— “Completely safe”? No independent food inspection for domestic consumption as Japan grapples with serving Fukushima food at Olympics

“Generally, Japanese citizens have faith in the government, and we haven’t felt the need to have checks carried out by independent parties,” said [Kenji] Kusano, [director of the Fukushima Agricultural Technology Centre, in Koriyama, the government’s main screening site]….

The Tokyo 2020 organisers said promoting areas affected by the 2011 disaster remains a key goal.

“Supporting the area’s reconstruction efforts through the sourcing of its food and beverage products is one of our basic strategies; we are therefore seriously considering doing this..” 2020 spokesman Masa Takaya told AFP.

From Agence France-Presse

20 November 2019

For years, Japan’s government has sought to convince consumers that food from Fukushima is safe despite the nuclear disaster. But will it serve the region’s produce at the Tokyo Olympics?

It’s a thorny subject for the authorities. They pitched the Games in part as a chance to showcase the recovery of areas affected by the 2011 tsunami and nuclear disaster.

Government officials tout strict checks on food from the region as evidence that the produce is completely safe, but it remains unclear whether athletes and sports teams from around the world will be convinced.

Continue reading

— During Typhoon Hagibis, at least 14 levees broke in Fukushima Prefecture

Posted on Fukushima 311 Watchdogs:

safe_image.php.jpg

Photo Credit.
October 16, 2019
From Fairewinds:
News outlets worldwide are reporting that at least 66 residents of Japan have died as a result of Typhoon Hagibis. Our hearts reach out to the people of Japan and the families of the deceased.
The news coverage from Reuters caught our attention due to its research that Fukushima Prefecture was apparently the region hardest hit by the typhoon. According to the Reuters story entitled: Rescuers slog through mud as Japan typhoon death toll rises to 66:
“The highest toll was in Fukushima prefecture north of Tokyo, where levees burst in at least 14 places along the Abukuma River, which meanders through a number of cities in the largely agricultural prefecture. At least 25 people died in Fukushima, including a mother and child who were caught in flood waters, NHK said…. Residents in Koriyama, one of Fukushima’s larger cities, said they were taken by surprise by the flooding. Police were searching house-to-house to make sure nobody had been left behind or was in need of help.
“The river has never flooded like this before, and some houses have been completely swept away. I think it might be time to redraw hazard maps or reconsider evacuation plans,” said Masaharu Ishizawa, a 26-year-old high school teacher …”
Fukushima prefecture is very mountainous and largely remote. The radioactive fallout, which spread throughout Japan after the three Fukushima nuclear meltdowns in 2011, is impossible to clean up in these inaccessible mountainous areas that lie throughout Fukushima Prefecture. Even in populous Tokyo, more than one-year after the meltdowns, Fairewinds’ research identified randomly selected Soil Samples Would Be Considered Nuclear Waste in the US, which we discussed in the video on Fairewinds’ website.
It is our belief from our ongoing research that the ensuing flooding induced by Typhoon Hagibis is moving significant amounts of radiation from high in the mountains down to cities, towns, and farmland in Japan. Our analysis on several radiation sampling trips to the prefecture proves that there are huge amounts of residual radiation that were previously trapped in the soil.
Now, due to the heavy rain, subsequent river flooding, and burst levees (dams) this radioactive soil is moving and being pushed from the mountains down into more populous areas where people live and crops are grown. Once again it appears that government authorities and rescue organizations are ignoring this new, long-term threat, or have not been apprised by the JAEA (Japan Atomic Energy Agency) and nuclear power industry of the monumental health risks involved.
See also:

https://dunrenard.wordpress.com/2019/10/20/at-least-14-levees-broke-in-fukushima-prefecture/comment-page-1/#comment-18405

— Tokyo 2020: The radioactive Olympics

From Nuclear-Free Olympic Games 2020

In 2020, Japan is inviting athletes from around the world to take part in the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games. We are hoping for the games to be fair and peaceful. At the same time, we are worried about plans to host baseball and softball competitions in Fukushima City, just 50 km away from the ruins of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant. It was here, in 2011, that multiple nuclear meltdowns took place, spreading radioactivity across Japan and the Pacific Ocean – a catastrophe comparable only to the nuclear meltdown of Chernobyl.

The ecological and social consequences of this catastrophe can be seen everywhere in the country: whole families uprooted from their ancestral homes, deserted evacuation zones, hundreds of thousands of bags of irradiated soil dumped all over the country, contaminated forests, rivers and lakes. Normality has not returned to Japan. The reactors continue to be a radiation hazard as further catastrophes could occur at any time. Every day adds more radioactive contamination to the ocean, air and soil. Enormous amounts of radioactive waste are stored on the premises of the power plant in the open air. Should there be another earthquake, these would pose a grave danger to the population and the environment. The nuclear catastrophe continues today. On the occasion of the Olympic Games 2020, we are planning an international campaign. We are concerned about the health effects of the ongoing radioactive contamination in the region, especially for people more vulnerable to radiation, such as children and pregnant women.

Continue reading

— More “unusual mortality events”; seabirds and marine life are starving; “the exact cause eludes scientists”

From Audubon
by Kristine Liao
October 11, 2019

The first reports came in May. They were sparse, but enough to put seabird-monitoring coordinator Hillary Burgess on edge. “Here we go again,” she thought. By late June, almost every time she checked her inbox, yet more news of washed-up seabirds on the Alaskan coast greeted her.

