Tritium Exposé — Fairewinds Energy Education

” Supporters of atomic power, who are not scientists, have been able to broadcast their opinions to the public with hellacious titles such as Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics: Putting Indian Point Hysteria in Perspective by attorney and lobbyist Jerry Kremer for the Huffington Post. In an effort to combat misinformation and keep you informed, Fairewinds reached out to international radiation expert Dr. Ian Fairlie to clear up the false assurances and scientific denial spread by the nuclear industry and its chums.

Tritium, the radioactive isotope and bi-product of nuclear power generation, is making headlines with notable leaks at 75% of all the reactors in the United States, including Indian Point in New York, and Turkey Point in Florida. Speaking with renowned British scientist, Dr. Ian Fairlie, the Fairewinds Crew confirms the magnitude and true risk of tritium to the human body in its three various forms: tritiated water, tritiated air, and organically bound tritium.

Dr. Fairlie is an independent consultant on radioactivity in the environment. He has a degree in radiation biology from Bart’s Hospital in London and did his doctoral studies at Imperial College in London and Princeton University, concerning the radiological hazards of nuclear fuel reprocessing. Ian was formerly with the United Kingdom’s Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs specializing in radiation risks from nuclear power stations. From 2000 to 2004, he was head of the Secretariat to the UK Government’s CERRIE Committee examining radiation risk of internal emitters. Since retiring from government service, he has acted as consultant to the European Parliament. ”

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Is it safe to dump Fukushima waste into the sea? — The Guardian; Inquisitr

” More than 1,000 tanks brimming with irradiated water stand inland from the Fukushima nuclear plant. Each day 300 tonnes of water are pumped through Fukushima’s ruined reactors to keep them cool. As the water washes through the plant it collects a slew of radioactive particles.

The company that owns the plant – The Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) – has deployed filtration devices that have stripped very dangerous isotopes of strontium and caesium from the flow.

But the water being stored in the tanks still contains tritium, an isotope of hydrogen with two neutrons. Tritium is a major by-product of nuclear reactions and is difficult and expensive to remove from water.

Now, Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) has launched a campaign to convince a sceptical world that dumping up to 800,000 tonnes of contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean is a safe and responsible thing to do.

NRA chairman Shunichi Tanaka has officially called on Tepco to work towards a release. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) last year also issued a call for a release to be considered and for Tepco to perform an assessment of the potential impacts. For its part, Tepco has said there are no current plans to release the water. But the Associated Press (AP) reported that company officials are saying in private that they may have no choice.

According to Tanaka, Tritium is “so weak in its radioactivity it won’t penetrate plastic wrapping”. The substance can be harmful if ingested. According to AP, Tanaka had demonstrated the relatively tiny amount of tritium present in the combined Fukushima standing tanks – 57ml in total – by holding a small bottle half full of blue liquid in front of reporters.

A more useful measure of the amount of tritium is its radioactivity, which is measured in becquerels. According to the NRA, the tanks at Fukushima contain 3.4 peta becquerels (PBq) of tritium.

Despite the number of zeros in this measurement (there are 14), this is not a big number, said Ken Buesseler, a senior scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

To put it in context, the natural global accumulation of tritium is a relatively tiny 2,200 PBq. The isotope has a half life of 12.3 years and is only created naturally on Earth by a rare reaction between cosmic rays and the atmosphere. By far the largest source of tritium in our environment is the nuclear weapons testing program of last century, which dumped a total of 186,000 PBq into the world’s oceans. Over time this has decayed to roughly 8,000 PBq. Another significant source of tritium are nuclear power stations, which have long dumped tritium-contaminated water into the ocean.

“I would think more has been put into the Irish Sea [from the UK’s Sellafield plant] than would ever be released off Japan,” said Buesseler. So far, the Fukushima disaster has seen 0.1-0.5 PBq leaked or released into the Pacific.

Even if all of the contaminated water were released into the ocean, it would not contain enough tritium to be detectable by the time it dispersed and reached the US west coast about four years later, said Simon Boxall, an oceanographer at the University of Southampton.

“In the broad scale of things, if they do end up putting the material in the Pacific, it will have minimal effect on an ocean basin scale,” said Boxall. “In an ideal world, we wouldn’t be in this situation. But the question is, what is the safest way forward? In many ways this is a pragmatic solution.”

