Fukushima to remove controversial statue of child in radiation protection suit

‘Sun Child’ near Fukushima Station in the city of Fukushima, has been met with strong opposition from local residents since it was unveiled earlier this month.
Aug 28, 2018
FUKUSHIMA – Fukushima Mayor Hiroshi Kohata announced a decision on Tuesday to remove a controversial statue of a child in a radiation protection suit that has drawn waves of criticism since it was unveiled early this month.
“It’s difficult to keep in place a divisive piece of work as a symbol of reconstruction,” Kohata told a news conference.
The statue, titled “Sun Child,” was created by contemporary artist Kenji Yanobe in 2011 to appeal for reconstruction from the March 2011 accident at Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.’s tsunami-hit Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.
A dosimeter is on the chest section of the yellow protective suit worn by the standing statue, which is about 6.2 meters high.
The unveiling of the statue near Fukushima Station on Aug. 3 sparked disapproving comments online.
One such comment was that the statue gives the impression that people cannot live in Fukushima without protective suits, while another suggestion was that it might give rise to unfounded rumors about the nuclear accident.
The Fukushima Municipal Government has been studying how to respond to the situation while canvassing opinions from citizens on the statue in a survey launched on Aug. 18.
Of 110 opinions that had reached the government by Monday, about 70 percent were negative about the statue, according to city officials.
The city government plans to take down the statue as soon as possible and is discussing what to do with the work after its removal.
“I offer my heartfelt apology to those who were offended.” Kohata said. He also expressed an intention to take a pay cut.

Taiwan to hold referendum on lifting Fukushima food ban in November

Senior officials of the Kuomintang, Taiwan’s largest opposition party, hold a press conference on Aug. 27, 2018 at their headquarters in Taipei to state their opposition to lifting a ban on food imports from Fukushima and four other Japanese prefectures. The banners read “oppose nuclear food.”
August 28, 2018
TAIPEI — Taiwan’s largest opposition party Kuomintang has announced that it has collected some 470,000 signatures supporting a referendum on whether to lift a ban on the import of food products from five Japanese prefectures, including Fukushima, imposed after the 2011 Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant disaster.
The number is far more than the 280,000 legally required to hold a referendum, and it is most likely that one will be held on Nov. 24 in tandem with general local elections.
Taiwan has banned foodstuff from the prefectures of Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Chiba and Gunma in the northern and eastern parts of Japan, and the Kuomintang supports the ban.
A national referendum must have a turnout rate of at least 25 percent for the result to be valid, but this hurdle is likely to be cleared if the voting is done alongside the local elections. If voters back the ban, it would be extremely difficult for the administration of Tsai Ing-wen to ignore the outcome and Japan-Taiwan relations would suffer substantially as a result.
Behind the referendum move is a political rivalry between the Kuomintang and the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) headed by Tsai. The opposition is stepping up attacks on the ruling party in a bid to win the local elections and build political momentum toward the 2020 presidential election.
The Kuomintang has launched a negative PR campaign against food items from Fukushima and the other prefectures because the Tsai administration is positive about lifting the import ban. The opposition called the Japanese products “nuclear food,” meaning contaminated by the nuclear accident, and accused the government of ignoring people’s food safety concerns. A person linked to the DPP lamented that the issue is “being used in a political fight.”
The government of Japan has repeatedly urged Taiwan to lift the import ban, saying the safety of its food items is scientifically proven. However, the Tsai administration is hesitant about rushing a decision on resuming imports as it faces faltering approval rates and the issue could trigger explosive opposition from some voters.

