Archive for April, 2011

Surveys used to whitewash nuclear industry

April 29, 2011

The former WHO director, has acknowledged that the control of WHO by IAEA on nuclear issues was problematic.  Therefore we can anticipate that the survey WHO is planning to conduct on Fukushima may provide the same anodyne conclusions.

Dying for TEPCO? Fukushima’s Nuclear Contract Workers, The Asia Pacific Journal , Paul Jobin 28 April 11“…….What is the objective of epidemiological surveys? (more…)

How Japan weakened radiation protection laws

April 29, 2011

Dying for TEPCO? Fukushima’s Nuclear Contract Workers, The Asia Pacific Journal , Paul Jobin 28 April 11, “……..On March 14th, the Ministry of Health and Labor raised the maximum dose for workers to 250 mSv a year, where previously it was set at 100 mSv over 5 years (either 20 mSv a year for five years or 50 mSv for 2 years, which is in itself a strange interpretation of the recommendations of the International Commission on Radiological Protection’s guideline stipulating a maximum of 20 mSv a year. The letter that the Ministry sent the next day to the chiefs of Labor Bureaus (都道府県労働局) to inform them of the decision justifies it on the grounds of the state of emergency (やむを得ない緊急の場合), ignoring the safety of the workers.2 This could be a measure to avoid or limit the number of workers who would apply for compensation. Stated differently, it has the effect of legalizing illness and deaths from nuclear radiation, or at least the state’s responsibility for them. Usually, in case of leukemia, a one year exposure to 5 mSV is sufficient to obtain occupational hazards compensation. The list of potential applicants could be very long in light of the number of workers already on the job, or who are likely to be recruited to dismantle the reactors. The project proposed by Toshiba to close down and safeguard the reactors would take at least 10 years.3 In short, the state’s concern appears to be less the health of employees and more the cost of caring for nuclear victims. The same logic prevailed when, on April 23, the government urged children back to the schools of Fukushima prefecture, stating that the risk of 20 mSv or more per year was acceptable, despite the high vulnerability of children.  Can the state be prioritizing the limitation of the burden of compensation for TEPCO and protection of the nuclear industry at large over the health of workers and children?…….

Conditions of Japanese nuclear workers

April 29, 2011

Dying for TEPCO? Fukushima’s Nuclear Contract Workers, The Asia Pacific Journal , Paul Jobin 28 April 11While the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) experiences difficulties in recruiting workers willing to go to Fukushima to clean up the damaged reactors, the WHO is planning to conduct an epidemiological survey on the catastrophe. This is the first of two reports by Paul Jobin offering a worker-centered analysis of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. (more…)

Japanese politicians the servants of the nuclear industry

April 29, 2011

“Both parties are captive to the power companies, and they follow what the power companies want to do,”

Culture of Complicity Tied to Stricken Nuclear Plant, Kyodo/Reuters, By NORIMITSU ONISHI and KEN BELSONApril 26, 2011“…….Dominion in Parliament The political establishment, one of the great beneficiaries of the nuclear power industry, has shown little interest in bolstering safety. In fact, critics say, lax oversight serves their interests. (more…)

Corrupt culture in Japan’s nuclear industry

April 29, 2011

nuclear industry officials, bureaucrats, politicians and scientists — have prospered by rewarding one another with construction projects, lucrative positions, and political, financial and regulatory support. 

Culture of Complicity Tied to Stricken Nuclear Plant, Kyodo/Reuters, By NORIMITSU ONISHI and KEN BELSON, April 26, 2011   “…….The mild punishment meted out for past safety infractions has reinforced the belief that nuclear power’s main players are more interested in protecting their interests than increasing safety. (more…)

Thorium – NOT a safe nuclear technology

April 29, 2011

the waste would have to be stored for around 300 years or so, compared to tens of thousands of years for current reactors.

Only in the world of nuclear technology could a requirement for 300 years of dangerous waste storage be seen as an advantage.

No one talks about safe nuclear power because it doesn’t exist, Canberra Times, Dr Sue Wareham 28 Apr, 2011 , The heading on Julian Cribb’s glowing recommendation of thorium reactor research (April 26, p11) poses the question ”Why is no one talking about safe nuclear power?” The answer is that it doesn’t exist.

Cribb states that thorium reactors do not produce weapons grade material. This is misleading. (more…)

“Rare Earths” are radioactive

April 25, 2011

why can’t the nuclear countries produce their own nuclear fuels in their own countries?  Unconfirmed reports have noted that some countries are dumping their nuclear wastes (rare earth included) in some third world countries under the guise of economic and scientific corporation!

(Malaysia) THE RARE EARTH CONTROVERSY, The Star,  by: cheaman, 25 April 11What is ‘rare earth’? They are ‘actinide’ substances. So what are ‘actinides’, pray tell? (more…)

Effect of depleted uranium radioactive dust

April 25, 2011

In April of 1991, the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority described the potential problems of radioactive dust spreading over the battlefields and getting into the food chain and the water. At that time it warned that forty tons of radioactive debris left from DU weapons could cause over five hundred thousand deaths. The amount of radioactive debris left behind in the Gulf War is over three hundred tons.

