Fukushima Accident Updates (Blog)

Your most reliable source of objective Fukushima News. No "spins"...just summaries of news reports in Japan's Press, which calls the Fukushima accident a nuclear disaster. Posts are made every week or two on Fridays

There are three regularly-updated pages on this site concerning popular Fukushima issues; Fukushima Evacuee Compensation Payments (updated monthly), Fukushima Child Thyroid Cancer s and  Fukushima Radiation on North America’s West Coast? 

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November 15, 2019

  • Niigata Prefecture holds its first nuke evacuation drill in five years. Niigata is home to the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear station, the world’s largest by output (seven units with a nearly 8,000 MWe combined capacity). It is owned by Tepco. The two biggest units (1,325 MWe each) were approved for restart in 2017, but the hold-up is due to the prefecture dragging its heels with its own investigation into the cause(s) of the Fukushima accident, and other related issues. More than 150,000 residents of the two host communities were invited to take part in the drill, but only about 1,100 actually did. https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2019110900365 -- https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20191109_13/
  • A new study shows the concentration of accident-produced Cesium micro particles is extremely low. A 2018 study of Fukushima accident atmospheric releases indicated that most of these radioactive particles were “poorly soluble”, found to be in larger concentrations than expected, some outside the predicted deposition areas, and possibly capable of remaining hypothetically dangerous far into the future. The study said, “…when we first started to find caesium-rich micro-particles in Fukushima soil samples, we thought they would turn out to be relatively rare. Now, using this method, we find there are lots of caesium-rich micro-particles in exclusion zone soils and also in the soils collected from outside of the exclusion zone." The new study, posted last month, says that while the specific activity of the micro-particles might appear large, there are only 22-101 such particles per gram of soil in highest concentrations, and between 1and 8 particles per gram elsewhere. Unlike the 2018 study, the distribution of Cesium appears consistent with the radioactive plume pathways that occurred with the march, 2011accident releases. Also, the micro-particles seem to have formed only on the afternoons of 3/14/11 and 3/15/11, from unit #3’s explosion. Thus, the micro-particle formation and releases were specific in times and source. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/10/191016111125.htm -- https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/05/180524104104.htm
  • Many Fukushima refugee families experienced flooding and other damaging effects caused by Typhoon Hagibis. More than 315 families endured ”double suffering”, in parallel to the Great East Japan Earthquake and Typhoon. The worst seems to have been with Tomioka Town evacuees in Iwaki and Koriyama where 108 refugee homes were damaged by flooding. Another town, Namie, reported 84 cars were damaged by the typhoon.  One person lamented, “How could we suffer again?” Some 10,000 current evacuees reside in Fukushima Prefecture as refugees. https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20191109/p2g/00m/0na/071000c

