From Hiroshima: a powerful testimony of an evacuee of the Fukushima accident

Yoko Shimosawa, who evacuated from Tokyo to Kobe with two children, speaks from Hiroshima on August 6th at the occasion of the 73rd anniversary of the a-bomb.

Her powerful testimony is delivered in English and in Japanese.
The Japanese video and its transcription are placed below the English transcription.

8月6日、原爆投下73周年を迎えた広島から。東電福島第一原発事故後、東京から神戸へ避難した下澤陽子さんの渾身のスピーチです。英語スピーチと全文テキストの後に日本語スピーチの動画と全文テキストがあります。ぜひご覧ください。


73 years ago today, many precious lives were instantly destroyed by the terrible blast and the heat from the atomic bomb. Did you know, however, that the atomic bomb has had another, lasting effects? It’s an invisible, quiet and lasting effects from the nuclear bombing, called “internal radiation exposure.”

Continue reading “From Hiroshima: a powerful testimony of an evacuee of the Fukushima accident”

Katsurao Village contamination map

Katsurao Village: its whereabouts and evacuation/return policy history

In June 2016, the evacuation order applied to Katsurao village after the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear accident was lifted for 80% of its territory. The northeast part of the village in the vicinity of Namie town is still classed as a ”difficult-to-return” zone, where the annual airborne radiation dose is over 20mSv. The lifting of the evacuation order of this area is not planned.

葛尾村は、2016年6月に80パーセント以上の地域で避難指示が解除になりました。浪江町と隣接する村の北東部に、年間被ばく量が20ミリSvを超えると推計される帰還困難区域が残りますが、解除の予定はありません。

Katsurao Map with FDNPP
Katsurao in relation to the crippled Fukushima Daiichi NPP

In June 2018, approximately 300 people are living in the village, which is about 20% of the population before the accident. In April 2018, primary and junior high schools opened where 18 children are currently studying, whereas in 2010, before the accident, 112 children were attending schools.

2018年6月現在の居住者は300人ほどで、事故前の20パーセント程度です。2018年4月には、小中学校が村内で再開され、合計18名が通学しています。事故前(2010年)は、112名でした。

The village is covered by hilly forests as you can see in the Google Earth below.

グーグルアースの地図で見れるように、葛尾は緑豊かな山村です。

Google earth
Picture Google Earth

Continue reading “Katsurao Village contamination map”

Rokkasho Election Results

The mayoral election took place in Rokkasho, Japan, on Sunday June 24th.

Here are the results :

The number of inhabitants having the right to vote: 8637
The number of votes: 5379
Invalid votes: 35
Voter turnout: 62.28%

M. Mamoru Toda, pro-nuclear fuel cycle incumbent mayor was reelected with 5021 votes.
Ms Junko Endo, anti-nuclear fuel cycle candidate gained 323 votes.

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The results show the extreme difficulty of anti-nuclear movements in local elections. However, thanks to the courage of Junko Endo, 323 voters were able to express their desire to stop the nuclear fuel cycle, and many people in the world became aware of what is happening in Rokkasho Village.

Thank you Ms ENDO for your courage!

Thanks to all of you who sent encouraging messages to Ms Endo that were gratefully forwarded to her.

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Let’s keep on following events in Rokkasho from all over the world!

Related articles:

Mayor election in Rokkasho Village, Aomori Prefecture, Japan: A small village where world nuclear risk is at stake.

Junko ENDO for Mayor, Rokkasho village, Aomori Prefecture!!

Junko ENDO for Mayor, Rokkasho village, Aomori Prefecture!!

Junko ENDO for Mayor, Rokkasho village, Aomori Prefecture!!

(About Rokkasho Nuclear Fuel Cycle Center and Rokkasho Village Mayor election, please look here)

Who is she?

Endo

She was born on July 3, 1959 at Kushiro (Hokkaido).

She graduated from Muroran Institute of Technology (Hokkaido) and from the Faculty of Medicine, Hirosaki University (Aomori Prefecture).

She is a Certified Physician of the Japan Nuclear Medical Society (PET Nuclear Medicine),

and Certified Industrial Physician of the Japan Medical Association.

Currently, she is a Part-time lecturer at Tsugaru Health Cooperative, Kensei Hospital.

She is married with a daughter and two adorable cats.

As a doctor, Ms Junko ENDO has been particularly interested in health hazard issues. She points out the increase in childhood leukemia cases around the reprocessing plants of La Hague in France and of Sellafield in the UK, as well as the increase in congenital disorders and childhood leukemia cases near CANDU reactors in Canada, which generate tritium.

