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The United States knows that peaceful power from atomic energy is no dream of the future. ..To hasten the day when fear of the atom will begin to disappear from the minds of people, and the governments of the East and West, there are certain steps that can be taken now.

President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s address before the General Assembly of the United Nations on Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy, New York City, 1953

The island nation of Japan is ranked third in the world in terms of the number of functioning nuclear reactors on its territory.

Why would the one country to experience the destructive potential of nuclear power in wartime, the culture that gave the world ‘Godzilla,’ and has endured the meltdowns of three reactors in 2011 continue to embrace nuclear power?

As part of the Global Research News Hour’s commemoration of the sixth anniversary of the Fukushima Daichii nuclear catastrophe, we focus on the historical and political context of the disaster.

First up, we hear from Professor Peter Kuznick about the early years after the War. He explains the role of Japan in America’s postwar geostrategy, and comments on the public relations campaign that convinced the population of the Asian country to stop worrying and love nuclear power.

Later, Canadian nuclear expert Gordon Edwards returns to the program to comment on Canada’s connections with the Japanese nuclear industry and on how the Fukushima disaster should have informed Canadian nuclear policy and regulations.

Finally, we hear from celebrated Kyoto-based anti-nuclear activist Aileen Mioko Smith about the evolution of the anti-nuclear movement within Japan.

We also hear from a short video produced by Fairewinds Energy Education (fairewinds.org) outlining the fallacy of nuclear power as a strategy for fighting climate change.

LISTEN TO THE SHOW

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n 2011, with foresight and scientific analysis Dr. Helen Caldicott focussed on the implications of the Fukushima disaster at a Press Conference in Montreal organized by Global Research. The 2011 GRTV video presentation featuring Dr. Caldicott tells us the truth. This is the most devastating catastrophe in human history.  And six years ago Helen Caldicott analyzed in detail the significance of this tragic event. (M. Ch)

Dr Helen Caldicott, explains recent robot photos taken of Fukushima’s Daiichi nuclear reactors: radiation levels have not peaked, but have continued to spill toxic waste into the Pacific Ocean — but it’s only now the damage has been photographed. 

Recent reporting of a huge radiation measurement at Unit 2 in the Fukushima Daichi reactor complex does not signify that there is a peak in radiation in the reactor building. All that it indicates is that, for the first time, the Japanese have been able to measure the intense radiation given off by the molten fuel, as each previous attempt has led to failure because the radiation is so intense the robotic parts were functionally destroyed.

Satellite image shows damage at Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant (via ecowatch.com).

The radiation measurement was 530 sieverts, or 53,000 rems (Roentgen Equivalent for Man). The dose at which half an exposed population would die is 250 to 500 rems, so this is a massive measurement. It is quite likely had the robot been able to penetrate deeper into the inner cavern containing the molten corium, the measurement would have been much greater. These facts illustrate why it will be almost impossible to “decommission” units 1, 2 and 3 as no human could ever be exposed to such extreme radiation. This fact means that Fukushima Daichi will remain a diabolical blot upon Japan and the world for the rest of time, sitting as it does on active earthquake zones.

MORE HERE

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| 23 Aug 2016 | Customs authorities in Qingdao, East China’s Shandong Province, detained 14 people for smuggling frozen seafood from Japan, including irradiated high-end seafood from waters near Fukushima prefecture, China Central Television (CCTV) reported on Monday. The group has smuggled over 5,000 tons of frozen seafood – including shrimp and king crab – valued at $34.5 million – into China over the past two years, according to an announcement by the Qingdao Customs District (QCD) posted on its official website on Monday. Some of the high-end products were from Fukushima, one of 12 Japanese prefectures from which China has banned any seafood imports due to the contamination of their waters after the Fukushima nuclear accident in 2011, according to CCTV.

14 arrested for smuggling Fukushima-irradiated seafood in Shandong

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‘The Fukushima clean-up team remains in the dark about the exact locations of 600 tons of melted radioactive fuel from three devastated nuclear reactors, the chief of decommissioning told the ABC’s Foreign Correspondent program in an exclusive interview.

The company hopes to locate and start removing the missing fuel from 2021, the Tokyo Electric Power Company’s (TEPCO) chief of decommissioning at Fukushima, Naohiro Masuda, revealed.

The fuel extraction technology is yet to be elaborated upon, he added.’

