Editorial: No more half-baked plans for decommissioning Fukushima reactors — The Asahi Shimbun

” For the first time in two years, the government and Tokyo Electric Power Co. have announced a revised mid- to long-term road map for decommissioning nuclear reactors at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 power station. The removal of spent nuclear fuel from storage pools at the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 reactors will be delayed by up to three years.

The government and TEPCO explained this delay is due to their new policy of “risk reduction over speed.”

This delay, right from the start, must mean that the old road map was poorly planned.

Are the government and TEPCO really able to now foretell that the delay will be three years at most? And why was risk reduction not their top priority until now?

The government and TEPCO must draw concrete lessons from all the delays to date and apply the lessons to the long-term decommissioning road map.

Spent nuclear fuel in the fuel pools must be removed to a safe place as soon as possible. Delays in its removal are caused by the time-consuming preparatory work of debris removal and decontamination of workspace floors.

In autumn 2013, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared in his 2020 Olympics bid speech that the situation was “under control.”

Since then, it has become abundantly clear that the situation is anything but under control, and that the previous decommissioning road map failed to accurately assess the high level and extensive spread of radiation contamination.

Removing debris releases radioactive substances into the atmosphere, possibly causing them to spread beyond the plant grounds. Delays in decontamination expose workers to higher doses of radiation and limit their working hours.

Although nobody knew the amount or exact location of melted fuel in the reactors, the old road map indicated the “flooding method” of removal, meaning the containment vessels of the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 reactors were to be filled with water. This method is similar to the usual removal method.

But probing the conditions of the containment vessels by various means revealed the difficulties of stopping the water leakage and problems regarding earthquake-proofing. It is only natural that the new road map proposes to reject the flooding method for the time being and study other removal methods over the next two years.

What we do not understand is why the government and TEPCO continued to reject the recommendation of outside experts to study the matter more broadly.

Last month, TEPCO announced the “completion” of processing a massive amount of highly contaminated water that had collected in clusters of storage tanks. But work is still continuing on separating radioactive substances from about 300 tons of highly contaminated water, which is generated every day. Any water still contaminated by unremoved tritium continues to remain in the tanks.

The decommissioning of reactors after a nuclear disaster is a truly challenging task that Japan has never experienced before.

The government and TEPCO must proceed by prioritizing risk reduction while explaining the situation to the local communities and the nation at large to win their understanding of the decommissioning work itself. ”

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Editorial: New technology to help resolve Fukushima nuclear crisis needs gov’t backing — The Mainichi; South China Morning Post

” The Japanese government has once again revised the work schedule for decommissioning reactors at the triple-meltdown-stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant. The last major change was in June 2013, and this one pushes back the removal of spent fuel rods from the fuel pools of the No. 1-3 reactors by as much as three years. The delay is due to unexpected difficulties preventing the escape of airborne radioactive contaminants during decontamination and wreckage clearing work.
Decommissioning reactors at the heart of one of the world’s worst nuclear disasters is of course bound to be extremely difficult, and this reality is coming into sharp relief.

Progress on dismantling the Fukushima reactors has a direct bearing on both overall regional disaster recovery and when local residents will be able to finally return home. As such, we call on both the government and plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. to develop a reactor decommissioning strategy with a solid strategic foundation, and to thoroughly release information on the process.
The latest revisions to the decommissioning work schedule were based on the basic principle of putting the safety of locals and plant workers first. The first version of the work schedule was obsessed with speed. The result was a rash of worker injuries and deaths and other problems that ended up causing progress to be delayed. Rather than making speed top priority, it’s more important to carefully and surely reduce the various risks related to the Fukushima plant.

The jobs with the highest priority under the work plan’s latest iteration are the recovery of nuclear fuel rods from the fuel pools, and dealing with the vast quantities of radioactively contaminated water produced at the plant. Though these tasks are certainly important, the most difficult hurdle in the decommissioning process will be extracting the melted fuel from inside the stricken reactor vessels. Under the new schedule, this is set to start on just one of the reactors sometime in the year 2021.

That’s some six years away, but the path from here to there remains foggy at best. First of all, no one knows for sure exactly what state the fuel is in or even where it is in the reactor housings.