November 8, 2019

  • Colleague Dr. James Conca says, “Shutting down all of Japan’s nuclear plants after Fukushima was a bad idea!” Dr. Conca points to a recent study claiming that pollution from fossil-fueled replacement power has killed over 20,000… more people than the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami. The study is entitled “Be Cautious with the Precautionary Principle: Evidence from Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Accident”, by Matthew Neidel (Columbia University), Shinsuke Uchida (Nagoya City University), and Marcella Veronesi (University of Verona), which was published by Institute of Labor Economics (IZA). It states, “After the accident, all nuclear power stations ceased operation and nuclear power was replaced by fossil fuels, causing an exogenous increase in electricity prices. This increase led to a reduction in energy consumption, which caused an increase in mortality during very cold temperatures. We estimate that the increase in mortality from higher electricity prices outnumbers the mortality from the accident itself, suggesting the decision to cease nuclear production has contributed to more deaths than the accident itself.” Dr. Conca concludes that the resulting pollution releases from the replacement units has killed more than 20,000 Japanese, while the natural calamity itself killed less than 20,000. Dr. Conca asserts “…that the knee-jerk decision to cease nuclear production was a very bad idea.” He adds that only 15 of the 54 Japanese nukes were actually at risk of catastrophic tsunami and the 39 other units should have remained in operation! Further, the total cost of this bad idea is already several hundred billion dollars, and continues to skyrocket! Dr. Conca cites Columbia Professor David Weinstein, who asserts, “If Japan had decided to keep all [unaffected] nuclear reactors open in 2012 and had met its energy needs by proportionally reducing coal, oil, LNG and other energy sources, I estimate that this policy would have saved 9,493 lives based on the air pollution of that year alone.” (emphasis added) https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2019/10/31/shutting-down-japans-nuclear-plants-after-fukushima-was-a-bad-idea/?fbclid=IwAR0lk6rYmIcvoX4FInR7DKno75aiiP2XJZlR5QNxIDj36NW5LQO93fADG30#2589c18d19a4 -- http://ftp.iza.org/dp12687.pdf (the IZA paper cited by Dr. Conca)
  • The September analysis of 64 fish caught within 20 kilometers of F. Daiichi, and four from within the unit’s breakwall, has been posted. None of the fish outside the port area contained any detectible Cesium-134, the “fingerprint” isotope of the accident releases. Only six contained barely detectible Cs-137, which could be due to nuclear weapon’s tests between 1945 and 1963. Two fish taken from within the port area had detectible Cs-134, but considerably leass than Japan’s national limit. https://www7.tepco.co.jp/wp-content/uploads/handouts_191030_01-e.pdf -- https://www7.tepco.co.jp/wp-content/uploads/handouts_191030_02-e.pdf
  • The European Union will further ease restrictions on Japanese foods next week. Radioactive material inspection certificates will no longer be required for food items produced in Iwate, Tochigi, and Chiba Prefectures… soybeans from Fukushima Prefecture… aquatic products from Miyagi, Ibaraki, and Gunma Prefectures… and, mushroom from Nagano, Ibaraki and Niigata Prefectures. Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga welcomed the decision, saying, “The Japanese government will make a concerted effort toward the full elimination of restrictions on Japanese food imports that have continued since the massive earthquake.” https://www.jaif.or.jp/en/eu-to-ease-restrictions-on-japanese-food-imports-though-chief-cabinet-secretary-suga-asserts-japan-will-work-toward-their-full-elimination/
  • Tokyo’s Reconstruction Agency lifetime will be extended another 10 years. Government authorization was set to expire in 2020, but will now continue to operate through fiscal 2030. The agency heads up recovery efforts for areas affected by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami. https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2019110600999
  • Kawauchi Village appoints a singer, an actor, and a marathon runner as reconstruction “ambassadors”. They are singer Toshimi Watanabe, actor Ryugi Yokota, and marathon runner Yuki Kawauchi as “village hometown ambassadors”. Mayor Yuko Endo said, "Attaining a creative and future-oriented reconstruction is needed. We will work on creating an attractive village." The village was ordered evacuated in 2011, and had portions of the order lifted sequentially, beginning in 2016. http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=977 -- https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20160428/p2a/00m/0na/020000c
  • Dozens of large bags containing contaminated environmental debris are missing! Some 91 of these large bags were swept into rivers by the recent Typhoon Hagibis. At least 25 were found and empty of their contents. Another 36 are missing in entirety. Radiation scans along the rivers have shown nom radioactive increases. Despite no actual impact having occurred, officials promise an investigation and subsequent barrier installation to prevent this from happening again.  https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20191103_02/ -- https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2019110300466

November 1, 2019

  • The NRA will appraise F. Daiichi work management after concluding that two recent incidents are safety violations. The Nuclear Regulation Authority commissioners certified the judgement on Wednesday. One incident was the result of smoke generated by incorrectly connected power lines on undamaged units #5 & #6. The second was the discovery that “water servers” had been located incorrectly in restricted areas where radioactive material was being stored. The investigation will entail reports from NRA inspectors stationed in Fukushima Prefecture and questioning responsible Tepco officials. NRA Chair Toyoshi Fuketa said these errors raise concern as to whether or not Tepco has sufficient staff at F. Daiichi. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20191030_40/
  • Tepco will invest about $2 billion toward the restart of Tokai Unit #2. The unit is owned by Japan Atomic Power, which has insufficient financial base to make all mandated post-Fukushima safety enhancements. The unit was shuttered as part of the nation-wide nuclear moratorium following the 2011 accident at F. Daiichi caused by a massive Tohoku Region tsunami following an unprecedented off-shore earthquake. Tepco executive officer Rikuo Ohtsuki says, “We have reached a conclusion that we can expect the Tokai No. 2 nuclear plant to be a source of power that helps provide inexpensive and stable electricity that emits less carbon dioxide to customers.” In return for the investment, the company will get a significant percentage of the plant’s output. Other investors in the unit are Tohoku, Kansai, Chubu, and Horukiru Electric Companies. Masashi Nagasawa, another Tepco executive, added, “We have made the judgment based on economic rationality.” Japan’s #1 antinuclear group (CNIC in Tokyo) says Tepco will never recoup the investment unless electric rates are increased. http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201910290042.html