She proposes to create a multi-disciplined committee of experts to gather the latest information on tritium’s impact on living organisms and also to reexamine the biological and environmental impacts of radioactivity generated by the nuclear fuel cycle, especially from fuel reprocessing. Scientifically observed negative health and environmental hazards could lead to reexamining the practicalities of the nuclear fuel cycle.

She is also for the protection of the important primary local industries such as fishing, agriculture and forestry products. Releasing more than 10 quadrillion Bq per year in the ocean will tremendously impact fishing. By protecting the environment from the damages caused primarily by the reprocessing plant, she proposes to protect other industries as well.

Rokkasho village is known for its high suicide rate, including younger people. She is for promoting a village friendly for psychologically, physically and socially fragile people.

Ms Endo is for promoting a better mutual communication and support system between citizens and medical workers. Improving work conditions of medical professionals is urgent to prevent the total collapse of the medical system.

Currently, all the members of Rokkasho village local assembly are male. It is difficult to hear female voices. Ms Endo would work for a system to listen to women, and integrate their thoughts and views in village policy. She will also try to improve the local political environment by increasing female local assembly members.

 

 

Mayor election in Rokkasho Village, Aomori Prefecture, Japan: A small village where world nuclear risk is at stake.

Don’t let the Rokkasho nuclear fuel reprocessing plant start!

The Rokkasho village mayor election takes place on June 24, 2018.

We are calling for people to send encouraging comments for Ms Junko ENDO, anti-nuclear fuel cycle candidate!

Endo junko photo

 

For FB users, please write messages in the Facebook page of the candidate Ms Junko ENDO’s political group “Rokkasho Mura ni atarashii kaze wo okosu kai” (Group to raise a new wind in Rokkasho Village)

The Facebook page is in Japanese, but you are most welcome to post your comments in your mother language. In fact, they prefer different foreign languages so that they can show that support is arriving from all over the world!

Screen Shot 2018-06-10 at 17.29.07

For the non users of Facebook, scroll down to write your message at the end of this page.

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Text below is partly based on an original text of Kiyohiko YAMADA (see below) with additions by Kurumi Sugita and Jon Gomon.

A brief historical and geographical reminder

There is a nuclear fuel cycle center in Rokkasho village, located at the root of Shimokita Peninsula in Aomori Prefecture, situated in the northernmost part of the main island of Japan.

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On April 9, 1985, the governor of Aomori Prefecture decided to accept the center, composed of three facilities:

  • a uranium enrichment (note 1) plant,
  • a fuel reprocessing plant,
  • and a low-level radioactive waste repository.

Afterwards, two facilities have been added:

  • a temporary storage facility of high-level radioactive waste returned from overseas after reprocessing,
  • and a MOX (note 2) fabrication plant.

Who is operating the nuclear fuel center?

This nuclear fuel cycle center of Rokkasho village is operated by Japan Nuclear Fuel Limited (JNFL), notorious for its incompetent management to say the least. In October 2017, Japanese Nuclear Regulation Autority (NRA) reported that JNFL violated safety measures. See a Mainichi Shimbun article below:

Unfinished nuclear fuel reprocessing plant faked safety records: NRA (Mainichi Shimbun, October 11, 2017)

” The NRA concluded on Oct. 11 that Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd. (JNFL) has violated safety measures after it was learned that the firm failed to carry out the required checks and nevertheless continued to write down “no abnormalities” in safety check records. There has been a spate of incidents such as the flow of rainwater into facility buildings at the plant in the Aomori Prefecture village of Rokkasho.

The plant, which is scheduled to reprocess spent nuclear fuel, was on the verge of hosting a final-stage NRA safety inspection, but the checkup is likely to be postponed considerably as JNFL now has to prioritize in-house inspections of all facilities at the plant. ”

Major problems of the Rokkasho reprocessing plant

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The Rokkasho fuel cycle centre (Image: JNFL)

 The Japanese nuclear fuel cycle collapsed with the fast breeder reactor “Monju”

The Japanese government persisted to continue research and development on the fast breeder reactors, even though they had been abandoned elsewhere in the world. It was in December 2016 that the government decided to finally decommission the prototype reactor “Monju”.

The government is still trying to start the operation of the Rokkasho reprocessing plant in the first half of 2021 fiscal year, even though the prospect of the fast breeder reactor’s commercialization has become improbable. There is a contradiction here. Why start a reprocessing plant when there is no usage plan for the end product (see below as for Mox fuel usage)? One possible reason is that for quite a while former Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) ministers have been hinting at the possibility to possess nuclear weapons. They may want to have such a plutonium extraction plant which can produce eight tons of plutonium annually.

