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Fukushima Commentary 22... 10/23/15-3-10/16

March 10, 2016

Please excuse the lateness of this posting. The Japanese Press has obsessed on yesterday’s Court Injunction which stopped operation of Takahama units #3&4. It has not only the lead story with most major outlets, and the number of side-bar articles is huge, so there has been little or no Fukushima news. In a few other news outlets, there has been a lot of good stuff specific to Fukushima…some of it really good…which is all-but ignored by Press outlets that fixate on Takahama. As a result, we will break this unusually-long Update into two parts: first will be the important, mostly good news concerning Fukushima, followed by an overview of coverage relative to Takahama.

A. Fukushima and related News…

  • A team of experts from four universities conclude that the Fukushima evacuation was not justified. The team consists of experts from City University in London, Manchester University, the Open University and Warwick University. Team head, Professor Phillip Thomas, said “We judged that no one should have been relocated in Fukushima and it could be argued this was a kneejerk reaction. It did more harm than good. An awful lot of disruption has been caused.” A second finding was that the financial impact of the evacuation was up to 150 times greater than what might be judged as rational. Another says Tokyo failed to consider the physical and psychological effects of their actions, leading to more than 1,000 evacuation-related deaths. Further, the fact that prolonged separation from home and hearth causes a significant fraction of evacuees to never wish to return, was overlooked. Thomas argues that governments should carry out a careful assessment before ordering a prolonged “relocation”. In addition, he would like to see more real-time information available to the public on radiation levels in order to avoid hysteria. Funding for the study came from Britain’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.  

  • Radiation exposures around F. Daiichi have dropped 65%. The Nuclear Regulation Authority routinely monitors radiation within an 80km radius from helicopters. The first such survey was in October, 2011. This was originally used to verify the efficacy of the extent of the evacuation. Areas with readings that extrapolated to 20 millisieverts per year or more, were considered to have warranted evacuation. The investigation has been run annually, ever since. The aerial survey run in October of last year revealed that there has been an average 65% decrease in exposure levels over the past four years. More than 80% of the drop is attributed to the passage of time, since radioactivity decreases as time passes. Professor Yuichi Onda, University of Tsukuba, says other reasons include isotopes sinking into the soil and decontamination efforts.

  • More than half of Naraha’s population is going home. Six months ago the evacuation order for the town was lifted. The latest Reconstruction Agency data shows that 7.6% of the original 7,000 person population have returned home. In addition, another 34.7% say the plan to return after all recovery plans have been realized, and some 8.4% say they will go back before then. Thus, 50.7% now say they have either returned home, or planning to return home, compared to 45.7% in October, 2014.

  • The chance of catching a fish off Fukushima’s coast with above-limit Cesium is almost zero. The finding was published in the journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. The team of researchers was Japanese, headed by Hiroshi Okamura of the Fisheries Research Agency. They found the overall risk of contamination exceeding the standard has steadily dropped since the nuke accident, and is now almost zero percent when marine and freshwater fishes were taken together. The Japanese standard is 100 Becquerels per kilogram. They also found that the probability of catching a marine fish with greater than 20 Bq/kg was also almost zero, but 7.5% for freshwater game species.

  • No radioactive cesium was found in Fukushima meals for the second straight year. The study, conducted by Co-op Fukushima, tested home-cooked meals made with locally-grown products and regular tap water. The meals were prepared by 100 residents of Fukushima Prefecture. Due to these results, the Co-op concluded that the probability of ingesting radioactive cesium in Fukushima meals is “extremely low”. The Agricultural Ministry hopes these results will persuade the 12 nations that have varying sorts of bans on Japanese foods, to reconsider.

  • A cattle ranch has been open inside the F. Daiichi exclusion zone as a “protest”, since the nuke accident. “Ranch Hope” is in Namie, about nine miles from F. Daiichi; well-inside the infamous no-go zone. Owner Masami Yoshizawa has tended his prize beef cattle since the accident, despite pressure from Tokyo to slaughter the animals. He feels his efforts protest the government’s attempts to cover-up the impact of the nuke accident on the surrounding environment, "An effort to eliminate a negative reputation is nothing but a cover-up… We'll stay here at the Ranch of Hope, and keep sending our message." Yoshizawa fled his ranch when Tokyo ordered everyone to evacuate, but returned a few weeks later to find that 200 of the 330 animals in his herd had died, of starvation. He then pledged, "I said I was not going to let any more cows die on my ranch." Tokyo has tried to block feed transports the force the rancher to kill his stock. However, the towns of Namie and Minamisoma, which border the property, have literally looked the other way. His cattle now number the pre-accident level of 330. He and his animals are hale and hearty.  (Comment – Associated Press reporter Mari Yamaguchi tries hard to make the report negative, in keeping with the Press outlet’s historically-antinuclear agenda. But, the facts show that remaining in the exclusion zone - defying government mandates - is not a demonstrable health hazard to anyone or anything.)