The method for getting the fuel out is also up in the air. At first, planners thought it best to fill the reactor vessels with water to suppress the intense radiation when the operation began. This fell by the wayside, however, when it turned out to be difficult to identify damaged spots on the reactor vessels and stop water from escaping. Now, an in-air removal method is being considered, though entirely new equipment will need to be developed to perform the operation in the highly radioactive environment while at the same time preventing contaminants from getting airborne.

There are a number of research institutes and universities across Japan that are receiving government support to invent the technology needed for this reactor decommissioning work. The “control tower” for these efforts is the Nuclear Damage Compensation and Decommissioning Facilitation Corp. (NDF), created by the government in August last year. The corporation is tasked with overseeing each project from basic research through to practical application, and to optimize the development process.

The NDF, however, has just 35 or so technical staff. It’s an open question whether the NDF can exercise effective oversight for such a wide program with so few people. The government is trying to enhance the corporation’s functions, but there have been no concrete measures forthcoming so far. At this rate, might the 30-40 year target to decommission the Fukushima reactors come under serious pressure?

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said more than once that “the national government stands on the front lines” of the efforts to deal with the decommissioning work. Then more than ever, the government must create a system to provide full and complete support for the technology research and development projects needed to finally bring the nuclear crisis to an end. ”

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Also read a similar article by the South China Morning Post: “Scale of Fukushima clean-up revealed as decommissioning ‘road map’ is revised

What’s really going on at Fukushima? — Counterpunch

By Robert Hunziker: ” Fukushima’s still radiating, self-perpetuating, immeasurable, and limitless, like a horrible incorrigible Doctor Who monster encounter in deep space.

Fukushima will likely go down in history as the biggest cover-up of the 21st Century. Governments and corporations are not leveling with citizens about the risks and dangers; similarly, truth itself, as an ethical standard, is at risk of going to shambles as the glue that holds together the trust and belief in society’s institutions. Ultimately, this is an example of how societies fail.

Tens of thousands of Fukushima residents remain in temporary housing more than four years after the horrific disaster of March 2011. Some areas on the outskirts of Fukushima have officially reopened to former residents, but many of those former residents are reluctant to return home because of widespread distrust of government claims that it is okay and safe.

Part of this reluctance has to do with radiation’s symptoms. It is insidious because it cannot be detected by human senses. People are not biologically equipped to feel its power, or see, or hear, touch or smell it (Caldicott). Not only that, it slowly accumulates over time in a dastardly fashion that serves to hide its effects until it is too late.

Chernobyl’s Destruction Mirrors Fukushima’s Future

As an example of how media fails to deal with disaster blowback, here are some Chernobyl facts that have not received enough widespread news coverage: Over one million (1,000,000) people have already died from Chernobyl’s fallout.

Additionally, the Rechitsa Orphanage in Belarus has been caring for a very large population of deathly sick and deformed children. Children are 10 to 20 times more sensitive to radiation than adults.

Zhuravichi Children’s Home is another institution, among many, for the Chernobyl-stricken: “The home is hidden deep in the countryside and, even today, the majority of people in Belarus are not aware of the existence of such institutions” (Source: Chernobyl Children’s Project-UK).

One million (1,000,000) is a lot of dead people. But, how many more will die? Approximately seven million (7,000,000) people in the Chernobyl vicinity were hit with one of the most potent exposures to radiation in the history of the Atomic Age.

The exclusion zone around Chernobyl is known as “Death Valley.” It has been increased from 30 to 70 square kilometres. No humans will ever be able to live in the zone again. It is a permanent “dead zone.”

Additionally, over 25,000 died and 70,000 disabled because of exposure to extremely dangerous levels of radiation in order to help contain Chernobyl. Twenty percent of those deaths were suicides, as the slow agonizing “death march of radiation exposure” was too much to endure.

