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Fairewinds in the News:

Huntington News featured our most recent video on Nuclear Containment Risk. How could five radiation barriers fail at Fukushima Daiichi? Using the childhood game of dominoes, each domino represents a failed radiation barrier and like the game when a domino falls all others follow. Nuclear containment risk is nuclear power’s fifth domino. During the 1960s when the American Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards debated containment structures, some members argued for the need to make stronger containments. Regrettably, a majority of the members believed that the emergency core cooling systems were adequate, so more than 50 years ago the Advisory Committee ignored its minority members and pushed ahead without rigorous failure-proof containment structures and systems. The Nuclear Regulatory Committee made the decision not to require stronger containments. Japan followed the American lead.

unnamed-1.jpgNational Nuclear News:

Fukushima resident Chieko Shiina is a supporter of the Fukushima Collaborative Clinic that works to confront authorities about people’s exposure to radiation released by the Fukushima Daiichi triple meltdown.  Chieko Shiina’s presentation in San Luis Obispo near the Diablo Canyon reactor, exposes the cancer epidemic underway in Japan right now, with 85 children already treated for cancer and 112 more children suspected to have cancer. The Japanese government denies these facts insisting instead that the rise in pediatric thyroid cancer is not due to the catastrophe at Fukushima and the media will not report them.  In her presentation Speaking Out: Fukushima, the Abe Government Expansion & Export of Nuclear Plants at the Nuclear Free California Network Conference, Shiina reported that the head of Japan’s National Cancer Research Center has estimated the rate of cancer has gone up 61 times.  Fairewinds Energy Education has been following the risk of thyroid cancer in Fukushima children since the March 2011 meltdown; watch our video here.  Mothers for Peace member Carole Hisasue provided the exquisite translation of Chieko Shiina’s moving talk.

Scandalous emails between Pacific Gas and Electric executives and California Public Utilities Commission state regulators divulge ‘back-room’ deals with expensive wine exchanges in quid pro quo nuclear regulatory arrangements. PG&E is the owner of the controversial, aging Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant that is nestled between two serious fault lines. Friends of the Earth commissioned Fairewinds’ Arnie Gundersen to submit an expert report detailing the risk of aging Diablo Canyon’s mechanical failures and safety issues in the event of an earthquake here. PG&E is pushing to relicense this dangerous nuclear site and using any means necessary to do so, even resorting to “unethical conduct”. The Utility Reform Network, led by Mark Toney is calling for the California Public Utilities Commission to reexamine all behind-the-scene agreements made between former PG&E vice president Brian Cherry and former commission president Michael Peevey and release any deal-making internal emails. State prosecutors have raided both Peevey and Cherry’s homes for computers, day planners, and other documents that would pertain to a corruption investigation.

International Nuclear News:

In Fairewinds’ most recent video on Nuclear Containment Risk, we focus on the radiation leaks and toxic radioactive substance releases that occurred during the first four days after the Fukushima Daiichi disaster from which data analysis shows that only 25% of the radioactivity escaped the containment systems. Experts were surprised that 75% of the radioactivity that leaked out of the containment systems occurred during the subsequent two weeks. NHK World News has created an excellent video demonstrating how all this radioactivity was released from the plant into the surrounding environment. During the meltdown, fire engines pumped 30 tons of water every hour onto the reactors to keep them cool however in-house investigations by plant operators show that only one ton of this water was actually able to hit its target. According to experts, the water hitting the reactors was not enough to cool the fuel, so the zirconium fuel cladding started overheating and the fuel melted which is why more radioactivity and toxicity escaped for a longer period of time. Masanori Naitoh, director of the Institute for Applied Energy (a foundation authorized by Japan’s Ministry of International Trade and Industry) stated, “Fuel keeps melting slowly as zirconium generates a relatively large amount of heat. The metal remained hot for some time. This means radioactive materials will be released for a longer time.”

 The Japan Atomic Energy Agency violated safety regulations by ignoring an alarm at its materials testing reactor in Ibaraki Prefecture near Tokyo resulting in a radioactive water leak.The Nuclear Regulation Authority called JAEA “dysfunctional”, a ludicrously light berating in consideration of the upcoming four- year anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear meltdown.