October 25, 2019

  • International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach will tell the world that Fukushima foods are safe. He also plans to watch an Olympic softball game in Fukushima Prefecture during next summer’s games. Bach has made the decision despite South Korea’s question of safety relative to Fukushima foods.  http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=974
  • A British university study says a nuclear evacuation is much more dangerous than sheltering in-place. The conclusion was drawn by the United Kingdom’s NREFS Project (Management of Nuclear Risk Issues: Environmental, Financial and Safety). Perhaps the most telling point in the report is, “The research has shown that the risk after a big nuclear accident has happened is smaller than almost everyone has realized, a result that may change fundamentally the way people think of nuclear power. The life expectancy lost through radiation exposure after even the biggest nuclear accident can be kept small, while the downside risk is limited even in the absence of countermeasures.” Also stated is, “Mass population movement has been shown to be a poor response to a big nuclear accident: relocation is an option that governments should use sparingly if at all.” They admit that feeling safe and being safe can be very different, as is the case with nuclear accidents. Regardless, environmental groups should “embrace the holistic use of civilian nuclear energy”. https://medium.com/generation-atomic/are-nuclear-disasters-dangerous-462476b49968

October 18, 2019

The latest Fukushima refugee compensation total for 10/11/2019 has been posted here… https://www.hiroshimasyndrome.com/fukushima-evacuee-compensation-payments.html

  • Typhoon Hagibis ravaged Fukushima Prefecture this past weekend, killing more than 2 dozen residents. However, no foreign residents or tourist were among the dead or missing. Most of the casualties were due to the collapse of a levee on the Abukuma River. It is the sixth-longest river in Japan, flowing 234 kilometers, but is located nowhere near F. Daiichi. Another overflowed river, Adatara, was responsible additional deaths. Prime Minister Abe visited with Fukushima’s Hagibis refugees on Thursday. Across Japan, at least 77 were killed, with 9 still missing, in the catastrophe. More than 100 river levees failed, flooding over 33,000 homes. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/15/world/asia/typhoon-hagibis-fukushima-japan.html -- https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20191016_42/ -- https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20191017_28/  -- https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20191017_33/
  • Several bags of contaminated waste were swept into Fukushima’s Furumichi River from a temporary storage site in Tamura due to the typhoon. Six bags were recovered, with their contents found to be intact. The contained materials were grass and wood debris. Officials said there would have been little or no environmental impact should the bags have become torn or otherwise damaged. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20191013_64/
  • A recent financial scandal with Kansai Electric Company has caused the company to indefinitely delay nuke restarts. Several executives received large monetary gifts from a former deputy mayor of Takahama Town, which hosts Takahama nuclear station. Units 3 & 4 were restarted in 2017. However, the scandal has placed the restarts of units #1 & #2 in jeopardy. KEPCO’s executive vice president Koji Inada said, "We must place priority on regaining the public's confidence. Unless we do so, we can't press forward with (nuclear power) projects. KEPCO has destroyed mutual trust that the prefectural government has nurtured with local residents. We'll be far from having regained trust by the time we receive a report from a third-party panel (set up to probe the payoff scandal). We can regain trust only after we've implemented measures to be recommended by the panel." https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Energy/Nuclear-town-s-lavish-gifts-to-Japan-utility-imperil-plant-restart -- https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20191009/p2a/00m/0na/012000c

