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Highly radioactive water leak at Fukushima No. 1 nuke plant via The Mainichi

Highly radioactive water has leaked from the disaster-crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) announced on Aug. 17.

The estimated 50 milliliters of contaminated water remained inside the station dike, and there was no leakage to the outer environment, plant operator TEPCO said. An analysis found that the tainted water contained 22 million becquerels per liter of beta-ray-emitting radioactive materials.

Continue reading at Highly radioactive water leak at Fukushima No. 1 nuke plant

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Kyrgyzstan ratifies remediation agreement via World Nuclear News

All the basic conditions are now in place for remediation work to begin at several uranium legacy sites in Kyrgyzstan after the country ratified a framework agreement with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). The European Union is to provide an initial contribution of €16.5 million ($19.4 million) for the work.

[…]

Central Asia was an important uranium-producing region in the former Soviet Union, leading to a large accumulation of radioactive contaminated material at mines in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan and placed in waste dumps and tailing sites. Most of the mines were closed by 1995, but very little remediation of either mining sites or tailings storage facilities has been carried out. Many of the uranium legacy sites are in populated areas.

The EU has funded technical studies and environmental impact assessments at Kyrgyz uranium legacy sites in the areas of Mailiuu-Suu, Min-Khush and Shekaftar. Remediation work, which will improve living conditions in these areas and ensure the protection of the population from radiation exposure from the legacy sites, will be implemented through the EBRD fund beginning at Min-Khush and Shekaftar. The EU is currently the only contributor to the fund.

The Kyrgyz government will now be required to set up the necessary structures to manage the projects. The EU Delegation said technical assistance would be provided to enable it to do this.

Read more at Kyrgyzstan ratifies remediation agreement

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「福島事故前に戻る」と懸念 長崎大の核廃絶センター長 via 福井新聞

長崎大の鈴木達治郎・核兵器廃絶研究センター長は19日、東京電力福島第1原発事故後の原子力政策をテーマに、佐賀市で講演した。原発立地自治体への交付金制度などが残る現状のままでは「(原発を推進していた)福島事故前に戻りかねない」と懸念。抜本的に政策を転換して原発への依存度を減らすよう、日本政府に求めた。

原子力工学や核軍縮問題を専門とする鈴木氏は、福島事故を挟む2010年1月から14年3月まで、内閣府原子力委員会の委員長代理を務めた。「事故を防げなかった責任を私も負っている」と回想。

続きは「福島事故前に戻る」と懸念 長崎大の核廃絶センター長

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A-BOMB, NUCLEAR ACCIDENT VICTIMS REMEMBERED via Rafu Shimpo

A commemoration of the 72nd anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings on Aug. 5 in Little Tokyo also focused on a more recent catastrophe — the 2011 nuclear disaster in Fukushima — and those still living with the after-effects.

The gathering in Frances Hashimoto Plaza included the ringing of a “peace bell” and the release of doves at 4:15 p.m., timed to coincide with the annual observance in Hiroshima, where it was 8:15 a.m. on Aug. 6 — the moment when the A-bomb was dropped in 1945. George Abe played the flute.

Rev. Peter Hata of Higashi Honganji explained that the bell came from Bishop Noriaki Ito’s cousin, whose temple is on the outskirts of Hiroshima. “Somehow this bell survived the atomic bomb, so I think it’s particularly significant today.”

Michiko Kato was living in Fukushima with her 2-year, 9-month-old son when the earthquake and tsunami damaged Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant on March 11, 2011. While staying at a shelter, she and others heard about the radiation but weren’t given all the details. She told her story, with Fors providing English translation:

“The level of radiation in the area at the time was 50 microsieverts per hour. Later I found out that with that level of radiation, the entire population of 300,000 in Fukushima city should have been evacuated. The mayor fled the area, leaving the uninformed citizens behind.

