Ten years after the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, how has the Japanese government responded and what is it like for the people affected, still struggling to return their lives to some semblance of normality? Here is how things look: Manuals are being distributed in schools explaining that radioactivity exists in nature and is therefore not something to be afraid of. The government is considering getting rid of radiation monitoring posts as these send the wrong message at a time of “reconstruction”. The Oversight Committee for Fukushima Prefecture Health Management Survey is discussing the possibility of stopping thyroid inspections at schools because they stress children out and overburden teachers and staff. Depression and suicide rates among young people from Fukushima are likely to be triggered by being called “germs” and by being seen as “contaminated”. Those who speak out about radiation are more stigmatized today than they were 10 years ago. Those who “voluntarily” evacuated, recognizing that the so-called protection standards were not adequate for their region, are often ostracized from their new communities. They are seen as selfish for abandoning their homeland, friends and families “just to save themselves” and are bullied as parasites living on compensation funds, even though the “auto-evacuees” as they are known, received none.
Beyond Nuclear 7th March 2021 read more »
As a result of a catastrophic triple reactor meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant on 11 March 2011, several tens of thousands of square kilometres in Fukushima Prefecture and wider Japan were contaminated with significant amounts of radioactive caesium and other radionuclides. The first Greenpeace radiation expert team arrived in Fukushima on 26 March 2011, and Greenpeace experts have since conducted 32 investigations into the radiological consequences of the disaster, the most recent in November 2020.
Beyond Nuclear 7th March 2021 read more »
in the broken reactors are leaking into the ocean, forcing the pumping in of even more water. TEPCO, the Toyko Electric Power Company that operates the complex, will run out of space to store the radioactive water sometime next year. TEPCO and the Japanese government have plans to dump much of it into the Pacific Ocean, leading to an outcry from the public. For more I’m joined now by Arjun Makhijani, President of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research. Arjun, welcome back to Living on Earth! Of course, it will be diluted somewhat, so it will impact the shore more, but tritium has a half-life of 12.3 years. There’s also a lot of strontium which mimics calcium in the body. Now, one thing to know about strontium 90, because it mimics calcium it goes to the bones, it becomes part of the bone marrow. Our immune system stem cells arise in the bone marrow. And the immune system of the fetal development is more complicated but it is a hematopoietic system and when you are putting radioactivity into a place where your immune stem cells are originating, you’re compromising all aspects of health. And these are aspects of radioactivity that have not been adequately studied. And I think before an organization like TEPCO is allowed to pollute the oceans with strontium and tritium, which can cross the placenta, not only in human beings, so you know, we’re not going to drink seawater, but the biological systems, the reproductive systems, the energy system, specially, a lot of our immune systems are very common between human beings and a large variety of animals, including fish. And so I think it should be on them to demonstrate that this is not going to severely disrupt the reproductive and energy systems of the living beings where they are going to dump this.
Living on Earth 5th March 2021 read more »
Delays have long been common in the decommissioning of the stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, but one recent postponement carried special significance. Plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. in December said work to remove melted nuclear fuel from the three destroyed reactors would be delayed by about a year. The retrieval process was supposed to start this year, marking a milestone in the formidable cleanup project. It was one of the two paramount targets that the utility had refused to abandon despite its repeated tweaking of the decommissioning road map and the mountains of stumbling blocks it has faced. The other target is the completion of the decommissioning project in “30 to 40 years,” a goal that was in doubt even in December 2011, when it was set by the government and TEPCO.
Asahi Shimbun 9th March 2021 read more »
It’s ten years since two disasters compromised one of the largest nuclear plants in the world. It showed that nuclear power can never be safe, says Martin Empson.
Socialist Worker 8th March 2021 read more »
It’s been a decade since the disaster took place. However, the trauma is still fresh, especially for the survivors who physically experienced the catastrophe. We had seen Chernobyl exactly 25 years before this, and with Fukushima, we once again all witnessed the horror of another nuclear accident. Like Chernobyl, hundreds and thousands of families had to be evacuated overnight as their homes were no longer safe. Nuclear radiation was spreading every minute, contaminating everything on its way. Ten years is a long journey. Looking at the Greenpeace archives, beginning with the first team documentation from 2011 up until 2019, it reminds us that while a decade may seem like a long time, it is not enough to wash away the pain caused by the accident.
Greenpeace 9th March 2021 read more »
Fukushima 50 review – simmering tribute to power-plant heroes. There’s a touch of Hollywood in this dramatised account of the 50 workers who stayed at Fukushima Daiichi in an attempt to avert catastrophe.
Guardian 8th March 2021 read more »