Australian news, and some related international items

Call for Kakadu annual funding to be doubled ahead of federal budget

Call for Kakadu annual funding to be doubled ahead of federal budget
 The yearly operating budget for Kakadu National Park should be doubled ‘at the very least’ even before a $276m masterplan is implemented, according to the region’s peak tourism body…… (subscribers only)

May 11, 2021 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

The nuclear weapons issue is a women’s issue

During Women’s History Month, thank women for preventing nuclear disaster (Commentary) 26 Mar 21, By Wendy Yost | Syracuse Peace Council Wendy Yost, of Syracuse, writes on behalf of the Nuclear Free World Committee of the Syracuse Peace Council.

Depending on how old you are, you may remember the 1950s and ’60s “duck and cover” drills in elementary school and signs leading to the atomic bomb shelters in public buildings. Or you may remember the Cuban Missile crisis when the world came dangerously close to nuclear war. Then, and now, most of us probably had or have no true idea of the devastation that such a war would bring.

During Women’s History month, we should thank women for bringing some sanity to the insanity of the Cold War. In 1961 Bella Abzug and Dagmar Wilson founded “Women Strike for Peace.” Their goal was to stop nations from nuclear testing. The movement brought 50,000 women in 60 different cities together in protest. Coretta Scott King served as the organization’s delegate to an international disarmament conference in 1962. The public pressure brought by these women and the near-disaster of the Cuban Missile crisis helped bring the Soviet Union, United Kingdom and U.S. together to sign the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, prohibiting nuclear testing underwater, in outer space and in the atmosphere in 1963. This marked the beginning of a series of hard-won international agreements that have helped prevent nuclear war since the 1960s.

Bella Abzug framed the nuclear issue as a women’s issue in saying “… We are entitled to our shared economic resources of the country. We are entitled to equal pay for comparable work … We are entitled to have some hope for our family with a decent environment. We are permanently entitled to world peace, which is the only way in which we can rebuild and restructure this society to make it for all people.”

These words ring true for our time. In 2021, women are disproportionately impacted by the pandemic in lost wages and increased responsibilities for childcare, education, and emotional support for stressed kids. While our predominantly male Congress has debated the country’s ability to afford childcare subsidies, extended unemployment benefits, child tax credits and support to reopen schools safely, our government spends approximately $67.5 billion per year on nuclear weapons. At the same time, the world has become less safe from nuclear weapons as international agreements have ended and diplomacy has been hollowed out and denigrated by the Trump administration.

There are hopeful signs as the Biden administration has recommitted efforts to end the nuclear threat by already negotiating an extension of the New START Treaty with Russia, reviving efforts to negotiate with Iran over nuclear weapons, and committing to reduced U.S. expenditures on nuclear weapons of annihilation. Notably, Biden has nominated several women to senior positions that involve nuclear non-proliferation including Bonnie Jenkins as Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and Mallory Stewart as Senior Director for Arms Control and National Non-Proliferation for the National Security Council. These appointments are historic in nature for appointing women to top positions who have spent their careers working for peace, security and nuclear non-proliferation.

Let’s have Women’s History Month in 2021 be a time for women (and men) commit to making history by working for a world that is safe from nuclear weapons and a world where resources are committed to life-affirming programs and policies. This means supporting, expecting and demanding that the new administration meet and exceed its commitments to quell the threat of nuclear war. Visit and or to learn more and take action.

March 26, 2021 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Infamous Fukushima town sign praising nuclear energy to become permanent museum display 


March 23, 2021 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

How the world can reach net zero target without resorting to nuclear power


March 22, 2021 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Bill Gates backs costly nuclear reactor design fueled by nuclear-weapon-usable plutonium

Bill Gates’ bad bet on plutonium-fueled reactors  BFrank N. von Hippel | March 22, 2021

One of Bill Gates’ causes is to replace power plants fueled by coal and natural gas with climate-friendly alternatives. That has led the billionaire philanthropist and Microsoft co-founder to embrace nuclear power, and building nuclear power plants to combat climate change is a prospect worth discussing. But Gates has been persuaded to back a costly reactor design fueled by nuclear-weapon-usable plutonium and shown, through decades of experience, to be expensive, quick to break down, and difficult to repair.

