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ROLLING UPDATE on Japan Earthquake, Tsunami and Nuclear Disaster by Japan resident

Tony Boys's picture

I want to say 'THANK YOU' to everyone who has read the article, "Japan Earthquake, Tsunami and Nuclear Disaster - A personal story about the next 100 years of human history," commented and given their support to the idea of a nuclear-free world. Here I want to reiterate the 'campaign' aim, introduce the campaign slogan - Say 'No to Nukes!' and then list all relevant links that so many people have sent in to me regarding this disaster and the problems of nuclear power in general. This entry will 'grow' as links and discussion are added (at the moment every 10 minutes). Please 'stay tuned' to the ongoing discussion here and please add links and any other information you feel is relevant to the comments section. If your link/info is important I will it edit into the main 'article'. Thank you and tell everyone to say 'No to nukes!'

This was originally posted at 11:45AM on 30 March, - Ed, 31 Mar.

Firstly, thank you, everyone for reading and joining in the discussion! I hope to keep it going till we achieve the aim!

If you were not able to see the original article due to formatting problems, please see the simple text article (includes photos)

Secondly, I'd like to review the aim here so that it is clear to everyone what it is:

To see that no new nuclear power stations (or reactors) are built in Japan (or any other country) and that all reactors now running are phased out when their lifetime (stated at the time of construction) is up – or by some relatively close date, say 2020. In the meantime, nuclear power stations should be run as safely and as humanely as possible.

Here’s the small print: In principle, all other nuclear facilities and research centers [for medical applications, fast-breeders, reprocessing plants, nuclear fission research and so on] should also be phased out under the same time schedule as the commercial nuclear reactors. However, it may be felt that some of this should be maintained. That will be something for people at the time to decide.

This is quoted directly from the original article and so is unchanged.

However, several people have given very sound reasons why specific nuclear power stations or ALL nuclear power stations should be shut down immediately. I will try to address these concerns below, giving links and information as much as possible.

Thirdly, the 'campaign' now has a slogan: "Say 'No to Nukes!'" - not very original, but easy for people of all languages and cultures to understand and say. As long as people are aware of the 'aim' when they say this I will be happy if EVERYONE, EVERYWHERE just goes around saying this to the people they see and meet so that the idea will go around the world!

To inject an element of fun (even in the midst of this nuclear crisis I do not wish to sit around with a glum expression on my face) I suggest we also SING it! How about John Lennon and Yoko Ono's "Give Peace A Chance"? -- "All we are saying... is say no to nukes!" What better way to do it than through this fantastic and well-known call for peace?? If you have other song possibilities, please let us know! (I threaten to go on YouTube singing this song unless I am physically restrained!) If you are able to to video yourself and place it on YouTube, why not video yourself singing "All we are saying... is say no to nukes!" (several times) and a message to the world to stop nuclear power and then send us the link?! The more the merrier!

A friend in Colombia, Gus, has sent me words for this is English and Spanish, with a little Japanese at the end:

All we are saying... we say no to nukes!
All we are saying... we say no to death!
All we are saying... we say yes to life!!
All we are saying... is no more abuse!!
All we are saying... is long live my kids!!
All we are saying... is long live life!!
All we are saying... is long live all lives!!!
All we are saying... is time for us all!
All we are saying... nuke life is just through!!!!
All we are saying... their life is just through!!!
All we are saying... future must be ours!!!
All we are saying... people are always right!!!
All we are saying... the few will not win!!!
All we are saying... Peoples must prevail!!!
All we are saying... Japan is always great!!
All we are saying... Japanese are so brave!!!

Y lo decimos... la vida es por ti!!!
Y lo decimos... la vida pa' todos!!!
Y lo decimos... la vida sin nukes!!!
Y lo decimos... la vida sin ellos!!!
Y lo decimos... la vida pa' los pueblos!!
Y lo decimos... la vida p'el trabajador!!!
Y lo decimos... la vida p'el agricultor!!!
Y lo decimos... la vida está quí!!
Y lo decimos... a vida es mañana!!!
Y lo decimos... la vida pa luchar!!!
Minna-san iu no wa... Jinsei daichi!!!
Minna-san iu no wa... Shiawase yo!!!

