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Fukushima Commentary (blog)


 

Op-Ed on whether the Fukushima accident is ongoing and if it has the potential for world-wide apocalyptic disaster. We also have regular hosting of the Carnival of Nuclear Energy Bloggers.

"Fukushima : The First Five Days"...a book taken from the records kept by the operating staff at Fukushima Daiichi during the first crucial days of the crisis. It is now available at all E-book outlets. For the PDF and bundle... (click here)

"Kimin: Japan's Forgotten People" - A book about the untold story of Japan's 300,000 tsunami refugees, ignored by the world's news media. For availability... (click here)

  Please make a Fukushima Anniversary donation.

April 2, 2017

353rd Edition: Nuclear Energy News Digest

The Hiroshima Syndrome’s Fukushima Commentary is proudly hosting the latest edition of the Nuclear Energy News Digest. This week, we have postings by Dr. Jim Conca, Leslie Corrice, Jessica Lovering, Meredith Angwin, Brian Wang, Nicholas Thompson, MZ Consulting, and Dr. Gail Marcus.

To read the full articles, please click on the individual links. Blog topics for this edition include… Advanced pebble bed reactors, Japan’s tsunami refuges are still forgotten, ways for nuclear innovation, nuclear and the Trump administration, MIT’s demonstration MSR, the world will “blow through” the 2oC increase no matter what, learning from Fukushima, and what happened with the Westinghouse bankruptcy.

*                      *                      *

From Dr. Jim Conca at Forbes

X-Energy Steps Into The Ring With Its Advanced Pebble Bed Modular Nuclear Reactor

X-energy’s Xe-100 high temperature gas-cooled pebble bed modular nuclear power plant has higher efficiencies, a reduced water requirement, a small physical footprint, a small emergency planning zone, and is walk-away safe from any possible accident. https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2017/03/27/x-energy-steps-into-the-ring-with-its-advanced-pebble-bed-modular-nuclear-reactor/#1ee61752745d

From Leslie Corrice at Hiroshima Syndrome

The Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami of 2011:

After six years, the tsunami refugees remain “Kimin”!

It has been 6 years since the massive earthquake and tsunami hit northeastern Japan. The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident holds continual interest with Japan’s Press, largely due to the unscientific hypothesis that low level radiation might be unhealthy. Unfortunately, the real disaster remains largely ignored by Japanese news outlets. But, the week before the anniversary some news outlets post a reminder about the plight still experienced by tsunami refugees. http://www.hiroshimasyndrome.com/fukushima-commentary.html

From Breakthrough Institute and Jessica Lovering -

How to Make Nuclear Innovative: Lessons from Other Advanced Industries

What will it take to bring 21st-century innovation to the nuclear industry? How to Make Nuclear Innovative, a new Breakthrough report, makes the case for an entirely new model of nuclear innovation. Instead of conventional light-water reactors financed and constructed by large incumbent firms, the advanced nuclear industry will be characterized by innovative reactor and plant designs, new business models, and smaller entrepreneurial start-ups. https://thebreakthrough.org/index.php/issues/nuclear/how-to-make-nuclear-innovative

From Meredith Angwin at Yes Vermont Yankee -

Nuclear and the Trump Administration - Posted at Nuclear Engineering International

Meredith Angwin discusses an article she wrote with Dr. Gilbert Brown. This article appeared in the March issue of Nuclear Engineering International Magazine. The piece includes predictions of how nuclear will fare under the new administration. Meredith also makes some snarky comments about FERC 1000, and explains why FERC needs to be fixed.  http://yesvy.blogspot.com/2017/03/nuclear-and-trump-administration-post.html#.WNlcdTLMwUE  

From Brian Wang at Next Big Future – (2)

MIT plans a one-megawatt demonstration molten salt reactor

Though incapable of sustaining a fission reaction on its own, the researchers believe they can avoid building a stand-alone experimental prototype, which the Nuclear Regulatory Commission requires. The hope is that this approach could cost hundreds of millions of dollars less and take half as much time to build as a stand-alone. The proposed “subcritical facility” would be replacing medical irradiation rooms once used for experimental cancer treatments. It would be about half the size of a typical demonstration reactor. MIT’s Lin-wen Hu says it would probably only require an amendment to the existing permit on MIT’s reactor. http://www.nextbigfuture.com/2017/03/campaigning-for-clean-air-via-pro.html

