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Fukushima Deaths Soar 18% as the World Turns toward Renewable Energy


March 14, 2015
News24 & Harvey Wasserman / EcoWatch & Nuclear News & Greenpeace

A total of 1,232 deaths in Japan's Fukushima prefecture over the past year have been linked to the 2011 nuclear accident -- up 18% from a year earlier. But while the ongoing Fukushima catastrophe is worse than ever, the good news can ultimately transcend the bad -- if we make it so. The Solartopian Revolution is ahead of schedule and under budget. More than twice as many Americans now work in solar as in coal mines. Even the Tea Party has a green wing promoting renewables.

http://www.news24.com/World/News/Japans-nuclear-related-deaths-rise-by-18-20150310-2

Japan's Nuclear-related Deaths Rise by 18%
News24

TOKYO (March 10, 2015) -- A total of 1 232 deaths in Japan's Fukushima prefecture over the past year were linked to the nuclear accident four years ago, up 18% from a year earlier, a news report said on Tuesday.

A death is considered nuclear-related if is not directly resulting from a nuclear accident but is due from an illness caused by prolonged exposure.

Namie town, close to the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, had the largest number of deaths at 359, followed by 291 in Tomioka town, which is also near the complex, the Tokyo Shimbun reported.

About 120 000 people are still unable to return home due to radioactive contamination following the disaster at the Fukushima plant in March 2011.

The plant operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co suffered a triple meltdown caused by the 11 March, 2011 earthquake and tsunami that left about 18 500 dead.



Fukushima's 4th Anniversary
Brings Hope Amidst Radioactive Ruins
As Renewable Energy Revolution Soars

Harvey Wasserman / EcoWatch

(March 11, 2015) -- The catastrophe that began at Fukushima four years ago today is worse than ever. But the good news can ultimately transcend the bad -- if we make it so.

An angry grassroots movement has kept shut all 54 reactors that once operated in Japan. It's the largest on-going nuke closure in history. Big industrial windmills installed off the Fukushima coast are now thriving.

Five US reactors have shut since March 11, 2011. The operable fleet is under 100 for the first time in decades.

Ohio's Davis-Besse, New York's Ginna, five reactors in Illinois and other decrepit American nukes could shut soon without huge ratepayer bailouts.

Diablo Canyon was retrofitted -- probably illegally -- with $842 million in replacement parts untested for seismic impact. Already under fire for illegal license manipulations and an avoidable gas explosion that killed eight in San Bruno in 2010, Pacific Gas & Electric has plunged into a legal, economic and political abyss that could soon doom California's last reactors.

Meanwhile, Germany is amping up its renewable energy generation with a goal of 80 percent or more by 2050. France -- once nuke power's poster child -- has turned away from new reactor construction and is moving strongly toward renewables.

Worldwide, the Solartopian revolution is ahead of schedule and under budget. Predictions about its technological and economic potential are being everywhere exceeded.

More than twice as many Americans now work in solar as in coal mines. As the head of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund recently put it: "We are quite convinced that if John D Rockefeller were alive today, as an astute businessman looking out to the future, he would be moving out of fossil fuels and investing in clean, renewable energy."

Even America's Tea Party has developed a green wing promoting renewables. Vital focus now centers on battery breakthroughs needed to escalate rooftop solar, electric cars and other post-nuke game-changers.

But there's plenty of bad news. The State Secrets Act of Japan's authoritarian Abe regime renders unreliable all "official" information from Fukushima. Grassroots nuclear campaigners are under serious attack.

At least 300 tons of radioactive water still pour daily into the Pacific Ocean. The utility wants to dump even more untreated outflow into currents that are already testing radioactive along the California coast. Details of fuel rod bring-downs and site clean-ups remain unknown.

Thyroid damage rates are soaring among downwind children. Abe is forcing evacuees back into areas that are seriously contaminated. Fukushima's owner (Tepco) is the #1 money funnel to his Liberal Democratic Party, which flips untold billions back to the utility.

More than 128,000 petitioners asking that the world community take charge at Fukushima have been ignored by the United Nations since November 2013.

Throughout the world decaying reactors threaten our survival. Ohio's Davis-Besse containment is literally crumbling. Diablo Canyon is surrounded by 15 known fault lines, one just 700 yards from the cores. New reactor sites in Finland, France and Georgia show slipshod construction, substandard parts and corrupted supervision that would make them instant threats should they go on line.

Citizen activism challenges all that. Today [March 11] Solartopian activists will picket Japanese consulates worldwide. An evolving electricity boycott to "unplug nuclear" and a growing grassroots demand for green energy herald a new era of people power.

Four years after the endless Fukushima disaster began, that renewable revolution defines our survival.

It's a fight we can't afford to lose. It's a victory we must soon embrace . . . with the utmost relief and joy.