Fukushima- The Real Story

In late 2014, Helen Caldicott, M.D. gave a speech about Fukushima at Seattle Town Hall (9/28/14). Pirate Television recorded her speech; here’s the link:

Dr. Helen Caldicott is co-founder of Physicians for Social Responsibility, and she is author/editor of Crisis Without End: The Medical and Ecological Consequences of the Fukushima Nuclear Catastrophe, The New Press, September 2014. For over four decades Dr. Caldicott has been the embodiment of the anti-nuclear banner, and as such, many people around the world classify her as a “national treasure”. She’s truthful and honest and knowledgeable.

Fukushima is literally a time bomb in quiescence. Another powerful quake and all hell could break loose. Also, it is not even close to being under control. Rather, it is totally out of control. According to Dr. Caldicott, “It’s still possible that Tokyo may have to be evacuated, depending upon how things go.” Imagine that!

According to Japan Times as of March 11, 2015: “There have been quite a few accidents and problems at the Fukushima plant in the past year, and we need to face the reality that they are causing anxiety and anger among people in Fukushima, as explained by Shunichi Tanaka at the Nuclear Regulation Authority. Furthermore, Mr. Tanaka said, there are numerous risks that could cause various accidents and problems.”

Even more ominously, Seiichi Mizuno, a former member of Japan’s House of Councillors (Upper House of Parliament, 1995-2001) in March 2015 said: “The biggest problem is the melt-through of reactor cores… We have groundwater contamination… The idea that the contaminated water is somehow blocked in the harbor is especially absurd. It is leaking directly into the ocean. There’s evidence of more than 40 known hotspot areas where extremely contaminated water is flowing directly into the ocean… We face huge problems with no prospect of solution.” (Source: Nuclear Hotseat #194: Fukushima 4th Anniversary – Voices from Japan, March 10, 2015, http://www.nuclearhotseat.com/2468/)

At Fukushima, each reactor required one million gallons of water per minute for cooling, but when the tsunami hit, the backup diesel generators were drowned. Units 1, 2, and 3 had meltdowns within days. There were four hydrogen explosions. Thereafter, the melting cores burrowed into the container vessels, maybe into the earth.

According to Dr. Caldicott, “One hundred tons of terribly hot radioactive lava has already gone into the earth or somewhere within the container vessels, which are all cracked and broken.” Nobody really knows for sure where the hot radioactive lava resides. The scary unanswered question: Is it the China Syndrome?

Following the meltdown, the Japanese government did not inform people of the ambient levels of radiation that blew back onto the island. Unfortunately and mistakenly, people fled away from the reactors to the highest radiation levels on the island at the time.

As the disaster happened, enormous levels of radiation hit Tokyo. The highest radiation detected in the Tokyo Metro area was in Saitama with cesium radiation levels detected at 919,000 becquerel (Bq) per square meter, a level almost twice as high as Chernobyl’s “permanent dead zone evacuation limit of 500,000 Bq” (source: Radiation Defense Project). For that reason, Dr. Caldicott strongly advises against travel to Japan and recommends avoiding Japanese food.

Even so, post the Fukushima disaster, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton signed an agreement with Japan that the U.S. would continue importing Japanese foodstuff. Therefore, Dr. Caldicott suggests people not vote for Hillary Clinton. One reckless dangerous precedent is enough for her.

According to Arnie Gundersen, an energy advisor with 39 years of nuclear power engineering experience, as reported in The Canadian on August 15, 2011: “The US government has come up with a decision at the highest levels of the State Department, as well as other departments who made a decision to downplay Fukushima. In April, the month after the powerful tsunami and earthquake crippled Japan including its nuclear power plant, Hillary Clinton signed a pact with Japan that she agreed there is no problem with Japanese food supply and we will continue to buy them. So, we are not sampling food coming in from Japan.”

However, in stark contrast to the United States, in Europe Angela Merkel, PhD physics, University of Leipzig and current chancellor of Germany is shutting down all nuclear reactors because of Fukushima.

Maybe an advanced degree in physics makes the difference in how a leader approaches the nuclear power issue. It certainly looks that way when comparing/contrasting the two pantsuit-wearing leaders, Chancellor Merkel and former secretary of state Clinton.

After the Fukushima blow up, ambient levels of radiation in Washington State went up 40,000 times above normal, but according to Dr. Caldicott, the U.S. media does not cover the “ongoing Fukushima mess.” So, who would really know?