(and)

World will blow through Two Degree CO2 and have to look at Geoengineering even if all electricity went solar and all cars are electric

On the low estimate for 1.5C degree change, the world is about 14 months away from using up the permitted CO2 emissions. On the low estimate for 2C degree change, the world is less than ten years away from using up the permitted CO2 emissions. China added almost 5% more power generation in 2016. This was 240 TWh added to China’s existing 5920 TWh. Almost half of this was coal or other fossil fuel power. http://www.nextbigfuture.com/2017/03/world-will-blow-through-two-degree-co2.html

 

From Nicholas Thompson at Thompson Energy -

Is Nuclear Energy going the way of the Concorde?

Nuclear energy and supersonic transport planes share a lot of similarities. Can the death of the Concorde shed some light on the current situation that the nuclear community finds itself in, and what lessons can we learn from the Concorde? https://thompson.energy/2017/03/26/is-nuclear-energy-going-the-way-of-the-concorde/

From MZ Consulting -

Six years later – learning the right lessons from Fukushima

It’s hard to believe that six years have passed since the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan that resulted in the accident at the Fukushima nuclear power plant.  Over the past six years there have been many arguments about the merits of actions taken both during and following the accident and on the lessons learned to move forward. Are we learning the right lessons from Fukushima? Remember nuclear safety is all about protecting people. http://bit.ly/2oyijgg

From Dr. Gail Marcus at Nuke Power Talk

Westinghouse Bankruptcy: What Happened?

In the wake of the announcement this past week that Westinghouse filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy as a result of the losses incurred in the construction of four AP1000 units in Georgia and South Carolina, everyone is trying to figure out what happened. There is likely to be a lot more evaluation of all the circumstances leading up to this bankruptcy, and a lot more guessing about what Westinghouse should have done. http://nukepowertalk.blogspot.com/2017/04/westinghouse-bankruptcy.html

March 25, 2017

The Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami of 2011:

After six years, the tsunami refugees remain “Kimin”!

It has been 6 years since the massive earthquake and tsunami hit northeastern Japan. Prior to this year’s anniversary date, Yahoo Japan hung a tall banner on the wall of the Sony Building in Tokyo’s Ginza District. (1) A red line on the banner marked the tsunami’s peak height of 16.7 meters, with the words “just this height” next to the line. The banner was intended to spur understanding of just how great the tsunami was. Many on the street were incredulous. One passer-by told the Asahi Shimbun, “I simply cannot imagine a tsunami would reach that height!” The banner also read, “If you just know this height, you can do much more. Let’s not forget that day. That is the most effective disaster preparedness.” But, what about the tsunami refugees? The banner was a stark reminder of the horror inflicted on March 11, 2017.
 

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident holds continual interest with Japan’s Press, largely due to the unscientific hypothesis that low level radiation might be unhealthy. Unfortunately, the real disaster remains largely ignored by Japanese news outlets. But the week before the anniversary, some news outlets post a reminder about the plight still experienced by tsunami refugees.  

Six coastal prefectures were hammered by the massive waves that peaked at 16.7 meters (measured in Ofunato, Iwate Prefecture)on March 11, 2011. Some estimates say that early one-half million people fled the northeast Honshu (Tohoku) coastline. (2) Unfortunately, not all who fled made it to safety. The National Police Agency reports that 15,883 have been confirmed dead and 2,553 are still listed as missing. Tokyo’s Reconstruction Agency says at least 3,523 subsequent deaths have occurred in ten prefectures due to living as refugees. More than 250,000 were made permanently homeless on that fateful day when their residences were either washed away or otherwise destroyed by the quake and tsunami. About half of them remain in limbo.  

The Agency says more than 120,000 Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima residents are still living as evacuees. Over 23,000 temporary housing units have been built for refugees by the government, with another 7,000 either under construction or still in the planning stage. On March 8th, Jiji Press reported that there are 35,000 refugees living in hastily-erected, prefabricated housing. (3) However, reconstruction delays have caused tens of thousands to literally give up and move to other prefectures. NHK World News reported that the 14 worst-hit communities of Miyagi, Iwate, and Fukushima Prefectures have permanently lost 10% of their 2010 populations; nearly 600,000 people have moved away since 2010.

