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3号機プールの最大がれき撤去へ 全作業中断し厳戒態勢 via 47 News

東京電力は、福島第1原発3号機の使用済み核燃料プールで重さ約20トンもある最大のがれきを月内にも撤去する。クレーンでの引き上げ作業中にトラブルがあればプールの水位低下や燃料破損につながる恐れもあるため、構内の全作業を中断する厳戒態勢で臨む方針だ。

このがれきは、燃料を原子炉に出し入れする「燃料取扱機」。プールをまたぐように設置されていたが、2011年3月の原発事故の際、水素爆発で壊れ、ひしゃげた形でプールに落下した。

続きは3号機プールの最大がれき撤去へ 全作業中断し厳戒態勢

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How to survive a nuclear bomb every day of your life via The Washington Post

[…]
Wada Koichi, Nagano Etsuko, Taniguchi Sumiteru, Do-oh Mineko and Yoshida Katsuji tell their stories of survival in Susan Southard’s riveting “Nagasaki.” They represent “the only people in history who have lived through a nuclear attack and its aftermath,” Southard writes, and their stories are entirely relevant in a world that still wrestles with weapons of mass destruction.[…]

“From the survivors’ perspective,” the author explains, “the atomic bomb had burned their bodies from the inside out.”

Southard describes the battles the hibakusha fought just to be acknowledged. It took more than a decade for Japan to pass the Atomic Bomb Victims Medical Care Law, which funded semi-annual medical examinations, although with onerous requirements, such as a certified statement by a public official or a photograph proving your whereabouts at the time of the bomb. Survivors also fought for the repatriation of autopsy specimens — from deceased adults, children and infants, often taken without the consent of families — that had been shipped for study to the United States; by 1973, some 45,000 pathology specimens had been returned. Finally, nascent hibakusha activist groups advocated the return from the United States of certain film footage of the bombings, not shown in Japan until 1968.

Southard is critical of the U.S. occupation authorities in Japan, which restricted scientific studies and news reports on the hibakusha. She is particularly troubled by the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission, created by President Harry Truman and charged with studying the health impact on survivors in order to better protect Americans in case of future attacks. Commission doctors examined the hibakusha, photographed them, collected blood and semen samples, but did not treat them. “At a time when hibakusha were just beginning to come to terms with their identities as the only victims of atomic warfare in human history, the Americans who dropped the bombs imposed on them a disturbing new identity as research specimens for the U.S. government,” Southard writes.
[…]
The youngest of the hibakusha are now turning 70 — they suffered the blast before birth, exposed to radiation in the womb. We will not have them much longer. Yet their story is as timely as ever. American politicians debating the nuclear deal with Iran would do well to spend some time with Southard’s “Nagasaki.” It does not tell us what to do. It only reminds us of the stakes.

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Are Fukushima’s mutant daisies a wonder or a warning? via The Christian Science Monitor

Flowers near Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant, which suffered a meltdown four years ago, are producing some strangely wonderful blossoms.

Should you be more worried about environmental toxins when your garden’s daisies look like they’ve been run through a trippy Dreamscope inceptionist image filter, or if your tulip trees have stippled leaves?

Residents of Japan’s Nasushiobara City have been posting images of the deformed daisies that some believe may be linked to the 2011 meltdown of the Fukushima nuclear power plant.

Trees and flowers can act as Mother Nature’s version of a canary in a coal mine, an alarm system giving off warnings – ia size, shape, color, splitting, or stacking – that toxins are present in our immediate environment.

[…]

“Radiation being present in the environment is a plausible explanation,” says Forrest, “but not necessarily the only explanation for the phenomenon.”

Many of the daisy images are coming from& Fukushima Diary, a popular site on Pinterest showing images of doubled daisies, roses and sunflowers.

Members from other nations have posted similar floral mutations on Fukushima Diary, not as evidence of radiation but as a wonder they revel in.

Forrest says these alterations in plants and trees can be caused by many different stressors, including radiation, environmental toxins, global warming, introduced garden pests like mountain pine beetle, and invasive plants like kudzu.

[…]

Concentrated pollutants will “definitely” affect household gardens, he says, and gardeners are uniquely positioned to spot subtle changes.

“Most people are not really aware of the plants that grow around them,” says Forrest. “Gardeners are acutely aware of their plants and can often see these changes before non-gardeners.”

Read more at  Are Fukushima’s mutant daisies a wonder or a warning?