October 11, 2019

  • Fukushima Prefecture continues to try and overcome false rumors. On one hand, prefectural tours including open-air meals using local fruits and vegetables are gaining in popularity. Magonote Travel has created the tour program where tables are set up in fields with meals put together by famous chefs. Company president Shonoshin Yamaguchi explains, “I wanted to make tours featuring (local) foods and food producers (because) I've seen farmers struggling after the nuclear accident.” The program began in 2015 and has scheduled 13 tours for this year. Meanwhile, the Fukushima Joban Products Fair in Tokyo has presented products from Fukushima. Two dozen participating restaurants in Tokyo and Yokohama are making original dishes using fish and shellfish from the prefecture to enhance consumer recognition of regional brands and hopefully dispel unfounded fears and rumors. An opening ceremony was held October 1st. Director Takuji Mizuno of the Fukushima Fisheries Office said, “Good, tasty fish are caught in the waters off Fukushima Prefecture, where the Oyashio Current, rich in nutrients, meets the warm Kuroshio Current.” This fair ends October 15th, but a second is planned for November. https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2019100800442 -- https://www.jaif.or.jp/en/fukushima-joban-products-fair-begins-featuring-seafood-sent-directly-to-restaurants-in-tokyo-yokohama-area/
  • Fukushima’s effort to dispel rumors seems to be working, at least in Europe. The European Union says it will ease restrictions on Japanese foods before year’s end. EU Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker told Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe the good news last month. Japan’s foreign  ministry sees this as a good sign, and hopes other countries will follow suit. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20191005_23/
  • Tomioka evacuees share their memories of the 2011 Tsunami and its aftermath. Teacher Yoshiko Aoki tells of the horror caused by the tsunami and the confusion resulting from Tokyo’s order for everyone to evacuate the town. Though not sure why they had to flee, most people felt they would be allowed to return home soon. However, this was not the case. It was some six years before evacuation restrictions were relaxed, but there are locations that are still off-limits. Now, about 1,000 of the evacuees have returned, all committed to rebuilding the town that turned into a disaster area due to neglect. Yoshiko says, “It’s people that built the town. It’s also people who destroyed the town. And, it’s people who can build it back up again. It’s not easy to get back the lost years of trauma. People coming together can begin to heal.” Moe Harada was eight years old when the tsunami changed everything for her. Her family’s houses had been swept away. Now, she wants to tell her story and her personal opinion on the evacuation. Both Yoshiko and Moe believe the mandated evacuation may have been more dangerous than staying home, “It can be safer to stay home after a nuclear accident. But here in Fukushima, people were forced to evacuate instantly.” Both want the world to know the “real Fukushima”. https://thoughtscapism.com/2019/10/10/stories-from-tomioka-town-fukushima/?fbclid=IwAR3sco5nQrJpWJf0IRRj-d8T51M7jYQqrjBojRsOZjXV0JryUzVvphReXVs
  • Japan’s new environment minister visits Fukushima Daiichi, and the popular press ignores it. Shinjiro Koizumi came to F. Daiichi on October 2nd. His placement as the new minister was posted in headlines across Japan because he is the son of popular antinuclear ex-PM, Junichiro Koizumi. On the day of his appointment, Shunjiro pledged himself to seek the end of nuclear generation of electricity in Japan. His visit included riding in the autonomous EV bus around the station, going inside unit b#3 reactor building, viewing area radiation exposure levels, and examining the site’s emergency response headquarters. Tepco posted a video record of the event on October 2nd, but no Japanese news outlets seem to have picked up on it. https://photo.tepco.co.jp/en/date/2019-e/201910-e/191002-01e.html
  • The Nuclear Regulation Authority is having a radiation exposure treatment manual created. The agency says it is doing this because of a growing use of radioactive material in industrial facilities and the medical community. The NRA has asked the National Institutes for Quantum and Radiological Science and Technology to compile the material. The manual will follow guidelines by the International Atomic Energy Agency and contain the latest information about treatment in cases of accidental exposure. It will cover everything from high-level to low-level exposure, as well as the inhalation of radioactive materials. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20191009_12/
  • Japan’s Board of Audit says there are flaws in systems that transmit information during nuclear emergencies. Specifically, visual (closed-circuit television) conference technology intended to connect Tokyo to local governments and power plant staff involved in the emergency. 24 such systems have been installed since the 2011 F. Daiichi accident. However the Board found a lack of capacity in transmission lines for about 10 of the systems that could lead to a communication malfunction. The Board adds that about $1.5 million has been wasted in subsidies for the inadequate systems. The NRA Cabinet Office, charged with overseeing the network, declined comment. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20191008_10/
  • Class action suit leader Ruiko Muto voices her opinion on three Tepco executives in the hope of having the recent court decision reversed, “Grassroots efforts are what pushes forward the social change we need to see… awareness spreads only when each individual starts to think about the issue at hand.” She was staunchly antinuclear for more than two decades before the accident, resulting from what she heard concerning the Chernobyl accident in the Ukraine. When she saw the televised images of explosions at F. Daiichi, “I thought… this is exactly the same as Chernobyl.” She spearheaded the suit against Tepco officials in the hope that “the truth of what happened that day and who should be held accountable would come to light.” Though the court decision was a disappointment to her, she feels the 37 sessions brought evidence to the world that would otherwise have been buried. She also blames Tepco for more than 100 suicides following Tokyo’s order for people to evacuate. https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/10/11/national/tepco-acquittal-fukushima-nuclear-disaster-closure/#.XaCSslVKiUl