Thank you, Gus!




Now, I'd like to get to the more serious stuff, the links and discussion on the ongoing disaster and the problems of nuclear power in general.

1) Please look at Citizen's Nuclear Information Center [CNIC] in Tokyo - especially Japanese people, but they also have a wealth of information in English. They need our support as they are extremely busy now (of course) and are short of funds. Please visit their Support page and do whatever you can for them. It will be very much appreciated. This organization has for decades fought against the nuclear madness in Japan and has won the Right Livelihood Award. I will personally be doing everything I can to support them.

A friend of mine in Tokyo says:

CITIZENS NUCLEAR INFORMATION CENTER (Japan) CNIC is nothing to snicker at! One activist told me that had it not been for the anti nuke movment in Japan, Japan would now have over a hundred reactors instead of the 55 they now have! Imagine that!

Nuke Info Tokyo

A massive database of English / Japanese language news and analysis of so much corruption it boggles the mind, could probably not even fit on Jupiter's gaseous surface. PDF files from the bimonthy Nuke Info Tokyo from 1997 to the present. Topics include: Nuclear Power and Nuclear Weapons - the Unbreakable Connection (For Japanese language click on the upper righthand corner.)

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For Japanese people, please look at the website of the movie Rokkasho Rhapsody and the preview of the movie on YouTube (this is also good for non-Japanese as you can at least get an idea of what the movie is about). For those who do not know, Rokkaso Mura (Village) is a village on the eastern coast of Aomori Prefecture in the very north of Honshu. A reprocessing plant and spent fuel storage facility have been built here and there are nuclear poser stations nearby. Need I say more?

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Here also is the link to the English website of Gensuikin (Japan Congress Against A- and H-Bombs), which campaigns against both nuclear weapons and nuclear power.

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2) Let's start with Rice Farmer. Yesterday, Rice Farmer carried the link Is loss of electricity a risk for spent nuclear fuel? and says that this is a) MUST reading and that it explains why ALL nuclear power stations should be immediately shut down. The problem is the spent fuel. There's nowhere to put it so it accumulates in the power station. This is a big factor in the ongoing disaster at Fukushima No.1 power station.

Rice Farmer also carried this link yesterday: S.Korea to rank 1st in nuclear plant density by 2024. One disaster like that happening at Fukushima No.1 could effectively mean the emd of South Korea. I wondered what my Korean friends would this and so sent off an email. This is part of the response I received. "A newspaper here published the report by Mr. Hirai - I want you to know what nuclear power is about [Mentioned as a comment to the previous article. This is in Japanese, but we may have to get it translated into English.] which drew quite a lot of attention. Recently, doubt has been spreading about the slow response of the government in reporting the outcome of studies on the impacts of radioactivity in S. Korea. The fact that the Korean government is not being frank about publicizing information on nuclear power is causing increasing numbers of people here to think. In elections happening now in Korea (in areas where there is nuclear power) there is a strong possibility that nuclear power will become an election issue (from the point of view of a conflict between regional development and safety)."

Rice Farmer uploads a number of relevant links to his blog every day, so it is worthwhile to look in on him each day, or from time to time...

3) Please see Fukushima Reactor 3: Full meltdown now feared for a really horrific report on what may be happening in Fukushima No.1 reactor 3.

Here's a link from the Japan Times about plutonium emissions at Fukushima No.1: Plutonium traces point to core leak

IAEA Briefing on Fukushima Nuclear Accident (28 March 2011, 14:30 UTC)

Please find the briefing presentations here:

IAEA Briefing on Fukushima Nuclear Accident (28 March 2011)
Deposition/ Time Integrated Concentration Model, 28 March 2011
Fukushima NPPs Potential Impact on the Marine Environment, 28 March 2011
Summary of Reactor Unit Status at 28 March 0500 UTC:
Radiological Consequences of the Fukushima Nuclear Accident - 28 March 2011

4) There are some extremely worrying aspects of this nuclear disaster at Fukushima No.1

Here is one take on what is going on:

Fukushima Reactors Catastrophe: Radiation Exposure, Lies and Cover-up By Dr. Ilya Sandra Perlingieri

There is a lot of very relevant information and discussion here. One of these concerns the privatization of nuclear power - covered in this clip - naturally, as a business, the most important consideration is maximization of profit (oh, not safety?) and therefore corners are cut. Could be that a few too many corners were cut at Fukushima No.1? I'll have more to say about that later as Japanese newspaper are beginning to raise the issue of nationalization of all nuclear power stations in Japan.

