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Atomic Age mourns the passing of public health activist Dr. Jeff Patterson

Physician and public health activist Jeffrey Patterson, who joined us in The Atomic Age Symposium in May 2012, passed away on January 23, 2014. The symposium would not have been the same without Dr. Patterson and his passionate presentation, and each and every member involved in the Atomic Age project mourns his passing. May his soul rest in peace.


Dr. Patterson’s presentation at The Atomic Age Symposium 2012

School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Wisconsin-Madison

UW Health Mourns the Passing of Physician and Social Activist Jeffrey Patterson

Physicians for Social Responsibility

PSR Mourns an Exceptional Leader

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甲状腺被ばく、31市町で基準超=原発事故想定し独自試算-兵庫県 via 時事ドットコム



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The Nomination of Article 9 of Japan’s Constitution for a Nobel Peace Prize via Japan Focus

By Alexis Dudden

On April 9, 2014 the Norwegian Nobel Committee announced that the “Japanese people who conserve Article 9” had succeeded in registering themselves as contenders for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. As of this typing, the group remains a loosely organized, broad-based cross section of Japanese society committed to saving the Japanese constitution’s famous clause outlawing war.

A number of groups in Japan have long worked to save Japan’s unique, legal forfeiture of a national right to war — especially prominent is Nobel laureate Oe Kenzaburo’s group — and recent polls demonstrate such efforts having wider reach than ever before: an opinion poll published April 14 in the Asahi Shimbun reports 64% of Japanese favor preserving Article 9. Those who support attracting international attention through a Nobel Peace Prize now have between their action at Earth Day in Tokyo (April 19) and May 5 when the Nobel Prize committee announces its short list (winnowed down from this year’s record 278 contenders). The race is on, and some of the effort’s participants have set their sights on Japan’s May 3 National Constitution Day as a metaphorically significant goal line.
The nomination is significant, moreover, because its proponents represent a wide swath of Japanese society and a small number of international figures, who would single out for praise not Japan’s political leaders but the Japanese people who support Article 9. Nominators and supporters currently include people that will never be famous, and also Oe Kenzaburo, in addition to Noam Chomsky, and Japan Socialist Party Diet representative Fukushima Mizuho. Equally important, there are a number of powerfully connected business people and former and current government employees (including several former ambassadors), some of whom define themselves as “supporters” of the current prime minister yet who are deeply disturbed by his “turn to the right” (as one of them wrote to me in an email).

Late last spring, Takasu Naomi (鷹巣直美), a self-described 37 year-old housewife from Kanagawa prefecture outside Tokyo, began to collect signatures on her personal web page to preserve Article 9 in an effort to garner a Nobel Peace Prize for it and publicize its meaning internationally. At the time, she was still trying to determine the rules for submitting such a proposal. The Nobel Prize committee explained that only people or groups could win the award — not a constitution. Moreover, only certain kinds of people are eligible to make a nomination — not including housewives. Takasu redirected her energies to new channels. Organizing her efforts around an amorphous group in Japanese society that has perhaps never been so aptly or collectively named before, she submitted an entry on behalf of a group of Japanese citizens who believe in a core post-1945 national value (“Japanese people who conserve Article 9”). Equally noticeable is the fact that this group appears to be almost entirely absent in today’s news, which is dominated by headlines trumpeting (or occasionally questioning) the current Japanese leadership’s militarist turn and revanchist attitude.

On January 3, the Tokyo Shimbun reported Takasu’s efforts. During the New Year’s holidays, Hamaji Michio, a businessman in Tokyo with 25 years experience in the oil industry in Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the United States, read the newspapers carefully and responded enthusiastically to Takasu’s drive: “Shocked and so inspired,” as he puts it. Believing deeply in the drive’s core message, Hamaji immediately offered his political and business world connections.

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Chernobyl Radiation Shield Under Threat Amid Ukraine Crisis via Rianovosti

MOSCOW, April 23 (RIA Novosti) – The construction of a contamination shield at the damaged Chernobyl nuclear power plant could be delayed amid the ongoing political crisis in the country, the CEO of aid agency Chernobyl Children International (CCI) told the Irish Independent.
“What can never be forgotten is that the destruction caused by the deadly explosion at Reactor Number 4 at Chernobyl was triggered by the release of just 3 percent of the radioactive material in the plant, the remaining 97 percent of this enormous ticking time bomb of highly unstable nuclear material is still inside the crumbling Chernobyl complex,” Adi Roche said.
Work on the contamination shield, the largest of its kind in the world, was due to be completed by October 2015 but the turbulent political situation in Ukraine has cast doubt on the project’s progress.
Roche said that the work could be delayed by up to two years, adding that it is essential the international community understand the risks posed by the delay.

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Only US Nuclear Weapons Waste Storage Site Still Closed and Hot via Reader Supported News

By William Boardman

Nobody’s ever tried to fix an underground radiation accident before
More than two months after plutonium and americium leaked from the supposedly leak-proof underground nuclear weapons waste storage facility in Carlsbad, New Mexico, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) still does not know what caused the leak almost half a mile underground, but on April 17, an exploration crew found increasing radiation levels before retreating to safety. The DOE plans to send more teams, or robots, into the storage area to find the source of the radioactive contamination.