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川内原発1号機“検査終了” 来月 再稼働へ via MBS News

九州電力の川内原発1号機では、24日午後、再稼働前に必要な安全対策の設備の検査が完了しました。再稼働は来月中旬にも行われる見通しです。

九州電力の川内原発1号機では再稼働への準備が進められていますが、24日午後には、新しい規制基準に基づいて行われた安全対策の設備の検査のうち、再稼働までに必要な分がすべて完了しました。

(略)

再稼働の際には、まず原子炉容器から制御棒が引き抜かれ、半日後には核分裂が連続的に起きる臨界状態を迎えます。そして、2、3日後からこの核分裂の熱を利用して発生させた蒸気でタービンを回し、発電が再開することになります。(24日19:47)

全文は川内原発1号機“検査終了” 来月 再稼働へ

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福島原発事故、避難解除で選択迫られる住民の苦悩 via AFP BB News

(抜粋)

政府の避難指示解除は、全町村避難が続く自治体では楢葉町が初めてとなる。安倍政権は今後、楢葉町以外の避難指示区域についても解除を進め、17年3月までに一部区域を除いて全面解除を目指している。

東電は「精神的損害賠償」として避難指示区域などの住民に月10万円を支払っているが、避難指示解除から1年後に支払いは終了することになる。

政府は数年に及ぶ除染が終わったとして安全性を強調している。しかし活動家らは、未だに高濃度の放射性物質が検出され居住に適さない地域が多数あ ると指摘。住民の多くは自宅を放置したまま避難してきており、損害賠償の支払い打ち切りを東電に認めれば、避難住民に荒廃した自宅への帰還を強制すること になると批判している。

国際環境保護団体グリーンピース(Greenpeace) は21日、原発から北西に約40キロ離れた飯舘村で実施した放射線調査の結果を発表した。それによると、除染が進んでいるのは主に道路や住宅周辺など村の 面積の4分の1にとどまるという。また、除染済みの地域と除染されていない地域の両方で高い線量が測定されており、公衆衛生の観点から村民の帰還は不可能 だとの見方を示している。

グリーンピースは、飯舘村では国際基準による一般公衆の被ばく限度の20倍もの放射線を浴びる恐れがあると警告。特に、山林地帯は長期にわたって放射性セシウムの貯蔵庫となり、山林以外の環境の再汚染を引き起こす原因になると指摘した。

原発事故で放出された放射性物質が風に乗って降り注いだ飯舘村と異なり、原発の南東に位置し当時は風上に当たっていた楢葉町の線量は、政府調査ではずっと少ない。楢葉町役場の調査によれば、帰宅して町を再生したいと考える住民が多数いたという。

それでも、帰還すべきか否かの選択を迫られている避難者にとって、懸念は依然大きい。

「戻ってきても畑仕事ができるわけじゃないし、田んぼもできるわけじゃない。山菜も採れないし」。そば店で旬の山菜の天ぷらを提供してきた山内さんは、かすれた声で語った。「(店は)自分の全て。――この店は自分が生きてきた証なんですよ」

全文は福島原発事故、避難解除で選択迫られる住民の苦悩

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70 years after Hiroshima, nuclear weapons threaten us all via The Guardian

Nearly 70 years ago, on 6 August 1945, the US dropped “Little Boy”, the first nuclear weapon used in warfare, on Hiroshima.

“Two thirds of the buildings in the city were destroyed and perhaps 80,000 civilians were killed”, observes Eric Schlosser, in Gods of Metal, a frightening yet moving account of how three Catholic pacifists, including an 82 year-old nun, broke into Y12, a top security nuclear weapons base in Tennessee, known as the Fort Knox of Uranium, where material used in the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima was processed.

“The amount of weapons-grade uranium needed to build a terrorist bomb with a similar explosive force”, Schlosser adds in his extremely timely short book, “could fit inside a small gym bag”.

Though there are treaties banning biological and chemical weapons, cluster bombs, and landmines, there is no such ban on nuclear weapons, even though their use would breach international agreements, not least the Geneva Conventions.
[…]
Tony Blair said of Trident in his autobiography, A Journey: “The expense is huge and the utility … non-existent in terms of military use”.

In the end he thought giving it up would be “too big a downgrading of our status as a nation”. (Of the Labour leadership candidates, only Jeremy Corbyn opposes Trident.)

Sceptics describe nuclear weapons as “power tools”. Major General Patrick Cordingley, former commander of the 7th Armoured Brigade, the Desert Rats, says strategic nuclear weapons have no military use. “It would seem”, he said recently, “the government wishes to replace Trident simply to remain a nuclear power alongside the other four permanent members of the UN Security Council. This is misguided and flies in the face of public opinion; we have more to offer than nuclear bombs”.
[…]
This year’s non-profileration treaty (NPT) review conference held under UN auspices in New York, took a step backwards on the road to nuclear disarmament, with the five “official” nuclear powers – the UK, US, Russia, China, and France – insisting on even vaguer language, and more caveats, than they have in the past.