But Boxall said there may be local effects – especially on the already heavily impacted fishing industry – as the contaminated water would take time to disperse.

International maritime law prohibits the building of a pipeline to send the waste offshore. Therefore any release would need to be slow. Tepco did not respond to questions regarding the environmental impact study called for by the IAEA.

Despite harbouring few prima facie fears about the 3.4PBq of tritium stored at Fukushima, Buesseler said the lack of transparency surrounding much of the post-tsunami decommissioning process made it impossible to be definitive about the safety of any course of action.

“Until you get the hard data, it’s hard to say if it’s a good idea or not. I want to have independent confirmation of what’s in every tank, which isotopes, how much they want to release per day. You get more of ‘don’t worry, trust us’,” said Buesseler

He notes that there have been minor differences between the official Tepco line that all leaks have stopped and Buesseler’s own measurements of very low levels of caesium and strontium still entering the ocean from the plant.

“It’s easy to have conspiracy theories when no-one is independently assessing what is going on,” he said.

The push for release will also be a blow to the hopes of US start-up Kurion, and their new parent company Veolia, which was awarded a $10m (£7m) grant from the Japanese government in 2014 to demonstrate that its tritium scrubbing technology could be scaled to meet the challenge of the Fukushima problem. The plan would create 90,000 tonnes of hydrogen gas, which Kurion said could be used to power vehicles.

Neither Tepco, nor Kurion, responded to requests for cost estimates of implementing this technology at the site. Kurion’s website calls it “cost-effective” and has said it could have its demonstration plant running within 18 months.

These costs are fundamental to the question of whether to release the material, because whatever they are, it is the price Japan seems unwilling to pay to fully clean up the lingering mess at Fukushima. ”

by Karl Mathiesen

source

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Here’s another perspective on the dumping of tritiated water in the Pacific by Inquisitr.

Wild radioactive Fukushima boars breed like rabbits, ravage local countryside — RT

” Northern Japan is raising an alarm, as the area surrounding the Fukushima Nuclear disaster zone has been overwhelmed by radioactive wild boars, whose population has increased dramatically over the past 4 years, as they breed freely in the exclusion zone.

With the number of animals steadily growing, the boar population has been devastating the crops of farms in the area. Since the nuclear disaster of 2011, damage to agriculture caused by boars in the Fukushima prefecture has doubled, amounting to some $15 million, according to a report from The Times. Boars also pose a threat to public safety, as reports of rampaging wild beast injuring local residents while roaming the streets have become more frequent over the past few years.

As boars do not have any natural predators to keep their population in check, local governments all over Japan have been organizing big hunting parties to decrease the population. In the three years prior to 2014, the number of boars killed increased more than four times, from 3,000 to 13,000. As reported by Yomiuri news outlet, the government in Fukushima has been offering rewards to hunters in order to “inspire” them to cull the boars. Despite the effort, however, the effect has been limited, as the animals reproduce quickly.

Scientists from the Fukushima University Environmental Radioactivity Institute, who have been researching the spread of radioactive materials in the disaster area, have been looking into the reasons for the explosion in the boar population.“Wild boar along with raccoon have been taking advantage of the evacuation zone, entering vacant houses in areas damaged by the [disaster], and using them as breeding places or burrows,” assistant ecology professor Okuda Keitokunin said,  as quoted by the Japanese Mainichi newspaper in March.

Adding to the problem is the fact that local cities have been running out of burial space for boars. In the city of Nihonmatsu, some 56 kilometers from the Fukushima plant, three mass graves large enough to hold 600 boars each are reportedly almost full, with the local government saying it has run out of spare land. Local hunters have even been reduced to burying the corpses on their own premises.

Authorities have also been burning boar corpses in municipal incinerators, but the task of cutting up animals weighing 100 kilograms each to get them into the furnace is not a dream job, and there is a shortage of personnel capable of performing the task.