Dr. Caldicott ended her speech on Sept. 2014 by saying: “In Fukushima, it is not over. Everyday, four hundred tons of highly radioactive water pours into the Pacific and heads towards the U.S. Because the radiation accumulates in fish, we get that too. The U.S. government is not testing the water, not testing the fish, and not testing the ambient air. Also, people in Japan are eating radiation every day.”

Furthermore, according to Dr. Caldicott: “Rainwater washes over the nuclear cores into the Pacific. There is no way they can get to those cores, men die, robots get fried. Fukushima will never be solved. Meanwhile, people are still living in highly radioactive areas.”

Fukushima will never be solved because “men die” and “robots get fried.” By the sounds of it, Fukushima is a perpetual radiation meltdown scenario that literally sets on the edge of a bottomless doomsday pit, in waiting to be nudged over.

UN All-Clear Report

A UN (UNSCEAR) report on April 2, 2014 on health impacts of the Fukushima accident concluded that any radiation-induced effects would be too small to identify. People were well protected and received “low or very low” radiation doses. UNSCEAR gave an all-clear report.

Rebuttal of the UNSCEAR report by the German affiliate of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War d/d July 18, 2014 takes a defiant stance in opposition to the UN report, to wit: “The Fukushima nuclear disaster is far from over. Despite the declaration of ‘cold shutdown’ by the Japanese government in December 2011, the crippled reactors have not yet achieved a stable status and even UNSCEAR admits that emissions of radioisotopes are continuing unabated. 188 TEPCO is struggling with an enormous amount of contaminated water, which continues to leak into the surrounding soil and sea. Large quantities of contaminated cooling water are accumulating at the site. Failures in the makeshift cooling systems are occurring repeatedly. The discharge of radioactive waste will most likely continue for a long time.”

“Both the damaged nuclear reactors and the spent fuel ponds contain vast amounts of radioactivity and are highly vulnerable to further earthquakes, tsunamis, typhoons and human error. Catastrophic releases of radioactivity could occur at any time and eliminating this risk will take many decades… It is impossible at this point in time to come up with an exact prognosis of the effects that the Fukushima nuclear disaster will have on the population in Japan… the UNSCEAR report represents a systematic underestimation and conjures up an illusion of scientific certainty that obscures the true impact of the nuclear catastrophe on health and the environment.”

To read the full text of the rejoinder to the UN report, go to: https://japansafety.wordpress.com/tag/saitama/

Fukushima’s Radiation and the Future

Mari Yamaguchi, Associated Press (AP), June 12, 2015: “Four years after an earthquake and tsunami destroyed Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant, the road ahead remains riddled with unknowns… Experts have yet to pinpoint the exact location of the melted fuel inside the three reactors and study it, and still need to develop robots capable of working safely in such highly radioactive conditions. And then there’s the question of what to do with the waste… serious doubts about whether the cleanup can be completed within 40 years.”

“Although the Chernobyl accident was a terrible accident, it only involved one reactor. With Fukushima, we have the minimum [of] 3 reactors that are emitting dangerous radiation. The work involved to deal with this accident will take tens of years, hundreds of years,” Prof. Hiroaki Koide (retired), Kyoto University Research Reactor Institute, April 25, 2015. “It could be that some of the fuel could actually have gone through the floor of the containment vessel as well… What I’ve just described is very, very logical for anyone who understands nuclear engineering or nuclear energy,” which dreadfully spells-out: THE CHINA SYNDROME.

According to the Smithsonian, April 30, 2015: “Birds Are in a Tailspin Four Years After Fukushima: Bird species are in sharp decline, and it is getting worse over time… Where it’s much, much hotter, it’s dead silent. You’ll see one or two birds if you’re lucky.” Developmental abnormalities of birds include cataracts, tumors, and asymmetries. Birds are spotted with strange white patches on their feathers.

Maya Moore, a former NHK news anchor, authored a book about the disaster: The Rose Garden of Fukushima (Tankobon, 2014), about the roses of Mr. Katsuhide Okada. Today, the garden has perished: “It’s just poisoned wasteland. The last time Mr. Okada actually went back there, he found baby crows that could not fly, that were blind. Mutations have begun with animals, with birds.”