  • Still no Fukushima contamination on the North American Pacific coastline. Fukushima InFORM researchers have announced that samples of seawater from the British Columbia coast, mostly taken in October and November, contain no detectible Cs-134; the unmistakable indicator of Fukushima contamination. Meanwhile, off-shore waters indicate a slow, continuous rise in Cs-137, which suggests that the main body of the low concentration Fukushima plume is getting closer to British Columbia.

  • A former Tokyo official “blasts” PM Abe, the NRA and Tepco concerning nuclear safety. Yukio Edano was then-PM Naoto Kan’s Cabinet chief during the Fukushima accident. He is now Secretary General of the deposed Democratic Party of Japan. He says that the nation’s new nuclear safety regulations are not as good as they have been touted, “The government explanation is mistaken. The regulations have not won international recognition as the world’s toughest.” As for PM Abe’s support of nuke restarts, he charges Abe with shirking his responsibility as Prime Minister. Edano says there are no proven emergency evacuation plans, so restarts should not be allowed. In response, current Cabinet Chief Yoshida Suga said that Edano’s criticisms were “way off the mark”. As for Tepco, he argues that the recent discovery of an overlooked meltdown criterion in the company emergency manual is condemnable. Edano asserts that Tepco hid the truth, and the company “doesn’t take responsibility like it should.”

  • Tokyo’s chief nuke watchdog appeases Japan’s large antinuclear demographic. Nuclear Regulation Authority Chair Shunichi Tanaka says nukes passing his agency’s screenings for restart is “not enough” to insure safety. He urges surrounding communities to increase their vigilance and not drop their guard once a nuke resumes operation. Tanaka cautions against Japan’s new, more-stringent regulations promoting a new “safety myth”. He asserts, “If they [nuclear utilities] are to establish a new safety myth, it would be better to cancel nuclear power.” Tanaka also continues to doubt the efficacy of the ice wall barrier being frozen around the four damaged units at F. Daiichi. He believes the wall “will not essentially help reduce risk”. Tanaka makes one positive statement, saying that rural decontamination work has been effective and should allow people to return home.

  • Tokyo wants to make hydrogen fuel by using geothermal and wind power in Fukushima Prefecture. The electricity from the two renewable sources is planned to be used to power large-scale electrolysis of seawater that generates hydrogen. The fuel will be shipped to Tokyo and supply fuel cell vehicles to be used during the 2020 Olympic Games. The government adopted the plan at a meeting of Cabinet officials on Tuesday. The technology for the project may come from Japanese and/or foreign companies familiar with seawater electrolysis.

  • The idled Kashiwazaki-Kashiwa unit #5 had a minor control rod incident on Tuesday. During routine maintenance on the reactor’s control rod drive systems when one of the 185 fission-dampening devices moved a little, causing an alarm condition. The alarm cleared within a minute, indicating that the control rod had returned to its fully-inserted position. Station owner Tepco dutifully reported the unusual event to the NRA. The K-K station has seven Boiling Water reactor units.

  • Greenpeace goes “FUDing” over Chernobyl again. In a clear attempt to continue the promotion of radiophobia using rhetoric steeped in Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt (FUD), the international antinuke propaganda group reports that “…people continue to eat and drink foods with dangerously high radiation levels.” This conclusion is purported as rational because Chernobyl contamination is still detectible, especially in forests. The group reports, "It is in what they eat and what they drink. It is in the wood they use for construction and burn to keep warm." Greenpeace also says the Ukraine is going broke, so it "no longer has sufficient funds to finance the programs needed to properly protect the public... this means the radiation exposure of people still living in the contaminated areas is likely increasing. And just as this contamination will be with them for decades to come, so will the related impacts on their health. Thousands of children, even those born 30 years after Chernobyl, still have to drink radioactively contaminated milk." The report makes the same sort of scare-mongering claims with respect to Fukushima. Greenpeace continues to propagate the false notion that if radiation is detectible – even at the most trivial levels – it must be branded as highly radioactive.

