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チェルノブイリの国ウクライナが原発を使い続ける理由 via 朝日新聞 Globe+

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ゼレンスキー大統領は、「これまでチェルノブイリはウクライナのイメージの負の側面だった。我が国の問題を、優位へと転換する時が来た。ここは自然が再生している地球上でも稀有な土地であり、世界の学者、環境専門家、歴史家、旅行者たちに、それを見せてあげる必要がある。チェルノブイリ・ゾーンを新たなウクライナの成長拠点の一つにしたい。これまでゾーンへの入域が利権と化し、腐敗の温床となっていたが、自由化することでその余地もなくなる。ゾーンからの金属スクラップの違法な持ち出し、天然資源の勝手な利用なども防止できる」と、新機軸の狙いを説明しています。

[…]

実はウクライナは今日でも原発ヘビーユーザー

ところで、日本人の感覚からすると、ウクライナの新任大統領が初めてチェルノブイリを訪れたわけですから、この機会に、今後の原子力政策について方針や見解を述べてもよさそうなものです。しかし、筆者が調べた限りでは、ゼレンスキー大統領はそういったことには触れず、ひたすらチェルノブイリ・ゾーン活用についてだけコメントしたようです。

それもそのはずであり、実はウクライナは今日も原子力発電に深く依存しているのです。さすがにチェルノブイリ原発での発電は2000年に停止されましたが、それ以外の4箇所の原発で15の原子炉が稼働しています。ウクライナの政財界のエリートで、「脱原発」を唱えるような向きは稀であり、それを求める社会運動なども目立ちません。近年の選挙で争点になったこともないと思います。ゼレンスキー新大統領にしても、原発の維持を当然のものと受け止めているでしょう。

ちなみに、1986年の大惨事で汚染を被ったのはウクライナだけでなく、ロシアとベラルーシも深刻な汚染にさらされました。実は、最大の被害国はベラルーシであり、汚染物質の70%以上がベラルーシに降り注いだと言われています。皮肉なことに、この3国とも、現在は原発推進国と位置付けられます。

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Yamamoto Taro: New Prospects for Progressive Politics in Japan via Foreign Policy in Focus

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One of the most impressive of this new generation, who is currently touring Tokyo to give speeches in the lead-up to the July 21 elections, is the charismatic and committed Yamamoto Taro.

A long-time critic of the government’s denial of environmental damage resulting from the Fukushima nuclear disaster, he has openly advocated on behalf of the citizens of the region who suffer from high rates of cancer. Yamamoto made headlines when he handed the previous emperor, Akihito, a letter in 2013 describing the terrible health conditions of children living around the disabled nuclear plant and the workers involved in the cleanup. Mainstream politicians attacked him for trying to use the emperor for political purposes at a public event, and many demanded that he resign and that be barred from future such events.

Yamamoto’s willingness to talk about the details of daily life for those confronted with the fallout of the nuclear disaster – in spite of the virtual media blackout on the issue – won him a small but devoted base in Japan.

Yamamoto started his career as an actor and established himself as a “talent,” a popular figure who appears on late-night talk shows to discuss current affairs and culture in a lighthearted manner. He took up the anti-nuclear issue after the meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi reactor caused by the March 11, 2011 earthquake. To the detriment of his acting career, Yamamoto threw himself into activism, promoting renewable energy and working with those whose health was effected by the disaster.

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A New Party

Yamamoto broke his primary affiliation with Jiyuto (Freedom Party) in April 2019 and launched a new political coalition known as Reiwa Sinsengumi. The Reiwa Sinsengumi (Reiwa New Election Team) coalition has fielded multiple candidates for the current elections (including Yamamoto) and has taken forceful positions not found among other established opposition parties. For example, Reiwa Rinsengumi demands an immediate end to the regressive consumption tax (other opposition parties only ask that the rate not be raised), has openly opposed the construction of the Henoko Base in Okinawa, has demanded an immediate and unconditional end to nuclear power in Japan, and has proposed a 1500-yen-an-hour minimum wage.

