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上関原発訴訟 建設予定地を裁判官ら視察 /山口 via 毎日新聞

 中国電力が上関町に建設を計画している上関原発を巡り、同町祝島の住民らが県を相手取り、建設予定地の公有水面埋め立て免許の取り消しを求めた訴訟で、山口地裁の桑原直子裁判長らが28日、祝島や建設予定地周辺を視察した。裁判官による現地視察は初めて。進行協議の一環で、原告や弁護士ら計約30人が参加した。

[…]
原告側は「高齢化が進む祝島の集落は、急な斜面に家々が密集し路地も狭い。定期船や漁船だけでは原発の過酷事故の際に避難が難しい」として、「原発の立地は不適切」と主張している。祝島の視察では、島婦人会の前会長で、原告の中村隆子さん(86)が裁判長らに「島には若い人が少なく、避難場所もない。事故になったら放射能を浴びます。私たちを見殺しにしないでください」と訴えた、という。

 同行した原告の山戸孝さん(39)は視察後に「原発に反対してきた島民の思いが伝わらないはずがない」と語った。弁護団の小島寛司弁護士は「祝島から建設予定地までの距離間などリアリティーが伝わったと思う」と話した。次回口頭弁論は9月1日にあり、今後、原告の本人尋問を実施するのか協議する。【土田暁彦】

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Is exposure to deep space radiation killing off Apollo-era astronauts? via gizmag

Florida State University Professor Michael Delp has identified a link between deep space radiation exposure, and a high rate of mortality due to cardiovascular problems in astronauts who flew beyond low-Earth orbit (LEO) during the Apollo program. Research based on the discovery could be used to safeguard future astronauts undertaking the next phase of manned space exploration.

[…]
Delp’s study went one step further by observing the cause of death for Apollo astronauts in order to determine the risk to future human explorers. Between 1968 and 1972 nine manned Apollo missions flew beyond LEO into deep space. Of the 24 astronauts that crewed the spacecraft, 8 have passed away.

Upon reviewing their causes of death, the professor noted that 43 percent of the Apollo astronauts had fallen victim to cardiovascular issues, a rate five times higher than ground crew and astronauts who never passed beyond Earth’s protective magnetosphere. According to Delp, it is possible that the cardiovascular defects result from an exposure to cosmic radiation.
o explore his theory further, Delp subjected laboratory mice to radiation doses similar to those which would be absorbed by astronauts operating in deep space. It was discovered that six months after exposure, which would be the equivalent of 20 human years for the mice, the subjects began to exhibit signs of artery impairment. Such degradation in a human patient could in time lead to the onset of atherosclerotic vascular disease.

Having provided evidence for a link between exposure to cosmic radiation and deterioration to vascular health, Delp is now working with NASA to develop methods by which we may be able to counteract the effect of deep space radiation. Antioxidants are being examined as one line of potential treatment, the administering of which could theoretically protect a space explorer’s blood vessels from damage due to oxidant stress.
[…]

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Fukushima in New York? This Nuclear Plant Has Regulators Nervous via National Geographic

By Andrew Lapin

That’s what many activists and former nuclear regulators fear for the Indian Point Energy Center, a nuclear power plant that has operated in Westchester County for more than four decades. The plant provides a good chunk of the energy needs for the surrounding area, but it has come under fire in recent years for safety and environmental concerns, including its warming of the Hudson River and a recent case of bolts missing in one of its reactors. Two of the plant’s three reactor units are currently operating on expired licenses, with the state of New York having denied parent company Entergy’s extension requests due to suspected violations of the federal Clean Water Act. Following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that caused catastrophic damage to Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant and surrounding area, the safety of nuclear energy as a whole has come under even greater scrutiny.

[…]
What were the most surprising things you learned about the nuclear industry or nuclear regulation in the United States?

Plants get original 40-year licenses to operate, and then they have to reapply for another 20 years. What I found surprising was how limited the scope was in what the [Nuclear Regulatory Commission] looks at to decide whether they can be relicensed. All of these issues that the public is concerned about [aren’t addressed], like whether you can evacuate. Twenty million people live in the danger zone around Indian Point, and there’s just no way to evacuate. So we have evacuation route signs all over the place—they practice for evacuation, they have siren testing. But everyone agrees, including most first responders in the tristate area, that you cannot evacuate. You know what it’s like at rush hour.

