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More data needed before ocean release of Fukushima water via Japan Times


Japan’s nuclear regulator has stated that this can be done safely and the International Atomic Energy Agency has supported this position. We would argue that there is insufficient information to assess potential impacts on environmental and human health and issuing a permit at this time would be premature at best.

Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., the plant’s operator, is taking this step as part of the decommissioning and cleanup process of the plant. Every day, more than 150 tons of water accumulates at the site due to groundwater leakage into buildings and the systems used to cool the damaged reactors. The water is currently stored in more than 1,000 tanks at the site and what to do with their ever-increasing number has been a topic of concern for many years.

The justification for ocean discharge focuses largely on the assumed levels of radioactivity from tritium, a radioactive form of hydrogen that cannot be easily removed by an advanced liquid processing system, which is used for treating the contaminated water. To reduce tritium to levels that will be 1/40th of the regulatory standards, dilution of the tank water with seawater has been proposed prior to release. However, tritium is only part of the story, and a full assessment of all of the water contaminants stored in tanks at the site has yet to be made and verified by independent parties.

Our specific concerns include the adequacy, accuracy and reliability of the available data. A key measure of safety is a risk factor that combines the activities of more than 60 radioactive contaminants — the so-called sum of ratios approach. However, only a small subset of these radioactive contaminants — seven to 10 of them, including tritium — have been regularly measured. The assumption is that this subset alone will reflect the possible risks and the other contaminants are at constant levels. We disagree with this approach, as the data show wide variability in the contaminant concentrations between tanks, as well as differences in their relative amounts.

For example, some tanks low in tritium are high in strontium-90 and vice versa. Thus, the assumption that concentrations of the other radionuclides are constant is not correct and a full assessment of all 62 radioisotopes is needed to evaluate the true risk factors.

Moreover, only roughly a quarter of the more than 1,000 tanks at the site have been analyzed. This combined with the large variability among tanks, means that final dilution rates for tritium and the cleanup necessary for all contaminants are not well known. By Tepco’s own estimates, almost 70% of the tanks will need additional cleanup but that estimate is uncertain until all of the tanks are assessed.

The bottom line is that it is impossible to engineer and assess the impact of any release plan without first knowing what is in the tanks. The actual cost and duration of the project, as well as the amount of dilution needed, all depend upon the accuracy and thoroughness of the data. For example, the amount of seawater needed, and hence the time to release, will depend directly upon dilution factors.

Tepco stated in its radiological impact assessment that to meet its requirements, dilution will be needed by a factor “greater than 100.” In fact, the dilution rate we calculate is 250 on average and more than 1,000 times for many of the tanks where analyses are available. Scaling to those higher averages and extremes would increase capacity needs, costs and overall duration of the releases. In addition, comparisons against other possible disposal options — such as vapor release, using enhanced tritium removal technologies, geological burial or the storage option we suggest below — cannot be made without a better assessment of the current tank contents.

Even for tritium, its high levels are not adequately addressed, as it is assumed to be present only in inorganic form as tritiated water. However, there are also organically bound forms of tritium (OBT) that undergo a higher degree of binding to organic material. OBT has been found in the environment at other nuclear sites and is known to be more likely stored in marine sediments or bioaccumulated in marine biota. As such, predictions of the fate of tritium in the ocean need to include OBT as well as the more predictable inorganic form in tritiated water. Tepco has yet to do this.

The focus on tritium also neglects the fact that the nontritium radionuclides are generally of greater health concern as evidenced by their much higher dose coefficient — a measure of the dose, or potential human health impacts associated with a given radioactive element, relative to its measured concentration, or radioactivity level. These more dangerous radioactive contaminants have higher affinities for local accumulation after release in seafloor sediments and marine biota. The old (and incorrect) belief that the “solution to pollution is dilution” fails when identifying exposure pathways that include these other bioaccumulation pathways.

Although statements have been made that all radioactivity levels will meet regulatory requirements and be consistent with accepted practices, the responsible parties have not yet adequately demonstrated that they can bring levels below regulatory thresholds. Rebuilding trust would take cleanup of all of the tanks and then independently verifying that nontritium contaminants have been adequately removed, something the operator has not been able to do over the past 11 years. Post-discharge monitoring will not prevent problems from occurring, but simply identify them when they do occur.

As announced, the release of contaminated material from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant would take at least 40 years, and decades longer if you include the anticipated accumulation of new water during the process. This would impact not only the interests and reputation of the Japanese fishing community, among others, but also the people and countries of the entire Pacific region. This needs to be considered as a transboundary and transgenerational issue.