The nuclear weapons waste facility, carved into an underground salt deposit, is known as the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, or WIPP. It is the only repository for U.S. nuclear weapons waste and has been closed since undetermined amounts of plutonium and americium leaked into the atmosphere on February 14, 2014. This was the first known radioactive leak from WIPP, which its planners said would contain the nuclear weapons waste for 10,000 years without leaking.

As has been true at WIPP for months now, reliable, detailed information has been scarce. U.S. officials didn’t even inform the public that there had been a leak until four days after the event. Currently, the government is not saying what levels of radiation their teams have encountered during four trips into the storage area 2,130 feet underground. An Associated Press report carried this typically opaque bit of public information on April 17: “Tammy Reynolds, the U.S. Department of Energy’s deputy recovery manager, told a community meeting in Carlsbad that more trips need to be made into the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant to further investigate the accident, but officials hope to have more information next week.”
Government says irradiated workers are just fine
Officially, the radioactive release of February 14 contaminated 21 WIPP workers. These workers, who are employed by the government contractor that manages WIPP, ingested small amounts of plutonium or americium, either of which will remain a threat to the workers’ health for a long time (plutonium 239 has a half-life of 24,000 years; americium 242 has a half-life of 141 years).

Officially, the workers’ “exposure levels were extremely low, and the employees are unlikely to experience any health effects as a result.” Unlikely, perhaps, but with highly radioactive alpha radiation emitters lodged in their bodies, their chance of serious health issues has increased, and will not likely decrease. The workers were all working above ground when they were exposed. Reportedly there were no workers underground at the time of the accident.

The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant currently has more than 5,000 cubic feet of nuclear weapons waste in 41 packages that are not isolated. They are stored above ground in a parking area unit and a waste handling building. This waste arrived prior to the accidents at WIPP and the accidents prevented the waste from being moved underground.

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苦渋 被ばく自力検査 福島県外は国費対象外苦渋 被ばく自力検査 福島県外は国費対象外via 東京新聞

東京電力福島第一原発事故を受け、福島県以外の地域で、住民団体が被ばく検査を自主的に実施したり、自治体が支援したりする動きが広がっている。背景には、首都圏などでも局所的に空間放射線量が高い地域があるのに、福島県のように国費で被ばく検査する制度がないので自助努力せざるを得ないという、苦渋の現実がある。 (大野暢子(まさこ)、写真も)


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As nuclear power dies, solar rises via CNN

(CNN) — At long last, this Earth Day we celebrate the true dawn of the Solar Age. That sunrise is hastened, here and abroad, by the slow demise of the once-touted “too-cheap-to-meter” Atomic Age of nuclear power.
As utilities find nuclear power less and less cost effective, new solar photovoltaic installations in the United States are springing up. New solar installations in 2013 reached a record 4.2 gigawatts, bringing the total to 10. On average, one gigawatt of solar photovoltaics powers 164,000 U.S. homes. That means power for 1.6 million homes.

Worldwide, in 2013, solar power installations grew by 38 gigawatts, from 96 to 134. According to the World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2013, in the preceding year, 45 gigawatts of wind and 32 gigawatts of solar power were installed worldwide, compared with a net addition of just 1.2 gigawatts of nuclear.
Hastening this energy revolution is the nuclear industry’s Achilles heel: an aging, dangerous reactor fleet that is increasingly uncompetitive and new reactor designs that are too expensive to build.
Ironically, Warren Buffett, arguably the world’s greatest capitalist, has emerged as the poster child for this dramatic shift. In June 2013, Buffett’s MidAmerican utility threw in the towel after a failed three-year legislative battle to require Iowa electric customers to foot the bill for the design and construction of a prototype small modular reactor. Mainstream groups like AARP vigorously opposed that fiscally imprudent investment. Earlier, MidAmerican canceled another proposed reactor in Idaho on the grounds it was not worth the money.
What’s significant about this about-face on nuclear by the highly regarded “Oracle of Omaha” is that Buffett instead decided to install 656 large wind turbines at a cost of $1.9 billion in Iowa, and has gone “all-in” with multibillion dollar bets on utility-scale wind and solar power and other renewable energy facilities throughout the West.
In fact, one of the authors built a six-story office building in Seattle that produced more electricity on its roof last year than it used. If this can be done in Seattle, the cloudiest major city in the contiguous 48 states, it can be done anywhere.

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◇ Oklahoma will charge customers who install their own solar panels

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Oklahoma Will Charge Customers Who Install Their Own Solar Panels via ThinkProgress (Reader Supported News)

klahoma residents who produce their own energy through solar panels or small wind turbines on their property will now be charged an additional fee, the result of a new bill passed by the state legislature and expected to be signed into law by Gov. Mary Fallin (R).