Nuclear War in the Mideast , Subversify, By karlsie  April 22, 2011  ”…..The Hazards of Depleted Uranium Artillery Depleted uranium artillery projectiles are  favored by the military as they are shelf sharpening, penetrate deeply into their target and are pyrophoric.  When a DU penetrator reaches the interior of an armored vehicle, it catches fire, often igniting ammunition and fuel, killing the crew, and possibly causing the vehicle to explode.  When a DU projectile explodes, it leaves behind a dust that is both toxic and radioactive.  (more…)

“Acceptable” standards of radiation for children- lowering the bar

April 25, 2011

3.8 μSv/h is roughly 6 times the standard for “Radiation Controlled Areas” (0.6 μSv/h or more). The Labour Standards Act prohibits those under the age of 18 from working under these conditions. Forcing children to be exposed to such radiation doses is an exceedingly inhumane decision….”The cancer risk will visibly rise in the future. By setting these standards, the government will steer clear of any liability legally, however not morally.”

Urgent Petition Against Imposing 20 milli-sievert Radiation Exposure Standard onto  Children in Fukushima

On April 19th, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) notified the Board of Education and related institutions in Fukushima Prefecture the level of 20 milli-sievert per year (mSv/y) as a Radiation Safety Standard for schools in Fukushima Prefecture. This is the standard to be used for school grounds and buildings. The Government has indicated that 20 mSv/y is equivalent to 3.8 micro-sievert per hour (μSv/h) measured outdoors. (more…)

Serious nuclera accidents

April 14, 2011

Timeline: Nuclear plant accidents. BBC News, 12 April 2011 The nuclear crisis in Japan has revived fears over the safety of nuclear power and the potential danger posed to public health when things go wrong.There have been a number of serious nuclear incidents since the 1950s. Below are details of the most serious.

Mayak or Kyshtym nuclear complex (Soviet Union): 29 September 1957

A fault in the cooling system at the nuclear complex, near Chelyabinsk, results in a chemical explosion and the release of an estimated 70 to 80 tonnes of radioactive materials into the air. Thousands of people are exposed to radiation and thousands more are evacuated from their homes. It is categorised as Level 6 on the seven-point International Nuclear Events Scale (INES).

Windscale nuclear reactor (UK): 7 October 1957

A fire in the graphite-cooled reactor, in Cumbria, results in a limited release of radioactivity (INES Level 5). The sale of milk from nearby farms is banned for a month. The reactor cannot be salvaged and is buried in concrete. A second reactor on the site is also shut down and the site decontaminated. Subsequently part of the site is renamed Sellafield and new nuclear reactors are built.

Idaho National Engineering Laboratory (USA): 3 January 1961

A steam explosion in reactor SL-1 during preparation for start-up destroys the small US Army experimental reactor and kills three operators.

Three Mile Island power plant, Pennsylvania (US): 29 March 1979

  The Three Mile Island accident was the United States’ worst of its kind

A cooling malfunction causes a partial meltdown in one reactor, resulting in a limited release of radioactivity (INES Level 5).

The site’s first reactor (TMI One) on the Susquehanna river was closed for refuelling. The second was at full capacity when two malfunctions occurred: first there was a release of radioactive water, then radioactive gas was detected on the perimeter. No deaths or injuries were reported.

It is considered the United States’ worst nuclear accident and led to major safety changes in the industry.

Chernobyl power plant (Soviet Union): 26 April 1986

One of four reactors explodes after an experiment at the power plant (INES Level 7). The resulting fire burns for nine days and at least 100 times more radiation than the atom bombs dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima is released into the air. Radioactive deposits are found in nearly every country in the northern hemisphere.

Two people die in the explosion and another 47 from acute radiation sickness in the immediate aftermath. Thousands of extra cancer deaths are expected as a resulted of the disaster.

A huge cover, known as the New Safe Confinement, is being built over the existing sarcophagus. It is expected to cover the site by 2013.

Severesk, formerly Tomsk-7 (Russia): 6 April 1993

A tank at a uranium and plutonium factory inside the plant explodes, resulting in radioactivity being dispersed into the atmosphere contaminating an area of over 120 sq km (INES Level 4). A number of villages are evacuated and left permanently uninhabitable.

Tokaimura nuclear fuel processing facility (Japan): 30 September 1999

Workers break safety regulations by mixing dangerously large amounts of treated uranium in metal buckets, setting off a nuclear reaction (INES Level 4).

Two of the workers later die from their injuries, and more than 40 others are treated for exposure to high levels of radiation.

Hundreds of residents living nearby were evacuated from their homes while the nuclear reaction continued, but were allowed home two days later.

Mihama power plant (Japan): 9 August 2004

Five people die in an accident at the plant in the Fukui province (INES Level 1). Seven people are also injured when hot water and steam leaks from a broken pipe.

Officials insist that no radiation leaked from the plant, and there is no danger to the surrounding area.

Fukushima Daiichi power plant (Japan): 11 March 2011

A powerful tsunami generated by a magnitude-9.0 earthquake out at sea slams into the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, damaging four of six reactors at the site.

A series of fires are set off, after cooling systems fail. Venting hydrogen gas from the reactors causes explosions, forcing engineers to use seawater in an effort to cool overheating reactor cores.

Originally classified as INES Level 5, the severity was raised to INES Level 7 on 12 April 2011 when a new estimate suggested higher levels of radiation than previously thought had leaked from the plant.

Despite the classification, the incident is said to be much less severe than Chernobyl, and officials insist there is only a minimal risk to public health.

BBC News – Timeline: Nuclear plant accidents