Our oceans provide about half of the oxygen we breathe and store almost one-third of the carbon dioxide we emit. They provide food, jobs, energy, global connectivity, cultural connections, exquisite beauty and biodiversity. Thus, any plan for the deliberate release of potentially harmful materials needs to be carefully evaluated and weighed against these important ocean values. This is especially true when contaminated material is being released that would be widely distributed and accumulated by marine organisms.

The Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster is not the first such incident, nor will it be the last. The challenge presented by this present situation is also an opportunity to improve responses and chart a better way forward than to dump the problem into the sea. Moreover, even accepted practices and guidelines require much more thorough preoperational analysis and preparation than is in evidence so far.

We conclude that the present plan does not provide the assurance of safety needed for people’s health or for sound stewardship of the ocean. We have reached this conclusion as members of an expert panel engaged by the Pacific Island Forum, a regional organization comprising 18 countries. However, we have penned this commentary in our individual capacities and our views may or may not be shared by the forum secretariat or its members.

The recent decision to support the release by the Nuclear Regulation Authority is surprising and concerning. In addition, the International Atomic Energy Agency should withhold its support for the release without these issues being resolved. Once the discharge commences, the opportunity to examine total costs and weigh the ocean discharge option against other alternatives will have been lost.

It has been stated that there is an urgency to release this contaminated water because the plant operator is running out of space on site. We disagree on this point as well, as once the tanks are cleaned up as promised, storage in earthquake-safe tanks within and around the Fukushima facility is an attractive alternative. Given tritium’s 12.3-year half-life for radioactive decay, in 40 to 60 years, more than 90% of the tritium will have disappeared and risks significantly reduced.

This is the moment for scientific rigor. An absence of evidence of harm is not evidence that harm will not occur, it simply demonstrates critical gaps in essential knowledge. Having studied the scientific and ecological aspects of the matter, we have concluded that the decision to release the contaminated water should be indefinitely postponed and other options for the tank water revisited until we have more complete data to evaluate the economic, environmental and human health costs of ocean release.

Ken Buesseler is a senior scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and director of the Center for Marine and Environmental Radioactivity. Ferenc Dalnoki-Veress is scientist-in-residence at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. Antony M. Hooker is director of the Center for Radiation Research, Education and Innovation at the University of Adelaide. Arjun Makhijani is president of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research. Robert H. Richmond is director of the Kewalo Marine Laboratory at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

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UN calls for demilitarised zone around Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant via The Guardian

The UN secretary general, António Guterres, has called for a demilitarised zone around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, involving the withdrawal of Russian occupying troops and the agreement of Ukrainian forces not to move in.

Guterres was addressing a UN security council session on Tuesday, at which he supported the recommendations put forward Rafael Mariano Grossi, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) who led an inspection visit to the occupied Zaporizhzhia plant last week, and presented a report to the security council. The report confirmed the presence of Russian soldiers and military equipment at the plant, including army vehicles.

“We are playing with fire and something very, very catastrophic could take place. This is why in our report, we are proposing the establishment of a nuclear safety and security protection zone limited to the perimeter and the plant itself,” Grossi said.

Guterres said that, as a first step, Russian and Ukrainian forces should cease all military operations around the plant.

“As a second step, an agreement on a demilitarised perimeter should be secured,” he added. “Specifically, that will include the commitment by Russian forces to withdraw military personnel and equipment from that perimeter and the commitment by Ukrainian forces not to move in.”


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青森 六ヶ所村 使用済み核燃料の再処理工場 26回目の完成延期 via NHK News Web








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Chicago educators create new lessons on Asian American history, nuclear power via Chalkbeat Chicago

By  Mila Koumpilova  Aug 29, 2022, 6:00am CDT

On the eve of the pandemic, Aiko Kojima Hibino came across a viral photo showing dozens of copies of John Hersey’s nonfiction classic “Hiroshima” discarded in a Chicago high school’s dumpster. 

On social media, the photo was sparking a lively debate about how school libraries should manage their collections. But to a stunned Kojima Hibino, a Japanese American parent whose eighth grader attends National Teachers Academy, the image symbolized a larger issue: 

A crucially important part of American history — the U.S. atomic bombing of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II — seemed to be sliding into obscurity. 