Volunteers had collected nearly 9,200 seabird carcasses by early September—and those are just the bodies found washed ashore. Kathy Kuletz, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service wildlife biologist, estimates the total number of deaths may reach in the hundreds of thousands.

Historically, mass seabird die-offs have been occasional events in Alaska, but for the past five years, they have occurred annually. This year, as the carcasses continued to pile up, a few new trends became clear: The die-offs were more geographically widespread and lasted for a longer period compared to previous years, and they largely targeted Short-tailed Shearwaters, although dead puffins, murres, and auklets—the main victims in recent years— have also been found.

There’s a lot of concern out there,” says Burgess, who works for the Coastal Observation and Seabird Survey Team (COASST), a community-science project that tracks populations and deaths. “People aren’t used to encountering hundreds of dead birds on a beach that they walk on regularly.” 

Continue reading

— Greenpeace reports on government’s “failing program in Fukushima”– On the Frontline of the Fukushima Nuclear Accident

From Greenpeace

PDF

On the Frontline of the Fukushima Nuclear Accident:
Workers and Children
Radiation risks and human rights violations

March 2019 

“…so long as the Japanese government remains committed to its failing program in Fukushima, it will continue to come under domestic and international criticism. Eight years after the start of the nuclear disaster, thousands of evacuees are continuing their legal challenges against both TEPCO and the government.  These include the judgement of the Tokyo District Court on the criminal prosecution of three TEPCO executives due in 2019 and the newly initiated lawsuit by residents of Namie.

The Japanese government is defying United Nations human rights specialists who have challenged the policy of lifting evacuation orders and exposing citizens, particularly women and children, to unsafe radiation levels. At the same time, nuclear workers in Fukushima are continuing to suffer from varied forms of exploitation, including low pay, lack of comprehensive access to medical services, and the abuse of their right to not be exposed to hazardous radiation.

The Greenpeace survey results highlight the scale of the ongoing nuclear crisis in the most contaminated areas of Fukushima, and why the United Nations human rights experts are fully justified in expressing their urgent concerns.”

This reports contains 9 recommendations to the Japanese government and concludes:

The results of our investigations add further to the
urgency for the Abe government to halt its current
program of lifting evacuation orders, to comply
with its domestic and international human rights
obligations and to initiate a comprehensive and
publicly accountable review of current policy.

— South Korea nuclear regulator wants information on radioactive Fukushima water release

From Reuters

By Jane Chang

20 November 2019

SEOUL (Reuters) – Japan’s reluctance to disclose information about the release of radioactive water from its damaged Fukushima nuclear plant is hampering neighboring countries’ efforts to minimize the impact, the head of South Korea’s nuclear safety agency said on Wednesday.

Since the 2011 earthquake and tsunami caused a meltdown at some of the reactors the Fukushima plant, owner Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) has been storing radioactive water in tanks at the site from the cooling pipes used to keep the fuel cores from melting. The utility will run out of space for the water in 2022.

Japan has not yet decided how to deal with the contaminated water, but its environment minister said in September that radioactive water would have to be released from the site into the Pacific Ocean.

“We have been raising Japan’s radioactive water issue to the international community to minimize the impact … but as Japan hasn’t disclosed any specific plan and process we would need more details to run simulations and study,” Uhm Jae-sik, chairman of the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission, told Reuters.

In addition to the Fukushima crisis, safety concerns about nuclear energy have increased in South Korea following a 2012 scandal over the supply of faulty reactors parts with forged documents, prompting a series of shutdowns of nuclear reactors.

South Korea, the world’s fifth-largest user of nuclear power, targets a long-term phase out of atomic power to allay public concerns.

“Regardless of the government’s energy policy change, our primary goal is ensuring the safety of nuclear power,” Uhm said.

South Korea operates 25 nuclear reactors, which generate about a third of the country’s total electricity. Of the 25 reactors, 10 are offline for maintenance, according to the website of Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-southkorea-nuclear/south-korea-nuclear-regulator-wants-information-on-radioactive-fukushima-water-release-idUSKBN1XU0N8

Posted under Fair Use Rules

— Gripping new film “Wackersdorf” on successful German protest of nuke reprocessing plant; screens April 11, Washington DC (VIDEO)

April 11, 2019, 6:30 pm
Goethe-Institut
Washington DC

From by Beyond Nuclear

TRAILER
<iframe src=”https://player.vimeo.com/video/297683916&#8243; width=”640″ height=”360″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>

Click on cc to get English subtitles.

In a season when we remember the nuclear disasters at Fukushima, Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, we can also celebrate a hard-won anti-nuclear victory. Beyond Nuclear is honored to be co-hosting a screening of a new feature film, Wackersdorf, the true story of a politician in Southern Germany who at first welcomed the prospect of a nuclear reprocessing plant in his community, then changed his mind and helped lead the protests which contributed to its cancelation.

The screening will take place at the Goethe-Institut in Washington, DC on April 11 at 6:30pm. The film, a drama in German with English subtitles, will be followed by a discussion with the film’s director, Oliver Haffner, moderated by Paul Gunter of Beyond Nuclear. The event is free and open to the public. Register here.

Watch the trailer (click on CC at right to choose English subtitles.)

And please contact Beyond Nuclear if you are interested in screening the film.

http://www.BeyondNuclear.org