View other events for the week of 3/11/2017
From the Open-Publishing Calendar
From the Open-Publishing Newswire
|Speak Out and Lessons For Today on the 6th Anniversary of Fukushima nuclear disaster|
|Date||Saturday March 11|
|Time||3:00 PM - 4:30 PM|
|Import this event into your personal calendar.|
275 Battery St./California St.
|Event Type||Press Conference|
|Organizer/Author||No Nukes Action|
Speak Out and Lessons For Today on the 6th Anniversary of Fukushima nuclear disaster
6th Anniversary Of Fukushima-Bay Area Action On March 11 Anniversary
Defend The Children and Families and Stop Restart Of Japanese Nuclear Plants
Saturday March 11, 2017 3:00 PM
275 Battery St./California St.
The crisis and dangers of the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe continues unabated. While the Abe government has said the crisis is over the nuclear plants continues to leak radioactive material. They still have not removed all the melted radioactive material from Fukushima unit 2 where there was estimated radiation of 650 Sieverts per hour according to noise analysis of the images transmitted by the robot before its camera went dark near the melted core.
At the same time the government is demanding that mothers and their families return to Fukushima or their subsidies will be eliminated. These mothers and their children are still being subjected to continued government harassment and mental stress. On March 11, 2017, we need to stand with the mothers and their children and demand that they not be forced by the Abe government to return to Fukushima. They have also launched an international petition to oppose the forced relocation to Fukushima.
The government is also moving ahead with the Olympics despite the dangers of further nuclear releases particularly if there is an earthquake. There are thousands of tanks of contaminated water which likely be ruptured by another major earthquake and release tens of thousands of tons of additional contaminated radioactive water in the Pacific.
The government has also taken over the Tokyo Electric Power Company and is using the Yakuza to recruit contract workers who are mostly day laborers and immigrants and are not trained properly in health and safety protection. Many of these clean-up workers will likely become sick from their jobs and will not be able to get healthcare because they are temporary contract workers who are really working for the government.
The costs have also exploded into billions with no end in sight. Labor railroad groups including Doro Mito are also protesting the restart of railroad lines in contaminated areas.
The government also pushed Toshiba to push ahead with more nuclear plants around the world. Toshiba bought the Westinghouse nuclear division and it has turned into a financial disaster that is close to destroying the entire company. This is the logic of further investment in the nuclear industry and Toshiba is being forced to sell off it's profitable sections of the company.
Also the Abe government is intent on crushing all political opposition with a secrecy law which has already been passed and a "conspiracy law" that would jail journalists and any investigators of the continued nuclear dangers if the government charged they had conspired to release information about the dangers of nuclear plants. The secrecy law is opposed by all journalists in Japan and around the world. This is completely connected with the drive towards war in Asia as the Abe government pushes for a new military base Henoko in Okinawa despite the massive opposition of the people of Okinawa. The base is which is also supported by the US government and US politicians is being paid for by the Japanese people while social services and healthcare face cuts in Japan.
The Trump government is also supportive of Japan openly developing nuclear weapons and escalating the dangers of nuclear war in Asia and around the world. They support the startup of Japanese nuclear plants and politicians of both parties continue to be silent about this danger to Japan, California and the world.
It is time to speak out on the 6th anniversary and unite with the people of Japan who by a vast majority are opposed to nuclear power and want to stop nuclear power and nuclear weapons worldwide.
Please contact No Nukes Action if your organization would like to endorse and speak.
For more information
3/12 Berkeley Forum ----The Commemoration of the 6th Anniversary of Fukushima Meltdown---- "Kindle A Light on The Darkness of Our Time~Militarization, Racism and Nuclear Dangers"
----The Commemoration of the 6th Anniversary of Fukushima Meltdown----
DATE & TIME : Sunday March 12
1:30 pm to 3:30 pm ( Door opens at 1:00 pm )
P L A C E : Berkeley Public Central Library, at Community Room on 3rd floor
2090 Kittredge St ( at Shattuck), Berkeley
SPONCORS : Earth Gathering, No Nukes Action
CO-SPONSOR: miho Kim lee (金美穂) of Eclipse Rising
ADMISSION : Free
For more information
Fukushima's record-high radiation broke a cleaning robot after two hours
Radiation levels are clocking in at 650 Sieverts per hour
by Natt Garun@nattgarun Feb 10, 2017, 4:16pm EST
A robot sent into a Fukushima reactor to inspect and clean the nuclear plant had to abruptly end its mission after excess radiation fried the robot’s camera. It was the first time a robot had entered the Unit 2 reactor since the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, reports the Associated Press.
