Tag Archives: Tsunami

8/22/2011 Guardian UK: Fukushima disaster: residents may never return to radiation-hit homes

8/22/2011 Guardian UK: Fukushima disaster: residents may never return to radiation-hit homes: Japanese government will admit for first time that radiation levels will be too high to allow many evacuees to return home: Residents who lived close to the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant are to be told their homes may be uninhabitable for decades, according to Japanese media reports. The Japanese prime minister, Naoto Kan, is expected to visit the area at the weekend to tell evacuees they will not be able to return to their homes, even if the operation to stabilise the plant’s stricken reactors by January is successful.

Kan’s announcement will be the first time officials have publicly recognised that radiation damage to areas near the plant could make them too dangerous to live in for at least a generation, effectively meaning that some residents will never return to them.

A Japanese government source is quoted in local media as saying the area could be off-limits for “several decades”. New data has revealed unsafe levels of radiation outside the 12-mile exclusion zone, increasing the likeliness that entire towns will remain unfit for habitation.

The exclusion zone was imposed after a series of hydrogen explosions at the plant following the earthquake and tsunami in March.

The government had planned to lift the evacuation order and allow 80,000 people back into their homes inside the exclusion zone once the reactors had been brought under control. Several thousand others living in random hotspots outside the zone have also had to relocate.

However, in a report issued over the weekend the science ministry projected that radiation accumulated over one year at 22 of 50 tested sites inside the exclusion zone would easily exceed 100 millisieverts, five times higher than the safe level advised by the International Commission on Radiological Protection. “We can’t rule out the possibility that there will be some areas where it will be hard for residents to return to their homes for a long time,” said Yukio Edano, chief cabinet secretaryand face of the government during the disaster. “We are very sorry.”

Edano refused to say which areas were on the no-go list or how long they would remain uninhabitable, adding that a decision would be made after more radiation tests have been conducted.

The government has yet to decide how to compensate the tens of thousands of residents and business owners who will be forced to start new lives elsewhere. The state has hinted that it may buy or rent land from residents in unsafe areas, although it has not ruled out trying to decontaminate them.

Futaba and Okuma, towns less than two miles from the Fukushima plant, are expected to be among those on the blacklist. The annual cumulative radiation dose in one district of Okuma was estimated at 508 millisieverts, which experts believe is high enough to increase the risk of cancer. More than 300 households from the two towns will be allowed to return briefly to their homes next week to collect belongings. It will be the first time residents have visited their homes since the meltdown.

The plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power, is working to bring the three crippled reactors and four overheating spent fuel pools to a safe state known as “cold shutdown” by mid-January.

Last week the company estimated that leaks from all three reactors had dropped significantly over the past month.

But signs of progress at the plant have been tempered by widespread contamination of soil, trees, roads and farmland.

Experts say that while health risks can be lowered by measures including the removal of layers of topsoil, vulnerable groups such as pregnant women and children should avoid even minimal exposure.

“Any exposure would pose a health risk, no matter how small,” Hiroaki Koide, a radiation specialist at Kyoto University, told Associated Press. “There is no dose that we should call safe.”

Any government admission that residents will not be able to return to their homes will be closely monitored in Japan.

Suspicions persist that the authorities privately acknowledged this situation several months ago. In April, Kenichi Matsumoto, a senior adviser to the cabinet, quoted Kan as saying that people would not be able to live near the plant for “10 to 20 years”. Matsumoto later claimed to have made the remark himself.

7/2/2011 The Atlantic Wire: Meltdown: What Really Happened at Fukushima?

The Atlantic Wire: Meltdown: What Really Happened at Fukushima? By Jake Edelstein and David McNeill: 7/2/2011 It’s been one of the mysteries of Japan’s ongoing nuclear disaster: How much of the damage did the March 11 earthquake inflict on Fukushima Daiichi’s reactors in the 40 minutes before the devastating tsunami arrived? The stakes are high: If the quake alone structurally compromised the plant and the safety of its nuclear fuel, then every other similar reactor in Japan is at risk. Throughout the months of lies and misinformation, one story has stuck: “The earthquake knocked out the plant’s electric power, halting cooling to its reactors,” as the government spokesman Yukio Edano said at a March 15 press conference in Tokyo. The story, which has been repeated again and again, boils down to this: “after the earthquake, the tsunami — a unique, unforeseeable [the Japanese word is soteigai] event — then washed out the plant’s back-up generators, shutting down all cooling and starting the chain of events that would cause the world’s first triple meltdown to occur.”

