— Petition: Help Kyoto fight the dangerous Ohi plant restart.

From Green Action, Japan

Sign the petition here.

Kyoto, the ancient capital of Japan, is cherished worldwide for its countless World Heritage sites and cultural treasures. Kyoto also shares a northern border with Fukui prefecture, the location of the highest concentration of nuclear power plants in the world. This is particularly alarming since the Japanese archipelago is riddled with earthquake faults and volcanoes.

Citizens from nations around the world can support Kyoto’s Governor and Mayor’s efforts to protect Kyoto. Let us stand with them to prevent another Fukushima disaster!

We are deeply concerned that the Japanese national government wants everything “back to normal” by the 2020 Olympics: Fukushima accident evacuees back to the Fukushima region, nuclear power plants restarted–everything back to pre-Fukushima days.

After the Fukushima accident, the world saw unprecedented citizen protest against the restart of nuclear power in Japan. Particularly prominent was the protest against the Ohi nuclear power plant in Fukui. The Ohi plant is less than 60 kilometers (37 miles) from the city center of Kyoto. It is deeply concerning that the plant is slated to restart in March 2018. An Ohi restart will threaten millions of Kyoto residents and Lake Biwa, the largest lake in Japan from which 14 million people receive their drinking water. A serious accident could have devastating effects on Kyoto’s world-famous cultural treasures and World Heritage sites.

The Governor and Mayor of Kyoto have petitioned the national government for the right to say yes/no to restart, to have control over Kyoto’s fate. Their plea has been answered with silence. The Japanese government must respond promptly and positively to assure Kyoto has the right to protect itself. This petition will enable the governor and mayor to show they have worldwide support.

Help Kyoto fight Ohi restart! 
Please see English language video:
https://youtu.be/di1BqYaOl8I

Sign the petition here.

From Nuclear Information and Resource Service
http://www.nirs.org
February 23, 2018

Our friends at Green Action in Japan need our help! The governor of Japan’s Fukui Province approved the restart of two reactors at the Ohi nuclear plant near Kyoto, only a few hundred miles from the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

This took place in the face of much public opposition, and we are supporting the activists of Kyoto as they fight to keep the reactors off line.

On February 16th, Kyoto citizens and others from the surrounding region went to Kyoto City to urge legislators to oppose Ohi nuclear power plant restart.

Sign their petition–international signatures really help!

And please spread the word!

Thanks for all you do!

Tim Judson
Executive Director

 

Advertisements

— ‘Global consequences’ of lethal radiation leak at Fukushima; TEPCO botches recent measurement inside reactor; “insane” levels detected last year, exceed Chernobyl

From Sputnik News

February 4, 2018

Lethal levels of radiation have been observed inside Japan’s damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant. And they are arguably way higher than you suspect.

According to Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco), radiation levels of eight Sieverts per hour (Sv/h) have been discovered within the Fukushima nuclear power plant, which was destroyed after a massive earthquake and a tsunami in March 2011.

Japanese Regulator Advocates Releasing Toxic Water Into Sea at Fukushima

Tepco, the company that operated the plant and is now tasked with decommissioning it, reported the discovery after making observations in a reactor containment vessel last month.

Eight Sv/h of radiation, if absorbed at once, mean certain death, even with quick treatment. One Sv/h is likely to cause sickness and 5.5 Sv/h will result in a high chance of developing cancer.

While 8 Sv/h is deadly, outside of Fukushima’s Reactor Number 2 foundations of a much higher level of 42 Sv/h was detected.

A strange occurrence, and experts are still arguing what caused the discrepancy. One possible explanation is that cooling water washed radioactive material off debris, taking it somewhere else.

But here’s a truly terrifying catch: according to the report, Tepco highly doubts the new readings, because, as was discovered later, a cover was not removed from the robot-mounted measurement device at the time of the inspection, NHK World reports.

Exactly one year ago, Sputnik reported that Tepco engineers discovered absolutely insane levels of radiation of about 530 Sv/h within the reactor. Such levels of radiation would kill a human within seconds. By comparison, the Chernobyl reactor reads 34 Sv/h radiation level, enough to kill a human after 20 minutes of exposure.

Japan Begins Disposal of Radioactive Waste From Fukushima Disaster

The levels of radiation within Fukushima reactor number 2 were so high that Tepco’s toughest robot, designed to withstand 1000 Sv/h of radiation, had to be pulled out, as it started glitching due to high radiation levels. Nuclear experts called the radiation levels “unimaginable” at the time.

On November 2017, the New York Times and other news outlets reported a much smaller figure of 70 Sv/h of radiation, more or less on par with a 74 Sv/h reading gathered before an anomalous 530 Sv/h spike.

While that radiation dosimeter cover negligence prevents precise calculations, the actual picture inside Unit 2 is thought to be much worse.

Japanese state broadcaster NHK World quoted experts saying that if the cleaning of the stricken power plant is not properly addressed, it will result in major leak of radioactivity with “global” consequences.

