— Ecologist: Fukushima catastrophe unfolds … key facts and figures for an unhappy sixth anniversary

From the Ecologist

L’ACROnique de Fukushima & Hervé Courtois
10th March 2017

IAEA technicians examine Unit 4 of TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station, the only one of four reactors to be stabilised - because it was defuelled at the time of the earthquake and tsunami. Photo: IAEA Imagebank via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

IAEA technicians examine Unit 4 of TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station, the only one of four reactors to be stabilised – because it was defuelled at the time of the earthquake and tsunami. Photo: IAEA Imagebank via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

The 2011 Fukushima catastrophe is an ongoing disaster whose end only gets more remote as time passes. The government is desperate to get evacuees back into their homes for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but the problems on the ground, and in the breached reactor vessels, are only getting more serious and costly, as unbelievable volumes of radiation contaminate land, air and ocean.

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.

Six years after the catastrophe at Fukushima, the situation is still far from being resolved, still ongoing.

Three reactor core meltdowns still releasing radioactive nanoparticles into the open skies, contaminated water is still leaking continuously into the Pacific ocean, and partially decontaminated water is being dumped into the ocean.

All available information and figures are controlled by Tepco and the Japanese government, with no independent party allowed to verify the veracity of the given information.

A massive public relations campaign of disinformation and denial is under way, to brainwash the Japanese population and the whole world that everything is now under control and OK. Systematic denial of the radiation risks for the people’s health is the rule, economics being the Japanese government priority, not public health protection.

Evacuated persons are coerced to return to live with high radiation in their previously evacuated townships so that Japan may seem safe, clean and beautiful to welcome the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

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.

This article that follows is based on officially released data by Tepco and the Japanese government. All the figures and claims should therefore be taken with a pinch of salt. Always bear in mind that the officially released information does not really teach us the essential truths about the still ongoing catastrophe, and about its victims getting more abandoned than ever.

As we approach the sixth anniversary of the disaster, here are some key figures as they appear in the media and official sites.

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— South Korea’s Jeju Air drops Fukushima charters over continued radiation contamination

From Ch-Aviation

March 6, 2017

Jeju Air (7C, Jeju) has dropped plans to operate Seoul IncheonFukushima, Japan, charter flights this month following crew concerns over continued radiation contamination in the Japanese coastal city.

In 2011, the outer housings of two of the six reactors at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Okuma exploded following damage from the 2011 9.1 Tohoku earthquake and the ensuing tsunami it triggered. The explosions caused a partial meltdown and fires at three of the facility’s other units. Over 150,000 inhabitants were forced to evacuate after plumes of radioactivity were released across the Fukushima region and Japan itself.

As such, a Jeju Air spokesman told the Kyodo news agency last week that in light of the crews’ concerns, the charter flights will be switched to Sendai, located 110 kilometres away. Inbound service is scheduled for March 18 with the outbound slated for March 20.

At present Fukushima airport is served by ANA – All Nippon Airways (NH, Tokyo Haneda), its ANA Wings (EH, Sapporo Chitose) unit, and Ibex Airlines (FW, Sendai) (operating as ANA Connection). Destinations served include Sapporo Chitose and Osaka Itami.

http://www.ch-aviation.com/portal/news/53850-jeju-air-scrubs-fukushima-charters-over-radiation-fears

— Professor links die-offs on U.S. West Coast to Fukushima; “Nobody has any idea what to do”

Includes information posted on ENE News, February 28, 2017

Cornell University forum, March 11, 2016
Five years after Fukushima: What have we learned from nuclear accidents?

Charles Perrow, Yale University professor emeritus and Stanford University visiting professor, published Apr 2016 (emphasis added):

Could I just make an observation that’s been missing from this interesting discussion? Fukushima accident is not over – not by any means… The cancer rate in Japan is going to rise steadily. It’s going to be denied by the government because there’s no transparency on this issue in Japan. There’s a particular example of the problem that intrigues me is when they put the plant in, they not only dug it out so it’d be closer to the water source – the sea – but they put it where there was a river flowing underneath that area. They went up the hill and they diverted the river so that it flowed down on the sides of the large area there and that was no problem. They never anticipated an earthquake could wreck their diversion. So know we have a strong underground river flowing directly under the plant where three huge globs of molten fuel are sitting on the bottom, giving off radiation, and sending that radiation into the water through the river that’s underneath the plant. And it’s going out into the ocean and we’re seeing damage in the marine life in the West Coast of the U.S. and British Columbia. There’s no way that’s going to be stopped, until they get the molten cores out of there, and they have no way — that they know of — of doing that. Nobody has any idea what to do about the continuing Fukushima contamination.

