11/7/20 The Olympics, Fukushima & The Madness
Panel Discussion November 7, 2020 (Saturday) 7:00 PM
No Nukes Action is hosting an international panel on the proposed 2021 Olympics and the continuing health and nuclear crisis at Fukushima.
Although the Covid-19 pandemic continues unabated in the US and around the world, the Japanese govern- ment and Prime Minister
Suga says that they plan to have the Olympics in 2021 regardless of the conditions.
At the same time, the govenment still has not removed the melted nuclear material from the 3 reactors in Fukushima, and release millions of gallons
of radioactive water in tanks surrounding Fukushima and also still plan to have part of the Olympics in Fukushima.
We will look at the situation and the MADNESS dominating the plan to have the 2021 Olympics in the mid- dle of a world pandemic with the continued dangers in Fukushima.
George Wright, Professor Emeritus
Sarah Yamasaki, Journalist, Tokyo
Eric Sheehan, NOlympics LA
Dr. Nayvin Gordon, People’s Medical Doctor
To join meeting:
NNA The Tokyo Olympics, The People of Japan, Sports & Fukushima
Time: Nov 7, 2020 07:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)
Join Zoom Meeting
For more info:
On The Tenth Year Of Fukushima, The Olympics & The Resignation Of Abe
The Japanese Government Cover-up On “The Tenth Year Of Fukushima”
No Nukes Action Committee
Cancel or proceed? Public statements reignite debate on Tokyo Games
Organizers say another postponement of the 2020 Olympics is not an option
With hundreds of thousands of athletes, coaches, trainers, celebrities, journalists, politicians and spectators expected to descend upon the country, one need only imagine the mayhem a single positive test result — let alone a cluster infection — would cause to recognize the gravity of the task at hand.
With the issues that presaged the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and Paralympics remaining unresolved, and the resulting questions largely unanswered, the possible scenarios for the global sporting event have been reduced to a binary.
Experts and organizers say there are two choices: stay the course and hold the games to give the country’s battered economy a lifeline, or cancel them and avoid exposure to what could still be an ongoing global pandemic.
“Either the games take place or they're canceled,” said Richard “Dick” Pound, the longest serving member of the International Olympic Committee, during a phone interview with The Japan Times.
“COVID-19 is not going to be gone by July 2021,” he went on, adding that postponing again is not an option. “The fact that it’s under full — or virtually full — control in Japan doesn’t answer all the questions.”
Neither option is ideal. But if the games are to be canceled, experts remain divided over how soon the decision needs to be made, not just for the sake of political expediency but to prevent severe damage to the Japanese economy and to give stakeholders a fighting chance to recoup their losses.
On Wednesday, the Tokyo Organising Committee announced that organizers agreed during a meeting in late September to reduce the total budget of ¥1.35 trillion by ¥30 billion — or roughly 2 percent — under a “simplified” plan to hold the games next summer. The tentative plan entails 53 revisions including reduced spectatorship, shortened employment terms for organizing committee staff and fewer decorations at competition venues.
The ¥30 billion reduction, however, is a fraction of the additional cost unleashed by the one-year deferral, which organizers estimate could exceed ¥300 billion and push the total budget past ¥1.6 trillion.
Meanwhile, cash handouts and zero-interest loans issued by the government to individuals and businesses, many of which are still suffering from the economic costs of the lengthy pandemic, have laid a heavy burden on an already slumped economy.
In July, only a quarter of people in Japan were looking forward to the games, according to a Kyodo News poll. More recent surveys show that, despite ballooning costs, wavering public support has since rebounded.
Media and business sponsors, however, are apparently nervous, with reports claiming some have ended their contracts even though renewal negotiations were expected to begin later this month.
“The cost of canceling the games depends on the timing,” said Andrew Zimbalist, an economics professor at Smith College in Massachusetts. “Canceling beyond December could cost more than holding the games and trying to recover the losses.”
The debate resurfaced in early September after organizers and political leaders doubled down with a string of high-profile statements solidifying their commitment to the current plan.
The 2020 games will proceed “with or without COVID-19,” proclaimed International Olympic Committee Vice President John Coates and Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto. Tokyo 2020 President Yoshiro Mori and Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike said the games will be held “no matter what,” while Olympic Minister Seiko Hashimoto said they will happen “at any cost” and then-Prime Minister Shinzo Abe insisted the country will host the event “by all means.”
After he became the country's leader in mid-September, Yoshihide Suga met with Koike to reinforce these sentiments.
Successfully holding the games, they say, would symbolize the resilience of humankind.
“All of them are cheerleaders,” Zimbalist said. “I regard those comments as hortatory — they're meant for public consumption as words of encouragement but they shouldn't be interpreted as actual projections of reality.”
Leading up to the announcement in March that the 2020 Games would be postponed until summer next year, messaging from the same individuals was scattered and officials seemed to avoid breaking the news until the last possible moment.
The sequence of coordinated statements this time, said sports journalist Aaron Bauer, suggests a decision has already been made behind closed doors.
