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Nuclear Colonialism: Indigenous opposition grows against proposal for nation’s largest nuclear storage facility in NM via NM Political Report

By Kendra Chamberlain

A proposal for New Mexico to house one of the world’s largest nuclear waste storage facilities has drawn opposition from nearly every indigenous nation in the state. Nuclear Issues Study Group co-founder and Diné organizer Leona Morgan told state legislators last week the project, if approved, would perpetuate a legacy of nuclear colonialism against New Mexico’s indigenous communities and people of color. 

Holtec International, a private company specializing in spent nuclear fuel storage and management, applied for a license from the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission to construct and operate the facility in southeastern New Mexico.

The proposal, which has been in the works since 2011, would see high-level waste generated at nuclear power plants across the country transported to New Mexico for storage at the proposed facility along the Lea-Eddy county line between Hobbs and Carlsbad. Holtec representatives say the facility would be a temporary solution to the nation’s growing nuclear waste problem, but currently there is no federal plan to build a permanent repository for the waste.


Morgan briefed members of the Legislature’s interim Radioactive and Hazardous Materials Committee on how the proposal fits into a wider pattern of negligence and environmental racism on behalf of the federal government towards one of the United States’ poorest majority-minority states. 


“We see this as environmental racism and perpetuating nuclear colonialism that is going to result in a continuation of a slow genocide,” she said.


Holtec’s proposal would see the majority of high-level nuclear waste in the U.S. transported to a consolidated interim storage facility located in southeastern New Mexico. If licensed, the facility would house up to 100,000 metric tons of high-level waste at capacity — more nuclear waste than currently exists in the country — for up to 40 years, while the federal government either re-opens Yucca Mountain or establishes a new deep repository to permanently store the waste.


Nuclear colonialism and legacy waste 

Nuclear colonialism, a term first coined by environmentalist Winona LaDuke and activist Ward Churchill, describes a systematic dispossession of indigenous lands, the exploitation of cultural resources, and a history of subjugation and oppression of indigenous peoples by a government to further nuclear production of energy and proliferation of weapons. 

“All of the impacts from nuclear colonialism can be simplified by explaining it as environmental racism,” Morgan told state legislators last week. She pointed to the health and environmental consequences of uranium mining on the Navajo Nation during the last century.  

“My family lives in areas where there was past uranium mining. We’re still dealing with the legacy of all of the mining that fuelled World War II and the Cold War,” Morgan said. “This legacy is still unaddressed — not just in New Mexico, but in the entire country. For that reason, my concern is the health of our people, our environment.” 


“We do not believe we are separate from the environment,” Morgan said. “We are not here to protect the environment as land and as mountains, but as living, breathing entities.” 

Similar beliefs, sometimes referred to in policy discussions as “environmental personhood,” have gained recognition among regulators in countries across the world in recent years. 


Morgan pointed to the federal government’s management of legacy uranium waste located on the Navajo Nation.  

“The [Department of Energy] currently has two sites in New Mexico — one in Shiprock and one in Churchrock — where their alternative for clean up is no action, and they have cited, ‘let mother nature take its course, let mother nature take care of the mess,’” she said.

Read more at Nuclear Colonialism: Indigenous opposition grows against proposal for nation’s largest nuclear storage facility in NM

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Nuclear waste removal project moving forward via WKBW

Waste from Manhattan Project stored in Lewiston

LEWISTON, N.Y. (WKBW) — People who live near a nuclear waste storage site got an update on a plan to remove the wasteWednesday night. 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers provided an update on a feasibility study for a waste removal project in Lewiston. The Niagara Falls Storage Site in Lewiston has stored nuclear waste from the Manhattan Project. That is the project that developed the atomic bomb during World War II.


The waste removal project is still in the early stages, and will take several years to complete. Once removed, the nuclear waste will be stored outside of New York State.

Read more at Nuclear waste removal project moving forward

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社説 東電の日本原電支援 無理を重ねる原発延命策 via 毎日新聞









全文は社説 東電の日本原電支援 無理を重ねる原発延命策

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Fukushima Workers Battle Leukemia – and Bureaucracy via Unseen Japan

By Hiro Ugaya

Editor’s Note

The March 2011 tsunami, and the subsequent meltdown of three reactors at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, has had a devastating impact on Japan. Eight years later, and most journalists – in Japan and abroad – have forgotten about the story. But for many, the struggle continues.

This is especially true of workers who helped assist in the cleanup effort at Fukushima. Some Fukushima workers have contracted severe diseases – including cancer and leukemia – since their work concluded. The government of Japan has even certified that some cases are a result of recovery work. But workers who are fighting for their lives also find themselves fighting the system. Tokyo Electric (TEPCO), which led the recovery effort, refuses to admit any connection between the cleanup work and subsequent diseases in workers. And many insurance companies are pointing to the fine print in private insurance contracts stating they don’t cover accidents at nuclear facilities.

