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After Fukushima, Vanderbilt researchers study radiation’s effects on robots via Vanderbilt School of Engineering

After the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant disaster, investigators used robots to determine the extent of the damage and begin cleaning up.

The question is how well robots can stand up to that sort of radiation and whether the humans using them can count on the data gathered.

[...]
The university’s Institute for Space and Defense Electronics team exposed infrared, sonar and laser range finders to gamma radiation. The infrared range finder became unreliable, the sonar range finder showed some variations and then failed, and the laser range finder didn’t change but failed suddenly at a low dose.

Robots at Fukushima were exposed to gamma radiation, which slowly degrades electronic parts, said Arthur Witulski, a research associate professor of electrical engineering with ISDE. He presented the paper at the GOMACTech Conference.
[...]Gabor Karsai, VU professor of electrical engineering and senior research scientist at the university’s Institute for Software-Integrated Systems, and his team are working on failure modeling language for robots exposed to radiation. Among other things, it allows robots to sense whether they’re able to complete the assigned tasks with the level of degradation they’re experiencing.

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Details of Fukushima Thyroid Cancer Cases Revealed at the Japan Society of Clinical Oncology Meeting via Fukushima Voice Version 2e

On the first day of the 52nd Annual Meeting of Japan Society of Clinical Oncology which is being held on August 28 – 30 in Yokohama City, Japan, Shinichi, Suzuki, a thyroid surgeon from Fukushima University in charge of the Fukushima thyroid ultrasound examination, presented some details of the surgical cases in a presentation titled “Treatment of childhood thyroid cancer in Fukushima” during the Organ Specific Symposium 03: Up-to-Date Thyroid Cancer Treatment – Thyroid Cancer in Children and Adolescents. Suzuki has consistently declined to reveal these details during sessions of the Prefectural Oversight Committee Meeting for Fukushima Health (Management) Survey as well as the Fukushima Thyroid Examination Expert Subcommittee meetings.
[...]
From the news report, which is the only material available online containing information revealed by Suzuki, Fukushima Medical University operated on 54 of the 57 surgical cases, with 45 meeting the criteria for absolute surgical indications described at the August 24 Oversight Committee Meeting for Fukushima Health Survey, excerpted below:

(2) Regarding indications for surgery

In Japan, when thyroid cancer is suspected, absolute indications for surgery include pre-surgical tumor with a diameter equal to or greater than 10 mm, lymph node metastases, extrathyroidal extension, and distant metastases. Furthermore, tumors with a diameter of 10 mm or smaller, so-called microcarcinomas, might be followed with observation in adults. However, surgery might be indicated for microcarcinomas if they are accompanied by lymph node metastasis, distant metastasis or extrathyroidal spread, or in close proximity to the recurrent laryngeal nerve or the trachea.

[...]
In regards to the timing and place of Suzuki’s report, although it would seem more appropriate for him to present the details at the Prefectural Oversight Committee Meeting for Fukushima Health Survey, the following fact must be addressed: The cases which advance beyond a certain point of the secondary examination, such as biopsy, are no longer part of the Fukushima thyroid ultrasound examination as screening but rather go under regular medical care. Therefore it appears legitimate that Suzuki presented them at an academic conference first.

However, it’s a different matter whether this was a moral act. Suzuki has been repeatedly asked by committee members and journalists to disclose more details about the surgical cases. There have been many speculations about whether there have been overdiagnosis and overtreatment, creating a lot of arguments and confusion. Suzuki maintained Fukushima Medical University was following the diagnostic criteria, yet he would not reveal details. He said at one of the committee meetings that Fukushima Medical University would be fulfilling its social responsibility towards Fukushima residents by submitting academic papers to inform the world of what is happening. Although the Fukushima Health Survey is intended to watch over the health of residents and stand by them, many Fukushima residents distrust Fukushima Medical University enough to refuse participation. Fukushima Medical University’s social responsibility should be, first and foremost, to maintain an honest and transparent relationship with residents. In that sense, Suzuki has effectively failed them.

