Archives de juillet 2012

Japanese Professor: “Extreme increase of mortality caused by cardiac disease” in Fukushima — Death rate “might give the creeps to some people”

July 27, 2012 post from Ryuichi Akiba translated by Dissensus Japan:


It’s a report of the investigation on population shift and causes of death of the year before and January and February of this year.


It can provide valuable figure how much the extremely large amount of fallout released from Fukushima Daiichi damaged public health and life.

The “cause specific death rate” deserves careful attention.


The figure might give the creeps to some people.


In fact, the data shows that the number of death increased by 12.5% and the number of death caused by cardiac disease increased by 14.6% after the Fukushima nuclear accident.


What does the extreme increase of mortality caused by cardiac disease mean?

Dr.Yury Bandazhevsky of Belarus examined the people exposed to radiation and the people who had died of Chernobyl and clinically identified the association between Cesium radiation and cardiac disease.


We can’t either determine or deny the morbidity and mortality increased only because of radiation released from Fukushima Daiichi.

We need to pay attention to the next months’ vital statistics to figure this out.


What is needed most is clinical or epidemiologic study; statistic or report by independent doctors and researchers. We need many Bandazhevskys to save the children of Japan and all over the world.

The Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry yesterday released its monthly vital statistics of February 2012:

  • The number of death was up 12.5 percent (=12695 people) compared to the same month of the year before
  • The number of death caused by Malignant Neoplasm was up 7.7%(=2066 people) from the same month of the year before
  • The number caused by cardiac disease was up 14.6% (=2585 people)


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Will Fukushima report impact Japan’s nuke policy?

RESTORING TRUST: As reactors are restarted, Japan’s Parliament and the government should take the findings seriously


Read more: Will Fukushima report impact Japan’s nuke policy? – Columnist – New Straits Times


JAPAN faced its largest earthquake and a tsunami with waves of up to 11.5m on March 11 last year, causing an unprecedented accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

The triple tragedy shocked Japan and the world. Mismanagement by the Japanese government after the disaster had made people in Japan lose trust in the authorities, even though the Japanese were highly admired for their bravery and stoicism in facing that catastrophic event.

In order to recover this trust, the National Diet (House of Representatives) of Japan created its Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission (NAIIC).

NAIIC submitted its final report to the Diet on July 5, some six months after the appointment of the chairman and members in December last year by an Act of the Diet.

NAIIC is the first independent commission in the history of Japan’s Constitution. That is why its activities and report ( are politically very significant.

Furthermore, it is important that the report is utilised not only by the Japanese but by the rest of the world, since it deals with the unprecedented accident which influenced the present and future of Japan and the world. After the submission, the final report received a lot of media attention, domestically and internationally, discussing the pros and cons.

Some foreign media criticised the NAIIC’s report because it named Japanese culture as the main cause of the accident. This was mentioned, for foreigners, in the English version of the NAIIC’s final report to explain the background of the accident. However, the accident should also be dealt with as a policy matter to prevent such an accident happening again. The report took the view that people in charge of affairs related to the accident should not necessarily be blamed as individuals for it.

When we look at our human history, someone must take responsibility for accidents so that the system or organisation can change. This is also true of the Fukushima accident. But the task of apportioning blame should be done not by NAIIC but by the Diet, based on the NAIIC report. The policymaking system is bureaucracy-centred in Japan. The Diet doesn’t necessarily work without the bureaucracy.

NAIIC was the first trial system in the Diet which functioned independently from and beyond the bureaucracy. This means that, for the first time, Japan could have another policy information resource besides the bureaucracy. This is an epoch-making event and may be a beginning of a new policy-making system in Japan.

However, the bureaucracy does not seem to take the NAIIC report seriously, although concerned ministers mentioned that they would consider the report in administering nuclear power policy.

All 50 nuclear power plants were stopped for periodical inspections by May 5. The Japanese government decided to let the Kansai Electric Power Company restart at the Oi nuclear power plant last month, before the report was submitted by NAIIC. The company started two reactors this month.

People have started demonstrations against the restart every Friday in front of the prime minister’s office and at other events all over Japan.

Many articles have also spoken against the restart of the reactors. But there has been no serious debate in the National Diet and Japanese government about the NAIIC report so far.

In this situation, what is to be asked is whether the Japanese government, the National Diet and all Japanese people can make use of the report in considering nuclear power policy in Japan in order to restore trust, both within Japan and around the world.

The Fukushima accident is still not over. And many people are suffering even now. We should all we should do in order not to repeat the same kind of cataclysmic event — for a better world.

Read more: Will Fukushima report impact Japan’s nuke policy? – Columnist – New Straits Times

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Japan Times: Fukushima workers were concerned pressure was escaping from cracks caused by 3/11 quake — Tepco refuses to investigate inside Reactor 1 for quake damage

The IC is an emergency cooling system.

Shortly after the quake hit the plant, engineers used the IC to cool the reactor core and turned it on and off for three times.

