Fukushima - Two Years On
Energiepolitik - Atomkraft
The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 11, Issue 12, March 25, 2013.
Fukushima - Two Years On
Mar. 25, 2013
Two years after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami triggered the planet’s worst’s nuclear disaster since Chernobyl, journalists are still often asked: is the crisis over? One plausible reply might be that it has just begun.
While the threat of another catastrophic release of radiation has receded, perhaps for good, the long, complex struggle to safely remove nuclear fuel from the reactor basements of the Fukushima Daiichi plant is still in its early stages. Reactors still seep radiation, although at a rate of 10 million Becquerel per hour for cesium versus about 800 trillion right after the disaster, according to Reuters. The level outside reactor 3 is 1,710 microsieverts an hour, enough to quickly induce radiation sickness. But radiation around the complex has fallen by about 40 percent in the last year, says operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO).
Plant manager Takahashi Takeshi has again predicted that safely dismantling the six-reactor facility will take up to 40 years. “Radiation levels at units one, two and three are very high and the cause of that is the fuel that has melted inside the reactors," he said during a rare media tour of the plant on March 6. "Radiation levels within the buildings are all very high, although the level at Unit 4 is lower.” He insisted that the ruined No. 4 reactor building, containing 1,530 highly toxic fuel rods, would withstand another earthquake, despite doomsday predictions by some.
He said the unit’s fuel cooling pool has been reinforced and could resist a quake equivalent to
the one that struck on March 11, 2011. Reporters were shown a huge steel structure under construction right next to Unit 4. Engineers explained it will eventually be fitted with a giant crane to lift out the spent fuel rods stored in the top of the Unit 4 building. Takahashi said the fuel removal would begin in November.
The twisted steel frame of Unit 3, now partially covered with huge gray steel panels, is still visible from the hydrogen explosion that ripped the building apart. Two large unmanned cranes stand next to the unit, clearing up the debris on the top floor, where some 500 spent fuel rods are kept in a pool. Another 6,300 fuel rods are stored in a common pool nearby.
Daiichi’s nuclear fuel is kept cool by thousands of gallons of water pumped every day which engineers are struggling to decontaminate. Over 930 water tanks, each holding 1000 tons, have mushroomed at the plant. Engineers said a single tank fills once every two and a half days. A huge structure with lines of Toshiba-designed filtering equipment labors to remove 62 different types of radioactive materials from the water. There is nowhere else for the water to go.
There are widespread reports of shortages of labor at the plant and in the surrounding areas. Reuters says that 70 percent of a sample of workers surveyed by TEPCO late last year made more than 837 yen per hour, roughly equivalent to the hourly remuneration at convenience stores in Japan. The news agency says that as of the end of December 2012, 146 TEPCO workers and 21 contract workers “had exceeded the maximum permissible exposure of 100 millisieverts in five years.”
Estimates of the cost of clearing up from the disaster keep rising. Some experts believe
compensation could double from its current estimates to 10 trillion yen. Not a single one of the approximately 160,000 nuclear refugees has been fully compensated for the loss of their property, land and income. The Japan Center for Economic Research, a Tokyo-based think tank, has estimated that decontamination costs alone in the Fukushima residential area could balloon to as much as $600 billion. TEPCO was nationalized in 2012 so much of the burden of paying for this will fall on the taxpayer.
Outside the plant, in the towns and villages that evacuated in March 2011, life has frozen in time. Police barricades prevent all but authorized people from entering the 20-km contaminated zone. The sea is still too contaminated to fish so hundreds of local fishermen are idle. Parents around Fukushima Prefecture, home to about two million people, face years of worry about the impact of the Daiichi plant’s payload on their children. In this Greenpeace-produced video, the victims of Fukushima express anger and bewilderment at their predicament, and at what the future holds.
Dr David McNeill is the Japan correspondent for The Chronicle of Higher Education and writes for The Independent and Irish Times newspapers. He covered the nuclear disaster for all three publications, has been to Fukushima ten times since 11 March 2011, and has written the book Strong in the Rain (with Lucy Birmingham) about the disasters. He is an Asia-Pacific Journal coordinator.
Mit freundlicher Erlaubnis von Japan Focus.
Fukushima: Einschätzung der Dreifach-Katastrophe
Fukushima Dreifach-Katastrophe März 2011
Fukushima: An Assessment of the Quake, Tsunami and Nuclear Meltdown
Mar. 25, 2013
3:11 – The What
It is just over two years since Japan’s quake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdown. It was Japan’s 3rd nuclear catastrophe, at level 7 highest on the scale and on a par with Chernobyl, although, unlike Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it was self-inflicted. The triple event left 20,000 dead, 315,000 refugees, and a devastated swathe of productive farm and fish country and its towns and villages that will take decades, at least, to recover.
