• There is no Fukushima contamination in Alaska’s seafood. State health authorities and the Food and Drug Administration say Alaska fish species found no Fukushima contamination in 2014-15. Misinformation spread online has caused much concern, said Marlena Brewer of the Division of Environmental Health, “I get calls from all across the country. I’ve even had international calls with concerns about Alaska seafood.” Tests this past year were run by the FDA’s Winchester Engineering Analytical Center in Massachusetts. Testing covered five Salmon species common to Alaska’s waters, as well as Halibut, Pollock, Sablefish, and Pacific cod. Scientists had predicted that the peak of Fukushima contamination in Alaska’s fish should be during 2016. http://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/testing-finds-no-nuke-disaster-radiation-in-alaska-seafood/
  • Fukushima InFORM summarizes a Japanese report on Fukushima freshwater food fish. The report covers the contamination concentrations found in 16 species. The main points are that I-131 did not appreciably accumulate in the species, Cesium concentrations have decreased over time as expected, Cesium concentrations were highest in bottom-feeding fish found in lakes and rivers, freshwater species had detectibly higher contamination levels than seawater fish, and Fukushima fish had 10-20 times lower contamination levels than Chernobyl’s. The contamination levels were compared to aquiculture fishes that were naturally less contaminated. InFORM reports that the trends in the Japanese report follows the trends found in Canadian species, albeit in much, much lower concentrations. http://fukushimainform.ca/2015/12/01/contamination-of-freshwater-fish-by-the-fukushima-nuclear-accident-overview-of-monitoring-results/
  • More Fukushima child thyroid cancer cases. The second round of screenings for child thyroid anomalies by Fukushima Medical University has found eleven more that qualify as cancerous. Of the 39 suspected or confirmed cases that were reported during the second round, 19 were cleared during the first round of screening, but apparently developed cancer afterward. The number of confirmed cancers in both rounds now stands at 115. Five children were added to the “suspected list”, bringing the current total to 24. Panel chairman Hokuto Hoshi said, “The dose of radiation exposure in the Fukushima crisis has been small compared to that in the Chernobyl disaster. Based on the fact that no cases of cancer have been identified among children who were five or younger at the time of the meltdowns, it is hard to believe — as we have heretofore said — that the cancer was caused by [Fukushima accident] radiation.” The first round of screenings covered about 300,000 Fukushima children who were 18 or under at the time of the accident. To date, roughly 180,000 have been re-screened in the second round. http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201512010072http://mainichi.jp/english/english/newsselect/news/20151201p2a00m0na007000c.html
  • Fukushima Prefecture approves a rural radioactive waste disposal site. The announcement was made by Governor Masao Uchibori. The site will be an existing facility in Tomioka Town. The town mayor accepted the proposal and the mayor of Naraha Town, through which much of the material will be transported, also gave consent. All three said the decision was difficult, given the concerns of some local residents, but they felt it necessary to expedite disposal in order to support repopulation. The volume of the Prefecture’s bagged decontamination material is about 650,000 cubic meters, weighing an estimated 166,000 tons. Of this, some 138,000 tons are classified as “designated waste” with activity greater than 8,000 Becquerels per kilogram. Materials with more than 100,000 Bq/kg will be disposed at the Fukushima Ecotech Clean Center. Tomioka and Naraha accepted the project after the Environment Ministry explained safeguards for the disposal, and the prefecture promised them a grant of 10 billion yen ($81 million). Governor Uchibori said, “Town officials accepted our view that the program is crucial to help recover Fukushima’s overall environment…” Fukushima is the first Prefecture to allow disposal of the rural wastes within their borders, in conformance with Tokyo guidelines. There are ten other prefectures are balking because of “fierce opposition” from local residents. http://jen.jiji.com/jc/eng?g=eco&k=2015120300906http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201512030041
  • The “Babushkas” of Chernobyl are living long, healthy lives. More than 100 elderly women refused to evacuate from the government-mandated exclusion zone around Chernobyl in 1986. A few have died of strokes and other old-age complications, but most are still alive. They mostly subsist on homegrown foods, their few farm animals (mostly chickens), and what they can find in the woods near where they live. One woman said that starvation is what scares her; not radiation. Another says, “The exclusion zone is not a prison. In Kiev, I’d have died long ago, five times over. Every car releases the whole periodic table into the air, and you inhale that into your lungs.” The Babushkas come and go as they please. Some even go to a lab with a spectrometer to have their radiocesium levels checked, but mostly out of curiosity. The lab technician says that radiation has its risks, but other problems – “socio-psychological factors” – are more dangerous. He adds that the Chernobyl Babushkas are actually outliving those who evacuated, saying “Quite simply, people die from anguish.”  http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/24/science/babushkas-of-chernobyl-finds-life-thriving-in-scarred-land.html?smid=nytcore-iphone-share&smprod=nytcore-iphone&_r=1
