Japanese Report on Fukushima Reactor Disaster Is “Real Wake Up” Call for Sleeping U.S. Regulators | PSR
WASHINGTON, D.C. – July 12, 2012 – The same underlying “man-made” problems that contribute significantly to the Fukushima reactor disaster in Japan are in place in the United States and require preventative actions that go far beyond the limited steps taken far by the U.S. industry and its regulators, according to five groups commenting today on the English-language version of the official report of the Japanese Parliament’s Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission.
The 85-page executive summary of the report can be viewed in English.
Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) Executive Director Catherine Thomasson said: “American regulators and the federal government should take heed. (more…)
By claiming the disaster was ‘made in Japan’, an official report reinforces, yet does not explain, unhelpful stereotypes.
More than a year after a catastrophic earthquake and tsunami struck Japan on 11 March 2011, the Fukushima nuclear accident independent investigation commission released an 88-page report this week delivering the indictment that Fukushima could not be considered a natural disaster but a “profoundly man-made disaster”.
It went on to state that “this was a disaster ‘made in Japan’. 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 programme’; and our ‘insularity’.”
At first glance, the opening message from the commission’s chairman, Kiyoshi Kurokawa, reads like an apology to the global community for Japan’s mishandling of the Fukushima nuclear disaster: a mea culpa (more…)
There have been scores of photographs and video footage showing the Fukushima Daiichi in its battered state after the nuclear power plant was pummeled by the tsunami last year. But images of the tsunami rolling into the plant have been scarce.
On Monday, more than a year after the disaster, plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. released 33 new photos that capture the wave minutes after it hit. They are the first publicized photos since a smaller batch of 17 photos were made available in May 2011.
A Tepco spokesman said the company released the images upon requests from news organizations and the public. The company said it decided to disclose the photos that most vividly show the tsunami striking the plant. The photos were taken by a worker at an affiliated company. The images released start showing the scene from 3:35 p.m., just minutes after the first wave rushed towards the plant. The photos were taken across a span of about 25 minutes, giving a minute-by-minute sequence of the waves coming in, then receding. The March 11 tsunami came in two blows, the first one at 3:27 p.m. then a second and bigger one eight minutes later.
View a selection of the released photos in this slideshow. The photo library can be viewed in its entirety here.
July 9 — To the Editor:
The Herald’s recent editorial on several safety-related problems at the Seabrook nuclear power plant (Nuke plant safety woes worrisome, June 26) underscores the fact that strengthening nuclear power safety is the responsibility of all citizens and individuals, community groups, business leaders and elected officials, (who) should speak out about the potential threat to the Seacoast posed by the plant’s continued operation.
Regardless of whether one is pro- or anti-nuclear, the need to make nuclear power plants as safe as possible is a no-brainer. We know severe nuclear accidents can happen, with massive human, economic and environmental consequences. Last year’s Fukushima earthquake and tsunami is an obvious case in point. Tens of thousands of Japanese citizens lost their homes and livelihoods. A wide swath of the Japanese countryside will be uninhabitable for decades. And the Japanese economy was devastated. Conservative estimates put the total cost of the disaster and clean-up at more than $100 billion.
It goes without saying that (more…)
Special issue of The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists on the risks of exposure to low-level radiation
Every time a release of radioactivity occurs, questions arise—not only about the true exposures, but also about the health risk at low doses. Predictably, debates unfold in the news media and galvanize social media networks. Sometimes these conversations enlighten the public, but often times they only exacerbate the confusion and fear about the significance and reality of exposure. Fukushima is the latest example of this warped communications strategy.
This special issue of the Bulletin examines what is new about the debate over radiation risk, specifically focusing on areas of agreement and disagreement, including quantitative estimates of cancer risk as a function of dose. In this issue, we don’t pretend to put the questions about the scientific jigsaw puzzle to rest, but we do hope to provide a sophisticated update for you, presented by people whose work has increased understanding within the field. For example, social scientist Paul Slovic updates his classic work on perception of radiation risk. Roger Kasperson, another social scientist, writes on the intriguing framework that he and colleagues developed about the social amplification of risk, which helps to explain public reactions to events like Fukushima and Chernobyl. By implication, Kasperson’s analysis raises a challenge for those who communicate risk information, (more…)