Day 522 Sorry, you can’t evacuate. Just coexist with the radiation.

From the Asia-Pacific Journal at:

Post-Fukushima Realities and Japan’s Energy Future

An interview with Aileen Mioko Smith

Fresh Currents: Japan’s flow from a nuclear past to a renewable future is an e-book edited by Eric Johnston in cooperation with The Kyoto Journal that considers the possibility of replacing the Faustian bargain of a nuclear-and-fossil-fuel powered Japan with a renewable energy future.

We present Fresh Current’s wide-ranging interview with Aileen Mioko Smith of Kyoto-based Green Action, whose lifetime of activism spans the movement from the early 1970s to achieve justice for the victims of Minamata Disease (mercury poisoning by corporate giant Chisso) to the contemporary movement to end nuclear power, care compassionately for the victims, and transform Japan’s energy profile.

Smith reflects on the extraordinary size and persistence of recent mass protests against nuclear power, the reasons for their vitality, and the role of social media in facilitating spontaneous protest. But she also offers a clear-headed look at what will be required for the movement to achieve its goals, beginning with public education about nuclear power and energy alternatives, and educating the politicians who will make the decisions. But she also notes the powerful financial and institutional obstacles to political change at the center. Her careful comparison of similarities between government obfuscation and resistance to recognizing and acting on the disasters at Minamata and Fukushima is a powerful warning of the difficulties that anti-nuclear forces face.

Nevertheless, as this issue goes to press, it is striking that the ruling Democratic Party, which scorned public opinion in the June restart of the Oi nuclear reactors but now face the likelihood of a fall election, is actively considering running on a platform calling for the closure of all nuclear power plants and investment in green energy, and that significant steps are underway throughout Japan to promote green alternatives.

The entire Fresh Currents e-book is available here.
The article is available here.
Recommended Citation: Aileen Mioko Smith, “Post-Fukushima Realities and Japan’s Energy Future,” The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol 10 Issue 33, No. 2, August 13, 2012.


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Let’s see… tonight’s news summary…

EX-SKF has a couple of entries on the leaking water at reactor #4:

(Photo) Contaminated Water Leak at Reactor 4 Turbine Building at #Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Kanaflex Hoses and Duct Tape

This is a photograph that TEPCO released, showing the location of leak, in Reactor 4 turbine building, of the highly contaminated water from Reactor 3 turbine building basement. For more details of the leak, see my previous post.

Article continues at:

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Fukushima I Nuke Plant: Highly Contaminated Water From Reactor 3 Leaked in Reactor 4 Turbine Building

It’s been about 14 months since the hastily rigged system of transporting and treating the contaminated water and circulating the treated water back into the Reactor Pressure Vessels (1, 2 and 3) to cool the melted fuel somehow. The pipes used were Kanaflex pipes, which TEPCO just started to replace with rigid pipes.

But the company didn’t replace the Kanaflex pipe that goes from the Reactor 3 turbine building basement through the Reactor 4 turbine building first floor in front of the room with electrical power panels on the way to the building that stores the highly contaminated water before the water gets treated by SARRY. That’s what leaked, and the water got inside the electrical power panel room.

The water, coming out of the basement of Reactor 3’s turbine building, has 85,000 becquerels/cubic centimeter of radioactive cesium, as of August 9, 2012 at 3:20PM, according to the company’s handout for the press on August 13, 2012. One order of magnitude more cesium than in the water in the Reactor 4 turbine building basement.

Article continues at:

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Water leak found at Fukushima Daiichi plant

Tokyo Electric Power Company has reported a radioactive water leak at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant’s Number 4 reactor.

The utility says a worker patrolling on Tuesday morning found water one-centimeter deep across a 350-square-meter room on the first floor of the turbine building.

The water apparently comes from a pipe running along a corridor outside the room. The pipe carries contaminated water from the adjacent Number 3 reactor to a storage facility.

Workers later detected radioactive cesium at about 77,000 becquerels per milliliter in the water. TEPCO says there is no evidence the water has escaped into the environment.

Also on Tuesday morning, TEPCO workers found white smoke rising from a pump in a storeroom. The room houses equipment to filter radioactive substances from water. The workers used an extinguisher to put out the fire. The company is investigating the cause.

Aug. 14, 2012 – Updated 09:35 UTC (18:35 JST)

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Bloomberg News

Japan’s Utilities Lose $46 Billion as End of Era Nears: Energy

Japan’s atomic power industry lost a record $46 billion since the Fukushima tsunami and meltdown last year, wiping out seven years of profit. Then came the bad news.

The government is preparing to force regional monopolies to spin off transmission assets from generation, under a July 13 announcement that helped cut 1.3 trillion yen ($17 billion) in market value in three weeks at the nine utilities from Tohoku Electric Power Co. to Kansai Electric Power Co. (9503) The overhaul, designed to spur competition, is the industry’s biggest in post- war Japan.

Article continues at:

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Fukushima put a brake on evacuation due to sudden demographic change

Kahoku News reported that the Fukushima prefecture came up with a new measure to stop the exodus of evacuees: free medical care to those under 18 starting from October this year.

      Fukushima will be the first and only prefecture to offer the service to all children under 18. There are currently 30109 evacuees under 18 years of age. 60% of these are staying outside Fukushima Prefecture.
      An official that was interviewed said that Fukushima Prefecture is facing a crisis because such a large percentage of children are leaving the prefecture.

