Fukushima News Roundup; June 14, 2013

Researchers found that rockfish near Fukushima Daiichi were highly contaminated during the early months after the disaster. By looking at the “ear stone” the fish use for balance and were able to determine when they received the bulk of their contamination. This may help understand how rockfish in the region have managed to be extremely high, it is not clear how this translates to other fish species.

The idea of testing the ear stone (otolith) from fish to track their contamination history is so far a unique tactic but one that could give better insight to how various species in the region were contaminated and how effective they are in shedding that contamination.

The Fisheries Agency also thinks some of the highly contaminated fish in the region were contaminated near the plant then migrated elsewhere. The news report didn’t elaborate what basis this claim was made on.

Tokyo Shimbun reports more Japanese people moving abroad since 3-11 than before.

A survey taken in Tokyo of Fukushima evacuees currently living there found almost half no longer wish to return home.

The Japanese Human Rights Envoy is facing calls for his resignation after he told fellow diplomats on a torture committee to “shut up”. Mr. Ueda had responded to another diplomat questioning Japan’s justice system by claiming  “Certainly Japan is not in the middle age,” he says on the video. “We are one of the most advanced country in this field.” This caused some other diplomats to giggle out loud, Ueda’s response was to shout at them and tell them to shut up. His rather un-diplomatic words were his and in English. Mr. Ueda could ask these animal rescue workers in Fukushima about the “advancement” in Japan’s justice system. They spent months in jail and had all of their business computers seized so their family could not run their business in their absence.

The central government in Japan announced that nuclear power will still be part of their economic plan for the country.

TEPCO held a “Fukushima Food” event at their headquarters in Tokyo. Various foods from the hard hit prefecture were for sale and featured in the cafeteria.

Workers at the plant no longer have to wear masks in certain areas of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant site. TEPCO cited lowering radiation levels as the reason for the relaxed rules. It was not mentioned if they still wear dust masks to prevent the inhalation of contaminated particles of dirt and other substances.

TEPCO has admitted they have lost the compensation claims filed by at least 22 people.

NHK has learned through a freedom of information request that most decontamination contracts have no goals for the reduction of radiation. This may have played a role in some contractors doing sloppy or improper work without reduction goals or expected levels.

The EU plans to do mini stress tests on nuclear reactors every 6 years. The German environment minister raised concerns that these don’t go far enough.

US based Exelon nuclear is again crying about their inability to compete with wind energy in the US. The company has had a long string of financial woes. They attempt to blame their problem on wind subsidies yet fail to admit the extensive government subsidies nuclear operators in the US receive through government funding of the regulatory system, fuel subsidy and nuclear waste handling all done by taxpayers. A representative of the wind industry said this about Exelon’s complaining. ““Exelon continues to use wind as a scapegoat for its significant financial woes,” said Rob Gramlich, AWEA’s senior vice president of public policy. “They made a losing bet on power market prices, which their earnings reports describe quite clearly. That is not a policy issue, it is a market issue unique to that company.”

Greenpeace has joined a coalition of groups protesting the US NSA spying scandal. Not only did they cite a long list of reasons related to free speech and internet freedom, NSA’s huge spying center in Utah is run on coal power creating more environmental damage.

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