By the way, those over age 18 no longer qualify for free medical care for Fukushima children. As 57 of the 104 confirmed or suspected of cancer were over age 18, more than half of them are facing a financial burden (Japan’s National Health Insurance requires 30% copay) in addition to a physical and psychological burden of having cancer, as the treatments and follow-ups are conducted as part of regular medical care.
[...]
Incidentally, President of the 52nd Annual Meeting of Japan Society of Clinical Oncology, Seiichi Takenoshita, is Professor and Chairman of the Department of Organ Regulatory Surgery, Fukushima Medical University. In other words, he is Suzuki’s boss.

Suzuki is scheduled to speak again during the August 30 Fukushima Session called “Message from Fukushima,” featuring Shunichi Yamashita as a keynote speaker. Yamashita will speak on “Scope for the future of Fukushima; resilience creation after the nuclear accident.” Suzuki’s presentation is called “Radiation exposure and thyroid ultrasound examination from the data of the Fukushima Health Management Survey.”

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中間貯蔵施設、福島県知事が建設容認 政府、地権者2千人交渉へ via msn.産経ニュース

東京電力福島第1原発事故による除染の廃棄物を保管する中間貯蔵施設について、福島県は29日、佐藤雄平知事が出席して関係部局長会議を開いた。終 了後、佐藤知事は「国が示した安全性と地域振興策を県として精査、確認した」と述べ、政府が候補地としている大熊町と双葉町での建設を事実上容認した。

佐藤知事が、週明けの9月1日にも石原伸晃環境相と根本匠復興相に会い伝える。知事が官邸で安倍晋三首相にも面会する方向で調整している。

政府は来年1月までに廃棄物の搬入を始めたい考えで、今後、用地の取得に向け約2千人の地権者と個別交渉に入る。近く、国と県による地権者向け説明会が開かれる見通し。
[...]

続きは中間貯蔵施設、福島県知事が建設容認 政府、地権者2千人交渉へ

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Mich. congressman against OPG nuke waste plan via Plant

Kildee’s resolution calls on Obama to address the matter with Ottawa.

SAGINAW, Mich. — A US congressman says he’ll sponsor a resolution opposing an Ontario Power Generation (OPG) plan to bury waste from nuclear plants near Lake Huron.

Democratic Rep. Dan Kildee announced his plan during a boat trip on Saginaw Bay. His Michigan district includes a section of the lake’s shoreline.

The nonbinding resolution will urge US President Barack Obama and US Secretary of State John Kerry to take up the matter with the Canadian government.

Ontario Power Generation wants to entomb radioactive waste in rock chambers some 680 metres below the earth’s surface near Kincardine, Ont.

The company says the facility would be safe and wouldn’t leak.

Continue reading at Mich. congressman against OPG nuke waste plan

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Japan’s Fukushima PM fuels uranium mining debate via SBS

Former Japanese PM warns traditional owners of nuclear danger

Naoto Kan has just toured Australia with a simple message of renewable energy is good and nuclear is bad.

The visit comes as Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott prepares to head to India to seal a yellow cake export deal.

Mr Kan visited Townsville in far-north Queensland to support locals who fear a mine could contaminate the regional water supply, by accident or through natural disaster.

“During my time in Australia I was able to visit the Ranger uranium mine and you can see the issue there of how to store the very highly contaminated radio active waste,” Mr Kan said.

“I think this problem of waste management is shared by nuclear power plants in Japan and and in Fukushima and uranium mining here in Australia.”

In 2012, Queensland’s LNP government overturned a 32-year uranium mining ban.

“I would say to Mr Kan, he’s certainly entitled to his perspective in regards to the energy policy of his country, but the mining policy of Queensland is really a matter for us,” Queensland’s natural resources minister Andrew Cripps said.

“We’ve taken great care to put in place a modern frame work for the recommencement of uranium mining in Queensland to make sure when it does recommence it does at world’s best practice.”

[...]

The greater Townsville region has 240,000 residents and that is projected to jump by 120,000 over the next 25 years.

“The mining warden found because of its location, subject to cyclonic conditions, extremely high rain fall the fact there are fractures and fissures underground and he said it’s a threat to public health,” said the spokesman for Citizens Against Mining Ben Lomond (CAMBL) David Sewell.

The opponents of Ben Lomond reopening say they are not against uranium mining, just that this one would be in the catchment of the flood-prone Burdekin River.

It has hit flood peaks of over 20 metres and they fear contamination would happen if there was an accident or natural disaster.