That is just one example of what is not even taken into account when the NRC decides whether a plant should be relicensed. And I started to think, “Well, that just seems crazy to me.” They’re so narrowly focused—importantly, obviously—on just the functions of the plant. They look at how a plant is aging: Are they replacing parts in a timely fashion? Are they looking at things that are degrading? So all that’s really important, but there are all these other issues, like the evacuation plan, that as the population has grown so much around the plant you’d think they would start evaluating at a certain point.
[…]
But it seems like it doesn’t even matter in Indian Point’s case, because they’re still operating.

And that’s the other surprising thing. They can just keep operating. We all know there are so many loopholes and regulations and things, but this is a pretty big one. If you get all your paperwork in on time, as Indian Point did, and there are no glaring safety concerns in terms of the aging management of the plant, you can keep operating as long as you are in litigation. Entergy is being challenged on many fronts, including the water permit issue that I get into in the film, and as long as they keep these cases alive by appealing and appealing—and of course they can because they have endless resources—this plant can just keep operating. They can operate for years like this.
You traveled to Fukushima to film. What was your big takeaway from there?

I found it incredibly chilling to be there. The plant itself is very strange. You don’t smell or see or touch radiation, so you don’t know. But [there’s] this whole process of getting completely suited up, and there are literally thousands of workers there, and they have to dress like that every day. I think they’re only allowed to work there for about a month at a time before they’ve been exposed for too long; it’s too dangerous. It’s almost like slave labor. It’s all men, and now, more and more, much older men who have decided, “Well, I’m not long for this world. I guess I’ll just work at cleaning up Fukushima.” And it’s going to take maybe 80 years to clean it up.

One of the things that struck me the most was seeing mounds and mounds of radioactive dirt, layers and layers of dirt, scraped off the ground all around the plant and then piled up and covered up. And then there are tanks and tanks full of radioactive water that they’re sucking out, and they don’t have anywhere to put it. And you start to get this sense, and at home too, that there are just piles and piles of waste. They call it spent fuel, but it’s still hot—they can’t just throw it in the garbage. You start to get this overall feeling that even though, yes, nuclear power doesn’t contribute to climate change much at all compared to other forms of energy we have over the world, it really is not green. There is a lot of stuff that’s left behind that we don’t know what to do with. The fact [that] there’s no federal repository for this stuff, that it’s just piling up at plants around the country, is really disconcerting.
[…]
In the film, the thing that winds up most jeopardizing the fate of the plant is this giant prehistoric fish, the Atlantic sturgeon. Tell me about how it becomes a major player.

The sturgeon was just recently put on the endangered species list because of how the Hudson River is changing. So we were trying to make that point in a more general way, but it’s about all fish and the whole ecosystem of the river being altered by how the plant uses the river water. I had no idea that nuclear power plants use so much water. And when you look at them all over the country—they sit on a bay, they sit on the ocean—that’s what they’re doing. [At] Fukushima they were using ocean water, so that’s why all that radiation was spilling into the Pacific. So when it comes to Indian Point, I was shocked out of my mind when I learned that they suck in 1.2 billion gallons of water a day. I kept saying, “Is that a b or an m?” [Laughs]

[The water goes] through the plant, and then back out, and it spits out so much hotter—like Jacuzzi water. The cumulative effect of that is damaging the river. So what happens is New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation has been determined to deny Entergy their water permits to use the river that way, because of how many years they’ve abused the river and how many fish have died and how they’re changing the climate in the water. It’s just not sustainable. This is a battle that they have essentially won, except Entergy has endless resources to appeal, and they keep appealing.
[…]

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New Kagoshima governor to request halt of reactors via Japan Today

New Kagoshima Gov Satoshi Mitazono, elected on an antinuclear platform, said Thursday he will request a temporary halt of reactivated nuclear reactors in the southwestern Japan prefecture, currently the only reactors operating in the country.“There are concerns over nuclear power plants following the Kumamoto earthquakes (in April),” Mitazono said in a press conference held after his first appearance as governor, adding that Kyushu Electric Power Co’s Sendai plant should be “halted once to conduct checks and reviews again.”

The No. 1 reactor of the Sendai plant is scheduled to be taken offline for regular checkups on Oct. 6, but Mitazono may submit his request for the suspension as early as late August.

[…]

The governor is not authorized to stop the operation of reactors, but a safety accord reached between the prefectural government and the plant operator allows local government officials to enter the plant to confirm necessary safety steps are being taken.

Kyushu Electric Power is likely to make the case that the Sendai reactors are safe.