In fact, Gates and his company, Terrapower, are promoting a reactor type that the US and most other countries abandoned four decades ago because of concerns about both nuclear weapons  proliferation and cost.

The approximately 400 power reactors that provide about 10 percent of the world’s electric power today are almost all water-cooled and fueled by low-enriched uranium, which is not weapon usable. Half a century ago, however, nuclear engineers were convinced—wrongly, it turned out—that the global resource of low-cost uranium would not be sufficient to support such reactors beyond the year 2000.

Work therefore began on liquid-sodium-cooled “breeder” reactors that would be fueled by plutonium, which, when it undergoes a fission chain reaction, produces neutrons that can transmute the abundant but non-chain-reacting isotope of natural uranium, u-238, into more plutonium than the reactor consumes.

But mining companies and governments found a lot more low-cost uranium than originally projected. The Nuclear Energy Agency recently concluded that the world has uranium reserves more than adequate to support water-cooled reactors for another century.

And while technologically elegant, sodium-cooled reactors proved unable to compete economically with water-cooled reactors, on several levels. Admiral Rickover, who developed the US Navy’s water-cooled propulsion reactors from which today’s power reactors descend, tried sodium-cooled reactors in the 1950s. His conclusion was that they are “expensive to build, complex to operate, susceptible to prolonged shutdown as a result of even minor malfunctions, and difficult and time-consuming to repair.” That captures the experience of all efforts to commercialize breeder reactors. The United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, and Japan all abandoned their breeder-reactor efforts after spending the equivalent of $10 billion or more each on the effort.

Today, despite about $100 billion spent on efforts to commercialize them, only two sodium-cooled breeder reactor prototypes are operating—both in Russia. India is building one, and China is building two with Russian help. But it is not clear India and China are looking only to generate electricity with their breeders; they may also be motivated in part by the fact that breeder reactors produce copious amounts of the weapon-grade plutonium desired by their militaries to expand their nuclear-weapon stockpiles.

The proliferation risks of breeder-reactor programs were dramatically demonstrated in 1974, when India carried out its first explosive test of a nuclear-weapon design with plutonium that had been produced with US Atoms for Peace Program assistance for India’s ostensibly peaceful breeder reactor program. The United States, thus alerted, was able to stop four more countries, governed at the time by military juntas (Brazil, Pakistan, South Korea, and Taiwan), from going down the same track—although Pakistan found another route to the bomb via uranium enrichment.

It was India’s 1974 nuclear test that got me involved with this issue as an advisor to the Carter administration. I have been involved ever since, contributing to the plutonium policy debates in the United States, Japan, South Korea and other countries.

In 1977, after a policy review, the Carter administration concluded that plutonium breeder reactors would not be economic for the foreseeable future and called for termination of the US development program. After the estimated cost of the Energy Department’s proposed demonstration breeder reactor increased five-fold, Congress finally agreed in 1983

Gates is obviously not in it for the money. But his reputation for seriousness may have helped recruit Democratic Senators Cory Booker, Dick Durbin, and Sheldon Whitehouse to join the two Republican senators from Idaho in a bipartisan coalition to co-sponsor the Nuclear Energy Innovations Capabilities Act of 2017, which called for the VTR.

I wonder if any of those five Senators knows that the VTR is to be fueled annually by enough plutonium for more than 50 Nagasaki bombs. Or that it is a failed technology. Or that the Idaho National Laboratory is collaborating on plutonium separation technology with the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute at a time when about half of South Korea’s population wants nuclear weapons to deter North Korea.

Fortunately, it is not too late for the Biden administration and Congress to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past and to zero out the Versatile Test Reactor in the Department of Energy’s next budget appropriations cycle. The money could be spent more effectively on upgrading the safety of our existing reactor fleet and on other climate-friendly energy technologies.

Frank N. von Hippel

Frank N. von Hippel is a co-founder of the Program on Science and Global Security at Princeton University’s School of Public and International…

March 22, 2021 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Fukushima disaster 10 years on: How long will it take to clean up the nuclear waste?

