Tag: ice wall

Fukushima update: spring 2017

please scroll down for Japanese translation:

It is now 6 years since the triple meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan, and the Japanese authorities and nuclear industry are still manoeuvring to minimise the effects and marginalise the affected. The work of forgetting Fukushima goes on. Starting with denying for the first three months that they had even had a meltdown, let alone three, lying to the citizens who were trying to get out of the way of the plume, and now continuing with the cruel claim that it is the fear of radiation, the “phobia”, rather than exposure to the radioactivity released during the meltdowns that causes the damage. We watched on our TVs as the plants exploded, but now a few years have slid by and most have moved on, drawn away by other disasters. Meanwhile the radioactivity continues to contaminate the soil, air, water, food and bodies of the Japanese, triggering not just cancers but also strokes and a whole host of other radiogenic illnesses.

The well-respected Physicians for Social Responsibility[1] reported that at least 10,000 cases of cancer will occur in Japan as a result of the meltdown, and laments that the full impact of Fukushima may never be known. This is due to Japan’s failure to immediately and fully track radiation exposures, as well as a “disturbing” lack of testing of the general population for radiation-related health effects such as stroke, cardiovascular disease, endocrine disease, miscarriage, foetal malformations, leukaemia, lymphomas and solid tumours.

Apart from the immediate cancer effects, 130,000 people have had their lives and communities shattered by the evacuations necessitated by the disaster. The village of Katsurao is a good example. Evacuated for five years, the chicken-or-egg nightmare continues even when the former residents want to return to their village. The town’s two factories, which made camera parts, are long gone, set up elsewhere, so there is no work to return to. 50%, yes – one half – of the agricultural land around the village is now stacked 5 metres high with black plastic bags full of radioactive waste from the clean-up and decontamination. So there’s little work in the fields either. Many don’t want to buy produce from there anyway. All the couples with children have gone, so the school closed. They won’t return as there is no school and with no kids the school won’t return.

Moreover, most parents don’t want to bring their kids back to a still-contaminated area, as kids are especially sensitive to radiation, as their cells are dividing more rapidly as they grow. Some older people have returned, saying ‘I want to die in the village where I grew up’. But younger people have found jobs, made friends and grown new ‘roots’, in the areas where they’ve been living for the last five years, so they don’t want to return. So the village is permanently damaged. Less people – less resources like hospitals and shops. Less hospitals and shops – less attractive to return to. It can take hundreds of years for a village or town to evolve; you can’t just remove and scatter its people for five years and then expect it to return to how it was. 10 million 1 square metre black bags of waste now blight the landscape of Fukushima province.

Cost estimates for the catastrophe – cleanup, compensation and decommissioning – have recently doubled, to $190 billion.

The uncertainty about ionising radiation is doing enormous damage, as people cotton on to the lack of honesty from a government firmly in the pocket of the nuclear industry aka the ‘nuclear village’. The worldwide limit for exposure for a citizen to ionising radiation from a nuclear power plant is one millisievert a year. The Japanese government just raised this to twenty millisieverts a year, setting this as the limit up to which land would be declared habitable. Therefore housing subsidies, enabling 6,531 voluntarily evacuated households to live elswehere, will be terminated in March 2017[2].  Yet a worker was just declared eligible for compensation as his leukaemia had been caused by his work in the nuclear industry, mostly at Fukushima, with a total, cumulative dose of 19.8 millisieverts. 19.8 can cause leukaemia, yet 20 a year, every year, for citizens is acceptable. Outrageous.

The ice wall seems to be only partly working; the NRA said it isn’t sufficiently preventing the groundwater from entering the site, where it becomes contaminated. Indeed, the ice wall will only last a few years anyway, until the groundwater erodes the land around it. So Tepco have been told to rely on pumping up the groundwater, and double the number of water storage tanks, rather than rely on the ice wall. The new problem is that Tepco have moved from having 4 cubes (the reactor buildings) full of deadly water to having a much larger ‘bathtub’, containing the 4 cubes, now also full of deadly water. Any future crack in the ice wall, or the rock under it, will mean that this much larger mass of contaminated water will move out into the environment. They say that the lack of water current through the basements means the ‘bathtub’ water won’t be poisoned; but anyone knows that if you drop a few teabags into a still bath the whole bath will be tea-coloured within a few days. It’s called diffusion. The authorities floated the idea of just covering the Fukushima Daiichi site with concrete and leaving it, but public outrage soon made them withdraw that idea.

