Japanese gov’t plan to export nuclear power technology to Turkey floundering

Japanese gov’t plan to export nuclear power technology floundering
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A planned nuclear plant construction site is seen in Sinop, northern Turkey, in this 2012 file photo.
 
TOKYO — The Japanese government’s strategy to export nuclear power technology has run aground amid rising safety costs and deteriorating prospects for project profitability. While the government has aimed to maintain the country’s nuclear technology and expert resources through construction of atomic reactors abroad amid stalled nuclear plant development at home, its projects with Turkey and Britain have both hit snags.
“The Turkish government is in the midst of evaluating the project. I believe it will respond to us in some way or other,” said Shunichi Miyanaga, president of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd., in mid-December about a plan to build a nuclear power plant in Sinop, northern Turkey. Miyanaga’s comment suggested that the fate of the project had been left up to the Turkish government.
At the end of July last year, Mitsubishi Heavy told the Turkish government that the cost of the project would total somewhere around 5 trillion yen, more than doubling from the original estimate of roughly 2.1 trillion yen. As the plan envisages recovering the costs through profits from power generation at the nuclear facility, it would not become profitable unless Turkey purchases the generated electricity at a higher price than originally expected. If Turkey does not comply with the increased burden, Japan would withdraw from the plan.
The nuclear plant project was pitched by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to then Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2013. At the time, Abe vowed at a press conference in Ankara, “We will share our experiences and lessons from the (2011) disaster at the nuclear plant (run by the Tokyo Electric Power Co. in Fukushima) with the rest of the world, and will strive to contribute to enhancing the safety of nuclear power generation.”
However, the catastrophe prompted the international community to turn a wary eye toward nuclear power, leaving the costs for safety measures at nuclear plants to swell. The steep fall in the Turkish lira over the past year by more than 30 percent also added to the project’s deteriorating profitability.
Under these circumstances, Tokyo plans to propose to Ankara that it would provide comprehensive energy cooperation in such spheres as coal-fired thermal power generation and liquefied natural gas, in place of the atomic plant project. Because the nuclear power project is based on an agreement struck by both leaders, such a proposal by Tokyo could face a backlash from Ankara, but Japan’s focus is already shifting to how to withdraw from the project without undermining bilateral diplomatic ties with Turkey.
Meanwhile, a nuclear plant construction project undertaken by Hitachi Ltd. on the Isle of Anglesey in central Britain has also run into rough waters, after the project’s costs soared to approximately 3 trillion yen, about 1.5 times the initial estimate.
In May last year, Hitachi Chairman Hiroaki Nakanishi held talks with British Prime Minister Theresa May, where the latter agreed to expand her government’s support for the project. However, British citizens have been wary of the scheme out of concern that it could lead to rising electricity bills should Japan’s request to raise the sale price of electricity be accepted.
As the May administration is suffering from sagging approval ratings amid turmoil over Britain’s exit from the European Union, it is becoming increasingly difficult for London to comply with an increased burden. At home, Japanese companies are also becoming more reluctant to invest in the project out of fears of poor profitability and accident risks. Given the circumstances, Tokyo is also likely to exit the project.
The Abe administration has made the export of nuclear power technology a pillar of its growth strategy, but to little avail thus far. While the government intends to pursue measures to counter China and Russia’s aggressive drive to export nuclear plants by stepping up financial support for partner countries and through other measures, such a strategy may end up bringing more harm than good.
“The empirical values of China and Russia, where nuclear power plants are still being built, are considerably high (compared with other countries including Japan),” said Tomoko Murakami of the Institute of Energy Economics, Japan. In China, where 100 nuclear reactors are planned to be operational by 2030, state-owned companies are securing a spate of orders for nuclear power projects mainly in emerging countries, with the financial backing from the Chinese government. Russia also is said to undertake the whole process from leasing nuclear fuel to other countries to reprocessing their spent fuel, with the possible aim of boosting its diplomatic and security influence as well.
Officials in the Japanese nuclear power industry are finding a ray of hope in the Czech Republic’s plan to build a nuclear power plant, which has also attracted attention from China, Russia, South Korea and a joint venture of Mitsubishi Heavy and France’s Framatome. However, financial issues are again casting a shadow over the plan.
Tadashi Narabayashi, a specially appointed professor at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, warns that at this rate, “Japan would lose its own atomic power industry, and would have to import Chinese-made nuclear plants 20 years from now. It’s a critical situation.”
Meanwhile, a senior official of an economy-related government body said, “It is difficult for Japanese manufacturers, which can’t even build nuclear plants in their own country, to win confidence (abroad),” suggesting that the government’s strategy to export nuclear power technology in itself is unreasonable.
Gov’t to give up plan to export nuclear power reactors to Turkey
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In this Nov. 6, 2018 file photo, Japan’s Prime Minister Abe, right, shakes hands with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu at the prime minister’s office in Tokyo.
 