II. Japan’s Press obsesses with the Takahama injunction…

  • An operation estoppel order was rendered against Takahama station on Wednesday. The injunction was effective immediately Thus, Takahama unit #3, in full commercial operation, had to be shuttered. Shutdown of the unit was completed today. The court, though, is not one from the Takahama plant’s home prefecture; Fukui. Rather, it is the Otsu district court in neighboring Shiga Prefecture. Presiding judge Yoshihiko Yamamoto said, “Kansai Electric has not fully explained its measures for ensuring the safety of the reactors, despite continuing concerns about such issues as measures to tackle a severe accident.” He further argued that Japan’s new regulations were not credible. NRA Chair Shunichi Tanaka responded by defending the new regulations, stressing that they are based on the lessons learned from the Fukushima accident. Lawyers for the 29 Shiga plaintiffs that filed the case called the decision “fair, calm, and wise,” and attacked the NRA’s safety standards as not sufficient to insure safety. They also questioned Kansai Electric Company’s safety culture. When the decision was announced, Kansai Electric immediately said, “We will promptly take steps to file an objection and will do our best to assert and prove the safety of the Takahama-3 and -4 NPPs so as to obtain the lifting of the temporary injunction as soon as possible.” Later, the company stated that the court must not have understood the issue they were adjudicating, and the decision rendered was entirely unacceptable. Meanwhile, a Shiga antinuclear group said that the Injunction was reasonable because an accident at Takahama would exposed the public to radiation and contaminate Lake Biwa; a source of drinking water for the region. They also claimed that no effective evacuation plan exists for the few hundred Shiga residents within the 30km Emergency Planning Zone. The antinukes have filed their own lawsuit, which is pending in the same court. Meanwhile, the governors of the two prefectures reacted to the injunction in very different fashions. Fukui Governor Issei Nishikawa says the decision is extremely regrettable, and inconsistent court decisions make host communities to nukes worry about their future. He emphasized that restart decisions are the responsibility of the central government, but it is the combined obligation of Tokyo, the NRA, and nuke utilities to educate the nation so that the current level of confusion can be overcome. On the other hand, Shiga Governor Taizo Mikazuki said the injunction places emphasis on nuclear safety, and sends the message that Tokyo needs to take public opposition seriously. -- -- --  -- --

  • The injunction gained considerable traction with other international Press outlets on Wednesday. Reuters reported that the decision could potentially throw the government's energy policy into disarray. AFP News said the injunction will be a blow to PM Abe’s government policy on nukes. Bloomberg Business reports the decision undermines the promotion of nuke restarts. --

  • The Otsu Court questions the NRA’s new nuke safety standards. Presiding Judge Yamamoto charged that the NRA should not allow restarts until the cause of the Fukushima accident has been established, which he believes is still lacking, “The investigation into the cause of the nuclear accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant is still under way. Finding the cause of the accident is necessary to prevent a recurrence. If the NRA’s stance is to not pay attention to that point, I cannot help but say that I have major concerns.” He believes the tsunami might not have been the cause of the accident, and until a detailed internal examination of all damaged units at F. Daiichi is completed, the reason for the accident cannot be known with certainty. Yamamoto also attacked the NRA’s regulations and safety philosophy, “It is necessary to sincerely face the mistake that has been repeated every time a disaster occurs — saying that the disaster ‘went beyond our assumptions’. He asserted that the NRA should draw up safety standards “based on the goal of preventing reactors from reaching critical conditions even when a severe accident occurs.” He also charged that nukes should remain idled until “concrete, visible” evacuation plans are in place. Yamamoto feels Tokyo is violating public trust by allowing restarts while plans are incomplete. The Secretariat for the NRA responded, “The court apparently wants to say that the new safety standards are insufficient, but it does not provide clear reasons for that on some points. I cannot understand what logic the court used to reach the conclusion.”

  • The Otsu Court decision has given new energy to antinuclear activists. Lawyer Kenichi Ido says the injunction could serve as a “tailwind” for similar moves by antinukes living in prefectures neighboring those hosting nukes, “It will no longer be an obstacle for plaintiffs not to be residents of prefectures that house a nuclear power plant.” He added that the ruling "is different from previous decisions because it calls on Kansai Electric Power Co. to verify how it reinforced the designs and operations of the nuclear plant and how the utility responded to requirements in light of the Fukushima nuclear disaster."  About a hundred residents of Shiga Prefecture gathered together and were literally ecstatic over the injunction. One Shiga resident hailed it as a “landmark decision” and “I got goosebumps when I read the (ruling)”. Another said, “I feel as if I’m in heaven.” A third stated, "The reactivation of the Takahama plant disregards the pains of people in Fukushima. It is only natural that the court has made this decision amid the ongoing Fukushima crisis. Today is the best day for me over the past five years (after the accident)." A Fukushima evacuee from Okuma said, “The ruling is good in preventing others from experiencing the same distress as we have." Finally, Iitate Mayor Norio Kanno hailed the Injunction, "It is absolutely necessary to provide sufficient explanations to residents who are concerned about safety regardless of the distance from nuclear plants. In that sense the ruling acknowledged the voices of residents in Shiga Prefecture even though it doesn't host a nuclear power station."

