New from Fukushima (many articles)
July 26, 2011 by Paul
Here are some recent posts from around the Net: A young man sacrificing his future to shut down Fukushima www.independent.co.uk Atsushi Watanabe (not his real name) is an ordinary Japanese man in his 20s, about average height and solidly built, with the slightly bemused expression of the natural sceptic. Among the crowds in Tokyo, in his casual all-black clothes, he could be an off-duty postman or a construction worker.....
S.O.S. From Fukushima Japan Locals- Our Children Are Trapped In RADIATION! Mirror THIS! www.youtube.com
Japanese government killing its own people in Fukushima www.youtube.com On the 19th of July 2011, people in Fukushima had a meeting with government officals from Tokyo to demand that the government evacuate people promptly in Fuk...
BULLETIN OF ATOMIC SCIENTISTS
The Fukushima tragedy demonstrates that nuclear energy doesn't make sense Arjun Makhijani | 21 July 2011 Collapse
From the time we learn to walk, mistakes are inherent in the process of human learning. An essential design principle for technology should be that we, the generations that benefit, should bear the major costs of its mistakes. Nuclear power fails this simple test miserably. It is just not possible to pick up the pieces and move on after a grave accident. Land is contaminated for generations. Cancer risks lurk in the shadows. Local economies are destroyed and cannot be restored. Nor have we properly addressed the problem of nuclear waste, even though each year's operation of a reactor creates enough plutonium (if separated from the waste) to make about 30 nuclear bombs....
See a pro nuclear opinion after the Arjun Makhijani article...
Anti-Nuclear Groups Protest Proposed Manhattan Project Park www.nytimes.com A plan to create a multi-state national park dedicated to the top secret project to develop an atomic bomb during World War I...
Ex Japanese Nuclear Regulator Blames Radioactive Animal Feed on "Black Rain" | Fairewinds Associates fairewinds.comWhile many radioactive cattle have been discovered large distances from Fukushima, what is more important is where their feed is coming from. "It's not only about the radioactive cattle in Fukushima Prefecture; its also about the radioactive straw the cattle eat that was grown elsewhere"...
Shingetsu News Agency OHN: Kyodo News digs up unbelievable statistic - More than 72% of all private donations to LDP in 2009 came from TEPCO and other power company executives.
Shingetsu News Agency Analyst: Japan's Nuclear Industry is Finished (Video)
Shingetsu News Agency Japan Contends with Radioactive Beef (Video)
During the last stages of your development, we fretted about radiation in tap water and the air instead of normal concerns about your mum's diet and exercise. In the week after March 11, like thousands of others, we effectively became nuclear refugees, fleeing Tokyo for the relative safety of Osaka.
To our relief, you appear unharmed by that ordeal. But we will worry for the rest of our lives about the physical and psychological impact of the unique circumstances into which you were born....
I want you to grow up in a world without nuclear power. Your dad simply doesn't believe all the experts who have resurfaced since March to tell us that it is safe or that there is no alternative.....
As you may have noticed after Fukushima Daiichi Disaster, only a few nuclear experts, like Arnie Gunderson of Fairewind Associates, are giving their opinions in public even in the US.
Koide Hiroaki is assistant professor at Kyoto University Research Reactor Institute (KURRI).
He has been advocating to abandon all nuclear power for last 40 years; one of small group of nuclear researchers in Japan that is against nuclear power .
The reward is that he is still assistant professor, the lowest rank of teachers at age 61.
He says it is perfectly fine, as the position allows him to do only what he wants to do. And it was only possible at Kyoto University where still spirit of free research exists and minority can exist. Not at Tokyo University (the most prestigious university in Japan).
His latest book titled “原発のウソ” (Genpatsu no Uso – Lies on Nuclear Plants) sold 200,000 copies and I read his interviews in Japanese major papers, Mainichi and Asahi.
But until recently things were totally different.
After Fufushima Daiichi disaster, he is the person who has been most interviewed by local radio programs, independent Internet news sites and who gave lectures at local communities, but not on main stream media. You will find many of his interviews on YouTube.
His replies are always simple, straight forward. He says the reason he is against nuclear power is simple:
We do not know what to do hazardous nuclear waste. A nuclear power plant is like a mansion without toilet. Nuclear does not allow an error. But there is no such an operation with no error. Regardless whether we have sufficient electric power or not, we should not use nuclear power. But we actually have enough other sources of power and does not need nuclear power.
When he was asked if he was happy with the popularity of the latest book, he replied that:
He was not happy at all, as the book was selling because of Fukushima Daiichi Disaster and he failed to stop that happen.
Recently his lectures attract many more people than capacity of halls. He says that in the past, nobody showed up at his lectures and he appreciates that so many people would like to listen to him now. But he regrets that he could not stop the disaster.