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再稼働を考える 地域と原発=膨らむ投資 止められぬ運転 電力9社アンケート 原発 安全対策に2.2兆円 via 西日本新聞

原発の減価償却制度

減価償却は、資産取得時の投資額を、資産の利用期間に割り振って毎年の経費として計上する手続き。原発設備の償却費用は電気料金から賄う。安全投資など があれば、原発の資産額はその分、上乗せされる。廃炉が決定すると利益を生み出さない設備となるため、未償却の費用を一括で損失計上しなければならなかっ た。だが、会計規則の見直しで一部の原発資産は、廃炉後も継続して減価償却できるようになった。

●法定40年運転では回収困難

東京電力福島第1原発事故後、電力9社が原発(47基)に投じる安全対策の総額が約2・2兆円に膨らみ、原子炉等規制法で定められた運転期間(40年) を超えて長期運転しなければ、電気料金からの投資回収が一部で難しいことが、西日本新聞が実施した9社へのアンケートで分かった。原発再稼働に向けて新規 制基準をクリアするには多額の安全投資が不可欠だが、投資するほど原発は止められず、脱原発を望む世論とは懸け離れる。

本紙は、昨年施行された新規制基準で、事故時に原子炉格納容器の圧力を下げる「フィルター付きベント」の設置などが義務づけられたことから、電力9社に安全投資額や原発設備の資産価値(減価償却が終わっていない投資分、2013年度決算ベース)などを聞いた。

それによると、原発の資産価値は9社総額で約2兆800億円。安全投資額も施設が完成した後に上乗せされ、資産価値は倍増する計算だ。

原発の減価償却費は電気料金の原価に含まれ、料金から徴収する仕組みだが、慶応大の金子勝教授は「安全投資が資産価値を既に上回るような電力会社は、こ れまでと同じような償却を続けるなら、40年を超えて運転しなければ回収できないのは明らか。国や電力会社はそのことを、きちんと説明すべきだ」と指摘す る。

(略)

ほかにも、運転年数が20年以下の新しい原発を持つ電力会社は回収に自信を見せるが、再稼働を見通せない東京電力や、老朽化原発が多い関西電力は「安全投資と回収は今後対応を検討する」(広報担当)と慎重な回答にとどまった。

全文は再稼働を考える 地域と原発=膨らむ投資 止められぬ運転 電力9社アンケート 原発 安全対策に2.2兆円

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福島第一原発3号機で燃料プールに機器落下 via NHK News Web

東京電力は、福島第一原子力発電所3号機で、爆発で損傷した機器をクレーンで撤去しようとしたとこ ろ、誤って使用済み燃料プールに落下させたと発表しました。周辺の放射線量に変化はないとしていますが、プールの中には現在も500体余りの核燃料が入っ ていて、東京電力で損傷がないか調べています。

東京電力によりますと、29日午後1時前、福島第一原発3号機の使用済み燃料プールで、爆発で損傷 した機器を遠隔操作のクレーンで撤去しようとしたところ、誤ってプール内に落下させたということです。落下したのは使用済み燃料プールに核燃料を出し入れ するための「操作卓」と呼ばれる機器で、大きさはおよそ1メートル四方、重さは400キロあるということです。

3号機の使用済み燃料プールには、 現在もがれきと共に核燃料566体が残されていますが、東京電力は、プール周辺の放射線量に変化はないほか、モニタリングポストの数値にも異常はないとし ています。また、作業は遠隔操作で行われていたため、近くに作業員はおらず、けが人もいないということです。

続きは福島第一原発3号機で燃料プールに機器落下

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Hibakusha in Brazil seek more financial aid from Tokyo via The Japan Times

Financial assistance limited to ¥300,000 annually per person

Survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki who emigrated to Brazil after the end of the Pacific War are making last-ditch efforts to win the same level of support from the Japanese government as survivors residing in Japan.

“This many people have already died,” Takashi Morita, 90, said in late July, pointing to a list of 101 names posted on a wall in his “Sukiyaki” grocery store in Sao Paulo.

Morita’s store serves as a rough-and-ready office for the Peace Association of Atomic Bomb Victims in Brazil. As the association’s president, over the past 30 years Morita has witnessed membership numbers dwindle to less than half their peak of 270.