February 10, 2016 

299th Carnival of Nuclear Energy Bloggers

The Hiroshima Syndrome’s Fukushima Commentary is proudly hosting the latest edition of the Carnival of Nuclear Bloggers. This week, we have postings by Dan Yurman, Dr. Gail Marcus, Meredith Angwin, John Dobken, and Guy Page.

Here’s the Fact or Fiction (?) quiz for this week… Canada is the country producing the most uranium in the world. 

Now…for this week’s Blogs. To read the full articles, please click on the individual links. Blog topics for this edition include… little hope for ABWRs in Texas, NRC celebrates 25 years of principles of good regulation, women’s careers in energy, how less nuclear means more natural gas (no matter what the headlines say), the new storage pad at Vermont Yankee.

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From Dan Yurman’s Neutron Bytes

NRG gets licenses for STP twin ABWRs, but little hope to build them

The NRC has cleared the way for the Office of New Reactors to issue two Combined Licenses (COL) for Nuclear Innovation North America’s (NINA) South Texas Project (STP); twin 1350 MW ABWR systems. NRG Energy and its partners, including Toshiba, have the go-ahead from the NRC to build them near Houston. However, the partners have no plans to actually proceed with the project at this time. The key reason is that they lack U.S. investors. The Texas cities of San Antonio and Austin pulled out nearly half a decade ago and no others have stepped in to fill their spots.


From Dr. Gail Marcus’ Nuke Power Talk (2) –

NRC Celebrates 25 Years of the principles of Good Regulation

Last month, NRC celebrated 25 years of the Principles of Good Regulation with a seminar for NRC staff.  Dr. Marcus, as one of the people involved in its development, was one of the speakers.  The speakers also included former Commissioner Kenneth Rogers, who had initiated the effort to develop the Principles. Also speaking was NRC historian Tom Wellock, who discussed the motivation behind the principles, how they were developed, and similar sets of principles in other organizations. The event was for internal staff, but the NRC also has a panel scheduled for its Regulatory Information Conference to be held March 8-10 in Rockville, MD.


Women, Energy, and Careers - Some Interesting Perspectives

Last week, Dr. Marcus was on an energy careers and women panel, organized by the Council of Women in Energy and Environmental Leadership (CWEEL) of the Association of Energy Engineers (AEE).  Gail notes that despite the very different fields the panelists represented—solar, nuclear, and biomass—they had some very similar experiences in how they transitioned from their academic work to their current careers.  Dr. Marcus sees a very different situation for young women in technical fields than when she attended college and in the early years of her career.


From Northwest Clean Energy (2) –

Reality: Less nuclear means more natural gas

Meredith Angwin looks at the energy consequences of closing nuclear plants.  Though people may talk about how nuclear power “would'a, could'a, should'a” been replaced by renewables when nuclear plants close on the East Coast or the West Coast, their power is almost always replaced by power from natural gas plants.


Energy Policy by Headline

John Dobken looks at the headlines about how an energy revolution to renewables will be fast and cheap. There is no reason to believe such a change will be fast and cheap.  Slow and unreasonably expensive is more like it. For example, the Northwest may be maxed-out on wind development, right now.


From Meredith Angwin’s Yes Vermont Yankee (2) -

Guest post by Guy Page;

New Storage Pad Needed at Vermont Yankee  

Vermont Yankee will need a new storage pad for the new dry casks for its spent fuel. The Vermont Public Service Board must rule on a Certificate of Public Good for this pad. Approval of this pad is part of the Settlement Agreement between Entergy and Vermont. Entergy is providing $50 million in development funds to the state as part of that agreement.


Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper; Book Review

Robert Bryce wrote Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper. The book could be called: "in praise of engineering." Our longer, healthier and happier lives are a direct result of our human quest to achieve more results while using less resources.

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Here’s the Fact or Fiction (?) answer for this week… Fiction.