Fukushima disaster 10 years on: How long will it take to clean up the nuclear waste?

Streets have been rebuilt, while radiation decontamination has progressed steadily since the Fukushima earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident 10 years ago. But few residents have returned.  Straits Times, 

Decontamination and living with ‘black bags’

Piles of black bags were generated by the vast, painstaking clean-up and then transported from other storage places. Those black bags have occupied more than 90 blocks ranging from 180 sq m to 6,500 sq m in the northern part of Tomioka since 2015.

According to a 2018 report from Japan’s Ministry of the Environment, the estimated total quantity of decontaminated soil will be somewhere between 16 and 22 million cubic metres after volume reduction. This is 13 to 18 times larger than the volume of the Tokyo Dome.

The Ministry says the total will likely be at the lower end of the provided range, in a latest reply to The Straits Times’ query.

Limits of decontamination

The “decontamination” only involves soil removal in flatland areas – the government has said that it is impossible to clear the soil in mountainous areas, but more than 70 per cent of the hardest-hit areas are mountainous.

Mr Nobuyoshi Ito is one of those who live in the mountainous areas where vast decontamination is hard to carry out.

Mr Ito first moved to Iitate village in Fukushima prefecture in 2010 after he retired as an IT engineer, to work as an “apprentice farmer”.

He had no ties with the village before that, but the self-professed “guinea pig” ended up staying on there, in open defiance of government orders to evacuate, and against his children’s wishes for him to live with them in Niigata prefecture on the west coast.

“When the government asked us to evacuate… I asked if there would be criminal charges if I continued to live here,” he told The Straits Times in 2016. “They said no.”

He carries a dosimeter around with him all the time, measuring anything he can lay his hands on from soil, plants to animal carcasses. He also owns a laboratory-grade radiation measuring machine at his cabin, deep in the mountains in the village.

He has become one of the most visible critics of the government, which he accuses of vested interests in lifting exclusion zones too quickly.

He thinks the government’s decision to not decontaminate forested mountainous areas will backfire due to factors such as rain that may spread radioactive material, and in a study last year found that 43 out of 69 locations along the Olympic torch relay route had radiation levels above the government limits.

He told The Straits Times that he fears that Tokyo is overly eager to portray that everything was “under control”, given that this could give the impression that it is “case closed”.

One possible explanation for the limited effect of decontamination in forests is the rapid shift in the main reservoir of Caesium-137 – a major contributor to the total radiation released – from litter and topsoil layers to the underlying mineral soil, according to a 2020 research paper published in Nature Journal.

Non-profit Greenpeace notes that such standards in towns neighbouring the nuclear plant would not pass in other parts of the world.

The indefinite future: Where to permanently store 16 million bags of nuclear waste

Removed soil and waste are stored in the interim storage facilities within the prefecture only for a certain period before the government finds permanent places.

The law requires that the final disposal site of high-level nuclear waste should be outside of Fukushima by March 2045.

Two fishing villages in Hokkaido are vying to host the final storage facility of Japanese nuclear waste for half a century, splitting communities between those seeking investment to stop the towns from dying, and those haunted by the 2011 Fukushima disaster who are determined to stop the project.

I cannot give a deadline at this moment. We will consider the entire schedule based on the progress at the two new potential sites, along with nationwide public relations activities.


A deputy director in a division of the economy ministry that deals with radioactive waste.

March 22, 2021 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Need for more research into causes of increased incidence of childhood lukaemia near nuclear site

National Library of Medicine 15th March 2021,  A previous investigation of the occurrence of childhood acute leukemia around the Belgian nuclear sites has shown positive associations around one nuclear site (Mol-Dessel). In the following years, the Belgian Cancer Registry has made data available at the smallest administrative unit for
which demographic information exists in Belgium, i.e. the statistical sector. This offers the advantage to reduce the potential misclassification due to large geographical scales.

Results confirm an increased incidence of acute childhood leukemia around Mol-Dessel, but the number of cases remains very small. Random variation cannot be excluded and the ecological design does not allow concluding on causality. These findings emphasize the need for more in-depth research into the risk factors of childhood leukemia, for a better understanding of the etiology of this disease.