Watch Perrow’s comments on Fukushima here (at 1:34:30 in)

Professor Sonja Schmid at 1:39:16

The question of nuclear becomes a question of democracy and ultimately a question of justice. Who gets to say something? And whether we entrust these decisions to governments and technocrats, or how, if we decide to do so, we democratize the process. And it’s challenging no matter how you plan to go forward, but I think that’s the ultimate lesson of this, that we can no longer have technocrats, scientists and engineers in charge defining “the real risk” and then solving it, and the rest of the population just watches and has no impact whatsoever on these questions or how they are being addressed.”

Charles Perrow’s paper “Nuclear Denial”,published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists in 2013

http://cisac.fsi.stanford.edu/sites/default/files/Bulletin_of_the_Atomic_Scientists-2013-Perrow-56-67.pdf

Sonja Schmid is a professor at Virgina Tech. From her bio: “Sonja Schmid teaches courses in social studies of technology, science and technology policy, socio-cultural studies of risk, energy policy, and nuclear nonproliferation. She is particularly interested in examining the interface of national energy policies, technological choices, and nonproliferation concerns. “

http://enenews.com/yale-professor-links-die-offs-on-us-west-coast-with-fukushima-nobody-has-any-idea-what-to-do-about-the-continuing-contamination-river-flowing-under-plant-with-molten-fuel-on-the-bottom-a

— Helen Caldicott: The Fukushima nuclear meltdown continues unabated

Global Research, February 14, 2017
Independent Australia 13 February 2017

Global Research Editor’s Note

In 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.

Robot image of Fukushima Daiichi Unit 2 reactor (Source: tepco.co.jp)

What the photos taken by the robot did reveal was that some of the structural supports of Unit 2 have been damaged. It is also true that all four buildings were structurally damaged by the original earthquake some five years ago and by the subsequent hydrogen explosions so, should there be an earthquake greater than seven on the Richter scale, it is very possible that one or more of these structures could collapse, leading to a massive release of radiation as the building fell on the molten core beneath. But units 1, 2 and 3 also contain cooling pools with very radioactive fuel rods — numbering 392 in Unit 1, 615 in Unit 2, and 566 in Unit 3; if an earthquake were to breach a pool, the gamma rays would be so intense that the site would have to be permanently evacuated.

The fuel from Unit 4 and its cooling pool has been removed. But there is more to fear. The reactor complex was built adjacent to a mountain range and millions of gallons of water emanate from the mountains daily beneath the reactor complex, causing some of the earth below the reactor buildings to partially liquefy. As the water flows beneath the damaged reactors, it immerses the three molten cores and becomes extremely radioactive as it continues its journey into the adjacent Pacific Ocean.

Six years later, radiation levels at Fukushima are so high not even a robot can survive inside http://buff.ly/2lzNesd 

Every day since the accident began, 300 to 400 tons of water has poured into the Pacific where numerous isotopes – including cesium 137, 134, strontium 90, tritium, plutonium, americium and up to 100 more – enter the ocean and bio-concentrate by orders of magnitude at each step of the food chain — algae, crustaceans, little fish, big fish then us. Fish swim thousands of miles and tuna, salmon and other species found on the American west coast now contain some of these radioactive elements, which are tasteless, odourless and invisible. Entering the human body by ingestion they concentrate in various organs, irradiating adjacent cells for many years.

The cancer cycle is initiated by a single mutation in a single regulatory gene in a single cell and the incubation time for cancer is any time from 2 to 90 years.

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— Lanceurs d’alerte à Minamisōma

Blog : Fukushima 福島第一

11 novembre 2016

J’ai pris connaissance il y a quelques jours d’une carte qui m’a tout de suite interpellé. Elle affiche des mesures de la radioactivité à la fois précises et inquiétantes. Ne connaissant pas le japonais, j’ai demandé à Kurumi Sugita, présidente de l’association Nos voisins lointains 3.11, de me traduire le texte.

