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This dome in the Pacific houses tons of radioactive waste – and it’s leaking via The Guardian

The Runit Dome in the Marshall Islands is a hulking legacy of years of US nuclear testing. Now locals and scientists are warning that rising sea levels caused by climate change could cause 111,000 cubic yards of debris to spill into the ocean

Black seabirds circle high above the giant concrete dome that rises from a tangle of green vines just a few paces from the lapping waves of the Pacific. Half buried in the sand, the vast structure looks like a downed UFO.

At the summit, figures carved into the weathered concrete state only the year of construction: 1979. Officially, this vast structure is known as the Runit Dome. Locals call it The Tomb.

Below the 18-inch concrete cap rests the United States’ cold war legacy to this remote corner of the Pacific Ocean: 111,000 cubic yards of radioactive debris left behind after 12 years of nuclear tests.

Brackish water pools around the edge of the dome, where sections of concrete have started to crack away. Underground, radioactive waste has already started to leach out of the crater: according to a 2013 report by the US Department of Energy, soil around the dome is already more contaminated than its contents.

Now locals, scientists and environmental activists fear that a storm surge, typhoon or other cataclysmic event brought on by climate change could tear the concrete mantel wide open, releasing its contents into the Pacific Ocean.

[…]

The remote islands – roughly halfway between Australia and Hawaii – were deemed sufficiently distant from major population centres and shipping lanes, and in 1948, the local population of Micronesian fishermen and subsistence farmers were evacuated to another atoll 200 km away.

In total, 67 nuclear and atmospheric bombs were detonated on Enewetak and Bikini between 1946 and 1958 – an explosive yield equivalent to 1.6 Hiroshima bombs detonated every day over the course of 12 years.

The detonations blanketed the islands with irradiated debris, including Plutonium-239, the fissile isotope used in nuclear warheads, which has a half-life of 24,000 years.

[…]

But the dome was never meant to last. According to the World Health Organization, the $218m plan was designed as temporary fix: a way to store contaminated material until a permanent decontamination plan was devised.

Meanwhile, only three of the atoll’s 40 islands were cleaned up, but not Enjebi, where half of Enewetak’s population had traditionally lived. And as costs spiralled, resettlement efforts of the northern part of the atoll stalled indefinitely.

Nevertheless, in 1980, as the Americans prepared their own departure, the dri-Enewetak (“people of Enewetak”) were allowed to return to the atoll after 33 years.

Three years later, the Marshall Islands signed a compact of free association with the US, granting its people certain privileges, but not full citizenship.

[…]

The US has yet to fully compensate the dri-Enewetak for the irreversible damage to their homeland, a total amounting to roughly $244m as appraised by the Nuclear Claims Tribunal, which was established by the US Congress in 1988 to adjudicate claims for compensation for health effects from the testing.

Traditional livelihoods were destroyed by the testing: the US Department of Energy bans the export of fish and copra – dried coconut flesh used for its oil – on the grounds of lingering contamination.

Nowadays, the atoll’s growing population survives on a depleted trust fund from the Compact of Free Association with the US, but payouts come to just $100 per person, according to locals.

Many locals are deeply in debt, and dependent on a supplemental food program funded by the US Department of Agriculture, which delivers shipments of process foods such as Spam, flour and canned goods. The destruction a centuries-old lifestyle have lead to both a diabetes epidemic and regular bouts of starvation on the island.

Read more at This dome in the Pacific houses tons of radioactive waste – and it’s leaking

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「原発はズサンでウソだらけ」 作業員3人、決意の重大証言!データを書き換え、ボヤを見逃し、黒人を燃料プールに放り込む・・・ via 現代ビジネス

核燃料プールに潜る外国人ダイバー

「(核燃料)プールに入る外国人ダイバーをよく見かけました。休憩所 では会わないけど、現場に行くときにスレ違うんです。航路で全国をまわるんでしょう。船のカタログを見ていましたから。プールに入ると、200〜300ミ リシーベルトの被曝をする。1回のダイブで200万円はもらえると仲間から聞きました」