Kojima Hibino sprang into action. She enlisted a friend and colleague — a local college professor whose family survived the Hiroshima bombing — and two middle school educators at NTA, an elementary on the Near South Side, to create a new curriculum delving into the country’s fraught relationship with nuclear power. 

“This issue is affecting people here and now — not just unfortunate people far away in Japan a long time ago,” said Yuki Miyamoto, who teaches nuclear and environment ethics at DePaul University and helped create the curriculum. “It’s a racial justice issue. It’s an environmental issue.”

This past spring, the curriculum pushed sixth graders at NTA to think critically about the bombings, nuclear testing in the Pacific, and the use of nuclear power as a fossil fuel alternative. It also helped spur up-to-the-moment conversations about racism, environmental justice, and oppression. 

Earlier this year, Illinois became the first state in the country to require its schools to teach Asian American history starting this fall — a move Gov. JB Pritzker touted as the state’s answer to a national rise in hate crimes and discrimination against Asian Americans during the pandemic. 

That legislation and the new NTA nuclear curriculum come amid a national backlash against teaching ethnic studies and exploring troubling chapters of the country’s history. The curriculum’s creators say it can help schools meet the new Illinois law’s requirements, and they are exploring ways to get it into more classrooms. 

NTA teachers set out to create nuclear curriculum

The idea of the nuclear curriculum came from a chance social media sighting.

In 2019, someone snapped a photo of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” and Hersey’s “Hiroshima” from the Senn High School’s library collection discarded in a dumpster to make room for new books. The photo cropped up in a Facebook parent group and later on Reddit, where it garnered more than 1,600 comments

Kojima Hibino saw the photo in a Chalkbeat Chicago story about the online debate. The image was jarring to her, bringing up questions she had long harbored: Why is so little Asian American and Pacific Islander history taught in American schools? Why are school conversations about the atomic bombing of Japan often so stripped of complexity? 

She reached out to Miyamoto, the DePaul professor, who was even more taken aback by the dumpster photo. Kojima Hibino also brought up the issue with Jessica Kibblewhite, NTA’s middle school social science teacher, in the parking lot of the school, near Chicago’s Chinatown. The two had both played an active role in a successful campaign to ward off the school’s planned closure in 2018.

Kibblewhite and later Laura Gluckman, the middle school science teacher, voiced interest in addressing nuclear power and the bombing in their classrooms. But first, they had some studying to do.

The two teachers got a private lecture from Miyamoto. They read or revisited books about the bombing and nuclear power, such as “African Americans Against the Bomb.”

“It’s been a long process of learning for Laura and me,” Kibblewhite said. “We are learning alongside our students.”  

Then the group set out to craft a curriculum that connected to pressing social issues. Gluckman, for instance, dug into the effects of nuclear testing on indigenous communities in New Mexico and residents of the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean. She drew parallels between these historical developments and environmental justice flashpoints in the Chicago of today: the botched implosion of the Hilco smokestack during the pandemic and the debate over relocating General Iron, a metal scrapper, to the Southeast Side

They called it the Paper Crane Project, in honor of Sadako Sasaki, the young Hiroshima bombing survivor who folded more than a thousand origami cranes before she died of leukemia.

As the NTA group was putting the finishing touches on the curriculum last summer, the Illinois Legislature passed the Teaching Equitable Asian American Community History, or TEAACH, Act, which requires districts to teach Asian American history at both the elementary and high school level. In addition to being a response to anti-Asian violence during the pandemic, the law was part of a broader push to make social studies lessons in Illinois more inclusive, reflecting the experiences of an increasingly diverse student body. 

The number of Asian American students statewide has increased by roughly 10% since 2015; in Chicago, that number has remained fairly stable, but as the district’s overall enrollment shrank, Asian American students have come to make up a slightly larger portion, just more than 4%. 

The TEAACH law leaves it up to districts to decide exactly what to teach and how much time to devote to the subject. For the teachers at NTA preparing to tackle questions of nuclear power with their students, the new legislation only reinforced their sense of purpose.  

Sixth graders helped pilot the curriculum in May

In Kibblewhite’s sixth grade classroom in May, Landon Bermudez pulled up a 1945 entry from former President Harry Truman’s diary on his laptop. 

He had just taken the floor in a lively classroom discussion over the ethics of America’s bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki — and that diary entry from the eve of the attack was just the ammunition he needed to argue that bombing was unjustified. In it, Truman voices misgivings about the human toll using the bomb would exact on civilians — but, Landon pointed out to his classmates, he also refers to the Japanese as “savages” and “fanatic.” 

