3,520 hectares of dry land and 94,750 hectares of ocean. It lies 35 kilometres west of Okinawa Main Island and is famous for its rich aquatic environment. It is home to 248 species of coral.

A report in the Japan Times says that the ministry will also designate surrounding waters shallower than 30 metres as a marine park and will strictly restrict development within them, such as the extraction of sand. It also plans to build coral restoration facilities to counter the damage done in the past.

Blue whales and many other marine animals will receive important new safeguards by Chile’s declaration of two new marine protected areas (MPAs) along its southern coast: here.

March 2014: The future of Japan’s whaling activities in the Antarctic could be reviewed as the International Court of Justice in The Hague has announced that it will deliver its preliminary judgment in the case between Australia and Japan at the end of the month: here.

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Fukushima news update


This video from Japan about Fukushima says about itself:

March 11, 2013 2 year anniversary of man-made nuclear accident and tsunami

Hiroaki Koide, Master of Science in Nuclear Engineering, Assistant Professor at the Kyoto University Research Institute, Nuclear Waste Management & Safety Expert:

The cesium-137 that was released into the atmosphere by Units 1 through 3 was 168 times that of the Hiroshima bomb, according to the Japanese government report to the IAEA, an international organization which promotes nuclear power.

Very high levels of accumulated radioactive cesium have been detected in the mud of hundreds of reservoirs used to irrigate farmland in Fukushima Prefecture, where agriculture is a key industry: here.

”As if the hazards at Japan’s crippled Fukushima Daichi nuclear plant needed to worsen, more highly radioactive water has leaked in one of the reactors. Wayne looks at growing international unease in the aftermath of the meltdown and the surrounding political winds. Colin follows up with Arnie Gundersen, a former nuclear industry executive and now chief engineer at the Fairewinds organization“: here.

Fukushima disaster, USS Ronald Reagan sailors, and Alaskan ringed seals: here.

As the third anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake approaches, new studies of the ongoing effects of the triple disaster of earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown show that the disaster is far from over: here.

Illegal nuclear dumping in Shiga raises alarms: Culprits not ID’d; 8,700 tons of cesium-tainted chips missing — The Japan Times: here.

U.S. Military personnel sickened after Fukushima face long recovery: here.

Three years after the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the Japanese government is moving to restart the country’s nuclear plants, all of which remain shut down. A draft energy plan released late last month officially designates nuclear power as a long-term base power source, setting the stage for the resumption of nuclear plant operations: here.

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Fukushima radioactive leak again


This video says about itself:

Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant leaks radioactive water; 20 February 2014

New Highly Radioactive Leak At Japan’s Fukushima Plant

Around 100 tonnes of highly radioactive water have leaked from a storage tank.

By Will Morrow:

Japan: New radioactive water leak at Fukushima

24 February 2014

The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) revealed last Thursday that one of the 1,000 makeshift tanks used to hold radioactive water at its Fukushima nuclear plant had leaked more than 100 tonnes of highly contaminated water over the previous day. The leakage—the largest since August 2013—occurs two weeks after revelations that TEPCO deliberately suppressed, for six months, its own findings of extremely high radiation levels in groundwater near the sea.

TEPCO spokesman Masayuki Ono said the company was sorry for “worrying the public with such a leak,” and claimed it was “unlikely” that the radioactive water had reached the ocean, which is just 700 metres away. The water had a radioactivity of 230 million becquerels per litre, 23 million times greater than the legal limit for drinking water.

The company has immediately sought to present the leakage—which occurred because the tank overfilled—as a result of human error. The company claims that valves controlling the flow of water along a pipe that fills the tank were mistakenly left open by an employee. However, TEPCO has admitted that one of the three valves was closed and is investigating why this did not prevent the tank from filling.

The leakage is a direct result of the short-term measures put in place by the company to address previous problems. The radioactive water breached a concrete perimeter around the tank by passing along a rainwater gutter. The gutters were installed in November to prevent rainwater from building up inside the barrier. Heavy rains the previous month flooded the storage area and allowed radioactive water to breach the concrete walls. Ono admitted that “this incident revealed [the gutter’s] weak point. We have to redesign it.”