Free temporary housing for Fukushima evacuees to mostly end in March ’20

Evacuees Nihonmatsu April 2017.jpg
This file photo taken in April 2017 shows temporary housing in the city of Nihonmatsu in central Fukushima Prefecture in northeastern Japan for evacuees from the 2011 disaster at the Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant.
August 28, 2018
FUKUSHIMA — The government of Fukushima Prefecture in northeastern Japan has announced it will terminate in March 2020 the provision of free temporary housing to most of the evacuees from areas in four towns and villages rendered difficult to live in due to fallout from the 2011 triple core meltdowns at the Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant.
It was the first time to set a deadline to end housing support for evacuees from those “difficult to return” areas. The new measure, announced on Aug. 27, will stop the provision of all rent-free temporary housing from dwellings in the towns of Okuma and Futaba where the nuclear plant is located.
The termination of the support program will affect a total of 3,298 households who had to move out of difficult to return areas in the villages of Katsurao and Iitate, as well as the towns of Tomioka and Namie. The measure will cover both temporary prefabricated housing as well as private rental accommodation paid for by the prefecture.
The prefectural government explained that the financial support is being phased out as it is now possible for those residents to find stable homes on their own, among other reasons. Meanwhile, the prefecture will conduct an opinion poll on some 1,661 households from Okuma and Futaba to determine whether to continue to offer free housing for them after March 2020.
The free temporary housing service will end in March next year for evacuees of 2,389 households from five municipalities including the village of Kawauchi and the town of Kawamata, where evacuation orders have been lifted, but the service can be extended for another year for people with special circumstances.
Evacuation orders prompted by the 2011 nuclear disaster targeted 11 municipalities although they were eventually lifted for nine cities, towns and villages by April 2017 except Futaba and Okuma as well as difficult to return zones in some of the municipalities.
(Japanese original by Hideyuki Kakinuma, Fukushima Bureau)

Former worker’s book: TEPCO unfit to operate nuclear plants

Toru Hasuike, a former employee of Tokyo Electric Power Co., talks about his new book in Kashiwazaki, Niigata Prefecture.
August 27, 2018
KASHIWAZAKI, Niigata Prefecture–Toru Hasuike, who worked at Tokyo Electric Power Co. for 32 years, has published another book that he says shows his former employer should be declared “ineligible” to operate nuclear power plants.
“Kokuhatsu” (Accusation), a 250-page book released on Aug. 27 by Tokyo-based Business-sha Inc., reveals episodes that underscore the utility’s culture of cover-ups and collusion, including how it stacked the decks in its favor for government approval of its new reactors, he said.
After graduating from the Tokyo University of Science, Hasuike, 63, had worked in TEPCO’s nuclear division, including a stint at the now-embattled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, from 1977 until he left the company in 2009.
His first book about the utility, titled “Watashi ga Aishita Tokyo Denryoku” (Tokyo Electric Power Co. that I loved), was released by Kyoto-based Kamogawa Co. in September 2011, a half-year after the disaster struck the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.
In that book, Hasuike describes the day-to-day activities at TEPCO and the closed nature of the regional monopoly in a matter-of-fact tone. He does not accuse the company of cover-ups or collusion in the book.
“Back then, I believed that even TEPCO would transform itself (following the Fukushima nuclear disaster),” Hasuike said in an interview with The Asahi Shimbun in Kashiwazaki. “But TEPCO’s corporate culture of trying to cover up things and form collusive ties with authorities has not been overhauled. In my latest book, I wrote about all that I saw.”
Assigned to the utility’s main office in Tokyo, Hasuike, who had an engineering background, was primarily involved in work responding to nuclear regulators’ safety inspections of TEPCO’s plants as well as research into the disposal of high-level radioactive waste.
He said he documented a number of his experiences that epitomize the collusive ties between the utility and nuclear regulators before the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.
Hasuike said these episodes made him question the feasibility of TEPCO’s new stated goal of pushing for organizational reform that puts safety management of its nuclear facilities above everything else.
Hasuike was born and raised in Kashiwazaki, Niigata Prefecture, a city that co-hosts TEPCO’s seven-reactor Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant, the largest nuclear power station in Japan.
His parents and other relatives live in the coastal city.
The Diet’s Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission also pointed out TEPCO’s propensity to seek cozy ties with regulating bodies.
In its report published in 2012, the commission denounced collusion between TEPCO and the government’s nuclear watchdog, describing nuclear authorities as a “regulatory capture” of the company because they were easily manipulated by TEPCO’s vast wealth of nuclear expertise.
In his new book, Hasuike describes, for example, TEPCO’s moves related to the No. 6 and No. 7 reactors at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant.
The company is currently seeking to bring those reactors back online as soon as possible to save on fuel costs needed to operate its thermal plants.
Hasuike said in the book that TEPCO sent some of its employees to the then Science and Technology Agency in 1990 on the pretext of “assisting in preparations” for a public hearing planned by the government’s Nuclear Safety Commission.
The agency’s commission was scheduled to hold a public hearing at the Niigata prefectural government building on whether to give approval and licenses for the construction of the No. 6 and No. 7 reactors at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant.
The TEPCO employees were sent to the agency, where the commission’s secretariat was located, to check postcards sent by those hoping to attend the hearing. Specifically, TEPCO wanted to know their stance on nuclear energy and prevent the hearing from being dominated by anti-nuclear attendees, according to the book.
When they grasped the number of nuclear opponents who planned to attend, the TEPCO employees made arrangements to send several times that number of application postcards to the pro-nuclear energy camp to ensure their representation was larger than nuclear skeptics at the hearing, Hasuike wrote.
After the applicants were selected and those permitted to ask questions at the hearing were chosen, the TEPCO employees advised the pro-nuclear attendees on their proposed questions with the aim to make the plant look safe, according to the book.
Hasuike has also been known as a relentless critic of the government for its handling of the decades-old issue of Japanese nationals abducted by North Korean agents. He has appeared on TV programs and written several books on the subject.
His younger brother, Kaoru, returned to Japan in 2002 after being abducted to North Korea in 1978. But many other abductees remain unaccounted for, and there are few signs of progress toward a resolution of the issue.