At this point, it should be noted that after the 1995 Kobe earthquake that killed nearly 6,500 people, all evacuees had left temporary or otherwise emergency housing within five years! (4) But, in the Tohoku region, tens of thousands of tsunami refugees remain in such dwellings after six years! Two factors behind the delays are slow work to elevate land to a level greater than 16 meters, and landowners holding out for more money.

But, what if the off-shore subduction zone has another sudden, massive slippage? What if another tsunami is generated that is 10…12…or even 15 meters high? Are the communities that were devastated in 2011 protected? The answer is a resounding NO!

Only 22% of the planned sea walls along the Tohoku coast have been completed. (5) The central and local governments had planned to build 405 kilometers of seawalls along the coastline. But only 88 km, or 22 percent, had been completed by Jan. 1st. 263 km were still under construction and work had not begun on the other 54 km of the walls.

50% the shoreline along Fukushima Prefecture remains unprotected, and local officials doubt that the 2020 target date for new sea walls can be met! What could be the reason for the delay? Some residents oppose the new, higher walls because it blocks their view of the sea. The planning for 32 locations had to be revised due to these objections. An official in one of the most impacted cities, Ishinomaki, says, “It took time to build a consensus with local residents” in order to balance safety with maintaining scenery. Nearly 30,000 Ishinomaki residents lost their homes on 3/11/11, and more than 3,000 of them lost their lives. In addition, nearly 2,800 remain listed as missing.

Another stated reason for sea wall delays is a shortage of available construction workers and building materials. A Miyako official says, “A shortage of building materials and human resources is a major factor.” Keep in mind that the populations have been drained by 10%, which surely contributes to the manpower shortage. Further, severely irregular topography in Iwate and Miyagi portions of the Sanriku region adds to the difficulties. Thus in Kesennuma, only 0.7 km of the planned 9.7 km of walls has been completed. (6)

Clearly, a lot of work needs to be done! While the Japanese Press seems to ignore the plight of the thousands upon thousands still in need, (and not because of the Fukushima accident) the international Press has posted virtually nothing! I found one posted by Bloomberg, with a headline suggesting addressing the tsunami aftermath. But, the article almost entirely focused on the Fukushima accident’s sixth anniversary! (7) I would argue that it doesn’t even count! In fact, the popular international news outlets literally dripped with negatively-slanted articles about the relatively well-looked-after, and copiously-compensated Fukushima refugees, but could not be bothered to mention thousands of tsunami refugees who live in virtual squalor.

Voluntary Fukushima refugees have been granted free housing by the government since 2011. The emigrated tsunami refugees received nothing!

Mandated Fukushima refugees – every man, woman, and child - continue to get about $9,000 per month in financial compensation; a total of more than $25 billion since 3/11/11. In addition, property owners have been paid a collective total of more than $3.3 billion, above and beyond their personal compensation. The tsunami refugees get a few hundred dollars per month, if they are lucky.

The Japanese and international Press whine loudly about the hypothetical, and self-inflicted plight of Fukushima’s voluntary evacuees losing their free housing in April! But, is there any news media outcry concerning the plight of the tsunami refugees who have actually suffered since 2011? No!

The tsunami refugees dubbed themselves “Kimin” (forgotten people) more than four years ago, which is documented in my E-book of the same name. It seems these poor unfortunates remain “Kimin” even today…forgotten! Forgotten by Japan! Forgotten by the world!

This reporter is absolutely disgusted 

References 

1 -http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201703080064.html  

2 – http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20170311/p2g/00m/0dm/021000c   

3 - http://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2017030800972

4 - https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20170308_25/

5 - http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20170311/p2g/00m/0dm/074000c

6 - http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/03/11/national/22-new-seawalls-finished-areas-hit-2011-tsunami/#.WMP_ctK7odU

7- https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-03-11/tepco-marks-6th-anniversary-of-earthquake-tsunami-with-silence

 

March 19, 2017

Fukushima 6-years-on: Part 3

Fomenting Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt (FUD)

Fukushima FUD has plagued the internet since March, 2011. The frequency of scare-mongering posts found in antinuclear group sites and on social media increases every year to “celebrate” the March 11 anniversary of the nuclear accident. The following is only a few of the disreputable postings concerning this year’s anniversary, with a “Worst of the Bunch” bringing up the rear (where it belongs).