Surplus Plutonium problem

The Japanese government has ordered the power companies to reprocess the total amount of used nuclear fuel resulting from nuclear power plants’ operation. When there was no reprocessing plant in Japan, the reprocessing was entrusted to the UK and France. After that, a national reprocessing plant was built in Tokai village in Ibaraki prefecture, and then the construction of the private reprocessing plant in Rokkasho village in Aomori Prefecture was started in 1993.

The total amount of plutonium remaining in these reprocessing plants is about 48 tons. Since the commercialization of the fast breeder reactor has become improbable, the government wants to use the plutonium as MOX fuel at nuclear power plants (called plu-thermal in Japan).

However, since the TEPCO Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident of March 11, 2011, the plu-thermal project is not progressing and it has become difficult to use up the surplus plutonium. If the Rokkasho reprocessing plant is put in operation, it will create a surplus of eight tons of plutonium annually. The possession of such an amount of plutonium will most certainly increase tensions in Asia.

Risks involved in the Rokkasho plant

① The reprocessing plant is on a fault
Japan is riddled with geological faults, and there is no stable stratum. The Rokkasho reprocessing plant is not on a stable stratum at all. A big active fault of about 100 km lies in the Pacific Ocean side. Scientists warn that in case of a big earthquake, a magnitude 8 tremor could seriously damage the reprocessing plant.
The operating company insists that a big earthquake will not occur in Rokkasho, but their seismograph is installed on bedrock, and is set so that it does not indicate more than a seismic intensity 3. Why? It is because when a seismic intensity higher than 3 is detected, it is necessary to make a total inspection of the reprocessing plant.

② Hakkoda and Towada volcanoes are nearby
Recently, Hakkoda Mountain and Lake Towada, major tourist destinations in Aomori Prefecture not far from the plant, came to be monitored as possible origins of a volcano-related catastrophe.
With a volcanic eruption, cinders and volcanic ash can fall thick in the vicinity of the reprocessing plant. This may make it difficult to secure external power supplies, to drive emergency power vehicles, and/or to secure cooling water. In addition, if the small volcanic ash can clog filters and destroy equipment.

③ Fighter jets fly near Rokkasho
Within 30km of the Rokkasho reprocessing plant, lies Misawa Airbase used by the US Air Force and Japanese Air Self Defense Force. There is also the Amagamori bombing exercise ground within 10km. Fighter jets exercising in Amagamori fly over the Ogawara port, passing through the vicinity of the reprocessing plant to repeat the training.
There is no doubt that a major disaster will occur if a fighter plane crashes into the reprocessing plant. Considering that the reprocessing plant is planned to go into operation in the coming years, it is very unlikely that the US Misawa Airbase and exercise ground would be relocated before the reprocessing operation begins.

Possibility of a serious accident

In the reprocessing project application submitted by JNFL, the following list cites as possible serious accidents:

① criticality in the dissolution tank,
② criticality by a transfer error of the solution containing plutonium,
③ evaporation to dryness by the loss of the cooling function,
④ explosion caused by hydrogen generated by radiolysis,
⑤ an organic solvent fire in a cell of the plutonium refining facility,
⑥ the damage to the used fuel aggregates in the fuel storage pool,
⑦ leakage from piping of liquid high-level radioactive waste storage facilities to cells.

If any of these major accidents occur simultaneously, or if the accident is triggered by a crash of a fighter plane or a volcanic eruption, the scale of the accident would be more than prepared for. However, the range of nuclear disaster prevention of the reprocessing plant is limited to a radius of 5 km only.

When the plant goes into operation, even without an accident, radiation exposure of the entire Aomori prefecture and of the Pacific Ocean will be far too high

After the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident, many tanks were created on the site of the Fukushima nuclear power plant to store the tritium contaminated water after processing the radioactive water by the multi-nuclide removal facility (Advanced Liquid Processing System = ALPS). In Fukushima prefecture, tritium contaminated water is not discharged in the ocean because of the opposition of fishermen, while in Rokkasho the same tritium water was released in a large amount during the active testing. Fishermen in Iwate once required that the reprocessing plant drainage be discharged in Mutsu Bay and not in the Pacific Ocean. The person in charge in Aomori Prefecture refused, saying, “Mutsu Bay would die”.

*****

Because of all these risks which involve not only Rokkasho village or Aomori Prefecture but the whole world, we need the village mayor who says NO! to Rokkasho Nuclear Fuel Center. Please write either in a FB page or leave your comment at the bottom of this blog article page which we will transfer.