The Rose Garden of Fukushima features a collection of photos of an actual garden that existed in Fukushima, Japan. Boasting over 7500 bushes of roses and 50-thousand visitors a year, the Garden was rendered null and void in an instant due to the triple disaster — earthquake, tsunami, and meltdown.

The forward to Maya’s book was written by John Roos, former US Ambassador to Japan 2009-13: “The incredible tale of Katz Okada and his Fukushima rose garden was told here by Maya Moore… gives you a small window into what the people of Tohoku faced.”

Roos’ “small window” could very well serve as a metaphor for a huge black hole smack dab in the heart of civilization. Similarly, Fukushima is a veritable destruction machine that consumes everything in its path, and beyond, and its path is likely to grow. For certain, it is not going away.

Thus, TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company) is deeply involved in an asymmetric battle against enormously powerful unleashed out-of-control forces of E=mc2.

Clearly, TEPCO has its back to the wall. Furthermore, it’s doubtful TEPCO will “break the back of the beast.” In fact, it may be an impossible task.

Maybe, just maybe, Greater Tokyo’s 38 million residents will eventually be evacuated. Who knows for sure?

Only Godzilla knows! ”

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*UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai — Mitsuhei Murata’s speech, March 16, 2015

The former Japanese ambassador to Switzerland, Mitsuhei Murata, made the following speech at the UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai on March 16, 2015.

” Nuclear disaster and global ethics

Preface

It goes without saying that genuine denuclearization, both military and civilian, makes the greatest contribution to disaster risk reduction.

The increased menace of nuclear terrorism has awakened the world to the urgent task of abolishing all nuclear reactors in the world. It is no longer an ideal, but an imperative necessity to realize the vision of President Obama for a “World without Nuclear Weapons” just as soon as possible.

Global ethics and human rights

Nowadays the drawbacks of nuclear power are evident, and many even consider this method to generate power a high risk. Nuclear technology was born in a period of paternal civilisation and in the belief, that this technology would solve all problems. Today a maternal civilization, which is based on solidarity and tolerance, should replace the paternal system of risk taking and sole reliance on technology.

In the past years I had numerous discussions on the option of introducing a “UN Ethics Summit” as forum for a high level dialogue on ethical issues, convinced that the true cause of the crisis facing the world is the lack of ethics.

Considering the ongoing progressive nuclearisation of the earth, future generations will be innocent victims of radioactive contamination. Measures are definitely required to open the way for eventual and potential radiation victims to file a legal suite before an international institution. It is a serious human rights issue.

In this connection, it should be noted that the permissible annual level of radiation exposure has been dangerously heightened in Japan after the March 11th accident. 1 millisievert (mSv) has been elevated to 20 mSv for residents in affected areas. The government increased the annual limit for nuclear workers’ radiation exposure from 100 mSv to 250 mSv in “emergency situations”. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is reported to have suggested raising the limit to 500 mSv!

The situation of the Fukushima nuclear plant ~ not under control

Units 1, 2 and 3 remain inaccessible because of lethal levels of radiation in the buildings. Their containment vessels need a constant flow of nitrogen to maintain low levels of oxygen in order to prevent hydrogen explosions.

The Japanese Nuclear Regulation Agency is reported to envisage the release of treated contaminated water (241,000 tons out of 590,000 tons) into the sea. The dangers of tritium remind us of its legal releases from the reprocessing plants (Rokkasho-mura and Tokai-mura) that, if operated at nominal capacity, surpass by far the current release from Fukushima.

In the joint petition made in 2003 against the ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor)issued by Dr. Masatoshi Koshiba, Nobel Prize Laureate, and Prof. Akira Hasegawa, Maxwell Prize Laureate, we notice that ITER containing two kilograms of tritium could kill up to two million people.

In spite of all this, the Japanese government is now vigorously promoting the restart of nuclear reactors shut down after the Fukushima disaster.