1 – Greenpeace’s 6th anniversary posting tries to persuade Iitate evacuees to not go home. Evacuation orders will be lifted for the municipality on April 1st, potentially affecting thousands. The activist organization uses its typical non-verifiable statements of subjective opinion and rhetorical hyperbole to scare off as many evacuees as possible. Greenpeace says that its November 2016 radiation survey shows that exposures “remain too high for the safe return of its citizens.” To Greenpeace, any radiation exposure, no matter how trivial, produces unacceptable risks. The most-false statement says returning citizens would be exposed to in-excess of 100 millisieverts lifetime, which would require prompt mitigation actions if found inside a nuclear facility! But, no such 100 mSv/lifetime exposure limit actually exists. It is Japan’s guideline for nuclear workers per year…not lifetime. Using this fake statement as “evidence”, Greenpeace says it is “shocking” that returning Iitate evacuees would get higher exposures than nuclear plant workers! This is but one of many instances of intentionally false statements. http://www.greenpeace.org/japan/Global/japan/pdf/NRN_FINweb4.pdf

2 – Life-long activist and political meddler Akio Matsumora has a blog called “Finding the missing Link”. He has been touted as an expert on Fukushima by such hard-core antinuclear prophets of doom as America’s Arnie Gundersen and Harvey Wasserman since 2011. His 6th anniversary blog is filled with wild speculations concerning Fukushima Daiichi unit #2 and the high radiation levels measured earlier this year. He found a Fukushima-phobic person with academic credentials who says another earthquake of seven or more on the Richter scale will destroy the reactor pressure vessel holding 90% of the corium (a formerly molten, now solidified mixture of nuclear fuel, control rods, and structural metals from the reactor core). Geophysics Professor Shuzo Takemoto of Kyoto University says the quake would destroy unit #2 “making the Tokyo metropolitan area uninhabitable.” Takemoto also evokes the uneventful removal of used fuel bundles from F. Daiichi unit #4 to support his apocalyptic claim. Matsumoto and Takemoto have become Japan’s street-corner prophets of nuclear energy doom.  http://akiomatsumura.com/2017/02/the-potential-catastrophe-of-reactor-2-at-fukushima-daiichi.html

3 – Counter Current News (CCN) is a fringe news source that has gained a wide antinuclear audience with its conspiracy theories. Its March 9th posting of “Fukushima Has Now Contaminated 1/3 Of The Worlds Oceans” is fear-mongering at its worst. CCN assures its audience, “Though the [Fukushima] disaster’s many impacts have been suspiciously absent from mainstream media reports in the years since, the radiation pouring out of the plant’s damaged reactors have never stopped.” It further alleges that finding trace levels of Fukushima cesium ushers in “…a dangerous new era for residents and wildlife along the Pacific coastal region.” CCN assures us that drinking water and fish from the Pacific coast will leave behind the trace amounts of radioactive Cesium which will never leave our bodies, and bioaccumulate forever. Obviously, CCN has no clue as to human Biology and Chemistry, but that doesn’t stop the FUD from being posted. http://countercurrentnews.com/2017/03/officials-fukushima-has-now-contaminated-13-of-the-worlds-oceans/

4 - The Ecologist has become one of the most antinuclear websites on our planet. With respect to Fukushima Daiichi, The Ecologist wants everyone to believe that the nuke accident is on-going, there is a Fukushima child thyroid epidemic, and the site is swamped in radioactive wastewater and sludge that threatens the entire world. The report also warns its readers that the people that actually know what is going on are not to be trusted., "If Fukushima taught us one thing it is that people should not expect the government to protect them - nor will corporations be held responsible in time of nuclear disaster," and "...no independent party [is] allowed to verify the veracity of the given information." Deplorable! http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2988736/fukushima_catastrophe_unfolds_key_facts_and_figures_for_an_unhappy_sixth_anniversary.html

5 – Bringing up the rear (literally), we come to Global Research.com giving antinuke Helen Caldicott license to spout confabulated Fukushima 6th anniversary opinions based on wild speculation, twisted facts, and unabashed fabrications. The radio broadcast’s host opens by calling Fukushima “the greatest nuclear disaster of all time”, which is a gross exaggeration in-itself. No nuclear accident even remotely compares to Chernobyl.

