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Uranium workers dying after time at Namibia mine, report warns via The Guardian

Miners who dug ore to supply the military found to be dying of cancers and other illnesses at Rio Tinto’s Rössing mine

Miners who dug uranium ore that supplied the British and US military in the 1970s with the raw material for bombs and civil nuclear power are reported to be dying of cancers and unexplained illnesses after working in one of Africa‘s largest mines.

A study based on questionnaires of current and former workers at the giant Rio Tinto-owned Rössing uranium mine in Namibia says that everyone questioned was aware of people who are now suffering lung infections and unknown illnesses thought to be linked to their work.

The mine, in the Namib desert, produces around 7% of the world’s uranium but was operated with rudimentary safety when it opened in 1976. “People get sick. We are seeing it in people that have worked for Rössing for a long time. They just go back and die after working at Rössing,” one man told researchers working with Earthlife Namibia and the Labour Resource and Research Institute.

[...]

“The company keeps detailed records of the health status of its workforce from the day of employment to the day they leave the company. It therefore does not need to speculate on health issues of its employees.”

One former worker said: “Yes, I have cancer now. In the beginning they [Rio Tinto] did not want to give money for the treatment but later when they referred me to a doctor for an operation they gave me money for treatment.”

“Doctors were told not to inform us with our results or tell our illness. They only supply you with medications when you are totally finished up or about to die,” said another.

During the first years of operation, Rössing operated with a migrant labour system which the International Commission of Jurists declared illegal and said was similar to slavery. Black workers lived on the mine premises and were exposed to dust and radiation 24 hours a day and the mine became the focus for protests by anti-apartheid and anti-nuclear groups.

Shares in the mine are owned 69% by UK-based Rio Tinto, and 15% by the government of Iran. The Namibian government has denied supplying Iran with Namibian uranium which could be used for nuclear weapons.

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Nuclear fuel cycle in need of alchemy amid waste disposal problems via Mainichi

“The life span of radioactive matter could be shortened from around 10,000 years to a few hundred!”

“The final disposal site (of radioactive materials) could be reduced to one-one hundredth of its planned size.”

The above quotations were included within documents outlining the technology for dramatically shortening the longevity of nuclear power’s residual waste, which were handed out by Akito Arima, 83 — former minister of education and University of Tokyo president — during an April 3 closed-door meeting among some 20 Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) lawmakers who support nuclear power.

The Monju fast-breeder reactor, which has served as the core of the nation’s nuclear fuel cycle, reuses plutonium as fuel after it has been extracted from spent nuclear fuel. Because this would produce more plutonium than was consumed, it was heralded as a “dream nuclear reactor.” A sodium leak, however, as well as a series of additional accidents and scandals, have meant that the actual operation of the reactor remains nowhere in sight.

“There is no such thing as impossibility when it comes to Japanese technology,” emphasized Arima — an authority in the field of nuclear physics — during the meeting.

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伊方原発「早期再稼働を」 四国の経済団体、政府・与党に要望書 via msn.産経ニュース

四国経済連合会や四国商工会議所連合会などは16日、四国電力の伊方原発(愛媛県伊方町)の早期再稼働を求める要望書をまとめ、政府や与党に提出した。 「伊方原発の全停止が2年以上に及び、電力供給は不安定な状況が続いている」と指摘。昨年9月の四国電力の料金値上げは地域経済にとって重い負担だと分析した上で、「原発停止が長引けば、料金の再値上げなど産業や生活への影響が心配される」と強調した

続きは伊方原発「早期再稼働を」 四国の経済団体、政府・与党に要望書

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東電VS社員:原発ADRが泥沼化 via 毎日新聞

◇和解拒否が1カ月で6件 提訴は2件

福島第1原発事故の賠償を巡り、東京電力が先月26日までの1カ月間で新たに6件、国の原子力損害賠償紛争解決センター(原発ADR)が提示した和解案を拒否していることが分かった。すべて東電社員と家族の申し立て事案で、訴訟に発展したケースも先月だけで2件あり、他の社員も提訴を検討している。社員と会社が対立する異常な事態は、ますます深刻化している。【高島博之】

関係者によると、東電による和解拒否で原発ADRの手続きが終結した件数は3月26日現在21件。すべて社員や社員の家族への賠償を命じる和解案を、東電が受け入れなかったためだ。同種事案は原発ADRが設立された2011年8月から今年2月25日までの約2年半で15件だったが、東電は1カ月で6件の和解案を拒否したことになる。

3月4日には45歳の男性社員が福島地裁に、同10日には23歳の男性社員が東京地裁に、それぞれ訴訟を起こした。

(略)

男性によると、社員差別とも言える会社の対応に、職場を去る若手が相次いでいる。同期入社の友人は「人を人として見てくれない会社で働けない」と言い残して退社した。「会社を訴えてまで賠償を求めるべきか」。男性は悩んだが「声を上げられない他の社員のためにも、責任を認めさせたい」として提訴を決意した。代理人の中川素充弁護士は「東電や国は、背後に声を上げられない多くの社員がいることを考えるべきだ」と話す。

他の複数の弁護士によると、他にも少なくとも2人が訴訟準備を進めている。労使の対立とも言える構図だが、東京電力労働組合の動きは見えない。東電労組は取材に対し「賠償は個人の問題なので組合として会社と交渉する予定はない」としている。

全文は東電VS社員:原発ADRが泥沼化

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原発「やや前のめり過ぎ」 知事が政府政策に疑問 via 中日新聞