But what if recirculation pipes and cooling pipes, burst, snapped, leaked, and broke completely after the earthquake — long before the tidal wave reached the facilities, long before the electricity went out? This would surprise few people familiar with the 40-year-old Unit 1, the grandfather of the nuclear reactors still operating in Japan. The authors have spoken to several workers at the plant who recite the same story: Serious damage to piping and at least one of the reactors before the tsunami hit. All have requested anonymity because they are still working at the plant or are connected with TEPCO. One worker, a 27-year-old maintenance engineer who was at the Fukushima complex on March 11, recalls hissing and leaking pipes. “I personally saw pipes that came apart and I assume that there were many more that had been broken throughout the plant. There’s no doubt that the earthquake did a lot of damage inside the plant,” he said. “There were definitely leaking pipes, but we don’t know which pipes — that has to be investigated. I also saw that part of the wall of the turbine building for Unit 1 had come away. That crack might have affected the reactor.”

The reactor walls of the reactor are quite fragile, he notes. “If the walls are too rigid, they can crack under the slightest pressure from inside so they have to be breakable because if the pressure is kept inside and there is a buildup of pressure, it can damage the equipment inside the walls so it needs to be allowed to escape. It’s designed to give during a crisis, if not it could be worse — that might be shocking to others, but to us it’s common sense.”

A second worker, a technician in his late 30s, who was also on site at the time of the earthquake, narrated what happened. “It felt like the earthquake hit in two waves, the first impact was so intense you could see the building shaking, the pipes buckling, and within minutes, I saw pipes bursting. Some fell off the wall. Others snapped. I was pretty sure that some of the oxygen tanks stored on site had exploded but I didn’t see for myself. Someone yelled that we all needed to evacuate and I was good with that. But I was severely alarmed because as I was leaving I was told and I could see that several pipes had cracked open, including what I believe were cold water supply pipes. That would mean that coolant couldn’t get to the reactor core. If you can’t sufficiently get the coolant to the core, it melts down. You don’t have to have to be a nuclear scientist to figure that out.”

As he was heading to his car, he could see the walls of the reactor one building itself had already started to collapse. “There were holes in them. In the first few minutes, no one was thinking about a tsunami. We were thinking about survival.” A third worker was coming into work late when the earthquake hit. “I was in a building nearby when the earthquake shook. After the second shockwave hit, I heard a loud explosion that was almost deafening. I looked out the window and I could see white smoke coming from reactor one. I thought to myself, ‘this is the end.’”

When the worker got to the office five to 15 minutes later the supervisor ordered them all to evacuate, explaining, “there’s been an explosion of some gas tanks in reactor one, probably the oxygen tanks. In addition to this there has been some structural damage, pipes have burst, meltdown is possible. Please take shelter immediately.” (It should be noted that there have been several explosions at Daiichi even after the March 11 earthquake, one of which TEPCO stated, “was probably due to a gas tank left behind in the debris”.)

However, while the employees prepared to leave, the tsunami warning came. Many of them fled to the top floor of a building near the site and waited to be rescued. The reason for official reluctance to admit that the earthquake did direct structural damage to reactor one is obvious. Katsunobu Onda, author of TEPCO: The Dark Empire (東京電力・暗黒の帝国), who sounded the alarm about the firm in his 2007 book explains it this way: “If TEPCO and the government of Japan admit an earthquake can do direct damage to the reactor, this raises suspicions about the safety of every reactor they run. They are using a number of antiquated reactors that have the same systematic problems, the same wear and tear on the piping.”