“This is showing definite racism by the word choice he is using,” Landon told the class, a moment the teacher captured on video.

Kibblewhite’s sixth graders studied a slew of documents and texts to prepare for that day’s discussion, examining the question of whether the bombing was ethical from different perspectives. Some, like Landon, argued the bombing, which cost more than 200,000 Japanese lives, should never have happened at that late stage of the war. Others countered it was the fastest way to put a definitive end to the war. 

The conversation got heated at times, but students remembered their charge to always base their arguments in evidence. “Think deeper,” Kibblewhite had often urged students in the runup to the class.

“I really enjoyed that class because you were able to share your opinion instead of listening to someone else’s – and you had to back it up,” Landon said in an interview. 

At NTA, themes of resistance and social justice run through Kibblewhite’s teaching. The nuclear discussion was a way to pull these themes together. 

“It was gratifying to see students weave in all that knowledge at the end of the school year,” she said. “Students were really thinking about why the issue is so deeply complex, not just echoing the common narrative.”

In Gluckman’s classroom, the sixth graders examined the use of nuclear energy to reduce carbon emissions. Students studied the benefits of nuclear power as an alternative to fossil fuels. But they also explored the human impact of uranium mining and nuclear power plant disasters such as Chernobyl.

At NTA this school year, all four sixth grade classrooms will use the new nuclear curriculum. Kibblewhite and Gluckman are planning to add a call to action: Students might host a symposium for peers, parents, and teachers, or create poetry or art, or hold a press conference on the University of Chicago campus, home of the Manhattan Project. 

“We want to support students to feel like activists, changemakers, and leaders,” Kibblewhite said.

The teachers also want to bring the curriculum to other campuses. They have submitted it to the nonprofit Asian Americans Advancing Justice, which is compiling resources for educators to help their schools comply with TEAACH, and they plan to craft professional development for colleagues.

They hope the curriculum would help these educators better connect with students such as NTA seventh grader Maya Williams, who was in Kibblewhite’s classroom last spring. 

Maya, whose mother is Japanese, had made origami before, but she got to make paper cranes — a symbol of peace in the bombing’s aftermath — with her classmates for the first time. She also got to learn in a deeper, more nuanced way about the end of the war, from multiple perspectives, including that of Japanese-Americans at the time.

“The entire project was memorable,” said Maya. “ It was the first time I had ever learned about Japan in depth in a school setting.”


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70年かかる国内初の核燃料再処理施設の解体、数十秒で人が死ぬ強力放射性物質を安定化せよ 東海村での1兆円巨大プロジェクト、熟練技術者続々定年で若手確保が課題 via 共同通信(47ニュース)



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甲状腺がん裁判で20代女性が追加提訴へ via OurPlanet-TV







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Fukushima Plants Showing ‘Unusual Growing Patterns’ as Residents Return via Newsweek

Japan’s Fukushima, the site of the world’s second-worst nuclear disaster, is showing “unusual growing patterns” among vegetation in the area because of the radiation contamination.


Over 300,000 people were forced to evacuate their homes, and an exclusion zone had to be created. Slowly, following remediation, areas have opened up again, meaning people can return. Recently, the town of Futaba lifted its evacuation order.

Tim Mousseau, a professor of biological sciences at the University of South Carolina and a radiation expert, told Newsweek that a “vast region near the power plant” is still “significantly contaminated” but that levels are much lower than they used to be. However, the effects of radiation continue to be seen in the plants in the area, he said.

“There have been a few studies of the plants showing effects of the radiation. For example, it has been shown that Japanese fir trees show unusual growth patterns similar to that observed for pine trees in Chernobyl,” Mousseau said. “Such effects are still open for study, as they are preserved in the growth form of the plant/tree as long as it is still living.”

He continued, “Many areas are still contaminated above levels that most would consider safe for people to live, although most of the region is now relatively safe for short visits.”


Mousseau also said that the ongoing effects of the contamination and “other human disturbances” remain largely unknown, as “research in the region has dropped off dramatically in the past years because of COVID and Japan’s restrictions on visitors from outside the country.”

“Assuming Japan removes travel restrictions, more research will be conducted,” he said.


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政府の原賠審、事故後初めて被害者と意見交換 「故郷が恋しくて…」 via 朝日新聞






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唯一全町避難の双葉町、指示解除 帰還希望は1割 via 日本経済新聞











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東京電力(株)福島第一原子力発電所 現状把握と緊急対策案via福島事故対策検討会

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