TOKYO — Japan is expected to effectively withdraw its plans to build a nuclear power plant in Turkey by asking Ankara to inject a significantly larger amount of funds amid ballooning safety costs — a demand Turkey is likely to reject — according to people familiar with the decision.
The Japanese government decided to ask for the increased coverage by Turkey as a final condition for constructing the plant. Under the current proposal, the plant is to be built by ATMEA, a joint venture of Japan’s Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. (MHI) and French nuclear plant maker Framatome, near the Black Sea coastal town of Sinop in northern Turkey.
Besides the Turkish project, another plan to export nuclear power reactors to Britain by Hitachi Ltd. also faces difficulties. If both plans fail, a growth drive strategy of the administration of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will collapse.
The Turkish project has its roots in a 2013 joint declaration for cooperation over the construction of nuclear power plants signed by Prime Minister Abe and then Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Under the original plan, four medium-sized ATMEA1 reactors would be built for the start of operation in 2023.
However, the total cost estimate conducted in July 2018 by MHI for the project more than doubled from the original projection of some 2.1 trillion yen to around 5 trillion yen. The price hike occurred amid rising safety costs following the 2011 triple core meltdowns that hit the Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, as well as the finding of an active fault near the Sinop site. In addition, the Turkish lira has gone down since the summer of 2018, eroding the project’s profitability further. Tokyo therefore decided to increase the sale price of electricity to be generated by the new nuclear power station in a bid to recover project costs.
It is expected to be difficult for Ankara to accept the new condition, because it would mean the Turkish people would have to shoulder a greater financial burden. Japan and Turkey will effectively discuss how to arrange Japan’s departure from the project. In a bid to sustain their bilateral relationship, the Japanese government and MHI plan to propose to Turkey provision of high efficiency coal-fired power production technologies and other offers.
Meanwhile, Hitachi, which also manufactures nuclear reactors, has acknowledged that it faces difficulties in completing a project to build two nuclear reactors in Britain. Chairman Hiroaki Nakanishi of the company told reporters in December that he informed the British government that the plan was “at a limit” due to a surge in project costs.
Both the Turkish and British projects have been pitched directly by Prime Minister Abe, but those once promising plans now appear to be falling apart.
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5 Chiba prefecture mayors request radioactive waste storage facility for the 8th Time

This is an ongoingly highly toxic and dangerous situation made even more difficult by lies and cover-ups and nuclear industry which owns way too many politicians.
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For the 8th time mayors from five cities in Chiba prefecture requested that the central government deal with high level radioactive waste in their cities: Matsudo, Kashiwa, Nagareyama, Abiko, Inzai.
Since 2011, the waste from the Fukushima disaster has been left in temporary storage locations.
The mayors began formally requesting the central government establish a long term storage facility for this waste in January. At the 8th meeting again requesting this assistance they left empty handed again.
Much of this waste consists of contaminated soil, plant matter and possibly dried sewage sludge or incinerator ash. It was not specified what waste streams would be stored in the requested facility. Much of the contaminated soil has been stored in empty lots, some of these near homes or schools, others in watershed areas.
Parts of Chiba received unexpected levels of contamination. Southerly winds at the time of some of the larger releases from the nuclear meltdowns caused contamination into parts of Chiba and Tokyo. Places hours away from a nuclear power plant can find themselves dealing with high radiation levels and contamination due to bad timing and a change of the wind.

Japan signs trade agreements with Taiwan despite ongoing dispute over nuclear food ban

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Taiwan to seek understanding as Japan threatens to sue over food ban
November 29, 2018
Taipei, Nov. 29 (CNA) Taiwan will seek Japan’s understanding in a row over a ban on imports of agricultural and food products from radiation contaminated areas in Japan, the foreign ministry said Thursday, in response to a threat by Japan to take the case to the World Trade Organization (WTO).
 