Unseen Japan has been pleased to partner with photojournalist Hiro Ugaya (烏賀陽弘道) to translate his interviews with evacuees and former evacuees, and to document the ongoing struggle of the victims of this tragedy.

We previously published Hiro’s interview with a mother in the city of Minamisoma. In this installment, we share the first part of Hiro’s interview with Mr. Ikeda (pseudonym), a Fukushima nuclear reactor cleanup volunteer who now finds himself fighting two uphill battles.

(Translation from an article originally published on Note.muTranslation by Jay, Editor/Publisher, Unseen Japan. All photos used with permission of Hiro Ugaya.)

I went to Fukuoka, which is quite far from Fukushima. That’s where the leukemia-stricken Ikeda Kazuya (age 44; pseudonym) has lived since participating in the Daichi Nuclear Reactor reconstruction efforts. I had visited Ikeda once in 2017 to hear his story. Among all my interviews here in the Fukushima Report, it’s the one that’s reverberated the loudest.

Mr. Ikeda volunteered to participate in the restoration work at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. By trade, he’s an independent welder. In March 2011, when so many people died due to the tsunami, he looked at the report of the death of a small child and thought, “I need to do something useful for Tohoku” [Editor: the region of Japan hit by the tsunami]. He asked permission from his boss and threw himself into the reconstruction effort. The interior of the heavy machinery room of Reactor 4 butts up against the nuclear fuel rod pool.

But in 2013, Mr. Ikeda came down with leukemia.

Mr. Ikeda is one of the first cancer patients that the country recognizes as a work-related accident connected to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Two Fukushima workers contracted leukemia (bone marrow cancer), and one contracted thyroid cancer. The first case of leukemia was recognized in October 2015. The second was recognized in August 2016. The third person, who had thyroid cancer, was certified in December 2016.

As of May 2019, there are six patients in the country whose cases have been recognized as occupational accidents caused by work at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. To tell the truth, I was quite surprised that the country recognized them as occupational accidents. Judging from the history of pollution diseases, such as Minamata disease and Itai-itai disease, I predicted the government would probably prevaricate and not admit a causal relationship. But the government admitted it readily (employing a lot of rhetoric, of course, such as “This is not an admission of a scientific, causal relationship”).

From a global and historical perspective, the admission is rare. In the Three Mile Island nuclear accident (1979) in the US, more than 2000 lawsuits have been filed, but no relationship between health damage and exposure has been admitted in even a single case. The state government naturally won’t admit it, and the courts don’t either.


While the case was recognized as a workplace injury, Mr. Ikeda filed a lawsuit against Tokyo Electric (TEPCO), which ran the restoration project. That’s because TEPCO doesn’t “recognize a causal relationship between Mr. Ikeda’s leukemia and exposure to radiation at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.”

I’ve long found it mysterious that not a single TV station, weekly newspaper, web media or other news outlet has done an article on those like Mr. Ikeda who contracted deadly diseases from the nuclear reactor recovery work. Since the government’s announcement certifying them as workplace injuries, there’s been dead silence. Those affected can’t be heard in their own voices.


During that time, every time I met Mr. Ikeda and talked with him, I realized he was recovering little by little. Let’s talk about what’s happened since. It was April 2019 when I flew back to Kitakyushu again.

This time, Mr. Ikeda pointed out something important. People who work in nuclear facilities such as nuclear power plants are not covered by private insurance, even if they have an accident or get sick. It’s in the so-called “disclaimer.”

If if you can’t work and fall into hard times, unless the country certifies it as a workplace accident, there’s no path to salvation. For subcontractors who are not in-house employees, TEPCO and other electric power companies have denied any compensation or even causality.

People who engaged in the dangerous work of recovering the nuclear power plant post-meltdown have been left naked and defenseless. And few people notice it. Even insurance companies don’t care. I want to fix this abnormality.

Here’s what Mr. Ikeda told me.


Experts say that the incubation period of leukemia (time from exposure to onset) is two years. Mr. Ikeda’s case matches that. And the five-year survival rate for leukemia is around 30%. His doctor said, “If you’d waited two weeks, it’d have been too late.”

here are six people, including yourself, who have been certified as workplace accidents due to cancer or death from overwork in the recovery work of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident. Any contact from them?

No, none. I’ve caught sight of the wife of one of the Fukushima workers who died from overwork (karoshi) at rallies in Tokyo.

It seems that TEPCO employees and primary subcontractors who got sick will receive 30 million yen [around USD $274,000]. But in return, they can’t sue. That’s what my lawyer emphasized at trial. But that offer doesn’t extend to us (second-tier subcontractors).