October 4, 2019

  • Fukushima fisheries will consider unrestricted resumption of full fishing operations. The Fukushima Prefectural Federation of Fisheries Cooperative Associations will discuss all pertinent issues concerning the possible resumption as a formal policy. The reason is that Tokyo’s Nuclear Emergency Response Headquarters has lifted the bans on the three remaining species on the restricted list. Federation head Tetsu Nozaki said, "We would like to discuss the issues cautiously, listening to the opinions of people including local fishermen." http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=971
  • Fukushima Prefecture will sue voluntary evacuees in Tokyo for unpaid rent. Five households that voluntarily fled from Fukushima to Tokyo in 2011 have lived in housing for government employees without signing a contract or paying rent. The prefectural assembly has approved suing them for more than $56,000 in unpaid rent. Only the few communist Party representatives voted against filing the suit. The evacuees lived rent-free until the subsidy was terminated at the end of March, 2017. One evacuee complains she has spent every day living in fear of having everything taken from her. The evacuees’ lawyers say three households have no means of income and cannot pay their back rent. The lawyers assert, “What the prefecture is going to do is to take housing by force at the evacuation sites. It is extremely unacceptable.” http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201910040050.html
  • Japan publishes comparison of Seoul and Fukushima radiation levels on the internet. The intent is to show that they are essentially the same, implying that South Korea’s concerns are merely unfounded rumors. Relations between the two Asian nations have been tenuous due to WWII labor conditions and other issues. The posting comes out of Japan’s Foreign Ministry. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20190929_12/
  • Unrelenting lawyers appeal the recent acquittal of three Tepco executives charged with criminal negligence concerning the Fukushima accident. Then appeal was filed in Tokyo’s High Court on Monday. The appeal statement read, in part, “The ruling not only evaded judgment on the defendants’ important duties and responsibilities to prevent foreseeable damage (to the nuclear plant), but it even denied the possibility that they could foresee the disaster. To allow the ruling to be finalized at this stage would significantly go against justice,” One of the court appointed lawyers in the case added, “Letting this decision stand is clearly against justice. Taking into consideration the burden of the victims, it is incumbent on us to demand a judgment by a higher court.” A statement posted by a team of resident’s lawyers said, "Many people, especially the residents who were hit by the accident, found the ruling unacceptable." More than 14,000 signatures calling for the appeal were collected, mostly through the internet. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20190930_29/ -- https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/10/01/national/crime-legal/prosecutors-appeal-tepco-acquittal-fukushima-case/#.XZYh9VVKiUk -- http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201910010047.html -- https://japantoday.com/category/crime/prosecutors-appeal-tepco-acquittal-in-fukushima-case
  • A new radiation shielding material is malleable enough to seal streaming openings. The material is made out of radiation-resistant rubber called “sealer soft tungsten rubber”. When heated to 60C in water, it can be shaped to any configuration desired, and it maintains the new form when it cools. It has been developed by the Kindai University Medical Department as a non-toxic alternative to lead and antimony as radiation shields with medical therapies. By placing the shaped material on a patient’s skin, improving electron beam accuracy and greatly reducing undesirable collateral exposure. Other possible non-medical uses seem probable. https://www.jaif.or.jp/en/kindai-university-hayakawa-rubber-develop-easily-molded-radiation-shielding-material/
  • Two restarted nuclear units will be shut down for anti-terrorism upgrades. Sendai #1 & #2 will be shuttered in March and May, respectively, by order of the NRA (Nuclear Regulation Authority) in order to complete remote control facilities. They are expected to restart in late 2021. The facilities were mandated to prevent nefarious control of the systems resulting from terrorist attack. All electric utilities owning nukes are given five years to complete the remote facilities once the nuke units are pass NRC requirements for restart. Kyushu Electric expects the nearly 1,700 MWe of lost capacity to be replaced by gas-fired units. This will increase fuel costs by nearly $40 million per month for each unit shuttered.  https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20191004_01/ -- https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2019/10/e6775b4c60a0-kyushu-electric-to-halt-2-reactors-due-to-delay-in-anti-terrorism-step.html -- https://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0006055603?fp=c1a3d4a82f1d5e05183b49413fd3de13 