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Here is an extremely worrying aspect from Tim - tokyoreishi@gmail.com if you want to contact him.

"An interesting quote from your previous article:

"2) In the approx 40 mins between the earthquake and the tsunami it seems the backup
generators were not working because a) external power was down, b) lack of fuel in
the diesel generator fuel tank."

Here is a fairly good description of what SUXTNET is.

"DEADF007 - Is Stuxnet The Secret Weapon To Attack Iran's Nukes; Is A Virus About To Revolutionize Modern Warfare? Submitted by Tyler Durden on 09/23/2010 11:22 -0400 ... Stuxnet's ability to autonomously and without human assistance discriminate among industrial computer systems is telling. It means, says Langner, that it is looking for one specific place and time to attack one specific factory or power plant in the entire world. "Stuxnet is the key for a very specific lock – in fact, there is only one lock in the world that it will open," Langner says in an interview. "The whole attack is not at all about stealing data but about manipulation of a specific industrial process at a specific moment in time. This is not generic. It is about destroying that process."

...did SUXTNET wait internally on the Fukushima reactors emergency systems for the right set of perimeters and algorithm on the tsunami and earthquake? Who profited from this and is this economic warfare? ...intriguing stuff here, no? Virtual deception at its finest; so good that neither the deceivers nor the deceived are in control of the stuxnet algorithms which determine their fate ...they just profit on the bonds...Fukushima was a profit margin and a cat bond ticking bomb waiting to go off...these guys are absolutely geniuses..."

I'm not sure about this. Please read it and make up your own mind. Perhaps Tim will comment and tell us more about it.

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IAEA On Fukushima Plutonium

AP IMPACT: Long blackouts pose risk to US reactors

This article says, "And like Fukushima Dai-ichi, the Peach Bottom plant has enough battery power on site to power emergency cooling systems for eight hours. In Japan, that wasn't enough time for power to be restored." As already mentioned in the original article there was roughly 40 minutes between the earthquake and the tsunami arriving. Does it take 40 minutes for batteries to kick in??

A report in Spanish:
Japón: alarma por hallazgo de plutonio en la planta de Fukushima

In Germany, Greens win in a state election. Perhaps the first political 'fallout' from the Fukushima No.1 Power Station disaster. Can nuclear power continue to exist in a truly democratic state?

In Germany, Green wave troubles Merkel

Looks like one big mess...Japan on 'maximum alert' over nuclear plant
"Lyons told the panel that the United States was sending Japan radiation-resistant robots -- as well as trained staff to operate them -- to help collect information about the reactors from areas still unsafe for people."

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There will be (I hope - yes it did happen) an interview by Rick Adams with me on RBN radio archive files of the show (in two parts) at 11am Japan Time 31 March 2011. Below is the update after the interview.

This was a very interesting talk with Rick Adams and Dr. K in which Dr K spelt out why he is absolutely against nuclear power and also some information about what to eat and drink to protect your body from radiation. Please listen to the show for that and download the pdf in the link just before this. Generally, we all agreed on most of the topics discussed. Where Rick Adams and I disagreed was over the remaining resources of oil. Rick appears to believe that oil will never run out because it is being continually produced deep in the earth, and therefore we will only have to dig wells and pump it up - in other words, oil is a 'renewable' resource that 'we' can use forever. I disagree; I believe the world reached peak oil production in 2005 or 2006 (as the IEA now agrees) and that the world is now post-peak oil. I made the point that nuclear power is almost impossible without cheap oil due to the need to mine uranium, refine it, manufacture fuel rods, construct nuclear power stations, all the transport that involves and then decomission nuclear power plants and manage the spent fuel for at least 48,000 years (twice the half life of plutonium). Since I believe oil will in the future become scarce and expensive, that eventually will make both nuclear and thermal power stations things of the past. Coal resources will also become scarce before the end of this century. Mankind's task this century is therefore to rethink how society is organized, since without the cheap energy we now use the current economy cannot possibly survive.