The government panel’s report said the engineers turned off the IC because they were trying to control the speed of the temperature drop inside the reactor no faster than 55 degrees per hour, which is stated in the manual for the IC.

But the Diet panel said the engineers told the panel that they wanted to see how the pressure level would change because they were concerned if the pressure was escaping from some cracks caused by the quake.

“It seems Tepco does not admit that the workers turned off the IC to check the leakage because it will bring up the unfavorable matter of the possibility of quake damage,” said the Diet panel, adding that it is also conceivable that the pipeline for the IC might have been damaged by the quake.

The Diet panel asked Tepco if it could send investigators inside the reactor 1 building to view the quake damage as much as possible.

But Tepco declined because the utility did not want its employees to be exposed with more radiation more than was necessary.

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Fuel rod removed from Fukushima plant pool

Fuel rod removed from Fukushima plant pool

Jiji, AFP-Jiji

Tokyo Electric Power Co. on Wednesday removed one of two unused nuclear fuel assemblies from the spent-fuel pool of reactor 4 at its Fukushima No. 1 power station.

Television footage showed dozens of workers, all wearing white protective suits, atop the heavily damaged unit 4 building, extracting the fuel rod with a crane. TV crews used helicopters to film the operation, defying requests from Tepco.

The operation is a trial ahead of the planned transfer of all the fuel assemblies now in the spent-fuel pool to a common pool in another part of the stricken plant. The transfer is expected to start by the end of 2014.

During the work, Tepco removed one of two unused fuel assemblies, which emit relatively low levels of radiation. The other assembly is expected to be removed Thursday.

Tepco will scrutinize the two to see if and how they have been affected by a hydrogen explosion at reactor 3 and the use of seawater to cool the fuel assemblies.

Reactor 4 had no fuel in its core when the 9.0-magnitude quake and tsunami hit the plant in March last year. The reactor had been shut down for maintenance.

At the time disaster struck, 1,535 fuel assemblies were stored in the spent-fuel pool. Of the total, 1,331 were spent fuel assemblies while 204 were unused.

Japan Times


News photo
Trial transfer: Work to remove a nuclear fuel assembly is under way Wednesday atop the heavily damaged building of reactor 4 at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant. KYODO

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Japan utility takes out 2 Fukushima nuke fuel rods

TOKYO (AP) – A giant crane removed two rods packed with nuclear fuel from the Fukushima nuclear plant on Wednesday, the beginning of a delicate and long process to reduce the risk of more radiation escaping from the disaster-struck plant.

Aerial view shows the damaged No. 4 reactor building at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant, where a crane removed two rods packed with nuclear fuel from the reactor building.

All of the 1,535 rods in a spent-fuel pool next to reactor No. 4 at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant in northeastern Japan must eventually be moved to safer storage — an effort expected to take until the end of next year, according to the government.

The building containing the pool and reactor was destroyed by an explosion following the failure of cooling systems after a massive earthquake and tsunami in March 2011. The cores of three reactors melted.

Fears run deep about the large amounts of radioactive material stored in the pool, which unlike fuel in the cores of the reactors is not protected by thick containment vessels. The plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., intends to remove all the rods to eliminate the risk of the pool spewing radiation.

Separately, a reactor at the Ohi nuclear plant in central Japan went online Wednesday, the second to restart after the disasters. Another Ohi reactor was restarted earlier this month.

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets Monday demanding an end to nuclear power, outraged by the restarts. It was the biggest rally since the Fukushima crisis began.

Also Wednesday, the government ordered two utilities, Kansai Electric Power Co., which operates Ohi, and Hokuriki Electric Power Co. to restudy earthquake faults that lie beneath their nuclear plants.

Japanese TV reports showed cranes removing the 4-meter (13-foot) rods. TEPCO declined comment, citing the need for secrecy in handling nuclear material.

About 150,000 people fled their homes after last year’s nuclear disaster, the worst since Chernobyl. A 20-kilometer (12-mile) zone around the plant remains a no-go area.

According to a worst-case scenario prepared by the government, a loss of coolant in the spent-fuel pool at reactor No. 4 could have caused a massive release of radiation and forced millions of people to flee.

A year and a half after the disaster, the pool’s cooling system has been fixed and reinforcements have been built to prop it up. But TEPCO recently said the wall of the building is bulging, although the pool has not tilted.

Hiroshi Tasaka, a nuclear engineer and professor at Tama University who served as adviser to the prime minister after the disaster, said the spent-fuel pool poses a danger because the building is not sufficiently secure to stop radiation escaping in the case of a strong aftershock.

The two rods removed Wednesday are among 204 that have not been used to generate power and are not as prone to releasing radiation as the 1,331 spent-fuel rods also sitting in the pool.

Tasaka said the government target of removing all the rods by the end of next year may prove too optimistic because of many unknowns, the need to develop new technology and the risk of aftershocks.