September 27, 2019

  • Tepco will revise maintenance planning at F. Daiichi on-site facilities untouched since 2011. Its current long-term planning no-longer accommodates the post-accident situation. The incident that spurred the updating was a 22 kilogram steel plate that fell more than 75 meters from the units #3 & #4 exhaust stack. Though no-one was close enough to be injured, then possibility that someone could have been seriously hurt has taken priority. The plate supposedly fell because of “decrepitude”. The proposed plan will identify all possible locations of a similar incident, as well as all facility devices that may pose a risk of leaking radioactive substances if damaged. The company will attempt to predict if and when repairs may be necessary due to future physical deterioration. http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=970
  • Tepco says they may have to store F. Daiichi wastewater on land adjacent to the existing station boundary. On Thursday, the company agreed with an industry ministry suggestion that Tepco consider storage on vacant space outside the immediate plant boundary. Tepco cautioned, however, that such a move could negatively impact plans for building facilities for temporary storage of used fuel bundles and corium (resolidified fuel debris). The ministry concedes that storing radionuclide-stripped water outside the existing boundary would be socio-politically difficult. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20190926_38/
  • The recent rejection the lawsuit to stop operation of Genkai units #3 & #4 might be appealed, after all. The Fukuoka High Court ruled that the two units hold no specific danger to local residents and evacuation plans met national standards. Presiding Judge Noriyuki Yamanouchi said a large volcanic eruption cannot be assumed if the possibility of such an eruption occurring is deemed low. The court also found that Kyushu Electric Co. estimates on earthquakes and/or terrorist attacks are rational and acceptable in establishing design criteria. When the decision was rendered on Wednesday, there seemed to be no plans on the part of the plaintiffs to appeal. On Thursday, however, plaintiff representative Akira Hasegawa said, “This is very unpleasant. We want to challenge (them), again, in a lawsuit.” Thus, the issue may not yet have reached a culmination. https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/09/25/national/crime-legal/fukuoka-high-court-rejects-residents-appeal-halt-saga-nuclear-reactors/ -- https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2019092501099 -- https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2019/09/f0ecf92cecb0-update2-japan-high-court-rejects-residents-appeal-to-halt-nuclear-reactors.html
  • A Real Clear Science report asks, “Has science let radiation scare us to death?” Radiophobia… fear of ionizing radiation… is said to be the stuff of horror movies, but it is a very real phenomena for many members of the public. Some examples would be comical if they were not real. The problem is the official notion that radiation exposure is a mortal risk, no matter how small the dosage might be, based on the Linear/No Threshold model for exposure assessment. While small doses have never actually been proven harmful, LNT-inspired radiophobia itself can be life-threatening. Expert Dr. Carol Marcus calls LNT “hogwash” and colleague Jeffry Siegel says, "Overestimating radiation risks using the LNT model may be more detrimental than underestimating them. This approach has resulted in unnecessary loss of life due to traumatic forced evacuations, suicides, and unneeded abortions after the Fukushima nuclear accident." The fight over replacing LNT with an evidence-based threshold model is fierce. Even antinuclear stalwarts such as Jan Beyea admit to this, "The debates can be brutal — so much so that, at times, they make the spats between William Jennings Bryan and Clarence Darrow look tame." The vast difference between scientific understanding and public perception has done more harm than good because of the resulting irrational fears. The truth is that too much exposure can be deadly, but small doses appear to be life-enhancing! This apparent dichotomy has been around since the Renaissance when physician Paracelsus said, "Poison is in everything, and no thing is without poison. The dosage makes it either a poison or a remedy." Supporters of LNT say they are playing it safe, but detractors argue that LNT-itself may well be the actual mortal risk. https://www.realclearscience.com/articles/2019/09/14/has_science_let_radiation_scare_us_to_death_111105.html

