Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster

s.e. smith – An American Fukushima May Be Closer Than You Think

June 1, 2016

The 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster was horrific to watch unfold. It will take decades — and billions of dollars — to clean up, as more problems seem to emerge by the minute. Most recently, Tepco announced that it’s still missing a large amount of spent fuel — in part because radiation remains so high that robots and other devices cannot function inside the plant to give workers a better picture of what’s going on. The disaster and subsequent cleanup have attracted global attention, with many nations questioning whether they want to continue using nuclear power. In the United States, Congress ordered the National Academy of Sciences to conduct a detailed study on the Fukushima disaster. The second part of that review was just released, and the results are ominous: The “devil’s scenario” that led to catastrophe at Fukushima could repeat itself on U.S. soil. Read

Fukushima nuclear accident is ‘wake-up call’ for US to improve monitoring of spent fuel pools

May 24, 2016

WASHINGTON – The 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident should serve as a wake-up call to nuclear plant operators and regulators on the critical importance of measuring, maintaining, and restoring cooling in spent fuel pools during severe accidents and terrorist attacks, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. This report is the second and final phase of a congressionally mandated study on what lessons can be learned from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident. The report from Phase 1 of this study was released in July 2014. The Phase 2 report provides findings and recommendations for improving U.S. nuclear plant security and spent fuel storage as well as re-evaluates conclusions from previous Academies studies on spent fuel storage safety and security. The committee that carried out the study and authored the Phase 2 report found that spent fuel storage facilities — both spent fuel pools used to store fuel under water and casks used to dry-store fuel — at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant maintained their containment functions during and after the March 11, 2011, Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami. However, one of the two gates separating the Unit 3 spent fuel pool from the

Vincent Di Stefano – The Slow Bleed: Fukushima Five Years On

April 18, 2016

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. What Gundersen has to say is worth closely attending to. As a nuclear engineer, he has been deeply involved in the American nuclear industry for over four decades. He has a special interest in the design and safety of containment structures and holds

Ellen Cantarow and Alison Rose Levy – A Fukushima on the Hudson?

March 31, 2016

It was a beautiful spring day and, in the control room of the nuclear reactor, the workers decided to deactivate the security system for a systems test. As they started to do so, however, the floor of the reactor began to tremble. Suddenly, its 1,200-ton cover blasted flames into the air. Tons of radioactive radium and graphite shot 1,000 meters into the sky and began drifting to the ground for miles around the nuclear plant. The first firemen to the rescue brought tons of water that would prove useless when it came to dousing the fires. The workers wore no protective clothing and eight of them would die that night — dozens more in the months to follow. It was April 26, 1986, and this was just the start of the meltdown at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine, the worst nuclear accident of its kind in history. Chernobyl is ranked as a “level 7 event,” the maximum danger classification on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale.  It would spew out more radioactivity than 100 Hiroshima bombs. Of the 350,000 workers involved in cleanup operations, according to the World Health Organization, 240,000 would be exposed to the highest levels of radiation in a

ROBERT HUNZIKER – Fukushima Radiation: a Killer

March 24, 2016

The cocksure pro-nuclear crowd has trumpeted Fukushima as an example of Mother Nature taking lives because of an earthquake and tsunami; whereas, the power plant accident proves nuclear power can withstand the worst without unnecessary death and illness. All of the deaths (16,000) were the fault of Mother Nature, not radiation. After all, it’s only one year ago that science journalist George Johnson’s article, “When Radiation Isn’t the Real Risk,” appeared in the New York Times, Sept. 21, 2015: “This spring, four years after the nuclear accident at Fukushima, a small group of scientists met in Tokyo to evaluate the deadly aftermath.” Read

Study: News coverage of Fukushima disaster found lacking

March 17, 2016

Five years after the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan, the disaster no longer dominates U.S. news headlines, although experts say it is a continuing disaster with broad implications. A new analysis by American University sociology professor Celine-Marie Pascale finds that U.S. news media coverage following the disaster minimized health risks to the general population. Pascale analyzed more than 2,000 news articles from four major U.S. outlets following the disaster’s occurrence from March 11, 2011 through March 11, 2013. Only 6 percent of the coverage–129 articles–focused on health risks to the public in Japan or elsewhere. Human risks were framed, instead, in terms of workers in the disabled nuclear plant. Pascale’s research has published in the flagship journal for the International Sociology Association, Current Sociology. Read

JOHN LAFORGE – Fukushima Five Years On: Not a Comedy of Errors, a Calamity of Terrors

March 14, 2016

Since it began March 11, 2011, thousands of freelancers have reported on the Fukushima-Daiichi triple reactor meltdowns and radiation gusher, the deluge of accidents, leaks, faulty cleanup efforts, the widespread contamination of workers, citizens, soil, food and water, and the long series of cancer studies, lawsuits, and ever-changing clean-up and decommissioning plans. As Japan Times reports last October, “Extremely high radiation levels and the inability to grasp the details about melted nuclear fuel make it impossible for [Tokyo Electric Power Co.] to chart the course of its planned decommissioning of the reactors.” The journalism is partly a response to the lack of mainstream US news coverage, and partly a warning against similar radiation disasters risked in the United States every day by the operation of 23 identical GE reactors (Fukushima clones) in this country. Read

Greg Palast – Fukushima: They Knew

March 11, 2016

“Completely and Utterly Fail in an Earthquake” The Fukushima story you didn’t hear on CNN On the Fifth Anniversary of the meltdown, the con continues I’ve seen a lot of sick stuff in my career, but this was sick on a new level. Here was the handwritten log kept by a senior engineer at the nuclear power plant:   Wiesel was very upset. He seemed very nervous. Very agitated. . . . In fact, the plant was riddled with problems that, no way on earth, could stand an earthquake. The team of engineers sent in to inspect found that most of these components could “completely and utterly fail” during an earthquake. “Utterly fail during an earthquake.” And here in Japan was the quake and here is the utter failure. The warning was in what the investigations team called The Notebook, which I’m not supposed to have. Good thing I’ve kept a copy anyway, because the file cabinets went down with my office building …. WORLD TRADE CENTER TOWER 1, FIFTY-SECOND FLOOR, NEW YORK, 1986 Two senior nuclear plant engineers were spilling out their souls and files on our huge conference table, blowing away my government investigations team with the inside stuff about

LINDA PENTZ GUNTER – The Great Fukushima Cover-Up

February 25, 2016

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. Read

ROBERT HUNZIKER – Fukushima – Deep Trouble

February 23, 2016

The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant disaster may go down as one of history’s boundless tragedies and not just because of a nuclear meltdown, but rather the tragic loss of a nation’s soul. Imagine the following scenario: 207 million cardboard book boxes, end-to-end, circumnavigating Earth, like railroad tracks, going all the way around the planet. That’s a lot of book boxes. Now, fill the boxes with radioactive waste. Forthwith, that’s the amount of radioactive waste stored unsheltered in one-tonne black bags throughout Fukushima Prefecture, amounting to 9,000,000 cubic metres But wait, there’s more to come, another 13,000,000 cubic metres of radioactive soil is yet to be collected. (Source: Voice of America News, Problems Keep Piling Up in Fukushima, Feb. 17, 2016). Read
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