こう証言するのは、2010年から福島第一原発で働いている30代の現役作業員・水野豊和氏(仮名)だ。建屋内の巨大なタービンを分解し、機能を点検する仕事をしている。

日本人作業員の年間被曝制限量は、50ミリシーベルト。水野氏によると、大量被曝する危険な仕事には外国人作業員がかり出されているという。

外国人作業員の問題は以前から指摘されていた。1977年にはカメラマンの樋口健二氏が敦賀原発(福井県)で働く黒人作業員の写真をとり、存在を否定していた科学技術庁と通商産業省(いずれも当時)が国会で追及され認めた経緯がある。

「プールの底には、タバコの吸ガラやペンなどさまざまなものが落ちています。それを拾うために放り込まれるのでしょう。1F(イチエフ、福島第一原発のこと)には黒人だけでなく白人もいました」(水野氏)

事故直後だけでなく、平時の原発作業もズサンで、電力会社の発表はウソにまみれている。ここで紹介するのは、『原発労働者』(講談社現代新書)などの著書がある音楽家・寺尾紗穂氏(33)が聞いた作業員3人の決意の証言だ。

都内に住む高橋南方司(なおし)氏(71)は、2011年まで22年間1Fで働いていた。仕事は作業員の健康をチェックし、足場を作る指示を出す安全管理。ボヤが起きていないか、構内を見回るのも仕事だった。

福島第一原発での配水管入れ替えの様子。いたるところで汚染水が漏れ、毎時100ミリシーベルト以上の場所も点在する

「原発では火の出る作業はいくらでもありますが、第一発見者は『あなたが火元じゃないんですか』と東京電力から疑われるのがイヤで、報告などしません。見て見ぬふり。小さい火事なら、まわりに燃えるものがなければ広がらない。木片などをどかすぐらいです。

モニター管理している東電や東芝などの元請けが気づき、火を消す際も 消火器など使いません。布をかけて酸素を遮断するなどして、なんとかするんです。水をまいたり消火器を使うと火災扱いになり、消防署へ届ける義務が生じ る。だからシートをかぶせたり踏んだりして、痕跡を残さないようにモミ消しているんです」

被曝制限量超えを嫌う下請け作業員が、高線量を知らせるアラーム・メーターをハズして仕事するのも日常的。なかには地下にモレた汚染水と思われる水を、「バケツを素手で持ってかき出せ」と元請けから指示された作業員もいる。

続きは「原発はズサンでウソだらけ」 作業員3人、決意の重大証言!データを書き換え、ボヤを見逃し、黒人を燃料プールに放り込む・・・

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あの島はどうなったのだろう 被爆70年、4世代の旅 via 朝日新聞

(抜粋)

■90歳の記憶、子に孫にひ孫に

70年前の1945年8月6日。中川タマさん(90)=神奈川県茅ケ崎市=は、朝礼で並んだ同僚らと体操をしていた。広島湾に浮かぶ周囲5キロほどの小さな島「金輪島(かなわじま)」。タマさんは陸軍船舶司令部(通称・暁部隊)の「野戦船舶本廠(ほんしょう)」で事務員として働いていた。

午前8時15分。「ドカーン」という爆音が突然響いた。「なんだろうね」。タマさんが同僚らと話していると、島の山を隔てた約6キロ北西の広島市中心部で大量の煙が立ち上った。みるみる大きくなり、「きのこ雲」になった。

それから、どれくらい時間がたったのか。船に乗せられた人たちが次々と島に運ばれてきた。全身にひどいやけどを負い、皮膚はだらりとむけていた。男性か女性か、区別がつかない人も少なくなかった。

うめき、苦しむ人たちを軍人が担架に乗せ、山中の防空壕(ごう)へ。タマさんら女性たちも手伝った。少し前まで話ができていた男の子は直後に絶命した。目を背けたくなる惨状だった。