Here is the relevant graph for coal from Coal: Resources and Future Production by the Energy Watch Group, March 2007, p.7.

And here is a similar graph for uranium resources that I should have given in the previous article...(Uranium Resources and Nuclear Energy, Energy Watch Group, December 2006, see graph on p.5, )

Assuming, as I do, that we live on a finite planet and coal, uranium and oil are not renewable (or constantly produced) resources, mankind will be asked to engage in some deep thinking about energy and society this century. Shall we do it now, or when we start to hit even more serious problems in 10 or 20 years' time?

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My friend in Kyushu has been doing fantastic research into the background to the nuclear disaster. Here are three articles describing the problems with the reactor casing for reactor 4 at Fukushima No.1 Power Station. When you read the articles you will realize that it was probably just a stroke of luck that reactor 4 was down for maintenance then the earthquake and tsunami struck...

Fukushima Engineer Says He Helped Cover Up Flaw at Dai-Ichi Reactor No. 4

Japanese earthquake - Hitachi engineer tells about flawed steel in Reactor 4

Japan Nuclear Reactor Engineer Confesses To Criminal Coverup, Fukushima Has Always Been ‘Time Bomb’

And in a sense all the reactors at Fukushima No.1 were 'time bombs,' but what else is there we don't know about reactors at other power stations, both inside and outside Japan?

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Here's an article by James Buchanan sent to me by a friend in Tokyo who is also doing huge amounts of research on this issue now.

What’s Next at Fukushima Nuclear Plant?

I'd like to quote two paragraphs from this article:

The most frustrating thing about the Fukushima Nuclear disaster was that it was so avoidable. Despite having six nuclear reactors clustered together near sea level, apparently no one thought that a tsunami wall around the plant would be a good idea –or more likely corporate cheapness won out over safety. The San Onofre Nuclear Plant in California has both a tsunami wall and a gravity-fed cooling system –either one of which could have prevented the Fukushima crisis.

The reactors shut down due to the earthquake, but the quake apparently caused no significant damage. The tsunami however destroyed the back up generator at one of the reactors. Still, the cooling system was being run by batteries for eight hours. The workers at the plant must have known that the clock was ticking. Something had to be done. The tsunami struck shortly after the earthquake. It’s not clear how many workers fled the plant or how much damage the tsunami may have done to the plant.

Again the problem of cutting economic corners. Mr. Buchanan states quite clearly that the reactors at Fukushima No.1 DID shut down, i.e. scram. I have dealt with some of these issues in the original article, where we also saw that people were fleeing the reactors as soon as the earthquake hit, with no checks and leaving the doors wide open. Unconfirmed information from a source who ought to know what he's talking about says, "Everyone ran out as soon as they could!" That apparently includes the people in the central control room(s). There wasn't anyone there to do anything or to make decisions. I wonder why those people in the plant at the time felt that they were in such an unsafe situation that the only option open to them was to get out, immediately? The more we find out about this, the more it appears that this disaster need not have happened.

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On Feb. 23, 2005, Kobe University professor Katsuhiko Ishibashi appeared before the Lower House Budget Committee and pointed out the risks of operating nuclear power plants in earthquake-prone Japan.

"An earthquake and its seismic thrust can hit multiple parts (of a nuclear plant)" and induce not one but a variety of breakdowns, Ishibashi, an expert on Earth and planetary sciences, told the lawmakers.

Such a scenario could knock out even the backup safety system and possibly result in a "severe accident," such as overheating of the reactor core or even a runaway nuclear reaction, he warned.

Warnings like this from Ishibashi and other experts went largely unheeded.

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My friend in Kyushu says, "Here is a good article to mull over."