Today, the Government of Japan tends to refer to the “Great East Japan Earthquake,” preferring to focus on the quake and tsunami rather than the meltdown, as if it were some inexplicable act of god. It talks of its policies for economic revival, reconstruction and crisis management, but little of the nuclear crisis.
The triple catastrophe is often referred to as “soteigai” (unimaginable) but we now know was not the case. The Diet committee that investigated the accident pointed out last year that the disaster was structural, man-made, brought about by the failings of the power company and of the national government. Even before Fukushima, the nuclear industry was known for data falsification and fabrication, the duping of safety inspectors, the belittling of risk and the failure to report criticality incidents and emergency shut-downs. Directly and indirectly, politicians, bureaucrats, industrialists, lawyers, media groups, academics also collaborated, constituting in sum the so-called “nuclear village.” “Japan’s nuclear industry became, as one critic put it, “a black hole of criminal malfeasance, incompetence, and corruption”
Path to Militarism
Japans Verfassung, Artikel 9
JAPAN'S PATH TO MILITARISM
By Global Article 9 Campaign
On December 16, key figure of Japan’s ideological conservative right Abe Shinzo was elected as Japan’s new Prime Minister. Elected on a nationalist platform, Abe won a landslide victory of the Liberal Democratic Party in the lower house of Parliament.
During his first tenure as Prime Minister in 2006-2007, Abe ardently pushed for the revision of war-renouncing Article 9 of Japan’s Constitution in the name of building a “strong Japan.” His track record includes overseeing the creation of the Ministry of Defense, advocating for the re-interpretation of Article 9 to expend the mandates of Self-Defense Forces’ missions and allow collective action. Back in power, Abe is determined to push his agenda forward.
New LDP’s draft constitution
Last April, before Abe returned to power, the LDP drafted a new constitution, with the changes it would like to see adopted as part of its broader agenda "to reclaim Japanese sovereignty" by getting rid of the current constitution, which, according to Abe, fails “to provide a necessary condition for an independent nation”.
Radiation and Fukushima's Future
Radiation and Fukushima's Future
May 01, 2012
Asia-Paciific Journal Feature
In the climate of fear and uncertainty concerning current levels of radioactive contamination in Fukushima Prefecture and their potential impact on public health, new government reports are indicating that these problems will remain serious ones for years.
Below are recent reports from Asahi and Jiji concerning the extent of contamination in Fukushima and the likely medium and long-term prognosis. Several areas of Fukushima will have high radiation levels for at least a decade and it will be 5 years or more before residents of the municipalities closest to Fukushia Daiichi will be able to consider returning to their homes. The Japanese government is deliberating buying the area around Fukushima Daiichi, including residential properties, and making it public land. The government’s Reconstruction Agency is also investigating whether or not evacuees are interested in returning at all. At this stage, serious decontamination efforts in the most effected zones have yet to begin.
No return to 7 areas near Fukushima plant for 5 years
April 23, 2012
Click here for the original
Bereft of decontamination work, residents will be unable to return home for at least five years in seven municipalities around the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, according to the government’s radiation projection charts.
Build Jeju-Okinawa Peace Solidarity
Für den 7. April 2012 war vereinbart, dass die hier wiedergegebene Erklärung der "Korea-Japan Peace Action to Stop the Establishment of Jeju Naval Base" in Gangyeong auf Chejudo veröffentlicht wird. Den japanischen Mitgliedern wurde am 6. April die Einreise verwehrt, sie wurden deportiert. Daraufhin wurde die Erklärung sowohl auf Chejudo als auch in Japan in getrennten Pressekonferenzen veröffentlicht.
Die Erklärung folgt, zuerst in Englisch, danach in Koreanisch und Japanisch.
English ( translation by Rebecca Kim) - http://cafe.daum.net/peacekj/I51g/304
Japanese - http://www7b.biglobe.ne.jp/~jeju/01kaisetu/20120413.html
Korean (국문) - http://cafe.daum.net/peacekj/RXi3/13
Statement to Protest the Establishment of Jeju Naval Base and Build Jeju-Okinawa Peace SolidarityTensions comparable to an under-siege and daily confrontations rise in Gangjeong Village where Jeju Naval Base is under construction. Even rudimentary protection of human rights and common sense became something hard to find. There is every reason why the current situation came to remind us of what happened on Jeju Island during the April 3rd Massacre of 1948.
