Thursday, February 9, 2012

Temperature up at Fukushima, Michael Mariotte of NIRS offers analysis and caution

Talk Nation Radio for February 9, 2012
Temperatures Rise at Fukushima, Activists in Japan and US Fight Nuclear Energy Industry

Temperatures have been rising at the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan and radioactive water has leaked internally as scientists struggle to understand what is happening at the core level below their camera capacity. Michael Mariotte, Executive Director Nuclear Information and Resource Service,, joins us for an update on the disaster in Japan. Nirs, the Nuclear Information and Resource Service, offers continuous updates, news links, actions on nuclear power, and information about what’s going on internationally to challenge the nuclear industry on safety concerns. One of their ongoing campaigns is a petition to President Obama asking him to end taxpayer subsidies for new nuclear reactors.

TRT: 29:05
Produced by Dori Smith
Music by Fritz Heede
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Headlines for February 7th through February 9th, 2012:

-A former special adviser to Naoto Kan, the prime minister when the disaster began, has said Fukushima opened up a pandora’s box of problems and said the situation is far from resolved.

-Japan Times reported February 8th that earthworms collected from Kawauchi village near the Fukushima’s No. 1 nuclear plant, were found to have high cesium levels of an average of 20,000 becquerels per kilogram. Scientists warn that the cesium will now make its way up the food chain.

-And concerned citizens in Japan have collected five million signatures on a petition calling on the government to permanently shut down all nuclear power plants in the country.

Just hours after we recorded this interview, the Sado Island region of Japan was struck by a 5.0 earthquake that shut off water to the region and broke windows. No injuries have been reported. The quake points up some of the dangers of continuing to operate nuclear power plants in Japan.

In the last few days the news from Japan has been extreme in terms of the sides being drawn over nuclear power. The Japanese government has notified residents of their plan to allow nuclear reactors to keep operating for as long as 60 years. Under this proposal, according to NHK World, once a reactor turns 40, the operators may apply for a one time extension of up to 20 years. But see Green Action Japan here. Aileen Mioko Smith, executive director of Kyoto-based Green Action, warned that operating reactors for six decades runs a high risk of another Fukushima-like accident. Mioko Smith points out that today, even with 90 percent of the nation's nuclear plants shut down, there is enough electricity.

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