He is soft-spoken, pleasant whatever subject he is talking, seems to have no bitterness after all those years fighting against odds. But in one radio interview, I think I sensed his emotion when he used a few times word ‘Munen” (deep regret) about the outcome – a nuclear disaster – of his long campaign to prevent it from happening.
I don’t know if it is his nature or if he has obtained during his long and lonely fight against nuclear power. He is more than a nuclear researcher with integrity. He not only makes sense of what’s happening now, but people sense his kindhearted character listening to him in the middle of national disaster.
Mr. Koide says that:
He entered the field, thinking that nuclear power is the energy of future. But soon after he discovered actually nuclear power is a poor source of energy: Uranium is not abundant as coal or natural gas for example. And we do not know how to make nuclear products safe and pass them on to future generations.
Statement that nuclear power makes 30 percent of energy is misleading. Japan can generate enough electric power from coal, natural gas and from hydraulic dams. They are just not being used at full capacity. They are also cheaper than nuclear power on the contrary of common belief.
Someone made an issue that Mr. Koide does not have a doctorate. Someone with PhD replied that no one would give you a doctorate if you are working on a subject against national policy and that he respects Mr. Koide immensely.
I am glad that we found him. Irony is that without the disaster, we would have not known someone like him exists.
Hiroaki Koide (Assistant professor at Kyoto University) – Unofficial Site – List of his interviews videos and more:
The interview by Mainichi News Paper in English:
Longtime anti-nuclear engineer prepared to fight from within field to right wrongs http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20110711p2a00m0na014000c.html
Hiroaki Koide sits in his narrow office at the Kyoto University Research Reactor Institute in Osaka. Displayed prominently on a partition is a photo of Meiji-era politician Shozo Tanaka. (Mainichi)
It was dim in the narrow office at Kyoto University's Research Reactor Institute, where Hiroaki Koide, an assistant professor, sat at his desk one afternoon. The florescent lights were kept off, and despite the heat, so was the air conditioning.
"I don't use any unnecessary energy," said Koide, who has long been an anti-nuclear power activist. "Everyone has come to lead excessively luxurious lives, using things they don't need."
Stacks of documents and other literature on nuclear power were packed inside the small space, and once I took a seat, there was no room left for either of us to move.
An expert in radiation metrology and nuclear safety, Koide for years has rallied behind victims of radioactive materials. He served as a witness for the plaintiffs in a lawsuit seeking to revoke the construction permit given for the Ikata Nuclear Power Plant in Ehime Prefecture, and when the Tokaimura nuclear accident took place in 1999, he took on the task of measuring soil radiation levels. In another case, he was involved in estimating the number of cancer deaths in a certain area.
Ever since the disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant emerged, Koide has voiced criticism of the government and plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) over their handling of the crisis in various forums including newspapers, television, radio and lectures. His book, "Genpatsu no Uso" (Lies about nuclear power plants) released in June, has sold 200,000 copies. He has never been busier.
Born in Tokyo's Taito Ward, Koide graduated from Kaisei Senior High School and went on to study nuclear engineering at Tohoku University's School of Engineering, where he says he never missed a class.
"At the time, I believed that nuclear power was the energy of the future. I had it in my head that I wanted to use the incredible energy of atomic bombs for peaceful purposes," he said.
In 1969, the same year that he witnessed the violent clash between student activists and riot police at Tokyo University's Yasuda Hall on television, Koide learned about the controversy surrounding the planned construction of Onagawa Nuclear Power Plant straddling the Miyagi Prefecture town of Onagawa and city of Ishinomaki. Local fishermen were protesting the plant, questioning why a power plant that would supply most of its energy to the prefectural capital of Sendai had to be built in their backyard.
Koide was forced to rethink the issue of nuclear power plants, and reached a conclusion: If there were ever an accident at Onagawa Nuclear Power Plant, local residents would suffer health problems if they continued to live in the vicinity. At the same time, preventing residents from suffering such problems would mean they could no longer live in their hometowns.
It was 42 years later -- albeit in Fukushima Prefecture -- that Koide's concerns became reality.
Nuclear engineering departments at universities exist for the purpose of churning out scientists and technical experts who will go on to take a role in nuclear power generation. While some of his colleagues left the field for moral reasons, Koide decided he would stay and continue blowing the whistle on its problems.