The Niida river in Minimasoma has been found to have 29,500 Bq/kg of radioactive contamination concentrated in its sediment. To compare, anything with radiation levels above 100 Bq/kg used to be considered to be hazardous nuclear waste. Since the Fukushima meltdowns, this has been raised to 8,000 Bq/kg.

5,000 tons of Fukushima fish and crab was smuggled out to China via Vietnam, relabelled, and sold on. That’s one we know of because they were caught. How many others?

Radioactive Caesium from Fukushima has now crossed the Pacific ocean to reach the shores of Oregon, according to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution[3].

All this downplaying of the damage done, just to continue with the nuclear industry, when wind and solar are now so much cheaper, and utterly safe[4]. Shame.


[2]www.the-japan-news.com/news/article/0003439790 [3]www.ijpr.org/post/tests-find-lingering-radiation- japan-our-shores#stream/0

[4]www.cleantechnica.com/2016/12/25/cost-of-solar- power-vs-cost-of-wind-power-coal-nuclear-natural-gas/

we also recommend: http://www.fukuleaks.org/web/

Leaflet by Kick Nuclear: http://www.kicknuclear.com

福島 最新情報 2017年春


「Physicians for Social Responsibility(社会的責任を果たす医師団、PSR)」 の報告書[1]によると、福島の原発事故が原因のがん患者は少なくとも1万人に達する見通しです。しかしPSRは、残念ながらこうした被害の全容が明らかにされることは決してないだろうと嘆いています。その理由は、日本政府が即座に全力で放射線被害を食い止めることを怠ったうえ、放射能の影響で引き起こされかねない心臓発作、心血管・内分泌(ホルモン)疾患、流産、胎児奇形、白血病、リンパ腫、腫瘍について全人口を対象に調べていないことにあります。








[1] www.psr.org/resources/fukushima-report-2016.htm

[2] www.the-japan-news.com/news/article/003439790

[3] www.ijpr.org/post/tests-find-lingering-radiation-japan-our-shores#stream/0

[4] www.cleantechnica.com/2016/12/25/cost-of-solar-power-vs-cost-of-wind-power-coal-nuclear-natural-gas

こちらの閲覧もお勧めします: http://www.fukuleaks.org/web





Fukushima Update, summer 2016

Fukushima Update Summer 2016

Five years after the triple meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan, 400 tonnes a day of radioactive water continues to pour into the Pacific Ocean. There are now over 30 million 1-tonne, 1m3 black plastic bags containing radioactive debris from the ‘cleanup’, piling up along the coast, in fields, around blocks of flats, along the edge of school grounds. These bags were designed to last a maximum of 5 years but there is still no permanent home for them – and there won’t be until at least 2020.

Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant was built on an ancient riverbed. For the last five years, water coming from the hills behind the site has poured down this old riverbed, passing through the multiple cracks and holes in the basements of the reactor buildings, where it mixes with the escaped nuclear fuel, becoming radioactive before flowing on into the Pacific Ocean. About 400 tonnes a day. In order to stop this flow, site owners Tepco (Tokyo Electric Power Company) have attempted to surround the plant with an ‘ice wall’. Brine, cooled to -30 degrees C, passes through pipes set into the ground, freezing the soil around them. One problem with this is that the ice wall only goes down 30 metres. Any cracks, fissures or porosity in the bedrock beneath it will provide a route for the deadly contamination to find its way into the ocean – for centuries. Another problem is the risk of thawing should there be an interruption to the electricity required to freeze and maintain the ice wall – also for centuries. A third problem is that now the size of the pool of lethal water has been increased, from inside the building basements to the much larger area within the ice wall as well. In the event of an earthquake fracturing the ice wall or the bedrock beneath the site, this pool will escape. Also the newly waterlogged ground within the ice wall could cause the reactor buildings to subside. Tepco recently admitted that the ice wall will let through 50 tonnes of contaminated water a day anyway. Better than 400, but still a permanent ecological catastrophe.

Meanwhile, the 800,000 tonnes of poisoned water in tanks on the site remains a problem. Tepco claim to be filtering the worst radionuclides out through the ALPS filter process. This produces a thick, highly radioactive sludge which still needs to be stored. And the remaining water still contains tritium – radioactive hydrogen – which cannot be safely removed [1]. Tepco want to dump this in the Pacific, claiming that it will be diluted and therefore not a problem. However they are finding it hard to convince local people, including fishermen, that this is a good idea.