Read more: 600 tons of melted radioactive Fukushima fuel still not found, clean-up chief reveals

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Last week TEPCO admitted that the frozen wall would not fully contain groundwater flowing through the plant. Original estimates of groundwater flowing through the plant were about 600 tons per day. The frozen wall will allow 50 tons per day to flow through the reactor block area. While this is a significant reduction, it isn’t water tight. This is the first time this has been disclosed to the public.

Some reasons why it may not be water tight include small cable ducting tunnels, similar pipes that run through the area or where roads lead in and out of the reactor block area. Installing pipes in these road areas would be problematic. Even creating small bridging structures would be difficult as most of the vehicle traffic is heavy equipment. This photo below shows the frozen wall pipes installed before the connecting system is installed. This shows why freezing actively used road sections could be problematic. TEPCO has not specifically addressed this issue to confirm the status of road sections related to the frozen wall.

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Water tanks crowding the Fukushima Daichi nuclear plant site

Here’s the problem in a nutshell—or rather a thimbleful—facing the Japanese government and Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

There are over 1,100 large steel tanks brimming with filtered water—except for a low contaminant called tritium—clogging both the plant and an expanding area outside the site.

The water is a mix of tons of groundwater flowing into the plant’s basements and tons of contaminated water that have become radiated after draining down there through the three damaged reactors the water was injected into to keep the melted uranium cores cool. This lethal liquid mix is pumped out the basements and decontaminated before it overflows and seeps into the sea; some of it is recycled back as coolant into the reactors while the rest is pumped into the storage tanks.

This process continues hour after hour, day after day, year after year: a cunningly worthy punishment of the gods for the latter-day Sisyphus, TEPCO. Consequently, every week or two a new tank-full of treated water is added to the forest of steel now covering the area like giant alien mushrooms. The total amount of stored water exceeds 800,000 cubic tons and is inexorably heading for one million tons and more without an end in site.

The cost is enormous, and picking up the tab is the Japanese taxpayer—not TEPCO, which is undergoing a ten-year reconstruction since a government bail out saved it from bankruptcy.

So the million-ton-plus dilemma for the government has boiled down to three options: keep on with the endless and expensive tank building and filling; find a way to remove the tritium from the water; or have TEPCO discharge (dump) the water into the ocean.

The latter option is by far the easiest and least expensive method, except that the water is tritiated: that is the water has become radioactive.

Without context, that’s a scary word, until you remember that sunbathing and eating bananas are pleasant radioactive pastimes. The point being that the energy tritium gives off is so low as to be unmeasurable with a dosimeter. And the particles (not rays) tritium expels can be stopped by plastic wrap—as Shunichi Tanaka, head of Japan’s Nuclear Regulatory Authority, told the press recently.

That’s a fact, but it’s not the point, say environmentalist foes of the dumping method. Ingesting tritium is a concern for health they argue. And they have experts to back up such concerns, though they are mostly theoretical. Meanwhile, there are experts on the other side of the debate pooh-poohing such worries and asking to see some solid proof to back up the theory.

Conclusion: Those supportive of nuclear power tend to minimize the health risks of tritium, while those opposing the use of nuclear power tend to exaggerate its risks.

What is not debatable is the negative psychological impact releasing the water into the sea will have on Japan’s nervous neighbors, the suffering people of the northeast, the region’s fishing industry and the Japanese electorate.

Given such concerns and uncertainties, organizations like Greenpeace urge the government to err on the side of caution. The best option, says Greenpeace, is to continue storing the water while exploring all technical options for tritium separation.

On the face of it, that seems reasonable. But then experts opposing this stance, like Lake Barrett, a nuclear industry consultant advising TEPCO, point out that while it may be possible to create a method of separating the tritium, it hasn’t been found yet, despite much effort; and it would likely cost a couple of billion dollars to develop and perfect in any case. It’s no surprise that TEPCO and the government have reached the same conclusion.

“All that money could be better spent on schools, hospitals,” Barrett told me. “And you can’t go on building tanks forever.”

Besides, he adds, “The very low levels of tritium in the stored water are not a meaningful health risk. After verification that the radioactivity levels are within conservative Japanese health risks, I would not hesitate to drink it, bathe in it, or eat fish or shellfish harvested from it.”

