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Opinion: California’s San Onofre nuclear plant is a Chernobyl waiting to happen via Los Angeles Times


Nuclear accidents often aren’t surprises. Whistleblowers had warned of the dangers before such disasters occurred in 1986 in Chernobyl, Ukraine, and 25 years later in Fukushima, Japan. As one of the world’s wealthiest and most technologically advanced nations, the U.S. may be no better prepared.

Many U.S. states have aging nuclear power plants brimming with four decades of self-heating, highly corrosive and toxic radioactive waste. Last month, the California Coastal Commission gave Southern California Edison permission to dismantle the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station and move its 3.55 million pounds of nuclear waste from wet to dry storage.

Local activists cheered after the troubled San Onofre plant was permanently shut down in 2013 after a 75-gallon-a-day radioactive leak was discovered in a new steam generator. Closing it didn’t stop the threat. Now activists must wait until the plant’s nuclear waste is removed to a yet-to-be-built national nuclear waste repository or until the waste decays in several thousand years, whichever comes first.


In an examination of more than 25 archives in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, I found that most of the official Chernobyl accounts are incomplete or misleading. Forty thousand people were hospitalized the summer after the accident from Chernobyl exposures, not the 300 Soviet officials claimed.

The effect of the Chernobyl disaster on the region’s population is staggering. Radioactive contaminants migrated toward population centers in dust, water, airways and food. Thyroid disease, autoimmune disorders, anemia, and diseases of the circulation system, digestive tract and lungs increased year by year. Leukemia, pediatric thyroid cancer, and cancers of the mouth, throat and stomach followed.

Belarusian and Ukrainian leaders begged the United Nations General Assembly for aid to move 200,000 more people from contaminated land, and for a long-term study on low doses of radiation on health. The aid never came. It didn’t help that other U.N. agencies, especially the International Atomic Energy Agency, asserted that increased health problems in Chernobyl-contaminated territories had nothing to do with nuclear fallout.


The lack of preventive measures at San Onofre is disturbing. There is no procedure in place to remove the 50-ton casks of highly radioactive waste from their vaults in response to changing environmental conditions such as erosion or rising sea levels. There is no budget to inspect the spent fuel, nor funds to transfer radioactive waste from thin-walled to sturdier thick-walled casks. In the event of corrosion and loss of containment, there are no procedures in place to repair or slow the leak of radioactive contaminants.


Greg Jaczko, a former chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, recently changed his mind about the safety and feasibility of nuclear power after witnessing how lobbyists campaigned to undercut recommended safety regulation changes following the Fukushima accident, which is expected to cost more than $500 billion to clean up over the next four decades. Sadly, the International Commission for Radiological Protection no longer says, “it couldn’t happen here.” Instead, the group schools the public on how to deal with radioactive contaminants in their environment “as a key factor to control radiation exposure.”

Read more at Opinion: California’s San Onofre nuclear plant is a Chernobyl waiting to happen

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原子力規制委、九電玄海原発の核燃料プール増強を許可 via 毎日新聞




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South Korea nuclear regulator wants information on radioactive Fukushima water release via Reuters

By Jane Chung

SEOUL (Reuters) – Japan’s reluctance to disclose information about the release of radioactive water from its damaged Fukushima nuclear plant is hampering neighboring countries’ efforts to minimize the impact, the head of South Korea’s nuclear safety agency said on Wednesday.


Japan has not yet decided how to deal with the contaminated water, but its environment minister said in September that radioactive water would have to be released from the site into the Pacific Ocean. 

“We have been raising Japan’s radioactive water issue to the international community to minimize the impact … but as Japan hasn’t disclosed any specific plan and process we would need more details to run simulations and study,” Uhm Jae-sik, chairman of the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission, told Reuters.

In addition to the Fukushima crisis, safety concerns about nuclear energy have increased in South Korea following a 2012 scandal over the supply of faulty reactors parts with forged documents, prompting a series of shutdowns of nuclear reactors. 

South Korea, the world’s fifth-largest user of nuclear power, targets a long-term phase out of atomic power to allay public concerns.

Read more at South Korea nuclear regulator wants information on radioactive Fukushima water release

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Pope expected to deliver powerful message on nuclear weapons via The Asahi Shimbun


Roman Catholics and atomic bomb survivors in Japan are fervently hoping the first papal visit in nearly 40 years will help trigger a sharp shift in thinking by the nuclear powers.

Francis, 82, will be the second pope to visit Japan after Pope John Paul II in 1981. He is scheduled to go to Nagasaki and Hiroshima on Nov. 24.

Hibakusha, mindful of the interest Francis has shown in the weapons’ issue, harbor high expectations that he will deliver such a strong message that the United States, in particular, takes note.


According to Cardinal Manyo Maeda, 70, himself a second-generation hibakusha, Francis was clearly shaken by the photo, saying children should never experience such horrors.

Francis believes the church should serve as a field hospital and has pushed efforts to help the disadvantaged by providing support to refugees as well as working to eliminate poverty.