March 22, 2021 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

The economics of nuclear power plants are not favorable to future investments

Investing into third generation nuclear power plants – Review of recent trends and analysis of future investments using Monte Carlo Simulation     Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews  Volume 143, June 2021, 110836

Author links open overlay panelB.WealerabS.BauerbC.v.HirschhausenabC.KemfertacL.Göke


•Cost escalations in the nuclear sector observed in previous research continue until today.
•Investing into a nuclear power plant today is not a profitable business case.
•The net present values are mainly negative, in the range of five to ten billion USD.
•Interest during construction is a major cost driver not to be underestimated.
•Policy debates should consider total costs including interest and construction time.


This paper provides a review of trends in third generation nuclear power plants, and analyzes current and future nuclear power plant investments using Monte Carlo simulations of economic indicators.

We first review global trends of nuclear power plant investments, including technical as well as economic trends. The review suggests that cost escalations in the sector observed in previous research continue until today, including the most recent investment projects in the U.S. and in Europe.

In order to extend this analysis, we carry out our own investment analysis of a representative third generation nuclear power plant, focusing on the net present value and the levelized cost of electricity. We base our analysis on a stochastic Monte Carlo simulation to nuclear power plant investments.

We define and estimate the main drivers of our model: Overnight construction costs, wholesale electricity prices, and weighted average cost of capital, and discuss reasonable ranges and distributions of those parameters.

Model runs suggest that investing in nuclear power plants is not profitable, i.e. expected net present values are highly negative, mainly driven by high construction costs, including capital costs, and uncertain and low revenues.

Even extending reactor lifetimes does not improve the results significantly. We conclude that our numerical exercise confirms the literature review, i.e. the economics of nuclear power plants are not favorable to future investments, even though additional costs (decommissioning, long-term storage) and the social costs of accidents are not even considered.

March 22, 2021 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

New science report: advanced nuclear reactors no safer than conventional nuclear plants

Advanced nuclear reactors no safer than conventional nuclear plants, says science group, By Timothy Gardner-18 Mar 21,

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A new generation of so-called “advanced” nuclear power reactors that Washington believes could help fight climate change often present greater proliferation risks than conventional nuclear power, a science advocacy group said on Thursday.

President Joe Biden, a Democrat, has made curbing climate change a priority and has supported research and development for advanced nuclear technologies.

The reactors are also popular with many Republicans. Last October, the month before Biden was elected, the U.S. Department of Energy, awarded $80 million each to TerraPower LLC and X-energy to build reactors it said would be operational in seven years.

Advanced reactors are generally far smaller than conventional reactors and are cooled with materials such as molten salt instead of with water. Backers say they are safer and some can use nuclear waste as fuel.

“The technologies are certainly different from current reactors, but it is not at all clear they are better,” said Edwin Lyman, director of nuclear power safety at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

“In many cases, they are worse with regard to … safety, and the potential for severe accidents and potential nuclear proliferation,” said Lyman, author of the report UCS released Thursday called “‘Advanced’ Isn’t Always Better”.

Nuclear reactors generate virtually emissions-free power [ if you ignore their total fuel chainwhich means conventional ones, at least, will play a role in efforts to decarbonize the economy by 2050, a goal of the Biden administration. But several of the 94 U.S. conventional nuclear plants are shutting due to high safety costs and competition from natural gas and wind and solar energy.

That has helped spark initial funding for a new generation of reactors.

Also, nuclear waste from today’s reactors would have to be reprocessed to make fuel. That technique has not been practiced in the United States for decades because of proliferation and cost concerns. Other advanced reactors emit large amounts of radioactive gases, a potentially problematic waste stream.

Lyman said advanced nuclear development funds would be better spent on bolstering conventional nuclear plants from the risks of earthquakes and climate change, such as flooding. The report recommended that the Department of Energy suspend its advanced reactor demonstration program until the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) requires prototype testing before reactors can be licensed for commercial use.