Now there’s an idea. If the government is to discharge the tritiated water into the ocean without turning a large portion of the electorate against it, it needs to persuade a majority of citizens that it is safe within reason to do so. This will require a number of carefully thought out steps.

The government will have to clearly explain the pros and cons of its action and the reason for its decision; it must establish a mechanism to compensate the fisherman for the shortfall they will undergo following the release; an international panel of independent, knowledgeable people, including environmentalists of the non-hysterical variety, is required to verify the tritiated water does indeed fall well below internationally accepted standards for release; and the panel members must be granted access to monitor the process at any time they wish.

Then for the coup de grâce, Prime Minister Abe, his cabinet members along with TEPCO executives should visit Fukushima Daiichi, and while standing in front of one the giant tanks each drink a glass of the tritiated water. This won’t sway everyone, of course, but it would give the government the minimum moral authority required to make such a contentious decision.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jboyd/2016/05/01/how-can-japan-can-settle-the-fukushima-daiichi-tritium-issue-drink-it/#250de9662739

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| 20 April 2016 | Japan was plunged into fresh panic today as a 6.1 magnitude tremor hit the northern coast – the third major earthquake within a week. The tremors struck near the northern island on Honshu around 60 miles southeast on Sendai. To the dismay of rattled survivors, the latest quake happened close to the site of the Fukushima nuclear disaster – which saw 15,000 killed in March 2011.

Japan faces fresh earthquake panic as 6.1 magnitude tremor hits coast near Fukushima nuclear plant

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Five years after the Fukushima nuclear accident, local residents are reporting a marked increase in serious birth defects, but due to an ongoing coverup by Japanese authorities, and a severe lack of scientific studies being performed, very little information on the subject is reaching the public.

A February, 2016 broadcast on LaborNet TV featured interviews with evacuees from the affected areas near the Daiichi nuclear plant, who provided firsthand accounts of babies being born with extra limbs caused by a structural birth defect called polymelia.

The interviewees also reported a large number of stillbirths, as well as numerous abortions performed due to “inconvenient pregnancies” – in other words, pregnancies in which birth defects were detected prenatally, causing doctors to recommend abortion procedures.’

Read more: Parent’s worst nightmare: Wave of babies born in Japan with extra arms and legs due to Fukushima radiation… Stillbirth numbers on the rise 

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Beprepared.com (Homepage)

“”””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””

The melt down of three nuclear reactors at Fukushima in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami of 11th March 2011 seems to have quietly slipped out of our collective awareness – as quietly as the cauldrons of radioactive elements that were once within the active cores of the reactors invisibly bleed into the groundwaters and seawaters of the region. This event has become yet another minor detail in the distorted mosaic of ruin that mirrors the latter days of a civilisation in free-fall.

Arnie Gundersen is looking a little weathered these days. He has just returned from a five-week long speaking tour of Japan. He spent much of that time in the company of many whose lives have been indelibly seared by the Fukushima catastrophe. What he reports is unlikely to appear in the mainstream media, but such has ever been the case when it comes to the hidden machinations of big government and big business.’

Read more: The Slow Bleed: Fukushima Radiation Five Years On

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| 12 April 2016 | The radioactive material, tritium, is nearly impossible to remove from the huge quantities of water used to cool melted-down reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, which was wrecked in March 2011. The water is still accumulating since 300 tons are needed every day to keep the reactors chilled. Some is leaking into the ocean. Huge tanks lined up around the plant, at last count 1,000 of them, each hold hundreds of tons of water that have been cleansed of radioactive cesium and strontium but not of tritium…Calls to simply release the [radioactive] water into the Pacific Ocean are alarming many in Japan and elsewhere.

Japan prepares for release of radioactive material from Fukushima nuclear plant

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uclear engineer Arnie Gundersen on Fukushima@5, Mar 7, 2016 (emphasis added): Massive amounts of radiation continue to enter Japan’s water and air, and the Pacific Ocean, daily… Due to its triple meltdowns and the unmitigable radioactive releases, Fukushima Daiichi will continue to bleed radiation into the Pacific Ocean for more than a century… There is no road map to follow with directions to stop the ongoing debacle…