Richard Black, director of the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit, says that while the readings are not reliable, they still “demonstrate that, seven years after the disaster, cleaning up the Fukushima site remains a massive challenge — and one that we’re going to be reading about for decades, never mind years.”

Mycle Schneider, independent energy consultant and lead author of the World Nuclear Industry Status Report, criticized Tepco, saying the power company has “no clue” what it is doing.

“I find it symptomatic of the past seven years, in that they don’t know what they’re doing, Tepco, these energy companies, haven’t a clue what they’re doing, so to me it’s been going wrong from the beginning. It’s a disaster of unseen proportions.”

In observing the poor maintenance of plant radiation leaks, Schneider also pointed out that the company stores nuclear waste at the site in an inappropriate way.

“This is an area of the planet that gets hit by tornadoes and all kinds of heavy weather patterns, which is a problem. When you have waste stored above ground in inappropriate ways, it can get washed out and you can get contamination all over the place.”

https://sputniknews.com/environment/201802041061337934-global-consequences-fukushima-leak/

Posted under Fair Use Rules.

— Lethal radiation outside Fukushima reactor foundations- 42 sieverts/hour; expert says contaminated water going into ocean would cause global disaster, TEPCO “hasn’t a clue what it’s doing”

“It needs to be clear that this problem is not gone, this is not just a local problem. It’s a very major thing.” — Mycle Schneider

From ENE News:

February 6, 2018

The Independent, Feb 2, 2018 (emphasis added): Fukushima nuclear disaster: Lethal levels of radiation detected in leak… Expert warns of ‘global’ consequences unless the plant is treated properly… [Tepco] found eight sieverts per hour of radiation, while 42 [sieverts] were also detected outside its foundations… It came as Tepco said the problem of contaminated water pooled around the plants three reactors that is seeping into the ground has caused a major headache in its efforts to decommission the plant… Mycle Schneider, an independent energy consultant and lead author of the World Nuclear Industry Status Report, said that Tepco “hasn’t a clue what it is doing” in its job to decommission the plant. He added that the contaminated water that is leaking at the site could end up in the ocean if the ongoing treatment project fails and cause a “global” disaster, he told The Independent… “I find it symptomatic of the past seven years, in that they don’t know what they’re doing, Tepco, these energy companies haven’t a clue what they’re doing, so to me it’s been going wrong from the beginning. It’s a disaster of unseen proportions.” Mr Schneider added that the radiation leaks coupled with the waste from the plant stored in an “inappropriate” way in tanks could have global consequences… “This can get problematic anytime, if it contaminates the ocean there is no local contamination, the ocean is global, so anything that goes into the ocean goes to everyone.” He added: “It needs to be clear that this problem is not gone, this is not just a local problem. It’s a very major thing.”

NHK, Feb 1, 2018: High radiation detected at Fukushima plant… A remote-controlled inspection of the Unit 2 reactor containment vessel last month detected a maximum of 8 sieverts per hour of radiation… [Tepco] said the radiation reading was taken near what appeared to be fuel debris, the term used to describe a mixture of molten fuel and broken interior parts… radiation levels remain so high that they present a major challenge to decommissioning work. During the probe, 42 sieverts per hour of radiation was also detected outside the foundations of the reactor. But officials said they have doubts about the accuracy of the reading because a cover had not been removed from the measuring instrument at the time. They added that they don’t know why radiation levels were lower near the suspected fuel debris than around the foundations. They gave a number of possible reasons, such as that cooling water may have washed radioactive materials off the debris…

RT, Feb 2, 2018: An inspection of the Fukushima nuclear plant has detected extremely highamounts of radiation, says operator TEPCO… Experts can’t explain why radiation levels in fuel debris were lower than outside the reactor’s foundations

Sputnik, Feb 4, 2018: ‘Global Consequences’ of Lethal Radiation Leak at Destroyed Japan Nuclear Plant… While 8 Sv/h is deadly, outside of Fukushima’s Reactor Number 2 foundations… a much higher level of 42 Sv/h was detected. A strange occurrence, and experts are still arguing what caused the discrepancy. One possible explanation is that cooling water washed radioactive material off debris, taking it somewhere else. But here’s a truly terrifying catch: according to the report, Tepco highly doubts the new readings, because, as was discovered later, a cover was not removed from the robot-mounted measurement device at the time of the inspection, NHK World reports… While that radiation dosimeter cover negligence prevents precise calculations, the actual picture inside Unit 2 is thought to be much worse

Watch NHK’s broadcast here

— “Yum!” In publicity stunt, Boris Johnson gulps down Fukushima peach juice, as EU prepares to ease import restrictions on food

“intended to prove that food and drink from Fukushima is safe, seven years after…”

From the Independent, UK

By Lydia Smith
December 15, 2017

Boris Johnson gulps down can of peach juice from Fukushima
Boris Johnson has been filmed drinking a can of peach juice from Fukushima, the Japanese region hit by nuclear disaster after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

The video, tweeted by his Japanese counterpart Taro Kono, shows the Foreign Secretary chugging the can at the Foreign Office in London this week.

