Saturday, March 15, 2014

Jim Green: "Apologies & Apologists" (1,656 nuclear refugees living in temporary housing have have died from stress-related illness)

Thanks to Fresh Currents on FB for the head's up re Australian Friends of the Earth nuclear-free campaigner Jim Green's compilation of ongoing issues at Fukushima Dai-ichi, "Fukushima apologies and apologists," published on March 12, 2014, at the Business Spectator:
...In March 2013, a rat found its way into an electrical switchbox resulting in a power outage that left 8800 nuclear fuel assemblies without fresh cooling water for 21-29 hours. TEPCO delayed notifying the Nuclear Regulation Authority and local municipal officials about the incident. "We sincerely apologise. We are deeply regretful over the delay in reporting the incident and for causing anxiety to residents," said TEPCO representative Yoshiyuki Ishizaki.

On March 29, TEPCO belatedly acknowledged that the company's failings were responsible for the Fukushima disaster. Hirose apologised: "Our safety culture, skills, and ability were all insufficient. We must humbly accept our failure to prevent the accident, which we should have avoided by using our wisdom and human resources to be better prepared."

In April, TEPCO discovered that at least three of seven underground storage pools were seeping thousands of litres of radioactive water into the soil. Hirose travelled to Fukushima to apologise for the leaks...

Also in July, Hirose apologised to two local mayors for seeking permission from the Nuclear Regulation Agency to restart reactors at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant without first consulting local officials: "We sincerely apologise for your having had cause to criticise us for making hasty and sloppy decisions without giving considerations to local opinions." In October, Niigata Prefecture governor Hirohiko Izumida − who effectively holds a veto over reactor restarts at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa − said TEPCO must address its "institutionalised lying" before it can expect to restart reactors...

...In November, Hirose apologised to the estimated 150,000 local residents who have been forced to leave their homes due to radiation levels, and may in some cases never be able to return: "I have visited Fukushima many times, met the evacuees, the fishing union, the farmers, many people whose businesses have been damaged very much. I feel very sorry for them."

...Last year the World Health Organisation released a report which concluded that for people in the most contaminated areas in Fukushima Prefecture, the estimated increased risk for all solid cancers will be around 4 per cent in females exposed as infants; a 6 per cent increased risk of breast cancer for females exposed as infants; a 7 per cent increased risk of leukaemia for males exposed as infants; and for thyroid cancer among females exposed as infants, an increased risk of up to 70 per cent (from a 0.75 per cent lifetime risk up to 1.25 per cent)...

Indirect deaths must also be considered, especially those resulting from the failure of TEPCO and government authorities to develop and implement adequate emergency response procedures. A September 2012 editorial in Japan Times noted that 1632 deaths occurred during or after evacuation from the triple-disaster; and nearly half (160,000) of the 343,000 evacuees were dislocated specifically because of the nuclear disaster...

In Fukushima Prefecture, 1656 people have died as a result of stress and other illnesses caused by the 2011 disaster according to information compiled by police and local governments and reported last month. That number exceeds the 1607 people in Fukushima Prefecture who were drowned by the tsunami or killed by the preceding earthquake.

"The biggest problem is the fact that people have been living in temporary conditions for so long," said Hiroyuki Harada, a Fukushima official dealing with victim assistance, "People have gone through dramatic changes of their environment. As a result, people who would not have died are dying."

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