THE ROBOT ENDURED AN ESTIMATED RADIATION OF 650 SIEVERTS PER HOUR
The cleaning robot was recalled after just two hours into the mission after enduring an estimated radiation of 650 Sieverts per hour according to noise analysis of the images transmitted by the robot before its camera went dark. The robot was designed for up to 1,000 Sieverts of cumulative exposure.
The AP reports that level of radiation would kill a human being instantly. After the cameras started malfunctioning, the team decided to pull the robot back from its mission before losing it entirely. Images captured from the chamber before the robot malfunctioned showed layers of melted paint, cable insulation, and metal grates.
Tokyo Electric Power Company said the robot was deployed to observe and clear the passageway with a high-pressure water nozzle so the team could send another robot to assess the structural damage. Pulling the first robot early means the follow-up machine will have more work to do and less time to do it, since both robots were designed to withstand the same amount of radiation.
The high levels of radiation may seem alarming, but there’s good news: it's contained, and there are no reports of new leaks from the plant. That means that the radiation shouldn't affect nearby townships. Higher levels of radiation could also mean the robot is getting closer to the precise source of radioactivity to properly remove the melted fuel.
'Fukushima catastrophe ongoing: Leakage on a daily basis’
Published time: 7 Feb, 2017 16:56
© Tomohiro Ohsumi / Reuters
There are many shoes still to drop at Fukushima Daiichi, said Kevin Kamps, radioactive waste monitor at Beyond Nuclear. If something goes wrong with the radioactive waste storage pools, there could be a release of high-level radioactivity into the air, he added.
Fukushima nuclear disaster
Radiation at Fukushima’s nuclear power plant is at its highest level since the tsunami-triggered meltdown nearly six years ago. Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) is reporting atmospheric readings inside Daiichi’s reactor No.2 are as high as 530 sieverts an hour, while a human exposed to a single dose of 10 sieverts would die in a couple of weeks.
READ MORE: Record high fatal radiation levels, hole in reactor detected at crippled Fukushima nuclear facility
RT: Can you explain what is likely going on here?
Kevin Kamps: This catastrophe that is ongoing is nearly six years old at this point. The fuel, the melted cores have been missing an action. TEPCO doesn’t know where they are; the Japanese government doesn’t know where they are; nobody knows where they are. What could have happened is these probes, these cameras, these robots, these radiation monitors that are being sent in by TEPCO to try to figure out what is going on, may have encountered the closest they have come yet to these melted cores. They may even have come upon melted fuel that is not under water, and water serves as a radiation shielding. So if this is an open area and there is no water – that could explain.
But what you’ve got are melted reactor cores. Of course, human beings can’t be in operating atomic reactors. They also can’t be in this area where there is a meltdown. There is also imagery – it looks like a melt through of a metal grade. It all stands to reason that the cores melted through the reactor pressure vessels and down into the containment structures right through that metal grating.
It is not unexpected, but we still don’t know where the cores are. There are claims that “it’s all contained, don’t worry about it.” It is indisputable that there is a daily flow of radioactively contaminated groundwater into the ocean. The figures something like 80,000 gallons per day of relatively low-level radioactive waste water. Then you’ve got those storage tanks – we’re talking 800,000 tons of highly radioactive water stored in tanks. Every day they pour a hundred tons of water on each of these three melted down cores. Sometimes they lose those tanks. They leak, they overflow – it is an ongoing catastrophe.
RT: So the contamination, in this case, could leak out, couldn’t it?
KK: There is some leakage on a daily basis. Then they try to capture as much as they can and contain it in the storage tanks, which they sometimes lose, whether during a typhoon or through human error - they have had overflows. So many shoes can still drop at Fukushima Daiichi. One of the ones is the high radioactive waste storage pools that aren’t even inside radiological containment. They don’t have all of that spent nuclear fuel transferred to a safer location in a couple of the units still. If something were to go wrong with that – those would be open air releases of very high-level radioactivity.