But the non-nuclear powers, the vast majority, are fighting back.

159 countries signed a statement at the end of the New York conference. “All efforts must be exerted to eliminate the threat of these weapons of mass destruction”, they said. “The only way to guarantee that nuclear weapons will never be used again is through their total elimination.”
[…]

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West Lake Landfill may be more contaminated than previously thought, company says via St. Louis Post-Dispatch

In a revelation that could shake up oversight and liability at the contaminated West Lake Landfill, one of the companies involved says some of the radioactive waste may have come from sources officials have yet to acknowledge.

“There’s some evidence that there could be other waste streams there,” said Craig Nesbit, a spokesman for Exelon Generation.

He said Exelon supports “proposed science-based efforts to understand all historical radiological material placed in the West Lake landfill.”

The news has already spurred the St. Louis area’s congressional delegation to call for a new review to determine whether the site should be added to a special nuclear cleanup program. In a letter to the Department of Energy, they indicated some of the waste may have been under the DOE’s jurisdiction.

Neighbors of the Bridgeton-area landfill have long said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program, or FUSRAP, is better suited to force a cleanup. The corps is cleaning up several other sites around the region contaminated from Mallinckrodt Chemical Works’ uranium processing work for the government during the Manhattan Project.

[…]

West Lake was never included in FUSRAP, originally a DOE program that is now operated by the corps. Instead, it was put under EPA jurisdiction in 1990. Nearby residents complain the EPA process doesn’t have enough teeth and that they’ve been waiting for EPA to act for 25 years.

“I’m very encouraged,” said Dawn Chapman, one of the local activists who has long followed the issue. “I think we’re going to get this moved to FUSRAP.”

Republic seemed to suggest such a move would slow the process. The potentially responsible parties “have complied with every EPA study request for decades” Republic Services spokesman Richard Callow said in a statement.

“To start the process over just because a few people don’t like the answer science provides seems a waste and unreasonable as a delay,” he said. Callow declined to comment further.

Read more at West Lake Landfill may be more contaminated than previously thought, company says

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Missouri nuclear plant shut down after ‘non-emergency’ leak via St. Louis Post-Dispatch

ST. LOUIS (AP) — The Ameren Corp. nuclear power plant in central Missouri is shut down for the second time in eight months after a “non-emergency” leak in the reaction control system.

The shutdown occurred at 1:15 a.m. Thursday at the plant near Fulton. Jeff Trammel of St. Louis-based Ameren called it a “minor steam leak.” He said no one was hurt and there was no risk to the public.

[…]

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission was advised. An NRC report classifies it as a “non-emergency” and notes that radiation levels in the containment building are “slightly above normal,” but there were no excessive radiation releases from the plant.

The Callaway plant also shut down in December, due to an electrical equipment failure.

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In a small town in Washington state, pride and shame over atomic legacy via AlJazeera

Richland High School’s controversial mascot honors the community’s role in producing the plutonium dropped on Nagasaki

RICHLAND, Wash. — The workers inside Hanford’s nuclear reactors in the early 1940s knew their jobs were important, even if many of them didn’t know why. They worked hard, and for that they were paid well, tucking their children into bed at night inside handsome homes with green lawns on streets named for brilliant engineers: Goethals Drive, Jadwin Avenue.

The secrecy around Hanford, a part of the Manhattan Project, came to light on Aug. 9, 1945, when U.S. forces dropped a thick-bellied, 10,000-pound plutonium-filled bomb called Fat Man on Nagasaki, Japan — vaporizing some 60-80,000 people in an instant and thereby ending World War II. All along at Hanford, they’d been contributing to the war effort,  producing plutonium that would make up the core of the Nagasaki bomb.

“Peace!” the local newspaper headlines cried on Aug. 14, 1945. “Our bomb clinched it!”

“This town just went totally nuts,” said Burt Pierard, 74, who remembers beating pots and pans in a parade of children around his neighborhood. “It was euphoria, just the whole atmosphere was party-time, patriotic.”