 

Elle a tout de suite accepté et m’a expliqué de quoi il s’agissait : « Le Projet de mesure de la radioactivité environnementale autour de la centrale nucléaire de Fukushima Daiichi (Fukuichi shûhen kankyôhôshasen monitoring project) est mené par une équipe de bénévoles relativement âgés (qui sont moins radiosensibles que les jeunes) pour réaliser des mesures de radioactivité avec un maillage serré de 75 x 100 m pour la radioactivité dans l’air et 375 x 500 m pour la contamination du sol. Les mesures de radioactivité ambiante et du sol sont réalisées principalement dans la ville de Minamisōma et aux alentours. Ils essaient de réaliser des mesures détaillées afin de montrer aux habitants les conditions réelles de leur vie, et également d’accumuler des données en vue de l’analyse des dommages sanitaires et environnementaux qui peuvent se montrer à long terme. »

 

Grâce à la traduction de Kurumi et avec l’accord de M. Ozawa, auteur du document, j’ai pu réaliser une version française de cette carte que vous trouverez ci-dessous.

Carte de l’équipe de M. Ozawa (traduction Kurumi Sugita)

Carte de l’équipe de M. Ozawa (traduction Kurumi Sugita)

Dans le cadre de la normalisation des territoires contaminés en zones habitables, l’ordre d’évacuation de l’arrondissement d’Odaka de la ville de Minamisōma a été levé le 12 juillet 2016, excepté la zone qui longe Namie (hameau d’Ohatake où habite un seul ménage) classée comme zone de “retour difficile”.

Situation de la zone étudiée

Situation de la zone étudiée

La carte de contamination examine les secteurs de Kanaya et Kawabusa de l’arrondissement d’Odaka, à une quinzaine de kilomètres de l’ex-centrale de Fukushima Daiichi. M. Ozawa, l’ingénieur qui a lancé cette enquête, a choisi la précision des mesures, c’est-à-dire qu’il s’emploie à mesurer la radioactivité avec des radiamètres à scintillation de laboratoire : Hitachi Aloka TCS172B, Hitachi Aloka TGS146B et Canberra NaI Scintillation Detector.

 

L’originalité de sa carte tient autant à la qualité de réalisation qu’à l’abondance de renseignements : on peut y lire, pour chacun des 36 prélèvements effectués, des mesures en Bq/m², en Bq/kg, en µSv/h à trois hauteurs différentes du sol (1 m, 50 cm, 1 cm) et en cpm (coups par minute) à la hauteur de 1 cm. Pour qui connaît un peu la radioactivité, ce sont des informations très précieuses. Habituellement, les mesures sont données en l’une ou l’autre unité, mais jamais simultanément avec 4 unités. Les organismes officiels devraient prendre exemple sur cette manière de travailler.

 

Les mesures que dévoile la carte sont très inquiétantes. Elles montrent que la terre a un niveau de contamination qui ferait d’elle un déchet radioactif dans n’importe quel pays non contaminé. Comme l’écrit M. Ozawa, ces terrains devraient être considérés comme une « zone contrôlée », c’est-à-dire un espace sécurisé, comme dans les centrales nucléaires, où l’on doit vérifier constamment les doses reçues. Dans les faits, c’est pire que dans une centrale car au Japon, on demande aux habitants évacués depuis 5 ans et demi de rentrer chez eux alors que l’on sait pertinemment qu’ils seront irradiés (jusqu’à 20 mSv/an) et contaminés (par inhalation et ingestion).

L'équipe de Fukushima Daiichi Monitoring Project lors d'une prise de mesure à Minamisoma cet été. On reconnaît sur les blousons le logo du laboratoire japonais indépendant Chikurin, partenaire de l’ACRO (Photo David Boilley).

L’équipe de Fukushima Daiichi Monitoring Project lors d’une prise de mesure à Minamisoma cet été. On reconnaît sur les blousons le logo du laboratoire japonais indépendant Chikurin, partenaire de l’ACRO (Photo David Boilley).

Cette recherche citoyenne est remarquable à plus d’un titre :

 

– Elle est indépendante de toute organisation. Aucun lobby n’intervient pour modifier ou atténuer telle ou telle mesure. Ce sont juste des données brutes, prises par des gens honnêtes, en recherche de vérité.