“When you have all the groups in lockstep, that means there's a lot of decisions that have already been taken behind the scenes,” Bauer said. “They still have to figure out how to get athletes from countries that are in hot spots to areas where they can train safely and participate in the Olympics at peak athletic capability.”
The 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games were expected to draw more than 15,000 athletes from over 170 countries to compete over the course of 30 days in 43 venues. As the pandemic continues to upend life in all corners of the globe, it seems impossible to predict how much of that original plan will remain come next summer.
Last month the government put forward virus countermeasures for Olympic and Paralympic athletes before and after they have entered the country.
Athletes competing at next year’s games will be exempted from entry restrictions currently placed on 159 countries but will still have to test negative for COVID-19, and will be asked to monitor their health within the 72 hours before they leave their own country. Upon arrival, they will be tested again and have their movements monitored during their stay.
Officials will most likely announce a similar plan for travelers from abroad in spring.
The chief concern that critics have of hosting the games next year is the self-evident risk of inviting people from all over the world during an ongoing health crisis.
Worldwide, the novel coronavirus has infected 36 million and taken more than a million lives.
While the United States, India and Brazil are suffering the heaviest casualties at present, recent numbers indicate many Western countries are on the precipice of a second wave.
Meanwhile, the situation in Japan is significantly less severe. As of Wednesday, the country has recorded more than 86,000 infections and just over 1,600 deaths.
Other Southeast and East Asian countries and regions — Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong, among others — all saw waves of new infections but more recently seem to be in a lull.
Earlier this month, the World Health Organization announced that, including Japan, 167 countries accounting for about 70 percent of the world population had signed onto a program striving to achieve the fair and equitable distribution of a vaccine.
In September, IOC President Thomas Bach warned that a COVID-19 vaccine won’t act as a “silver bullet.” Indeed, while research in several countries is showing promising signs that a vaccine could be produced early next year, the prospect of eradicating the virus completely remains hypothetical.
The timing and efficacy of a COVID-19 vaccine will largely determine how quickly the world rescues itself from this crisis. However, socioeconomic factors such as the rate of production, price and the willingness of individuals to voluntarily receive the vaccine could create a bottleneck, said Kenji Shibuya, director of the Institute of Public Health at King’s College London.
We may see a vaccine developed by the end of the year, Shibuya said, but the real question is whether it's effective, lasts long enough and not only prevents symptoms but blocks transmission as well.
Even if Japan has subdued the virus by then — an unlikely scenario, experts say — the influx of foreigners from countries that haven’t could trigger another major outbreak. With hundreds of thousands of athletes, coaches, trainers, celebrities, journalists, politicians and spectators expected to descend upon the country, one need only imagine the mayhem a single positive test result — let alone a cluster infection — would cause to recognize the gravity of the task at hand.
“Japan has not suppressed the virus. Infections have been fluctuating but there has been constant community transmission since May,” Shibuya said.
“Japan needs to show that it can contain the virus,” he said. “It hasn't done that yet.”
OLYMPICS/ IOC gets official look at simplification for Tokyo Games In Middle Of a Pandemic
Organizers have said it won’t be until the end of the year, or early in 2021, when detailed steps will be announced about how to hold the Olympics in the midst of a pandemic.
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
October 6, 2020 at 15:40 JST
In this Sept. 24 photo, IOC President Thomas Bach, on the screen, speaks remotely with Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee President Yoshiro Mori, left, and Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike, right, during an on-line meeting focused on how to pull off the delayed Tokyo Games. (AP Photo)
The IOC and local organizers are trying to “simplify” the postponed Tokyo Olympics, promising to save money in what one study says is already the most expensive Summer Olympics on record.
The executive board of the International Olympic Committee is expected to review the proposed cuts on Wednesday. They include about 50 changes to fringe areas that leave the number of athletes--15,400 for the Olympics and Paralympics--and all sports events untouched for next year.
Also largely untouched will be the opening and closing ceremonies, the heavily sponsored 121-day torch relay, and competition areas that will be seen on television broadcasts. This means the so-called field of play, and areas immediately adjacent.
Some of the proposed cuts listed in a detailed document from the organizers include: fewer decorative banners; a 10-15 percent reduction in “stakeholders” delegation sizes; five fewer international interpreters from a staff of 100; fewer shuttle buses; reduction in hospitality areas; suspension in production of mascot costumes; cancellation of official team welcome ceremonies.
Big savings are not easy to find.
Organizers and the IOC say they had already slashed several billion dollars in costs before the Olympics were postponed six months ago because of the COVID-19 pandemic. This included moving events to existing venues rather than building new facilities.
Most of the big-ticket spending had already taken place, such as the $1.43 billion national stadium, and the $520 million swimming venue.
“We have many measures, and sometimes they look small. But when you take them all together it will represent a large result in terms of both simplification and hopefully... produce some significant savings,” Christophe Dubi, the IOC executive director for the Olympic Games, said late last month when the plans were presented in Tokyo.