There were numerous cases of human rights violation and deprivation in Okinawa during the US military occupation. When there was the US military administration in South Korea, the April 4th Massacre on Jeju Island took place. There were killings everywhere from Torabora to Helmand during the US military government in Afghanistan. A Faluza attack was operated during the US military occupation of Iraq. The US military administration field manual was first made in the occupied Italy and North Africa in the 1940s, completed in Okinawa, recycled in South Korea to be maintained until today. It is inevitable that large-scale killings are repeated before a general election to set up a pro-US government wherever the US militarily governs, since the process is from the US military administration manual. The historical wounds that Okinawa and Jeju Island have stem from the same perpetrator.
Depleted uranium munition was used in the Gulf War in 1990. There was a shooting accident where DU munition was used in Okinawa in 1995. There was an accidental bombing where DU was used in Yeoncheon in 1997. There was another DU-used accidental shooting in a US warship in Hawaii in 1998. And it turned out that in the US bases in Suwon, Cheongju, Osan in South Korea, and in Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, is being stored over 3 million DU bombs, the amount of which outnumbers three times that used in Iraq. US nuclear Tomahawk missiles aboard submarines use Jinhae in Korea as their port of call through Hawaii and the White Beach Naval Facility in Okinawa. It is obvious that those US ships would also be called to Jeju naval base once its construction is finished. All around the globe, the US bases are fraught with sexual assaults against civilians, cases of noise damage, and oil and other environmental contamination. The ongoing wounds in a state of constant aggravation in Okinawa and Jeju Island also have the same perpetrator.
The most decisive factor in the connection of Korea-Japan, Okinawa and Jeju Island
Alles muss neu geschaffen werden: Fukushima
Fukushima: Everything has to be done again for us to stay in the contaminatedApr. 15, 2012
An interview with IWATA Wataru by Nadine and Thierry Ribault
Translation by Francis Guerin
IntroductionWe have known Iwata Wataru for more than two years, and when he decided to depart to Fukushima from Kyoto, he asked us to locate Geiger counters in France because at that time there were none available for his use in Japan. Despite active searching we found none. However, we contacted the independent radioactivity measuring laboratory CRIIRAD, which was created in France following the Chernobyl accident. The CRIIRAD people decided to send counters and other measurement accessories free to Wataru's recently created "Project 47". In May 2011, we joined the CRIIRAD measurement mission to Fukushima and witnessed the first steps in "Project 47" and their collaboration with CRIIRAD. The link was made and the idea to create a Japanese version of CRIIRAD came to mind and Iwata took the lead: in July 2011 CRMS was born. Iwata became the founder and technical director, with the technical support of CRIIRAD and of the Umweltinstitut in Munich, with the financial support of Days Japan and other donors. Iwata's experience engagement and commitment is the topic of the new book by Nadine and Thierry Ribault :
Les Sanctuaires de l'abîme - Chronique du désastre de Fukushima - aux Editions de l'Encyclopédie des Nuisances, Paris, 2012. (provisional English title: Snatched Away to Darkness - The Story of the Fukushima Disaster)
Composer IWATA Wataru poses many difficult questions regarding the long-term health risks faced by the victims of the Fukushima nuclear meltdown. He presents a compelling call to action framed in terms of what he calls an "auto-evacuation". In contrast to the state's directive to evacuate specific areas, the nature of auto-evacuation is that "people themselves decide to evacuate the affected zone."
On March 13 2011, two days after the Tohoku Earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster at Fukushima, the composer Iwata Wataru left his studio in the suburbs of Tokyo to take refuge in Kyoto. He was acutely aware, as the entire population now is, that an unprecedented catastrophe – even larger than Chernobyl – had occurred. After sleepless nights, Iwata, who never engaged in activism before, either humanitarian or political, decided to go to Fukushima prefecture on March 20, propelled by a zeal even he cannot fully explain.
During the following three months, Iwata created "Project 47″, named after the 47 prefectures of Japan. Funds were raised both to organize the evacuation of victims and to buy radiation measurement equipment to gather data that would subsequently be published. He explains:
"The situation in Japan looks more and more like that in wartime: television, print and Internet outlets are being called upon to impose a voluntary gag order on themselves."
"Project 47″ observers go to farms, schools and homes with radiometers and Geiger counters to measure radiation levels and publish them on their association website. They want to create the basis for what they call "auto-evacuation": a system whereby people can autonomously decide to evacuate those affected zones in which the state does not oblige them to evacuate.