 

– Elle respecte un protocole scientifique, expliqué sur la carte. Il y aura toujours des gens pour critiquer tel ou tel aspect de la démarche, mais celle-ci est rigoureuse et objective.

 

– Elle prend des mesures à 1 m du sol mais aussi à 1 cm du sol. Cette démarche est plus logique car les hommes marchent sur le sol jusqu’à présent non ? Les cartes de contamination du Japon montrent souvent des mesures à 1 m du sol, ce qui ne reflète pas la réalité et semble être fait pour minimiser les faits. En effet, la mesure est souvent deux fois plus élevée à 1 cm du sol qu’à 1 m.

 

– Elle agit comme un révélateur. M. Ozawa et son équipe sont des lanceurs d’alerte. Leurs cartes disent : faites attention ! Des lois se contredisent au Japon. Ce que prétend le gouvernement, à savoir qu’une dose de 20 mSv/an ne produira pas d’effet sanitaire, n’est pas forcément la vérité. Si vous revenez, vous allez bel et bien être irradiés et contaminés. La France se prépare à la même forfaiture, à savoir qu’ « elle est en train de transposer en droit national les dispositions de la directive 2013/59/Euratom : les autorités françaises ont retenu la borne supérieure de l’intervalle : 100 mSv pour la phase d’urgence et 20 mSv pour les 12 mois suivants (et pour les années suivantes rien ne garantit que ce niveau de référence ne sera pas reconduit). Ces valeurs s’appliquent à tous, y compris les nourrissons, les enfants et les femmes enceintes ! » (source Criirad)

 

Le gouvernement japonais demande aux habitants de rentrer chez eux et supprime les indemnités aux évacués. Les JO approchent, la région de Fukushima doit être perçue comme « normale » pour que les sportifs et les supporters du monde entier n’aient pas peur, quitte à sacrifier la santé des populations locales. Il faut donc faire connaître la carte de M. Ozawa pour que les futures campagnes publicitaires n’étouffent pas la réalité des faits.

 

Pierre Fetet

 

 

____________________

 

Pour en savoir plus :

 

M. Ozawa dans un reportage de la RTBF

La poussière qui s’envole avec ses radionucléides à Minamisōma

Article sur le retour en zone contaminée du blog Nos voisins lointains 3.11

http://nosvoisins311.wixsite.com/voisins311-france/single-post/2016/08/22/Le-retour-aux-zones-contamin%C3%A9es

 

Les données concernant les mesures à Minamisōma

http://www.f1-monitoring-project.jp/open_deta.html

 

Site internet de l’équipe militante :

http://www.f1-monitoring-project.jp/index.html

 

Adresse de la carte d’origine (HD)

http://www.f1-monitoring-project.jp/dirtsfiles/20161104-Odaka-Kanaya-Kawabusa-s.jpg

Lanceurs d'alerte à Minamisōma

Cet article et sa carte ont été traduits en anglais par Hervé Courtois à cette adresse :

https://nuclear-news.net/2016/11/12/the-minamisoma-whistleblowers-fukushima/

 

Voici la traduction de la carte en anglais :

Lanceurs d'alerte à Minamisōma

http://www.fukushima-blog.com/2016/11/alerte-a-minamisoma.html

— Citizen scientists find high levels of radiation where government asks residents to re-settle — the Minamisoma whistleblowers, Fukushima

From the Fukushima 311 Watchdogs

November 12, 2016

A few days ago Pierre Fetet learned of a map which immediately called his attention.

That map displays at the same time precise and unsettling measurements. Not knowing Japanese, Pierre Fetet asked Kurumi Sugita, the president of Nos voisins lointains 3.11 association, to translate for him the text. She immediately accepted and explained to him what it was:

“The project to measure environmental radioactivity around the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant (Fukuichi shuhen kankyôhôshasen monitoring project) is conducted by a team of relatively old volunteers (who are less radiosensitive than youth) to perform radioactivity measurements with a tight mesh size of 75 x 100 m for radioactivity in air and 375 x 500 m for soil contamination. Measurements of ambient radioactivity and soil radioactivity are carried out mainly in the city of Minamisōma and its surroundings. They try to make detailed measurements so as to show the inhabitants the real conditions of their lives, and also to accumulate data for the analysis of long-term health and environmental damages.”