Not to be outdone by the host, Caldicott immediately evokes the high radiation readings and images taken earlier this year inside the Primary Containment of unit #2. She says the high readings are but the tip of the iceberg because if the robot had gotten closer to the “molten nuclear core”, the radiation levels would have climbed even further. This is untrue because the highest reading was actually registered outside the robust steel-reinforced concrete pedestal supporting the reactor pressure vessel (RPV). The robot failed inside the pedestal where radiation levels were 25 times lower than the one localized reading outside in the PCV. She further conflates the situation by stating that the hole in the grating beneath the RPV was caused by entire “molten” core falling through the bottom of the RPV, through the concrete base-mat below, and “most certainly” into the earth. The “hole” near the outside of the pedestal’s walkway, not under the RPV’s bottom head where an actual melt-through would have made it. Plus, here verbal conjuring of the purely fanciful China syndrome is obvious.

In addition, Caldicott completely ignores the fact that the shoreline barriers built by Tepco has literally stopped the flow of contaminated groundwater into the sea. She says that the “highly radioactive” groundwater has always poured into the Pacific at a rate of “three-to-four hundred tons per day” and continues to do so. Further, neither Tokyo nor Tepco will ever find Fukushima’s nuclear cores, so it will continue to pollute the ocean forever. Her proof of all this is through “speaking with engineers” and “reading the literature”. However, she never says who these alleged engineers might be or what literature she refers to.

Then Caldicott asserts that all the radiation inside the unit #2 PCV has weakened the structure to the point that an earthquake of seven or more [Richter scale] would cause the building to collapse, break open the RPV, release all of the “molten” core into the environment, and make all of Japan uninhabitable! In the real world, there have been several aftershock quakes of seven or more over the past year alone, and unit #2 still stands. Her scenario is a bold-faced lie!

But, Caldicott doesn’t stop there. She says that the 7+ Richter scale quake would also collapse all of the water tanks, releasing toxic radioactive “elements” to the sea. She asserts that the cleanup system cannot remove all radioactive “elements”. She says the remaining “elements” would not only be biologically innocuous Tritium, which she calls “extremely toxic”, but also the other “elements” the removal system can’t touch. She says Tepco and from being cancelled!

Concerning the 2020 Olympics, Caldicott preaches,Do not go to Japan. Do not under any circumstances take your children to Japan, because you don’t know what you’re eating and where the food is sourced… And the Japanese are trying now to export their radioactive food to London and elsewhere. Taiwan has refused to receive it. But, it’s dangerous and it’s going to continue to be dangerous for the rest of time. It’s sad.

What’s sad is that Caldicott actually believes her apocalyptic delusions.

Because this fake news is surely held sacrosanct by countless thousands of Caldicott worshipers around the world, I have dubbed the Helen Caldicott broadcast on Global Research.com as this year’s “Worst of the Bunch”!! http://www.globalresearch.ca/fukushima-radiation-what-prospects-for-humanity/5578929

March 14, 2017

Fukushima 6-years-on: Part 2

Positive and negative Fukushima 6th anniversary articles

Every year, Fukushima accident anniversary articles flood the Japanese and international Press. In the past, nearly all focused on the dire and gloomy. This year, most of the reports were once again dedicated to the negative. However, some news outlets bucked the tide and took the positive approach. First, we will list the positive minority. Then, we will do the same with the negative majority.

The Positive

1 – Yomiuri Shimbun provided what is perhaps the most balanced 6th anniversary article of the bunch. . It says, “…the risk of radiation escaping…has decreased considerably”, and “…it can be considered that the initial response to the nuclear accident at the plant is almost complete,” plus “Presently, the internal temperature has fallen to almost the same level as the outside air temperature. It is hard to believe that a nuclear reaction will occur again.” It also reveals that the former 400 ton per day in-flow of groundwater to the basements of units #1 through #4 has dropped to about 100 tons/day. http://the-japan-news.com/news/article/0003562229