In the July 10 gubernatorial election, 58-year-old Mitazono, a former TV Asahi Corp. commentator, defeated previous governor Yuichiro Ito, 68, who was seeking his fourth four-year term with the support of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party and its junior coalition partner Komeito.

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中部電力 浜岡原発安全対策工事 5度目の延期 via 毎日新聞

中部電力は29日、浜岡原発(静岡県御前崎市)3、4号機の安全対策工事について、いずれも完成時期を示さずに延期すると 発表した。再稼働に向けた原子力規制委員会の新規制基準への適合性審査が想定より進んでおらず、必要な対策を終える時期が見定めにくくなったため。延期は 5回目。審査の進み方次第ではさらに追加工事が必要なため、再稼働への道筋はいっそう不透明となりそうだ。

再稼働不透明に 完成時期示さず

 中部電は3、4号機の安全審査を規制委に申請中で、当初4号機の対策工事を今年9月、3号機を来年9月までに完了させる計画だった。4号機は規制委の審 査などを踏まえ、非常用電源の追加や耐震のための補強、火災対策などを9月以降も継続するという。計4000億円強としていた総工費は、現時点で据え置い た。

 審査は開始から2年以上たっても終了のめどが立っておらず、中部電は対策工事の完了時期を過去4回延期。勝野哲社長はこの日、名古屋市内で記者会見し 「審査の進展や新たな知見を踏まえ工事の見直しや追加の必要性があるため、終了時期は確定できない」と説明。再稼働の見通しについては「時間はかかるだろ うが、工事をしながら審査に対応したい」と述べた。

続きは中部電力 浜岡原発安全対策工事 5度目の延期 

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Citizen science takes on Japan’s nuclear establishment via Los Angeles Times

As other Tokyo office workers poured into restaurants and bars at quitting time one recent evening, Kohei Matsushita went to the eighth floor of a high-rise for an unusual after-hours activity: learning how to assemble his own Geiger counter from a kit.

Hunched over a circuit board, the 37-year-old practiced his soldering technique as Joe Moross, a former L.A. resident with a background in radiation detection, explained how to fit together about $500 worth of components – including a sensor, circuit board, digital display, GPS module, battery and case.

“My family has a house near a nuclear power plant,” Matsushita said, explaining his motivation. “I want to take this there and collect data, and contribute to this pool of information.”

[…]

Part of the growing movement known as citizen science, the idea is to give people the knowledge and the tools to better understand their environment, and make more informed decisions based on accurate information.

Trust in both nuclear power plant operators and the government has not fully recovered since the disaster. As authorities push ahead with the contentious process of restarting dozens of nuclear reactors taken off-line in wake of the disaster, Japanese like Matsushita say a network of monitors controlled by ordinary people could serve as an early warning system in the event of another disaster.

[…]

Along the way, he passes several dozen fixed-point radiation monitors installed by the government along the roadsides. Their solar-powered, digital displays provide readouts in microsieverts per hour (μSv/hr); today’s show relatively low readings from 0.1 to 3.8 between the towns of Hirono and Minamisoma. That is less than what one would be exposed to on a long flight, although that exposure lasts only as long as the flight.

Moross’ much more granular, mobile data, recorded every five seconds and uploaded to the Web the next day, generally matches the government signs, though when passing near the Fukushima plant, Moross’ counter produces readings above 4 μSv/hr. (Not long after the disaster, Safecast found readings higher than 30 in the region).

In the town of Iwaki, Moross drops in on Brett Waterman, a 51-year-old Australian who’s been teaching English in the area for 11 years and was having some technical issues with a Safecast monitor.

Meanwhile, as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration continues with its extensive effort to decontaminate areas around Fukushima Daiichi and reopen evacuated towns and villages, potential returnees say they want a way to verify official numbers that indicate radiation really has dropped to safe levels.

“They want people to come back, but there’s no decontamination in the forest areas and those cover 75% of this village,” says retired engineer Nobuyoshi Ito, 72, who in 2010 opened an eco-farm retreat in Iitate, about 20 miles northwest of the nuclear power plant. Recently, he had Safecast install a radiation monitor at the retreat, which is still in a restricted zone.  “We have to check ourselves.”

[…]

Moross and Wilder trade jokes as Azby Brown, 60, an expert on traditional Japanese architecture, sits at another table typing up news for the group’s blog; he has just led Safecast’s efforts to publish its first scientific paper, in the Journal of Radiological Protection. Pieter Franken, a Dutch expatriate and chief technology officer for a large securities firm, looks over some materials for the group’s upcoming kids’ workshop.