“On March 15, the water came back … But we didn’t know that the water was contaminated. Without knowing, we were bathing, washing clothes and cooking with radioactive water … I was drinking water from the faucet and having my son drink from it too … Many people lined up outside for many hours at the time to get drinking water, gasoline and food … A mother who lived at the same apartment complex called the city and was told that there was nothing to worry about since we lived 37 miles away from the nuclear power plant …

“The U.S. government had chartered a plane to evacuate American citizens who lived within a 50-mile radius of the nuclear power plant. My estranged husband is American and my son is a U.S. citizen, so I inquired at the embassy right away, but the charter plane had left already and I was told that I had to pay my own way …

“One month after the quake, my father-in-law sent us some money so my son and I could be evacuated to the States, just for three months on a tourist visa. Three months later when we got back to Fukushima, the radiation level was still high. We were told not to go outside, nor were we allowed to eat any food crops grown in the area. In the summer heat, children were going to school with long-sleeved shirts, long pants and masks.”

Rather than prioritizing decontamination, she said, the government should have been evacuating children from the area, where the incidence of child thyroid cancer is higher than normal. “People were begging the government to evacuate children, but their pleas were ignored. If children were to leave the area, their mothers go with them. If they find work where they relocate, they’ll never come back to Fukushima. With less people living in Fukushima, the government would have less tax income. It’s as if children were being held hostage.”

She moved back to the U.S. and became a permanent resident, then was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. “I underwent surgery to have both my ovaries and uterus removed. When I woke up from the surgery, the world felt like hell. For the first time in my life I came face to face with death.”

The excruciating pain made her despondent, “but I was a mother of 5-year-old son. I could not leave him alone in this world … I was thrust into early menopause. Cold sweat was one of the symptoms. Everything I saw, everything I touched made me cry. But that was not the end … The doctor told me I needed to undergo chemo just in case.”

Kato was in no condition to take care of her son, “but many people supported me. I’ve never felt so deeply and profoundly touched by people’s kindness. Every day, friends sent me words of encouragement by phone and email. Some friends took turns delivering meals. I even found a babysitter for free … I am filled with gratitude for all who helped our family in our darkest days.”

She is worried about those who remain in Fukushima. “I can’t even begin to describe what it’s like to live every day with constant fear. Is it okay to drink this water? Is this food safe? We are haunted by this man-made monster.”

Kato concluded, “I would like to ask people here in the U.S. to help us raise awareness of the situation in Fukushima. The nuclear disaster that started in 2011 is far from over, and you should know Fukushima radiation has been detected on the West Coast. To create a world where all future children can live without fear of radiation, I’d like all of us to demand a nuclear-free world.”

[…]

Helping the Children

Fors, who grew up in Hiroshima, recalled, “We were always told that there’s wartime use of nuclear and peacetime use of nuclear. Looking back … we were fooled by this logic, by this rhetoric that there’s peacetime use of nuclear. I don’t think there is … A lot of people here share that opinion as well. Because what’s happening in Fukushima right now, six years later, the fact is that decommissioning of the plant … hasn’t progressed, and contamination of the area continues without much media attention.”

She announced a fundraising drive for Hettsui House (Hettsui no Ie), a summer retreat center for Fukushima children funded and operated by Hisao Seki, a poet, musician and Fukushima evacuee. (Hettsuiis an old-style Japanese cooking fireplace.) Located on Sado Island, Niigata Prefecture, it enables the children to play outdoors in a pristine natural environment. They also experience communal living and learn how to live sustainably.

Artist and activist David Monkawa announced that in order to address the continuing problems caused by Fukushima radiation, “We have a petition to the U.N. … It’s being signed by millions and millions of people all over the world … It says, ‘Listen, Japan and TEPCO [Tokyo Electric Power Co., operator of the nuclear plant] … You all don’t have it together, so we need experts from all over the world … to come in and intervene.’”

Attendees lined up to give donations and sign the petition.

The event was co-presented by San Fernando Valley JACL, Progressive Asian Network for Action, Chatsworth West United Methodist Church, Little Tokyo for Peace, Council for Pacific Asian Theology, and Chinatown Community for Equitable Development. For more information, email forfuturefukushima@gmail.com or visit https://www.facebook.com/groups/334755083611990/.

