Restart of nuclear facilities and policy for nuclear waste disposal in Japan unlikely to be settled soon

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In Japan, utilities are working to restart idled nuclear power plants across the nation and regain public support post-Fukushima.  The Nuclear Regulation Authority, a newly established regulator, set new safety standards in July of 2013 which call for greater preparedness in regards to severe accidents, earthquakes, and tsunamis.

So far, 7 utilities have applied for regulatory officials to conduct safety screenings required to restart 9 plants.  Officials still say that none of the plants are ready to restart because utilities have not adequately revised their estimations of potential earthquake activities.

This week, Shunichi Tanaka, chairman of the Nuclear Regulation Authority told reporters that there was no time limit on how long the safety screening process might take.

Even if operators are able to pass safety screens, they still need to obtain consent from local governments before the reactors can be restarted.

The task will not be easy in a nation which before the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster had very little experience with management of severe accidents. The challenge is even greater considering the fact that the most experienced members of the workforce are aging and the new workforce has little to no prior experience with nuclear power.

As a nation Japan still has to revise a basic policy for the long-term disposal of nuclear waste.  While government plans call for storage in deep underground repositories, experts caution that finding such locations in Japan will be difficult due to the seismicity of the area and lack of public trust.  So far, no municipalities have come forward with any candidate sites.

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  1. It was known from the very beginning how dangerous nuclear energy can be to people and the environment.

    Check these out and notice the dates —>

    “Alvin M. Weinberg, tells the Senate’s Special Committee on Atomic Energy that “Atomic power can cure as well as kill. It can fertilize and enrich a region as well as devastate it. It can widen man’s horizons as well as force him back into the cave.”

    “Former AEC official, John C. Bugher, declares at an American Public Health Association meeting that an atomic power program would present a much greater health threat than nuclear weapons, due to large quantities of radioactive chemicals emitted into the environment during power generation.”

    “Karl Z. Morgan in testimony before a Congressional subcommittee states that there is “no safe level of exposure” to radiation.”

    “Linus Pauling and Andrei Sakarov separately proclaim that low-level fallout from atomic tests was contaminating the food supply and would harm the immune system of consumers.”

    “Arthur D. Bloom publishes paper “Cytogenetic Effects of Low-Dose Internal and External Radiations,” which concludes that all exposure to high-energy ionizing radiation, even at low doses, produces chromosomal and genetic damage and that this damage may well be deleterious to the host.”

    “Jay M. Gould and Benjamin A. Goldman publish the first edition of a book entitled Deadly Deceit, Low-Level Radiation, High-Level Cover-up. The theme of the book focuses of the dangers of low levels of radiation to human populations, the need to limit exposures whenever possible and the need for government to share information on health effects and exposure information with the public.”

    “Another book, entitled Cancer From Low-Dose Exposure: An Independent Analysis, authored by John W. Gofman, is published. This book reviews human and physical evidence showing that cancer can be caused by the lowest conceivable doses and dose rates of ionizing radiation. The author rebuts claims that very low doses or dose rates of radiation are safe.”

    “The Health Physics Society makes principal recommendations about radiation safety standards for the public that “…the sum of effective dose(s) to individual members of the public from exposure to controllable sources with the exception of occupational exposure, accidental releases, and indoor radon, normally should be limited to 1 mSv (100 mrem) in any year.”


    “Dr. Edward Radford, who gave early warnings on the dangers of radiation exposure, dies on Oct. 12. Radford stated in 1979 that 0.5 percent of Americans would get cancer because of radiation from artificial sources. He argues that even low levels of radiation exposure create a cancer risk.”

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