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Radiation in parts of the Marshall Islands is far higher than Chernobyl, study says via Los Angeles Times

By SUSANNE RUST
JUL 15, 2019 | 12:00 PM 

Think of the most radioactive landscapes on the planet and the names Chernobyl and Fukushima may come to mind.

Yet research published Monday suggests that parts of the Marshall Islands in the central Pacific, where the United States conducted 67 nuclear tests during the Cold War, should be added to the list.

In a peer-reviewed study, Columbia University researchers report that soil on four isles of the Marshall Islands contains concentrations of nuclear isotopes that greatly exceed those found near the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear power plants. On one isle, those levels are reported to be 1,000 times higher.

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Researchers found concentrations of plutonium-238 on Naen, raising the possibility that the island was used as an unreported dumping ground. Plutonium-238 is a radioisotope associated with nuclear waste and not generally with fallout, said Ivana Nikolic Hughes, a co-author of the research and an associate professor of chemistry at Columbia.

The only other place the team detected this isotope was at Runit, where the United States entombed nuclear waste from bomb testing under a leaking concrete dome.

“We can’t say for sure that [dumping on Naen] is what happened,” said Nikolic Hughes, who directs Columbia’s K=1 Project — a multidisciplinary program dedicated to educating the public about nuclear technology. “But people should not be living on Rongelap until this is addressed.”

[…]

Some researchers have declared Rongelap safe for re-habitation. But the Columbia study suggests that, for now, people not return to Rongelap or Bikini atolls, where Naen and Bikini are located, until certain areas have been more thoroughly cleaned. More than 600 people have already returned to parts of Enewetak atoll — where Runit and Enjebi are located.

“We are concerned about what is being consumed on Naen and at what level,” said James Matayoshi, the mayor of Rongelap Atoll. He said he didn’t like the idea of people collecting food from Naen and the islands near it, because he doesn’t know what kind of risk that poses for his constituents’ health.

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For years the U.S. government, with technological help from the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, has worked to reduce radiation on Rongelap Island — removing soil from around the village and applying potassium to areas where food is grown, which works to prevent plants from taking up radiation.

People can be exposed to radiation by inhaling dust or drinking contaminated water, but studies have found that food is the primary way Marshall Islanders are exposed to radiation — even if background and soil radiation are relatively low.

In 1992, the United States and the Republic of the Marshall Islands entered into a memorandum of understanding that stipulated Rongelap Atoll, which was evacuated in 1954 and again in 1985, could only be resettled when radiation exposure levels — all sources of exposure — fell below 100 millirem per year. That standard, noted Nikolic Hughes, is much less stringent than standards in the United States — where the EPA established a limit of 15 millirem per year for the general population living near the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository, for the first 10,000 years.

[…]

The comparisons in the studies being released Monday — including findings that plutonium levels in parts of the Marshall Islands are 15 to 1,000 times higher to those sampled near the Chernobyl and Fukushima power plants — are sure to raise eyebrows.

But the study’s authors note there’s one big difference between the Marshall Islands and other high-profile contaminated sites. At Chernobyl and Fukushima, there are active government efforts to keep people away from the contaminated reactors, whereas islands such as Bikini and Naen are easily accessible by the Marshallese, who traditionally have boated from island to island to collect fruits and other food.

“The Marshallese people deserve an independent assessment from experts on the safety of their islands, starting from collecting raw data all the way to the final analysis and conclusions,” said Hughes, lamenting that even his work could be seen as suspect by Marshall Islanders.
“It would be ideal,” he said, “if there were no U.S. citizens doing this independent study.”

Reporting for this article was funded in part by the Investigative Reporting Resource at the Columbia Journalism School. 