Fukushima evacuee Michiko Kato

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<災を忘れず>原発事故の教訓 未来へ via 河北新報

地震や風水害などの天災、戦争や市街地の火事といった人災。生死を左右しかねない惨事の発生は人々に大きな衝撃を与えるが、その爪痕や傷痕が歳月の中で癒えるにつれ、風化は進む。「大切な記憶を継承する」。熱い願いが込められた東北各地の施設や地域を紹介する。

◎東北の施設・地域巡り(2)コミュタン福島(福島県三春町)

住民の暮らしを奪った東京電力福島第1原発事故。事故直後の様子を模型で再現する。水素爆発を起こした1号機は、がれきが積み重なっている。
事故から6年半近く。廃炉作業の現状はどうか。
「3号機では使用済み核燃料の取り出しに向け、放射性物質の飛散を防ぐかまぼこ型のカバーを設置する工事が進んでいます」
現地に足を運んで研修を重ねるスタッフが、来館者に丁寧に説明する。

[…]

中でも「環境創造シアター」は迫力満点だ。直径12.8メートルの全球形スクリーンが映し出す福島の自然や相馬野馬追など伝統行事、復興への取り組みをまとめた映像は臨場感があふれる。
自然界の放射線などを観察する「霧箱」もある。大きさは国内有数。箱をのぞくと、放射線が霧状の白い軌跡になって出現する。目に見えない放射線の空中の動きをイメージできる。
放射線への漠然とした不安は消えない。大山一浩副所長は「福島の現状や放射線について正しく理解することが重要」と語る。
来館者は1年間で8万人を超えた。県内の学校関係は260団体が訪れた。原発事故は県内の子どもにも「昔」になりつつある。
「事故当時は小学2年。よく分からなかった」と伊達市伊達中3年の渡辺羽由さん(14)。来場したことで「原発で何が起こったのか理解できた」と話す。
昨年は自主避難の児童生徒へのいじめが全国各地で表面化した。対応が問題になった横浜市教委は今年、教職員研修の一環で、この施設を利用した。
原発事故の被害は甚大で、風評や偏見は根強い。「事故の教訓を未来へつなぐ役割も果たしたい」。大山副所長は力を込める。

 

 

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ふるさとへ、帰れぬ遺骨=原発事故の帰還困難区域-改葬選ぶ住民も・福島 via Jiji.com

 東京電力福島第1原発事故で、原則として立ち入りが禁止されている福島県内の帰還困難区域。高い放射線量に阻まれ、帰れないのは住民だけではない。避難先で亡くなった人たちの遺骨は区域内で埋葬が進まず、寺に預けたり、墓を移したりする住民も多い。区域内にある浪江町の長安寺は、原発事故後に設けた別院で檀家(だんか)の遺骨約100柱を預かっている。

福島市にある長安寺別院。剣道場を改装した部屋に、浪江町の墓に埋葬されるはずだった多くの遺骨が祭られている。「放射線量が高い所に仏様を埋葬したくないというのが皆さんの思い」。住職の横山周豊さん(76)が住民の気持ちを代弁する。

(略)

帰還困難区域に入るには、市町村に事前に申し込む必要がある。女性は「お盆だけでも自由に入れるようにしてほしい」とこぼした。震災後、義兄の墓参りは一度もできていないという。

墓を別の場所に移す「改葬」を選ぶ人もいる。長安寺では約500の檀家のうち2割が改葬した。浪江町出身で東京都在住の菅野勲さん(50)は震災2カ月前に亡くなった父親の遺骨を埋葬する直前に、原発事故が起きた。「お骨だけ墓に入れて避難することは心情的にできない。墓も古くなっているし、改葬を検討している」と話す。

改葬によって、ふるさとと縁が切れることを心配する人もいる。親族の遺骨を預ける都内の男性(57)は「帰還困難区域に指定されても、ふるさとはふるさと。先祖代々の土地で、改葬は全く考えていない」と語った。

横山住職は「『死んだらふるさとに帰りたい』と言い残して亡くなった檀家もいる。誰かが仏様のお世話をしないと」と話した。

全文はふるさとへ、帰れぬ遺骨=原発事故の帰還困難区域-改葬選ぶ住民も・福島

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Ottawa Riverkeeper calls out gaps in Chalk River nuclear site plan via CBC News

Riverkeeper joins naysayers of new waste disposal site

A new nuclear waste disposal site along the Ottawa River could have devastating consequences, according a report released by Ottawa Riverkeeper. 

The environmental watchdog says it pored over reports to the site commissioners regarding the new disposal site after the laboratory officially opened in October in Chalk River, Ont. 

