Citizen-Scientist International Symposium on Radiation Protection – IAEA and UNSCEAR criticism

Starting at 37 minutes, Dr. Keith Baverstock states an important opinion. He asserts that there needs to be better international oversight of the ongoing disaster in Fukushima. The Japanese government needs to put pressure on international organizations, such as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for reform. The IAEA needs to clarify its role. “It [the IAEA] cannot continue to be the promoter of nuclear power and the organization responsible for safety. The failure of the IAEA to respond in this particular instance is very good ammunition to move towards getting that view heard at the UN General Assembly, and that would be something which politicians would have to do.” There is a lack of information presented in the media and a lack of general understanding of the situation in Europe. There needs to be a proper risk assessment of the Fukushima disaster because UNSCEAR has not provided one. The accident needs to be properly evaluated by an independent group.

see Dr. Baverstock’s bio here.

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Less than 15 percent of evacuees want to return to Fukushima homes — The Asahi Shimbun

” An increasing number of evacuees are reluctant to return home in two municipalities that became ghost towns four-and-a-half years ago following the disaster at the nearby Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, a survey showed.

When asked if they would return to their homes once the evacuation order on the towns was lifted, 50.8 percent of households in the town of Tomioka and 63.5 percent of households in Okuma said “no” in the survey.

Compared with a survey last year, that is a 1.4 percentage point increase for Tomioka and a 5.6 percentage point rise for Okuma.

Some 13.9 percent of households in Tomioka, up 2.0 percentage points, and 11.4 percent of Okuma households, down 1.9 percentage points, said “yes” to the question.

The percentage of households that were undecided was 29.4 percent in Tomioka, a 1.3 percentage point decrease, and 17.3 percent for Okuma, down 8.6 percentage points.

In August, all households from the two towns in Fukushima Prefecture were sent the surveys in a joint study conducted by the Reconstruction Agency, the Fukushima prefectural government and the two municipal governments.

The response rates were 51.4 percent for Tomioka and 50 percent for Okuma.

The central government is doing everything it can to encourage evacuees to return home, including lifting evacuation orders in some areas and establishing deadlines for receiving compensation for damages caused by the nuclear disaster. ”

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Japan’s nuclear energy choices — Kathleen Araujo, The Japan Times

Read Kathleen Araujo analysis of Japan’s energy policy. She is an assistant professor at Stony Brook University, specializing in national decision-making on energy-environmental systems, and science and technology policy. This article is copyrighted by The Diplomat and distributed by Tribune Content Agency. You can read the article via The Japan Times.

Japan on track for another nuclear reactor restart — The Economic Times

” TOKYO: A local Japanese governor on Monday approved the restarting of another nuclear reactor, the latest due to be switched on despite strong public opposition to atomic power after the Fukushima accident.

The key approval paves the way for Shikoku Electric Power to switch on a reactor at its Ikata power plant in the southwestern prefecture of Ehime, with the restart likely to happen next year under tougher post-Fukushima safety rules.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government has been pushing for a return to nuclear power to generate electricity after Japan’s several dozen reactors went offline in the wake of the 2011 disaster.

The resource-poor nation’s energy bill has soared since it was forced to turn to fossil-fuel imports to plug the gap.

But the Japanese public remains wary of atomic power, and Abe’s push has prompted rare protests and damaged his popularity.

Last week officials said a man who had worked at Fukushima after the crisis had been diagnosed with the first confirmed case of radiation-linked cancer, a revelation likely to fan fears about nuclear power.

Two reactors in the southern prefecture of Kagoshima have been switched on since the summer after receiving the go-ahead from local authorities.

The restarting of another pair of reactors has been held up by legal challenges.

Ehime governor Tokihiro Nakamura said Monday he authorised the restart due to costs and nuclear’s reliability as a stable energy source.

But “I want (Shikoku Power) to adopt all measures to ensure safety,” he told the company’s president in a televised meeting.

Tokyo has said it would not go ahead with reactor restarts unless it won the support of local leaders.

A tsunami sparked by an earthquake swamped reactor cooling systems at Fukushima and sent some into meltdown.

The worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986 spewed radiation over a wide area and forced tens of thousands from their homes, many of whom will likely never return. ”

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Tepco completes sea wall to keep tainted Fukushima No. 1 water from reaching sea — The Japan Times

” Tokyo Electric Power Co. announced completion Monday of a 780-meter coastal wall along the heavily damaged reactor buildings of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

Tepco hopes the wall will significantly reduce the amount of contaminated water that has continued to flow into the Pacific more than four years after the 2011 meltdown crisis.

The gigantic wall, which the utility describes as impermeable, has an underground section that reaches as deep as 30 meters. It will reduce the amount of tainted water flowing into the sea from 400 tons to 10 tons a day, according to Tepco’s estimate.

Until Monday, about 400 tons of groundwater was draining along the sides of the buildings and into the sea each day, after being contaminated with fallout from the 2011 meltdown crisis, according to Tepco.

The utility says an estimated 150 tons of underground water is still flowing into the basements of the damaged reactor buildings each day.

The water, some of which has been circulated to cool melted nuclear fuel, is believed to be kept in place within the buildings by pressure exerted by higher underground water levels outside the buildings.

Last month, Tepco, after finally securing the consent of the local fishing industry, started draining underground water from around the plant buildings and dumping it into the sea after subjecting it to decontamination processes.

The launch of this draining operation put Tepco in a position to close the wall’s last 10-meter opening Monday.

The wall is now expected to reduce the amount of radioactive cesium and strontium entering the sea to one-fortieth of previous levels, and that of tritium to one-fifteenth of the previous levels, Tepco officials claimed.

Around 10 a.m., plant workers drove nine 30-meter steel pipes into the ground and injected mortar to fill the gaps between them, thereby closing the wall and mitigating the leakage of what Tepco calls “slightly tainted water” into the sea.

Recent tests of water samples from the nearby sea have detected radioactive substances such as cesium-137 and strontium-90, but scientists have said the density is so low that it poses no immediate danger to human health.

Yet, the ongoing flow of tainted water from the plant has raised anxiety and concerns among local fishermen and many consumers across the country.

Tepco plans to keep monitoring the density of radioactive materials in the nearby sea over the next month.

To isolate the four reactor buildings from the underground water, Tepco hopes to freeze the soil around them by the end of this year with coolant equipment already buried in the ground.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority has yet to give permission for the operation, saying creation of frozen soil could drastically change the underground water level around the plant.

If the water level outside falls lower than that inside, the contaminated water could leak out.

Meanwhile, Tepco has not explained exactly how it will control the water levels, an NRA official said. ”

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Nearly 40% of Fukushima evacuation personnel exposed to over 1 millisievert — The Japan Times

” Nearly 40 percent of all Self-Defense Forces personnel, police and firefighters who helped evacuate residents during the Fukushima nuclear crisis in 2011 were exposed to more than a millisievert of radiation — the annual limit for the general public, according to a Cabinet Office study.

Four years after the triple core meltdown, the Cabinet Office surveyed for the first time 2,967 personnel who carried out evacuations within 20 km of the Fukushima No. 1 power plant, as well as decontamination and other related activities from March 12 to 31 that year.

The data were reportedly tallied from dosimeter readings.

The study found that around 62 percent of the personnel were exposed to less than a millisievert and that 38 percent were exposed to a millisievert or more.

Of the latter group, 19 percent received 1 to 2 millisieverts and 5 percent received 5 to 10 millisieverts.

Daily radiation doses remained high until around March 15 — when the third reactor building was hit by a hydrogen explosion — and dropped below 0.1 millisievert from March 18.

The Cabinet Office disclosed the data during a meeting on ways to mitigate radiation exposure for civilians engaged in evacuation procedures during a nuclear accident.

The government is pushing to reactivate the nation’s idled reactors if they clear safety requirements imposed in the wake of the man-made crisis triggered by the earthquake and tsunami on March 11. But public concern persists about whether smooth evacuations are even feasible for nuclear accidents.

The government plans to set a 1-millisievert limit for civilians used in evacuations, such as bus drivers. But some drivers are reluctant to accept the proposal.

While the maximum dose for ordinary people is 1 millisievert per year, the limits for nuclear workers — 100 millisieverts over five years and 50 millisieverts per year in normal times — can be raised in emergencies. ”

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