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原発避難、今も苦しむ シンポで当事者ら訴え 福島 via 河北新報

東京電力福島第1原発事故の被災地の現状を報告する「福島を忘れない! 全国シンポジウム」が13日、福島市であった。避難を強いられた福島県内の被災市町村の議員や集団訴訟の原告らが、脱原発を訴えるなどした。

県内外から約120人が参加。福島県南相馬市小高区から横浜市へ避難した福島原発かながわ訴訟原告団の村田弘団長(76)は「関連死や健康被害を訴える人がたくさんいる。原発事故はまだ終わっていないということを発信し続けなければならない」と呼び掛けた。

川内、浪江、葛尾、飯舘4町村の議員も登壇し、避難指示解除後の帰還状況などを説明。

(略)

元京都大原子炉実験所助教の小出裕章氏による講演もあった。シンポは今年で7回目。

全文は原発避難、今も苦しむ シンポで当事者ら訴え 福島

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福島原発事故、今ある事実を「土ほこり」に知るvia 京都反原発めだかの学校・学習会

〜福島から関東、聖火も通る国道沿いの放射能を測り続けて〜

もっと読む。

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東京)原発避難、原発労働…市民団体ら研究発表 杉並 via 朝日新聞

反原発運動の理論的指導者といわれた故高木仁三郎さんの遺志で設立された「高木基金」(代表理事・河合弘之弁護士)の昨年度助成を受けた団体や個人20件の研究成果発表会が13、14の両日、東京都杉並区明治大学で行われた。

 基金は科学的な考察に裏づけられた批判ができる「市民科学者」の育成・支援を目的に助成している。[…] 、住民説明会も「避難計画への不満を共感しあうだけの場になっている」と報告した。

また、「被ばく労働を考えるネットワーク」は稲葉奈々子教授らとフランスなど海外の原発労働者の状況を調査。「複数の国の原発で働く労働者の合計被曝(ひばく)線量が管理されていない」などと問題点を指摘した。

 「新外交イニシアティブ」は日米原子力協定に関し、米国側の動向の調査を行った。代表の猿田佐世弁護士は「米国では原発は斜陽産業で経済的にペイしないと思われている」とし、「米国では原発推進派でも安全保障上の観点から日本の再処理反対の人が多い」と報告した。

別ウインドウで開きます

 報告は近く高木基金のホームページ(http://www.takagifund.org/)で公開する予定。(青木美希)

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The Hoax Nuclear Power Is Green via Enviro Video 1

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Trinity: “The most significant hazard of the entire Manhattan Project” via Bulletin of Atomic Scientists

By Kathleen M. Tucker, Robert Alvarez

For the past several years, the controversy over radioactive fallout from the world’s first atomic bomb explosion in Alamogordo, New Mexico on July 16, 1945—code-named Trinity—has intensified. Evidence collected by the New Mexico health department but ignored for some 70 years shows an unusually high rate of infant mortality in New Mexico counties downwind from the explosion and raises a serious question whether or not the first victims of the first atomic explosion might have been American children. Even though the first scientifically credible warnings about the hazards of radioactive fallout from a nuclear explosion had been made by 1940, historical records indicate a fallout team was not established until less than a month before the Trinity test, a hasty effort motivated primarily by concern over legal liability.

In October 1947, a local health care provider raised an alarm about infant deaths downwind of the Trinity test, bringing it to the attention of radiation safety experts working for the US nuclear weapons program. Their response misrepresented New Mexico’s then-unpublished data on health effects. Federal and New Mexico data indicate that between 1940 and 1960, infant death rates in the area downwind of the test site steadily declined—except for 1945, when the rate sharply increased, especially in the three months following the Trinity blast. The 21 kiloton explosion occurred on a tower 100 feet from the ground and has been likened to a “dirty bomb” that cast large amounts of heavily contaminated soil and debris—containing 80 percent of the bomb’s plutonium—over thousands of square-miles. (See Figure 1.)