The prime minister at the time the catastrophe began, [Naoto] Kan, had a contingency plan to evacuate all of North-East Japan – up to 50 million people. It was predominantly because of those storage pools. We’re still in that predicament- if one of those pools were to go up in flames. As Tokyo plans to host the 2020 Olympics and bring in many millions of extra people into this already densely populated area -it is not a good idea.
RT: Going back to this specific leak: how does this complicate the cleanup efforts there? Is it possible even to get something in there right now to examine what is going on?
KK: State of the art robotic technology – Japan is a leader in robotics – can only last so long, because the electronics get fried by the gamma radiation, and probably neutron radiation that is in there. That is the situation deep in there. They are already saying it will take 40 years to so-called decommission this, but that may be optimistic.
RT: Also in December the government said it is going to take twice as much money – nearly twice as much as they originally thought – to decommission that. Does this make matters ever worse – this leak? Or is this just kind of the situation to expect at this point?
KK: It just shows how dire the situation is. The figures of $150 billion to decommission – I have seen figures from a think tank in Japan sided by Green Peace Japan up to $600 billion. If you do full cost accounting: where is this high-level radioactive waste going to go? It is going to need a deep geological depository. You have to build that and operate it. That costs a hundred billion or more. So when you do full cost accounting, this catastrophe could cost hundreds of billions of dollars to recover from. We’re just in the beginning.
Japan Toshiba pulling out of overseas nuclear reactor construction
THE ASAHI SHIMBUN
January 28, 2017 at 16:30 JST
Toshiba Corp. President Satoshi Tsunakawa replies to a question during a news conference in Tokyo on Jan. 27. (Shogo Koshida)
Toshiba Corp. has decided to withdraw from the business of constructing nuclear reactors overseas after forecasting a huge deficit for its U.S. subsidiary in the business year ending in March.
The Tokyo-based electronics appliance maker said Jan. 27 the decision was taken to prevent business deficits from rising sharply again in the future.
“We focused on the nuclear business among all of our energy businesses, but this will change," Toshiba's president, Satoshi Tsunakawa, said in a news conference on Jan. 27. "This will entail a review of our overseas (nuclear) business.”
Toshiba had failed to grasp huge losses that would result from the purchase of a company that was constructing nuclear reactors by its subsidiary, Westinghouse Electric Corp.
Reflecting on that failure, Toshiba plans to strengthen the supervision of its overseas nuclear business by putting related divisions under the direct control of the president.
In the future, Toshiba plans to concentrate only on designing, manufacturing and supplying nuclear reactors. It will withdraw from the reactor construction business because of the difficulties in forecasting construction costs.
“We will eliminate the risk from the construction business,” Tsunakawa said.
Toshiba has aimed to win orders for 45 or more nuclear reactors overseas by fiscal 2030. However, it now plans to review that goal.
The deficit from the nuclear business in the United States is likely to increase to about 700 billion yen ($6.1 billion) in this business year. Toshiba plans to announce the exact amount on Feb. 14 when it releases its financial statement for the period from April to December 2016.
Radiation level at Fukushima reactor highest since 2011 disaster; grating hole found "If the deposits are confirmed as fuel debris, it would be the first time the utility has found any at the three units that suffered meltdowns."
February 2, 2017 (Mainichi Japan)
TOKYO (Kyodo) -- The radiation level inside the containment vessel of the No. 2 reactor at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex stood at 530 sieverts per hour at a maximum, the highest since the 2011 disaster, the plant operator said Thursday.
Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. also announced that based on image analysis, a hole measuring 2 meters in diameter has been found on a metal grating beneath the pressure vessel inside the containment vessel and a portion of the grating was distorted.
According to TEPCO, the extremely high radiation level was found near the entrance area in the space just below the pressure vessel. The previously highest radiation level monitored in the interior of the reactor was 73 sieverts per hour.
The hole could have been caused by nuclear fuel that penetrated the reactor vessel as it overheated and melted due to the loss of reactor cooling functions in the days after a powerful earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011 hit northeastern Japan.