The world needs to be reminded of the warning of the late German President Richard von Weizsaecker: “Those who close their eyes to the past will remain blind regarding the future.”

Nuclear reactors threaten global security

After Hiroshima, Nagasaki and Fukushima, it has become Japan’s historic role to contribute to the true denuclearization of the earth, both civilian and military.

In Belgium, a steam turbine of the Doel-4 reactor was severely damaged by an act of sabotage last August. The same month, a number of rockets were fired at facilities in Israel (Reuters). These facts alone are sufficient to support the assertion that the mere existence of more than 430 nuclear reactors in the world constitutes the most serious global safety and security problem. Nuclear reactors are no less dangerous than nuclear weapons.

After discovering thousands of additional fault indications in two Belgian reactor pressure vessels, the head of the Belgian safety authorities stated in February 2015: “This is possibly a worldwide problem for the whole nuclear sector. The solution lies in carrying out detailed inspections in all 430 nuclear reactors worldwide”.

Fukushima has shown that the existence of a nuclear reactor itself constitutes a security problem.

Consequently, it is required to strengthen the international control over the safety of more than 430 reactors in the world.

Moreover, we should establish international control over the nuclear policies of the concerned countries and the manner in which these policies are executed .

The fate of the world will be decided by the utility or electric power companies, if no drastic change takes place, learning the lessons of Fukushima.

Japan knows more than any other country the real and present dangers of nuclear reactors. It is a serious security problem that much of the world continues to promote nuclear power generation even after Fukushima, totally ignoring its lessons.

Even after the March 11th disaster, Japan has not revised the basic nuclear law intended to promote nuclear power generation as a national policy! Japan’s governability is now questioned.

It is increasingly pointed out that Fukushima is being forgotten!

Chernobyl is facing a new crisis. The period of durability of the decaying sarcophagus ends in 2016.The building of the shelter being constructed through international cooperation will not be accomplished in time for shortage of fund (615million EUR). Ukraine is faced with serious financial difficulties, in addition to its internal strife with pro-Russian citizens.

A new international system needed

We need a new international system that obliges all the governments struck by a nuclear disaster to consecrate maximum efforts to solve the crisis and to mobilize human wisdom on the widest possible scope to concretize international cooperation.

Fukushima is revealing the limitations of a government facing a national crisis, its longevity being but several years. Nuclear accidents have shown the necessity of coping with their consequences quasi- permanently.

The current Japanese system of coping with the consequences of Fukushima is faulty and needs a drastic change. Japan is in need of international solidarity and powerful international cooperation.

The reform of the IAEA

The IOC continues to ignore the legitimate requests by the public to have an independent assessment team of experts to reassure the safety of Tokyo. The not forthcoming reply from the IOC is based on the official assertions of the Japanese Government whose credibility is more and more questioned. They are in conformity with the position of the IAEA.

It represents the interests of the utility, minimizing the dangers of radioactive contamination and the consequences of nuclear accidents.

The IAEA needs urgent reforms and much better funding in order to accomplish its mission of control of all existing nuclear installations world- wide.

The reform of the IAEA has now been requested both by a Former Japanese Prime Minister and a Former Swiss President. They assert that international control over the safety of existing nuclear plants must be strengthened. Their plea deserves wide international support.

They support the decision of the World Federation of UNESCO Clubs and Associations to make March 11th an International Day for Global Ethics.

Maximum efforts needed to cope with Fukushima crisis

After the Chernobyl accident, a sarcophagus was constructed within 7 months. Actually, a huge shelter is being built by dint of international cooperation.

Actually, the average number of daily workers at the site is more than 7000 at present. The difficulty of procuring workers at the site is beyond imagination. Homeless people have been hired off the streets to do

dangerous decontamination work. The lack of the sense of crisis over Fukushima is in stark contrast to the gravity of the crisis.

Maximum efforts must be made by Japan to stop the worsening of the actual situation. The honorable retreat from Tokyo Olympic Games to enable this seems imperative. Japanese civil society will not allow the irresponsibility of organizing the Tokyo Olympic Games without prior reassurance of the safety of Tokyo by the International Olympic Committeee.

