News for May 2012

On May 5, traditionally flown in Japan the koinobori carp-shaped wind socks to celebrate the Children’s Day. The same day, the Japan’s last operating nuclear reactor was taken offline.

Tokyo, May 5, 2012. A koinobori welcoming the shut down of the last reactor in Japan. Source: AFP via The Hindu.

Since May 5, Japan has no nuclear power. But this is not a definitive decision, at least for now. 70% of the Japanese is favorable to definitively leave nuclear power, but the government and the nuclear lobby are determined to restart nuclear reactors at the earliest. For neither of the parties in conflict will not be easy to achieve the objectives.

The May 5, 2012, the koinobori became a powerfull anti-nuclear banner to welcoming the shut down of the last nuclear reactor that was still operating in the nation.

  • Japan Moves Closer to Restart of Nuclear Plant
    Japan moved closer to restarting the first of the nation’s idled nuclear plants as the prime minister signaled that he might order a start-up as early as next week and as a new round of scrambling to persuade local leaders to drop their opposition appeared to be working.
    Martin Fackler, The New York Times, May 31, 2012.

  • Germany sets weekend record for solar power
    Solar power plants in Germany have set a new record. “Never before anywhere has a country produced as much photovoltaic electricity,” said Norbert Allnoch, Germany’s director of the Institute of the Renewable Energy Industry in Muenster. The plants peaked at 22 gigawatts of output for a few hours over the weekend, on Friday and Saturday. The numbers are important in that they yielded almost half the country’s energy mid-day electricity needs. The 22 gigawatts is up from 14 GW a year ago. Also, this 22 gigawatts of output is equal to about 20 nuclear plants.
    Nancy Owano, PhysOrg, May 30, 2012.

  • SoftBank Unveils World’s First Phone With Radiation Detection
    Following Fukushima’s nuclear disaster, Japanese citizens have been especially wary of radiation exposure. SoftBank on Tuesday revealed a new smartphone to answer such concerns. The company’s Pantone 5 107SH is the world’s first phone with a built-in geiger counter, capable of measuring radiation levels within 20 percent accuracy.
    Alexandra Chang, Wired, May 29, 2012.

  • Tuna contaminated with Fukushima radiation found in California
    Scientists amazed that bluefins swimming in Pacific five months after Japanese disaster contained tiny amounts of caesium.
    Justin McCurry, The Guardian, May 29, 2012.

  • Japan’s Former Leader Condemns Nuclear Power
    In an unusually stark warning, Japan’s prime minister during last year’s nuclear crisis told a parliamentary inquiry on Monday that the country should discard nuclear power as too dangerous, saying the Fukushima accident had pushed Japan to the brink of “national collapse.”
    Martin Fackler, The New York Times, May 28, 2012.

  • Rubble hinders decommissioning work at Fukushima No. 4 reactor
    Mountains of rubble stand in the way of decommissioning the No. 4 reactor of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, part of an unprecedented challenge facing Japan to decommission four crippled reactors.
    The Asahi Japan Watch, May 28, 2012.

  • Germany sets new solar power record, institute says
    German solar power plants produced a world record 22 gigawatts of electricity per hour – equal to 20 nuclear power stations at full capacity – through the midday hours on Friday and Saturday, the head of a renewable energy think tank said.
    Erik Kirschbaum, Reuters, May 26, 2012.

  • Spent Fuel Rods Drive Growing Fear Over Plant in Japan
    What passes for normal at the Fukushima Daiichi plant today would have caused shudders among even the most sanguine of experts before an earthquake and tsunami set off the world’s second most serious nuclear crisis after Chernobyl.
    Hiroko Tabuchi and Mattew L. Wald, The New York Times, May 26, 2012.

  • How the Yakuza and Japan’s Nuclear Industry Learned to Love Each Other
    After the arrest of a yakuza boss for his alleged role in supplying workers to TEPCO’s Fukushima Daichi Nuclear Plant, we are learning the details of how Japan’s nuclear industry relied on organized crime. Since July of last year, a few months after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami resulted in a triple meltdown at the Fukushima plant, investigators have been probing possible yakuza links to TEPCO and the nuclear industry under the guidance of the National Police Agency.
    Jake Adelstein, The Atlantic Wire, May 24, 2012.

  • Panel backs nuclear fuel reprocessing after talks with industry officials
    A Japan Atomic Energy Commission panel revised its draft policy evaluations to favor nuclear fuel recycling after closed-door consultations with pro-nuclear officials from the industry, sources said.
    The Asahi Japan Watch, May 24, 2012.

  • Utility Says It Underestimated Radiation Released in Japan
    The amount of radioactive materials released in the first days of the Fukushima nuclear disaster was almost two and a half times the initial estimate by Japanese safety regulators, the operator of the crippled plant said in a report.
    Reuters, The New York Times, May 24, 2012.

  • Tokyo says WHO overestimated Fukushima disaster radiation doses
    The government has angrily taken issue with a May 23 report by the World Health Organization on overall levels of radiation exposure in Japan, accusing it of overestimating the problem.
    Yuri Oiwa, The Asahi Japan Watch, May 24, 2012.

  • Preliminary Dose Estimation from the nuclear accident after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami
    The earthquake and tsunami in Japan on 11 March 2011 led to releases of radioactive material into the environment from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear site. This report describes a preliminary estimate of radiation doses to the public resulting from this accident. These doses are assessed for different age groups in locations around the world, using assumptions described in the report.
    The dose assessment forms one part of the overall health risk assessment being carried out by WHO of the global impact of the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The health risk assessment is the subject of a separate WHO report which will be published in Summer 2012.

    WHO, May 23, 2012.

  • Cities near Hamaoka nuke plant rule out restart
    Local assemblies near Omaezaki, Shizuoka Prefecture, have issued resolutions and opinions in the past year calling for the “permanent shutdown” or “decommissioning of reactors” at Chubu Electric Power Co.’s Hamaoka Nuclear Power Station.
    Kyodo, The Japan Times, May 23, 2012.

  • Asahi survey: 54% oppose putting Oi reactors back online
    More than half of the people in Japan oppose plans to restart reactors at the Oi power plant in Fukui Prefecture, and an overwhelming majority distrusts the government’s safety measures for nuclear facilities.
    The Asahi Japan Watch, May 21, 2012.

  • IAEA: “significant” nuclear growth despite Fukushima
    Global use of nuclear energy could increase by as much as 100 percent in the next two decades on the back of growth in Asia, even though groundbreakings for new reactors fell last year after the Fukushima disaster, a U.N. report says.
    Reuters, Asahi Japan Watch, May 17, 2012.

  • Fukushima owner saved from collapse by Japanese government
    Japan agrees to 1tn yen injection for Tepco, hit by compensation claims and decontamination costs after nuclear plant’s meltdown.
    Justin McCurry, The Guardian, May 9, 2012.

  • Last Reactor of 50 in Japan Is Shut Down
    Japan’s last operating reactor was taken offline Saturday, as public distrust created by last year’s nuclear disaster forced the nation to at least temporarily do without atomic power for the first time in 42 years.
    Martin Fackler and Hiroko Tabuchi, Last Reactor of 50 in Japan Is Shut Down. The New York Times, May 5, 2012.

  • Thousands march in Japan against nuclear power as final reactor switches off
    Thousands of Japanese marched to celebrate the switching off of the last of their nation’s 54 nuclear reactors Saturday, waving banners shaped as giant fish that have become a potent anti-nuclear symbol.
    Yuri Kageyama, Associated Press, May 05, 2012.

  • Anxious Japan prepares for life without nuclear power
    Japan has 54 nuclear reactors, but as of Saturday, not one of them will be in operation – how will the country cope?
    Justin McCurry, The Guardian, May 3, 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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