Canada actually ranks number two in the world for uranium production. The world’s leader – by a long shot – is Kazakhstan, with 23,127 tons produced in 2014. Canada was second at 9,134 tons, and Australia third at 5,000 tons. The United States ranked eighth at 1.919 tons.

January 3. 2015

294th Carnival of Nuclear Energy Bloggers

The Hiroshima Syndrome’s Fukushima Commentary is proudly hosting the latest edition of the Carnival of Nuclear Bloggers. This week, we have postings by John Dobken, Meredith Angwin, Dan Yurman, Rod Adams, Will Davis, Dr. Jim Conca, and Dr. Gail Marcus.

Here’s the Fact or Fiction (?) quiz for this week… not this time…sorry. However… 

Happy New Year to Everyone!!

Now…for this week’s Blogs. To read the full articles, please click on the individual links. Blog topics for this edition include… An antinuclear petition against Columbia nuke station is rejected, a NY economic development group lobbies to save Fitzpatrick station, Westinghouse talks with India about six reactors, nuke energy and the fourth Industrial Revolution, Richard Lester’s roadmap for nuclear innovation, and much more.

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From Northwest Clean Energy by John Dobken –

Heart of America Northwest, PSR Petition Rejected by the NRC

From Yes Vermont Yankee by Meredith Angwin –

Save Fitzpatrick: An Opportunity to Help

From Neutron Bytes by Dan Yurman (2) –

Westinghouse in talks with India for six reactors

Why the nuclear industry must respond to the Fourth Industrial Revolution

From Atomic Insights by Rod Adams –

Richard Lester’s “A Roadmap for U.S. Nuclear Energy Innovation” 
From Atomic Power Review by Will Davis –

Russian Nuclear Cargo Ship Returns; Tech Equates to New Uses

From Forbes’ Dr. Jim Conca –

The 2016 Energy Quiz

From Nuke Power Talk by Dr. Gail Marcus –

Post COP 21: The Name-Calling Begins

November 29, 2015

286th Carnival of Nuclear Energy Bloggers

The Hiroshima Syndrome’s Fukushima Commentary is proudly hosting the latest edition of the Carnival of Nuclear Bloggers. This week, we have postings by Dan Yurman, Meredith Angwin, Professor Gilbert Brown, Dr. Gail Marcus, and Dr. Jim Conca.

Here’s the Fact or Fiction (?) quiz for this week… One hundred years ago, Albert Einstein had his theory of General Relativity published, which included the prediction of black holes.

Now…for this week’s Blogs. To read the full articles, please click on the individual links.

Blog topics for this edition include… the issue of civility at NRC meetings, the nuclear summit in Washington D.C., the potential negative impacts of closing Pilgrim nuclear plant, a series of posts of “first” in the history of nuclear energy, and the paradox with the closure of the Fitzpatrick nuke plant.

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In a guest post for ANS Nuclear Café, Dan Yurman tells us about…

Civility & Safety at NRC Public Meetings


From Dan Yurman’s Neutron Bytes

The long and the short of Obama's nuclear energy summit 


From Meredith Angwin’s Yes Vermont Yankee

Why You Can't Trust the State of Vermont to Oversee the Decommissioning Fund


A guest post by Professor Gilbert Brown…

Closing Pilgrim will Zap the Environment and the Grid


Two articles from Northwest Clean Energy Blog

One by John Dobken…

Continuing Their Service Through Public Power

And another by Meredith Angwin…

Talking Nuclear Energy from Washington State to Washington D.C


From Dr. Gail Marcus’ Nuke Power Talk

Nuclear Anniversaries (4)

August -

September -

October -

November -


From Dr. Jim Conca at

White House Summit Opens Annual Nuclear Meeting


If No One Wants The Fitzpatrick Nuclear Power Plant To Close, Why Is It Closing?

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Here’s the Fact or Fiction (?) answer for this week… Fiction.