2 – The Yomiuri also reports that workers at F. Daiichi have faced slander and discrimination. Takeshi Tanigawa, professor at Juntendo University, says Tepco employees across Japan suffer public abuse, but the Fukushima employees and their contractors experience nearly four times more. http://www.the-japan-news.com/news/article/0003570479

3 – Canada’s Fukushima InFORM reports something we have not seen anywhere else. Tepco has capped the floor of the F. Daiichi port with two layers of material to keep radioactive sediment from contaminating the Pacific. We previously reported first layer inside the “quay” was completed in 2012. However, the second “top” layer covering the entire port was finished last year devoid of Press coverage. As a result, Cesium-134 in the port has dropped below Tepco’s minimum detectible level, and the Cs-137 varied between 480 & 3,100 Becquerels per ton of seawater, which is less than Canada’s drinking water limit for the isotopes. Outside the port, no cesium was detected. https://fukushimainform.ca/2017/03/07/fukushima-six-years-on/

4 – In their March 2017 update, Woods Hole Oceanographic says there is currently no evidence of the of radioactivity found inside unit #2 leaking into the Pacific Ocean. In addition, there is a very good breakdown of the miniscule levels of Fukushima Cesium suspected to have reached America’s Pacific coastline; all registering more than 500 times below drinking water standards.  Unfortunately, Woods Hole taints its otherwise positive article saying some contamination from F. Daiichi still seemed to be seeping into the sea. They need to read the Fukushima InFORM posting, linked above. http://ourradioactiveocean.org/results.html#

5 – Science Magazine reports that it is safe for some Fukushima residents to go home. A “new study” found that radioactive decay and weathering deserve more credit for reducing radiation levels than expensive decontamination efforts. The study was run in Date City by Makoto Miyazaki, Fukushima Medical University, and Ryugo Hayano, a University of Tokyo physicist. Date had more activity lost to decay and weathering than by decontamination, and there is no reason to think it is any different with the remaining evacuation locations.  http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/03/it-s-safe-return-fukushima-study-suggests  

6 – Popular mechanics reports that “People are moving back to Fukushima”! One town scheduled for repopulation on April 1st - Namie - has an outdoor exposure level of only .07 microsieverts per hour, “…putting it in line with areas in Japan unaffected by the disaster.” The article includes that most Namie evacuees will not go home and hunting wild boars is a new local job. http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/infrastructure/a25649/fukushima-clean-up/  

Accentuating the Negative – Japanese Press

1 – The openly antinuclear Asahi Shimbun posted roughly a dozen “Six Years After” articles since March 3rd. The negative topics include: allegedly depressing conditions facing evacuees returning home, evacuee children being bullied, the loneliness of a Tepco housing unit in Okuma, radioactive boars, and that some evacuees feel it will be 20 years before repopulated communities will return to normalcy. The Asahi lists the individual article links here - http://www.asahi.com/ajw/japan/0311disaster/

2 - It should be noted that the Asahi’s 6th Anniversary report of March 13th on the buildup of nuclear waste at F. Daiichi station, contains a misleading statement. It says, “About 400 tons of water pass through the reactors every day, including groundwater that seeps in.” First, some groundwater still seeps in, but it goes directly into the four basements, and not through the reactor. Secondly, the current total of cooling water to the Reactor Pressure Vessels of units 1,2,&3 is 266 tons per day. The Asahi link is here - http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/SDI201703131091.html - and the Tepco link for the actual cooling water flow here - http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/press/corp-com/release/betu17_e/images/170217e0101.pdf

3 – Until this year, the Mainichi Shimbun was a bastion of Fukushima negativity. However, we have only found one negative anniversary report this year. It focuses on the large volume of mildly radioactive soil that has accumulated in Fukushima Prefecture, and the fact that only 20% of the Okuma/Futaba temporary storage site has been acquired by Tokyo. In the very last paragraph, it adds that 320,000m3 remains in seven other prefectures. http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20170309/p2a/00m/0na/019000c   

4 – Jiji Press contributed to the negativity with at least three articles. One reports that work to decommission F. Daiichi is not going smoothly and the ultimate cost of the project will probably be more than the current 8 trillion yen estimate. http://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2017031000877. Another says that presently only 20% of the pre-3/11/11 companies from the old “no-go zone” have resumed business. The stated reason is that only about 15% of those now free to repopulate have actually done it, causing to a labor shortage. http://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2017030900796 Finally, the Jiji posts a human interest story of a Futaba evacuee family that has permanently moved to Niigata Prefecture, in the City of Kashiwazaki; home community to the world’s largest nuclear power station, owned by Tepco!  http://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2017030800881

