Japanese parish priests shared stories of suffering from victims of the Fukushima nuclear disaster at a May 2019 International Forum for a Nuclear-Free World held in Sendai, Japan. A joint statement from the forum, issued in July 2019, strengthens the call for a worldwide ban on nuclear energy and encourage churches to join in the campaign.
Beyond Nuclear 28th July 2019 read more »
Due to a wide range of shared values and a desire for regional peace and stability, we support a strong Japan-U.S. alliance. However, even closer relations are hampered by Japan’s continued plutonium production. Last July, the civilian nuclear agreement between Japan and the United States came to the end of its initial 30-year period of validity and was automatically renewed. This agreement allows Japan to use nuclear materials and equipment exported from the United States to produce and separate plutonium for peaceful uses. As of December 2017, Japan had already amassed about 48 tons of separated plutonium, enough to make more than 6,000 nuclear bombs. This is about equal to U.S. surplus military plutonium. Japan is the only non-nuclear weapon state which still separates plutonium. Japan intends to start operating the Rokkasho Reprocessing Plant as soon as fiscal 2021, despite the fact that the government has concluded that reprocessing is not economical. Once operational, a further eight tons of plutonium can be separated at Rokkasho every year. When its 123 Agreement with the United States was automatically renewed, Japan told the international community it would not “hold plutonium with no use” and would reduce its plutonium stockpile. But it is clear that the operation of the Rokkasho reprocessing plant and the plutonium reduction policy cannot be reconciled, as only a small number of plutonium-using reactors have been able to restart following the Fukushima accident in March 2011.
Kyodo News 29th July 2019 read more »
Almost six years after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe famously declared the contaminated water problem at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant “under control,” today it remains anything but. Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) continues to face difficulties in dealing with water contaminated with radioactive substances at its crippled plant. About 18,000 tons of highly contaminated water remain accumulated in reactor buildings and other places. Abe made the declaration in September 2013 while Tokyo was bidding to win the 2020 Summer Games. In reality, however, the situation is not under control even now. In a meeting of the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) in June, one of its members, Nobuhiko Ban, told TEPCO officials, “I want you to show whether you have a prospect (for the reduction of contaminated water) or you have given up.” The water level did not fall as planned in an area of a basement floor at the No. 3 reactor building for two months. Asked why the level did not drop, TEPCO officials offered only vague explanations in the meeting. Ban made the remark out of irritation. Highly contaminated water that has accumulated in reactor buildings and turbine buildings is a major concern at the Fukushima plant. In addition to water that was used to cool melted nuclear fuel at the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 reactors, groundwater also has flowed into those buildings through cracks. The concentration of radioactive substances in the highly contaminated water is about 100 million times that of the contaminated water that has been processed and stored in tanks.
Asahi Shimbun 28th July 2019 read more »