Morita was working as a military police officer in Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945, when he was exposed to radioactive fallout from the atomic bomb.

“It was a real hell,” he says, recalling the countless dead bodies that littered the streets after the blast.

Still suffering from the effects of radiation, he emigrated to Brazil with his family in 1956 after hearing that weather conditions in the South American country might help ease his symptoms.

[...]

On Aug. 2, Morita and other association members presented Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was on tour in Brazil, with a letter that expressed the sorrow and the wishes of the 101 deceased hibakusha.

“I mourn for them every day,” apologizing for my failure to win support for them while they were alive, Morita said.

According to the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry, there were some 4,440 officially recognized hibakusha — eligible for financial support for medical treatment and other expenses related to radiation sickness — in more than 30 countries as of the end of March, including 3,050 in South Korea, 980 in the United States and 150 in Brazil.

The hibakusha association in Brazil currently has 111 members with an average age of 79, and most of them are Japanese nationals.

Among the members is 85-year-old Yoshitaka Samejima. Born in Brazil, he began studying in Japan at age 11, and took part in the Imperial Japanese Army’s rescue operations in Nagasaki on Aug. 10, 1945 — the day after the bombing of the city.

[...]

Japan does offer financial support to hibakusha outside Japan, but it is limited to ¥300,000 a year per person — often not enough for expensive treatments such as cancer surgery.

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甲状腺がんの子供「原発影響考えにくい」 福島の検査で学会 via 日本経済新聞

福島県立医大の鈴木真一教授は28日、東京電力福島第1原発事故を受け福島県が実施している甲状腺検査で、がんの疑いが強いと診断、手術した子供の具体的な症例を横浜市で開かれた日本癌治療学会で報告した。

がんは原発事故の影響とは考えにくいとの見方を示した上で、過剰診断や必要のない手術との声が上がっていることに触れ「基準に基づいた治療だった」と強調した。

福島県の甲状腺検査は震災発生当時18歳以下の約37万人が対象。これまで甲状腺がんと確定した子供は57人、「がんの疑い」は46人に上る。子どもの甲 状腺がんが急増した1986年のチェルノブイリ原発事故と比較し、鈴木氏は「症状も年齢分布もチェルノブイリとは異なる」とした。

がんの57人のうち県立医大が手術した54人について、8割超の45人は腫瘍の大きさが10ミリ超かリンパ節や他の臓器への転移などがあり、診断基準では手術するレベルだった。2人が肺にがんが転移していた。

残る9人は腫瘍が10ミリ以下で転移などはなかったが、7人は「腫瘍が気管に近接しているなど、手術は妥当だった」。2人は経過観察でもよいと判断されたが、本人や家族の意向で手術した。

手術した54人の約9割が甲状腺の半分の摘出にとどまった。

続きは甲状腺がんの子供「原発影響考えにくい」 福島の検査で学会

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吉田調書公開へ 福島の関係者ら注視「国の不利益どこまで」via 日本経済新聞

 東京電力福島第1原子力発電所事故を巡り、政府が25日、事故当時に所長として現場を指揮した故・吉田昌郎氏の聴取記録を公開すると発表した。福 島県の自治体や被災者からは、事故の検証につながる新たな事実の判明に期待する一方、十分な公開がなされるのかどうか、情報開示のあり方に注目する声が上 がった。

全町避難が続く福島県浪江町の馬場有町長は「事故の原因は完全に特定されたとは言えず、真相究明に向けた一層の検証につながる」 と歓迎する。わずかな情報しかない事故当時、町民の避難判断を迫られた。「住民の避難について、国と所長との間でどういうやりとりがあったのか具体的に知 りたい」と話す。

福島県川内村から同県郡山市に避難する男性(65)も「事故は人災なのか、天災なのかを見極める材料になる」と期待しながらも「国に不利益になる部分も含めて明らかにされるのか」と開示方法に注目する。

聴取記録の開示を求め、国を相手取った訴訟を起こした市民グループ代理人の海渡雄一弁護士は「評価は中身を見てから」と慎重な姿勢だ。「記録のうち個人情報の一部は黒塗りになるだろう。事実関係の検証に影響が出ると判断すれば、訴訟は継続するかもしれない」

続きは吉田調書公開へ 福島の関係者ら注視「国の不利益どこまで」

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