Fukushima is a crisis for Japan as a nation. It is a crisis of the global environment for the international community. It is surprisingly being treated as a crisis for the management of electric companies. The total assumption of responsibilities by the State is indispensable.

It is noteworthy that a proposal to establish an International Task Force Fukushima (ITFF) is gaining substantial support abroad.

UN Ethics Summit

Attributing far higher value to ethical thinking and doing so on a global level would best guarantee human rights. It will give ready evidence to the lack of ethics inherent in the technology of nuclear energy.

I am convinced, that the adequately reformed IAEA, in association with the national Japanese organizations, can and should play a greater role in coping with the disaster of Fukushima”.

I join many others in calling for a UN Ethics Summit that paves the way for global ethics, maternal civilization and true denuclearization.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon wrote me in his letter dated March 2, 2013 that he would gladly support such a summit if member-states submit it to the General Assembly.

Thank you for your kind attention. ”

Also read Mitsuhei Murata’s letter, “The Worsening Situation in Fukushima,” May 6, 2015

*To prevent Fukushima from causing the ultimate global catastrophe — letter from Mitsuhei Murata via solartopia.org

The following is a letter by Mitsuhei Murata, former ambassador to Switzerland and executive director of the Japan Society for Global System and Ethics, published on solartopia.org on Aug. 23, 2014.

” (Preface)

Fukushima constitutes a global security issue. Fukushima is out of control and the situation at the site is dangerously worsening. The Japanese government and Tokyo Electric Company(Tepco) have lost credibility both at home and abroad. Nearly 3 and half years after the Accident, Japan is at a loss how best to cope with the current situation. The crisis of Japan as a nation is being tackled with as a crisis of the management of Tepco!

The drastic change of the present faulty system is urgently needed by dint of powerful international cooperation. The time limit has been attained.

Global security issue

Fukushima has shown that the presence of nuclear reactors itself constitute a security problem, because, if the cooling system of the pool containing used fuel rods gets out of order for more than 3 days, a meltdown could start. This applies to more than 440 nuclear reactors in the world. There is no doubt that Fukushima constitutes a global security issue. Suffice it to say that we can only pray that no mega earthquake happens at the site to cause the collapse of the unit 4 reactor that could lead to a global catastrophe.

You will be surprised to know how precarious Japan’s future is, in view of the fatal defects of the current system under the leadership of the government and Tokyo Electric Company (TEPCO).

The basic nuclear law does not prescribe clearly where lies the responsibility of assuring the safety of the population. The restart of nuclear reactors is being delayed by the surfacing of this basic problem.

After the Accident, a new nuclear regulatory commission was created to secure its independence from the Ministries concerned. Recently, such rules as that of no return for the staff of the secretariat, are being neglected.

The members of the commission are no longer chosen from those having no prior link with electric companies. The Commission has publicly denied its responsibility as regards the safety of the residents. It is criticized by the public for concentrating its efforts to realize the restart of nuclear reactors. Under such circumstances, how can nuclear security be assured ?

There is no guarantee that another severe accident will not take place. The next one could be much more destructive. We should remember that, only 20 percent of Fukushima’s airborne radiation leases blew inland, while 80 percent streamed out to sea. If the wind had blown in the opposite direction, Tokyo would have been evacuated.

The problem of contaminated water

The problem of contaminated water has no solution in sight. The situation is worsening. Decommissioning the plant will be impossible until Tepco surmounts the contaminated water crisis. The plant’s water-treatment facility, which can remove all radioactive nuclides except tritium, has been suspended several times and remains problematic.

It has been confirmed that the recently completed bypass that reroutes clean groundwater directly into the Pacific, and underground wells does not contribute to reducing the flow of ground water into the sea.

The attempt to freeze the water in the trenches has been unsuccessful. The water inside the trenches isn’t freezing properly because it is circulating inside at higher speeds than the groundwater.

The groundwater bypass project to reduce the inflow of the groundwater into the reactors underground has not worked. The amount of the inflow of groundwater from the mountain side is so enormous. The groundwater is thus massively contaminated.

