• Canadian antinuke is found guilty of death threats to Fukushima research scientists. Dana Durnford was found guilty of criminal harassment in Victoria, British Columbia, last Thursday. Durnford broadcast that University of Victoria’s Jay Cullen and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s Ken Buesseler should be publicly executed for being part of an alleged international conspiracy to cover-up the effect of Fukushima radioactivity on the Pacific Ocean. Durnford was sentenced to three years’ probation. Jay Cullen said, “I expected and was pleased with the judge’s ruling. Mr. Durnford, on many occasions, threatened physical violence against scientists and others who have focused their attention and expertise to better understand how the Fukushima nuclear disaster has affected the marine environment and human health. Such behavior is criminal.” Ken Buessler said that threatening violence is “never an appropriate response to scientific findings you might disagree with.” Durnford spouts protestations on his website, saying that “They [the nuclear conspirators] bankrupted us in these court proceedings in order to silence us.” http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/09/23/national/crime-legal/canada-activist-found-guilty-harassing-scientists-fukushima-fallout/#.V-UmpdLr0dU
  • Most of Hirono Town’s voluntary evacuees plan on repopulating. Hirono is located south of Naraha, and is outside the Tokyo-mandated evacuation zone in total. Nearly all of the town’s 5,000 citizens initially fled following the 2011 Fukushima accident. About 45% of the voluntary evacuees have already returned home. Another 1,700 say they want to go home by next spring. Most say they will go home because their free temporary housing is expected to terminate by the end of March, 2017. Hirono Mayor Satoshi Endo showed the outcome of the town’s survey municipal assembly on Sept. 13. http://www.fukushimaminponews.com/news.html?id=728
  • New Delhi holds a Fukushima Food Fair. A group of Fukushima expatriates held the event on Saturday at a Japanese school in the city to dispel false rumors about food safety. The rumors persist despite scientific data showing that there is nothing unsafe about the foods. Items on sale included freshly made rice balls, traditional potato stew, and peach juice, all made from Fukushima Prefecture produce. Proceeds will be donated to the areas devastated by April’s Kumamoto earthquake. http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20160925_01/
  • Cesium in Fukushima dam sediments causes anxiety in some residents. The Mainichi Shimbun calls the dams “de facto storage facilities for high concentrations of radioactive cesium…” The government says water in the dams is safe, but some people say that is a ploy to downplay what they feel is a real problem. Some sediment samples show radioactivity greater than the 8,000 Becquerels per kilogram national standard for radioactive waste disposal, but water-borne cesium activity is only one or two Bq/liter – well-below the drinking water limit of 10 Bq/l, which is the lowest Cesium standard in the world. Area radiation exposure levels around the dams are below 2 microsieverts per hour. But, some Fukushima residents want the sediments dredged out and buried elsewhere as radioactive waste. The government says the cost and effort to do this is not justifiable. The Ogaki agricultural dam is estimated to hold sediment containing 8 trillion Becquerels of cesium activity. A Namie official says worries about what might happen if the dam breaks, “…when asked what they [Environment Ministry] plan to do if the dams break, they have no answers. It’s painful to us that we can only give town residents the answers that the Environment Ministry gives us…” Another official worries about consumer impact, “No matter how much they are told that the water is safe, will consumers buy agricultural products from Namie, knowing that there is cesium at the bottom of local dams?” http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20160926/p2a/00m/0na/011000c
  • Tokyo may add more hurdles to Fukushima Daini restarts. Currently, government policy calls for the approval of host communities and host prefectures before restarts can happen. The new legislation would make it mandatory for F. Daini, and could possibly expand the number of required approvals to non-host municipalities in Fukushima Prefecture. Further, Tepco will have only three years after the legislation is approved to get it done. The new rule will be submitted to the Diet during its extraordinary session, which begins today. F. Daini lies within the 20-kilometer radius of F. Daiichi; the old “no-go” evacuation zone. F. Daini experienced no damage to any of the nuclear safety systems of its four units during the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami of March, 2011. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/09/24/national/japan-mulls-legislation-requiring-local-government-approval-restarting-fukushima-no-2-nuclear-plant/#.V-Z9l9Lr0dV
  • Japan’s #2 newspaper calls for the public release of remaining Fukushima accident testimonies. After the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission report was published in 2012, calls for the release of the actual testimonies were rampant. Hundreds of hours of recordings and a myriad of transcripts were released. However, the testimonies of ~1,200 people have been kept under wraps, mostly because many were questioned on the condition that their input would not be made public. Many Japanese academics and some politicians feel that the remaining trove should be open to the public. Tokyo University Professor Kiyoshi Kurokawa chaired the NAIIC and wants all testimonies released, “It will be possible to learn about the background to the nuclear accident from new reports or books that are written based on the documents. A fundamental point to not repeating mistakes is to learn from one’s past errors.” One antinuclear lawmaker said, “Both the ruling and opposition parties are hesitant about releasing the documents because there is the possibility that they contain contents that are disadvantageous to the LDP, which had pushed nuclear energy, and the then Democratic Party of Japan, which had to deal with the nuclear accident.” http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201609250019.html
  • The Spent Fuel Reprocessing Organization is approved by the Industry Ministry. It will be headquartered in Aomori Prefecture. The organization will be charged with the steady recycling spent fuel amidst the ever-changing business environment for nuclear power. Costs for its operation will be shouldered by a contributory system funded by all utilities with nuke plants. The actual recycling activities will to be run by Japan Nuclear Fuel Ltd. (JNFL), which has the necessary technology, human resources, facilities, and equipment. http://www.jaif.or.jp/en/meti-approves-new-spent-fuel-reprocessing-organization/
  • The recent decision to scrap the Monju breeder project spawns another no-nukes rally in Tokyo. An estimated 9,500 people from all over Japan assembled to demand that all nukes be scrapped; not just Monju. Under a banner “No nukes, No war” – obviously spawned by the Hiroshima Syndrome – organizing committee official Hisae Sawachi said,  “Why don’t government officials have the courage to close down all the other nuclear power plants?” Journalist Satoshi Kamata said, “Unplugging Monju is just a starting point in ending Japan’s nuclear fuel recycling policy and the restart of nuclear power plants…” http://www.asahi.com/ajw/articles/AJ201609230047.html