The Plan to Rebuild Japan: When You Can’t Go Back, You Move Forward. Outline of an Environmental Sound Energy Policy

Yes, how will and how should Japan recover from March 11? We will have a lot more to say on this later today, I think... It's after 6pm here on March 31st. I'm ready to comment on this long and interesting article by Masaru Kaneko (Professor, Keio University, Department of Economics).

In the article, Prof. Kaneko states:

The sins of the nuclear regulators, TEPCO, METI and the others who told the people "nuclear is safe" and "nuclear is the cheapest power" are already unforgivable.

I would say that pretty much expresses the feelings of a lot of people in Japan, but this translate into a phasing-out of nuclear power? Another quote:

Neither do we need a simplistic turn back towards thermal power, ramping up coal-fired electricity generation because nuclear is deemed unsafe and in order to meet current electricity demand. Our commitment to cutting carbon emissions must remain in place, and even be strengthened. What is in question here is the emphasis on nuclear power as the path out of dependence on fossil fuels. We have to inquire into the aptness of current energy policy.

This looks like a statement I can live with, except that there is no explicit commitment to an end to nuclear power in Japan or elsewhere. What is committed to is "cutting carbon emissions," which in recent years has become a code for MORE nuclear power. Despite the "unforgivable" nature of nuclear power, are we being asked to swallow it anyway?

Prof. Kaneko states:

A fundamental part of this transformation is to move boldly in the direction of renewable energy.

So, are we to understand that nuclear power is to be tolerated until renewable energy can take over as the energy 'regime' that runs our society? The article ends by saying:

We stand atop 20 years of accumulated failure, in the midst of a once in a century financial crisis, followed by the East Japan earthquake and a nuclear crisis. We face an unprecedented and multifaceted crisis, one in which this country’s very survival hangs in the balance. If we do not reach out as far as possible to grasp the promise of the future, then we shall surely lose this chance to revive Japan's economy and society. When you cannot go back, surely you move forward.

True, but we still do not know where he really stands on nuclear power. Why won't he come out and make some statement sounding similar to the aim mentioned at the top of this page? Perhaps 'realism' is preventing him from saying that no new nuclear reactors should ever be started up again Japan? (A new reactor is supposed to start up this year at Shimane Power Station near Matuse in Tottori Prefecture, and several more are planned for the rest of this decade.) It is also unclear how far this revival of Japan's economy and society is to go. Are we expected to think that Japan could get back to something like the 1980s or pre-2008, for example. I suppose it is possible, but unlikely. Further, renewable energy is fine and certainly has an important role to play, but for how long? Renewable energy will never substitute for what fossil fuels do for us now. And for how long will we be able to use renewable energy? After oil becomes scarce and expensive later this century and we no longer have a fossil-fuel-based industry, will we still be able to manufacture solar cells, the associated batteries and other equipment like inverters (will we still be able to make the appliances to run with the electricity produced?), wind turbines, hydroelectric power turbines (both large and small)? By 2100, I think we won't be able to do this. We need to think again and much more deeply about where we are going. This crisis is a good time to start, and the first step is to "Say 'No to nukes!'" and make sure that everyone keeps saying this till those who don't get it yet finally relent and agree to stop or phase out all nuclear power. If enough people want it, it should be possible to do it through the ballot box.

Would anyone care to comment below?

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This man (Professor Chris Busby) says that the worst case scenario is already happening and that the Fukushima No.1 Power Station disaster is already "worse than Chernobyl." Please watch this two or three times so you get to really understand what he's saying! If this is true I will have to be out of here soon!!

Some people, however are not so sure about Professor Chris Busby.

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A great interview here in 2 parts with Nicole Foss on Japan and nuclear power in general. This is a must! Packed full of information about nuclear power, energy and the financial aspects of nuclear power. Nicole makes the point that the inability to 'dispose of' spent nuclear fuel is a time bomb that is ticking away (it is an important factor at Fukushima No.1 now) and just for that reason alone nuclear power should be stopped. Nicole stated that thorium reactors are no exception.

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Nuclear Daily - several articles relevant to the ongoing crisis.

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This looks like a good (if slightly marginal) idea:

Test to contain radioactive dust

I think I also heard on the Japanese news last night that there was a plan to throw a 'tent' made of special cloth (that radiation cannot penetrate?) over the four reactors (one or one for each of the four reactors?), which is a very reassuring idea... but how to do it? From helicopters, using well-trained (and self-sacrificing, public-spirited) pigeons?

