As the one year anniversary of the still-on-going Fukushima nuclear disaster approaches on March 11, the information-verses-propaganda war is heating up. In this issue we lead with a look and a critique of the recent BBC/PBS TV program on Fukushima. We end with a report of an anti-nuclear victory in New Mexico and an Aljazeera program on aging reactors in the U.S..
In between we look at some of the real lessons of Fukushhima as well as revealing reports and growing acts of public opposition that are coming out despite the Nuclear Establishment’s mighty efforts of suppression and spin in pursuit of the deadly fantasy of a ‘nuclear rebirth.’
Inside Japan’s Nuclear Meltdown
BBC This World 2012
Inside the Meltdown
Frontline’s Fukushima “Meltdown” Perpetuates Industry Lie That Tsunami, Not Quake, Started Nuclear Crisis
Thursday 1 March 2012
by: Gregg Levine, Capitoilette.com | News Analysis
In all fairness, “Inside Japan’s Nuclear Meltdown,” the Frontline documentary that debuted on US public television stations last night (February 28), sets out to accomplish an almost impossible task: explain what has happened inside and around Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility since a massive earthquake and tsunami crippled reactors and safety systems on March 11, 2011–and do so in 53 minutes. The filmmakers had several challenges, not the least of which is that the Fukushima meltdowns are not a closed case, but an ever-evolving crisis. Add to that the technical nature of the information, the global impact of the disaster, the still-extant dangers in and around the crippled plant, the contentious politics around nuclear issues, and the refusal of the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) to let its employees talk either to reporters or independent investigative bodies, and it quickly becomes apparent that Frontline had a lot to tackle in order to practice good journalism.
But if the first rule of reporting is anything like medicine–”do no harm”–than Frontline’s Fukushima coverage is again guilty of malpractice. Read more.
Japan Weighed Evacuating Tokyo in Nuclear Crisis
By MARTIN FACKLER
Published: February 27, 2012
TOKYO — In the darkest moments of last year’s nuclear accident, Japanese leaders did not know the actual extent of damage at the plant and secretly considered the possibility of evacuating Tokyo, even as they tried to play down the risks in public, an independent investigation into the accident disclosed on Monday.
Caption Journalists, in protective gear, were taken on a tour last week of Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, at the center of the crisis last year. Read more.
On Feb. 28 Greenpeace released Lessons from Fukushima, a new report which shows that it was not a natural disaster that led to the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi plant on Japan’s east coast, but the failures of the Japanese Government, regulators and the nuclear industry. The key conclusion to be drawn from the report is that this human-made nuclear disaster could be repeated at any nuclear plant in the world, putting millions at risk. “While triggered by the tragic March 11 earthquake and tsunami, the Fukushima disaster was ultimately caused by the Japanese authorities choosing to ignore risks, and make business a higher priority than safety,” said Jim Riccio, Greenpeace USA nuclear policy analyst. “This report shows that nuclear energy is inherently unsafe, and that governments are quick to approve reactors, but remain ill-equipped to deal with problems and protect people from nuclear disasters. This has not changed since the Fukushima disaster, and that is why millions of people continue to be exposed to nuclear risks.” Read more.
Japan Struggles With Tainted Reactor Water
The Key to Cooling Damaged Nuclear Plants Now Poses Major Radioactive Worry, Storage Challenge
OKUMA, Japan—Nearly a year after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami sparked triple meltdowns at reactors here, the taming of Fukushima Daiichi has become in large part a quest to control water.
Foreign journalists on a tour of the Fukushima Daiichi compound Tuesday saw fields of squat, gray water-storage tanks; miles of orange, black and gray hoses; an AstroTurf-covered barge full of contaminated water; and white-suited workers huddled in a field preparing space for a new water container. Read more.
Published on Thursday, March 1, 2012 by Common Dreams
Fukushima: Far More ‘Chronic and Lasting’ Cesium Contamination Than Previously Believed
– Common Dreams staff
A “mind-boggling” amount of radioactive cesium, or twice the amount previously thought, may have spewed from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant after the March 11, 2011 meltdown, Japanese scientists said Wednesday. Read more.
Published on Thursday, March 1, 2012 by Common Dreams
Japanese Fearful of Govt-Set Radiation Standards for Food
Suspicions government acting on behalf of producers, not public health
– Common Dreams staff
As Japan has raised the permitted level of radiation in food by a factor of five, many Japanese are fearful that radiation has contaminated their diet. Read more.