After a nearly half a century of denial, the US Department of Energy concluded in 2006, “the Trinity test also posed the most significant hazard of the entire Manhattan Project.”[1] Four years later the US Centers for Disease Control gave weight to this assessment by concluding:

“New Mexico residents were neither warned before the 1945 Trinity blast, informed of health hazards afterward, nor evacuated before, during, or after the test. Exposure rates in public areas from the world’s first nuclear explosion were measured at levels 10,000- times higher than currently allowed.”[2]

Meanwhile the National Cancer Institute is conducting a study to model the dispersion and dose reconstruction for people who may have been exposed to fallout from the Trinity explosion. Regardless of the outcome of this study, it is clear the public was put in harm’s way because of US government negligence in conducting and its participation in a coverup of the results of an exceedingly dangerous experiment.

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Finding the facts. More than 70 years later, we examined the vital statistics collected by the US government and the state of New Mexico in the 1940s to determine if area health patterns changed after the first atomic explosion. The data eventually provided to Los Alamos and Bryan in January 1948 indicated a sharp rise in infant deaths following the Trinity explosion. Later, between 1940 and 1960, infant mortality in New Mexico showed steady and deep annual declines—except for 1945, when it shot up.[8] The infant mortality rate in New Mexico in 1945 was 100.8 per 1,000 live births; the rate for 1944 was 89.1, and for 1946 it was 78.2.[9] (See Figure 2.) The unpublished data sent to Los Alamos indicated an infant death rate nearly 34 percent higher in 1945 than subsequently made public.

[…]

Fallout protection was not a priority for the Trinity explosion. The Trinity test was top secret to all but a few scientists and military officials. No warnings were issued to citizens about off- site fallout dangers, although off-site measurements done with a paucity of instruments and people indicated that radiation spread well beyond the test site boundaries.  [16]

The Trinity bomb was detonated atop a 100-foot steel tower. With an estimated explosive yield of 21,000 tons of TNT, the fireball vaporized the tower and shot hundreds of tons of irradiated soil to a height of 50,000 to 70,000 feet, spreading radioactive fallout over a very large area. Fallout measurements taken shortly after the explosion were very limited and primitive instruments were used; the data suggest no measurements regarding inhalation or ingestion of radionuclides were taken.

Joseph Shonka, a principal researcher for the study of the Trinity shot for the Centers for Disease Control, recently concluded that the Trinity fallout “was similar to what might occur with a dirty bomb. A fraction of the plutonium [~20%] was used in the explosion [and] … the fireball contacted the soil. Because of the low altitude, fallout exhibited a ‘skip distance’ with little fallout near the test site. Although there were plans for evacuation, radio communication was lost as the survey teams traveled out to follow the overhead plume. Thus, the command center was unsure of whether that the criteria had been met … and failed to order the evacuation.”[17]

Scientists had stressed the importance of protection from radioactive fallout following a nuclear weapon explosion, five years before the Trinity test. “Owing to the spread of radioactive substances with the wind, the bomb could probably not be used without killing large numbers of civilians, and this may make it unsuitable as a weapon for use by this country,” warned Manhattan Project physicists Otto Frisch and Rudolf Peierls in their important memorandum of March 1940, which accelerated production of the first atomic weapons. “[I]t would be very important to have an organization which determines the exact extent of the danger area, by means of ionization measurements, so that people can be warned from entering it.”[18]

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We should remember that compensation for people near the Nevada test site was not exclusively based on abstract modeling of radiation doses. Rather, downwinders were also compensated because the burden of proof fell unfairly on them. They were victims not just of willful negligence, but also the government’s purposeful deception and suppression of evidence about the high-hazard activity that the US nuclear weapons program constituted. The current body of historical evidence of harm, negligence, and deception—especially the evidence of increased infant death following the first nuclear explosion—should be more than enough for long overdue justice for the people in New Mexico who were downwind of Trinity.