Mitsugi Moriguchi, 83, who survived the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, befriended O’Donnell during his visits to Japan to uncover the identity of the boy in the photo. He argued about the inhumane nature of nuclear weapons for the rest of his life, even as he suffered from severe spinal cord pain believed to be an after-effect of radiation exposure.

But Moriguchi is also aware that not all Americans share O’Donnell’s sentiment.

Moriguchi was shocked when he visited Richland High School in Washington state last year and found that the symbol for the school was a mushroom cloud. The school is located next to Hanford Site, a former nuclear facility that produced the plutonium used for the bomb dropped on Nagasaki.

He was shocked because the students had not learned about the devastation the bomb wrought.

The prevailing view in the United States is that the atomic bombings brought an early end to World War II and saved countless American lives.

Moriguchi was struck by the dearth of knowledge in the United States about the horrors of nuclear warfare and lack of interest in the victims, such as the young boy in the photograph.

Moriguchi will be among those welcoming Francis to Nagasaki. He hopes the pontiff will deliver a strong message to the world calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons.


Christopher Hrynkow, an associate professor of religion and culture at St. Thomas More College of the University of Saskatchewan in Canada, has studied what popes have said and written about nuclear weapons since the time of Pius XII.

Pius raised concerns during World War II about research being done to develop nuclear weapons.

When John Paul II visited Japan in 1981, he called for the elimination of nuclear weapons when he visited Hiroshima and called war the “work of man.”

His comment is said to have deeply moved many Catholic worshipers.
The atomic bombing of Nagasaki destroyed Urakami Cathedral, then the largest cathedral in the Far East. An estimated 8,500 Catholics perished in the bombing.

Takashi Nagai, a hibakusha doctor who headed the members at Urakami and whose wife died in the blast, referred to the atomic bomb as “divine providence,” given the horrific death toll.

About 140,000 people died in Hiroshima before the year was out. The figure for Nagasaki was 74,000 people. The death toll from burns and other injuries kept rising in the years that followed.

Nagai later wrote “Nagasaki no Kane” (The Bells of Nagasaki), in which he called Urakami’s destruction a sacrifice to God.

The General Headquarters of the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (GHQ) immediately clamped down on any reporting about the after-effects of the atomic bombs, and only allowed Nagai’s work to be published if it was done in conjunction with a document compiled by GHQ that described atrocities committed by the Imperial Japanese Army in Manila.

After John Paul II’s revelation that war was the work of man, many Catholic hibakusha began opening up about their own experiences.

Much of this was due to the late Tsuyo Kataoka, herself a hibakusha, who said, “The atomic bomb was not the work of God.”

Mitsuaki Takami, the archbishop of Nagasaki, was a fetus when the bomb was dropped.

“Nagai may have tried to absolve the United States by saying it was divine providence, but the bombing can never be legitimized,” Takami said. “There has been no atonement.”


The movement for the nuclear weapons ban treaty was pushed by nations such as Mexico that feared another Cuban missile crisis that brought the United States and the former Soviet Union to the brink of nuclear war.

Many of the 122 nations that voted for the treaty in 2017 were developing nations in Africa as well as island nations in the Pacific where nuclear tests were conducted by the United States, Britain and France.

The treaty will take effect once 50 nations have ratified it. According to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), which in 2017 was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, 79 nations have signed the treaty and 33 have ratified it to date.

But in addition to the nuclear powers, nations such as Japan and South Korea that are protected by the U.S. nuclear umbrella have balked at approving the treaty.

Nations that pushed for the treaty are hoping that Francis’ visit to Japan will provide momentum to encourage other nations to sign and ratify the treaty.

There are about 440,000 Catholics in Japan and about 1.3 billion around the world.



I visited the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force near Dayton, Ohio, in July. One of the aircraft on display was the B-29 Bockscar that dropped the atomic bomb on Nagasaki. A nearby sign described the aircraft as having brought World War II to an end.

The aim of the display seemed intended to perpetuate the myth in the United States about the invincible strength of nuclear weapons and the general acceptance there that the bombings saved numerous American lives by bringing the war to an early end.

But not all Americans are comfortable with that view.


According to documents at the Truman Library in Independence, Missouri, Harry Truman never expressed regret for having authorized the atomic bombings. But in private correspondence, Truman wrote about the chagrin he felt when he thought about the many women and children who died as a result of his decision.

Close associates confided in diary entries that Washington was concerned about how the bombings would affect relations with the Vatican.

The United States at that time did not have diplomatic ties with the Vatican, and U.S. officials may well have been concerned about the negative impact that was bound to result from the destruction of Urakami Cathedral.

Francis has taken a stand against nuclear weapons on a number of occasions, and clearly rejected the theory of nuclear deterrence. His statements seem to reflect his growing sense of crisis at the prospect of another Cold War in light of recent moves by the Trump administration.

For example, it has ignored provisions of the NPT calling for sincere negotiation efforts to reduce the number of nuclear weapons and earlier this year invalidated the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty with Russia. It is now pushing ahead with development of low-yield nuclear weapons.