The prediction of black holes was made by Karl Schwarzschild in December of 1915, using Einstein’s freshly published equations. On 25 November 1915, Einstein published the gravitational field equations of general relativity, the so-called Einstein equations. It was actually the last of four papers Einstein published in the month, each describing different aspects of his paradigm-changing conception. His notion had included the idea that massive gravitational fields would actually bend light. Schwarzschild died in 1916, while the overlapping ideas were embroiled in a heated controversy among other scientists. In September, 1919, H.A. Lorentz telegraphed Einstein to let him know that astronomers had recently verified the deflection of light by our sun. After that, Schwarzschild’s prediction of black holes was believed possible. --;_ylt=AwrBT7cRDU9WiuUAFipXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTEyYjUwMmQzBGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDQjExNzlfMQRzZWMDc2M-

 November 4, 2015

Lack of Press coverage on antinuclear death threats is intolerable

On Sunday, Nov. 1, Canada’s Globe and Mail reported on a Vancouver researcher receiving death threats for publishing his findings on Fukushima contamination along the British Columbia coastline. (1) The following Wednesday, Nov. 4, Japan’s Atomic Industrial Forum reported that a Japanese non-profit group had been threatened because of allowing teens to take part in a Fukushima highway cleanup event. (2)  No other Press outlets have reported on these reprehensible antinuclear actions.

While most bullying of this nature is classified as “idle threats”, intentional disregard by the mainstream western and Japanese Press is shocking. Why would they let something so obviously newsworthy go unreported?

The Globe is Canada’s largest national newspaper, and must be commended for bringing the inexcusable threats aimed at Dr. Jay Cullen to light. Dr. Cullen has been falsely accused of being a “shill for the nuclear industry” and a “sham scientist”. One blogger even said antinukes were in combat with scientists like Cullen, calling it “a cold war, against the highest, and most powerful of the elites in this world.” Another message said Cullen and other researchers deserved to be executed for reporting that Fukushima contamination in the sea wasn’t dangerous. I can find no mention of this in any other Western Press outlet.

Over the past two years, most western news media has been regularly reporting about the slowly approaching “plume” of Fukushima contamination. It’s been good for business. However, research results posted by highly reputable scientists showing there is really nothing to worry about, get summarily ignored. Why aren’t western Press outlets telling their audiences that an innocent, dedicated scientist is getting death threats for doing his job? I believe it is because it would harm the marketability of “Fukushima radiation is COMING” headlines. Reporting on the death threats would spur the Press’ audience to go to Dr. Cullen’s Fukushima InFORM site and find out the truth. That would be bad for business.  

It is even worse in Japan. The besieged NPO has been getting about 30 hate messages a day since they held the Route 6 cleanup in Fukushima Prefecture on October 10th. There were 1400 volunteers, which included 200 teen-age students. The teens picked up trash at schools along the highway using tongs. The NPO monitored their exposures, which turned out to be undetectable. None of this mattered. Messages began pouring in, which included “This is child abuse in the name of a good deed” and “We will kill you”. Not one popular Japanese Press outlet has mentioned the threatening mail sent to the Japanese NPO.

In Japan, the reason for the news media’s silence is insidious. Since the nuke accident, the Japanese Press has routinely emphasized the no-safe-level of radiation exposure notion, and in every case stressed that children are supposedly at greater risk than adults. Hardly a Fukushima report goes by without the child-risk assumption being mentioned. In my opinion, Japan’s Press is responsible for the disgusting death threats inflicted on the NPO. Reporting on these threats could make th Japanese press seem responsible, and they don’t want to go there.

Intentionally ignoring good news about Fukushima, and only posting the negative stuff, is bad enough. But, disregarding outlandish death threats inflicted on innocents in the interest of making some advertising money is intolerable.


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October 25, 2015

284th Carnival of Nuclear Energy Bloggers

The Hiroshima Syndrome’s Fukushima Commentary is proudly hosting the latest edition of the Carnival of Nuclear Bloggers. This week, we have postings by Meredith Angwin, Dr. Jim Conca, Dr. Gail Marcus, and Leslie Corrice

Here’s the Fact or Fiction (?) quiz for this week… The Michelson-Morley experimental failure in 1887 was critical to the eventual acceptance of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity.

Now…for this week’s Blogs. To read the full articles, please click on the individual links. Blog topics for this edition include… NY Governor Mario Cuomo’s disturbing attitude towards Fitzpatrick Nuclear Plant, nuclear science week celebrated in the state of Washington, China moves to the forefront in nuclear plant construction, whether fusion is really right around the corner, and the Western Press gets it wrong (again) about Fukushima radiation and cancer.

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From Meredith Angwin’s Yes Vermont Yankee

Governor Cuomo, Fitzpatrick, and Money: James A. Fitzpatrick Nuclear Power Plant


At Northwest Clean Energy

Energy Northwest celebrates nuclear science week

From Dr. Jim Conca of Forbes Magazine

China Shows How to Build Nuclear Reactors Fast and Cheap

From Dr. Gail Marcus’ Nuke Power Talk

Is Fusion Getting Closer? And What if it Is? 