“Safecast is an interesting social experiment, in a fairly anarchistic kind of way,” says Franken, one of the group’s founders. “It taps into trends including maker-spaces, the Internet of things and even artists. We attract people who want to break out of the traditional way of solving problems.”

Safecast grew out of an email conversation among Franken, L.A.-based tech entrepreneur Sean Bonner and MIT Media Lab director Joichi “Joi” Ito immediately after the March 11, 2011, disaster. As the Fukushima crisis unfolded, Safecast’s effort to produce and distribute Geiger counters and collect data snowballed, drawing in more expertise and volunteers. The group has successively iterated smaller and smaller Geiger counters with more functionality for data collection.

[…]

Safecast’s goal now is, essentially, “base-lining the world,” says Franken, crowdsourcing environmental data from every corner of the Earth.

“We should start with measuring our environments,” he says. “Then we can talk about things like global warming and air pollution; from there, activism can start. Once you know, for example, that your street is polluted, you can start to make a change. That’s where we can make a difference.”

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Nuclear worker: ‘Retaliation is very real at Hanford’ via King5

Whistle-blower Dave Lee, a veteran instrument technician at the site, said after he made repeated attempts to bring attention to an unsafe condition at Hanford, he was harassed, isolated, and made to clean closets instead of his regular duties fixing and maintaining complicated pieces of equipment.

“Retaliation and harassment is very, very real at Hanford and that’s a fact. I lived it and I’m living it right now,” said Lee. “I’m cleaning closets and I’m replacing filters and if that’s not degrading and retaliatory, explain to me what is.”

Lee works in what’s called the 222 S Lab at Hanford. It’s a 70,000 square foot facility operated by the U.S. Department of Energy’s contractor, Washington River Protection Solutions (WRPS). Work in the lab consists of analyzing samples of lethal radioactive nuclear waste taken from underground storage tanks. They also analyze vapors captured from the headspaces of the tanks. The vapors contain a mix of poisonous chemicals that were used to extract plutonium from spent fuel rods during plutonium production. Production took place at Hanford from the 1940’s through the 1980’s for the country’s nuclear weapons program. Since then, the site has been a cleanup project exclusively – one of biggest environmental remediation projects in the world.

Since November of 2015 Lee says he’s repeatedly brought up safety concerns related to a piece of machinery used to analyze vapors. He noticed oil leaking from a Gas Chromatograph/Mass Spectrometer (GC-MS) instrument. A GC-MC machine measures the presence of selected chemicals in materials fed into it. His research of the GC-MC factory manuals found that oil in the GC-MC is contaminated with whatever’s being tested. That means toxic vapors could be emanating from the oil, into the breathing space of lab workers, who don’t wear protective gloves or respiratory protection as WRPS has never required it.

[…]

At one point the oil fell directly onto Lee’s hand.

“I broke out in a rash on my arms, my neck, my face,” said Lee. He said his overall  health has declined since working in the lab with leaking oil. “I can’t sleep at night. After my exposure I had a metallic taste in my mouth and I had a super bad headache….and I forget things a lot.”

According to a discrimination complaint filed against WRPS with the U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Lee reported his concerns to many people at the company, including his direct manager and other managers present in lab meetings, the maintenance manager of the lab, the site wide manager of the lab, a field representative from the Defense Facilities Nuclear Safety Board, members of the Department of Energy’s Employee Concerns Council, the Employee Concerns Council manager, in addition to writing up a Problem Evaluation Request (PER) about inadequate venting in the lab. PER’s are designed to formally document a concern that is supposed to be addressed by the company.

Lee said after all that, nothing changed. Managers allegedly told him not to worry about it.

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峠三吉 “原爆日記”広島市に 「世界の記憶」再申請へ via 毎日新聞

「原爆詩集」の基の貴重な資料 「強力な後押しだ」と歓迎

 広島市は28日、「にんげんをかえせ」の詩で知られる峠三吉(1917〜53年)の原爆体験を記した日記など被爆直後の資料2点が近く広島市に寄託さ れ、原爆資料館で保管すると発表した。同市と広島文学資料保全の会は共同で、この日記を含む原爆文学資料をユネスコ(国連教育科学文化機関)の「世界の記 憶」(世界記憶遺産)に再申請する。著名な「原爆詩集」の基となった貴重な資料だけに、保全の会の池田正彦事務局長は「強力な後押しだ」と歓迎している。