Dubi said a search for more cuts would continue.
Tokyo and the IOC have not offered an estimate of the savings but estimates in Japan put them at 1-2 percent of official spending of $12.6 billion. However, a government audit last year said the real cost of the Olympics might be twice that much.
All of the costs for putting on the Olympics come largely from public money with the exception of $5.6 billion from a privately financed local operating budget. About 60 percent of the income in this budget--$3.3 billion--comes from payments from 68 domestic sponsors.
Organizing committee CEO Toshiro Muto acknowledged last month for the first time that some sponsors have backed out in the midst of a slumping economy, the pandemic, and uncertainty around the Olympics really happening.
“I can’t say that all contracts have been renewed,” he said.
Any shortfall in this privately funded operating budget will have to be made up from somewhere else. The document handed out last month by organizers showed them considering “measures to increase” donations to make up for lost income.
To keep sponsors on board, the IOC and local organizers have talked confidently in the last several months about the Olympics opening as planned on July 23, 2021.
Yoshiro Mori, the president of the organizing committee, acknowledged last month that some were hoping for more cuts, while others will be satisfied with the modest savings.
“It’s like a glass half-filled, or half empty,” he said. “We wanted to save, but there were so many things that have already been determined.”
Organizers have said it won’t be until the end of the year, or early in 2021, when detailed steps will be announced about how to hold the Olympics in the midst of a pandemic. This will include decisions about attendance by local fans, non-Japanese fans, and rules under which athletes will enter Japan, vaccines, quarantines, and so forth.
Japan has reported about 1,600 deaths from COVID-19 and has had strict entry rules in place for citizens from 159 countries.
Tritium is what makes nuclear reactors so dangerous, not only in Fukushima but also in S. Korea
Posted on : Oct.27,2020 17:19 KST Modified on : Oct.27,2020 17:19 KST
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It’s foolish to view Japanese reactors in terms of safety and Korean reactors in terms of economic viability
Image provided by Jaewoogy.com
Tritium, or hydrogen-3, is identified by the scientific symbol 3H or T. As an isotype of hydrogen, the lightest of all elements, tritium contains two neutrons, whereas ordinary hydrogen (known as protium, identified by the symbol H) contains none. That makes tritium unstable and, as a result, radioactive.
Tritium exists in the natural world, but only in negligible amounts. It’s typically produced during the fission process inside nuclear reactors. Tritium is part of the coolant that lowers the temperature in the reactor core, which is heated by fission.
Tritium is regarded as a low-risk radioactive substance, causing less harm than other types of radiation. For one thing, the radiation emitted by tritium is so weak that it can’t penetrate the outer layer of the skin. And even when it is absorbed by the body, its biological half-life — the time required for half the substance to leave the body — is only 12 days.
But such safety observations only apply to a single dose of radiation, such as an X-ray, and the actual risk depends on the intensity of exposure. That has led various countries to develop strict safety standards for the substance. The European Committee on Radiation Risk warns that internal radiation exposure can cause mutations that could lead to cancer.
The contaminated water at the Fukushima reactor that the Japanese government seeks to release into the ocean contains tritium at levels that are 10 times higher than levels permitted by the South Korean government. That has terrified people not only in Japan but also in Korea.
The Japanese government says that the contaminated water doesn’t present a problem because it will be decontaminated through Tokyo Electric Power Company’s advanced liquid processing system (ALPS), before release. But the tricky part about releasing the contaminated water is tritium, which can’t be removed by ALPS because of the strong chemical bond it forms with water.
But Fukushima isn’t the only place affected by the risk of tritium. Heavy-water reactors are cooled with heavy water (deuterium oxide, 2H2O) instead of ordinary drinking water, producing a greater amount of tritium. There are four heavy-water reactors at Korea’s Wolsong plant, including Wolsong-1, which has been in the news recently after government auditors questioned a report about its economic viability, the justification given for shutting the reactor down earlier than planned.
Even now, Wolsong-2, Wolsong-3, and Wolsong-4 account for 40% of the tritium released by all of Korea’s nuclear stations. Rates of thyroid cancer among women who live near the Wolsong nuclear plant are 2.5 times higher than in other areas, which some think is linked to tritium contamination. The question of nuclear power safety affects Korea in the same way as it affects Japan. It would be foolish and contradictory to view Japanese nuclear plants through the lens of safety and Korean nuclear plants through the lens of economic viability.
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|The Olympics, Fukushima & The Madness|
|Import into your personal calendar|
|Date||Saturday November 07|
|Time||7:00 PM - 9:00 PM|
|Event Type||Panel Discussion|
|Organizer/Author||No Nukes Action NAA|
|No Nukes Action hosts an international panel on the Olympics, Fukushima and the Madness. The Japanese PM Suga is still saying the Olympics will go ahead regardless of the Covid-19 worldwide pandemic and the continuing threat of the broken and leaking nuclear plants in Fukushima.|
Added to the calendar on Tuesday Oct 27th, 2020 6:50 PM