Reminder:
For FB users, please write messages in the Facebook page of the candidate Ms Junko ENDO’s political group “Rokkasho Mura ni atarashii kaze wo okosu kai” (Group to raise a new wind in Rokkasho Village)

The Facebook page is in Japanese, but you are most welcome to post your comments in your mother language. In fact, they prefer different foreign languages so that they can show that support is arriving from all over the world!

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Profile and manifesto of the candidate Ms Junko ENDO in English here


Note

(1) The uranium enrichment technology provided the material of the Hiroshima atomic Bomb, and the reprocessing plant created plutonium, which was used in the Nagasaki atomic bomb.

(2) Mixed oxide fuel, commonly referred to as MOX fuel, is nuclear fuel that contains more than one oxide of fissile material, usually consisting of plutonium blended with natural uranium, reprocessed uranium, or depleted uranium. (Wikipedia)


Kiyohiko Yamada is a member the Social Democratic Party and served as a member of the Misawa City Local Assembly from May 2005 to March 2008 and is a longtime opponent of the Rokkasho nuclear fuel cycle center.

Should the public be allowed to see the radio-contamination map ?

We are publishing the most recent map of the soil contamination made by the “Fukuichi area environmental radiation monitoring project“.

 

ふくいち周辺環境放射線モニタリングプロジェクト」作成の最新の土壌汚染マップをアップいたします。

Tomioka soil constamination map M

 

富岡町土壌マップ M

 

We have published several soil contamination maps of the “Fukuichi area environmental radiation monitoring project” in this blog (see maps of Namie, Minamisoma 1 & 2 ). Normally, the government should carry out the measurements, but the government relies on the air radiation dose measurements at the expense of the radio-contamination measurements found on the surface and in the air (in terms of the volume of radioactive substances). To fulfill the lack of this essential information for the radioprotection of the population, civil groups conduct soil measurements.

このブログで紹介してきた「ふくいち周辺環境放射線モニタリングプロジェクト」の土壌汚染マップですが(浪江町南相馬市 1 & 2 )、もともと国や地方自治体が実施すべき測定です。しかし、政府は空間線量率の測定のみを優先し、表面(土壌を含む)や空間の汚染密度をニグレクトしています。そのため住民の放射線防護に不可欠の情報が欠如しています。この情報不備を補完するため、市民団体が測定を 実行しているのが現状です。

Continue reading “Should the public be allowed to see the radio-contamination map ?”

No way to find hot spots with dosimeter at 1m from the ground

We have published several articles in this blog saying that to protect the population the Japanese goverment should take into account the soil contamination as well as the radiation dose in the air.  The policy to open the evacuation zones and encourage the population to return to live there (with the end of financial compensation and relocation aid) is based only on the airborn radiation dose measurements (the evacuation order is lifted when the radiation dose is under 20mSv/year).  We have been saying that this is very dangerous, even  criminal, for the air radiation dose rate (indicating the amount of radioactive dose received by a person within a certin period time) is useful with a well-identfied fixed source of radiation, but is not adequate to reveal the overall environmental contamination after a nuclear accident. It doesn’t account for the internal radiation exposure induced health hazards (note 1).

Now we would like to point out another problem related to hotspots: it is nearly impossible to find hotspots by the usual measuring practice of the airborn radiation dose rate (in sieverts per unit of time).  To illustrate this difficulty, we are translating here a Facebook post of Mr Yoichi Ozawa of the citizen’s measurement group named the “Fukuichi Area Environmental Radiation Monitoring Project“.

私たちはこのブログで何度か日本政府は、日本の住民を護るために空間線量率だけでなく土壌汚染も考慮に入れるべきだと書いてきました。避難指示を解除し、住民をそこに戻そうとする帰還政策(賠償打ち切りと住宅支援停止を伴う)は、空間線量率のみに基づいています(年間20ミリシーベルト以下であれば避難指示解除)。私たちはこれは大変危険で、国家の犯罪だと言ってきました。なぜならば、線源が明確で、固定されている場合に有効な空間線量率だけをみることは、原発事故後の環境の全体的放射能汚染の実態を把握するには不適切で、内部被ばくによる健康被害リスクを隠蔽することになるからです(注1)。

今回はホットスポットに関する問題を指摘したいと考えます。通常の空間線量率(分、時間、年あたりのシーベルト)の測定ではホットスポットを発見するのはほぼ不可能なのです。
この難しさがよくわかる、ふくいち周辺環境放射線モニタリングプロジェクトの小澤洋一さんのフェイスブックの投稿を訳させていただきます。

Continue reading “No way to find hot spots with dosimeter at 1m from the ground”