The DOE did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Also, nuclear waste from today’s reactors would have to be reprocessed to make fuel. That technique has not been practiced in the United States for decades because of proliferation and cost concerns. Other advanced reactors emit large amounts of radioactive gases, a potentially problematic waste stream.

Lyman said advanced nuclear development funds would be better spent on bolstering conventional nuclear plants from the risks of earthquakes and climate change, such as flooding. The report recommended that the Department of Energy suspend its advanced reactor demonstration program until the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) requires prototype testing before reactors can be licensed for commercial use.

The DOE did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

March 19, 2021 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Conclusions of safety assessment of advanced nuclear reactors – non-light-water ones

March 19, 2021 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Nuclear reactors – “Advanced” Isn’t Always Better”

March 19, 2021 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Don’t believe hydrogen and nuclear hype – they can’t get us to net zero carbon by 2050

March 17, 2021 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Nuclear power has become irrelevant — like it or not—-like-it-or-not.html, By Mycle Schneider, KYODO NEWS , 16 Mar 21,

Ten years went by since the Fukushima Daiichi accident began. What happened in the United States, historically leading the world’s nuclear power programs and still operating the largest reactor fleet in the world? What are global developments in energy policy increasingly dominated by renewable energy?

“The debate is over. Nuclear power has been eclipsed by the sun and the wind,” Dave Freeman wrote in the foreword to the World Nuclear Industry Status Report 2017.

he renowned industry thinker, called an “energy prophet” by The New York Times, passed away last year at age 94. He had seen nuclear power coming and going. President Carter appointed him as chairman of the only fully public electricity utility in the United States, the Tennessee Valley Authority in 1977.

Construction had started on two nuclear reactors in the state in 1972. It took until 1996 to complete the first one and until 2016 for the second one. Those were the last units to start up in the United States.

Construction began on four units in 2013, but in 2017, the bankruptcy of builder Westinghouse led to the abandonment of the $10 billion V.C. Summer two-unit project in South Carolina.

Construction cost estimates for the only other active construction site in the United States, the two-unit Vogtle project in Georgia, have multiplied by a factor nearing five from $6.1 billion in 2009 to $28 billion by 2018. The startup continues to be delayed.

Meanwhile, lacking newbuild, the U.S. nuclear fleet is aging and the 94 still operating reactors now exceed an average age of 40 years. Although the U.S. nuclear industry claims to have achieved decreasing operation and maintenance costs — the only nuclear country to do so — the utilities are still struggling to compete with fierce competitors from the renewable energy sector.

Solar photovoltaic plants saw their electricity-generating costs decrease by 90 percent over the past decade, and wind power is down 70 percent, while nuclear kilowatt-hour costs increased by one third.

The global nuclear industry has lost the newbuild market. Five reactors started up in 2020, while six were closed down. While there was a net nuclear capacity increase of 0.4 gigawatt, renewables added an estimated 248 gigawatt. China, the only country with a significant newbuild program, added 2 gigawatt of nuclear and 150 gigawatt of solar and wind combined.

As Freeman stated, “These renewable, free-fuel sources are no longer a dream or a projection — they are a reality that are replacing nuclear as the preferred choice for new power plants worldwide.”

No wonder despair is reigning in nuclear companies’ headquarters. Ten years after the disaster struck Japan, nuclear power has become irrelevant in the world, an industrial reality that also Japanese policymakers need to face.

(Mycle Schneider is an independent international consultant on energy and nuclear power. He is the coordinator and publisher of the annual World Nuclear Industry Status Report.)

March 17, 2021 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Why Bill Gates is wrong — Beyond Nuclear International

His nuclear path would lead to, not prevent, a climate disaster

Why Bill Gates is wrong — Beyond Nuclear International

Billionaire’s nuclear ambitions would make climate disaster worse,   By Linda Pentz Gunter, 14 Mar 21, 

In an interview for the Washington Post Magazine during his current book tour, billionaire Bill Gates, whom we are now expected to accept as an authority on climate change, said: “I’ll be happy if TerraPower was a waste of money.” TerraPower is Gates’s nuclear power company pushing so-called “advanced” reactors. His book is called How to Avoid a Climate Disaster.