Nuclear engineer Arnie Gundersen on KPFA, Mar 30, 2016: [Univ. of California] Berkeley’s nuclear program has been in the forefront of the pro-nuclear propaganda for decades, and since Fukushima has been aggressively downplaying the significance of it. So, whatever comes out of Berkeley, I just attribute to a very pro-nuclear faculty… [Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is] measuring 1,000 miles offshore [of the US West Coast] and… picking up 10 becquerels per cubic meter [Bq/m3]. At my point, that’s when my alarm bells go off is 10 [Bq/m3]… That plume is still coming, the Pacific is a huge place and to think that a disaster on the opposite side of the world can be detected and begin to contaminate California, I think that the monumental shattering conclusion [is] radiation knows no borders… So this ‘dilution is the solution to pollution’ is what I think Berkeley believes in. What you can be sure of is that somebody’s going to die from the radiation that’s in the Pacific, but you just won’t know who it is – and they’re counting on that. The nuclear establishment is saying, ‘Well, we can smear that out in a broader epidemiological study.’

Nuclear engineer Arnie Gundersen on CCTV, Apr 5, 2016: We’re looking at newspaper coverage from the last couple of weeks and it’s clear that the plant continues to hemorrhage.

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 The Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS) is seen in September, 2012. (Photo courtesy of Tokyo Electric Power Co.)

With about five years having passed since the start of the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant disaster, nuclear workers still lack a method of treating the around 1,000 tanks of contaminated water stored on site, and the start of work to remove melted nuclear fuel from the plant remains at least five years away.

“Until the contaminated water issue is solved, decommissioning of the reactors remains far off. We have to stop the water,” says Tetsuo Ito, professor of nuclear energy safety engineering at the Kinki University Atomic Energy Research Institute. Akira Ono, chief of the Fukushima plant, says, “We’re still at step one” of the decommissioning process, which is estimated to take until 2041 to 2051.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), the plant’s owner, is treating the contaminated water with its Advanced Liquid Processing System (ALPS), which can remove 62 varieties of radioactive material. However, ALPS cannot remove radioactive tritium, and because of this the treated water is stored in tanks. Tritium is extremely difficult to separate from water, because even if one of the hydrogen atoms in a water molecule is replaced by tritium, the chemical properties such as the boiling point barely change.

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Fukushima: Tokyo was on the brink of nuclear catastrophe; prime minister considered declaring martial law

| 04 March 2016 | Japan’s prime minister at the time of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami has revealed that the country came within a “paper-thin margin” of a nuclear disaster requiring the evacuation of 50 million people. In an interview with The Telegraph to mark the fifth anniversary of the tragedy, Naoto Kan described the panic and disarray at the highest levels of the Japanese government as it fought to control multiple meltdowns at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station. He said he considered evacuating the capital, Tokyo, along with all other areas within 160 miles of the plant, and declaring martial law. “The future existence of Japan as a whole was at stake,” he said.

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This month the media and social networks are busy remembering Fukushima on the fifth anniversary of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdown, but what we are really observing is the beginning of the work of forgetting Fukushima. Fukushima is taking its place alongside the many forgotten nuclear disasters of the last 70 years. Like Mayak and Santa Susana, soon all that will be left of the Fukushima nuclear disaster are the radionuclides that will cycle through the ecosystem for millennia. In that sense we are internalizing Fukushima into our body unconsciousness.

Forgetting begins with lies. In Fukushima the lies began with TEPCO (the owner of the power plants) denying that there were any meltdowns when they knew there were three. They knew they had at least one full meltdown by the end of the first day, less than 12 hours after the site was struck by a powerful earthquake knocking out the electrical power.

TEPCO continued to tell this lie for three months, even after hundreds of thousands of people had been forced to or voluntarily evacuated. Just last week TEPCO admitted that it was aware of the meltdowns much earlier, or to put it bluntly, it continued to hide the fact that it had been lying for five years.’

Read more: ‘Commemorating’ the Fifth Anniversary: ‘Forgetting Fukushima’ Begins with Lies and Coverup

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‘The Japanese were kept in the dark from the start of the Fukushima disaster about high radiation levels and their dangers to health, writes Linda Pentz Gunter. In order to proclaim the Fukushima area ‘safe’, the Government increased exposure limits to twenty times the international norm. Soon, many Fukushima refugees will be forced to return home to endure damaging levels of radiation.

Once you enter a radiation controlled area, you aren’t supposed to drink water, let alone eat anything. The idea that somebody is living in a place like that is unimaginable.’

Read more: No bliss in this ignorance: the great Fukushima nuclear cover-up

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