According to the image analysis, about 1 square meter of the grating was missing.
The plant operator plans to deploy a robot at the bottom of the reactor containment vessel, which houses the reactor pressure vessel, to check the conditions there.
The analysis follows TEPCO's discovery Monday of a black mass deposited on the grating directly beneath the pressure vessel, possibly melted fuel after the unit suffered a meltdown along with two other Fukushima Daiichi reactors.
Images captured using a camera attached to a telescopic arm on Monday also showed part of the grating has gone. A further analysis of the images found a 2-meter hole in an area beyond the missing section on the structure.
If the deposits are confirmed as fuel debris, it would be the first time the utility has found any at the three units that suffered meltdowns.
Following one of the world's worst nuclear disasters since the 1986 Chernobyl catastrophe, the No. 1 to 3 reactors suffered fuel meltdowns.
Portions of the fuel in the reactors are believed to have melted through the pressure vessels and accumulated at the bottom of the containment vessels.
The actual condition of the melted fuel has remained unknown due to high radiation levels.
U.S. deleted danger of Osprey aircraft from Okinawa base report
January 30, 2017 (Mainichi Japan)
A U.S. Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey aircraft. (Mainichi)
The United States had mentioned the danger of MV-22 Osprey military aircraft but deleted reference to the aircraft from a 1996 final report on a bilateral agreement to return the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Okinawa Prefecture to Japan, it has been learned.
A list of potential questions and answers on U.S. bases in Okinawa dated Nov. 27, 1996 -- which U.S. forces compiled and shared with Japan's Defense Agency, the predecessor of the Defense Ministry -- mentions 13 points of contention with Osprey vertical takeoff and landing aircraft. The list is among U.S. documents on which University of the Ryukyus professor Masaaki Gabe of international politics compiled a report as part of the achievements of his research subsidized by the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry.
U.S. forces had reportedly considered deploying Ospreys to Okinawa Prefecture since the 1990s.
The list of potential questions and answers points out that the structure of Ospreys is more complex than existing helicopters, that the development of Ospreys had been nearly suspended after accidents during test flights were reported. The list contains a potential question as to whether Ospreys are safe compared with existing helicopters, but has no recommended answer to this question.
The minutes of Japan-U.S. consultations on Oct. 22 of the same year show that Tokyo asked Washington for advice on how to explain the length of the runway at a substitute facility for Futenma base to the Okinawa Prefectural Government and local residents.
The minutes cite three potential answers -- not to mention Ospreys at all, to specifically mention the aircraft and to construct a runway for existing aircraft and extend the runway after the U.S. government announced that Ospreys would be deployed to the substitute base.
The list recommends that the Defense Agency clearly explain that the sea-based substitute facility is a heliport to which helicopters deployed to Futenma would be relocated without directly mentioning Ospreys.
The draft of the final report by the Special Action Committee on Okinawa (SACO) on the return of the Futenma base to Japan, which was drawn up on Nov. 22, 1996, had stated, "The SBF will be designed to support the basing of helicopter and MV-22 (Osprey) units." However, the SACO final report, which was signed on Dec. 2, 1996, says, "The SBF will be designed to support the basing of helicopter assets, and will also be able to support short-field aircraft operations."
At the time, Ospreys were still being developed. A prototype Osprey crashed in June 1991, and another plunged to the ground after its engine caught fire during a final approach in July 1992, killing seven people including Marines.
Moreover, the minutes of the bilateral consultations also show that the United States underscored the need to show political consideration to Okinawa residents over the deployment of Ospreys to a substitute facility for Futenma base. However, the document shows that Japan replied that necessary conditions for U.S. forces' operations should be prioritized.
University of Nagasaki professor Takao Sebata, who is well versed in U.S. political and diplomatic issues, said, "Japan always tries to not make waves in Japan-U.S. relations. It's an 'America First' policy. Japan has surmised U.S. intentions too much and failed to negotiate with the United States on an equal footing," he said.