Fukui disaster drill for simultaneous atomic accidents ends

Like the one they did in 2011???
People are helped into a Maritime Self-Defense Force helicopter as part a two-day evacuation drill for multiple nuclear accidents in Oi, Fukui Prefecture, on Saturday.
Aug 26, 2018
FUKUI – A nuclear disaster drill for simultaneous accidents at the Oi and Takahama nuclear power plants in Fukui Prefecture ended Sunday after mobilizing 21,000 people.
It was the first disaster response drill designed for serious simultaneous accidents at multiple plants since the Fukushima nuclear crisis in March 2011.
The drill involved about 21,000 people including residents and officials from the Cabinet Office, the Nuclear Regulation Authority and municipal governments.
Sunday’s exercise focused on evacuating residents from Fukui and surrounding prefectures. It also involved personnel aboard the Maritime Self-Defense Force minesweeper tender Bungo, which was deployed to provide first aid to “injured” participants who were ferried there by helicopter.
In the town of Takahama, 20 residents were flown to Osaka on a Ground Self-Defense Force CH-47J chopper and bused to Sanda in Hyogo on the assumption that a evacuation route was cut off by a landslide.
Preparations involving the Oi and Takahama plants, both managed by Kansai Electric Power Co., are deemed necessary as they are just 13.5 km away from each other.
The exercise assumed radioactive substances were released after an earthquake in northern Kyoto knocked out the cooling systems of the two plants’ reactors.
As part of the drill, task forces created at the two plants’ off-site emergency response centers were integrated into Oi’s task force.
Katsunori Yamamoto, 64, who runs a nursing home 5 km from the Takahama plant, played one of his residents. He was evacuated to Tsuruga by a wheelchair-accessible van driven by a Kansai Electric worker.
“I want to assess risks to our nursing home residents,” he said.

Fukushima Daiichi Looks Drowned

From Majia Nadesan’s Blog — August 23, 2018

“I realize this series of posts on Fukushima Daiichi’s webcam imagery may seem tiresome to some readers. However, I’ve been watching the plant for 7 years and am very aware of changes in emissions patterns.

Today the plant looks drowned, especially as viewed through the cam focused on units 1 and 2:






Yesterday I noted that the lens has some sort of “stuff” on it but that alone does not explain the higher level of emissions that are visible on both cams and during day time hours (see my post from yesterday and screenshot of cam 4).