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Recycle everything, America—except your nuclear waste via Bulletin of Atomic Scientists

By Allison Macfarlane, Sharon Squassoni

[…]

Now that Americans are “woke” about waste in general, they may turn to the specific kind produced by the nuclear energy industry. Plans to revitalize US nuclear power, which is in dire economic straits, depend on the potential for new, “advanced” reactors to reduce and recycle the waste they produce.  Unfortunately, as they “burn” some kinds of nuclear wastes, these plants will create other kinds that also require disposal. At the same time, these “advanced” reactors—many of which are actually reprises of past efforts—increase security and nuclear weapons proliferation risks and ultimately do nothing to break down the political and societal resistance to finding real solutions to nuclear waste disposal.

The current nuclear dream is really no different from previous ones of the last 70 years: the next generation of reactors, nuclear power advocates insist, will be safer, cheaper, more reliable, less prone to produce nuclear bomb-making material, and more versatile (producing electricity, heat, and perhaps hydrogen), without creating the wastes that have proved almost impossible to deal with in the United States.  The Nuclear Energy Innovation and Modernization Act specifically describes the advanced reactors it seeks to support as having all those positive characteristics.  This newest burst of enthusiasm for advanced reactors is, however, largely fueled by the idea that they will burn some of their long-lived radioisotopes, thereby becoming nuclear incinerators for some of their own waste.

Many of these “advanced” reactors are actually repackaged designs from 70 years ago.  If the United States, France, the UK, Germany, Japan, Russia, and others could not make these reactors economically viable power producers in that time, despite spending more than $60 billion, what is different now?  Moreover, all of the “advanced” designs under discussion now are simply “PowerPoint” reactors: They have not been built at scale, and, as a result, we don’t really know all the waste streams that they will produce.

It’s tempting to believe that having new nuclear power plants that serve, to some degree, as nuclear garbage disposals means there is no need for a nuclear garbage dump, but this isn’t really the case. Even in an optimistic assessment, these new plants will still produce significant amounts of high-level, long-lived waste. What’s more, new fuel forms used in some of these advanced reactors could pose waste disposal challenges not seen to date.

Some of these new reactors would use molten salt-based fuels that, when exposed to water, form highly corrosive hydrofluoric acid. Therefore, reprocessing (or some form of “conditioning”) the waste will likely be required for safety reasons before disposal. Sodium-cooled fast reactors—a “new” technology proposed to be used in some advanced reactors, including the Bill Gates-funded TerraPower reactors—face their own disposal challenges. These include dealing with the metallic uranium fuel which is pyrophoric (that is, prone to spontaneous combustion) and would need to be reprocessed into a safer form for disposal.

Unconventional reactors may reduce the level of some nuclear isotopes in the spent fuel they produce, but that won’t change what really drives requirements for our future nuclear waste repository: the heat production of spent fuel and amount of long-lived radionuclides in the waste. To put it another way, the new reactors will still need a waste repository, and it will likely need to be just as large as a repository for the waste produced by the current crop of conventional reactors.

Recycling and minimizing—even eliminating—the waste streams that many industries produce is responsible and prudent behavior. But in the context of nuclear energy, recycling is expensive, dirty, and ultimately dangerous.  Reprocessing spent nuclear fuel—which some advanced reactor designs require for safety reasons—actually produces fissile material that could be used to power nuclear weapons.  This is precisely why the United States has avoided the reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel for the last four decades, despite having the world’s largest number of commercial nuclear power plants.

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Fukushima: an ongoing disaster via Red Flag

Jack Crawford
15 July 2019

In March – on the eighth anniversary of the Fukushima disaster – Time magazine published an article with the headline: “Want to Stop Climate Change? Then It’s Time to Fall Back in Love with Nuclear Energy”. In it, the former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Hans Blix, evokes the imminent threat of climate catastrophe to argue, “There are paths out of this mess. But on March 11, 2011 [the day of the Fukushima disaster], the world’s course was diverted away from one of the most important. I am talking about nuclear energy”. He continues by criticising public fears of nuclear as irrational: “Plane crashes have not stopped us from flying, because most people know it is an effective means of travelling”. Blix speaks for the global nuclear industry, which is increasingly attempting to present itself as the solution to climate change.