September 20, 2019

  • The criminal trial of three former Tepco executives ends in a not guilty verdict. The three were charged with professional negligence for not ordering tsunami-defense upgrades that could have prevented the nuke accident. The main issue was whether or not the executives were responsible for the deaths of 44 hospital patients that died in concert with the Tokyo-mandated evacuation. The court found they were not criminally culpable! Presiding judge Kenichi Nagafuchi said foreseeing the earthquake-induced tsunami that caused the accident was impossible! He added that information suggesting a massive tsunami was questionable and should not have compelled the defendants to take extraordinary measures to compensate for the predictions. He further stated, “It would be impossible to operate a nuclear plant if operators were obliged to predict every possibility about a tsunami and take necessary measures." Further, even if the executives did order tsunami-protective upgrades, it’s unlikely that the defensive measures would have been completed before the March 2011 quake and tsunami. The court decision came after Tokyo prosecutors twice decided not to charge the men in previous trials in 2013 and 2015. (This was the top news story with all Japanese news outlets on Thursday. The following is what we feel is representative of the whole.)  https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20190919_42/ -- https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/backstories/685/ -- https://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0006019707 -- https://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0006019707 -- https://japantoday.com/category/national/Court-rules-TEPCO-execs-not-guilty-of-professional-negligence-over-nuclear-crisis -- https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20190919/p2g/00m/0dm/061000c
  • The judges of the (above) court case concluded that “absolute zero risk” is a pipe-dream! Especially when the actual culprit for a mortal calamity is an unprecedented natural disaster! While the judges agreed the nuke accident could have been prevented, they could not rule that criminal negligence was proven, or even possible. This was because the prediction of earthquake possibilities “lacked credibility”. In fact, the prediction assessment stated that such a massive quake and tsunami had merely a 20% probability of actually occurring. Thus, there was insufficient evidence upon which to find the defendants materially culpable.  https://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0006021562 --  https://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0006021752
  • The verdict rendered at the Tepco executive’s criminal case is decried by the plaintiffs. Cries of “No one has taken responsibility” for the deaths of hospital patients and “People who died cannot rest in peace” were common. A general feeling of disbelief permeated the dissenters. Almost immediately after the verdict was announced, saddened plaintiffs displayed papers with the words “All are innocent. It is an unjustified ruling”! Several muttered “This must be a joke”! One woman said, "The three of them might think 'We were right,' but from the victims' points of view, they got away with the damage they caused. “ On the other hand, some of the plaintiffs admitted they expected the not guilty verdict. Fukushima evacuee Saeko Uno said she knew this was coming, but will never bring herself to accept it. She vows to continue the fight against the utility from her current residence in Kyoto. Another of the claimants, Keiko Sasaki, said she knew the court was biased in favor of Tepco and would ignore the fact that the nuke accident should have been prevented. Another, Yoshinobu Ishii of Kauwachi Village, made an insightful statement, "Looking at it in hindsight, they could have taken measures to prevent the accident, but at the time no one expected such a terrible disaster to unfold. But putting the responsibility for it on someone, that kind of talk is pointless.” https://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20190920/p2a/00m/0na/007000c -- http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201909200065.html -- https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20190919_36/
  • Fukushima Prefecture wants to lead the effort in promoting and testing flying cars. Fukushima Gov. Masao Uchibori said this to a Tokyo conference on flying car development organized by the Industry Ministry. The Japanese government wants an operable flying car developed by 2023. It is predicted that the Japanese market could be about $6 billion by 2030, out of a world market of $90 billion. A number of diverse companies need to work together to make this happen, and Fukushima wants to be the collaborative focal point. The prefecture already has a state-of-the-art facility for aeronautical testing, making it a prime location effort. http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=969