Well, Bill, I have some good news for you. You can start celebrating! Because, yes, TerraPower is indeed a colossal waste of money. It’s also a waste of precious time. And the idea that nuclear power could “lift billions out of poverty” as the TerraPower website boats, is on a par with any number of outlandish theories, conspiratorial or otherwise, that are making the all too frequent rounds these days.

So has Gates really drunk the Kool-Aid (OK it wasn’t actually Kool-Aid but Flavor Aid that was consumed at the 1978 Jonestown massacre)? Does he really plan to throw away $1 billion of his own money, plus an equal match from investors and possibly some state funding, too, and then just shrug it off when the whole thing proves redundant? Is that really true stewardship of the climate?

You don’t need to be a mathematician to work out what $2 billion plus would buy in renewables, and how much faster that particularly delivery would arrive at the doorsteps of the world’s poor, whom Gates claims he aims to protect.

Here is what Lazard’s estimated in terms of costs comparisons for new nuclear plants and other energy options, as laid out by Amory Lovins in his landmark Forbes article

New nuclear power would cost $118–192/MWh (of which $29 is typical operating cost) while utility-scale solar power would cost $32–42/MWh and onshore windpower $28–54/MWh. 

As Lovins has consistently pointed out: “To protect the climate, we must save the most carbon at the least cost and in the least time, counting all three variables—carbon and cost and time.” 

And, “costly options save less carbon per dollar than cheaper options. Slow options save less carbon per year than faster options. Thus even a low- or no-carbon option that is too costly or too slow will reduce and retard achievable climate protection.” 

Right now, a so-called “advanced” TerraPower reactor is just a glimmer in Gates’s eye. Like the prevailing fantasies about life on Mars, his toy reactor won’t materialize anywhere near soon enough to ease the agonies of the climate crisis. And even if it eventually shows up, and passes the necessary safety requirements, it will demonstrate only a triumph in physics, having by then no economical or practical utility whatsoever.

As the absence of progress on small modular reactors has shown, there is simply no viable market for new reactors, “advanced” or otherwise. Even the enticing prospect of rolling hundreds of small reactors off assembly lines (a jobs killer for on-site workers), is pie-in-the-sky, given the huge upfront costs that could never be recouped unless there were hundreds, possibly thousands, of orders.

To show just how detached from nuclear reality Bill Gates has become, he is happy to throw in the towel on TerraPower if fusion triumphs instead. Fusion, he says along with fission and “a miracle in storage” are the “only” ways to “make electricity cheap and reliable.”

Yes, this is the same fusion that has been thirty years away for countless decades. And still is. This is the fusion that uses more energy to create electricity than it delivers; that is sucking billions of dollars into research that could be applied to instant fixes in the renewable energy sector.

This is the same “cheap” that saw the costs at the two still unfinished new nuclear reactors in Georgia balloon to $21 billion in 2021, more than double the original cost and counting. And it’s the same “reliable” that resulted in Texans shivering in the dark during the recent big freeze (and no, it wasn’t frozen wind turbines, and I don’t have a fire-starting space laser, either).

There is a reason we are no longer searching for gold in them thar hills. We don’t need to waste years panning for a few elusive grams, hoping eventually to build a fortune. The Gold Rush is over. So, if there ever was one, is the Nuclear Rush.

Gates wants to save lives conquering malaria. But he’s fine with exposing people to radiation and leaving a legacy of toxic waste with no known solution.

Take a look around. In addition to the Vogtle debacle, a similar project in South Carolina was abandoned unfinished with ratepayers footing the bill. In the UK, Hitachi has fled for the Welsh hills, ditching its new reactor plans in that country. Before that, a proposed three-reactor site in Cumbria in north west England saw a similar corporate exodus. The new reactor at Bradwell, UK, is on “pause.” 

Meanwhile, as nuclear costs — largely due to their equally huge risks — continue to soar, renewable prices are plummeting. Solar and wind are the cheapest and fastest forms of new energy. Nuclear power is the most expensive and the slowest. So if you choose to spend your next $2 billion on trying to invent the better nuclear mousetrap, then you are not helping to avoid a climate disaster. You are enabling it.