[…]

For some, Richland High’s mascot embodies political incorrectness: a symbol that glorifies destruction and the deaths of innocents, a mark of hatred and fear. The bombs changed “humanity’s relationship with technology,” said Tim Connor, who was born in Hanford in the 1950s. Connor went on to become an investigative journalist and activist, working to shut down plutonium production at Hanford, which is now considered the most contaminated nuclear site in the country. “We really used our best and brightest to unlock the secrets of the atom that, in a way, still hold the world hostage to this incredible terror.”

But for Pierard, a 1959 local graduate with cloudy blue eyes and a long gray ponytail, the Bombers R-Cloud is an inspiring reminder of a time when Richland, in his mind, saved the world. He’s not willing to see this symbol dismissed without a fight. “If you are gonna take my R-Cloud away from me,” he said, rolling back his black sweatshirt to reveal a green and gold R-Cloud tattooed onto his right shoulder, “you’re gonna rip it off my cold, dead arm.”

[…]

Qualheim, an alumnus of the school who has taught there since 1979, said he prefers to stay quiet about the Richland High mascot these days. In the past, he had expressed his personal distaste for the R-Cloud after visiting the Hiroshima Peace Memorial. Since then, he feels branded by some alumni as a conspirator looking to rewrite history yet again.

“I certainly don’t run around carrying a picket sign saying, ‘Down with the cloud!’” Qualheim said. But he won’t wear the R-Cloud mascot, and he’s removed it from uniforms for the students he coaches. But he no longer has the energy to fight it. If a student asks, he’ll talk about what he sees in the logo.

“Some people look at [the R-Cloud] as a peace symbol. When I see that, I see that vaporized shadow in the cement and I see those melted baby bottles and melted tricycles. That’s what I see,” he said. “Their skin was dripping from their bodies.”

To Trisha Pritikin, who grew up in Richland but moved away years ago, the R-Cloud has only negative connotations. “It indicates a joy for destruction and death,” she said. “Like, ‘Let’s celebrate the fact that we can destroy and kill with this atomic technology.’” She sees it as a blight on Richland.

[…]

Pritikin is a Hanford Downwinder, who watched her parents die from cancer and has thyroid disease that she attributes to the radioactive emissions from Hanford. “My whole family got wiped out,” she said.

Hanford’s toxic reach didn’t stop at the site’s barbed-wire fences: radioactive emissions released into the air fell on fields where livestock grazed. Soon, local children were drinking tainted milk, fish from the Columbia River were contaminated, and the Oregon Health Division deemed it  “the most radioactive river in the world from World War II to the 1970s.” Thousands of people who were unknowingly exposed have filed claims, but very few have seen any compensation.

“They blanketed the community and beyond with radiation, and they didn’t tell us. It seems to me that would put a little dent in the pride around [the mascot],” Pritikin said.

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France law to halve energy use, slash nuclear dependence via Yahoo News UK (AFP)

French lawmakers were set to adopt a new law on Wednesday that will halve the country’s energy consumption by 2050 and slash its reliance on nuclear energy.

Under the new law, which was to be put to a final vote in the National Assembly later Wednesday, nuclear energy will provide only 50 percent of France’s electricity by 2025, down from 75 percent currently.

Six months ahead of the global climate conference in Paris, the legislation also calls for a 30-percent drop in the use of fossil fuels by 2030 (compared with 2012 levels), and 40-percent drop in greenhouse gas emissions, compared with 1990.

Renewable energy (NasdaqGS: REGInews) will increasingly take up the slack — accounting for 32 percent of France’s energy mix by 2030, compared with 13.7 percent three years ago.

[…]

France is the most nuclear-dependent country in the world, and the second-biggest producer of nuclear energy with 58 reactors located in 19 power stations.

“It’s a long-awaited change, since no one, including the opposition, at any time denied the need to break the total dependence on nuclear,” said Socialist MP Francois Brottes who headed the parliamentary group reviewing the law.

– Struggling nuclear industry –

That did not stop widespread concerns, particularly among the conservative opposition, about the impact on France’s already struggling nuclear industry.

Only a month ago, Hollande’s office said the government would spend “as much as necessary” to save troubled nuclear group Areva (Paris: FR0011027143news) , which recorded a record net loss of 4.8 billion euros ($5.2 billion) last year.

Areva has faced reduced global demand since the 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan and been hit by cost over-runs and construction difficulties at sites in Flamanville in northwestern France and Finland.

By setting a production limit of 63.2 gigawatts on nuclear parks, the government has effectively forced power companies to shut down older reactors as new ones come online.

[…]

Environment Minister Segolene Royal has said she wants France to become “a nation of environmental excellence” and said the reforms would create 100,000 new jobs in the green sector over the next three years.

Read more at France law to halve energy use, slash nuclear dependence

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