Thursday, December 15, 2011

FUKUSHIMA UPDATE | The Fukushima Updates blog


Fukushima ocean radiation could pose sleeper threat
Scientists have determined that the unprecedented release of radioactivity into the Pacific Ocean from the Fukushima nuclear disaster poses no direct exposure threat to people, but caution that the accumulated fallout lying in sediment is a potential danger for decades to come.

Japan Split on Hope for Vast Radiation Cleanup
The debate over whether to repopulate the area, if trial cleanups prove effective, has become a proxy for a larger battle over the future of Japan. Supporters see rehabilitating the area as a chance to showcase the country’s formidable determination and superior technical skills — proof that Japan is still a great power.

Nuclear Disasters and the Danger of a Marginalized Media
As all we know, Japan has not gotten it right, and has not rebuilt any public trust. TEPCO and the Japanese regulatory body have at times been incorrect in their assessments of the situation at Fukushima Daiichi. And on numerous occasions TEPCO has communicated misinformation to the government and the public. They have often delayed needed action. The media, the group meant to bring accountability, were only allowed into the Fukushima plant area earlier this month, eight months after the accident.

My concerns about media independence and nuclear transparency do not stop in Japan. How can we be assured of transparency in any case when the government and nuclear power industry are both responsible for and have a large stake in finding plausible solutions to nuclear crises? This colluded power consolidation marginalizes the public interest. What chance does public health stand when it depends on the fall of a nuclear company in bed with the government?

Japanese Nuclear Accident Simulations Severely Underestimate Radiation Risks
Tokyo, Japan, November 29, 2011 – Greenpeace today renewed its demand for the Japanese government to keep its nuclear reactors offline as simulation maps of potential accidents at Japan’s nuclear plants – used in the development of nuclear emergency response efforts – are completely inadequate, and have not been updated since the Fukushima disaster.

Aileen interview on Free Speech Radio
Eight months after the Fukushima nuclear disaster, thousands of people – including children – remain in contaminated areas and citizens groups continue to push the government to assist in evacuations and clean up.

A new study out this week from the National Academy of Science warns that soil samples in the northeast of the country show unsafe levels of radiation for farming and on Thursday, Japan said it was restricting rice exports from Fukushima after grain was found to contain radioactive contamination higher than safety levels.

For more, we go to Kyoto, Japan to speak with Aileen Mioko Smith. She’s the executive director of Green Action Japan, a citizens group that has been monitoring the issue since the Fukushima disaster began in March this year...

Listen to interview

The Fukushima Updates blog is a project of Green Action Japan.

Founded in 1991, Green Action is a Japanese citizens organization (NGO) campaigning to stop Japan’s plutonium program. Based in Kyoto, Green Action provides timely information in Japanese and English about nuclear fuel cycle issues. We believe Japanese energy policy should shift away from nuclear fuel cycle development to advancement of conservation, energy efficiency, and renewable energy sources.

Collaborating with other citizen groups, Green Action has successfully campaigned to bring about a de facto moratorium on Japan’s program to use plutonium-uranium mixed oxide (MOX) fuel in Japanese commercial nuclear power plants. We continue to oppose government and utility plans to implement this ‘pluthermal’ program.

Green Action is also campaigning to prevent the start-up of the Rokkasho Reprocessing Plant in Aomori Prefecture, northern Japan. If operated, this plant would separate out as much as 7 or 8 tons of nuclear weapons usable plutonium a year. We also work with other citizen groups to build national opposition to Japan’s fast breeder reactor, Monju. Green Action is the international office for and co-founder of Stop Nuclear Waste Campaign.

Green Action networks regularly with domestic and international citizen groups to address pertinent issues concerning Japan’s plutonium program. We petition and hold negotiations with government agencies and electric utilities, initiate or participate in legal action, inform and lobby policymakers, brief and alert media and countries on the route of Japanese nuclear shipments, send delegations abroad, and invite international speakers to Japan. We also address policy change at government roundtables and symposia.

Fukushima Update | Tracking Japan's nuclear crisis

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