Category Archives: Critical Information

The Absurdity of the Atomic Age


The Absurdity of the Atomic Age
Masatake Shinohara
(Translated by Adam Bronson)

In the essay “The Absurdity of the Nuclear Age,” published in the Asahi Shimbun in August 1982, Kojin Karatani declared that, since childhood, he had nurtured a sense that the human world would someday perish. Karatani pointed out the absurdity of the fact that humanity lived under the “nuclear equilibrium” maintained between the US and the Soviet Union. If the equilibrium is shaken just a little, the earth could be contaminated by radiation in an instant and become uninhabitable. Karatani’s point was: that humanity continues to exist under such condition is itself all too absurd. Continue reading

Give Us No Lip Service But Action! – A message from CNIC

Original text in Japanese HERE by Citizen’s Nuclear Information Center

Nuclear Safety Commission of Japan (NSCJ):
Give Us No Lip Service But Action!

A message from Citizen’s Nuclear Information Center (CNIC) (4) 3/31/2011

What on earth is NSCJ doing? — Many have been throwing this question. While a faint outline of truth has been revealed, the committee chairman has reportedly stated on their measure as they “relied on the independency of TEPCO” in terms of the earthquake-proof measure; they “could not find design solution without reasoning out the earthquake-proof measure.” This shows nothing but an avoidance of responsibility. Hereafter NSCJ’s action, based upon a reflection on its previous conducts, is in question at the moment.

CNIC demands NSCJ to take the following actions immediately:

1. Seismologists are pointing out that the 3/11 earthquake could quicken other plate activities. In Tokai area in particular, an earthquake could happen at any moment. However, the Chubu Electric Power Company insists on continuing to run their nuclear power plants while strengthening their earthquake-proof measure. Today we cannot suspect possibilities of another great disaster if nuclear plants are to suffer another earthquake. NSCJ must demand Chubu Electric to shutdown Hamaoka Nucelar Power Plant, before they carry out safety tests for earthquake-proof. At the same time, NSCJ must execute general safety tests on all nuclear reactors regarding earthquake proof and reinforcement of measures to all severe accidents.

2. The repair work at Fukushima plant is extremely severe. It is clear that the situation will be prolonged for a long time. More workers will be needed under the radioactive environment. NSCJ must rapidly ensure a greater number of workers including experienced OBs.

3. SPEEDI was proven to be almost useless, but according to the monitoring result, there are contaminated zones from which pregnant women and infants must be immediately evacuated. In addition, the condition at Fukushima Daiichi is very severe and there is no guarantee that we can avoid the worst situation. Possibility of magnitude 7-class aftershock makes us fear about worsening of the current state. Not to mention 30km radius, widening of evacuation area is a sine qua non under assumption of the worst scenario.

4. Mass media is broadcasting footages of ‘specialists’ repeatedly speaking of radiation exposure as “no effects on health” and “no risk of cancer”. How could they continue to allow these ‘specialists’ talks of such fuzzy science? As a result these comments give more worries to concerned individuals, and make those who have less concerns plainly believe these words and let their children play outdoors, even though relatively high amount of radiation is observed in the air. NSCJ must give truthful information on risks of cancer.

5. NSCJ must have a daily press conference at a designated hour, as well as emergency press conferences when necessary.

Representations to the Japanese Government

Original text HERE by Citizen’s Nuclear Information Center

Representations to the Japanese Government

Citizens’ Nuclear Information Center (CNIC)

March 18th 2011

In the nuclear power plant in Fukushima, the serious situation endures. At this moment, a large discharge of radiation has not taken place. There is however a future possibility of such worst scenario. In concrete it would include meltdown of nuclear fuels by lowering of the water level in the nuclear reactors, large explosion, and large discharge of radiation from the pools of used fuels.

Since the accident, our organization has been flooded with inquiries about the safe distance from the reactors. It is evident that the evacuation distance designated by the government is far from sufficient.

Taking this situation into consideration, we make the following five representations to the government:

1.  Make all possible efforts to curb worsening of the situation by gathering all forces in and out of the country.

2.  Publicize parameters of pressure containers, reactor vessels, and fuel pools all in real time. If there are damages in equipment and certain parameters cannot be measured, make open announcements about them.

3.  Information on the radiation level inside the power plants is of grave importance. Install monitors in different places and report the data on line. In order to grasp the situation in the power plants realistically, install video cameras in different places and constantly publicize the images.

4.  Collect the data of radiation monitoring posts installed in various areas in Fukushima Prefecture, grasp the intensity and expansion of radiation, then make a simulation based upon the data, and publicize the result as soon as possible.

5.  Make clear about your method of estimating doses for instructing disaster prevention, namely, the ground upon which you determine evacuation distance at this moment.