       Dr. Kikuchi, Director of Fukushima Medical University, says that the Fukushima Daiichi accident caused a sudden demographic change and that Fukushima is now an aged society. Most of the evacuees that returned to the highly contaminated areas are elderly people. Many younger evacuees do not come back, and  that makes it hard to secure the workforce in not only medical fields but also in other industries. This makes it extremely difficult not only to restore and but also to revive the prefecture’s industries.
      Dr. Kikuchi also says in the interview by m3, a website for medical professionals, that people in Fukushima has not been able to accept contamination by radiation in their lives. Some citizens are still angry and demand that the government take action to completely eliminate radiation. However, he says, all we can do is “to coexist with radiation”.

      This is despite of the assurance by Professor Yamashita, M.D. and Fukushima Prefecture risk advisor, that there is no health effect whatsoever by radiation up to 100mSv.
      The public Fukushima Medical University Hospital is in the process of expanding, under a 100 billion yen project, to accomodate 5 new facilities for radiation oncology and molecular sciences. It includes a center for health management of citizens with divisions for thyroid surgery and hematology (for leukemia, lymphoma, etc.) and a clinical trial center.
      Design of new medical center

      Both the hospital expansion itself and the content of divisions shows that Fukushima prefectural authorities understand well the medical challenges ahead of them after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident. This has also been pointed out on the internet by several medical professionals.

(via Safecast listserv)

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Three from ENENEWS at:

NBC: “It’s pretty clear something has gone wrong with the ecosystem” -Japan Researcher

Title: Study: Japan nuclear disaster caused mutated butterflies 
Source: NBC News
Author: Arata Yamamoto
Date: Aug 14, 2012

Researchers in Japan have found signs of mutation in butterflies, signaling one of the first indications of change to the local ecosystem as a result of last year’s nuclear accident in Fukushima, according to one of the first studies on the genetic effects of the incident.


‘Something has gone wrong’

[Joji Otaki from the University of the Ryukyus in Okinawa, who led the research and] has been studying these butterflies for 10 years to analyze the effects of global warming, said that butterflies are the best environmental indicators because they are widely found in almost any environment.

“But since we’ve seen these effects on butterflies, it’s easy to imagine that it would also have affected other species as well. It’s pretty clear that something has gone wrong with the ecosystem,” he said.

However, at the same time, he also warns that because each species’ sensitivity to radiation varies, it was too early to immediately apply these finding to humans.

But what is clear, said Otaki, is that the genetic changes found in these butterflies indicate a disruption in Fukushima’s ecosystem and that more study is needed to learn the full scope of the effects of the radiation released into the environment.

“Effects of low level radiation is genetically transferred through generation, which suggests genetic damage. I think it’s clear that we see the effects passed on through generations,” Otaki added.

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Gundersen: Japan gov’t attempting to cover up health effects — A lot of deformities and cancers will be identified by citizens in next couple of years (AUDIO)

Title: Interview with Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds
Source: SolarIMG
Date: August 12, 2012

At 26:00 in

Gundersen: I think first off, you’re going to see the cancer fatalities growing, and despite the best attempts by the Japanese government to cover this thing up, citizens are going to get the information out, that there is a lot of deformities and a lot of cancers that will  be identified in the next couple of years.

Listen to the audio mp3 of the program at:

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Comparison image shows severe mutation of Japan butterfly’s stump-like wings (PHOTO) — Reporter: “Scary” that humans could be affected by mutations too

Title: Fukushima’s First Mutants Are Malformed Butterflies
Source: The Atlantic Wire
Author: Adam Martin
Date: August 14, 2012

Source: International Science Times



One of the researchers on the study, Joji Otaki, told The Japan Times that “humans are totally different from butterflies and they should be far more resistant,” and the study itself includes a line explaining that “the effects of low-dose radiation exposure on animals, including humans, are still a matter of debate.” But asGizmodo’s Mario Aguilar points out, the much more alarming language comes just prior to that pacifying sentence, as scientists make connections to other radioactive disasters and their links between animal and human mutations:

In the case of the Chernobyl accident, changes in species composition and phenotypic aberration in animal sand an increase in the incidence of thyroid and lymph cancers in humans have been reported. Similarly, an increase in the incidence of cancers has been reported for atomic bomb survivors in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan.

So, yeah, radioactive mutations are in play in the Fukushima fallout, and while they’re affecting butterflies now, that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll stay relegated to the insect world. Scary.

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This is not related to the news from Fukushima, but I thought it was important, especially for someone I know who does research on WWII and its effects in Nagoya. In case you haven’t seen this, Ed, you might want to check out the article and the web site link

Japan’s World War II veterans commit their stories to video for online archive

Juzaburo Goto looks at the JVVAP's video testimonial site in Tokyo on Aug. 13. (Mainichi)
Juzaburo Goto looks at the JVVAP’s video testimonial site in Tokyo on Aug. 13. (Mainichi)

A citizens’ group dedicated to preserving and passing on the stories of Japanese World War II veterans has debuted an online video archive featuring the testimonies of 100 former soldiers, sailors and airmen.

The “Senjo taiken shiryokan denshi-ban” (Archive of battlefield experiences: electronic edition) website operated by the Japan Veterans Video Archive Project (JVVAP) went live on Aug. 15, the 67th anniversary of Japan’s surrender and the end of World War II. One of the 100 veterans featured on the site is retired junior high school teacher Juzaburo Goto, 86, who served in a heavy field artillery unit. Goto, who suffered a stroke in May this year that damaged the vision in his right eye, related his story from his sickbed with his 79-year-old wife Michiko’s help.

Article continues at:



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