原発を「ベースロード電源」と位置付け、再稼働を進める方針を明記したエネルギー基本計画を政府が閣議決定したことについて、大村秀章知事は十四日の定例会見で「福島の原発事故が起きて三年という中で、やや前のめり過ぎではないかという印象」と疑問を呈した。
 知事は「前のめり」とした理由に「福島の原発事故が完全に収束していない」と指摘。「事故原因をさらに検証して徹底的に突き詰めることと、放射能汚染水を除去し、使用済み核燃料を取り出すなど完全な収束にむけて国民の英知を集めるべきではないか」と述べ、事故対応を優先すべきだとの考えを示した。
[...]
一方、中部電力が来月から家庭向け電気料金を平均3・77%値上げする見込みとなったことには「四月から消費税率が上がり、電気料金が値上げされたらダブルパンチ。中小をはじめとする企業の経営状況をしっかりフォローしたい」と発言。中電には「合理化の努力をしていると認識しているが、引き続き人件費などを圧縮していただきたい」と求めた。

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Ohio Geologists Tie Earthquakes to Fracking via Al Jazeera America

eologists in Ohio have for the first time linked earthquakes in a geologic formation deep under the Appalachians to hydraulic fracturing, leading the state to issue new permit conditions Friday in certain areas that are among the nation’s strictest.

A state investigation of five small tremors last month in the Youngstown area, in the Appalachian foothills, found the injection of sand and water that accompanies hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in the Utica Shale may have increased pressure on a small, unknown fault, State Oil & Gas Chief Rick Simmers told the Associated Press. He called the link “probable.”

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Japanese Govt. Orchestrates Nuclear Restarts, Fukushima Denial via SimplyInfo

The Japanese government has declared nuclear power as an “important baseload energy resource“. While the government insists that nuclear power is an important power source they did not declare a percentage of generation that should come from nuclear. At least one nuclear expert pointed out that the lack of any significant contribution from nuclear power throws the government’s claim of it being a baseload power source out the window. The government also classifies coal and hydro power as baseload power sources. The concept of baseload power has been highly disputed as being an outdated concept that was fabricated by various power industries to protect their stake.
[...]
Yomiuri Shimbun, always ready to plead the case for the nuclear industry issued this
disturbing editorial last week. It called “returning people home” to be important but doesn’t really say why. It proclaims the entire problem to be the supposed irrational fears of evacuees as the problem. Yomiuri declares the 20 mSv/year radiation level to be the official level of safety, yet this is a highly disputed level that only the government has deemed safe for political reasons. ICRP calls 1 mSv/year safe or as close to “safe” as they assume can be achieved. Yomiuri goes on to cite UNSCEAR who has been publishing erroneous and skewed data on the disaster, much of it dependent on the official government data known to be inaccurate. As usual Yomiuri falls back on blaming the evacuees for somehow not understanding things. The reality is that this is a well educated resistance to a politically motivated plan to force people to return to contaminated areas that are unsafe. Why this political tactic against the victims of nuclear disasters is so dangerous is explained here.

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Radioactive water floods Fukushima plant basements after wrong pumps switched on via The Asahi Shimbun

Tons of highly radioactive water have flooded basements at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant after pumps that should not have been in use were mistakenly turned on.

Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. announced April 14 that 200 tons of contaminated water have flooded the basements of buildings on the plant site.

Although TEPCO officials said there were no channels for the contaminated water to leak out of the flooded basements, the Nuclear Regulation Authority ordered the utility to continue to monitor the situation and collect the leakage as soon as possible.

TEPCO officials said the water was highly contaminated because it was used to cool reactors at the Fukushima No. 1 plant. The water contains several tens of millions of becquerels per liter of radioactive cesium because it has yet to be purified using a system that removes radioactive materials.

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Hyogo blocks release of nuke crisis study data via The Japan Times

Hyogo officials are blocking the release of data from a simulation run last year predicting what would happen to surrounding prefectures in the event of a meltdown crisis at one of Fukui Prefecture’s four atomic plants.

Citizens’ groups said Tuesday they were told by Hyogo officials earlier this month that the data would be released before May along with data from a new simulation the prefecture is conducting.

The backtrack on the data release has raised concerns that the prefecture is trying to downplay the possibility of a worst-case scenario for disaster planning purposes.
[...]
While Hyogo released the results of what could happen inside the prefecture, it did not make public what might happen in neighboring prefectures. Concerned this would make it more difficult for localities to draw up emergency plans and for a coordinated, Kansai-wide response, anti-nuclear activists and other citizens pressed Hyogo to release the entire study.

Hyogo Prefecture resident Juro Yamamoto filed a freedom of information request in February for the release of all simulation data on Fukui, Kyoto and Shiga prefectures. The request was granted, in writing, by Hyogo Gov. Toshizo Ido’s office on March 7.

However, the information has yet to be made public. Yamamoto called on prefectural officials Tuesday to release it immediately.

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除染作業員の特殊勤務手当引き下げ 環境省、一部区域で via 朝日新聞

国直轄の除染に従事する作業員に支払う特殊勤務手当について、環境省は、居住制限と避難指示解除準備区域で日額1万円から6600円に減額した。手当の変更は初めて。

特殊作業手当は、東京電力福島第一原発事故によって住民が避難した直轄除染区域で、作業員の身体や精神的な負担の対価として支払ってきた。環境省は減額の理由を「除染開始2年で線量が下がるなど環境が改善し、負担が減ったため」と説明している。決定は9日付で、帰還困難区域での手当は据え置いた。

他地域での復興工事や東京五輪の準備が進むなか、減額が除染作業員の確保に影響しないかについて、環境省は、日当は増額が続いて2年前から約6千円増えた点を挙げ「全体的に見れば、作業への対価は下がっていない」とした。

続きは除染作業員の特殊勤務手当引き下げ 環境省、一部区域で

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