Earlier in the day, Japan’s Foreign Minister Taro Kono told lawmakers in Tokyo that the government will not rule out the possibility of filing a complaint with the WTO over the ban, which has been in place since the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster in March 2011.
 
Kono’s statement came after Taiwanese voted on Nov. 24 in favor of maintaining the ban, by margin of 78 percent to 22 percent in a referendum.
 
Commenting on Kono’s remarks, Andrew Lee (李憲章), spokesman for Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), said the ministry will cautiously engage in talks with Japan over the referendum result to seek understanding and protect the bilateral relations.
 
The Taiwan government has to respect public opinion, as expressed in the referendum result, but it also has to make sure that its cordial relations with Japan are not affected, Lee said.
 
He said it is MOFA’s long held stance that any decision on the ban must be based on international standards, scientific evidence and the relevant WTO rules.
 
In addition, the health of the Taiwanese people must be taken into consideration, Lee said, adding that the final decision on the issue rests with Ministry of Health and Welfare.
 
In 2015, Japan filed a complaint with the WTO against South Korea over a similar ban and won the case on Feb. 22 this year.
 
The WTO said the ban was inconsistent with its rules against “arbitrarily or unjustifiably” discriminating against another country and recommended that South Korea take corrective action.
 
South Korea, however, has appealed the WTO ruling and has maintained the ban.
 
Taiwan’s ban on food products from radiation-contaminated areas of Japan, namely Fukushima, Ibaraki, Gunma, Tochigi and Chiba prefectures, was imposed in 2011 by the then-Kuomintang government and tightened in 2015 after products from some of the listed Japanese prefectures were found on store shelves in Taiwan.
 
Since the Democratic Progressive Party came to power in 2016, it has been considering lifting the ban on food imports from all the affected prefectures except Fukushima, but has run into strong public opposition to the idea. 
Japan signs trade agreements with Taiwan despite ongoing dispute over nuclear food ban
November 30, 2018
Japan signed five trade agreements with Taiwan on Friday, despite the ongoing ban on imports of Japanese food products that Taipei imposed after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.
It had been feared that the ban, which is to be upheld following last week’s national referendum, could upset trade ties between the two sides.
Yet Taiwan-Japan Relations Association President Chiou I-jen and his Japanese counterpart, Mitsuo Ohashi, chairman of the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association – the closest thing the two have to ambassadors in the absence of diplomatic ties – still signed one agreement and four memorandums of understanding at the Ambassador Hotel in Taipei, signalling their mutual desire to overlook the issue for now.
The agreement pertains to the speeding up of customs clearance process for goods traded between Japan and Taiwan, while the four MOUs deal with a wide range of trade issues, including the exchange of patent information, business partnerships, trade in medical equipment and materials, joint research, and cooperation in promoting small and medium-sized enterprises.
All five were signed only six days after Taiwanese voters approved a referendum requiring the government to maintain a ban on food imports from Fukushima prefecture and nearby Ibaraki, Gunma, Tochigi and Chiba prefectures. In campaigning ahead of last Saturday’s referendum and in the days since, much attention focused on whether its passage would drive a wedge between Japan and Taiwan, especially when they are otherwise working to cooperate more closely on security matters.
According to diplomatic insiders, Ohashi expressed regret over the referendum result when he visited Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen on Thursday.
Tsai reportedly described bilateral ties as “stable” and “close,” and said Taiwan hopes Tokyo will support its bid to participate in the second round of accession talks to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, an 11-nation free trade agreement in which Japan plays a leading role.
In the trade talks, Taiwanese negotiators raised that issue, Chang Shu-ling, secretary general of the Taiwan-Japan Relations Association, told a press conference after the signing ceremony. She also dismissed speculation that the food ban referendum would have any negative impact on bilateral relations, saying the trade agreements were a clear demonstration of close ties.
Japanese negotiators had asked Taiwan to ease the food ban on scientific grounds, while Taiwanese officials stressed the civic right of its people to affect policy through referendums.
On Thursday, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono told the Diet that Tokyo did not rule out taking the matter to the World Trade Organisation, which has already ruled that South Korea’s import ban on seafood from Fukushima and other parts of Japan is “arbitrarily and unjustifiably” discriminatory. South Korea has appealed the ruling.
China, meanwhile, on Thursday lifted its ban on rice produced in Niigata Prefecture, but maintained restrictions on nine other prefectures.
Taiwan’s representative to Japan, Frank Hsieh, previously said that if China eased its restrictions before Taiwan, the latter would be “embarrassed” because it would become the only place to retain a comprehensive ban on Japanese food products from regions affected by the 2011 nuclear disaster.