  • (Updated 12/4/15) The mayor of Takahama approves two nuke restarts. Kansai Electric Company has been meeting with local and Fukui prefectural officials in order to get agreement to restart Takahama units 3&4. Takahama Mayor Yutaka Nose said he believes the conditions for the restarts have now been met. “After the Fukushima nuclear disaster, measures required (for nuclear facilities) changed drastically. We will respond to the matter from a comprehensive perspective while placing top priority on safety.” The Town assembly has already agreed to the restart, but the prefectural assembly and governor continue to drag their feet. Mayor Nose also announced a new consultative body will help local governments create evacuation plans, beyond administrative borders, in case of a nuclear accident. http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/nuclear.htmlhttp://mainichi.jp/english/english/newsselect/news/20151204p2a00m0na014000c.html
  • Naoto Kan loses his Fukushima-related libel lawsuit against PM Shinzo Abe. At issue was Kan’s order to halt the use of seawater for cooling at F. Daiichi after they ran out of fresh water. Abe also said that Kan’s staff had spread disinformation to make it seem as if Kan actually ordered Fukushima Plant Manager Yoshida to use seawater, and not order it stopped. Kan claimed that his reputation was damaged by Abe’s criticism of Kan’s actions during the Fukushima accident. Kan alleged numerous factual errors. But, Tokyo district court judge Norio Nagaya ruled that the claims made by Abe were “perceived as true”, and ruled against Kan. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/12/03/national/politics-diplomacy/ex-prime-minister-kan-loses-libel-suit-against-abe/#.VmCFtZDosdV (Comment – Meanwhile, One of Japan’s most antinuclear popular Press outlets continues its relentless crusade to try and absolve Kan of his actions. Japan Today says that Kan never ordered F. Daiichi to stop seawater cooling in March, 2011, and instead alleges it was all Tepco/Tokyo’s idea. Let the truth be damned! http://www.japantoday.com/category/politics/view/kans-defamation-suit-against-abe-over-fukushima-crisis-thrown-out?utm_campaign=jt_newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_source=jt_newsletter_2015-12-04_AM )
  • Tepco settles a lawsuit alleging a suicide was due to the nuke accident. The family of a farmer who killed himself in 2011 has agreed to an out-of-court settlement totaling “several hundred thousand dollars”. The family had filed for $1 million in damages. The turning point in the negotiations was the plaintiffs dropping the demand for a formal apology from Tepco. The farmer’s wife and two sons will receive the compensation. The farmer had complained repeatedly that the ban on Fukushima milk by the government made his business impossible, resulting in him selling most of his herd. He left two brief messages as to why he killed himself. One said “If only there were no nuclear accident” and the other “I no longer have the spirit to work”. The farm is located in Soma, outside the government-mandated exclusion zone, more than 50 kilometers from F. Daiichi. The farmer’s wife said, “I am not fully satisfied with the content of the settlement, but I’ve decided to resolve the issue to return to a peaceful life as soon as possible.” http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/nuclear.htmlhttp://mainichi.jp/english/english/newsselect/news/20151201p2g00m0dm073000c.html
  • Some evacuees who will lose their free public housing in 15 months are unhappy. Those ineligible for long-term “post-disaster recovery public housing” say they don’t know what they will do when temporary public housing is closed. Those at risk of losing the free accommodations are from towns already having the evacuation order lifted, or will have it rescinded by April of 2017. Many of those eligible for long-tern housing, evacuated from the “difficult to return” zones, have used their generous compensation pay-outs to buy new homes. But, most of those who are (or soon will) be allowed to go home have said they are not returning. Thus, they seem to want the free housing to continue indefinitely. One example is Nahara Town, which had its restrictions lifted earlier this year. But, only a few hundred of the more than 7,000 Nahara residents have returned. By April 1, 2017, the temporary housing the objectors now live in will be closed. One Nahara evacuee said, “…it’s not like we want to move out of our temporary housing units. Why isn’t recovery public housing available to Naraha residents?” http://mainichi.jp/english/english/newsselect/news/20151202p2a00m0na017000c.html