The weather in Fukushima presently is 82F, 42% chance of precipitation, with 84% humidity, which are pretty typical.

Yesterday the Wall Street Journal ran an article in their print edition titled, “New Challenge to ‘Abenomics’ Rises in Japan” (8/22/2018 p. A9) that begins with the following text:

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s policies have benefited the titans of business with whom he likes to play golf but have left millions of people behind, said a former defense minister [Shigeru Ishiba] who is making a long-shot bid to lead the ruling party.

This sense that many of today’s leaders are detached from the needs of “the people” because of their close alliances with “the titans of business” is not restricted to Japan.

Our time for fixing catastrophic risks, such as those posed by Fukushima Daiichi, is limited and elapsing.

As Rome burned and as the Titanic sank, the majority of elites were distracted by their privilege until they too went down with their wrecked domains….”


Making nuclear waste has to be stopped

Special credits to Roger Bristol, Marius Paul and Leonard J. Siebert
August 22, 2018
Roger Bristol —  “Structural materials become neutron activated resulting in radioactive iron, cobalt, and nickel. I am not sure where the chlorine comes from. Carbon is from neutron activation of air and in the stainless steel reactor vessel. Tritium is a fission product and comes from neutron activation of deuterium naturally occurring in cooling water. Thorium and protactinium are decay products of fuel. Uranium-232 comes from neutron activation of a decay product of uranium. Neptunium, plutonium, americium, and curium come from successive neutron absorption of fuel. When uranium is struck with a neutron sometimes it fission and sometimes becomes a new nuclide.
The Ci is a unit of radioactivity. 1 Ci = 37,000,000,000 decays per second. Radium has a half-life of 1,602 years. The unit is based on the radioactivity of one gram of radium. To get the number of grams you would take the half-life and divide by 1,602 times the number of Ci and then multiply by the atomic weight divided by the atomic weight of radium (226).
l Graphite is used as a moderator in some reactors. To purify to graphite of neutron absorbing impurities chlorine is used leaving a residue of chlorine-35. Neutron activation creates the radioactive chlorine-36. Probably the weapons grade plutonium breeder reactors used graphite I suspect.”
Marius Paul — “Two other important topics about radioactivity:
(1) Half-lives can be deceptive, as some radioactive materials become more radioactive as time goes on, not less. Examples include radon gas and depleted #uranium. Even irradiated nuclear fuel, which decreases in radioactivity for the first 50,000 years, eventually increases in radiotoxicity after that period of time. Plutonium has a 24,000 year half-life, but when it disintegrates it is transformed into another radioactive element with a 700 million years half life. So half-lives can be deceptive.
(2) Some radioactive materials are very difficult to detect, even in a well-equipped nuclear plant, because they give off non-penetrating alpha or beta radiation – yet they can be extraordinarily dangerous. Examples are beta-emitting carbon-14 dust, which workers at Pickering Nuclear Generating Station tracked into their homes in the 1980s, and alpha-emitting #plutonium dust, which over 500 contract workers inhaled on a daily basis for almost three weeks at Bruce in 2009.”
Leonard J. Siebert — “One of the delights for me as I continue to attempt to educate people about Fukushima, is the sheer amount of both ignorance and erroneous information on the subject that plagues humanity.
One of the most laughable premises was that Plutonium, a transuranic element, exists in nature and people shouldn’t be alarmed by it.
Seriously, the article was published in a scientific periodical and while it was later retracted; the damage was done and I hear the comment repeated to this day by the Pro-nuke factions.
So in what will another subject for people to attack me about, question my expertise and accuse me of ‘fear mongering’; I will attempt to relate the facts in layman’s terms and even do so entertainingly.
In many of the reports I post about Fukushima and even in the media, the word ‘Transuranic’ or ‘transuranium’ often appears.