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(記者解説)ローマ法王来日 ナガサキからの発信 核と人類取材センター・田井中雅人 via 朝日新聞















 ■「原爆神話」抜け出すメッセージ期待 米国、根強い正当化「戦争を終わらせた」





全文は(記者解説)ローマ法王来日 ナガサキからの発信 核と人類取材センター・田井中雅人

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Why South Africa Gave up Its Nuclear Weapons Forever via The National Interests

by Robert Farley

Key Point: The old apartheid government caved to foreign pressure and didn’t want the newly-elected government to gain control of the weapons.

Why did South Africa decide to build nukes, how did it build them and why did it decide to give them up? The answers are largely idiosyncratic, although they may hold some lessons for the future of nuclear weapons development on the Korean Peninsula and elsewhere.


South Africa could mine the requisite uranium on its own territory, and enrich it in domestic facilities. With a modern industrial economy and access to technologically sophisticated institutions of learning and research in the United States and Europe, South Africa could easily develop the technical expertise needed to build a weapon. Already the target of harsh international disdain for its domestic institutions, the South African government did not worry overmuch about how the pursuit of nuclear weapons might make it into an international pariah.

Overall, South Africa constructed six uranium gun fission weapons (similar in nature to the Little Boy weapon dropped on Hiroshima). The devices were too large to fit onto any existing South African missiles, and consequently would have been delivered by bombers such as the English Electric Canberra or the Blackburn Buccaneer. South Africa explored the possibility of building or acquiring ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear weapons, although this would have required a substantial upgrade of the devices themselves. No full test of the devices has ever been confirmed, as heavy pressure from the United States, the Soviet Union and France helped force Pretoria to cancel an underground detonation in 1977.


Still, analysts suspect or know of at least four countries that supplied a degree of support to South Africa’s nuclear program. The United States supplied much of the initial technology associated with South Africa’s civilian nuclear program under a variety of different assistance programs. Although not intended to accelerate proliferation, the assistance did provide the basis for South Africa’s eventual nuclear program. France and Pakistan may also have supplied technical assistance at various points during the development of the program.



The region and the world are undoubtedly safer because of the decisions made in the 1990s to relinquish South Africa’s nuclear program. Moreover, the dismantling of the relatively small program provided a template for how other nuclear powers could think about eliminating their own programs. However, with the exception of the Soviet successor states (which faced dramatically different constraints) no other states have yet taken up South Africa’s example. With the apparent increase in global tensions over the past few years, it seems unlikely that anyone will join South Africa in the post-nuclear club anytime soon.

Read more at Why South Africa Gave up Its Nuclear Weapons Forever

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Japan’s METI says it’s safe to dump radioactive water from Fukushima nuclear disaster into ocean via The Japan Times

Discharging the water into the Pacific Ocean over the course of a year would amount to between just one-1,600th and one-40,000th of the radiation to which humans are naturally exposed, the Economy, Trade and Industry Ministry, or METI, told a government subcommittee on the issue.

Water used to cool the melted-down cores and groundwater from close to the damaged plant contain some radioactive materials, and are currently being collected and stored in tanks on the plant grounds.

But space is running out fast, and the government is exploring ways to deal with the waste water — which already totals more than 1 million tons with the volume increasing by more than 100 tons every day.

According to an estimate performed by the ministry, annual radiation levels near the release point after a release would be between 0.052 and 0.62 microsievert at sea, and 1.3 microsieverts in the atmosphere, compared with the 2,100 microsieverts that humans come into contact with each year in daily life.


The waste water is currently being treated using an advanced liquid processing system referred to as ALPS, though the system does not remove tritium and has been found to leave small amounts of other radioactive materials.

The tanks storing the water are expected to become full by the summer of 2022, according to Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc., the operator of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
The plant was damaged by a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and ensuing tsunami on March 11, 2011.


In September, Japanese and South Korean officials traded barbs over the issue at a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna.

A nuclear expert from the IAEA said in 2018 that a controlled discharge of such contaminated water “is something which is applied in many nuclear facilities, so it is not something that is new.”

Read more at Japan’s METI says it’s safe to dump radioactive water from Fukushima nuclear disaster into ocean

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高濃度汚染土 流出 福島山林 下流に拡散か via 東京新聞

 十月の台風19号の大雨により、東京電力福島第一原発事故で高濃度に汚染された山林の土砂が崩れて道路に流れ出ていたことが、本紙と木村真三・独協医科大准教授(放射線衛生学)の合同調査で分かった。放射性廃棄物の基準値内ではあるものの、放射性セシウムが大量の雨や土砂と共に河川の下流域に流れて汚染が拡散したとみられ、被ばく対策に警戒が必要だ。 (大野孝志、写真も)







続きは高濃度汚染土 流出 福島山林 下流に拡散か

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都立水元公園(葛飾区)の放射能汚染は今 via 東京新聞








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原発調査 住民抗議で作業進まず via NHK山口



全文は 原発調査 住民抗議で作業進まず

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