Labor Groups Protest Reopening of Rail Lines Near Fukushima
DECEMBER 15, 2016
Labor Groups Protest Reopening of Rail Lines Near Fukushima
by WILLIAM ANDREWS
Labor activists have protested the reopening this month of a railway line in parts of northeast Japan where they believe radiation levels are still dangerous.
The Joban Line runs from Nippori Station in Tokyo to Iwanuma Station, just south of Sendai City. It is one of main connections between northeast Tokyo’s major station of Ueno up along the coast through Chiba, Ibaraki and Miyagi prefectures.
This region was severely damaged by the earthquake and tsunami on March 11th, 2011, while the subsequent Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant disaster meant that large areas through which trains pass were contaminated by radiation.
The Joban Line was directly hit by the massive tsunami wave in 2011, sweeping train carriages away. Though parts of the line were quickly reopened that same year, two sections of the line—between Tatsuta and Odaka stations, and between Soma and Hamayoshida—remained closed, with passengers served by buses for some of the stations.
However, the operator, East Japan Railway Company (JR East), and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, have been keen to reopen the whole line as part of the northeast Japan reconstruction efforts. The Joban Line represents a valuable source of income from both passengers traveling between Sendai and Tokyo as well as freight.
Following decontamination measures, rail services resumed from Iwaki to Tatsuta in late 2014. However, north of Tatsuta lies the areas located within a 20km radius of the devastated Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, which is widely considered a no-go zone.
In July this year, JR East resumed services on the 9.4-kilometer stretch between Odaka and Haranomachi stations as the evacuation order was lifted for the southern part of Minamisoma City, though few residents are willing to return to a community so close to the contaminated area. Media reports suggest only 10-20% are coming back to live in the area.
On December 10th, the previously closed 23.2-kilometer northern section of line between Soma and Hamayoshida reopened for rail services. It means passengers will now be served by a further six stations on the section, though three of these (Shinchi, Yamashita and Sakamoto stations) had to be relocated inland by up to 1.1 kilometers as an anti-tsunami measure. Along with the construction of elevated tracks, the total cost of the latest reopening is said to be 40 billion yen ($350 million).
By spring 2017, the line will be reopened between Namie and Odaka, and then later in the year between Tatsuta and Tomioka. The final section linking Tomioka and Namie, passing through somewhat infamous areas like Futaba, is set to reopen by the end of fiscal 2019 (end of March 2020).
Local tourist bodies are naturally delighted and are pulling out all the stops to attract people. At the newly reopened stations, passengers are able to buy commemorative tickets, take hiking trips, and even try on historical armor.
Lingering Doubts over Radiation
Official announcements say that radiation levels have fallen and clean-up efforts will remove any health risk. Last August, JR East began decontamination tests on parts of the railway between Yonomori and Futaba stations where the radioactivity remains high. It has reported that falling radiation levels can be confirmed at six inspection points along the line, making it confident that decontamination measures are working.
However, the legacy of the Fukushima disaster is a lingering distrust for government and corporate claims about radiation. Activists allege that authorities and JR East are putting profits and the appearance of safety over the genuine health of rail workers and passengers. Just as with the gradual lifting of restrictions on entering the areas around the Joban Line, reopening the railway is, they say, an attempt to encourage evacuated residents to return and tourists to visit even though health risks may remain.
This pressure to reconstruct the region quickly and maintain an impression of safety to Japan and the rest of the world comes from the very top, as demonstrated by the Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s now notorious claim that the Fukushima disaster was “under control” in his speech in September 2013 during the final (and successful) Tokyo bid to win the 2020 Olympic Games. Abe also officiated at the opening of the rebuilt Shinchi Station on December 10th.
Protests Against Reopening
The rank and file rail unions Doro-Mito (National Railway Motive Power Union of Mito) and Doro-Chiba (National Railway Motive Power Union of Chiba) have long protested the ambitions of JR East as part of their campaigns against the operator’s growing policies of rationalization and outsourcing.
On December 10th, around 50 activists from Doro-Mito and associated groups opposed the Joban Line reopening by demonstrating at the Sendai branch of JR East in the morning. A small number of train drivers from the union also went on strike that day. This was coordinated with other protests and actions in Fukushima City and Tokyo at JR sites. At an afternoon protest outside the JR East headquarters in Shinjuku, central Tokyo, around 150 unionists demonstrated.