March 15, 2021 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment

Fukushima at 2021- Aftershocks, Lies, and Failed Decontamination

Fukushima at Ten: Aftershocks, Lies, and Failed Decontamination,  BY JOHN LAFORGE   It’s now 10 years since the catastrophic triple meltdowns of reactors at Fukushima in Japan. As Joseph Mangano of the Radiation and Public Health project put it three years ago, “Enormous amounts of radioactive chemicals, including cesium, strontium, plutonium, and iodine were emitted into the air, and releases of the same toxins into the Pacific have never stopped, as workers struggle to contain over 100 cancer-causing chemicals.”

There is news of the shortage of Fukushima health studies, big earthquakes (aftershocks) and typhoons rattling nerves, reactors and waste systems, novel radioactive particles dispersed, and corporate and government dishonesty about decontamination.

Very few health studies

“So far only one single disease entity has been systematically examined in humans in Fukushima: thyroid cancer,” says Dr. Alex Rosen, the German chair of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War. Other diseases, such as leukemia or malformations, which are associated with increased radiation exposure, have not been investigated, Rosen told the German medical journal Deutsches Ärzteblatt March 2. (Five studies have focused not on disease, but on birth abnormalities in the areas most affected: three on infant mortality rates, one on underweight newborns, and one on declining birth rates 9 months after March 2011.*)

The one disease study of the population was a screening for thyroid cancer in 380,000 local children under the age 18. In January 2018, the journal Thyroid reported 187 cases after five years. A typical population of 380,000 children would produce 12 cases in five years, reported Joseph Mangano, director of the Radiation and Pubic Health Project. The increase among children is “exactly what would be expected if Fukushima were a factor, as radiation is most damaging to the fetus, infant and child,” Mangano said.

New Earthquakes Rattle Wreckage and Nerves

Another large earthquake, magnitude 7.3, struck Feb. 13, again off the coast of the Fukushima reactor complex, and the reported 30 seconds of terror was followed by14 aftershocks up to magnitude 5.

The quake was severe enough that its Tokyo Electric Power Co. (Tepco) operators and federal regulators suspect it caused additional damage to reactors 1 and 3 where cooling water levels fell sharply, the Associated Press reported. The Feb. 13 quake was felt in Tokyo 150 miles away. Japan’s meteorological agency said it was believed to be an aftershock of the record 2011 quake.

At a Feb. 15 meeting, government regulators said the quake had probably worsened existing earthquake damage in reactors 1 and 3 or broken open new cracks causing the cooling water level drop, the AP said.

“Because (the 2011 quake) was an enormous one with a magnitude of 9.0, it’s not surprising to have an aftershock of this scale 10 years later,” said Kenji Satake, a professor at the University of Tokyo’s Earthquake Research Institute.

There have been six major aftershocks in the Fukushima area since March 2011: April 7, 2011 (magnitude 7.1); April 11, 2011 (6.6); July 10, 2011 (7.0); Oct. 26, 2013 (7.1); Nov. 26, 2016 (6.9); and Feb. 13, 2021 (7.3). All six of these earthquakes were named Fukushima in one language or another.

Earthquake shocks are not the only recurring nightmare to haunt the survivors of the record quake that killed 19, 630. Typhoon Hagibis slammed into Tamura City in October 2019, and swept away an unknown number of bags of radioactive debris that had been stacked near a river.

Since March 2011, over 22 million cubic meters of contaminated soil, brush and other matter from areas hard hit by fallout has been collected in large black plastic bags and piled in temporary storage mounds in thousands of places. (“Fukushima residents fight state plan to build roads with radiation-tainted soil,” Koydo, Japan Times, Apr. 29, 2018) Yet the volume is the tip of the iceberg: According to R. Ramachandran, in The Hindu, January 31, 2020, no decontamination activities are planned for the majority of forested areas which cover about 75 per cent of the main contaminated area of 9,000 square km.”

Cover-ups and disinformation Continue reading

March 15, 2021 Posted by | General News | Leave a comment