夜になると、タマさんを含む100人ほどの女性たちは、金輪島から約3キロ南西の「似島(にのしま)」へ船で向かわされた。暗闇には、ずらりと横たわったたくさんの負傷者たち。尿を空き缶でとり、傷口を縫う軍医を手伝っていった――。

あれから70年。結婚で広島を離れて以来、タマさんは初めて金輪島に戻った。そして3人の息子、2人の孫、1人のひ孫に当時の壮絶な体験を島の慰 霊碑の前で語った。今の日本では、想像がつかないかもしれない戦争と原爆の話をどこまできちんと聞いてくれるのだろうか。だが、杞憂(きゆう)だった。

(略)

2カ月前、タマさんが車の中で「金輪島はどうなったのだろう」とつぶやいたことがきっかけとなり、実現した4世代・7人の被爆をたどる旅。行ってみようか、と提案した長男の重年さん(68)=同県厚木市=は「地獄を見た母の経験を次の世代に伝える仲立ちができれば。そう思ったんです」と明かした。

「私には『戦争はだめ』と旗を振る力はもうないけど、そうした思いを持っていると知ってほしかった」とタマさん。息子や孫が原爆の惨禍と平和の大切さに向き合う姿に触れ、改めて誓った。「この島で亡くなった人たちのことを、けっして忘れない」

■「水をください」 刻んだ碑

負傷者は血だらけで、手をにぎると皮がつるりとむげ、水をくださいと叫びながら、次々に恐怖と苦悶(くもん)の中で息絶えた

(略)

〈金輪島〉広島市南区の沖にあり、面積は約1平方キロメートル。1894(明治27)年に陸軍の造船・船舶修理工場が造られた。「広島原爆戦災誌」によると、原爆が投下された時、島には将兵や工場労働者ら約1千人がいた。島外から約500人の負傷者が運び込まれたとされるが、死者数や負傷者の行き先を詳しく示す資料は残っていない。軍需施設があった瀬戸内海の島々は軍の検閲によって写真から削除され、戦時中の金輪島も「消された島」の一つだった。現在も造船工場などがあり、80人ほどが暮らしている。

全文はあの島はどうなったのだろう 被爆70年、4世代の旅

 

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Udall meets with Tularosa Downwinders via Alamagordo News

Fifteen days away from the 70th anniversary of the Trinity blast, Sen. Tom Udall met with the Tularosa Basin Downwinders to hear stories of how radiation from the atomic bomb affected the health and genes of the people in surrounding areas.

A panel of eight Tularosa Basin Downwinders told Udall, D-NM, stories about the immense amount of Cancer that each of their families and neighbors have suffered from.

Henry Herrera, Tularosa native, was 11 years old on that fateful day in July of 1945. He spoke about his memories of the Trinity blast and the aftermath of debris he watched fall over his hometown.

[…]
Udall has tried to pass amendments to the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act of 1979.

“So far he’s been unsuccessful but he keeps bringing it up,” said Tularosa Mayor Ray Cordova during the meeting. “I think he’s gaining ground, just like we are.”

Udall said his interest in this cause started in 1978 when he graduated from law school at the University of New Mexico. Stewart Udall, his father and Secretary of the Interior from 1961 to 1969, was invited by a little community in St. George, Utah, to have a meeting similar to the Tularosa Basin Downwinders’ meeting on Wednesday.

Tom Udall said about 40 to 50 people gathered to tell Stewart Udall their stories about what happened to their livestock, relatives and children due to radiation exposure.
[…]
“It was a very moving experience for me, just being out of law school,” Tom Udall said. “My father, from that point until he lived to be 90 years old, he had this cause in his heart and he fought it every way he could.”

Udall said his father drafted the help of their whole family to work on getting the people of St. George compensation for the radiation that had been exposed to from nuclear testing at the Nevada Test Site.

“He worked from 1978 in the courts and for 10 years they tried cases in the courts,” Udall said. “One court in Utah, Federal District Judge Bruce Jenkins, found negligence on the part of the government.”

Udall spoke about the similarities between the exposure in Utah and the surrounding areas of the Trinity Site.

