Five years after the Fukushima nuclear disaster began to unfold in Japan, the searing psychological effects are still being felt among the close to 160,000 refugees who fled the radioactive fallout. But now there is growing pressure to return to still contaminated areas declared ‘safe’ in efforts to whitewash the disaster’s impacts. Why the rush? To clear the way for the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics, complete with events in Fukushima City.
Ecologist 11th March 2016 read more »
The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) commemorates today the fifth anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear disaster– one of the worst of its kind in the history of nuclear power. NFLA send its deepest sympathies to all those who died as a result of the earthquake and tsunami on March 11th2011, and those who have died in ‘nuclear disaster related deaths’ as a result of the huge damage to four nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant. Over 100,000 people evacuated as a result of the radiation release from Fukushima are still not allowed to return to their homes, and environmental damage to the area requires a large exclusion zone to be maintained for years to come.
NFLA 11th March 2016 read more »
On this day, five years ago when a tsunami, triggered by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake rocked Japan. 15,894 people died and 2,561 still remain unaccounted for – a tragedy that we commemorate and will continue to mourn. Sadly, the disaster didn’t end there. More than 146,000 people living in nearby towns were forced to evacuate due to the nuclear disaster, of which 100,000 remain and have been unable to return. We know that levels of nuclear radiation are still high in some of the areas– figures that the Japanese government have not been telling us – and this is why we’re here. For the people, for the country, and to remind the world that a nuclear disaster is on-going and never-ending.
Greenpeace 11th March 2016 read more »
About 300 people gathered in the Diet Offices to commemorate the Tohoku earthquake, tsunami and Tepco’s meltdowns. Hosted by Friends of the Earth Japan and a large network of NGOs in Japan working on every nuclear concern, including continued aid and support to Chernobyl victims, this was a national-scale event. At 2:46 we paused to silently mark the time of the quake. A number of people I have met previously on this tour are here. It feels good to have new friends here. What follows is a piece I wrote in anticipation for this day. I know it is long. I hope some will read it through. It is Mary’s Manifesto on radiation, but I feel with some certainty that Rosalie Bertell would support it!
Green World 11th March 2016 read more »
Japan’s emperor and prime minister have led tributes to the 19,000 people who died five years ago when a powerful earthquake and tsunami struck the country’s north-east coast and triggered a triple meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Guardian 12th March 2016 read more »
Scotsman 11th March 2016 read more »
Five years on, the nation continues to struggle with the effects. A 10km radius of the plant remains a dead-zone: desolate and uninhabited. As many as 100,000 people still remain displaced, unable to return to their homes. Workers at the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) still don claustrophobic masks and rubber suits to venture into the Fukushima facility. Their job is to decommission the plant safely, a task that plant manager Akira Ono recently said was “about 10% complete”. Fukushima is now the biggest civil liability case in history. More than two million people have sued TEPCO and US$50 billion has already been paid out. This is already equivalent to 400 Exxon Valdez oil spill settlements, and experts predict the total cost of compensation could rise to US$120 billion. One notable subplot has been compensation for cases of suicide. A court’s landmark decision that TEPCO pay US$470,000 to the heirs of a 58-year-old farmer’s wife named Hamako Watanabe could prove much more costly. Officially the buck for everything stops with TEPCO. Under Japanese nuclear-liability law, the nuclear operator is always responsible for the full cost of an accident, even if it cannot be proven to be negligent. In practice, the Japanese taxpayer is bearing the burden. TEPCO’s liability may be unlimited, but its assets are not. Despite the country’s earthquake history, TEPCO’s insurance policy incredibly did not cover earthquakes or tsunamis. And in accordance with regulations introduced in 2009, TEPCO was insured for up to only US$1.1 billion anyway: about a fiftieth of the damages paid out so far. The government has been forced to prevent TEPCO’s bankruptcy. One has to ask whether the concept of unlimited liability has any real meaning when the operator’s capacity to pay is so limited. It also raises questions for other parts of the world. In the UK, for example, nuclear liability is capped at a mere US$220m, less than two hundreth of what TEPCO has already paid in compensation claims. Japan is evidently not be the only country that should be taking lessons from Fukushima.
The Conversation 11th March 2016 read more »