In a previous story, Kei Sugaoka, a Japanese engineer who worked at the Unit 1 site, says that he wasn’t surprised that a meltdown took place after the earthquake. He sent the Japanese government a letter, dated June 28, 2000, warning them of the problems there. It took the Japanese government more than two years to act on that warning. Mr. Sugaoka has also said he saw yakuza tattoos on many of the cleanup crew staff. When interviewed on May 23 he stated, “The plant had problems galore and the approach taken with them was piecemeal. Most of the critical work: construction work, inspection work, and welding were entrusted to sub-contracted employees with little technical background or knowledge of nuclear radiation. I can’t remember there ever being a disaster drill. The TEPCO employees never got their hands dirty.”

Onda notes, “I’ve spent decades researching TEPCO and its nuclear power plants and what I’ve found, and what government reports confirm is that the nuclear reactors are only as strong as their weakest links, and those links are the pipes.”

During his research, Onda spoke with several engineers who worked at the TEPCO plants. One told him that often piping would not match up the way it should according to the blueprints. In that case, the only solution was to use heavy machinery to pull the pipes close enough together to weld them shut. Inspection of piping was often cursory and the backs of the pipes, which were hard to reach, were often ignored. Since the inspections themselves were generally cursory and done by visual checks, it was easy to ignore them. Repair jobs were rushed; no one wanted to be exposed to nuclear radiation longer than necessary.

Onda adds, “When I first visited the Fukushima power plant it was a web of pipes. Pipes on the wall, on the ceiling, on the ground. You’d have to walk over them, duck under them—sometimes you’d bump your head on them. It was like a maze of pipes inside.” Onda believes it’s not very difficult to explain what happened at Unit 1 and perhaps the other reactors as well. “The pipes, which regulate the heat of the reactor and carry coolant, are the veins and arteries of a nuclear power plant; the core is the heart. If the pipes burst, vital components don’t reach the heart and thus you have a heart attack, in nuclear terms: meltdown. In simpler terms, you can’t cool a reactor core if the pipes carrying the coolant and regulating the heat rupture—it doesn’t get to the core.”

Tooru Hasuike, a TEPCO employee from 1977 until 2009 and former general safety manager of the Fukushima plant, also notes: “The emergency plans for a nuclear disaster at the Fukushima plant had no mention of using sea-water to cool the core. To pump seawater into the core is to destroy the reactor. The only reason you’d do that is no other water or coolant was available.”

Problems with the fractured, deteriorating, poorly repaired pipes and the cooling system had been pointed out for years. In 2002, whistle-blower allegations that TEPCO had deliberately falsified safety records came to light and the company was forced to shut down all of its reactors and inspect them, including the Fukushima Daiichi Power Plant. Kei Sugaoka, a GE on-site inspector first notified Japan’s nuclear watch dog, Nuclear Industrial Safey Agency (NISA) in June of 2000. Not only did the government of Japan take more than two years to address the problem and collude on covering it up, they gave the name of the whistleblower to TEPCO.

In September of 2002, TEPCO admitted to covering up data concerning cracks in critical circulation pipes in addition to previously revealed falsifications. In their analysis of the cover-up, The Citizen’s Nuclear Information Center writes: “The records that were covered up had to do with cracks in parts of the reactor known as recirculation pipes. These pipes are there to siphon off heat from the reactor. If these pipes were to fracture, it would result in a serious accident in which coolant leaks out. From the perspective of safety, these are highly important pieces of equipment. Cracks were found in the Fukushima Daiichi Power Plant, reactor one, reactor two, reactor three, reactor four, reactor five.” The cracks in the pipes were not due to earthquake damage; they came from the simple wear and tear of long-term usage.

On March 2, nine days before the meltdown, the Nuclear Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) gave TEPCO a warning on its failure to inspect critical pieces of equipment at the plant, which included the recirculation pumps. TEPCO was ordered to make the inspections, perform repairs if needed and give a report to the NISA on June 2. The report is not confirmed to have been filed as of this time.