“Very good… Mmm,” he said, before studying the can, a gift from Mr Kono.

The moment was intended to prove that food and drink from Fukushima is safe, seven years after the meltdown at the Daiichi nuclear energy plant — the most serious nuclear incident since the 1988 Chernobyl disaster.

More than 50 countries imposed import bans on regional produce following the accident, around half of which remain in place, including restriction from the U.S. and China.

Earlier this month, the EU said it would ease import restrictions on agricultural items and seafood from the region.

Research published last year showed the radiation released by the disaster may have lingering effects on fish — but that the risk posed to human beings through consumption, in part thanks to strong regulation, is minimal.

The study, published in the journal PNAS, shows that freshwater fish and ocean bottom dwellers near Fukushima have a higher risk of contamination with the radioactive chemical caesium than most other types of the ocean fish in the same area.

The risk diminishes the further away the fish are from the city’s nuclear facilities — and the research showed there was a relatively low risk of  people in Japan consuming contaminated fish. ..

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/boris-johnson-fukushima-peach-juice-japan-taro-kono-london-a8112546.html

Posted under Fair Use Rules.

Research referred to is here: http://www.pnas.org/content/113/14/3838

Two authors are employed by a Japanese federal agency, and the study was partially funded by  Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), CREST.

— Up to 95% loss of kelp forests along Northern California coast

The author only gives two reasons for this loss

a ‘perfect storm’ = above average water temperature and an increase in sea urchin populations

From Monterey Herald
February 2, 2018

By Ross Clark, Earth Matters

The abundance of kelp along the California coast fluctuates, declining annually with winter storms. Since 2015, however, we have seen a “perfect storm” during which kelp abundance has declined by as much as 95 percent along the Northern California coastline. Above average water temperature and an increase in sea urchin populations have greatly reduced bull kelp abundance. The loss of this annual alga has had significant effects on other marine species, many of which rely on these forests for shelter and food.

One species that has been greatly affected by the loss of kelp is the red abalone. This mollusk relies heavily on fragments of drift kelp for food, reaching out from its rocky hiding place to grab passing pieces with its sticky foot muscle. Without drift kelp, the abalone must vacate its hiding place in search of other algae. Dr. Rogers-Bennett with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who studies kelp forest condition, notes that the impacts to the abalone became noticeable in 2016 after a year with low kelp abundance. Divers reported abalone mortality of almost 40 percent, finding large numbers of shells within the rocks and on beaches.

A diver team of 56 researchers, visiting 11 locations along the Sonoma and Mendocino coastline in 2017, reported a 65 percent reduction in abalone density compared with populations from a decade before. The abalone that were found showed clear signs of starvation, including loss of muscle mass and exhibiting risky behaviors in their search for algal food. Research divers found that where there once were dense layers of algae now were only bare rock and urchins. Abalone were found climbing out on the few remaining algal stalks reaching for blades of food, abandoning their usual cryptic cautious ways.

Based on the 2017 survey findings, the State determined that the Northern California abalone population was in jeopardy and on Dec. 7 the state closed the fishery for a year. An alarming finding from the dive surveys was a lack of abalone at deeper depths. Usually, about one third of the abalone live in deeper waters out of reach of most divers, but with the decline in kelp, the abalone had moved to shallow unprotected waters in search of food. This relocation and the decline in numbers and vigor have left the remaining abalone population exposed and vulnerable.

The closure has of course been detrimental to north coast businesses. A Fish and Wildlife report estimated that the north coast abalone fishery brings in $50 million in additional economic value to the area annually. With the closure, local businesses faced with reductions in visitors are hoping that the abalone divers switch to fishing other species.

Hopefully a closure of the abalone fishery will help reduce further stress on the population. Researchers point out that the animals that have so far survived are some of the largest of the species, and are needed to rebuild populations when the kelp returns. It takes about 12 years for an abalone to grow to legal size.

When and if kelp returns is uncertain. Urchin barrens often remain for a many years. Winter storms can dislodge exposed urchins and many will starve without sufficient algae in a few years. The ecological transition from kelp forest to urchin barrens and back to kelp forest has been studied in the past but barrens have not been reported at this geographic scale. Regional reductions in urchin numbers and successful recruitment of bull kelp (from distant parents) will be needed before kelp may return to previous abundance, when once again abalone may hide in crevices and wait for their meal to drift by.

Ross Clark is the director of the Central Coast Wetlands Group at Moss Landing Marine Labs. He’s also a member of the county Commission on the Environment and the Monterey Bay Sanctuary Research Activity Panel. Contact him at features(at)santacruzsentinel.com

http://www.montereyherald.com/environment-and-nature/20180201/earth-matters-the-loss-of-our-kelp-forests

Posted under Fair Use Rules.