“They told you it was an explosion of something else rather than telling you what it really was,” he said. “They said nobody was injured and it was in a remote area, but this remote area had lots of people living out there on the land.”

After Jenkins ruled negligence on the part of the government, Udall said every court after that ruled against the people who brought claims forth. He said the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals said it was a horrible case and they believed injustice was done but that it was a national security issue and ruled for immunity for the government. It was then appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, who let the immunity stand.

“My father wouldn’t give up, he wouldn’t yield,” Udall said. “He took it and he found Sen. Ted Kennedy and Sen. Orrin Hatch, a very odd couple but they took it on as an issue.”

In 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act after Congress approved the compassionate payments act and issued an apology to the people that were impacted.

“That happened in 1990 but many people were left out and this community was left out,” Udall said. “This was forgotten in terms of this is where the first test was.”

He said it took another 10 years to include additional people in amendments to the bill.

“Every year that I’ve been in Congress, every time I have had amendments that I’ve pushed for have always had the Trinity Site Downwinders in my legislation,” Udall said. “I am not going to give up on this.”
[…]

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Appeals Court upholds dismissal of lawsuit over X-ray room flaw via Knoxville News Sentinel

OAK RIDGE — Even if a special room for X-rays and CT scans at Methodist Medical Center of Oak Ridge’s new emergency room area lacked a lead-lined section in one wall, complaints by hospital workers alleging excessive radiation exposure were made too late.

The three-judge Tennessee Court of Appeals in a recent filing unanimously upheld the trial court’s earlier ruling tossing out the five lawsuits.

The complaints were filed in January 2014 by five medical technologists, including two who were pregnant at the time. They alleged they were exposed to radiation from CT scans and X-rays that leaked out of the room through the missing lead-lined section., causing health concerns.

The hospital’s new emergency room and X-ray room were declared “substantially complete” by late March 2006.

A state law says lawsuits over construction defects must be made within four years of “substantial completion.” The law is called the “statute of repose.”

“The radiology facilities, while perhaps defective, were used for their intended purpose and were substantially complete,” the appeals court ruled. “The construction statute of repose expired and serves to defeat Plaintiffs’ claims.”

Any legal move to argue the time limit didn’t apply because the missing lead lining was concealed wouldn’t pass muster, said Anderson County Circuit Court Judge Don Elledge, who dismissed the cases on a summary judgment motion.

[…]
The missing lead-lined wall was discovered in 2013 after X-rays stored next to the CT scan room “became cloudy from scatter radiation,” Clinton attorney John Agee, who filed the complaints, said at the time the lawsuits were filed.

The workers’ fears were confirmed when they successfully took an X-ray through the wall, Agee said.

[…]

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Leukemia and lymphoma study recently published in Lancet being strong challenged by SARI via Atomic Insights

A recent study published in Lancet Haematology claims to show that even extremely low doses of radiation increase the risk of leukemia and lymphoma.

The study includes several statistical flaws, ignores the effects of medical exposures — which are of similar levels to occupational exposures — that change dramatically over the duration of the study, and avoids a proper accounting for uncertainties in both measured doses and in the expected level of subject diseases in a non-exposed population.

The study was conducted with funding from the following organizations:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare of Japan, Institut de Radioprotection et de Sûreté Nucléaire, AREVA, Electricité de France, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, US Department of Energy, US Department of Health and Human Services, University of North Carolina, Public Health England.

The list of authors for the study is lengthy and includes some names that Atomic Insights readers may recognize as “the usual suspects” of large scale radiation epidemiology studies.

Dr Klervi Leuraud, PhD,
David B Richardson, PhD,
Prof Elisabeth Cardis, PhD,
Robert D Daniels, PhD,
Michael Gillies, MSc,
Jacqueline A O’Hagan, HNC,
Ghassan B Hamra, PhD,
Richard Haylock, PhD,
Dominique Laurier, PhD,
Monika Moissonnier, BSc,
Mary K Schubauer-Berigan, PhD,
Isabelle Thierry-Chef, PhD,
Ausrele Kesminiene, MD

The challenges to the published study are coming from scientists in radiation health specialties and statisticians, some of whom are members of Scientists for Accurate Radiation Information (SARI). Though the Lancet publication is not one that accepts online comments, an article about the study titled Researchers pin down risks of low-dose radiation has been published in the online version of Nature. That publication provides a commenting capability for registered users who use their real names.