The problems were not only with the piping. Gas tanks at the site also exploded after the earthquake. The outside of the reactor building suffered structural damage. There was some chaos. There was no one really qualified to assess the radioactive leakage because, as the Nuclear Industrial Safety Agency admits, after the accident all the on-site inspectors fled the site. And the quake and tsunami broke most of the monitoring equipment so there was little information available on radiation afterwards.

Before the dawn on March 12, the water levels at the reactor began to plummet and the radiation began rising. Meltdown was taking place. The TEPCO Press release issued on March 12 just past 4am stated, “the pressure within the containment vessel is high but stable.” There was a note buried in the release that many people missed. “The emergency water circulation system was cooling the steam within the core; it has ceased to function.”

According to The Chunichi Shinbun and other sources, a few hours after the earthquake extremely high levels of radiation were being measured within the reactor one building. The levels were so high that if you spent a full day exposed to them it would be fatal. The water levels of the reactor were already sinking. After the Japanese government forced TEPCO to release hundreds of pages of documents relating to the accident in May, Bloomberg reported on May 19 that a radiation alarm went off 1.5 kilometers from the number one reactor on March 11 at 3:29 p.m., minutes before the tsunami reached the plant.

TEPCO would not deny the possibility that there was significant radiation leakage before the power went out. They did assert that the alarm might have simply malfunctioned. On March 11, at 9:51 p.m., under the CEO’s orders, the inside of the reactor building was declared a no-entry zone. Around 11 p.m., radiation levels for the inside of the turbine building, which was next door to the reactor, reached hourly levels of 0.5 to 1.2 mSv. The meltdown was already underway. Oddly enough, while TEPCO later insisted that the cause of the meltdown was the tsunami knocking out emergency power systems, at the 7:47 p.m. TEPCO press conference the same day, the spokesman in response to questions from the press about the cooling systems stated that the emergency water circulation equipment and reactor core isolation time cooling systems would work even without electricity.

Sometime between 4 and 6 a.m. on March 12, Masao Yoshida, the plant manager decided it was time to pump seawater into the reactor core and notified TEPCO. Seawater was not pumped in until hours after a hydrogen explosion occurred, roughly 8:00 p.m. that day. By then, it was probably already too late.

On May 15, TEPCO went some way toward admitting at least some of these claims in a report called “Reactor Core Status of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station Unit One.” The report said there might have been pre-tsunami damage to key facilities including pipes. “This means that assurances from the industry in Japan and overseas that the reactors were robust is now blown apart,” said Shaun Burnie, an independent nuclear waste consultant. “It raises fundamental questions on all reactors in high seismic risk areas.”

As Burnie points out, TEPCO also admitted massive fuel melt — 16 hours after loss of coolant, and 7-8 hours before the explosion in unit 1. “Since they must have known all this — their decision to flood [the core] with massive water volumes would guarantee massive additional contamination — including leaks to the ocean.”

No one knows exactly how much damage was done to the plant by the quake, or if this damage alone would account for the meltdown. However, eyewitness testimony and TEPOC’S own data indicates that the damage was significant. All of this despite the fact that shaking experienced at the plant during the quake was within it’s approved design specifications. Says Hasuike: “What really happened at the Fukushima Daiicihi Nuclear Power Plant to cause a meltdown? TEPCO and the government of Japan have provided many explanations. They don’t make sense. The one thing they haven’t provided is the truth. It’s time that they did.”

Jake Adelstein is an investigative journalist, consultant, and the author of Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter On The Police Beat In Japan. He is also a board member of the Washington, D.C.-based Polaris Project Japan, which combats human trafficking and the exploitation of women and children in the sex trade. David McNeill writes for The Irish Times, The Independent and other publications. He has taught courses on journalism at Sophia University and is a coordinator of Japan Focus. Stephanie Nakajima contributed to this article.

Photos via Reuters.