These are just the most recent examples of actions by this network of medium-sized yet feisty unions, which have waged several strikes and protests since JR East began reopening parts of the track following the 2011 disaster. Unionists have fought to block the reopening in order to protect the well-being of workers as well as the general public.
Other unions and labor groups have apparently remained silent on the Joban Line issue, as have the major anti-nuclear power protest organisations. The mainstream media has also given the Joban Line protests almost no coverage, though the reopening itself was extensively celebrated.
Doro-Mito and Doro-Chiba are the largest groups in a network of militant unions called Doro-Soren, affiliated with the Japan Revolutionary Communist League. Other smaller unions have been established in Tokyo, Fukushima, Niigata and elsewhere. While the overall numbers of unionized workers remain only in the hundreds, organizers hope to create a national union in the future.
The unions have held small strikes on the Joban Line issue alongside their regular strikes and protests against labor conditions, as well as participating in general rallies against the restarting of nuclear power plants in Japan. In this way, the issues of neoliberalism and nuclear power have become aligned in a new and invigorating way.
The Doro-Soren network is also associated with NAZEN, which was formed in August 2011 as a youth group to fight the nuclear industry. The various groups have taken part in annual protests at Fukushima on the anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami, regularly mobilizing over 1,000 demonstrators.
Continuing Anti-nuclear Power Movement
Though it peaked in 2012, the anti-nuclear power movement continues in Japan, fighting against attempts to put the reactors back into operation. There are still weekly vigils every Friday night outside the prime minister’s official residence as well as intense protests where the reactors are located.
Until the Fukushima disaster, the anti-nuclear power movement had been largely localized to certain areas around Japan where facilities were located. It was not widely supported by either far-left groups or mainstream parliamentary leftist parties like the JCP until after the Fukushima disaster. Today it is a diverse movement of political parties, labor unions, small civic groups, individual activists, and regular citizens.
The Liberal Democratic Party, led by Shinzo Abe, returned to power at the end of 2012, and reversed the Democratic Party of Japan’s pledge to phase out nuclear power in the future. Abe’s government has instead pushed to restart reactors and even export nuclear technology to other nations such as Vietnam.
As such, the Joban Line protests represent a notable intersection of the labor movement with the anti-nuclear movement in Japan as well as anti-Abe protest movement. The former has a strong association with the railways and was heavily weakened by the privatization of the National Railways in the 1980s, which resulted in the group of JR operators that exists today.
In the run-up to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, the post-disaster reconstruction efforts will accelerate, driven by the national and regional governments as well as JR East and other corporations. However, vigilant activists will also continue to protest any attempt to sweep the ongoing Fukushima crisis and the nuclear issue under the rug.
William Andrews is a writer and translator in Tokyo, and the author of Dissenting Japan: A History of Japanese Radicalism and Counterculture, from 1945 to Fukushima.
Fukushima: a Lurking Global Catastrophe?
FEBRUARY 20, 2017
Fukushima: a Lurking Global Catastrophe?
by ROBERT HUNZIKER
Year over year, ever since 2011, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear meltdown grows worse and worse, an ugly testimonial to the inherent danger of generating electricity via nuclear fission, which produces isotopes, some of the most deadly poisonous elements on the face of the planet.
Fukushima Diiachi has been, and remains, one of the world’s largest experiments, i.e., what to do when all hell breaks lose aka The China Syndrome. “Scientists still don’t have all the information they need for a cleanup that the government estimates will take four decades and cost ¥8 trillion. It is not yet known if the fuel melted into or through the containment vessel’s concrete floor, and determining the fuel’s radioactivity and location is crucial to inventing the technology to remove the melted fuel,” (Emi Urabe, Fukushima Fuel-Removal Quest Leaves Trail of Dead Robots, The Japan Times, Feb. 17, 2017).
As it happens, “”inventing technology” is experimental stage stuff. Still, there are several knowledgeable sources that believe the corium, or melted core, will never be recovered. Then what?
According to a recent article, “Potential Global Catastrophe of the Reactor No. 2 at Fukushima Daiichi,” d/d Feb. 11, 2017 by Dr. Shuzo Takemoto, professor, Department of Geophysics, Graduate School of Science, Kyoto University: The Fukushima nuclear facility is a global threat on level of a major catastrophe.