From Leslie Corrice’s Fukushima Commentary -

The Western Press spins Japan’s workman’s comp into a medical diagnosis

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Here’s the Fact or Fiction (?) answer for this week… Fact.

On July 12, 1887 Albert A. Michelson and Edward W Morley made the final measurements in an experiment that inadvertently changed the way scientists viewed the workings of the universe. They hoped to prove the existence of ether—the invisible substance Isaac Newton theorized as the medium through which light waves travel. Michelson modified the interfërometer—a device that split a single beam of light into two and then recombined them into one so that their wave patterns can be examined. The beams traveled perpendicular to each other. The two scientists hoped to see signs that one beam had slowed due to the ether. But, there was absolutely no difference. Their findings eventually led to the realization that the speed of light is constant, unchangeable, and the same everywhere in the universe. This experimental failure was critical in paving the way for Einstein’s theories.

PS – While an undergraduate at Case Western Reserve in Cleveland, Ohio, my first date with my future wife was a party at the house where Michelson and Morley lived when they worked together. Many years later, I was honored to be a trustee at the 1987 international fête at CWRU celebrating the 100th anniversary of what was perhaps the most important scientific failure of all time...the Michelson-Morley experiment. L.

October 23, 2015

The Western Press spins Japan’s workman’s comp into a medical diagnosis

On October 20th, a news report out of Japan concerned a former Fukushima Daiichi welder who had been diagnosed with cancer. There was a considerable disparity between Japanese and western Press coverage. In Japan, the situation was reported as a “Fukushima Worker to get cancer compensation”. (NHK World headline) Outside Japan, the Press treated it as the first possible casualty of Fukushima’s low level radiation. Perhaps the most provocative of the numerous international headlines was “Man who worked at Fukushima nuclear plant after 2011 disaster is first to develop cancer from radiation exposure”. (NY Daily News) The world’s news outlets decided to put the Japanese news report on “spin cycle” and confabulate to the extreme.

The western reports were unabashed in the attempt to prove that low level radiation exposure caused the welder’s cancer. The prestigious Wall Street Journal was perhaps the least provocative in the headline “Construction worker’s leukemia could have been caused by radiation exposure.” However, other western news sources were more incendiary. The Washington Post headline read, “For the first time, Fukushima recovery worker diagnosed with cancer.” CNN reported it was the “first case of cancer linked to Fukushima cleanup work diagnosed.” The New York Times said, “[This amounts]to the first official acknowledgment that exposure to radiation at the disaster site may have caused cancer.” The BBC reported, “Japan's government has acknowledged that a worker involved in clean-up work at the Fukushima nuclear plant may have developed cancer as a result.” And, the list goes on…

The problem is that they were all wrong!

The Japanese welder received a workman’s comp benefit package because he satisfied the statutory criteria stipulated in the 1976 Industrial Accident Compensation Insurance Act. The Act was a revision to the original worker’s accident insurance law of 1968, which seems to have been patterned after prior government unemployment and disability laws developed by other Asian countries. Regardless, the Act provides that workers who are injured, or become ill due to their job or commuting to and from work, can receive government financial aid and medical coverage.

To be certified as an “industrial accident” associated with radiation, a claimant must have been exposed to at least 5 millisieverts per year, times the number of years of such exposure, and have developed the illness more than a year after first being exposed. No requirement for a medical diagnosis relating the exposure to the contracted disease is needed! This important point - which all foreign news outlets failed to uncover – was stressed by a Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry official, who said, "Based on the spirit of workers’ compensation insurance, we gave consideration to his case from a standpoint that he should not miss compensation (he might be eligible for). We also took into account that the maximum permissible radiation dose for ordinary people was 5 millisieverts annually when it was introduced in 1976.” (Asahi Shimbun) During the news conference on Oct. 20th, the Health Ministry stressed that the granting of compensation did not mean there is a link between radiation exposure and effects on the claimant’s health had been proved. In other words, there was no “acknowledgement” of a causative link.

Here’s how the welder qualified. He had spent 14 months at F. Daiichi from October 2012 until December 2013. During that time, he received 15.7 mSv of exposure. The worker explained that he felt too ill to work in late December of 2013, so he went to a doctor. He was diagnosed with acute leukemia in January of 2014. During his stint at F. Daiichi he had more than 5 mSv of exposure over a period of little more than a year, and had been diagnosed with cancer more than a year after the exposure period began. He was awarded workman’s comp because he met the statutory criteria. Period! There was no doctor’s diagnostic link made between his occupational exposure and his cancer.