[…]

“It’s not a matter of if, but it’s a matter of when the radioactive waste from this facility would make its way to the Ottawa River.”

The $113M Harriet Brooks building will house 85 scientists and engineers working in 10 nuclear research laboratories. (Giacomo Panico/CBC)

The new laboratory cost $113 million to build. Atomic Energy Limited Canada (AECL), which owns the facility, hired Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) to build and run the nuclear plant. The new waste site would complement the existing buildings. 

CNL conducted an initial review and environmental assessment, but Nadeau says they missed important information — despite their best intentions. 

Ottawa Riverkeeper’s report found two problem areas with the proposal. 

First, the site’s geography and proximity would almost guarantee chemicals would leech into the Ottawa River at some point. 

The group also determined the technology proposed to regulate the nuclear waste was inadequate to contain the radioactive material for a long period of time. 

[…]

‘Zero risk is impossible’

Ottawa Riverkeeper has asked the site managers and executives to review their findings and make the necessary changes. 

Nadeau said recommendations in the report include asking CNL to revise its report, moving the lab site and investing in alternate storage technologies. 

“We recognize that something needs to be done at Chalk River, but it has to be the best solution not the cheapest and quickest — which we believe in on the table right now,” Nadeau added. 

“Zero risk is impossible, but we believe there are many ways to reduce the risk on this project.”

Read more and the full report is available at Ottawa Riverkeeper calls out gaps in Chalk River nuclear site plan 

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バブル企業弁護士から脱原発の闘士へ-「原自連」で電事連に対抗 via Bloomberg

「エネルギー革命は必ず起きる。その時まで再び原子力発電所事故を起こさないことが肝心だ」。20年近く原子力発電所の停止や撤廃を求める脱原発裁判を手掛けてきた河合弘之弁護士(73)は、原発から自然エネルギーへとシフトする世界各地の実態を伝えるドキュメンタリー映画「日本と再生」(2月公開)の監督も務めた。

(略)

今年2月、これまで個別に活動してきた脱原発団体と自然エネルギー団体が一致団結するため原発ゼロ・自然エネルギー推進連盟(原自連)を立ち上げた。電力会社が設立し原発を推進する電気事業連合会(電事連)に対抗し、略称の語呂も合わせた。原発事故直後に創設し、河合氏が共同代表を務めている脱原発弁護団全国連絡会と共に脱原発に向けた活動を後押ししている。同志の弁護士を自宅の地下室に集め、情報を共有し裁判の戦略を練っているという。

河合氏の取り組みが経済に大きく影響を及ぼしたのが2016年3月の大津地裁による関西電力高浜原発3、4号機に運転停止を命じた仮処分決定だ。河合氏は運転停止を求めた周辺住民の弁護団の1人として活躍した。当時運転中だった同3号機は決定翌日に運転を停止。稼働中の原発が運転差し止めを命じられるという初の事例に関西電の株価は急落し、同年5月に予定していた電気料金の値下げも見送った。これを契機に原発事業者の司法リスクがより認識されるようになった。

正義感

河合氏が戦う相手は「原子力村」と呼ばれる、原発推進を掲げる政府や電力会社、原子炉メーカーなどの原発産業だ。原発周辺住民や被災者などの弁護を手弁当で引き受けるが、「推進派の敵意に囲まれる戦いなので精神的にも非常に厳しい」と吐露する。それでも続けるのは「重大事故は日本を滅ぼす恐れがある」という危機感と日本を守りたいという正義感からだ。

脱原発に傾倒した背景には、1980年代のバブル時代の経験がある。バブル景気で潤った経営者らの弁護を手掛けた同氏は「勝ちまくって得意の絶頂だったが、一生こんなことをやっていて良いのかという思いもあった」と振り返る。経済的欲求は満たされたものの、良心にかなっていないことに気が付いたからだ。人類にとってより普遍的で根本的な問題は何かと考えたどり着いたのが、環境問題であり脱原発だった。

企業弁護士として辣腕(らつわん)を振るった河合氏が参加した後も安全神話が浸透していたころの脱原発訴訟は20連敗。諦めかけた11年に東日本大震災と福島第一原発事故が発生。「神様が、僕の襟首をつかんで『逃げるな』と言っている」と感じたという。当時67歳だった河合氏は残りの人生を脱原発に懸けることを決意した。

