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Japanese Govt. Orchestrates Nuclear Restarts, Fukushima Denial via SimplyInfo

The Japanese government has declared nuclear power as an “important baseload energy resource“. While the government insists that nuclear power is an important power source they did not declare a percentage of generation that should come from nuclear. At least one nuclear expert pointed out that the lack of any significant contribution from nuclear power throws the government’s claim of it being a baseload power source out the window. The government also classifies coal and hydro power as baseload power sources. The concept of baseload power has been highly disputed as being an outdated concept that was fabricated by various power industries to protect their stake.
Yomiuri Shimbun, always ready to plead the case for the nuclear industry issued this
disturbing editorial last week. It called “returning people home” to be important but doesn’t really say why. It proclaims the entire problem to be the supposed irrational fears of evacuees as the problem. Yomiuri declares the 20 mSv/year radiation level to be the official level of safety, yet this is a highly disputed level that only the government has deemed safe for political reasons. ICRP calls 1 mSv/year safe or as close to “safe” as they assume can be achieved. Yomiuri goes on to cite UNSCEAR who has been publishing erroneous and skewed data on the disaster, much of it dependent on the official government data known to be inaccurate. As usual Yomiuri falls back on blaming the evacuees for somehow not understanding things. The reality is that this is a well educated resistance to a politically motivated plan to force people to return to contaminated areas that are unsafe. Why this political tactic against the victims of nuclear disasters is so dangerous is explained here.

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Radioactive water floods Fukushima plant basements after wrong pumps switched on via The Asahi Shimbun

Tons of highly radioactive water have flooded basements at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant after pumps that should not have been in use were mistakenly turned on.

Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. announced April 14 that 200 tons of contaminated water have flooded the basements of buildings on the plant site.

Although TEPCO officials said there were no channels for the contaminated water to leak out of the flooded basements, the Nuclear Regulation Authority ordered the utility to continue to monitor the situation and collect the leakage as soon as possible.

TEPCO officials said the water was highly contaminated because it was used to cool reactors at the Fukushima No. 1 plant. The water contains several tens of millions of becquerels per liter of radioactive cesium because it has yet to be purified using a system that removes radioactive materials.

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Hyogo blocks release of nuke crisis study data via The Japan Times

Hyogo officials are blocking the release of data from a simulation run last year predicting what would happen to surrounding prefectures in the event of a meltdown crisis at one of Fukui Prefecture’s four atomic plants.

Citizens’ groups said Tuesday they were told by Hyogo officials earlier this month that the data would be released before May along with data from a new simulation the prefecture is conducting.

The backtrack on the data release has raised concerns that the prefecture is trying to downplay the possibility of a worst-case scenario for disaster planning purposes.
While Hyogo released the results of what could happen inside the prefecture, it did not make public what might happen in neighboring prefectures. Concerned this would make it more difficult for localities to draw up emergency plans and for a coordinated, Kansai-wide response, anti-nuclear activists and other citizens pressed Hyogo to release the entire study.

Hyogo Prefecture resident Juro Yamamoto filed a freedom of information request in February for the release of all simulation data on Fukui, Kyoto and Shiga prefectures. The request was granted, in writing, by Hyogo Gov. Toshizo Ido’s office on March 7.

However, the information has yet to be made public. Yamamoto called on prefectural officials Tuesday to release it immediately.

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除染作業員の特殊勤務手当引き下げ 環境省、一部区域で via 朝日新聞




続きは除染作業員の特殊勤務手当引き下げ 環境省、一部区域で

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D. Raja sees wave against anti-people policy via The Hindu

Communist Party of India national secretary D. Raja has said the “angry wave” against the “anti-people” policies of the Congress will sweep away the party, which heads the ruling coalition at the Centre.

In monetary and fiscal policies and external affairs, there was no difference between the Congress and the BJP. Both did not represent the whole country, as a lot of political space was left for other parties, he said at a press conference here on Saturday.

Therefore, to mitigate the sufferings of the people, the Left parties had come together to provide an alternative. He said he would not like to call it a “third or fourth front.”

Mr. Raja said he received information that the UPA government was to clinch an agreement with Russia for establishing the third and fourth units of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project and determining the prices of the units. When Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his government were on their way out, they had no moral authority to clinch such a deal. So, the CPI proposed to take up the issue with the Election Commission.

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Koizumi, Hosokawa unite to launch anti-nuclear entity via Japan Daily News

Despite losing his Tokyo gubernatorial bid on an anti-nuclear platform, ex-Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa is once again teaming up with another former Premier, the ever-popular Junichiro Koizumi, to continue their fight against the use of nuclear technology. The two former leaders have established a nonprofit organization, which will promote anti-nuclear programs.

Hosokawa hopes to end nuclear use as the country continues to recover from the Fukushima disaster three years ago. “I want to support efforts to build the local economy without reliance on nuclear power,” he said. The new association will focus on using alternative and renewable sources of energy, opposing the restart of idle reactors and pushing candidates to run against pro-nuclear politicians. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s administration, along with Japan’s ruling coalition, recently released a new energy policy, which indicates the use of nuclear power as an important source. An official from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party expressed no concern over the team up, saying, “They no longer have any clout to significantly sway public opinion.”