In this March 24, 2011 file aerial photo taken by a small unmanned drone and released by AIR PHOTO SERVICE, damaged Unit 4 of the crippled Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant is seen in Okumamachi, Fukushima prefecture, northern Japan. (AP Photo/AIR PHOTO SERVICE)
Learning by chance that the Kyoto University Research Reactor Institute had an assistant professorship open, Koide applied and was accepted in the spring of 1974. By the time he joined the institute, there already were four assistants on staff who objected to nuclear energy. Koide went on to support lawsuits that involved nuclear power plants, and he, along with the four other anti-nuclear engineers and Tetsuji Imanaka, who joined the staff later, were dubbed the "Anti-nuclear Gang of Six" -- a twisted reference to the "Gang of Four" (a group of four Chinese Communist Party officials who were notorious for promoting the policies of the Cultural Revolution). The six scientists were at times even accused of being anti-national.
The Kyoto University Research Reactor Institute was established in 1963 for joint use by universities around the country, enabling them to conduct research utilizing its nuclear reactors. So why were Koide and the others who expressed opposition to the use of nuclear energy able to stay on the staff?
"The reactors here were built as a tool for producing neutrons. Whether one is pro- or anti-nuclear power is irrelevant, because the use of neutrons is applicable to the fields of physics, chemistry, and medicine for cancer treatment," Koide said. "That said, the culture at Kyoto University of respecting the free will of its staff probably had something to do with it."
Koide avoids directly answering the question of why he has remained an assistant -- not a full -- professor for so many years by saying: "I'm an outsider (even considering the university where I received my degree)." Yet, he doesn't hold back on his criticism of Japan's "nuclear power village," a term referring to the cozy ties among the nuclear industry, academics, media and government.
"There's a vigorous screening process (for membership to "the village"). For example, if you're at the University of Tokyo and don't support state policies, you're out. The success of your career depends on the extent of your cooperation with the government," Koide said.
Called upon to testify before the House of Councillors Government Oversight Committee on May 23, Koide brought up the Seven Social Sins taught by Mohandas Gandhi. Of those, Koide said that "commerce without morality" described TEPCO and "science without humanity" applied to the nation's academic traditionalism, of which he himself declared to be guilty.
"The lives that people have led have been pulled out by the roots," Koide said quietly. "Considering the land, lives, and health that are going to be lost, it's impossible for me to say that nuclear power will somehow work out through scientific progress."
Koide has a large photo of Shozo Tanaka posted on a partition that divides his part of the office from his officemate's. He says that he holds the Meiji-era politician, who spent his life trying to help the victims of Ashio Copper Mine pollution incident, in the highest esteem.
When the industrial pollution incident took place, Japan was about to rush headlong into the Russo-Japanese War as it sought to become one of the great powers of the world. It was under such circumstances that Tanaka blew the whistle on the mineral poisoning of the Watarase River basin in Gunma and Tochigi prefectures. The story of Tanaka's direct appeal to the Meiji emperor and his efforts to save the local farmers in exchange for his own life is all too famous in Japan.
Coincidentally, on March 8, just days before the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami triggered the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, a handwritten tanka poem penned by Tanaka during his later years was found in Tochigi Prefecture. In it, Tanaka says that there is no point in begrudging criticism, and that joy is bound to come from sacrificing one's life and throwing oneself into something wholeheartedly.
"Up until his death, Shozo was there for the farmers who had been abandoned by the state," Koide explained. "Even when he was dying, he was more concerned about the mineral poisoning than he was about his own illness, and continued to encourage the local residents. It was a very gracious way to live one's life."
In this photo from a footage of a live camera released by Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), black smoke billows from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant in Okumamachi, northeastern Japan, on March 22, 2011. (AP Photo)
Today, the nuclear crisis mirrors the industrial pollution case to which Tanaka dedicated himself.
Koide says that nuclear power plants force burdens on people on various levels.
"Nuclear power plants are fraught with risks that urban areas are unable to take on. Urban residents are forcing those risks onto people living in sparsely-populated areas, who are in a more vulnerable position in society. Even if we were able to prevent nuclear accidents, the volume of radioactive waste on our hands will continue to increase, and mankind does not have a way to render such waste harmless," he said. "Our generation is forcing that 'poison' onto future generations who have no say in the matter."
This "responsibility to future generations" is something on which Koide has long placed great importance.
"As someone in the field of nuclear power, I have a different responsibility from that of the layperson. But I believe that the general population also has a responsibility. Maybe you were conned by nuclear power proponents. But you must claim responsibility for having been duped."
Koide, a self-proclaimed maverick, seems prepared to face the long, grim battle that awaits Japan, where there currently are 54 nuclear reactors -- the third highest number in the world after the U.S. and France.
"The adults are the ones who have been promoting nuclear power, but it is our children who will likely bear the burden that comes with it. I want to fulfill my own responsibilities in order to somehow reduce their suffering," Koide says. (By Mamoru Shishido, Mainichi Shimbun)
(Mainichi Japan) July 11, 2011