Reliable experts estimate that the daily inflow of contaminated water into the sea amounts to 1000 tons, of which 600 is groundwater. In addition to this, frequent torrential rain falls wash away into the sea radiogenic materials heavily accumulated at the site.

To make the matter worse, global warming seems to have brought about the climate change in Japan. Local downpours of rain causing landslides or mudslides are now so frequent. The latest typhoon has given rise to more than 90 victimes in Hiroshima. Enormous amount of rain washes away radioactive materials of numerous hot spots at the site into the sea.

A year ago, when Tepco removed the debris and rubble of the unit 3, the wind scattered radiogenic materials all around. According to Tepco, the amount of radiation amounted to 400 million becquerels. Some experts suspect the number is diminished by 10 times.

As it enters a critical phase of the Fukushima Daiichi clean-up, Tepco is contending with low morale among employees, about 3,000 of whom have quit or taken early retirement since the March 2011 disaster. Many have turned their back on nuclear power to take better-paid, less stressful jobs in other parts of the energy industry.

The serious problems of procuring workers and financial resources would be decisively affected by Tokyo Olympic Games that will mobilize a great deal of labor and funds.

Effects of Fukushima crossing the Pacific Ocean

Last January, a renowned peace pacifist sent me an article she had received from someone in California. It refers to a paper attributed to be a “Russian Ministry of Defense Report”. The following excerpt deserves serious attention.

“With experts now estimating that the wave of radiation from Fukushima will be 10-times bigger than all of the radiation from the entire world’s nuclear tests throughout history combined, and with new reports stating that dangerous radiation levels have been detected in snows found in Texas, Colorado and Missouri, this report warns the US, indeed, is going to face the severest consequences of this historic, and seemingly unstoppable, nuclear disaster. And not just to human beings either is this nuclear disaster unfolding either, this report grimly warns, but also to all biological systems as new reports coming from the United States western coastal areas are now detailing the mass deaths of seals, sea lions, polar bears, bald eagles, sea stars, turtles, king and sockeye salmon, herring, anchovies, and sardines due to Fukushima radiation.”

The report also points out that large amounts of fish, seaweeds, and everything in ocean has been already been polluted, and that these products are the main danger for mankind as they can end up being eaten by people on a massive scale.

What is stated above certainly needs serious verification. In this connection, a survey is being made by an American expert on the consequences of Fukushima being suffered by the West Coast of the United States. It is said that “NATURE” is to publish it next autumn. Its impact will be great.

This report further writes that two “low-level” underground atomic explosions occurred in the Fukushima disaster zone on 31 December, 2013, the first measuring 5.1 magnitude in intensity, followed by a smaller 3.6 magnitude explosion moments later.

When I read it, I just shivered. Fortunately, I could immediately clarify the situation, by contacting the responsible director of the relevant Ministry. It was earthquakes that had happened nearby, but not at the site, and that, on 31 December, no accident had taken place. If not, it would have been a too shocking news.

Japan is laboring under the consequences of the Accident never experienced by humanity. It is now obvious that Japan is seriously in need of an international help.

You can see how vulnerable is Tokyo Olympic Games, being prepared, ignoring the deteriorating situation at the Fukushima Daiichi.

New international system

A new international system is needed to minimize the consequences of nuclear accidents. Fukushima is revealing the limitations of a government facing a national crisis, its longevity being but of a few years. Nuclear accidents have shown the necessity of coping with their consequences quasi- permanently.

By dint of procrastination, the government of a country where a severe nuclear accident has broken out, could avert the crucial duty to make maximum efforts to cope with the accident by an operation of diversion with the collaboration of the media. I would like to urge the international community to take up this new problem. Since Fukushima is a global security issue, we need a new system to cope with it.

We need a special international system that that obliges governments to carry out certain prescribed duties. I would like to propose the following two minimum requirements.

1. To make maximum efforts to bring the consequences of the accident under control.
2. To concretize international cooperation to mobilize human wisdom on the widest possible scope.

Conclusion

It is the responsibility of the international community to prevent Fukushima from causing the ultimate global catastrophe. The Japanese current system of coping with the consequences of Fukushima is faulty and needs a drastic change. Japan is in need of international solidarity and powerful international cooperation. ”

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