Published on Saturday, February 25, 2012 by the San Francisco Bay View
Fukushima – Worse Than Chernobyl
by Janette Sherman and Joseph J. Mangano
There is good news and bad news: The good news is that 11 months after the Fukushima meltdown, thousands of Japanese marched in the streets to protest the continuing operation of nuclear power plants in their country, and urged a shift to renewable energy. Some 250,000 people signed petitions to close the reactors in the Tokyo area. Meanwhile in the U.S. the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) approved the building of two new nuclear power plants in Georgia. Read more.
Tokyo is contaminated as the worst place in Chernobyl
Posted by Mochizuki on February 22nd, 2012
The contamination level of Mizumoto Park turned out to be the same level of “off-limits zone” in Chernobyl.
The contamination level of the park was 23,300 Bq/Kg.
According to Nuclear Safety Commission, it is converted to be 1.4 ~1.5 million Bq/m2.
In Chernobyl, if the area is more contaminated than 1.48 million Bq/m2, it was labelled as off-limits zone, which was the worst level of the pollution.
Because cesium doesn’t choose Mizumoto park intentionally, at least some parts are contaminated as the worst area of Chernobyl.
How the New Mexico Anti–Nuclear Campaign Achieved A Major Victory
By Subhankar Banerjee, February 23, 2012
On February 17, as I was stepping out the door for an exhibition opening of my arctic photographs and to participate in an environmental panel at Fordham University with former New York State assistant attorney general Robert Emmet Hernan, I received an email news update from Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety, a Santa Fe, New Mexico based NGO that began with these words, “We have reason to celebrate with the ‘abandonment’ of the proposed Nuclear Facility as part of the Chemistry & Metallurgy Research Replacement Project (CMRR) at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) by President Obama and the Department of Energy.”
On February 13, the President released his proposed fiscal year 2013 budget. On page 26 of the document “Cuts, Consolidations, and Savings: Budget of the U.S. Government” we find, “The Administration proposes deferring the construction of the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement facility… for at least five years.” Then on February 17 the Albuquerque Journal reported, “Chu [U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu] told the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee that the Department of Energy decided to abandon—at least for now—a planned LANL plutonium lab because of budget constraints.”
Abandoned or postponed—either way, this is a major victory for the New Mexico anti–nuclear activists and community members who have been fighting this issue since 2003. Read more.
People & Power – Danger Zone: Ageing Nuclear Reactors
[ This video was viewable on YouTube, but has been taken down. The link above takes you to the Aljazeera video post. ]
The US has more than 100 reactors similar to Japan’s destroyed Fukushima plant. Some located in earthquake zones or close to major cities are now reaching the end of their working lives. People & Power sent Joe Rubin and Serene Fang to investigate.
Following Japan’s nuclear disaster last year there are fears the US may be heading for a nuclear catastrophe of its own.
n March 2011, a devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan caused a meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear power plant.
As tens of thousands of people were evacuated from nearby towns and villages, the world waited anxiously to see whether the radioactive fallout would spread across the country, or even be carried overseas.
Unsurprisingly, in the wake of this incident, the nuclear operations of other countries have come under considerable scrutiny.
One such country is the US where more than 100 similar reactors – some of them in earthquake zones or close to major cities – are now reaching the end of their working lives.
Their owners want to keep them running, but others – from environmentalists to mainstream politicians – are deeply concerned.
In this investigation for People & Power, Joe Rubin and Serene Fang of the Center for Investigative Reporting examine whether important safety considerations are being taken into account as the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) considers extending the licences of these plants.
The agency has recently come under fire for glossing over the potential dangers of ageing reactors, for becoming too cosy with the industry and for political infighting among the agency’s senior executives, which critics in the US Senate and elsewhere say seriously hampers its ability to ensure safety.
The investigation focuses on the Pacific Gas & Electric nuclear facility at Diablo Canyon and two others, Vermont Yankee and Indian Point in New York.
These three sites represent the dangers posed to nuclear power plant safety by earthquakes, terrorism, mechanical breakdown and flooding.
Rubin and Fang discover that the NRC’s oversight track record is far from perfect, and that unless urgent action is taken the US could be heading for a nuclear catastrophe of its own.
Thanks to Roger Herried – Abalone Alliance Clearinghouse archivist – for this Aljazeera piece.
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