Now I get questioned all the time by ‘experts’ that love to tell me I don’t know what I’m talking about. However they usually take the tact of asking me basic physics or nuclear energy questions. It is not my goal to teach physics to anyone, plus that would take a lifetime to bring everyone up to the same understanding of the science with my statements. For me that is a waste of time and I have spent too many hours explaining processes that should be apparent to even a high school student in General Science, perhaps the ignorance in the science is a result of common core or too much Star Trek techno-babble; I cannot say. So I am only going to focus on terms, used in the media that are important for you to know. I will do my best to define them in a none bias manner but anyone with a REAL understanding of nuclear energy, knows that it is not clean, cheap, efficient, green or safe.
“Nuclear power is one HELL of a way to boil water.”- Albert Einstein. (He meant that with full irony for the fools he was addressing for even suggesting that idea, sadly the fools controlled the purse strings.)
So what is Transuranium?
I have to assume that chemistry managed to seep into your education and that you at least have heard of the Periodic Table of elements. (Please tell me you know the difference between an element and a compound, if you don’t; you need to look up element. This is one of the difficult things about writing anything about science, I have no clue how much you grasp.) On the Periodic Table elements are arranged from lightest (Hydrogen {H} atomic number 1) to the ‘current’ heaviest (Ununoctium {Uuo} atomic number 118). It is the ‘atomic number’ that defines what is Transuranium, anything with an atomic number below 93 is a natural element; anything with an atomic number above 92 (Uranium’s atomic number hence ‘Transuranium’) is an ‘artificially’ made element. So even though people love to affix the prefix ‘trans’ to many different aspects such a gender or race; it actually is a concrete term from Latin, meaning: Beyond, across or over.
All Transuranium elements are radioactive, unstable and decay into other elements, usually just as unstable and equally radioactive as the decay process can last eons. While I use the term ‘artificially’, I have qualify that with ‘on earth’. All of the elements with higher atomic numbers, however, have been first discovered in the laboratory, with neptunium, plutonium, americium, curium, berkelium and californium later also discovered in nature. They are all radioactive, with a half-life much shorter than the age of the Earth, so any atoms of these elements, if they ever were present at the Earth’s formation, have long since decayed. What the reader should take from this is the plan truth; the earth was becoming less radioactive, before we started splitting atoms.
Enrico Fermi discovered that the nucleus of most atoms could absorb a neutron or neutrons thus changing the element into a new atom in 1933. It wasn’t until 1940 that Edwin McMillan successfully produced Neptunium ({Np} atomic number 93) and 1941 that Glen Seaborg produced Plutonium ({Pu} atomic number 94) that things really started to stink. (See what I did there ‘Pu’; come-on this is really dry material, I have to make it fun to read.)
Now don’t start thinking that only transuranium elements are the only radioactive ones out there, because that would be dead wrong. Uranium is of course radioactive as is Radium ({Ra} atomic number 88), Polonium ({Po} atomic number 84), and Tritium ({H3} one of the Hydrogen isotopes). There are of course more many being isotopes like Carbon 14, the one we use for ‘carbon dating’ but it needs to be understood that all these elements and isotopes were in a constant state of decay here on earth. While nature does produce some of them in limited or small amounts, it was not until we began monkeying with fission, that they are now being created all too commonly.
My thesis here is part of a broader picture that I refer to as ‘Baseline Background’. What it states is that any increase in acceptable ionizing radiation; must be compared to the ‘pre-artificial fission’ of the Chicago Pile because every background measurement after that up until today, is artificially fortified by the folly of nuclear energy in use today.
Plain truth be known, the world is becoming increasingly radioactive and its exponential and showing no signs of letting up. You cannot adapt to it, you will not become a mutant nor can or will any other life on this blue marble. On the microbiological scale, you have already passed the point of no return, on the bio-magnification scale you have sealed the fates of yourselves and your children and Fukushima was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
For those who laugh and say; ‘in for a penny, in for a pound’ and continue on nuclear energy’s present course; dying of cancer is not a condemnation I would wish on my worst enemy. Yet, you are worthy of your reward for you lack of foresight.”