But plane crashes do not kill untold numbers and spread deadly poisons over huge areas of the planet. Fukushima was and still is a horrific and ongoing human and environmental catastrophe, exposing the horrendous risks to which the powerful are willing to subject people and the planet. It should be remembered every time a pro-nuclear bureaucrat or politician exploits genuine concern about climate change to promote this deadly industry. It should never be forgotten. 

[…]

Then disaster struck. The force of the giant waves disabled the generators powering Fukushima’s cooling system. A failed cooling system allowed temperatures inside the reactors to skyrocket, reaching up to 2,300°C. Nuclear fuel rods, requiring intense underwater cooling, quickly melted. The uranium sludge (known as corium) ground through the floor and rendered three reactors an impenetrable wreck of magmatic steel, concrete and nuclear waste.

Hydrogen explosions indicated the point of no return had been reached. Toxic plumes rose from the plant, and radioactive debris spewed out. All layers of containment were breached, and radioactive fluids began to flow into the soil and the sea. The first official reaction to the crisis was to lie to the public. While the triple meltdown was in full swing, TEPCO representatives held press conferences assuring the world that the reactors were stable, that the fuel was being cooled and contained, that there was no risk to human health. The company did not acknowledge that a meltdown had taken place until the following May. In 2016, TEPCO President Naomi Hirose admitted there had been a cover-up, describing it as “extremely regrettable”.

[…]

Today, towns such as Futaba, Tomioka and Okuma are nuclear ghost towns. In them you will find a forest of metal gates, decaying buildings, shattered glass and cars wrapped in vines. The only human faces are mannequins in store windows, still dressed in the fashion of 2011. Sprawled across the highway between towns are hundreds of black bags filled with toxic dirt. They are one of the many problems of the clean-up effort. There are about 30 million one-tonne bags of radioactive topsoil, tree branches, grass and other waste. There is no safe, long-term storage place for this material. 

The clean-up is undermined by cost cutting. Workers are forced to meet strict deadlines, even if it compromises safety. “There were times when we were told to leave the contaminated topsoil and just remove the leaves so we could get everything done on schedule”, explained Minoru Ikeda, a former worker. “Sometimes we would look at each other as if to say: ‘What on earth are we doing here?’”

[…]

Scandalously, organised crime has penetrated the clean-up operations. Those with debts to the Yakuza (Japanese organised crime) have found themselves shoved into hazmat suits and set to work. The subcontracting system has allowed TEPCO to turn a blind eye to such human rights abuses.

[…]

The dangers faced by those returning to Fukushima prefecture have been a central controversy of recent years. Compelled by economic necessity, most have returned. But as of February 2019, 52,000 remain displaced, either unwilling to return or with homes in still-prohibited zones. In a recent press tour, the government repeatedly blamed “harmful rumours” for creating fear of returning as well as the Japanese public’s unwillingness to consume Fukushima’s fish and agricultural products.

[…]

Hans Blix concludes his pro-nuclear Time article by insisting, “Radiation is a force that can be destructive and dangerous if not used prudently, but it can also be tamed and used to our benefit”. But Fukushima is not just a story of nuclear technology being used imprudently. It is a story of capitalism acting as it is supposed to: putting profits ahead of the interests of the many. An untameable economic system cannot “tame” radiation. 

And those who “benefit” from the powerful nuclear industry are the same people who crave military dominance. The politicians and officials currently fighting to rebuild Japanese nuclear capability are thinking far more about the military tensions surrounding them than tackling climate change. We don’t need to a build a world full of deadly nuclear power plants to combat climate change. We need clean, renewable energy and a system that prioritises people and the planet over money and military might.

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