5 – Japan Today reports on Fukushima Mothers that are performing their own independent radiation testing because they don’t trust the Fukushima or Tokyo government reports. https://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/fukushima-mothers-measure-radiation-levels-in-food-water-and-soil?utm_campaign=jt_newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_source=jt_newsletter_2017-03-11_A

6 – The Japan Times chimes in with a lengthy diatribe headlined Home holds little appeal for Namie evacuees. It states, “…the issue of rural depopulation is more serious than ever and probably nowhere is this problem more acute than in the area around the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.” It includes numerous instances of inflammatory speculation such as, “The government is wasting huge amounts of money decontaminating areas for habitation when no one wants to move back”. Another states, “If you have any doubts that the central government may have been lacking in competency or transparency in its handling of the 3/11 nuclear crisis, do not watch their clumsy Orwellian video ‘Fukushima Today — For a Bright Future.’” On the brighter side, there is a very good color-coded map of the areas to have their living restrictions lifted April 1st. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/03/11/national/social-issues/namie-one-step-forward-steps-back/#.WMb5wdK7odU

Accentuating the negative; the international Press

Outside Japan, the majority of the sixth anniversary reports have been little more than restatements of what can be found by scanning Japan’s popular Press articles. Many are merely cut-and-paste jobs with appropriate citations. But three largely original postings bear mention here…

1- ABC news headlines Doctors: Radiation not biggest impact on Fukushima health. Despite the seemingly positive head, the article focuses on the entirely hypothetical Fukushima child thyroid cancer epidemic, cleverly provoking doubt about Fukushima Medical University which says the increasing number of positive tests is a matter of over-diagnosis. http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory/doctors-radiation-biggest-impact-fukushima-health-46018866  

2 – The New York Times, Asia Pacific edition, posts a photo-laden article of a deserted wasteland inside the Fukushima evacuation zone. It ominously speculates that the towns of Okuma and Futaba “…may never be reoccupied.” It also shows carefully-selected images of abandoned areas in soon-to-be-reopened Tomioka and Namie. The article states that with so few people ready to return, “…it makes little sense for many commercial operations to restart.” The posting ends with a photo of a Namie graveyard…a clear attempt to make the region seem like a death trap for those who repopulate. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/10/world/asia/fukushima-daiichi-nuclear-disaster-towns.html?_r=1

3 – The NY Times also reports on a recent tour of the Fukushima Daiichi station by two Times photo journalists. The images entirely focus on the protective gear they wore for the differing locations they visited, and nothing else. The journalists appeal to the reader’s feeling of dread by making an ominous statement about being inside the ground-level used fuel storage facility. The SFP was described as “dark and spookily quiet”! What did they expect… the audio system playing “The End” by the Doors?    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/13/insider/a-reporting-teams-nuclear-stress-test-hazmat-suits-face-masks-and-9-flights-of-stairs.html?_r=1
 
(Note: “Fukushima 6-years-on: Part 3”, will be posted later this week, and look at the morally criminal internet postings “celebrating” the sixth anniversary. A few days later, we will review the numerous Japanese articles on the sixth anniversary of the REAL disaster caused by the earthquake and tsunami of 3/11/11.)

