Japanese Government’s Liable For Negligence Over Fukushma

Relatives visit a family grave in Iwate prefecture on the sixth anniversary of the Fukushima meltdown this month. Photograph: Jiji Press/AFP/Getty

By Justin McCurry for The Guardian – A court in Japan has ruled that negligence by the state contributed to the triple meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in March 2011 and awarded significant damages to evacuees. Although courts have awarded damages arising from the disaster in other cases, Friday’s ruling is the first time the government has been held liable. The Maebashi district court near Tokyo awarded ¥38.55m (£270,000) to 137 people who were forced to evacuate their homes in the days after three of Fukushima Daiichi’s six reactors suffered a catastrophic meltdown, the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in 1986.

The Heartbreaking Legacy Of Fukushima Daiichi

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By Arnie Gundersen for Farewinds Energy Education – During last winter (2016), I spent most of February and early March in Japan working with and speaking to citizens, refugees, community leaders, elected officials, engineers, doctors, and scientists. At their request, I taught scientists and citizen scientists how to collect accurate radiation data, and also spoke to many groups of Japanese eager to learn about the scientific and engineering hazards of operating 50 nuclear plants in the most seismically active country in the world. The scientific impact of the triple meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi is an ongoing disaster that was never envisioned by the engineers who created and designed these atomic reactors and countries who built them.

Robots Dying Rapidly When They Try To Clean Up Fukushima

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By Niamh McIntyre For Independent – A Japanese company tasked with cleaning up Fukushima, the site of the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl, has admitted that its attempts to probe the site are failing repeatedly due to incredibly high levels of radiation. The nuclear meltdown at Fukushima in 2011 was triggered by an earthquake and tsunami which left around 18,000 people dead and more than a million buildings destroyed. At least 100,000 people living near the plant were forced to leave their homes. High rates of mental health problems and post-traumatic stress disorder have been observed within the displaced population.

Greenpeace: 'Extremely High' Jump In Post-Fukushima Radioactive Chemicals

Waterways in the Fukushima district have hundreds of times more radiation now than before 2011, Greenpeace reports. (Photo: Matthias Lambrecht/flickr/cc)

By Nadia Prupis for Common Dreams – Greenpeace Japan reported Thursday that waterways in the Fukushima district have hundreds of times more radiation now than before 2011, when the nuclear disaster that forced the evacuation of at least 160,000 people occurred. Looking back at the past five years, the environmental group’s new report, Atomic Depths: An assessment of freshwater and marine sediment contamination: The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster—Five years later (pdf), finds that the hazardous chemical cesium-137 was present in the soil on the banks of the Abukuma, Niida, and Ota rivers.

Hanford, Not Fukushima, Is Big Radiological Threat To West Coast

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By Robert Jacobs for Counter Punch – There is a dangerous radiological threat to the West Coast of the United States that puts the health of millions of Americans at risk. It includes dangers to public health, dangers to the food supply, and dangers to future generations from long-lived radionuclides, including some of the most toxic material in the world. It is not Fukushima, it is Hanford. While radiation from the Fukushima nuclear meltdowns is reaching the West Coast, carried across the ocean from Japan

5 Years After Fukushima, ‘No End In Sight’ To Ecological Fallout

An employee uses a a radiation dosage monitor as workers continue the decontamination and reconstruction process. (Photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty)

By Deirdre Fulton for Common Dreams – The environmental impacts of the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster are already becoming apparent, according to a new analysis from Greenpeace Japan, and for humans and other living things in the region, there is “no end in sight” to the ecological fallout. The report warns that these impacts—which include mutations in trees, DNA-damaged worms, and radiation-contaminated mountain watersheds—will last “decades to centuries.” The conclusion is culled from a large body of independent scientific research on impacted areas in the Fukushima region, as well as investigations by Greenpeace radiation specialists over the past five years.

Newsletter: Using Courts To Build The Movement

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By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers. The worst crimes of US history have been protected by law – slavery, taking of Indigenous lands, attacks on unions, denying women the vote and money as speech in elections. As a result, when politicians say we are a nation of laws, it often means the courts will be used to protect corporate interests in making a profit even if doing so destroys communities, people and the environment. But, courts do not always side with the corporations and government. There are times when an enlightenment comes to the judiciary and some begin to rule for the people or their communities. This happens because even courts reflect the political moment – or zeitgeist – when the culture takes a turn thanks to people organizing to express their interests wherever they can. We may be at the beginning of such a moment, perhaps too soon to say and perhaps we are being optimistic. It shows the importance of the movement building national consensus because such consensus impacts everything.

3 Ex-TEPCO Execs Indicted Over Fukushima Nuclear Disaster

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By Staff of Japan Today – TOKYO — Three former executives of Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) were indicted Monday for allegedly failing to take measures to prevent the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex, which was struck by massive tsunami waves five years ago. The indictment, mandated by an independent panel of citizens after prosecutors decided against laying charges, seeks to answer in court the question of whether the key TEPCO figures should be held criminally responsible over the nuclear disaster.