Last year Tepco finished removing the used nuclear fuel from reactor 4. But there are still tonnes of used nuclear fuel in large, swimming pool-like ‘spent fuel pools’ on top of reactor buildings 1, 2 and 3. These are harder to work on due to the massive levels of radioactivity in the buildings. Should another earthquake collapse the buildings or crack and drain the pools, the exposed fuel would catch fire and release massive amounts of radioactivity, causing a global catastrophe.

Tepco have begun preparations to empty spent fuel pool 3, which involves a new floor, 6 metres above the roof, with a 75 tonne crane, and 22 cameras so that workers can operate all this remotely. We’ll just have to wait and see how this turns out, again hoping nothing goes wrong.

Why are Tepco stopping work at Fukushima Daiichi for 2 days during the 42nd G7 summit? The venue is 700km away in Mie prefecture. Does work at Fukushima pose a risk to the bigwig delegates? If so, does it not also pose a risk to the citizens of Japan during the other 363 days of the year?

During the recent multiple earthquakes on the island of Kyushu, the Abe administration ordered NHK, the Japanese equivalent to the BBC, to only repeat government statements and consult no external experts. Not wanting anything to get in the way of restarting the other nuclear power plants?

Back in 2012, Prime Minister Noda established a policy to phase out nuclear power by 2030. Giving the impression that it represented the official views of the US, Washington DC-based think tank Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) was among those who strongly objected and when Shinzo Abe became PM in December 2012 he overturned the nuclear phase-out policy. In 2014 CSIS revealed that it had received at least $500,000 from Japan – one of its top three donors. Other CSIS donors from this time include a number of Japanese and US nuclear industry companies … [2] [3]

But perhaps the main feature of this 5th year of the catastrophe is the process of forgetting Fukushima. Having denied that there had even been a meltdown for the first two months, when they knew at the end of the first day they had one meltdown, and knew within three days that they had three meltdowns, Tepco and the Japanese government now insist that it is the evacuations and the fear of radiation that cause stress and death, not the radiation itself. Is it better that the population remain in place, quietly absorbing radiation, and concentrate on remaining cheerful and optimistic? Many of the 100,000 evacuees are to have their compensation cut off and are being told it’s safe to return to areas that have up to 20 milliSieverts a year (mSv/yr) of radiation. Yet in Chernobyl areas with 1-5mSv/yr were ‘areas with relocation rights’, while areas over 5mSv could not be lived in or even farmed. Under the Japanese Atomic Energy Basic Law, the maximum annual exposure limit for the public used to be set at 1 mSv. But people are now being forced to accept a revised threshold 20 times greater.

The word ‘radiophobia’ is being used to describe the Japanese peoples’ fear of radiation. As if fear were the problem and not the huge amounts of dangerous radioactivity initially released, and the chronic internal exposure to low-level radiation via the ingestion of contaminated food and water and the inhalation of radioactive dust. People whose kids run a high temperature, have nosebleeds, develop a cancer, are told that their worry about radiation is irrational. All so that the other nuclear power plants can be restarted, so that money can be made and ‘restoration’ can proceed, in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics? This is, perhaps, the greatest crime to emerge from this tragedy.


[2] www.fukuleaks.org/web/?p=15416

[3] http://carnegieendowment.org/2015/09/29/wagging-plutonium-dog-japanese-domestic-politics-and-its-international-security-implications-pub-61425

Produced by Kick Nuclear, London

previous Fukushima Updates can be found here

福島 最新情報 2016年夏












日本では「放射線恐怖症」という言葉が使われています。危険な放射性物質が大量に放出され、汚染された食品や水の摂取、放射性埃の吸気被曝で低線量の内部被曝を慢性的に強いられながら、あたかも恐れを抱くことが問題であるかのような表現です。子どもたちが熱や鼻血を出し、がんを発症しているのに、被曝を心配するのが非合理的だと言われるのです。他の原発を再稼働するために、経済的な利益を得るために、「復興」が進むために、そして 2020年の東京オリンピックに間に合うために?このことはおそらく、原発事故の悲劇から生ずる犯罪のうちで最大なものでしょう。

[1] http://www.ianfairlie.org/news/fukushima-evaporating-tank-contents-is-not-thesolution/

[2] http://www.fukuleaks.org/web/?p=15416

[3] http://www.carnegieendowment.org/2015/09/29/wagging-plutonium-dog-japanesedomestic-politics-and-its-international-security-implications/ii96

文責:キック ニ・ ュークリアー http://www.kicknuclear.com