  • Fukushima Prefecture is prepared to review estimates of possible damage due to future severe earthquakes. The three-year study will begin sometime this fiscal year, which ends in March. The main focus will be on temblors caused by offshore subduction zones, but will also look at two possible locations of inland-based quakes. The study is intended to estimate death toll, number of other injuries, building damage leading to collapse, severed lifeline systems, and other catastrophic categories with respect to 59 cities, towns and villages. http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=962
  • Friend and colleague Jim Conca says, “It’s really OK if Japan dumps radioactive water into the ocean.” His provocative notion was inspired by last week’s statement by former Environment Minister Yoshiaki Harada, who said release to the open sea is the only real option for disposal of the ever-increasing volume of F. Daiichi’s treated wastewater. Conca writes, “The funny thing is that putting this water in the ocean is actually the best way to handle it. And that’s because it’s contaminated mainly with tritium, the least radioactive, and least harmful, of all radioactive elements.” He feels that Greenpeace’s objection to the release is ignorance of the harmless nature of Tritium. Dr. Conca points out that Tritium is naturally-occurring and a slow (10-year-long) release of F. Daiichi’s million tons of wastewater will not harm anyone or anything! Claims to the contrary are scientifically unsupportable and “only hypothetical”. He asserts that “no harm has ever come to humans or the environment from tritium, no matter what the concentration or the dose.” The problem preventing the harmless release of the liquids is the false perception of tritium being bad. The reality is that it is harmless! In fact, he says the respective national standards “were just taken out of thin air”. Dr. Conca cites scientific fact upon scientific fact to explain why Tritium is essentially harmless and the controlled dumping of the wastewater to the Pacific is not a risk to anyone or anything. Reading his article is highly recommended. http://ansnuclearcafe.org/2019/09/12/its-really-ok-if-japan-dumps-radioactive-fukushima-water-into-the-ocean/#sthash.H6kEoDrp.LFTbJTmk.dpbs
  • South Korea condemns Japan’s management of F. Daiichi wastewater at the IAEA General Conference in Vienna. South Korea's Vice Minister of Science Technology, Moon Mi-ok, said the issue of contaminated water has not been resolved, “escalating fear and anxiety throughout the world.” She added that if the release of the harmless liquid to the Pacific occurs, it would be “a grave international issue that can affect the whole global marine environment!” However, Japanese ambassador Takeshi Hikihara dismissed the allegation, pointing out that Japan has accepted representative opinions from various international expert organizations and approved of an IAEA team to look at the situation. He called Moon’s comments “unacceptable”, and based on false assumptions. Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga also disputed Moon’s statements, saying, “What she said was not based on facts and scientific grounds. It is extremely regrettable since it can spread baseless negative publicity.” http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201909180083.html -- https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2019091700306 -- https://www.jaif.or.jp/en/at-63rd-iaea-general-conference-japanese-minister-of-state-for-science-and-technology-policy-stresses-need-for-science-based-discussions-on-decommissioning-and-contaminated-water-measures/
  • Former PM, now antinuclear fanatic, Junichiro Koizumi urges his son to wean Japan off of nuclear power generation. He insists that the loss of nuclear power generation can be made up using “natural energy”! In a speech extoling the virtues of his son Shinjiro, who was recently appointed Environment Minister, the elder Koizumi said, “The environment is the most pressing issue. I want him to abandon nuclear power and turn Japan into a nation that can develop on natural energy.” Echoing his father’s position statement, Shinjiro vowed to also reduce Japan’s reliance on coal-fired electrical generation. He stated, "Japan can absolutely make contributions to the world in this field. A future in which people say 'Japan saved the Earth' is possible.”  http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201909160016.html -- https://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2019091301129


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