ACTION ALERT: Nuclear Power Plants
Have No Place in a Modern Japan

Nuclear News

Those who created the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear catastrophe know that their nuclear power plants have no place in a modern Japan. And they are fighting as hard as they can to stop clean energy progress and shore up their dirty-energy-based profits.

But, for the people of Japan, a majority of whom oppose any nuclear restart, there are massive opportunities on the horizon for a truly safe and clean future. And we, at Greenpeace, will stand with them -- against the onslaught of the nuclear village -- to ensure that the clean, renewable energy future becomes a reality.


ACTION ALERT: To stand together with the clear majority of Japanese people who believe a #ZeroNuclear future is possible -- for Japan and the world -- add your name to this petition today.

A Lesson from Fukushima:
A Safe, Clean Energy Future Will Be Nuclear-free

Kendra Ulrich / Greenpeace

(March 11, 2015) -- Relying on nuclear to fulfill Japan's climate obligations is betting the future of the planet and generations of people to come on a politician's fantasy.

And, how "safe" and "clean" is this energy source, really? If we believe the nuke huggers, it is very safe -- one catastrophic accident occurs only once every 250 years, they say.

However, it doesn't take a nuclear scientist to tell you we've experienced a few more major accidents than that in the 70 years of nuclear programs, including the disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant -- with 3 reactors at the site experiencing core meltdowns; the catastrophic meltdown at Chernobyl; and the partial meltdowns at the Three Mile Island and Fermi 1 nuclear power plants in the US -- just to name a few.

A logical person would look at this evidence, as well as the industry's track record, and either revise their opinion or revise their prediction models. Probably both are in order.

Unfortunately, the industry, and many regulators, have continued to toe the "safety" line -- while at the same time weakening reactor safety standards so that aging reactors can meet them. And the aging nuclear fleet in many parts of the world results in increased safety risks, as components degrade with time and wear.

If we are to discuss "safety" within the context of nuclear, it's also important to broaden our perspective beyond a narrow focus on solely catastrophic accident risks at operating nuclear reactors, to major environmental and public safety risks imposed by the entire nuclear cycle.

These include uranium mining; uranium processing to create nuclear fuel (milling, conversion, enrichment and fabrication -- each step uses fossil fuels and generates radioactive wastes); radioactive releases during operation -- both, routine radioactive releases and accidental ones; and the ever increasingnuclear waste problem.

After over seven decades of nuclear technology, final spent nuclear fuel disposal is still unsolved anywhere in the world. Some countries, like the UK, France, and Russia, compound the radioactive waste problem by "reprocessing" spent nuclear fuel -- a chemical process separating plutonium from high level radioactive waste, which not only generates an enormous amount of radioactive gaseous and liquid effluent, but increases nuclear bomb proliferation risks.

There are also indications that even in the absence of a major disaster, nuclear reactors may be hazardous to human health -- particularly for children.

The positive is that we do not need to accept this dirty, dangerous, and outdated technology -- neither to keep the lights on nor to meet carbon reduction targets.

Perhaps nowhere is this point more relevant than in Japan. As of the fourth Fukushima Daiichi disaster anniversary, the country will be nearly a year and a half without a single reactor online -- and not a single blackout or brownout as a result.

And while successive Japanese governments have failed to enact robust policies that fully support the renewable energy expansion and energy efficiency measures needed to meet the global challenge of mitigating climate change impacts, local governments are stepping into the leadership void left by the national government.

Fukushima City declared in December 2012 that its first objective to revitalize the disaster-ravaged prefecture was "Building a safe, secure, and sustainable society free from nuclear power." In 2014, the prefectural government followed through on that goal with a committment to a 100% renewable energy target by 2040.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government just announced a record 23% reduction in carbon emissions in the fourth year of its cap and trade program -- due in large part to energy efficiency measures that began as a result of the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe.

These important steps stand in stark contrast to those of the Abe government, which continues pushing for nuclear power -- while at the same time developing mechanisms to undermine the development of renewable energy.

The nuclear village that Abe inhabits, along with the bureaucrats in the Industry Ministry and nuclear power companies, have seen the clean energy future -- and they don't like it.

They know that the costs for renewable energy -- especially solar PV -- will continue to drop and its market share increase across the planet. And these plummeting costs, rapid construction times, and massive carbon savings from modern renewable energy sources, render old, dangerous, and dirty technologies, like nuclear energy, obsolete.

Those who created the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear catastrophe know that their nuclear power plants have no place in a modern Japan. And they are fighting as hard as they can to stop clean energy progress and shore up their dirty-energy-based profits.

But, for the people of Japan, a majority of whom oppose any nuclear restart, there are massive opportunities on the horizon for a truly safe and clean future. And we, at Greenpeace, will stand with them -- against the onslaught of the nuclear village -- to ensure that the clean, renewable energy future becomes a reality.

For more info:www.greenpeace.org/zeronuclear2015

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

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