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Related article: 小泉・細川氏共闘第2章 脱原発国民運動へ via 東京新聞

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小泉・細川氏共闘第2章 脱原発国民運動へ via 東京新聞

小泉純一郎(72)、細川護熙(もりひろ)(76)両元首相が、脱原発を目指す一般社団法人「自然エネルギー 推進会議」を設立する。安倍政権が原発推進路線を明確にする中、学者や文化・芸能など幅広い分野の著名人が参加、脱原発の国民運動を起こす狙いがある。再 生可能エネルギー普及に向けた活動のほか、今秋の福島県知事選や来春の統一地方選などでの脱原発候補の支援も視野に入れる。





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焦点:川内原発の再稼働待つ地元住民、暮らし再建へ不安と共存 via ロイター



薩摩川内市のJR川内駅から車でおよそ30分、川内原発に通じる幹線道路では、建設作業員がアスファルトを敷き、非常用の緊急避難路の 拡張工事を進めている。多くの住民にとっては、原発再稼働の日が近づいていることを実感できる光景だ。30年近くにわたって地元経済を支えてきた原発の再 稼働が、刻一刻と近づいている。







一方の薩摩川内は、原発の受け入れに伴い、1974年以降、国から250億円以上の交付金を受領。交付金や原発絡みの税収は、地域の交 流センターや公園の建設、道路の修復などに充てられ、雇用創出にもつながってきた。岩切市長は川内原発について、「世界最高水準の規制基準」と言われる日 本で「少なくとも一番しっかりした発電所だ」と訴える。

薩摩川内市の人口は約10万人。バブル崩壊前からシャッター街が増え、原発作業員で賑わっていた旅館や民宿も、今は閑古鳥が鳴く。同市 ホテル旅館組合の福山大作組合長(ホテルオートリ代表取締役)によると、原発の定期点検の際は「ホテル、民宿ほとんど満室の状態が続いていた」が、 2011年以降、数軒の旅館・民宿が廃業に追い込まれた。










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(インタビュー)「平和と繁栄」の後で シカゴ大名誉教授ノーマ・フィールドさん via 朝日新聞

日本社会はどこへ行こうとしているのか。日米双方の心と言葉で語り続ける研究者は、胸を痛めていた。戦後の繁栄が過去のものとなり、さらに平和すら手放そ うとしているのでは……。第2次大戦直後の東京で生まれ、米シカゴで暮らすノーマ・フィールドさんの目に映る日本の風景を、そっとのぞいた。





「ええ、これは格差にあえぐ若い世代に限りません。広い意味では、原発を誘致した地域や原発作業員にも当てはまる。生活のために自分の存在自体を 懸けなければいけない構図はいたるところにあります。細川さんの文明論は、明日がどうなるか分からない人には、抽象的でぜいたくなものに聞こえたかもしれ ませんが、この乖離を乗り越えようと言っていたようにも思えます」






井上ひさしさ んは多喜二を描いた戯曲『組曲虐殺』で『絶望するには、いい人が多すぎる。希望を持つには、悪いやつが多すぎる』というセリフを主人公に託しています。い とおしく思う人や譲れない理念があるからこそ、愛情と共に怒りが生まれる。私にとって怒りは原動力です。これほど人間を馬鹿にした政治を押し通すなんて、 放っておけるものか、と考えています。希望とは、外にあって元気づけられるものではなく、主体的に作り上げるものではないですか」

全文は(インタビュー)「平和と繁栄」の後で シカゴ大名誉教授ノーマ・フィールドさん

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Ambiguities of Japan’s Nuclear Policy via The New York Times

By Norihiro Kato

TOKYO — When Yasunari Kawabata became the first Japanese to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1968, he gave a speech called “Japan, the Beautiful, and Myself” that presented a benignly aesthetic portrait of the so-called Japanese spirit larded with references to classical poetry, the tea ceremony and ikebana. When Kenzaburo Oe received the prize in 1994, he titled his lecture, “Japan, the Ambiguous, and Myself,” and offered a critical take on the country’s ambiguities, starting its being part of Asia and simultaneously aligned with the West.

I was reminded of the contrast between Japan the Beautiful and Japan the Ambiguous late last month when, during the third Nuclear Security Summit in the Hague, the Japanese government announced that it would hand over to the United States more than 700 pounds of weapons-grade plutonium and a vast supply of highly enriched uranium. It struck me then that the ambiguities of Japan’s policy on nuclear weapons might be coming up against the nationalist agenda of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, also the author of “Towards a Beautiful Country: My Vision for Japan.”
On the one hand, since the 1970s Japan has pursued a pacifist foreign policy best symbolized by its Three Non-Nuclear Principles: “Japan shall neither possess nor manufacture nuclear weapons, nor shall it permit their introduction into Japanese territory.” On the other hand, starting in the 1950s it has implemented a nuclear energy policy centered on a closed nuclear fuel cycle, which yields nuclear materials that can be used to run so-called fast-breeding reactors. Japan has one such facility, which it uses for research, but it has been plagued by problems and is not commercially viable. Although the fuel cycle yields plutonium through the reprocessing of spent fuel, Japan has managed to escape the usual restrictions on the possession of such materials by stressing its commitment to the Three Non-Nuclear Principles and so, implicitly, its special status as the only country in the world to have suffered atomic bombings.

But now the two props of Japan’s not-so-secret strategy of technological deterrence are falling apart. The Abe cabinet has adopted a confrontational stance toward Japan’s East Asian neighbors. It has weakened the country’s previous commitment to not exporting arms to certain types of countries, including those subject to arms embargoes or involved in international conflicts. Other countries, sensing that the Abe administration may want to jettison the Three Non-Nuclear Principles, have begun expressing concern over Japan’s stores of plutonium.

At the same time, the government is finding it increasingly difficult to explain why Japan should maintain its fuel-cycle policy. In the wake of the Fukushima disaster in 2011, none of Japan’s 48 commercial nuclear reactors is currently in operation, and popular opinion is mounting against the idea of developing more special fast-breeder reactors.

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