Despite boar meat being considered a delicacy in northern Japan, the meat of wild boars from Fukushima area is not suitable for human consumption because it contains high concentrations of radioactive substances. Normally one of the healthiest red meats, very high in protein, Fukushima’s wild boars have become quite the opposite of “healthy nutrition,” as they normally eat roots, nuts, berries and smaller animals from the forest floor, which is where the highest levels of radioactive fallout, typically  washed down by the rain, is concentrated. The radioactive element caesium-137 has been reportedly discovered in animals from the area at levels 300 times higher than the regulatory standard for human consumption. Local authorities have been issuing warnings to residents asking them to refrain from eating boar meat.

There is no evidence so far that the health of the boars has been affected by exposure to radiation, but studies have found evidence of damage in smaller animals, like rats, as well as plants. In high radiation areas, DNA damage has also been discovered in earthworms, and growth mutations have been identified in fir trees, the Times reports. … ”

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Arirang special: Fukushima and its aftermath (후쿠시마, 그 이후) — Arirang

This is an excellent video that explains concerns of radiation exposure in Japan and the safety standards for radiation in foods sold in Korea.

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Children’s book connects stories of Fukushima and Chernobyl — The Asahi Shimbun

” Inspired by a letter sent to her by a young reader, author Shoko Nakazawa revived a past work and penned an entirely new illustrated children’s book on nuclear disasters in Fukushima and Chernobyl.

In 1988, Nakazawa’s “Ashita wa Hareta Sora no Shita de Bokutachi no Chernobyl” (Tomorrow, under a fair sky, our Chernobyl) was released by Choubunsha Publishing Co.

In the letter, a junior high school student in Yokohama who read the book after the triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant wanted to know how such an incident occurred when humans had surely learned of nuclear horrors from the Chernobyl accident in Ukraine in 1986.

The student asked what adults had done to prevent the Fukushima disaster. Because her 1988 book had long been out of print, Nakazawa, 63, first went about having it republished in summer 2011.

She also wrote a new work, recently published by Iwasaki Publishing Co., titled “Kobuta Monogatari Chernobyl kara Fukushima e” (A tale of piglets, from Chernobyl to Fukushima). The book sells for 1,300 yen, tax exclusive.

The two parts of the book involve little girls living in Chernobyl and Fukushima. Tanya lives in Chernobyl and has a pet piglet named Marumaru. Their peaceful life is turned upside down by the nuclear accident that forces all residents to evacuate.

Marumaru is left behind on the farm and time passes as the piglet waits for Tanya and her family to return. They never do.

The Fukushima portion involves a girl named Natsuko and her pet piglet Momo. They are also separated by the Fukushima nuclear accident.

A temporary lifting of the evacuation order allows Natsuko and her mother to return home. However, the mother does not recognize Momo, who is now filthy because no one was around to take care of the animal. The mother shooes the piglet away in a harsh voice.

The two parts of the book are connected because Natsuko’s mother had come to know Tanya when she visited Japan more than 20 years ago. Tanya even sent a letter to Natsuko’s mother in which she wrote, “Please do not forget us.”

During their short stay at home, the mother comes across that letter again and breaks down crying.

“I forgot everything.”

A key turning point in Nakazawa’s life was moving to Hiroshima from Nagoya before she entered junior high school. Most of her friends had parents who were hibakusha. Nakazawa herself was shocked when she saw the exhibit about the horrors of the atomic bombing at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum.

She is concerned about recent moves to resume operations at nuclear power plants around Japan.

“We are once again trying to forget,” she said. “I hope the book becomes a catalyst to rethink a civilization that exists upon something like ‘nuclear power’ that simply cannot co-exist with humans and nature.” ”

By Wataru Nestu

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Japan lawyer wants no-nukes after Fukushima — The Associated Press via Phys.org

” Lawyer Hiroyuki Kawai stands out in Japan, a nation dominated by somber dark suits: When not in a courtroom, he often wears colorful shirts and crystal-covered animal pins. He is a Noh dancer, a tenor and, of late, a filmmaker. His ride is a Harley.

Some of it is just for fun, but much of the flamboyance is meant to draw attention to his cause: shutting down all nuclear plants in Japan. His more than two-decade-long legal battle is gaining momentum after the multiple meltdowns in Fukushima five years ago led to all plants being idled for safety checks.