 1点は大学ノート2冊をとじた日記帳で45年1月1日〜11月19日のできごとがつづられている。もう1点は「メモ−覚え書−感想」と記された同年8月から9月15日までの随意日記。

 原爆詩人の峠は、爆心地から約3キロの広島市翠町(現南区翠)の自宅で被爆した。日記には投下の瞬間を「畑や家並みの其処(そこ)其処より音なく火焔(かえん)閃(ひら)めき白煙の斜めに立昇るが瞬間眼に映りぬ」と記した。

 二つの日記などを基に、峠は連合国軍総司令部(GHQ)の言論統制下にもかかわらず原爆被害を告発する私家版の「原爆詩集」(51年)を発行。同書は今夏、岩波文庫に収められるなど改めて注目を集めている。

日記は2002年、共産党に寄贈されたが、一般公開されていなかった。今回、広島側から再申請のために協力を求め共産党が快諾。ユネスコは資料に多くの人がアクセスできるよう求めており、資料館が保管することで、公開の可能性が広がりそうだ。

続きは峠三吉 “原爆日記”広島市に 「世界の記憶」再申請へ 

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NRA dismisses former expert member’s Oi plant warning via The Asahi Shimbun

The nation’s nuclear watchdog has dismissed the suggestion by seismologist Kunihiko Shimazaki that the maximum impact of a projected earthquake on the Oi nuclear plant could have been underestimated and should be reviewed.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority concluded on July 27 that it will stand by the estimate presented by the operator Kansai Electric Power Co. for the plant in Oi, Fukui Prefecture, calling Shimazaki’s argument “groundless.”

The decision came after Shimazaki, former deputy chairman of the NRA, called for a re-examination in June by pointing out the possibility that the method the utility used significantly underestimated the potential outcome.

He said he had realized that there were problems with the calculating equation adopted by Kansai Electric after scrutinizing data on the movement of the series of earthquakes that have occurred in Kumamoto Prefecture since mid-April.

Shimazaki, professor emeritus at the University of Tokyo, led a team of experts when the NRA examined the fitness of the No. 3 and No. 4 reactors at the plant under the new regulations set in the aftermath of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster.

He was the only seismologist among the NRA’s five members and was in charge of checking utilities’ preparedness for earthquakes and tsunami before he resigned two years ago. Today, no expert on seismic movement sits on the NRA.

[…]

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愛知)原発問題考える 僧侶ら絵本出版 via 朝日新聞

東日本大震災の被災地支援を続けている僧侶らが、東京電力福島第一原発事故をモチーフに、絵本「おやまのぽんた」を発刊した。発起人で真宗大谷派名古屋別院(東別院、名古屋市中区)職員の中村亮さん(39)は「震災の風化は進んでいる。原発の問題を考えるきっかけにしてくれれば」と話している。

 作者は中村さんや随縁寺(同市中川区)副住職の土井恵信さん(39)ら9人。物語は創作で、放射能などを言葉では表現せず、「モケモケ」と例えた。あらすじは――。

 里山に、男の子「ゆうき」と子ダヌキ「ぽんた」がいた。春がくると、毎日一緒に遊ぶ仲良しだ。そんな中、地震が起き、津波も襲いかかる。次の日には「ドーンと大きな音」がした後、「モケモケ」が出現し、ゆうきは外で遊べなくなった。

 ログイン前の続きある日、ゆうきが山に向かい、ぽんたにお願いする。「山を出よう!モケモケがいないところだったら、好きなだけお外であそんでいいって」。ぽんたは「こわくてできないよ」と返答した。

 後日、ゆうきが山を下りながらお母さんに問いかける。「モケモケってなあに?ぼくたちはいったい、何をしたの?」。お母さんは黙ったままゆうきの手を握りしめた……。

 この物語の下地には、土井さんが所属し、被災地に義援金などを直接手渡している僧侶らのバンド「G・ぷんだりーか」が2011年冬につくった曲「テツナギマーチ」がある。「ほうしゃのうがないばしょであそびたい」「ほうしゃのうがないころにもどりたい」――。

 被災した福島県二本松市の園児と母親が思いをつづった歌詞で、手を取り合って前に進もうという思いがこもっている。

 土井さんの友人の中村さんが、この歌詞をもとに絵本の制作を決めたのが14年冬。有志で集まった9人で内容を話し合い、故郷を離れる人と離れたくない人の葛藤や、放射能を子どもに説明できない母親の苦しみなどを表現したという。
[…]

もっと読む。

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