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Friday, 1st April 2011. There is so much information coming in from the media and friends that it's hard to keep up. So I want to introduce a tentatively hopeful article from the newspaper this morning:

The Tokyo Newspaper ran a front-page article under the headline "Prime Minister 'will consider (plans that) include a clean slate (on new nuclear reactors).'" PM Naoto Kan met with Japan Communist Party Committee Chairperson Kazuo Shii yesterday, one of the topics of the discussion being the future construction of nuclear power stations, or the adding of new reactors to existing nuclear power stations. Japan currently plans to increase the number of reactors by at least 14 by 2030 under the basic energy plan. PM Kan stated that he will consider a review of this, including wiping the slate clean of new nuclear reactors. Nuclear power has thus far been seen as a policy to reduce carbon emissions. If no new nuclear reactors are to be started up, this will mean a shift in the government's energy policy.

On Fukushima No.1 Power Station, PM Kan stated that all reactors, including 5 and 6, should be shut down and not restarted.

Chairperson Shii also suggested that the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency be separated from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. PM Kan said he would like to consider that.

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The Japan Communist Party newspaper Akahata (Red Flag) also prominently featured the discussion between PM Kan and Chairperson Shii.

Well, at least there is a whiff of sanity in the air, along with the radiation, but I have the feeling that unless pressure is put on PM Kan, the current negative view of nuclear power may dissipate as the problems at Fukushima No.1 come under control (though, unfortunately, that may not happen soon). What exactly is the situation with construction and planning of new nuclear reactors in Japan? Here is an informative graphic from the Akahata newspaper on March 28.

It's a bit small (see a LARGE version) and in Japanese, but I'll try to explain below. (This website is also helpful.

At the top, 54 refers to current reactors (including the 6 at Fukushima No.1). 14 refers to new reactors under construction or planned. The house-shaped ones are boiling water reactors (BWR) and the round-domed ones are pressurized water reactors (PWR). Square ones are other types of reactors. Yellow are those over 40 years since startup. Black are closed down. Red are under construction. Orange are at the planning stage. If they have a 'P' in a circle that means they are 'pluthermal' - using or due to use mixed uranium and plutonium oxides as fuel (MOX).

Rad and orange are hard to tell apart, so as there are only two red (under construction) I'll point out where they are. One is at the very northernmost tip of Honshu Island. Ohma Power Station, due to start up in 2014, a huge 1.38 million kW (1,380 MW) BWR MOX reactor. The other is near the west end of Honshu Island on the Japan Sea coast near Matsue, at the Shimane Power Station. This is a huge 1.37 million kW (1,370 MW) BWR that is due to start up THIS YEAR (2011). The Shimane Power Station aleady has two reactors, a 0.46 million kW (460 MW) BWR that started up in 1974 and a 0.82 million kW (820 MW) BWR MOX reactor started in 1989.

There were 14 nuclear reactors in the planning stage as of 10 March 2011. However, two of those were at Fukushima No.1 Power Station, and these will presumably not go ahead.

Going north and anticlockwise around the map, a new power station just north of Fukushima No.1, Namie-Odaka Power Station with one reactor (830 MW, BWR) is planned for 2021.

THREE new reactors are planned for Higashidori Power Station, in the far north of Honshu Island, one by the Tohoku Power Company (1,390 MW BWR for 2021 or later) and two for TEPCO (a 1,390 MW BWR for 2017 and similar reactor for 2020 or after).

Heading south down the west (Japan Sea) coast of Japan, two new reactors are planned for Tsuruga Power Station, a massive 1,540 MW PWR for 2016 and another similar reactor to be started up in 2017. Note that this power station currently has one reactor that has been running for over 40 years (360 MW, 1970) and a 1,160 MW PWR running on MOX fuel.

There is another completely new nuclear power station planned for the west end of Honshu Island, on the Inland Sea coast just west of Hiroshima (of all places!). You can see it just north of where Kyushu Island and Shikoku Island nearly meet. This is the Kaminoseki Power Station and the two reactors planned for there are a 1,370 BWR to start in 2018 and another 1,370 MW BWR to start in 2022.