On Monday, S.B. 1456 passed the state House 83-5 after no debate. The measure creates a new class of customers: those who install distributed power generation systems like solar panels or small wind turbines on their property and sell the excess energy back to the grid. While those with systems already installed won’t be affected, the new class of customers will now be charged a monthly fee — a shift that happened quickly and caught many in the state off guard.

“We knew nothing about it and all of a sudden it’s attached to some other bill,” Ctaci Gary, owner of Sun City Oklahoma, told ThinkProgress. “It just appeared out of nowhere.”
As the use of solar power skyrockets across the U.S., fights have sprung up in several states over how much customers should be compensated for excess power produced by their solar panels and sold back to the grid — a policy known as net metering. Net metering laws have come under fire from the secretive American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a group backed by fossil fuel corporations, utility companies, and the ultra-conservative Koch brothers. Forty-three states and the District of Columbia currently have net metering policies in place and ALEC has set its sights on repealing them, referring to homeowners with their own solar panels as “freeriders on the system.”

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◇ As nuclear power dies, solar rises.

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原発事故3年、変化するドイツ人の日本観 via 1kWh


「終わりのない大惨事」というタイトルのニュース解説を同局のユルゲン・ハーネフェルト記者は次のような言葉で始めてい る。「どうしてこんな過ちを犯すことができたのだろうか。日本は高水準の技術を持つ国だと我々は 考えてきたのではなかったか? 創造力豊かな技術者と 信頼できる労働者の国、時間をきちんと守り、清潔で正確な仕事をする人たちの国だと考えてきた。こうした見方は早まった判断だという ことを我々は3年前に知ることになった。環太平洋火山帯に属する国である日本では、地震、津波、火山の噴火はしばしば起こる。そうした国で海岸沿いに原子 力発電所をつくること自体、驚くべきリスクを冒すことを意味する。さらにこの原発では、津波を防ぐための措置も不十分だったといい、不注意のそしりを免れ ない。 しかも、この危険な原発を稼働させる東電は、法律で義務づけられている原子炉整備・保守の条件すら守っていなかったという。これは許すことのできない無責 任さだと言わざるを得ない」。

同記者の解説には次のような説明が続く。「このことは日本の民主主義の大きな影の面、つまり、政治と経済、メディアと産 業界の利益が密接に絡み合っていることから説明できる。この透明性のない利権の結託は、日本では“原子力ムラ”と呼ばれている。 このムラには、フクシマの被災者の東電や国に対する訴えを却下する検事たちも住んでいるようだ。そしてその村長は首相であることがますますはっきりしてき た。福島原発事故の人間的悲劇にも心動かされず、原子力業界と密接に結びついた安倍晋三は、原発輸出商人として世界を旅する。彼のメッセージは洗剤の広告 のようにシンプルだ。『フクシマはコントロールされている』という彼の発言も『日本の原発は世界一安全だ』というグロテスクな主張も、ともにプロパガンダ のための嘘である。彼はまた、日本の戦争責任に疑問を投げかけ、この問題で近隣諸国や同盟国と悶着を起こしているのと同一人物である」。


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Anti-nuclear priest fights for election in India via UCA News

Life as a parish priest has never been the same for M.P. Jesuraj since his parishioners decided to protest aggressively against a Russian-sponsored nuclear power project in their village of Koodankulam, Tamil Nadu, in 2010.

He converted his parish home at Our Lady of Lourdes Church into a campaign center for their efforts.

Along with other campaigners and thousands of fishermen, he staged a series of non-violent protests over three years. During the course of it, a total of more than 300 criminal cases were registered against him alone.

“We fought against all odds and police brutality,” he says. “The government ignored our pleas and we were on hunger strike for more than 70 days over 10 occasions. Five people sacrificed their lives in the struggle.”

Ultimately their struggle proved unsuccessful, as the government commissioned the nuclear plant last October.


Local Church officials told Jesuraj, who is affectionately nicknamed Mai Pa in his parish, to withdraw from the contest as his candidature was against Canon Law. He decided to go ahead anyway, and hopes that Church leaders will be sympathetic towards him.

“In this situation, we need political power to meet our ends,” he says.

In this constituency of around 1.2 million voters, Jesuraj is pitched in a five-way contest with all the major political parties fielding candidates.

Over the last 22 days, his campaign trail has taken him to every corner of the constituency and he has hopes of securing 250,000 votes.

“As the parties are divided, I have a fair chance of winning,” he says. “My bet is on the coastal villages and my parishioners.”

If he wins, he would be the second Catholic priest to win election to the Indian parliament’s Lok Sabha, or Lower House. Father Anthony Murmu, a Jesuit, took the Rajmahal constituency in Bihar, eastern India, in 1980. But pressure from Church authorities forced him to resign.

Yet Jesuraj insists: “If I win, I will not opt for resignation. I have to keep my promises to the people. When people suffer injustice, I have to shoulder them.”

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原発ゼロ28万人署名提出 復興センターと福島県農民連 via しんぶん赤旗




続きは 原発ゼロ28万人署名提出 復興センターと福島県農民連

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