Meanwhile, the Abe administration dresses up Fukushima Prefecture for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, necessitating a big fat question: Who in their right mind would hold Olympics in the neighborhood of three out-of-control nuclear meltdowns that could get worse, worse, and still worse? After all, that’s the pattern over the past 5 years; it gets worse and worse. Dismally, nobody can possibly know how much worse by 2020. Not knowing is the main concern about holding Olympics in the backyard of a nuclear disaster zone, especially as nobody knows what’s happening. Nevertheless and resolutely, according to PM Abe and the IOC, the games go on.
Along the way, it’s taken Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) nearly six years to finally get an official reading of radiation levels of the meltdown but in only one unit. Analysis of Unit #2 shows radiation levels off-the-charts at 530 Sieverts, or enough to kill within minutes, illustrative of why it is likely impossible to decommission units 1, 2, and 3. No human can withstand that exposure and given enough time, frizzled robots are as dead as a doornail.
“A short-term, whole-body dose of over 10 sieverts would cause immediate illness and subsequent death within a few weeks, according to the World Nuclear Association” (Emi Urabe, Fukushima Fuel-Removal Quest Leaves Trail of Dead Robots, The Japan Times, Feb. 17, 2017).
Although Fukushima’s similar to Chernobyl Exclusion Zone in some respects, where 1,000 square miles has been permanently sealed off, Fukushima’s different, as the Abe administration is already repopulating portions of Fukushima. If they don’t repopulate, how can the Olympics be held with food served from Fukushima and including events like baseball held in Fukushima Prefecture?
Without question, an old saw – what goes around comes around – rings true when it comes to radiation, and it should admonish (but it doesn’t phase ‘em) strident nuclear proponents, claiming Fukushima is an example of how safe nuclear power is “because there are so few, if any, deaths” (not true). As Chernobyl clearly demonstrates: Over time, radiation cumulates in bodily organs. For a real life example of how radiation devastates human bodies, consider this fact: 453,391 children with bodies ravaged, none born at the time of the Chernobyl meltdown in 1986, today receive special healthcare because of Chernobyl radiation-related medical problems like cancer, digestive, respiratory, musculoskeletal, eye disease, blood disease, congenital malformation, and genetic abnormalities. Their parents were children in the Chernobyl zone in 1986 (Source: Chernobyl’s Legacy: Kids With Bodies Ravaged by Disaster, USA Today, April 17, 2016).
Making matters worse yet, Fukushima Diiachi sets smack dab in the middle of earthquake country, which defines the boundaries of Japan. In that regard, according to Dr. Shuzo Takemoto, professor, Department of Geophysics, Graduate School of Science, Kyoto University: “The problem of Unit 2… If it should encounter a big earth tremor, it will be destroyed and scatter the remaining nuclear fuel and its debris, making the Tokyo metropolitan area uninhabitable. The Tokyo Olympics in 2020 will then be utterly out of the question,” (Shuzo Takemoto, Potential Global Catastrophe of the Reactor No. 2 at Fukushima Daiichi, February 11, 2017).
Accordingly, the greater Tokyo metropolitan area remains threatened for as long as Fukushima Diiachi is out of control, which could be for generations, not years. Not only that, Gee-Whiz, what if the big one hits during the Olympics? After all, earthquakes come unannounced. Regrettably, Japan has had 564 earthquakes the past 365 days. It’s an earthquake-ridden country. Japan sits at the boundary of 4 tectonic plates shot through with faults in zigzag patterns, very lively and of even more concern, the Nankai Trough, the candidate for the big one, sits nearly directly below Tokyo. On a geological time scale, it may be due for action anytime within the next couple of decades. Fukushima Prefecture’s not that far away.
Furthermore, the Fukushima Diiachi nuclear complex is tenuous, at best: “All four buildings were structurally damaged by the original earthquake some five years ago and by the subsequent hydrogen explosions so should there be an earthquake greater than seven on the Richter scale, it is very possible that one or more of these structures could collapse, leading to a massive release of radiation as the building falls on the molten core beneath.” (Helen Caldicott: The Fukushima Nuclear Meltdown Continues Unabated, Independent Australia, February 13, 2017).