The owner who hired me also had business owner insurance. Just in case we have an industrial accident. However, we found out later that it wasn’t valid in nuclear facilities, such as nuclear power plants. The insurance companies say it’s too dangerous a place to cover via employer insurance. And yet TEPCO denies responsibility for my leukemia.

That’s what you’re contesting in court.

That’s right. They’re denying everything. They say it was too low of a dose to bear any relationship. In the previous trial, TEPCO says I developed leukemia due to smoking, drinking, and a vegetable deficiency. That took me aback (laughs). They talk to us like we’re alcoholics.

When I petition to declare this an industrial accident, I was interviewed by the Labor Standards Control Board. I didn’t know quite what was happening, so when they asked me about my health, I was straight and said, “I drink two beers a day,” and “I smoke 20 cigarettes a day.” TEPCO must have requested disclosure of the Labor Board’s data.  Who knows where they got “vegetable deficiency” (laughs). They’re just making stuff up.


TEPCO won’t recognize the causal relationship between your leukemia and radiation exposure, correct?

If they did, it’ll become a serious obstacle to future nuclear power policy. I was the first person certified, and there’ve been a number since. So there has to be a causal relationship, right?

What total dose did you receive?

A total of 19.8 millisieverts. Others received more. TEPCO is terrible. It’d be better if they just copped to it.


Fukushima workers who entered the facility had no idea their employer’s primary insurance wouldn’t cover it.

Yep, yep…We ask who’s going to cover this, but TEPCO is the only company that makes people work in an environment not covered by insurance. People will think, “If TEPCO won’t guarantee it, why should I take the risk?”

That’s what I want to say, to communicate to the world. But no one will listen….If workers have the right to insurance, they know they can get compensation if something happens. I mean, that’s how the old coal miners thought. “I’ going into a dangerous place, but, well, at least I have insurance.”

Is work accident insurance insufficient?

It’s not a matter of it being insufficient. I want to see a proper system established for the people who come after me. Unskilled workers like me have these jobs like nuclear power plant cleanup shoved on them. If something happens, and you’re a TEPCO employee, you’re covered. The rest of us are kicked to the curb. It makes me sick. Many of us have no idea who’ll take care of things if something happens.

The company that hired me took out high premiums for us to have round the clock coverage. It covers us even when we’re in dorm rooms outside of works hours from aftershocks and tsunamis. However, they didn’t know the insurance wasn’t applicable inside of a nuclear facility. The CEO complained, and a rep came and apologized.

I heard that they changed that text from small print to large print after my case was certified.

So there are gaps in the current system?

That’s what I want people to know. I want the media and others to know. And I want people who enter a nuclear facility to work to know this as well. Private insurance won’t cover you if something happens. Do people think that’s right? If I don’t say something, others will end up like me.

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What happens to nuclear waste from power plants? via DW

African countries looking to invest in nuclear energy as a source of clean electricity should consider Europe’s struggles with disposing of radioactive waste.

Seventy years after the nuclear age began, no country has built a place to safely store its waste, a report published this week warns, raising concerns for governments mulling nuclear power as an alternative to fossil fuels.

More than 60,000 tons of highly radioactive waste in the form of spent nuclear fuel rods are stored in interim sites across Europe, according to the World Nuclear Waste Report, some in old facilities that are running out of capacity and are expected to be used for decades longer than planned. Finland is the only country building a permanent repository underground for nuclear waste that emits large amounts of radiation for tens of thousands of years, according to the report published by the Heinrich Böll Foundation — which is affiliated with the German Green party.

“We are talking about time frames that are beyond the human scale of what we can think of,” said Arne Jungjohann, political scientist and lead editor of the report. “We still don’t know where to put the waste safely in a way that nobody will get harmed, that it is not vulnerable to terrorist attacks, that it is not being stolen to build nuclear bombs.”


Nuclear Power in Africa

Africa’s urban populationis set to double in the next three decades, massively boosting demand for infrastructure and energy. Just half of Africans had access to electricity in 2017, compared to a global average of 88%, World Bank data shows.

Eager to connect citizens with electricity grids, but anxious to avoid high-emissions of Western countries, some governments are exploring nuclear as a way to supply cheap and stable energy.

South Africa is the only country on the continent that currently operates a nuclear plant, but about a dozen others are considering, planning or building them, according to the World Nuclear Association. Several countries — Algeria, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia — have signed partnership agreements with Russian nuclear energy company Rosatom, a paper published in the journal Issues in Science and Technology found earlier this year, and others have contracts with China.


Unsolved nuclear waste is the “defeating argument against entering into the nuclear age,” said Rebecca Harms, a former Member of the European Parliament who was behind the report. “African countries should consider the nuclear legacies which have been created during the last 50, 60 years and for which we have no solutions.”