As it turned out, the worker tried to clear things up the next day, but it seems the international Press missed this, too. It should first be noted that the only Japanese press outlet referenced by the Western Press as a source of the radiation-caused cancer claim, albeit incorrectly, was the Asahi Shimbun. The worker’s personal interview was also posted by the Asahi on October 21st, but has been inappropriately ignored.

In the interview, the welder said, “I decided to go to Fukushima hoping that I could make some contribution to the recovery of the disaster-stricken communities, and I have no regret over my decision.” He then added, “Initially, I did not think the illness was caused by radiation exposure.” He was very ill and his immune system had been deteriorated by the cancer drugs he was taking in 2014. He worried about his family’s finances. When he heard that another nuke welder had applied for the compensation, he decided to file for it, too. He had nothing to lose. On October 20th, he was told his application had been accepted. The welder said, “I was relieved to hear the decision.”

It must be acknowledged that the Asahi interview was posted on October 21st, the day after the initial Western Press onslaught; however there has been no attempt to correct the matter since! How appropriate! We have posted previously that the Western Press has a prolonged and pronounced penchant for posting negative reports about nuclear energy and/or radiation exposure in the low level region; but when something emerges that might disprove the negative, it is summarily disregarded!

However, the Western Press didn’t stop with merely confabulating the news out of Japan. Adding insult to injury, they went to the most biased sources on nuclear energy they could find for some juicy quotes. The Telegraph UK cites Greenpeace (which is routinely predisposed to substantial elaboration with respect to anything even loosely connected to nuclear energy), "This is a massive blow to the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency], which stated in September this year that no discernible health effects are to be expected due to the exposure of radiation released by the accident." The Guardian US subsidiary of Guardian UK) cites Jan Vande Putte of Greenpeace Belgium, who said, “The statement from the IAEA that there would be no discernible health effects from the Fukushima disaster was clearly premature… Greenpeace calls on the IAEA and the Japanese authorities to retract their unsubstantiated and unscientific statement.” The Guardian also dredged up a quote from Japan’s Shinzo Kimura of Dokko University, who said, “This is a landmark decision from the viewpoint of workers’ rights, and it’s probably just the tip of the iceberg.” It is probably right; we can expect numerous phony Western News reports concerning this sort of concurrence in the future

In each of the above cases, the antinuclear quotes entirely miss the fact that we are dealing with a non-medical, entirely-statutory awarding of a workman’s comp claim. But, then again, groups like Greenpeace always take full agenda-fulfilling advantage of every chance they get to make radioactive mountains out of whatever molehills chance to occur. Despite the Western Press claims, the fact remains; no discernible negative health effects have occurred due to Fukushima Daiichi radiation exposures, and it is highly unlikely that any ever will.

It should be mentioned that the welder says he hopes other Fukushima workers might qualify for workmen’s comp in the future. I agree. Japan’s 1976 Act provides funds and medical expenses for those who meet the statutory criteria. There have been more than 25,000 people who have worked at F. Daiichi since the accident began on March 11, 2011. There will surely be many who, unfortunately, will be subsequently diagnosed with cancer. How many? Japan’s cancer rate is the largest in Asia, with nearly 40% of all deaths due to the disease. Thus, there will surely be a huge number of former Fukushima workers who will get cancer and be granted the same sort of compensation as the welder. We can fully expect that every time this happens, the Western Press will report that the cancer was caused by Fukushima radiation…it’s good for business.

Ironically, we might assume that the workman’s comp blue law is an unforeseen benefit to those who work at F. Daiichi; i.e. a benefit for those unfortunate enough to subsequently contract cancer. But to reiterate; we can be very sure that these future cancers will not have been caused by occupational radiation exposure a tenth of that experienced by the healthy populations of the black sand beach communities in Brazil and India, where annual exposures are in the 50mSv/yr range.

The Western Press is calling the enforcement of a Japanese blue law an acknowledgement of cancer caused by an extremely low level of radiation exposure. In reality, no such admission has been issued by Japan’s government, and correctly so. It is a monetary award granted through a forty-year-old statute. No medical connection has been made between the cancer and the individual’s exposure. The Western Press reports to the contrary are nothing more than deliberate deception.

Update 10/26/15 - A colleague sent me an Email and suggested I look into the latency period between radiation exposure and the onset of leukemia. I did. It is 5-7 years between exposure and onset of the disease. ( ) Both the Western and Japanese Press failed to report this one! It takes the entire issue out of the ridiculous category, and into the absurd.


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