In the south of Kyushu Island, near Kagoshima, is the Sendai Power Station, which now has two 890 MW PWRs and is planning a massive 1,590 MW PWR to start in 2019.

Then returning east up the southern coast of Honshu Island, we come to the well-known Hamaoka Power Station. A new 1,400 MW BWR is planned for this power station after 2020. Two old reactors were shut down here in 2009. Three are still operating, one of which is a MOX reactor. Many expected this power station to be the one to suffer catastrophic damage in an earthquake. It is, of course, still considered to be a major source of anxiety to those living in the region.

The questions now are a) What to do with the reactors now under construction? I interpret the 'aim of this campaign' - no new reactors - to mean that construction should be immediately suspended. b) What about those being planned? Construction should never begin. Despite PM Kan's statements yesterday, I have no confidence whatever that this will be the case. Would anyone like to comment on this?

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The 30 March edition of the Tokyo Newspaper also carried on p.3 a useful map of Japan's nuclear reactors showing which are currently operating and so on.

Big, but clear! Red = down for regular maintenance, blue = down due to March 11 earthquake + Tsunami disaster, white = now in operation. It's clear that 26 of the original 54 reactors are now running. Those in red and blue on the affected east coast are unlikely to start up again soon (some of them never, of course).

Japan's total electricity generation capacity in 2007 was 276,070 MW, of which 176,894 MW was thermal, 49,467 MW was nuclear and 47,637 MW was hydroelectric. The average capacity factor of nuclear reactors in Japan in 2007 was 60.7%.

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Another article on the same page of the Tokyo Newspaper for 30 March is an interview with Eisaku Sato, a former governor of Fukushima Prefecture. The headlines read, "Bureaucracy-Industry Totalitarianism" "The accident was a man-made disaster". I'll paraphrase the contents of the article below.

See also Ex-governor blasts Tepco's cozy ties

"The nuclear energy policy is totalitarianism manipulated by the bureaucracy and the power companies. The accident that has occurred this time is a man-made disaster." It is well known that Mr. Sato, during his time as governor took a strong stance against nuclear power development. One example of this was his handling of the use of fuel containing plutonium (MOX) for the pluthermal reactors such as reactor 3 at Fukushima No.1 Power Station. As Governor, Mr. Sato firstly accepted the plan, but in 2002 came to oppose it. His reason was that, "The accidents and irregularities in many areas led me to doubt the safety of nuclear power stations." TEPCO and the Ministry of the Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) counterattacked. "TEPCO said, 'We have decided to review the plan for the construction of the thermal power station that was due to be built in Fukushima Prefecture.'" Further, "The relevant person in charge at METI at the time threatened the governor by saying that all the spent nuclear fuel now temporarily held in cooling pools (in Fukushima) would stay there into the future." The prefecture finally decided to accept the pluthermal plan after Mr. Sato had resigned.

In the TEPCO nuclear reactor data fabrication scandal in 2002, the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency had received information from an internal whistleblower, but "The Safety Agency firstly told TEPCO about the content of the revelations and the name of the whistleblower. Until they sent me the fax on the day of the announcement, the prefecture knew nothing about it."

The Fukushima No.1 Power Station has 6 reactors, but another two are planned. Fukushima No.2 has 4. Futaba Town, where the Fukushima No.1 Power Station is located, were facing a financial crisis in 2008, such that the town was unable to pay the mayor's salary. "Unless they have additional nuclear reactors, and thus receive the subsidies from the government, local administrations find that they are not able hold their heads above water financially. Trade and industry become dependent upon the power station, and agriculture cannot be relied upon due to the negative image. Regional development cannot be brought about by nuclear power stations. Once you start down that road you end up like a narcotics addict."

"Local people's voices are not heard in nuclear power development. It's off-limits even to the members of parliament. This was an accident waiting to happen. What kind of situation do the people involved in nuclear power now think the local people are facing?"