Complicating matters further, the nuclear site is located at the base of a mountain range. Almost daily, water flows from the mountain range beneath the nuclear plant, liquefying the ground, a sure-fire setup for cascading buildings when the next big one hits. For over five years now, radioactive water flowing out of the power plant into the Pacific carries isotopes like cesium 134 and cesium 137, strontium 90, tritium, plutonium americium and up to 100 more isotopes, none of which are healthy for marine or human life, quite the opposite in fact as those isotopes slowly cumulate, and similar to the Daleks of Doctor Who fame (BBC science fiction series, 1963-present) “Exterminate! Exterminate! Exterminate!”
Isotopes bio-concentrate up the food chain from algae to crustaceans to small fish to big fish to bigger humans. Resultant cancer cells incubate anytime from two years to old age, leading to death. That’s what cancer does; it kills.
Still, the fact remains nobody really knows for sure how directly Fukushima Diiachi radiation affects marine life, but how could it be anything other than bad? After all, it’s a recognized fact that radiation cumulates over time; it’s tasteless, colorless, and odorless as it cumulates in the body, whether in fish or further up the food chain in humans. It travels!
An example is Cesium 137 one of the most poisonous elements on the planet. One gram of Cesium 137 the size of a dime will poison one square mile of land for hundreds of years. That’s what’s at stake at the world’s most rickety nuclear plant, and nobody can do anything about it. In fact, nobody knows what to do. They really don’t.
When faced with the prospect of not knowing what to do, why not bring on the Olympics? That’s pretty good cover for a messy situation, making it appear to hundreds of thousands of attendees, as well as the world community “all is well.” But, is it? Honestly….
The Fukushima nuclear meltdown presents a special problem for the world community. Who knows what to believe after PM Abe lied to the IOC to get the Olympics; see the following headline from Reuters News: “Abe’s Fukushima ‘Under Control’ Pledge to Secure Olympics Was a Lie: Former PM,” Reuters, Sept. 7, 2016.
“Abe gave the assurances about safety at the Fukushima plant in his September 2013 speech to the International Olympic Committee to allay concerns about awarding the Games to Tokyo. The comment met with considerable criticism at the time… Mr. Abe’s ‘under control remark, that was a lie,’ Koizumi (former PM) now 74 and his unruly mane of hair turned white, told a news conference where he repeated his opposition to nuclear power,” Ibid.
As such, a very big conundrum precedes the 2020 games: How can the world community, as well as Olympians, believe anything the Abe administration says about the safety and integrity of Fukushima?
Still, the world embraces nuclear power more so than ever before as it continues to expand and grow. Sixty reactors are currently under construction in fifteen countries. In all, 160 power reactors are in the planning stage and 300 more have been proposed. Pro-Nuke-Heads claim Fukushima proves how safe nuclear power is because there are so few, if any, deaths, as to be inconsequential. That’s a boldfaced lie.
Here’s one of several independent testimonials on deaths because of Fukushima Diiachi radiation exposure (many, many, many more testimonials are highlighted in prior articles, including USS Ronald Reagan sailors on humanitarian rescue missions at the time): “It’s a real shame that the authorities hide the truth from the whole world, from the UN. We need to admit that actually many people are dying. We are not allowed to say that, but TEPCO employees also are dying. But they keep mum about it,” Katsutaka Idogawa, former mayor of Futaba (Fukushima Prefecture), Fukushima Disaster: Tokyo Hides Truth as Children Die, Become Ill from Radiation – Ex-Mayor, RT News, April 21, 2014.
Robert Hunziker lives in Los Angeles and can be reached at roberthunziker [at] icloud.com
Japanese women march through Tokyo's Ginza district to protest the "secrecy" bill pushed by the Abe government and LDP. This law is now being used to suppress journalists and others who are investigating and exposing the cover-up of the continued dangers of Fukushima and nuclear power.
Japan Railroad Doro-Mito went on strike to protest the start-up of railroad lines in Fukushima despite the continued dangers of high radioactive material in the area and contamination of passengers and their member.