5 Years Later, TEPCO Admits It Lied About Meltdown

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By Enviro News World News. Fukushima Prefecture, Japan — EDITORIAL: THE TRUTH: Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) knew within hours following the 3/11/11 tsunami that a full-scale, multi-reactor nuclear meltdown was underway. THE LIE: TEPCO waited nearly two months to inform the public. Those were the staggering admissions handed down to the media in a press release published by TEPCO on February 24, 2016. Of course, for many people on the inside track with Fukushima Daiichi news, this came as no surprise at all. TEPCO admitted it was aware of the meltdowns from the inception and apologized, saying a declaration should have been made to the public. Despite the admissions of wrong-doing in the press release, on the other hand, TEPCO says it didn’t break the law, and did what was required when it reported the meltdowns to the Japanese Government within three days.

Fukushima Report Declassified: Worse Than We Were Told

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By Staff of RT – Fukushima nuclear power plant is still experiencing major contamination issues nearly five years after the earthquake, tsunami, and subsequent meltdown. A new declassified report from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, written on March 18, 2011 just days after the disaster, sheds light on just how bad it was. We now know that “100% of the total spent fuel was released to the atmosphere from unit 4.”

Project Censored 2015: Top Ten News Stories The Media Ignored

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By Tim Redmond for Cascadia Weekly. As Project Censored staffers Mickey Huff and Andy Lee Roth note, 90 percent of U.S. news media—the traditional outlets that employ full-time reporters—are controlled by six corporations. “The corporate media hardly represent the mainstream,” the staffers wrote in the current edition’s introduction. “By contrast, the independent journalists that Project Censored has celebrated since its inception are now understood as vital components of what experts have identified as the newly developing ‘networked fourth estate.’”

Fukushima Radiation Hits Home: Thyroid Cancer Rises Among Children

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By Elizabeth Shim for UPI – TOKYO, Oct. 8 (UPI) — Fukushima radiation has been linked to a surge in thyroid cancer among children near the disaster area, and radiation woes have reach South Korea, where findings revealed imported tobacco from Japan contained higher than normal levels of radioactive cesium. A team of Japanese researchers led by Toshihide Tsuda, a professor of environmental epidemiology at Okayama University, said cases of thyroid cancer in Fukushima Prefecture have skyrocketed since March 2011, Kyodo News reported. The rates were about 20 to 50 times the national average, according to the analysis.

Fukushima Report Dangerously Downplays Ongoing Health Risks

The IAEA mission team studies a water purification system that removes radioactive elements from water in Fukushima, Japan, February 2015. (Photo: IAEA/flickr/cc)

By Deirdre Fulton in Common Dreams – A new report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) “downplays” the continuing environmental and health effects of the Fukushima nuclear meltdown while supporting the Japanese government’s agenda to normalize the ongoing disaster, Greenpeace Japan charged on Tuesday. The Vienna-based IAEA released its final report Monday on the 2011 triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. While the agency pointed to numerous failings, including unclear responsibilities among regulators, weaknesses in plant design and in disaster-preparedness, and a “widespread assumption” of safety, it was more circumspect with regard to health concerns. The Fukushima disaster released vast amounts of radiation, leading to fears that cases of thyroid cancer in children would soar as they did following the Chernobyl disaster of 1986.

Drone Video – Nuclear Waste in Bags Near Ocean

Black plastic bags storing nuclear waste at Fukushima. Screen shot from Ruptly video.

Ruptly reports: “Millions of tons of radioactive soil and debris can be seen packed in black bags in a temporary storage site at Tomioka, Fukushima prefecture.” The drone video taken by Ruptly shows how the Fukushima nuclear accident continues to be a major health and environmental catastrophe. Unbelievably, TEPCO, the corporation responsible for the nuclear plant at Fukushima, is storing some of the most dangerous waste on earth in plastic bags near the ocean. Once again TEPCO is showing irresponsible behavior in how they are handling the results of the nuclear accident that occurred on March 11, 2011 and resulting in a nuclear meltdown of the plant’s six nuclear reactors.

Protesters In Taiwan Rally Against Nuclear Power

Taiwan nuclear protest, people write how they will save energy

Major cities across Taiwan recently witnessed mass demonstrations advocating for renewable energy policy and the decommissioning of the country’s nuclear power stations. On March 14, as many as 45,000 people protested against the plan of the state-owned Taiwan Power Company for sending abroad 1,200 highly radioactive used fuel rods from the island’s first and second nuclear plants. Reprocessing of these sent fuel rods would extend the service lives of the plants, which are scheduled to go out of service in the next six years. However, the protesters rejected the reprocessing because it is too expensive, and the radioactive products of reprocessing will be eventually sent back to Taiwan. Two days after the anti-nuke demonstration, the legislators agreed to freeze the Taiwan Power Company’s plan to reprocess the fuel rods overseas. Concerns about Taiwan’s nuclear power plants have mounted since the Fukushima nuclear accident, which resulted from an earthquake and tsunami hitting Japan in March 2011. Also located on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, Taiwan faces significant risks with its three relatively outdated nuclear power plants.