The March 2011 earthquake and tsunami resulted in a failure of power supplies at the Fukushima plant, a partial meltdown, several hydrogen explosions and damage to the spent fuel rod pool at a fourth reactor. The failure of the reactors’ cooling systems meant that water had to be continuously injected into the cores, producing huge quantities of highly radioactive water. The company is now storing hundreds of thousands of tonnes of contaminated water in more than 1,000 tanks at the plant and the quantity continues to grow.

At every stage, TEPCO has sought to cut costs, creating further dangers. Yoshitatsu Uechi, an auto mechanic at the plant from December 2011 to June 2012, told the Asahi Shimbun in January that duct tape was commonly used to seal holes in storage tanks, and that wire nets rather than reinforcing steel bars were used in the storage tank foundations. Waterproof sheets were placed along the joints of the metal tanks to save on sealing agent. Uechi told the Japanese newspaper: “I couldn’t believe that such slipshod work was being done, even if it was part of stopgap measures.”

No faith can be placed in any of the claims of TEPCO or the government’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) about the extent of water leakage or the amount of radioactive waste that has reached the environment. TEPCO has a long and documented history of cover-ups and falsifying safety reports, with the collusion of the government’s nuclear supervisory organisations.

On February 7, TEPCO released its own findings on radioactivity levels in groundwater in the area around the plant—only 25 meters from the sea. The samples were taken in July and analysed by September 2013. Groundwater passes through the plant due to the natural weather cycle, becoming contaminated in the process. Between 300-400 tonnes of radioactive groundwater passes every day into the ocean.

TEPCO revealed that the groundwater at one of its monitoring wells contained five million becquerels per litre of Strontium-90, which is highly poisonous as it can replace calcium, accumulate in the food chain and build up in the bones of humans. This is more than five times the 900,000 becquerels per litre that the company reported at the time for all isotopes emitting beta radiation, including Strontium-90.

The company has given no explanation for the delay in releasing the data. NRA official Shinji Kinjo told Reuters on February 13: “We did not hear about this figure when they detected it last September. We have been repeatedly pushing TEPCO to release strontium data since November. It should not take them this long to release this information.”

The NRA was set up as a merger of two previous organisations, in a bid to dispel mass opposition to the Fukushima disaster and the collusion of regulatory bodies with giant energy companies such as TEPCO. Despite its history of deception and cost cutting, TEPCO has been left in charge of the massive task of dismantling the Fukushima reactors and cleaning up the site.

The latest storage tank leak is the largest since last August, when it was revealed that approximately 300 tonnes of radioactive water had leaked from a tank. Leaks are occurring regularly, however, and it is unclear how much of the water has already reached the ocean. Also on February 7, TEPCO announced that video footage taken by a robot used to clear debris from the damaged number three reactor showed highly radioactive water—containing large amounts of cesium and cobalt—leaking to the reactor’s drainage ditch.

The Japanese government of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, like its predecessors, is completely beholden to the interests of the big energy corporations. Last month, the government approved—in the face of popular opposition to nuclear power in Japan—TEPCO’s plan to restart its biggest nuclear station, Kashiwazaki Kariwa, this summer.

The government has vested interests in suppressing evidence of the catastrophe caused by the Fukushima disaster. Abe is determined to ensure that Japan maintains its capacity to produce nuclear energy and, if ordered by the government, nuclear weapons. At the same time, Abe has downplayed the threat to the population posed by nuclear leaks at Fukushima as part of his bid for the 2020 Olympic Games.

BBC News – North American scientists track incoming Fukushima plume: here.

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John Pilger on Korean and other wars


This video from South Korea is called Peace activists on Jeju Island rally to protect their village from military base plans.

By John Pilger, from the New Statesman in Britain:

Buried horors and forgotten wars

Thursday 20th February 2014

JOHN PILGER looks back to the Korean war of 1950-53 and how distorted history masks the true nature of a conflict which scars the region to this day

Fifty years ago, EP Thompson‘s The Making of the English Working Class rescued the study of history from the powerful. Kings and queens, landowners, industrialists and imperialists had owned much of public memory.

In 1980 Howard Zinn‘s A People’s History of the United States also demonstrated that the freedoms and rights we enjoy precariously – free expression, free association, the jury system, rights of minorities – were the achievements of ordinary people, not the gift of elites.

