A new UN report which dismisses the March. 11, 2011 Fukushima disaster as the cause of elevated rates of thyroid cancer in that region’s children leaves serious questions unanswered and appears to be a rush to press to maximize publicity around the nuclear accident’s 10th anniversary, concluded Beyond Nuclear today. An advance publication of a section of the 2020 United Nations Scientific Committee on Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) report —Sources, effects and risks of ionizing radiation, Scientific Annex B, Advance Copy — claims that “a rise in thyroid cancer among children in the last decade was not related to increased radiation,” and instead attributes the increases to more thorough and sophisticated testing. But according to Dr. Ian Fairlie, a leading radiation scientist, the doses delivered by the Fukushima disaster — and as established by UNSCEAR’s own estimates— would be high enough to cause thyroid cancer among exposed children. Dr.Fairlie asserts the report’s conclusion, that “the increase…is not the result of radiation exposure”, is “scientifically unsound..[and] inconsistent with UNSCEAR!s own estimates of high collective doses to the thyroid published in its 2012 and 2013 reports.”
Beyond Nuclear 11th March 2021 read more »
Nine months after the triple reactor meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in March 2011, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) announced that decommissioning of the site will be completed within 30-40 years. Practically, the people of Japan were told that some time between 2041 and 2051, the site would be returned to ‘greenfield.’ In the past decade, the complexity and scale of the challenge at the Fukushima Daiichi site has become slowly clearer. The decommissioning task at the Fukushima Daiichi site is unique in its challenge to society and technology. But still, the official time frame for TEPCO’s Road Map for decommissioning remains that set in 2011.
Greenpeace 11th March 2021 read more »
Fukushima: “How Japan was blinded to the predicted certainty of disaster”. Long before the nuclear power plant accident, on March 11, 2011, scientists had multiplied the alerts, which were ignored by a solid network of technocrats, operators and experts, explains, in a forum in “The World”, Harry Bernas, specialist nuclear.
Le Monde 11th March 2021 read more »
Ten years after Fukushima: The experts examine lessons learned and forgotten.
Bulletin of Atomic Scientists 11th March 2021 read more »
The Great East Japan Earthquake and Nuclear Disaster Memorial Museum, which documents and passes down the lessons learned from the 2011 disasters, began altering its exhibition less than half a year after it opened, following criticism by visitors.
Mainichi 11th March 2021 read more »
Ten years after the March 2011 meltdowns and explosions at Fukushima’s Daiichi nuclear power plant, only one third of the 160,000 who fled their homes in Japan’s eastern province have returned. Some 37,000 of them cannot do so because annual radiation levels on their land and homes remain at over 50 millisieverts, 10 times annual background radiation. Yet proponents of nuclear power argue that the world’s most severe nuclear accident since the Chernobyl disaster in 1986 – which has paralysed debate on Japan’s energy future – does not seem to have directly caused any deaths. A UN report this week confirms as much, its chair insisting that “no adverse health effects among Fukushima residents have been documented that could be directly attributed to radiation exposure from the accident”. Thyroid cancer-linked radiation releases were a hundredth of the level in Chernobyl. For a government wedded to nuclear energy as key to the climate change challenge of zero carbon emississions by 2050, and which came close to power cuts this winter, popular resistance to nuclear is a major political obstacle. Polling for broadcaster NHK found only 3 per cent of the public wants to use more nuclear power. Assurances from Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco), operator of the Daiichi plant, that it is incorporating post-Fukushima knowhow into its blueprints, “including earthquake and tsunami countermeasures” simply won’t wash.
Irish Times 11th March 2021 read more »
A decade ago, a massive tsunami crashed into the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Three of its reactors melted down, leaving it looking like a bombed-out factory. Emergency workers risked their lives trying to keep one of history’s worst nuclear crises from spiraling out of control. Proper equipment has now replaced ragged plastic hoses held together with tape and an outdoor power switchboard infested by rats, which caused blackouts. Radiation levels have declined, allowing workers and visitors to wear regular clothes and surgical masks in most areas. But deep inside the plant, danger still lurks. Officials don’t know exactly how long the cleanup will take, whether it will be successful and what might become of the land where the plant sits. Journalists from The Associated Press recently visited the plant to document progress in its cleanup on the 10th anniversary of the meltdowns and the challenges that lie ahead.
Japan Today 11th March 2021 read more »
Channel4 News 11th March 2021 read more »
ITV 11th March 2021 read more »
Despite its size, the Fukushima plant was thought to have significant risks of failure. Built on the East Coast of Japan, the reactors sat in a very seismically active region, with earthquakes being frequent in the area. Furthermore, there are media claims that TEPCO, who operated the reactors, were previously warned that the seawalls defending the plant were not sufficient to protect from a sizeable tsunami – but these warnings were ignored.
IFL Science 11th March 2021 read more »
Nuclear advocates point to the development of new technologies, such as small modular reactors, which can be deployed locally, and whose small scale limits the potential for Fukushima-sized accidents. But while industry supporters, like the UN’s International Atomic Energy Association, point to lessons learned and industry-wide soul-searching since the Fukushima catastrophe, this rosy analysis is landing on the ears of a distrustful and wary public. “Those talking about atomic power are people in the ‘nuclear village’, who want to protect their vested interests,” Naoto Kan, who was Japan’s prime minister during the Fukushima’s disaster, told a news conference last week, according to Reuters. Aditi Verma, Ali Ahmad and Francesca Giovannini, three scholars from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government who studied the aftereffects of Fukushima, agree. In an opinion piece the three wrote this month for Nature, the influential US scientific journal, they assert that the nuclear industry has long ago lost touch with the public it is meant to serve.
Bellona 12th March 2021 read more »