Demand for energy in Sub-Saharan Africa is set to rise by 60% in the next two decades, but nuclear sources are projected to meet only a small fraction of this, according to the Africa Energy Outlook 2019, a report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) published on Thursday.

“What we see in the future economic development of sub-Saharan Africa will be powered by a mix of renewables and natural gas,” said Kieran McNamara, senior energy analyst at the IEA and co-author of the report. “Nuclear just doesn’t feature.”


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【子ども脱被ばく裁判】吸い込むな危険!法廷で2人の専門家が強調した「不溶性放射性微粒子」による内部被曝のリスク。水害被災地で再浮遊する可能性も指摘via 民の声新聞








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Radioactive ‘Tomb’ in Pacific Filled With Nuclear Waste Is Starting to Crack via Science Alert


In the Marshall Islands, locals have a nickname for the Runit Dome nuclear-waste site: They call it ‘The Tomb’.

The sealed pit contains more than 3.1 million cubic feet (87,800 cubic meters) of radioactive waste, which workers buried there as part of efforts to clean hazardous debris left behind after the US military detonated nuclear bombs on the land.

From 1977 to 1980, around 4,000 US servicemen were tasked with cleaning up the former nuclear testing site of Enewetak Atoll. They scooped up the contaminated soil, along with other radioactive waste materials such as military equipment, concrete, and scrap metal.

It all went into the Runit Dome, which the servicemen then covered with concrete.

In total, the crater holds enough radioactive waste to fill 35 Olympic-sized swimming pools. Most of that is irradiated soil carrying plutonium, an isotope that can cause lung cancer if inhaled.

But as seas have gotten higher in the area – the water has risen about 7 millimetres per year since 1993 – water has begun to seep into the soil beneath the dome.

Unlike the sealed dome on top, the bottom of the pit was never lined with concrete. So now, rising tides threaten to submerge the tomb – or crack it open.


In 2013, the US Department of Energy reported that radioactive materials could be leaking from the dome into the marine environment, but said such an occurrence would “not necessarily lead to any significant change in the radiation dose delivered to the local resident population.”

But sea levels around the Marshall Islands are rising. By 2030, they could be between 1.2 and 6.3 inches (3 cm to 16 cm) higher than they are now, resulting in more storm surges and coastal flooding. By 2100, the dome could be submerged in water.

Locals fear that mounting damage to the structure could present a new set of health risks.

The dome recently began to crack and chip, increasing the odds that strong waves could force the structure open. A disaster like that would send even more radioactive waste into the nearby ocean or lagoon, which could even force locals to leave the island once again.


Scientists don’t know if the dome’s radiation levels are harmful
Ken Buesseler, a marine radiochemist who is planning to sample the soil near the dome, recently told Insider that the concern about radiation levels could be overblown.

“There is cesium in everything you eat, plutonium in everything you eat and drink,” he said.

Residents of Enewetak Atoll would have to inhale the leaked plutonium, or be exposed to contaminated water through an abrasion, to experience adverse health consequences.

But scientists are still studying the effects of radiation exposure on the islands overall.

Read more at Radioactive ‘Tomb’ in Pacific Filled With Nuclear Waste Is Starting to Crack

Related article: How the U.S. betrayed the Marshall Islands, kindling the next nuclear disaster via Los Angeles Times

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再稼働目指す女川原発の審査結果 来月初めごろまでに示す方針 via NHK News Web










全文は再稼働目指す女川原発の審査結果 来月初めごろまでに示す方針

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Cascading disasters are causing extreme weather to pack an even bigger punch via UN Environment Programme


Best understood like a row of toppling dominoes, one disaster causes another in a series that leads to worse impacts over a wider area than is expected. Unlike dominoes, the path and impacts can be difficult to predict. In a world that is increasingly reliant on technological networks and interconnected essential infrastructure—power, internet, global food chains, sophisticated waste treatment—one flood or earthquake can cause many different problems.

“Cascading disasters are difficult to mitigate and to respond to,” explains Lisa Guppy, UN Environment Programme’s Regional Coordinator for Disaster and Conflicts in Asia and the Pacific.

Guppy points to the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011 as another example. “The initial earthquake caused a tsunami which led to a nuclear accident. These incidents show that even well-prepared countries can be caught off guard. The Japanese example also shows that the unexpected effects of cascading disasters on the environment can be felt for many years. Contaminated water and soil management is still a problem in Fukushima in 2019, and it was not until 2015 that radiocesium levels in all fish sampled in the accident zone reached zero.

“As human dependence on technology and critical infrastructure increases, so too does the threat.”


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「再稼働容認発言は軽薄」 東海村長を後継指名 前任者が講演で批判via東京新聞





 講演会の終了後の取材に村上氏は「原発を認めない人をばかにするような発言は問題だ」とも話した。 (松村真一郎)


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