Fukushima Nuclear Crisis, News for March 2012

“Industry and politicians around the world quickly conducted so-called stress tests, only to conclude that not a single reactor in the world is unsafe and needs to close. No doubt, even Fukushima Daiichi would have passed those tests. The IAEA said that the main problem was how to restore public confidence in nuclear power, instead of looking into how to better protect people.” Jan Beránek, leader of Greenpeace International’s Energy Campaign.
“Nuclear power is safer than it was a year ago.” Yukiya Amano, chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency (source: Reuters).

  • Fifty-three reactors down, one to go: Japan may have a nuclear-free summer
    Japan is almost completely free of nuclear power now, after the shutdown on March 26, 2012 of the Number 6 reactor at the country’s Kashiwasaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant. No nuclear reactors are now operational on the Japanese mainland. When scheduled maintenance closes the Number 3 Tomari reactor on the island of Hokkaido on May 5 2012, all of Japan’s 54 reactors will be out of action. The country will be nuclear-free for the first time since 1966.
    Justin McKeating, Greenpeace, March 28, 2012.

  • Govt knew N-meltdown was probable / Summaries show concerns arose 3/11
    The government’s Nuclear Emergency Response Headquarters was aware that the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant would likely suffer a meltdown just hours after the nuclear crisis began, according to internal meeting summaries released Friday. It is the first time that the summaries of the meetings, chaired by then Prime Minister Naoto Kan and attended by other ministers concerned as members, have been made available. The summaries suggest how confused the government became due to a lack of information–for example, some members objected to the government’s gradual expansion of the evacuation area.
    The Daily Yomiuri, March 10, 2012.

  • IAEA says nuclear power safer 1 year after Fukushima
    Nuclear power is safer than it was a year ago when an earthquake and a tsunami hit the area around the Fukushima nuclear plant, the U.N. atomic energy chief said on Friday, but Greenpeace said no lessons had been learnt.
    Fredrik Dahl, Reuters, March 9, 2012.

  • Fukushima evacuees join antinuclear demonstration in N.Y.
    Two Japanese mothers and their sons who voluntarily evacuated nuclear accident-hit Fukushima Prefecture last year took part in an antinuclear demonstration in New York on Thursday. Yuri Tomitsuka, 10, who relocated with his mother to Yokohama after the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, addressed a crowd at the park appealing for help. “You may be thinking Fukushima’s nuclear accident is ending, but it is not,” he said.
    Kyodo/The Mainichi Daily News, March 8, 2012.

  • Fukushima No. 4 reactor saved by upgrade mishap
    Bungled replacement work and a chance opening in a separator gate very likely saved the No. 4 reactor at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant from descending into a nightmarish situation, it has been learned.
    Toshihiro Okuyama, Asahi Japan Watch, March 8, 2012.

  • Japan’s nuclear crisis: Fukushima’s legacy of fear
    Japan’s worst-ever nuclear accident displaced more than 100,000 people. Many could now safely return home. Yet mistrust of the government prolongs their exile.
    Geoff Brumfiel and Ichiko Fuyuno, Nature, March 7, 2012.

  • Health uncertainties torment Japanese in nuke zone
    Yoshiko Ota keeps her windows shut. She never hangs her laundry outdoors. Fearful of birth defects, she warns her daughters: never have children. This is life with radiation, nearly one year after a tsunami-hit nuclear power plant began spewing it into Ota’s neighborhood, 40 miles (60 kilometers) away. She’s so worried that she has broken out in hives.
    Yuri Kageyama, Associated Press, March 7, 2012.

  • Ceiling girder removed from Fukushima reactor

    Removal works of the girder of overhead traveling crane, March 5, 2012. Source: TEPCO

    Tokyo Electric Power Co. released images on March 6 showing the removal of a large girder from the top floor of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant’s No. 4 reactor building.
    Asahi Japan Watch, March 7, 2012.

  • Melted fuel from U.S. nuclear accident may help Japanese efforts

    A piece of the melted nuclear fuel from the U.S. Three Mile Island nuclear accident. Source: JAEA

    The Japan Atomic Energy Agency said on March 5 melted nuclear fuel from the 1979 accident at the U.S. Three Mile Island power plant in its possession may be analyzed to help prepare for the decommissioning of the crippled Japanese reactors.
    Naoya Kon, Asahi Japan Watch, March 7, 2012.

  • Fukushima village comes together for radioactive cleanup and recovery project
    The people of this village are all gone, ordered to leave last year due to radioactive contamination. The citizens of Iitate, however, are working for the day they might return, as dump trucks rumble through the abandoned center loaded with soil and other materials for disposal — part of a government model decontamination operation.
    The Mainichi Daily News, March 5, 2012.

  • NISA’s ad hoc team pointed to reactor meltdowns early
    Two months before it was made public that fuel melted in three reactors at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, a team at the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency deduced it but nothing was done with the sensitive information. The team concluded in a report that meltdowns occurred at the No. 1 to 3 reactors as of 2:45 pm on March 18, a week after the Great East Japan Earthquake, according to documents that The Asahi Shimbun obtained through a freedom-of-information request.
    Tatsuyuki Kobori, Asahi Japan Watch, March 4, 2012.

  • Japan’s Premier Says Government Shares Blame for Fukushima Disaster
    Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda of Japan acknowledged on Saturday that the government shared the blame for the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, saying that officials had been blinded by a false belief in the country’s technological infallibility, even as he vowed to push for the idled reactors to be restarted.
    Hiroko Tabuchi, The New York Times, March 3, 2012.

  • Failed Fukushima nuclear crisis center opened to media
    Signs of a hasty retreat remained at an off-site center that failed to perform its functions in dealing with the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
    Asahi Japan Watch, March 3, 2012.

  • Threats of large tsunami spur new nuclear safety guidelines
    A government panel has drafted new safety guidelines for nuclear power plants, significantly expanding measures to deal with giant tsunami.
    Asahi Japan Watch, March 2, 2012.

  • Fukushima one year on: Tracing the causes of the nuclear disaster
    It has been nearly a year since the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami triggered the triple meltdown at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant. How did this man-made disaster happen?
    Mainichi Daily News, March 1, 2012.

  • Criminal charges for Fukushima crisis difficult to pursue
    Leaders of a private-sector foundation (RJIF) that investigated the Fukushima nuclear accident said pursuing criminal charges against individuals responsible for the crisis will be difficult because the entire nuclear power system is to blame.
    Roy K. Akagawa, Asahi Japan Watch, March 1, 2012.

  • See also the news archive for 2012 and 2011.

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    About Backyard World

    Backyard World is an art and information architecture project on the Fukushima crisis. The project was started March 17, 2011.
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