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6/11/2011 NY Times: Protests Challenge Japan's Use of Nuclear Power

Protests Challenge Japan’s Use of Nuclear Power By HIROKO TABUCHI, New York Times, June 11, 2011 http://topics.nytimes.com/topics/reference/timestopics/people/t/hiroko_tabuchi/index.html?inline=nyt-per Background: In Germany there have been anti-nuclear protests involving tens of thousands of people reported on many occasions.  But tens of thousands of people protesting in Japan?  That is unheard of – until now. TOKYO — Beating drums and waving flowers, protesters in Tokyo and other major cities rallied against the use of nuclear power on Saturday, three months after a devastating tsunami set off a nuclear crisis.

ranck Robichon/European Pressphoto Agency  Demonstrators in Tokyo on Saturday at one of the many rallies around Japan to protest the country’s reliance on nuclear power.


Anger over the government’s handling of the accident at the Fukushima nuclear plant has erupted in recent weeks after revelations that the damage at the plant, and the release of radioactive material, was far worse than previously thought. Mothers worried for their children’s health, as well as farmers and fishermen angry about their damaged livelihoods, have been especially critical of the government of Prime Minister Naoto Kan.

The disaster has also prompted a national debate about Japan’s heavy reliance on nuclear power despite the country’s history of devastating earthquakes and a deep public distrust of the nuclear industry. In perhaps his sole move that has won popular support, Mr. Kan ordered the shutdown of a separate nuclear power plant in central Japan until it can bolster its tsunami defenses. But recent politicking in a gridlocked Parliament has added to the public’s disenchantment. “We now know the dangers of relying on nuclear power, and it’s time to make a change,”

Hajime Matsumoto, one of the rally’s organizers, told a crowd in a central Tokyo square that eventually grew to about 20,000 people, according to organizers’ estimates. “And, yes, I believe Japan can change,” he shouted, as the crowd roared back and people pumped their fists in the air.

Supporters of the rally here in Tokyo, and in coordinated events in many other cities in Japan, say the demonstration was remarkable not because of its size, but because it happened at all in a country that so values conformity and order.

“The Japanese haven’t been big protesters, at least recently,” said Junichi Sato, program director of the environmental group Greenpeace Japan, who said he had organized enough poorly attended rallies to know.

“They’re taking the first steps toward making themselves heard.” Many in the crowd said they were protesting for the first time. “I’m here for my children,” said Aki Ishii, who had her 3-year-old daughter in tow. “We just want our old life back, where the water is safe and the air is clean.” Her daughter wore a sign that said “Please let me play outside again.”

Hiromasa Fujimoto, a rice and vegetable farmer, said it was his first protest, too. “I want to tell people that I’m just so worried about the soil, about the water,” he said. “I now farm with a Geiger counter in one hand, my tools in the other.” “It’s insane,” he added. And while the rally started in a typically orderly way — “Let’s all remember good manners!” organizers said at the start, as protesters lined up in neat rows — the crowd eventually took a more rowdy turn.

As protesters congregated in a Tokyo square after several marches through the city, there were some confrontations with the police. A police officer who refused to give his name explained breathlessly that protesters had not been given permission to congregate in the square. “Disperse immediately!” police officers shouted through megaphones.

“Shut up and go away!” a young man screamed back. About 9 p.m., however, police officers forcibly moved in to break up the crowd. There was some pushing and shoving, but no serious skirmishes. Still, Mr. Matsumoto, the organizer, looked elated.

“Who would have thought so many people would turn up?” he said. “I think that Japan is on the cusp of something new.” But some passers-by were less enthusiastic. “What can they really do?” said Airi Ishii, 21, a shopper who had stopped to watch the rally with her boyfriend. “It looks fun, but if you think anything will change, it’s naïve.”
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5/30/2011 New York Times, Germany to Halt Nuclear Power Production by 2022

Germany to Halt Nuclear Power Production by 2022 By JUDY DEMPSEY and JACK EWING, New York Times, May 30, 2011 BERLIN — The German government agreed on Monday morning to phase out nuclear power by 2022 in a move that could have far reaching consequences for Europe’s largest economy. “It’s definite,” Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen said after marathon talks held at the chancellery. “The latest end of the last three nuclear plants is 2022.” The government said the country’s oldest nuclear power plants will remain permanently closed. Seven plants were shut down in March after the in Japan and one plant had been taken off the grid earlier. The government intends to phase out the remaining nine plants according to their age with the older facilities shutting down over the next few years and the newest ones by in 2022.

Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has been trying to cope with a sharp shift in public attitudes toward nuclear power since the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi plant after the March 11 Japanese earthquake and tsunami was reacting to a report submitted Monday by the so-called Ethics Commission for Secure Energy. “We want the electricity of the future to be safe, but also to remain reliable and affordable,” she said in a statement on the government Web site.

Plans to withdraw from nuclear energy are likely to be popular with the German public — the reactors had already been scheduled to be taken out of service by 2036 in the face of widespread aversion to nuclear power — but will be greeted apprehensively by German manufacturers, who fear that the cost of energy could rise.

On Friday, state environment ministers agreed that the seven older nuclear power plants, that were taken out of service after the Japanese disaster, should remain shut down. The commission endorsed that recommendation, and said the other 10 plants should be phased out gradually.

However, in a report Friday that illustrated a national debate that is likely to ensue, the federal agency that regulates the power industry said that without the seven plants Germany could have trouble coping with a failure in some part of the national power grid. The shutdown “brings networks to the limit of capacity,” the Federal Network Agency said.

The report submitted Monday to Ms. Merkel said the commission was “firmly convinced that an exit from nuclear energy can be achieved within a decade.”

Germany must make a binding national commitment, the commission said in a 48-page report. “Only a clearly delineated goal can provide the necessary planning and investment security,” the commission said.

“The exit is necessary, and is recommended, in order to rule out the risks of nuclear power,” the commission said. “It is possible, because there are less risky alternatives.”

The commission added that “the exit should be designed so as not to endanger the competitiveness of industry and the economy.”

It identified wind, solar, water as alternatives, as well as geothermal energy and so-called biomass energy from waste, as alternative power sources.

Judy Dempsey reported from Berlin, and Jack Ewing from Frankfurt.

5/17/2011 Science Magazine: Utility: Fukushima Cores More Damaged Than Thought

5/17/2011 Science Magazine: Utility: Fukushima Cores More Damaged Than Thought By Dennis Normile: TOKYOOver the last several days, evidence has emerged indicating that the situation at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant was far more dire than previously recognized. The main evidence is extensive—rather than partial—melting of the nuclear fuel in three reactors in the hours after the 11 March earthquake and tsunami. Despite that bad news, however, today plant owner Tokyo Electric Power Co. pledged it would still meet the target set 17 April to stabilize the situation by January 2012 so 100,000 residents evacuated from around the plant can return to their homes and the decade-long process of demolishing the reactors can get started.

At first, analysts from Tokyo Electric and the government believed there was only limited damage to the fuel cores. But over the last week, a combination of robotic and human inspections has led to the conclusion that the fuel assemblies in units 1, 2, and 3 were completely exposed to the air for from over 6 hours to over 14 hours and that melting was extensive if not complete. Much of the fuel is now likely at the bottom of the reactor pressure vessels.

Despite extensive melting of the fuel, “we do not believe there is massive damage to the reactor pressure vessel,” Sakae Muto, Tokyo Electric’s chief nuclear officer told reporters this evening. Last week workers found that an estimated 3000 tons of water has leaked from the unit 1 containment vessel into a basement. In its 17 April roadmap, Tokyo Electric envisioned flooding the containment vessel and building a new cooling system to lower the temperature of the core. But the containment vessel now appears to be too leaky for that scheme to work. Instead they will collect water from the basement, purify it, and inject it back into the reactor pressure vessel, from where it will leak back into the basement. It is simpler than a new cooling system, but it will also require additional measures to watch for and counter leaks of contaminated water into the environment, Muto said. They may still build new cooling systems to supplement or replace the water injection scheme.

The 17 April roadmap for containing radiation also called for wrapping the wrecked buildings in tentlike structures of polyester sheets supported on a steel framework. That part of the work is proceeding as planned.

At the same press briefing, Goshi Hosono, a member of the Japanese parliament and a special advisor to the Prime Minister Naoto Kan on the crisis, said the government had decided to establish a mechanism to track the radiation doses and manage the long-term health care of the hundreds of workers battling to bring the crippled reactors under control. “This is not only in the interests of Tokyo Electric and the government but of all the people of Japan,” he said.

