News for July 2012

Japan restart nuclear power.

July 1, 2012. Protesters against restarting Oi Nuclear Power Plant. Source: Megumi Ikeda, Facebook.

The restarting of reactor No. 3 at the Ohi nuclear plant was ordered by Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, in a decision that has spurred growing public protests.

A Diet investigative panel’s (NAIIC) report on the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, which concluded that it was a “man-made” disaster.


News Timeline:

  • TEPCO subcontractor used lead to fake dosimeter readings at Fukushima plant
    Workers at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant were ordered to cover their dosimeters with lead plates to keep radiation doses low enough to continue working under dangerous conditions, the Asahi Shimbun has learned.
    Some refused the orders. Others raised questions about their safety and the legality of the practice. But the man in charge, a senior official of a subcontractor of Tokyo Electric Power Co., warned them that they would lose their jobs–and any chance of employment at other nuclear plants–if they failed to comply.

    Jun Sato, Chiaki Fujimori, Miki Aoki, Tamiyuki Kihara and Takayuki Kihara, TEPCO subcontractor used lead to fake dosimeter readings at Fukushima plant. The Asahi Japan Watch, July 21, 2012.

  • Japan eyes electricity deregulation to boost competition
    Japan should overhaul its power sector, dominated by regional monopolies, to promote competition and a stable power supply, according to a draft proposal issued on July 13 by a panel of experts set up after the Fukushima nuclear disaster.
    Reuters, Japan eyes electricity deregulation to boost competition. The Asahi Japan Watch, July 14, 2012.

  • TEPCO to release teleconference videos after all
    Tokyo Electric Power Co., backing down under government pressure, says it will release videos of teleconferences in the aftermath of the nuclear disaster last year.
    The audio and video recordings of discussions between officials at the stricken Fukushima No. 1 power plant and TEPCO headquarters could clear up a number of questions about the initial response to the crisis triggered by the March 11 Great East Japan Earthquake.

    The Asahi Shimbun, TEPCO to release teleconference videos after all. The Asahi Japan Watch, July 11, 2012.

  • Study finds lifetime thyroid doses of radiation in Fukushima children
    Children in Fukushima Prefecture likely received thyroid gland doses of internal radiation, despite earlier government assurances that the levels of such doses were zero, according to an independent study.
    Yuri Oiwa, JStudy finds lifetime thyroid doses of radiation in Fukushima children. The Asahi Japan Watch, July 11, 2012.

  • American praised for getting Japan radiation data
    Japanese seeking information on radiation levels in the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster are turning to a volunteer group founded in the U.S. that has created a detailed and constantly updated visual database online.
    Yuri Kageyama, Associated Press, American praised for getting Japan radiation data. The Boston Globe, July 9, 2012.

  • Status of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station When the Tsunami hit

    The tsunami hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, March 11, 2011, 15:48:32 (JST). Source: TEPCO.

    16 months after the 3/11, TEPCO releases unpublished pictures of the tsunami which hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on March 11, 2011.
    The new photos of the tsunami which struck last year, was taken by company workers which show the tsunami from near the centralized waste processing building on the south side of Reactor 4.
    The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency and Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry had instructed TEPCO to publish all of the photos last September, however photos have not been published until their existence was pointed out in the report of Jikocho Diet. (News via Enformable).

    Pictures: Status of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station When the Tsunami hit. TEPCO, July 9, 2012.

  • Nuke protesters’ ire increasingly centers on Noda
    Anti-nuclear protesters are increasingly focusing their anger on Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, who decided to resume operations at the Oi nuclear power plant despite widespread public opposition.
    Protest organizers said about 150,000 people turned out on July 6, while police estimated about 21,000 people had gathered outside the prime minister’s office and the Kasumigaseki district, home to many central government ministries.

    The Asahi Shimbun, Nuke protesters’ ire increasingly centers on Noda. The Asahi Japan Watch, July 7, 2012.

  • Chaotic end to Tokyo anti-nuclear protest
    Chaotic end to anti-nuclear protest in front of prime minister’s office in Tokyo.
    — Hiroko Tabuchi (@HirokoTabuchi) July 6, 2012

  • Protest in front of the Japanese prime minister’s residence
    Protesters against the resumption of Oi nuclear reactor in front of the official residence of the Prime Minister of Japan. Images taken from the 23 floor of the Capitol Tokyu Hotel, between 17:45 and 20:30, on July 6, 2012.
    2012年7月6日の首相官邸周辺デモを60秒で見る動画. YouTube, July 6, 2012.

  • Diet commission chairman: Fukushima accident ‘Made in Japan’
    The chairman of the Diet’s special commission investigating the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant is labeling it as an accident “Made in Japan.”
    “This is a disaster ‘Made in Japan’ in a way, and its root causes stem from ingrained conventions of Japanese culture,” Kiyoshi Kurokawa said at a news conference at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan in Tokyo on July 6.

    Hiroshi Matsubara, Diet commission chairman: Fukushima accident ‘Made in Japan’. The Asahi Japan Watch, July 6, 2012.

  • Editorial: Gov’t, legislators must take Diet panel’s nuclear crisis report seriously
    The executive and legislative branches of the government should take seriously a Diet investigative panel’s report on the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, which concluded that it was a “man-made” disaster.
    The report, which highlights collusive relations between the government and TEPCO and underlines the historical background behind Japan’s longstanding promotion of atomic power. In the report, the Diet panel also makes seven-point recommendations. Among them, the establishment of a third-party panel in the Diet to clarify unresolved issues in the nuclear crisis and how to decommission nuclear reactors, and systematic Diet supervision of the government’s nuclear power regulatory bodies and power suppliers.

    Editorial: Gov’t, legislators must take Diet panel’s nuclear crisis report seriously. The Mainichi, July 6, 2012.

  • Diet investigative panel: Fukushima nuclear accident was man-made
    Lambasting both Tokyo Electric Power Co. and the prime minister’s office, the Diet’s task force investigating the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant recommended an overhaul of the government’s crisis management system. “The accident was not a natural disaster but was apparently a man-made disaster,” the Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission (NAIIC), headed by Kiyoshi Kurokawa, said in its final report released on July 5.
    The Asahi Shimbun, Diet investigative panel: Fukushima nuclear accident was man-made. The Asahi Japan Watch, July 5, 2012.

  • Commission Calls Fukushima Nuclear Crisis a Man-Made Disaster
    The nuclear accident at Fukushima was a man-made disaster rooted in government-industry collusion and the worst conformist conventions of Japanese culture, a high-level parliamentary inquiry concluded on Thursday, in a report that also warned that the plant may not have stood up to earthquake damage — a worrying concern as the quake-prone country starts to bring its reactor fleet back online.
    “What must be admitted, very painfully, is that this was a disaster ‘Made in Japan,’” Mr. Kurokawa said. “Its fundamental causes are to be found in the ingrained conventions of Japanese culture: our reflexive obedience; our reluctance to question authority; our devotion to ‘sticking with the program;’ our groupism; and our insularity.”

    Hroko Tabuchi, Commission Calls Fukushima Nuclear Crisis a Man-Made Disaster. The New York Times, July 5, 2012.

  • Radioactive river mud threatens lakes, Tokyo Bay
    Lakes across eastern Japan are being contaminated with radioactive cesium from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, and scientists are warning of a growing problem in Tokyo Bay. Radioactive mud carried down rivers is slowly accumulating in the lakes, in some cases making fish and shellfish dangerous to eat.
    In March, a maximum cesium concentration of 9,550 becquerels per kilogram was detected in mud on the bottom of the Bizengawa river, 1.65 kilometers from where it flows into Japan’s second-largest lake, Lake Kasumigaura in Ibaraki Prefecture.

    Takashi Sugimoto, Radioactive river mud threatens lakes, Tokyo Bay. The Asahi Japan Watch, July 5, 2012.

  • NUCLEAR DILEMMA: TEPCO spends billions on Fukushima No. 2 plant to avoid huge liabilities
    Every day, about 2,000 workers in protective clothing brave high radiation levels at a nuclear plant operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co. to repair damage from last year’s earthquake and tsunami. This is the Fukushima No. 2 nuclear power plant, a facility largely forgotten after the disaster unfolded at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant 10 kilometers to the north.
    The Asahi Shimbun, NUCLEAR DILEMMA: TEPCO spends billions on Fukushima No. 2 plant to avoid huge liabilities. The Asahi Japan Watch, July 5, 2012.

  • Residents ponder escape routes as restart begins

    July 1, 2012. Protesters against restarting Oi Nuclear Power Plant. Source: The Japan Times.

    For local residents, lack of escape routes is a more serious matter.
    Eric Johnston, Residents ponder escape routes as restart begins. The Japan Times, July 2, 2012.

  • UPDATE: Amid protests, No. 3 reactor at Oi plant reaches criticality
    OI, Fukui Prefecture–As scuffles broke out between riot police and protesters, Kansai Electric Power Co. removed the control rods at the No. 3 reactor of the Oi nuclear plant, enabling it to reach criticality on July 2.
    The Asahi Shimbun, UPDATE: Amid protests, No. 3 reactor at Oi plant reaches criticality. The Asahi Japan Watch, July 2, 2012.

  • Oi nuclear plant’s No. 3 reactor attains criticality
    A reactor at the Oi nuclear power plant in western Japan attained a suspended nuclear fission chain reaction, or criticality, early Monday after it became the previous night the first reactor in Japan to be rebooted after regular checkups since last year’s Fukushima nuclear crisis.
    Oi nuclear plant’s No. 3 reactor attains criticality. Kyodo News, July 2, 2012.

  • 再稼働反対!

    Ryuichi Sakamoto, YouTube, July 1, 2012.

  • A fight for the future of everyone

    July 1, 2012. Protesters against restarting Oi Nuclear Power Plant. Source: Megumi Ikeda, Facebook.

    Protesters against nuclear restarting nuclear power in Japan, sharing their umbrella with riot police in front of the Oi Nuclear Power Plant in the Fukui Perfecture.
    Megumi Ikeda, Facebook, July 1, 2012.

  • TEPCO resumes cooling Fukushima Daiichi No. 4 reactor fuel pool
    Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Sunday it has resumed cooling the spent fuel pool of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi power plant’s No. 4 reactor following emergency repair work after the cooling system shut down on Saturday.
    The water temperature of the pool had risen to 42.9 C when the utility known as TEPCO turned the cooling system back on shortly after 3 p.m., compared with 33.3 C at the time of the shutdown on Saturday morning.
    TEPCO had feared that the temperature could reach 65 C, the upper limit designated in safety regulations.

    TEPCO resumes cooling Fukushima Daiichi No. 4 reactor fuel pool. Kyodo News, July 1, 2012.

  • In Japan, First Reactor Is Restarted Since Quake
    A two-month shutdown of Japan’s nuclear power plants ended on Sunday when officials at a western plant reactivated a reactor for the first time since the disaster last year in Fukushima.
    The restarting of reactor No. 3 at the Ohi nuclear plant was ordered two weeks ago by Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, in a decision that has spurred growing public protests.
    The plant’s operator, Kansai Electric Power, had been working since then to prepare the reactor to resume its operations on Sunday.
    All of Japan’s 50 functional reactors were taken offline one by one for safety checks after the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, which contaminated a large part of northern Japan with radiation.

    Martin Fackler, In Japan, First Reactor Is Restarted Since Quake. The New York Times, July 1, 2012.

  • Protests in Japan as nuclear power plant reopens
    Ohi reactor is first to go back online since Fukushima nuclear disaster
    Associated Press, Protests in Japan as nuclear power plant reopens. The Guardian, July 1, 2012.

  • Related pages:
    See also the news and analysis 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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