« If we are asked whether things are completely safe, we cannot say that, » he said. « If there is another major earthquake, we don’t know what may happen, although we hope for the best. »

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Japan Eyes Clean Energy Revolution after Fukushima

Even as Japan begins cranking up its nuclear reactors again, Tokyo has launched a scheme it hopes will spark a green-energy revolution and put the country at the leading edge of renewables.

New rules oblige utilities to buy all electricity produced from renewable sources, including solar, wind and geothermal power, at above-market rates for the next two decades, in a bid to stoke « green » power investment.

Advocates say the rush by suppliers to capitalize on the scheme could nearly double demand for solar cells this year alone, spurring economies of scale for panel producers and ultimately bringing down the cost of renewable energy.

The scheme comes as Japan debates its future energy policy, and is squarely aimed at forcing change in the way Japan’s enormous — and powerful — utility companies operate.

The tsunami-sparked meltdowns at the Fukushima nuclear plant in March last year led to the shuttering of Japan’s entire stable of reactors.

They forced Tokyo to turn to expensive fossil fuels to replace the third of the country’s electricity the atomic plants had produced.

Analysts say despite public fears, nuclear is here to stay for the foreseeable future, but resource-poor Japan must rebalance its energy mix and make greater use of renewables.

The so-called feed-in tariff could spur a whopping 85-percent rise in solar cell demand in Japan this year alone, according to Nomura Securities, and « trigger a full-scale launch of large solar farms in Japan ».

« New solar cell installation could expand further if the uptake of inexpensive, Chinese-made solar cells accelerates, » Nomura analyst Kyoichiro Yokoyama said in a research note.

The amount of new solar power capacity that Nomura predicts for Japan this year is equal to about two nuclear reactors.

« I want to use it as a trigger to fuel the use of renewable energy, » Industry Minister Yukio Edano said recently.

« It is clear that additional cost is necessary to promote greater use of renewable energy and to end our reliance on nuclear plants as soon as possible, » he added.

Japan gets less than two percent of its power from renewable sources, rising to about 10 percent including hydroelectric power, but still below other industrialized nations.

As of 2010, Japan’s solar power output was about one-fifth that of Germany, while Tokyo was in 12th place globally in terms of wind-power generation.

Some Japanese firms have already made their move, including electronics giant Toshiba, which said it would build a huge solar plant on the country’s disaster-struck northeastern coastline.

Rival Panasonic said it expected a boost in its solar-power system sales on the back of the new program, which puts Japan on track to leapfrog Italy as the world’s fourth-largest solar market by 2014, behind China, the United States and India, according to Nomura.

Mobile phone operator Softbank opened a plant in Kyoto at the weekend and has plans to build Japan’s biggest solar plant — in the northern island of Hokkaido.

« If we keep building solar panels and invest in solar energy, within 20 years it will not only become the safest and the cleanest source of electricity but also the cheapest, » Softbank chief Masayoshi Son told reporters.

A group of Japanese firms led by trading house Marubeni plan to build a large floating experimental wind farm that could supply power for over 100,000 households, Jiji Press has reported.

Under the scheme, premiums for different forms of renewable energy vary, but utilities must pay 42 yen (53 cents) per kilowatt hour for solar power, over twice the rate paid to operators in Germany, with generation costs in Japan less than 30 yen per kilowatt hour, Nomura said.

Those costs are at least three times those of nuclear and fossil-fuel energy, according to government estimates.

However nuclear power costs are expected to spike amid heavy compensation and clean-up bills after Fukushima, the world’s worst atomic accident in a generation.

Critics of the scheme, which came into effect Sunday, say it is too expensive, with most of the extra costs heaped on businesses and households.

They say the new contracts are too generous and benefit a small number of green power operators, with few guarantees that they can make it a profitable enterprise and usher in a massive shift for Japan’s energy mix.

« The 20-year guarantee seems a bit too sweet a deal », said Yasuchika Hasegawa, chairman of the Japan Association of Corporate Executives.

« The initial incentive is necessary. But five to 10 years should suffice… I hope they will review this plan. »

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Japan utility repairing reactors near Fukushima

TOKYO (AP) — The operator of Japan’s tsunami-ravaged nuclear plant says it is repairing four reactors at a less-damaged nearby plant despite demands from local residents that it be scrapped.

Community leaders have demanded that Tokyo Electric Power Co. decommission all reactors at both the badly damaged Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant and the nearby Fukushima Dai-ni plant.

The Dai-ni plant was hit by a smaller tsunami and suffered less damage, but residents fear it is unsafe.

TEPCO says it will decommission four reactors at the Dai-ichi plant. But TEPCO President Naomi Hirose said Wednesday it hasn’t decided on the fate of the Dai-ni plant.

Thousands protested last weekend against the restart of another reactor in western Japan. It will be the first to go back online since all reactors were shut for safety checks after the Fukushima disaster.

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