April 21, 2011 Request regarding the Great East Japan Earthquake, Tsunami and Nuclear Power Plant Disaster

April 21, 2011  Prime Minister Naoto Kan Japan Confederation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations (Nihon Hidankyo), Sunao Tsuboi, Chair, Sumiteru Taniguchi, Chair, Terumi Tanaka, Secretary General:   Request regarding the Great East Japan Earthquake, Tsunami and Nuclear Power Plant Disaster As survivors of the atomic bombs which wreaked unprecedented devastation on humanity, we Hibakusha now expect much of the Japanese Government and the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) as they make efforts for recovery from the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear power plant disaster and to aid those affected.  While a triple disaster on such a scale does indeed occur only rarely, from our experiences we are anxious that current efforts are focused on immediate measures, while comprehensive policies are being delayed and crucial aspects neglected.

We atomic bomb survivors continue to suffer in all parts of our bodies, hearts and lives from the effects of our experiences 66 years ago and since. We have accumulated achievements as a movement calling for assistance for Hibakusha. In this capacity, we call for necessary emergency measures to be taken for the survivors of the recent disaster.

Based on our own experiences, we make the following recommendations.

We call on the Japanese Government and TEPCO to accept these with sincerity and take steps for their implementation.

1. To issue all survivors and evacuees of the earthquake, tsunami and  radiation leaks with Disaster Victim Certificates.

At the time of the atomic bombings, authorities including the police made exhausting efforts to issue Disaster Victim Certificates. These were extremely effective afterwards in confirming that the holder was a survivor of the bombings.

As time passes and survivors become more dispersed, activities to confirm the victims become more difficult.

The certificates issued in this case should include a section for information about the situation of experiencing the disaster (including people whose whereabouts is unknown) and movements after the disaster.

We expect the Government to implement sufficient policies for relief and recovery, and call for all efforts to be made for initial measures, with an understanding of the overall damage and situation as a prerequisite.

2. To issue all victims of the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident with a health monitoring book, and the state to take responsibility to conduct regular medical checks at least annually.

We Hibakusha are still suffering even after 66 years.

Radiation disease caused by nuclear fallout rarely occurs within the short-term; most cases occur after a considerable amount of time. The Government and TEPCO must take responsibility for long-term policies including life-long regular health checks and medical measures.

Furthermore, we call for health monitoring books to also be issued to all workers who are now risking their lives to work inside the nuclear power plant upon TEPCO’s orders.

The Government and TEPCO must bear the responsibility to take full measures for those people in the nearby areas who were issued with evacuation orders or voluntary evacuation advisories. Measures must be taken assuming the worst case scenario.

3. Until the lives and medical care of the survivors can be properly secured, the evacuation centres where survivors are sheltering must not be closed. Policies must also be made to care for children orphaned by the disaster.

Having seen many children orphaned by the atomic bombs and the war rendered homeless, we are deeply anxious that the recent disaster could also create more orphans. We call for particular consideration to be made for policies to care for children.

4. To provide accurate information regarding the damage caused by radiation, to ease anxiety of citizens and to eradicate harmful rumours and discrimination against survivors.

5. To make a major transformation of energy and electricity policy from reliance on nuclear energy to research, development and use of renewable energy.

In the immediate future, we call for maximum measures to be made to ensure the safety of existing nuclear power plants, while protecting the three principles of the peaceful use of nuclear energy (independent, democratic, made public) and assuming the worst case scenario.

6. To learn from the severity of this nuclear power plant disaster and make progress towards the abolition of nuclear weapons. To cease the concept of protecting Japan through military means, and change to a policy of peace and security that gives the highest priority to diplomacy, aiming for the co-existence of humanity and based on Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution.

7. TEPCO to take full responsibility for the nuclear power plant accident, and give compensation for the damage it caused.

* This document was submitted to the Prime Minister, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry; Minister of Health, Labour and Welfare, Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology and the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO).