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SF Rally-Speak Out- Let's Stop Another Fukushima From Happening Again!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016
3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Event Type:
Press Conference
No Nukes Action Committee
Location Details:
Japanese Consulate
275 Battery St./California St.
San Francisco

10/11 SF Rally-Speak Out- Let's Stop Another Fukushima From Happening Again!
Defend the Children and Families From Fukushima
Tuesday October 11, 2016 3:00 PM
275 Battery St./California St.
San Francisco

Join on October 11, 2016 at 3:00 PM at the San Francisco Japanese Consulate to call for the evacuation of all children and families in Fukushima and the immediate halt of the restarting of Japan's nuclear plants. The Abe government has told the Japanese people and the world including the Olympic Committee that Fukushima has been "decontaminated" and that people can overcome radiation. They are now telling Fukushima refugees that the must return to contaminated Fukushima or there housing benefits will be shut off.
For the children and families this is forcing them to make an impossible situation that might put them in a contaminated environment. The government is telling teachers at schools not to point out hotspots near these schools and there are thousands of bags of contaminated material with no place to go and still sits in Fukushima yet the government says it has been "decontaminated".
The government and the utilities are now pushing to relicense plants that are over 40 years of age. These plants are not dangerous due to age but contain hundreds of thousands of used rods containing dangerous amounts of nuclear waste.
The government also continues to stockpile a large amount of plutonium that also is a threat to health and safety and is connected to the efforts of the Japanese Abe government to remilitarize and possibly build nuclear weapons and they need plutonium to do this.
We cannot afford this continued restarting these nuclear plants and must work to evacuate the families and children from Fukushima.


Speak Out and Rally initiated by
No Nukes Action Committee

Another aging reactor passes safety checks to operate beyond 40 yrs as Abe Government pushes to restart nuclear reactor
October 5, 2016 (Mainichi Japan)

No. 3 unit at Kansai Electric Power Co.'s Mihama plant in Fukui Prefecture (Mainichi)
TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Another aging nuclear reactor in Japan passed a key safety assessment Wednesday as a step toward going back on line, signaling a weakening of the force of a rule introduced after the 2011 Fukushima disaster to limit reactors' operations to 40 years in principle.

• 【Related】Editorial: Japan should phase out aging nuclear reactors

• 【Related】40-year rule for Japan's nuclear reactors sidelined as Mihama unit passes screening

• 【Related】NRA's Takahama reactor approval a blow to 40-year lifespan rule
The No. 3 unit at Kansai Electric Power Co.'s Mihama plant in Fukui Prefecture is the latest reactor seeking to continue in service beyond the 40-year limit to pass the screening, after two such units at the utility's Takahama complex, also in Fukui.

The No. 3 unit went offline in May 2011 for a regular checkup and has not been restarted since due to inspections to meet tougher safety requirements introduced after the Fukushima disaster.

But hurdles remain before the Mihama reactor can restart. It will have to obtain further permission from the Nuclear Regulation Authority on details of equipment design and other issues by the end of November, when it will reach 40 years since entering service.

Missing the deadline would require the utility to scrap the reactor.

Even if the deadline is not missed, resumption of the reactor is not expected before the spring of 2020 to allow time for the operator to finish preparing all the required safety measures, according to Kansai Electric.

Kansai Electric plans to spend about 165 billion yen ($1.6 billion) to upgrade the facilities to meet the new regulations, which reflect the lessons learned from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster.

The 40-year operational limit has been included in the regulations with the aim of encouraging the retirement of aging reactors that could be prone to accidents.

Although operation for an additional 20 years is possible, nuclear regulators initially indicated that it would be extremely difficult to actually get approval for an extension.

Some utilities have decided to scrap their aging reactors due to expensive safety costs. Kansai Electric has also given up restarting the Nos. 1 and 2 reactors of the three-unit Mihama plant.

But the 40-year-old limit has come to look as if it lacks teeth because utilities are still seeking extensions where they see it as economically viable, with nuclear regulators acknowledging that technical issues could be overcome with sufficient investment.

How does Japan justify keeping such a huge stock of plutonium?
Posted on : Sep.22,2016 17:38 KSTModified on : Sep.22,2016 17:38 KST

The Monju fast-breeder reactor, part of the Tsuruga Nuclear Power Plant in Japan
Japan had 47.8 tons of plutonium as of the end of 2015, and this week decided to close the Monju fast-breeder reactor
Japan‘s decision on Sep. 21 to shut down its Monju fast-breeder reactor, which had served as a pretext for holding plutonium, is expected to create more controversy in East Asia, which is already embroiled with conflict because of North Korea’s nuclear program. Another question is how Japan will manage to retain its supply of plutonium after closing the Monju reactor.
According to a document that was made public by the Japanese Cabinet Office in July, Japan held 47.8 tons of plutonium as of the end of 2015. Since 8 kg of plutonium is needed to manufacture a single nuclear warhead, that’s enough plutonium to make 6,000 warheads. Considering that the whole world was horrified to learn that North Korea is extracting plutonium from its 5 megawatt graphite-moderated reactor in Yongbyon, it is difficult to understand this double standard.
Japan’s justification for this has been its plan for a “nuclear fuel cycle” that it has pursued for several decades. Japan’s argument has been that, while it does possess a huge amount of plutonium, its purpose is to peacefully burn it in fast-breeder reactors, not to create nuclear weapons as North Korea is doing.
Responding to criticism from the international community about its plutonium stockpile, Japan has maintained that it will not store plutonium that it does not intend to use. In apparent recognition of the awkwardness of this situation, the Japanese government reconfirmed its plans to continue executing its nuclear fuel cycle plan, even after it shuts down the Monju reactor.
While Japan is not one of the nuclear power states recognized by the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), it is regarded as being capable of making nuclear weapons at any time. Evidence for this argument includes Japan’s huge stockpile of plutonium and its advanced rocket launch capability, including the H-IIA, which boasts a stable launch ratio of more than 95%. Japan has indirectly indicated that it does not intend to give up the plutonium that it has gone to such efforts to make and to store as a safety precaution against the rise of China, the threat of North Korea‘s nuclear weapons and the reckless calls for nuclear armament from the South Korean right wing.
Indeed, discussion inside the Japanese government aimed at finding an alternative to Monju has reached some degree of progress. During a meeting of cabinet members connected with nuclear power that was convened at the Prime Minister’s residence on Sep. 21, the Japanese government decided to create a “fast reactor development committee” led by Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Hiroshige Seko and to confirm plans to develop new fast reactors.
The Yomiuri Shimbun and other Japanese newspapers reported that Japan would deal with this issue by participating in the development of the ASTRID fast reactor, which France hopes to begin operating in 2030. Separately from this, Japan has a “plu-thermal” plan in the works that would involve burning MOX fuel (made from a mixture of plutonium and uranium) in regular nuclear reactors.
The biggest pending question is whether the US will extend its nuclear agreement with Japan when it expires in July 2018. After six years of heated negotiations in the 1980s, Japan was able to secure sweeping prior approval from the US for nuclear activity including the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel.
Japanese newspaper the Mainichi Shimbun voiced concerns that, unless there is progress on the fast reactor development plan or the “plu-thermal” plan, the US will put the brakes on automatic extension of the agreement (which is valid for 30 years). After North Korea‘s third nuclear test in Feb. 2013, the South Korean government also asked the US for the kind of reprocessing authority that Japan has, but this request was ultimately denied. Japan is the only non-nuclear power state to which the US has granted reprocessing authority.
The final variable is the Rokkasho Reprocessing Plant, on which construction is supposed to conclude in the first half of 2019. When operations begin at this facility, it will enable Japan to acquire 8 additional tons of plutonium each year. This would mean the mass production of even more “useless” plutonium in a situation where Japan is already being viewed askance by the international community.
By Gil Yun-hyung, Tokyo correspondent

US expresses deep concern over plutonium reprocessing program in Japan
Posted on : Apr.14,2014 16:28 KSTModified on : Apr.14,2014 16:28 KST

Japan’s Rokkasho Reprocessing Plant, which is scheduled to be completed in October.
Concern expressed over accumulation of spent nuclear fuel with no plan for consumption
By Gil Yun-hyung, Tokyo correspondent
The US is deeply concerned about Japan’s Rokkasho Reprocessing Plant, which extracts plutonium from spent nuclear fuel, reports say. When the facility, which is scheduled to be completed in October, comes online, the US will run out of reasons to reject South Korean demands to reprocess spent fuel in the same way as Japan. Not only that, but increasing supplies of plutonium that lack a clear purpose run counter to the US government’s principle of blocking nuclear proliferation.
As part of a joint investigation with the Center for Public Integrity (CPI), an American non-profit journalistic organization, the Asahi Shimbun reported on Apr. 13 that Thomas M. Countryman, US Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, and Daniel Bruce Poneman, US Deputy Secretary of Energy, expressed their serious concern about the factory in Rokkasho to Tatsujiro Suzuki, vice chairman of the Japan Atomic Energy Commission (JAEC), when he visited the US in Apr. 2013.
The facility, which is located in the village of Rokkasho in Aomori Prefecture at the north end of the main Japanese island of Honshu, will be capable of processing 800 tons of spent nuclear fuel into 8 tons of plutonium per year.
According to the report, Countryman said that operations at the Rokkasho plant could become a major concern, mentioning the Iran nuclear program and its ramifications on US-South Korea nuclear cooperation. “If Japan begins operations at the Rokkasho factory before it brings online the fast breeder reactors that can process this plutonium, these two issues could put the US in an awkward position,” Countryman said.
Poneman expressed the US’s concern about Japan having more stocks of plutonium from reprocessing spent nuclear fuel without a plan for consumption.
The reason the plant is drawing global attention is because bringing the factory online would let Japan increase its supply of plutonium, a fuel that can be used to make nuclear weapons. Japan already has 44.2 tons of plutonium, enough to make several thousand nuclear weapons.
Japan claims that it will use the plutonium for peaceful ends in the fast breeder reactors that it is currently developing. However, these development plans have basically run into a dead end, as can be seen in the continuing failure of test operations at the Monju Nuclear Power Plant, a prototype plant. The same is true of the “pluthermal” plan, which involves mixing plutonium and uranium fuel and using it in standard nuclear reactors.
Despite these circumstances, the administration of Shinzo Abe gave final approval through a decision by the cabinet on Apr. 11 to a basic energy plan that includes instructions to move forward with construction of the Rokkasho processing facility. The plan does give a nod to the US with a section about giving ample consideration to the balance between the recovery and use of plutonium. However, given that Japan currently has 17,315 tons of spent nuclear fuel, twenty years of processing the fuel could give it an additional 160 tons of plutonium.
“I was disappointed that Japan and everything they’ve gone through in the last three years hasn’t fundamentally re-evaluated their need for this material,” said Jon Brook Wolfsthal, current Deputy Director of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies and director of nonproliferation for the National Security Council at the White House from 2009 to 2012. “I think it would be better, personally, if Japan did not have a MOX (mixed oxide fuel) program and operate Rokkasho.”
But there is no chance that Japan would suspend operations at the facility even if the US asked it to, and the US is unable to address the issue outright out of concern that relations between the two countries would deteriorate.
Nevertheless, if Japan’s supply of “suspicious” plutonium continues to grow, this could have a considerable impact on negotiations to extend the US-Japan nuclear treaty, which grants Japan the right to reprocess spent fuel. The treaty is set to expire in July 2018.
Added to the calendar on Sun, Oct 9, 2016 7:42PM
§Children Taking Tests For Radiactive Contamination
by No Nukes Action Committee
Children from Fukushima continue to be contaminated by the Fukushima plant and radiation in the environment. Despite this government is pushing to bring children and families back to Fukushima.
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