The subtitle of the Nature article provides a strong incentive for immediate action to respond to the well-financed study published in a respected journal by people with good credentials. Here is how the headline writers at Nature summarized the conclusion of the study, which included reconstructed dose histories and evaluation of medical records.

Read more at Leukemia and lymphoma study recently published in Lancet being strong challenged by SARI

Related article: Researchers pin down risks of low-dose radiation via Nature

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ベトナム首相「原発、日本と緊密連携」 書面インタビューで via 日本経済新聞

【ハノイ=富山篤】訪日中のベトナムのグエン・タン・ズン首相は3日、日本経済新聞などの書面インタビューに回答した。日本企業が受注した原子力発 電所について「最先端の原発が早く造れるように日本と緊密な連携を進めている」として早期建設の方針に変更がないことを強調した。中国と領有権を争う南シ ナ海問題については平和的解決に向けて日本の支援を求めた。

原発は南部ニントゥアン省に2つ建設する予定で、第1原発(2基)がロシア、 第2原発(同)を日本が受注した。第1は原子炉の型まで決まり2020年にも着工する。一方、第2は日本の原発事故の影響で国民の不安が高まり、政府の判 断が焦点となっていた。ズン氏は「(日本と協力すれば)安全と環境保護に配慮した最高の原発を造れる」と述べ、計画を予定通り実施する考えを示した。

続きはベトナム首相「原発、日本と緊密連携」 書面インタビューで

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Large Fire Erupts at Paluel Nuclear Power Plant in France via Sputnik

According to reports, a large fire occurred at the Paluel nuclear power plant in Normandy, France.

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – A large fire occurred at the Paluel nuclear power plant in Normandy, France, Le Figaro reported Friday citing the plant management.

According to the newspaper, the fire started at 10:30 p.m. (GMT 20:30) Thursday night at the production unit number two.

It took more than six hours before a team of 71 firefighters was able to fully extinguish it.

The plant management told the newspaper that there was no risk of radioactivity.

The nuclear power station Paluel is located some 25 miles away from the city of Dieppe in the Upper Normandy region of northern France.

Read more at Large Fire Erupts at Paluel Nuclear Power Plant in France

 

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フランスの原発で大規模火災 via Sputnik

フランス北部のパリュエル原発で今日、大規模な火災が発生した。フィガロ紙ウェブ版より。既に火の手は消し止められている。放射能漏れは無い。

原発側の発表によれば、「負傷者等は出ていない。施設の安全に関する問題は何ら発生していない」。

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放射線災害:福島県立医大と長崎大が共同大学院 来春開設 via 毎日新聞

 福島県立医大と長崎大は3日、大規模災害や原発事故など放射線災害の発生時に対応できる人材を育成するため、来年4月に「災害・被ばく医療科学共同専攻(修士課程)」の共同大学院を設置すると発表した。行政職員や消防士、警察官ら社会人も学生としてそれぞれ受け入れる。

長崎大は東京電力福島第1原発事故の発生直後から県立医大に教授らを派遣し支援してきた。地震、津波なども加わった複合災害に対応できる人材が不足していた反省から、協力を決めた。

大学院には、災害医療の初期対応や避難所での心のケアなどを学ぶ「医科学」、被ばく医療の知識を身につける「保健看護学」の2コースを開設する。 両大学とも各コース5人程度を募集。これまでの研究や取り組みを生かし、県立医大は救急医療や放射線災害医療、長崎大は原爆被爆者の健康診断などを通じた 実習を担当する。

続きは放射線災害:福島県立医大と長崎大が共同大学院 来春開設

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