Historians, like journalists, play their most honourable role when they myth-bust.

Eduardo Galeano’s Open Veins of Latin America (1971) achieved this for the people of a continent whose historical memory was colonised and mutated by the dominance of the United States.

We need such smokescreen-clearing now more than ever.

The powerful would like us to believe that the likes of Thompson, Zinn and Galeano are no longer necessary – that we live, as Time magazine put it, “in an eternal present” in which reflection is limited to Facebook and historical narrative is the preserve of Hollywood.

This is a confidence trick. In Nineteen Eighty-Four George Orwell wrote: “Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.”

The people of Korea understand this well.

The slaughter on their peninsula following the second world war is known as “the forgotten war,” whose significance for all humanity has long been suppressed in military histories of cold war good versus evil.

I have just read The Korean War: a History by Bruce Cumings (2010), professor of history at the University of Chicago.

I first saw Cumings interviewed in Regis Tremblay’s extraordinary film The Ghosts of Jeju, which documents the 1948 uprising on the southern Korean island of Jeju and the campaign by the present-day islanders to stop the building of a base with US missiles aimed provocatively at China.

Like most Koreans, the farmers and fishing families protested at the senseless division of their nation between north and south in 1945 – a line drawn along the 38th parallel by a US official, Dean Rusk, who had “consulted a map around midnight on the day after we obliterated Nagasaki with an atomic bomb,” as Cumings writes.

The myth of a “good” Korea (the South) and a “bad” Korea (the North) was invented.

In fact, Korea, north and south, has a remarkable people’s history of resistance to feudalism and foreign occupation, notably Japan’s in the 20th century.

When the US defeated Japan in 1945 it occupied Korea and often branded those who had resisted the Japanese as “commies.”

On Jeju, as many as 60,000 people were massacred by militias supported, directed and in some cases commanded by US officers.

This and other unreported atrocities were a “forgotten” prelude to the Korean war (1950-53), in which more people were killed than Japanese died during all of the second world war.

Cumings gives an astonishing tally of the degree of destruction of the cities of the North – Pyongyang 75 per cent, Sariwon 95 per cent, Sinanju 100 per cent.

Great dams in the North were bombed in order to unleash internal tsunamis. “Anti-personnel” weapons, such as napalm, were tested on civilians.

Cumings’s superb investigation helps us understand why today’s North Korea seems so strange, an anachronism sustained by an enduring mentality of siege.

“The unhindered machinery of incendiary bombing was visited on the North for three years,” he writes, “yielding a wasteland and a surviving mole people who had learned to love the shelter of caves, mountains, tunnels and redoubts, a subterranean world that became the basis for reconstructing a country and a memento for building a fierce hatred through the ranks of the population.

“Their truth is not cold, antiquarian, ineffectual knowledge.”

Cumings quotes Virginia Woolf to describe how the trauma of this kind of war “confers memory.”

The guerrilla leader Kim Il Sung had begun fighting the Japanese militarists in 1932.

Every characteristic attached to the regime he founded – “communist, rogue state, evil enemy” – derives from a ruthless, brutal, heroic resistance, first to Japan, then the United States, which threatened to nuke the rubble its bombers had left.

Cumings exposes as propaganda the notion that Kim Il Sung, leader of the “bad” Korea, was a stooge of Moscow.

In contrast, the regime that Washington invented in the South, the “good” Korea, was run largely by those who had collaborated with Japan and the United States.

The Korean war has an unrecognised distinction.

It was in the smouldering ruins of the peninsula that the US turned itself into what Cumings calls “an archipelago of empire.”

When the Soviet Union collapsed in the 1990s, it was as if the whole planet was declared pro-US – or else.

But there is China now.

The base being built on Jeju Island will face the Chinese metropolis of Shanghai, less than 300 miles away, and the industrial heartland of the only country whose economic power is likely to surpass that of the US.

“China,” says President Obama in a leaked briefing paper, “is our fast-emerging strategic threat.”

By 2020, almost two-thirds of all US naval forces in the world will be transferred to the Asia-Pacific region. In an arc extending from Australia to Japan and beyond, China will be ringed by US missiles and nuclear-weapons-armed aircraft.

Will this threat to all of us be “forgotten” too?

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