Thanks to the Kurumi Sugita’s translation and with the agreement of Mr. Ozawa, author of the document, Pierre Fetet was able to make a French version of this map, which I translated into english here below:

Minamisoma contamination map oct 2016.jpg

Map of Mr. Ozawa’s team (translation first by Kurumi Sugita, then by Hervé Courtois)

In the context of the normalization of contaminated areas into habitable areas, the evacuation order of the Odaka district of the city of Minamisōma was lifted on 12 July 2016, except the area bordering Namie (Hamlet of Ohatake where a single household lives) classified as a “difficult return” area.

minamisoma-contamination-map-oct-2016-2

Situation of the study area

The contamination map examines the Kanaya and Kawabusa areas of the Odaka district, about fifteen kilometers from the former Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Mr. Ozawa, the engineer who launched this investigation, has chosen the precision of the measurements, that is to say laboratory scintillation radiometers are used to measure radioactivity: Hitachi Aloka TCS172B, Hitachi Aloka TGS146B and Canberra NaI Scintillation Detector.

The originality of this map is due as much to the quality of its realization as to the abundance of its informations: it can be read, for each of the 36 samples taken, measurements in Bq / m², in Bq / kg, in μSv / h at three different soil heights (1 m, 50 cm, 1 cm) And in cpm (counts per minute) at the height of 1 cm. For those who know a little about radioactivity, these informations are very valuable informations. Usually, measurements are given in either unit, but never simultaneously with 4 units. Official organizations should learn this way of working.

The measures revealed by the map are very disturbing. They show that the earth has a level of contamination that would make it a radioactive waste in any uncontaminated country. As Mr. Ozawa writes, these lands should be considered a “controlled zone”, that is to say a secure space, as in nuclear power plants, where the doses received must be constantly checked. In fact, it is worse than inside of a nuclear power plant because in Japan the inhabitants evacuated since five and a half years are now asked to return home, whereas it is known that they will be irradiated (Up to 20 mSv / year) and contaminated (by inhalation and ingestion).

This citizen research is remarkable in more ways than one:

  • It is independent of any organization. There is no lobby to alter or play down this or that measure. These are just raw data, taken by honest people, in search of truth.
  • It respects a scientific protocol, explained on the map. There will always be people to criticize this or that aspect of the process, But this one is rigorous and objective.
  • It takes measurements 1 m from the ground but also 1 cm from the ground. This approach is more logical because until now men are walking on the ground no? The contamination maps of Japan often show measurements at 1 m from the ground, Which does not reflect reality and seems to be done to minimize the facts. Indeed, the measurement is often twice as high at 1 cm from the ground as at 1 m.
  • It acts as a revealing map. Mr. Ozawa and his team are whistleblowers. Their maps say: Watch out ! Laws contradict each other in Japan. What the government claims, namely that a dose of 20 mSv / year will not produce any health effect, is not necessarily the truth. If you come back, you are going to be irradiated and contaminated.

France is preparing for the same forfeiture, namely that ‘it is transposing into national law the provisions of Directive 2013/59 / Euratom: the French authorities retained the upper limit of the interval: 100 mSv for the emergency phase and 20 mSv for the following 12 months (And for the following years there is no guarantee that this reference level will not be renewed). These values apply to all, including infants, children and pregnant women! ” (source Criirad)

The Japanese government is asking residents to return home and abolishing compensation for evacuees. The Olympics are coming, Fukushima must be perceived as “normal” so that the athletes and supporters of the whole world won’t be afraid, even if it means sacrificing the health of the local population. It is therefore necessary to make known the map of Mr. Ozawa so that future advertising campaigns do not stifle the reality of the facts.

Pierre Fetet

Data on measurements at Minamisōma

http://www.f1-monitoring-project.jp/open_deta.html

Website of the measuring team:

http://www.f1-monitoring-project.jp/index.html

Address of the original map (HD)

http://www.f1-monitoring-project.jp/dirtsfiles/20161104-Odaka-Kanaya-Kawabusa-s.jpg

3-ob_8977f5_20161104-odaka-kanaya-kawabusa-s.jpg

Source : Article of Pierre Fetet

http://www.fukushima-blog.com/2016/11/alerte-a-minamisoma.html

(Translation Hervé Courtois)

https://dunrenard.wordpress.com/2016/11/12/the-minamisoma-whistleblowers-fukushima/

The great Fukushima nuclear cover-up

From the Ecologist

No bliss in this ignorance: the great Fukushima nuclear cover-up
Linda Pentz Gunther
February 20, 2016

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.