(略)

東京電力ホールディングスの旧経営陣に対し、原発事故の処理費用と同額の22兆円の損害賠償を求める株主代表訴訟の弁護団長も務めている。被告の1人の勝俣恒久元会長は、同じ東京大学卓球部の先輩に当たる。「到底個人で支払える金額ではない。それは僕らにとって問題ではない」。原発事故による損害の大きさを社会に示すことが目的で、事故につながる判断ミスを犯した経営者がきちんと責任を取る事例を示し、後に続く経営者にとって「責任感の覚醒につながれば」と期待する。

河合氏は全国で行われている脱原発訴訟と仮処分申請38件のうち24件を直接手掛けると同時に、企業弁護を通じて得た資金を元手に全国の脱原発弁護士も支援している。裁判を通じて国民の知識を深め、感情をかき混ぜて世論を喚起する。そうすることで「いずれ原発をやめるという政治決定がされてくる」と考えている。

全文はバブル企業弁護士から脱原発の闘士へ-「原自連」で電事連に対抗

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U.S. WON WORLD WAR II BY BOMBING JAPAN AND THEN MAKING ITS OWN SOLDIERS SICK FROM NUCLEAR CLEANUP DUTY via Newsweek

Newsweek published this story under the headline of “A-Bomb Veterans: A Plea for Help” on November 26, 1979. Due to World War II Veterans denouncing emerging neo-Nazi groups, Newsweek is republishing the story.

“Nobody told us anything about radiation,” says 59-year-old Harry Coppola, who was one of the servicemen sent into Hiroshima and Nagasaki for cleanup operations after the bombings in 1945. The former marine is dying of a rare form of bone-marrow cancer called multiple myeloma, and he and other veterans with serious health problems claim that their illnesses stem from exposure to radiation. They are pressuring the Federal government to pick up the tab for their outstanding medical bills. 

The cleanup operations involved an estimated 1,000 servicemen. The government has never issued a list of the personnel, but groups like the Committee for U.S. Veterans of Hiroshima & Nagasaki have located 200 of them. Of these, 41 have been stricken with leukemia, bone-marrow cancer or rare blood diseases. Dr. Stephen Chandler, a hematologist, says that these man “are showing up with blood disorders far in excess of the average for their age group.” And Dr. Karen Steingart, a physician doing research on radiation effects, notes that the incidence of multiple myeloma is “at least four times that expected in the general population.”

‘COVER-UP’: So far, the Veterans Administration has received more than 50 claims—and rejected them all. There is no evidence, argues the VA, that radiation actually caused the illnesses. The Defense Nuclear Agency (DNA) says that no serviceman was exposed to more than 1 rem during the entire ten months of the American occupation—far less than the nuclear industry’s current safety standard of 3 rems in a three-month period.

[…]

‘TOO LATE’: Coppola’s doctors have given him six months to live, and he remains bitter that the government “refuses to admit that the Nagasaki bomb is killing me.” Coppola doesn’t know how he can continue to pay for his chemotherapy and blood transfusions. “I’ve already gone through my $29,000 in life savings,” he says, “and I owe everybody.” Congressman Edward Roybal of California has introduced a bill that would require the Federal government to pay for treatment for an illness or injury “which is directly attributable to the explosion of the atomic bombs.” Although eight similar bills have died in committee since 1972, Coppola hopes that the legislation will eventually pass. “Unfortunately,” he says, “it will be too late to help me.

Read more at U.S. WON WORLD WAR II BY BOMBING JAPAN AND THEN MAKING ITS OWN SOLDIERS SICK FROM NUCLEAR CLEANUP DUTY

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Highly radioactive water leak at Fukushima No. 1 nuke plant via The Mainichi

Highly radioactive water has leaked from the disaster-crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) announced on Aug. 17.

The estimated 50 milliliters of contaminated water remained inside the station dike, and there was no leakage to the outer environment, plant operator TEPCO said. An analysis found that the tainted water contained 22 million becquerels per liter of beta-ray-emitting radioactive materials.

Continue reading at Highly radioactive water leak at Fukushima No. 1 nuke plant 

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