Selective abortion and radioactive contamination in Japan

From November 2, 2015
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The Great East Japan Earthquake occurred on March 11th 2011. The tsunami reached shore 49 minutes later. Fukushima Daiichi Power Plant was hit and 7 minutes later lost all power and control over the reactors. We know now that 4 hours later, the nuclear meltdown had already started. The first explosion occurred one day after the loss of power.
Tragic environments that a thousands of children with disabilities and sicknesses live with as the result of the mega earthquake and the Tsunami followed by the nuke accident in Fukushima continues.  Fukushima Prefecture Health Management Survey reported the results of Thyroid Ultrasound Examination on 7 February 2014. 75 suspicious or malignant cases were found including 34surgical cases, one of benign nodules, 32 papillay adenocarcinoma, one suspicious for poorly differentiated cartinoma. Whenever Japanese parents fume over Fukushima radiation, they stressed their baby’s abnormality as the results of tragedy. And it has been long time debating the parental dilemma whether or not to have a baby from the fear of radiation after 311 in Fukushima.
From April 2013, government approved 26 flagship hospitals to conduct the noninvasive prenatal genetic testing (NIPT) which will results of increasing number of selective abortion of babies with disabilities, as same as phenomenological dilemma people in US were already faced.  Many people with disabilities have felt and do feel real threat to life. Violence against people with disability in Japan continues, or accelerates after 311.

Ryan Smith, alias Jon Doe, death in Tokyo

A very sad news.
This morning I just learned from a friend that our Rainbow Warrior Ryan Dale Smith had passed away this mid- December. How sad.
I never had the chance to meet him personally, but I did follow his Jon Doe Youtube videos, which I found quite interesting. I used to enjoy talking to him and looked forward to meeting him someday in Tokyo.
He had reported on Fukushima from inside Japan very courageously since day one during the past years. One of the very few to do it with quality and no nonsense.
 
Ryan Dale Smith was a rough uncut diamond shining by his wits and his sincerity. His deeply-felt loyalty to the working class shined out.
 
As Marleen Gillespie says: “Those who care so deeply for the needs of others often suffer from the pain of carying the weight of the world on their shoulders. The blessing they are to the world far too often also leaves a deep, unhealing personal wound. But, they must be treasured for the beautiful blessings they are, not the injury that took them from us.”
 
His Mother has left a message on his FB page Ryan Dale Smith if anyone wants to pay their respects to her and the family https://www.facebook.com/Jontube
 
We will miss you Ryan. Peace to your soul on your journey.
My condolences to his wife and daughter, and mother.
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Ryan Smith: Father, husband, communist
During the early hours of Tuesday, Dec. 12, Tozen Union member Ryan Smith (aka Jon Doe) passed away. He was 37.
He is survived by his wife, Makiko Kono, his 1-year-old daughter, Kayla, and his mother, Carrie Lester Plaster.
From Athens, West Virginia, Ryan studied journalism at Concord University. He moved to Japan in 2008 and taught English to adults and children.
Ryan loved to talk politics and never missed a chance to declare his commitment to Marxist revolution and his pride in his rural, working-class roots. His YouTube channel has over 1,800 subscribers.
But he loved nothing as much as his tiny daughter, Kayla. Since her birth, nearly every Facebook entry he posted included photos or video of her.
Just a random post on his account since his death gives an idea how loved and missed he is:
“As they lay you to rest this day I can only pray your restless soul is at peace. The impact your life had on so many cannot be ignored. May MK find strength to carry on your memory for Kayla. God speed, Ryan. I know the brightest star in tonight’s sky is you.”
But the best way to capture the man and his spirit is to quote something he wrote on the site two days before his death:
“I don’t believe in God, but I believe that humans have a special spark in them. I don’t believe humans have a soul, but I know there is a common feeling which binds all of humanity.
“I don’t believe in heaven or hell, but I know those who stomp on their fellow human beings have to hide from the rest of us to avoid being hung by a rope in the streets.
“I know right from wrong. I know it’s wrong the way capitalists treat working people. I don’t need a god or soul to understand that capitalists are bad people.”