In March, Kawai helped set up an organization to support Fukushima residents whose children have developed thyroid cancer since the 2011 disaster—166 among 380,000 people 18 years and under who were tested, including suspected cases. That’s up to 50 times higher than on average, according to Toshihide Tsuda, a professor at Okayama University.

The Japanese government denies any link, saying the increase reflects more rigorous screening. Thyroid cancer, rare among children at two or three in a million, soared after the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

Also last month, Kawai’s won a court injunction to stop two nuclear reactors in western Japan that had recently restarted. The district court cited concerns about safety, emergency planning and environmental contamination. One of the reactors was shut down shortly after its restart because of glitches. Both had met stricter standards upgraded after the 2011 disaster.

Kawai’s team is pursuing damage compensation for those evacuated from Fukushima, and criminal charges against former executives of Tokyo Electric Power Co., which operates the Fukushima plant. His ultimate goal is to banish nuclear power.

“If another nuclear accident ever happens in Japan, everything will be destroyed—turning upside down our politics, our economy, our education, our culture, our love, our law,” Kawai told The Associated Press, sitting at a desk overflowing with files and papers in his Tokyo office.

Born in 1944 in Manchuria, northeastern China, Kawaii has built a reputation as a champion of humanitarian causes, helping out Japanese abandoned as children in China after World War II, and Filipinos of Japanese descent in the Philippines. His compassion is driven partly by his own experience: A baby brother died of starvation during his family’s perilous journey back to Japan.

After graduating from prestigious Tokyo University, Kawai represented major corporations as a lawyer during the “bubble era” of the 1980s. In the mid-1990s he began taking on lawsuits against nuclear power.

Until 2011, he was fighting a losing battle.

To win over regular people after the Fukushima accident Kawai started making movies, which are sometimes entered as evidence for his court cases. In “Nuclear Japan,” he points out how precariously quake- and tsunami-prone Japan is, and how densely populated. He interviews scientists, former Fukushima residents, a fire fighter who could not go back to save lives because of radiation.

“Imagine remembering this film in an evacuation center after the next nuclear disaster,” Kawai narrates in the movie.

Since Japan imports almost all its energy, many in government and business view nuclear power as the cheapest option, and the best way to curb pollution and counter global warming.

Kawai’s stance angers many in the powerful business community. Hiroshi Sato, a senior adviser at Kobe Steel, lambasted Kawai’s position as “emotional” and “unscientific.”

“What I’m really worried about is the idea of similar lawsuits being filed one after another. That would lead to uncertainty about a stable electricity supply,” he told reporters recently.

Even those who insist nuclear power is safe—including top government regulator Shunichi Tanaka and Gerry Thomas, a professor at the Imperial College of London who advises Japan—say the choice of whether to keep or abandon nuclear energy should be left to the Japanese people.

Kawai believes policy shifts, like the turn against nuclear in Germany, begin in the courtroom.

“For 50 years, Japan had a campaign that we need nuclear power, and how it is reliable and safe, and 99 percent of Japanese believed this,” he said.

“But we thought we could finally win, and about 300 lawyers came together to start a new fight against nuclear power,” he said with a zeal making him appear younger than his 71 years.

Financially independent thanks to his corporate law days, Kawai invested 35 million yen ($350,000) in his first movie, which turned a profit from screenings and DVD sales. He is now working on his third film.

“I think he is fantastic,” said Yurika Ayukawa, a professor of policy at Chiba University of Commerce. She attended at a recent screening where Kawai spoke and surprised the crowd by breaking into a song on Iitate, one of rural Fukushima’s most radiated areas.

Radiation is a sensitive issue in Japan, the only country to suffer atomic bomb attacks, and the Fukushima thyroid cancer patients and their families mostly have kept silent, fearing a social backlash. They face pressure from the hospital treating their children not to speak to media or to question the official view that the illnesses are unrelated to radiation.

Two of the patients’ families appeared recently with Kawai before reporters, although in a video-call with their faces not shown. They said they felt doubtful, afraid and isolated. Kawai believes they are entitled to compensation, though they have not yet filed a lawsuit.

George Fujita, an attorney who specializes in environmental issues, says Kawai is Japan’s top lawyer on nuclear lawsuits. … ”

by Yuri Kageyama And Mari Yamaguchi

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