Dr. Tetsunari Iida is the founder and executive director of the Institute for Sustainable Energy Policies (ISEP) in Japan.

As such, one might have expected a recent presentation he gave in the UK within the hallowed halls of the House of Commons, to have focused on Japan’s capacity to replace the electricity once generated by its now mainly shuttered nuclear power plants, with renewable energy.

But Dr lida’s passionate polemic was not about the power of the sun, but the power of propaganda. March 11, 2011 might have been the day the Great East Japan Earthquake struck. But it was also the beginning of the Great Japan Cover-Up.

On the ISEP website, Iida extols the coming of the Fourth Revolution, following on from those in agriculture, industry and IT. “This fourth revolution will be an energy revolution, a green industrial revolution, and a decentralized network revolution”, he writes.

But in person, Iida was most interested in conveying the extent to which the Japanese people were lied to before, during and after the devastating nuclear disaster at Fukushima-Daiichi, precipitated on that same fateful day and by the deadly duo of earthquake and tsunami.

“Shinzo Abe says ‘everything is under control'”, said Iida, speaking at an event hosted by Nuclear Free Local Authorities, Green Cross, and Nuclear Consulting Group in late January. It was headlined by the former Japan Prime Minister, Naoto Kan, who was at the helm when the triple disasters struck. “Yes – under the control of the media!”

A trial for Tepco like post-war Tokyo Trials

The media may have played the willing government handmaiden in reassuring the public with falsehoods, but in July 2012, the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission concluded that the disaster was really no accident but man-made. It came about, the researchers said, as a result of “collusion” between the government, regulators and the nuclear industry, in this case, Tepco.

“There should be a Tepco trial like the post-war Tokyo Trials”, Iida said, referring to the post World War II war crimes trial in which 28 Japanese were tried, seven of whom were subsequently executed by hanging.

Hope for such accountability – without advocating hanging – is fleeting at best. In 2011, while addressing a conference in Berlin hosted by the Heinrich Böll Foundation, I suggested the Tepco officials should be sent to the International Criminal Court at The Hague, (a body the US still conveniently refuses to recognize) to answer for what clearly amounts to crimes against humanity.

The remark caused a bit of a stir and earnest questions about the mechanism by which Tepco could be brought there. Needless to say, nothing of the kind ever happened, or is likely to.

Instead, the Abe’s government’s preferred tactic is to go full out to restart reactors and move everybody back home as soon as possible, as if nothing serious had happened. Just scoop off a little topsoil, cart it away somewhere else and, Abracadabra! Everything is clean and safe again!

Normalizing radiation, a policy and now a practice

Of course radiological decontamination is not that easy. Nor is it reliable. It is more likepushing contamination from one spot to the next”, as independent nuclear expert, Mycle Schneider describes it. And radiation does not remain obediently in one place, either.

“The mountains and forests that cannot even be vaguely decontaminated, will serve as a permanent source of new contamination, each rainfall washing out radiation and bringing it down from the mountains to the flat lands”, Schneider explained. Birds move around. Animals eat and excrete radioactive plant life. Radiation gets swept out to sea. It is a cycle with no end.

Next in the ‘normalization’ process came the decision to raise allowable radiation exposure standards to 20 millisieverts of radiation a year, up from the prior level of 2 mSv a year. The globally-accepted limit for radiation absorption is 1 mSv a year.

This meant that children were potentially being exposed to the same levels of radiation that are permitted for adult nuclear power plant workers in Europe. Some officials even argued that zones where rates were as high as 100 mSv a year should be considered ‘safe’. Writing on his blog, anti-pollution New Orleans-based attorney, Stuart Smith,observed wryly:

“Instead of taking corrective measures to protect its people, Japan has simply increased internationally recognized exposure limits. It seems that the priority – as we’ve seen in so many other industrial disasters in so many other countries – is to protect industry and limit its liability rather than to ensure the long-term health and well being of the masses. Go figure.”

For the entire article:

http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2987222/no_bliss_in_this_ignorance_the_great_fukushima_nuclear_coverup.html