Mr. Sato became Governor of Fukushima Prefecture in 1988 after being first elected as a member of the House of Councillors in 1983. He served five consecutive terms as governor until his resignation in 2006. It would appear that he knows a lot about the ins and outs of politics, since his brother was arrested in a bribery scandal involving a dam construction in Fukushima Prefecture. Mr. Sato himself has already received two guilty verdicts on the charge of receiving bribes, but is now making a final appeal.

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Here I want to post some material from Dr.K (on the radio programme I participated in yesterday) concerning things to eat or drink to protect yourself from the effects of radiation.....

Please download and read for yourself this Newsletter and added information from Dr. Cass Ingram.

Comments

The use of such a catastrophically dangerous technology as nuclear power should not have even been been contemplated in the first place, unless it was to have been under the control of an open and publicly accountable body with no ability to profit from cutting corners.

Such a body would have been owned and controlled by the same people who were to consume nuclear power and who are now imperiled as a result of the mismanagement of that technology. If the managers of the nuclear power stations, under the control of such bodies, had been made fully accountable to the public they served and had no ability to conceal vital information from those working in the industry or the broader public, it is possible that the nuclear failure might have been considerably less catastrophic than it turned out as a result of the natural disasters faced by Japan in recent weeks.

Whether even a power generation utility, fully owned and controlled by the public in an open and accountable democratic political system, would still be able to reduce, to an acceptable level, the peril that would be faced by the Japanese in the event of any likely calamity, natural natural or man-made, would be hard to know. However, removing from the hands of private companies particularly the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), whose callous cutting of corners has resulted in the threat to the lives and health of tens of millions of Japanese living in the near vicinity of the Fukushima reactors, would be a necessary first step.

Ironically, it seems that Australia's elder 'Labor' statesman, Paul Keating has failed to understand how many Japanese have already paid with their lives and health for having placed public safety responsibility in the hands of private companies, and if the worst were to come of the unfolding disaster the toll could be much higher.

On the night of Tuesday 29 March, the ABC's 7.30 Report made Australians swallow yet another lecture on the supposed necessity and virtues of the "free market" and of privatisation by the same man that imposed "free market" economics on both the Labor Party and the Australian public in 1983, when he became Treasurer in the newly elected Hawke Federal Labor Government, namely Paul Keating.

The title of the story, Keating on Labor's woes, implied that the election of John Robertson, as Leader of the Labor Opposition, a man who publicly opposed the NSW Labor Government's policy of privatising electricity would confine the Labor Party to political oblivion for years to come. The fact that the rank and file of the Labor Party and Trade Union movement and the broader NSW public strongly support Robertson's public opposition to the sell-off of their electricity generating assets was considered irrelevant by Keating, who dismissed it as 'populist'.

Tony,

Thanks for a very calm, but critical, assemblage of conflicting reports. Your journalism is superb, Tony.

Here is another French report that at once confirms your impression that the message coming from within Japan is trying to be reassuring and at the same time, damns that message:


Source of these photos was from moving footage on French News, France 2 JT, http://jt.france2.fr/20h/ Friday 1 April 2011

Whilst showing footage of catastrophic damage within the Fukushima Nuclear Power station filmed by a camera attached to a crane, Laurent Delahousse, the French announcer, commented with shocked amazement:

"And what should we think of these words which were intended to sound reassuring from the Prime Minister who stated, and I quote, 'that there was no danger if the population followed the advice of the authorities,'?" [1]

Note that Japan has been using the French as the major consultants on the nuclear problems and that the French are highly specialised and experienced in this area. We are therefore more likely to get better information from the French. In fact, the quality of reporting on the mainstream tv news has been quite superior.

The news reporter also said that 600 men are still working around the site in an attempt to strangle the leaks. [The French news announcer was referring to radiation leaks, not information leaks. :-) ]

[1]French version: Laurent Delahousse: "Et puis, que faut-il penser des propos qui se voulaient du nouveau rassurants de la part du Premier Ministre qui assurait, je cite: 'qu'il n'y avait pas de risques si la population suivait les conseils des autorités'. 600 hommes travaillent toujours autour du site afin d'essayer de juguler les fuites."

Sheila Newman, population sociologist