March 12 2017

Fukushima 6-years-on: Part 1

Japan’s Press subverts Fukushima repopulation

In the six years since the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami, Japan’s popular Press has effectively disrupted the efforts of Tokyo Electric Power Company and the Tokyo government to return the Fukushima evacuation zone to some semblance of normalcy. By April 1st, 70% of the 2011 “no-go” zone will have been re-opened for repopulating, but only about 15% of the original population has exploited the opportunity. Every step of the way, the Press has accentuated the negative and done its best to eliminate the positive when it comes to the situation with Fukushima’s Tokyo-mandated and voluntary evacuees. With all the broadcast doom and gloom, it’s no wonder repopulation has taken way, way too long, and only a small fraction of the evacuees who are allowed to go home have actually done it.
Japan’s popular Press never forgets to remind their audience that there are “experts” who say repopulation is hasty, and radiation levels are too high for absolute safety. Reporters seek out the most radiophobic evacuees, broadcast their radiophobic fears, and make it seem as if all 80,000 Tokyo-mandated refugees have the same level of mortal angst. Almost every article says most, if not all refugees shun going home over concerns of radiation exposures that have never been conclusively proven to hurt anyone; as if it is OK to cower in fear of the radioactive bogeyman! Further, uncertainty and doubt are evoked by speculating that the land area which will remain off-limits “may never be inhabitable” (example from Japan Today; March 9th); the very same assumption that for many years was continually applied to the locations to be re-opened on April 1st. Clearly, the main body of Japan’s Press does not want evacuees to return home, doing its best to maintain a ready-made source of heart-rending articles.
It must be said that Japan’s largely antinuclear Press occasionally stashes something positive deep in an article steeped in the “don’t go home” agenda. For example, a recent report in the highly-popular Asahi Shimbun headline - Poll: At least 20 years to regain lifestyle, half of Fukushima says. (http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201703030048.html) In it we find, “When asked about the timing of lifting the evacuation order [on April 1st], the most popular answer, from 40 percent, was that it was an appropriate decision. However, 19 percent said it was ‘too soon,’ while 22 percent said the order ‘should not be lifted in the first place.’ Nine percent said it was ‘too late.’  
What?
Nearly 50% of the respondents believe the current removal of evacuation orders is either “appropriate” or “too late”. Only 41% said repopulation was not appropriate. For first time, a decidedly antinuclear news outlet reveals that the “yeas” outnumber the “nays” with respect to allowing people to repopulate! Why have other popular news outlets overlooked, or otherwise ignored this little nugget? Almost all others, save one (below), continue to trumpet the “inappropriate” and “too soon” conceptions, seemingly to convince evacuees that they should not repopulate.
Only one news outlet has continually told the whole story with full objectivity; Fukushima Minpo. Minpo is only circulated in Fukushima Prefecture, so its actual range of impact is minimal. Over the past six years, this reporter has not seen a Minpo report posted anywhere outside Fukushima Prefecture. Some of Minpo’s nuke accident reports are gloomy, too be sure. Not everything is peaches and cream. But many articles, if not most, show that the evacuation zone is not a death-ridden, Chernobyl-like no-mans-land! Most of the evacuees are far from miserable, and living rather comfortably in their new locations thanks to the obscene amounts of money ceded to them in compensation (>$9,000 per month to every man, woman and child evacuee). While not a panacea by any stretch of the imagination, it’s not hell-on-earth either!
It should be pointed out that Minpo has no cross to bear, and is in no way connected to Tepco or the Japanese government. While a subsidiary of sorts to Kyodo News, Minpo does its best to maintain the highest degree of independence from its parent publication. In the best of all possible news worlds, Minpo’s articles would be broadcast across the globe. Why is this not happening? That’s a question not easily answered.
As I prepared to post this Op/Ed piece, I scanned today’s Japanese news outlets (as I always do) and found a new Minpo posting of considerable significance. It says that 58% of all Naraha evacuees plan on permanent repopulation! Most of the municipality was ordered to evacuate by Tokyo in 2011 because it is located within a 20km radius of F. Daiichi. However, almost all of the town’s 7,000 residents fled regardless of physical location. The town’s evacuation order was fully lifted last year, but only a small fraction of the former residents have repopulated. Now we know why. Fukushima Prefecture polled the 1,958 households in free housing and found that 665 households, or 57.9% of the 1,149 families who responded will return home, but only after their free housing ends in March, 2018! This poses the obvious question – how many evacuees other former no-go zone have also not exploited the opportunity because they are getting free housing? How many will return when the subsidy expires next year? http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=796
Here’s a list of other Minpo reports concerning Fukushima evacuees over the past half-year, which all other news outlets have shunned like the plague…

…and that’s just in the last six months!

News outlets, other than Minpo, should be taken to task for only reporting the articles of gloom, and eschewing stories that might run counter to the “don’t go home” agenda. What is the Japanese and international popular press afraid of? The truth?

February 20, 2017

 348thCarn

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