A Call for Working Together to Enact the Chernobyl Law in Japan

By Masami Ueno (Director of Fukushima-Iseshima Association)
 
Fukushima-Isehima Association is a Non-Profit Organization located in Mie Prefecture in Japan. We have been helping the evacuees (be it forced or volunteered) from Fukushima to settle in Mie Prefecture and providing the children of Fukushima with recuperation programs in Mie since March 2011. We also send fresh vegetables to families in Fukushima.  
 
Our activities mentioned above have been supported by generous donations and grants. However, after six years have passed, we have realized that what private organizations—like ours—can do is limited. Yet, our activities are still necessary for many people since radiation continues to be released into the air every day as the result of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Then, the question is how we can tackle with such an unprecedented scale of disaster. To be honest, we are at a loss. However, there are two important precedents we should follow. 
 
The first instance is the Chernobyl Law that was established by the government of the former Soviet Union for the people affected by the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster in order to protect their lives and health from radiation. The Chernobyl Law is also the first law in the world that manifests the universal human rights to the life of the people affected by the radiation disaster. We believe that Japan must enact the law equivalent to the Chernobyl Law.  
 
Another instance is Japan’s Freedom of Information Law that was established by the government of Japan in 1999. This law was the product of the accumulated efforts made by the citizens all over Japan; those citizens requested their own local governments and members of the city councils to enact the Freedom of Information Law at the municipal levels. This citizen movement eventually led to the enactment of this law at the national level. We can establish Japan’s Chernobyl Law by following this history and experience of the civil actions that eventually realized the Freedom of Information Law in Japan.
 
We would like to work together with many of you toward the enactment of Japan’s Chernobyl Law in order to protect our health and lives from the radiation disaster.
Please take a moment to read the following. We hope that you support our idea and join our effort to establish Japan’s Chernobyl Law.
 
Five years after the Chernobyl nuclear accident, the so-called “Chernobyl Law” was established by the former Soviet Union; it was then succeeded by the governments of Ukraine, Russia and Belarus after the dissolvement of the Soviets.  
 
All these governments have guaranteed the right to evacuation for the residents living in the contaminated areas by radiation, while providing the people living in the areas to which the evacuation orders were issued with the social security. The three countries are not necessarily in a sound economic situation; consequently, they are not able to fulfill all the compensations stimulated by the law. Nonetheless, the Chernobyl Law is still significant for human history as it identifies the government as the primary responsible for the nuclear disaster and guarantees the unconditional right to evacuation for the residents living in areas where one’s exposure to radiation would exceed 1 mSv/year.
 
On the other hand, the Japanese government raised the standard of public dose limit for radiation exposure from 1 mSv to 20 mSv per year after the Fukushima nuclear accident, and continues to maintain the same dose limit as the safety standard, which turns to be the criteria for the government to lift the evacuation order today. 
 
Furthermore, the Fukushima Health Management Survey Committee has renounced the possibility of causal relation between the increasing number of thyroid cancers among the Fukushima children and radiation, and has never taken a drastic measurement for the health problems among the residents of Fukushima.
 
Japan’s radiation risk management policy considerably differs from that of the three former USSR countries, which set up 1 mSv/ year as the public dose limit for radiation exposure and provide the social security for the people who are diagnosed as a possible victim of the radiological consequences of the Chernobyl nuclear accident.
 
Immediately after the Chernobyl nuclear accident, the government of the former Soviet Union raised the standard of the public dose for radiation exposure from 1 mSv to 100 mSv/year; and some experts insisted that 100 mSv/year was ‘safe’ even around the period where the Chernobyl Law was being established. However, the public dose limit was reversed to 1mSv/year, which is the international standard, because the nuclear power plant workers, who had dealt with the accident, fiercely opposed to the government’s policy of 100 mSv as the post-Chernobyl public dose limit. 
 
We, the citizens in Japan, too, experienced the nuclear catastrophe that reminded us of the dignity of life.
We must speak out and take actions in order to establish Japan’s Chernobyl Law.
                                                          
May 2017
 
Please contact us if you like to work with us to draft a model plan and formulate a procedure to enact the law at the municipal level. The below is our contacts:
 
Email:
ueno_masami_1108@yahoo.co.jp(Masami Ueno)
noam@m6.dion.ne.jp(Toshio Yanagihara)