Tag Archives: fukishima

Another Worker dies at Japan’s crippled nuclear plant

14 May

Workers spraying resin on the ground near the reactor buildings to protect the spread of radioactive substances. (AFP/HO/TEPCO via Jiji Press)

By Mandie Sami, wires

A worker at Japan’s tsunami-crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant has died.

It brings the total number of deaths at the complex to three since the massive earthquake and tsunami struck in March.

The man, aged in his 60s, started working at the plant on Friday.

Taichi Okazaki, a spokesman for plant owner TEPCO, says the man was exposed to 0.17 millisieverts of radiation on Saturday – far below the company’s safety threshold of 5 millisieverts.

Mr Okazaki says the cause of his death is not known.

“No radioactive substances were detected on the worker,” Mr Okazaki said. There were no signs of injury on the dead man.

The worker, who was not immediately identified, was carrying chainsaws with another worker inside a facility to treat contaminated water being released from the plant’s crippled reactors.

He fell ill 50 minutes after starting work at 6.00 am on Saturday (local time) and was brought to the plant’s medical room unconscious. He was later moved to a nearby hospital and confirmed dead.

Goshi Hosono, a special adviser to prime minister Naoto Kan and a ruling Democratic Party politician, voiced concerns about the working environment at the Fukushima complex on Wednesday.

“I would like to spend my energy to improve working conditions. Many people told us working environment (at the plant) is way too bad,” he told a news conference.

The March quake and tsunami triggered cooling system malfunctions at the plant, and caused radiation to leak into the atmosphere and the sea, prompting Mr Kan to review Japan’s nuclear-leaning energy policy from scratch.

Engineers are still struggling to bring the Fukushima plant under control. Two TEPCO employees went missing while patrolling the plant soon after the quake and were later found dead.

The most recent death comes as the operator of the Hamaoka nuclear power plant completes a total shutdown of the facility.

Mr Kan called for the closure last week to avoid a repeat of the disaster at the Fukushima plant, where engineers are still struggling to bring it under control.

Despite the ongoing nuclear crisis, Mr Kan is expected to announce that the country will keep using nuclear power at a G8 summit in France later this month.

Letter Bomb Explodes at Swiss Nuclear Industry Office

3 Apr

March, 2011 cover of radical ecological Italian magazine Terra Selvaggia, attributed to the eco-anarchist group Il Silvestre


A letter bomb exploded at the offices of Swissnuclear in the northern town of Olten a spokesperson for the Swiss police said. “At about 8.15 am, while opening the letter, it exploded,” and injured two people.

A statement from the Italian Informal Anarchist Federation was found in the remains of the boobytrapped letter, Swiss federal prosecutor Carlo Bulletti said, quoted by the Swiss news agency ATS on Friday.

Authorities said the letter written in Italian was postmarked from abroad and referred to three eco-anarchists, Costantino Ragusa, Silvia Guerini, and Luca Bernasconi, connected with the group Il Silvestre detained in Switzerland in connection with an attempted bombing at the Swiss headquarters of IBM in Zurich. Il Silvestre opposes nanotechnology, biotechnology, the state and the military and publishes the magazine Terra Selvaggia.

On the same day, an Italian military officer was injured in an army barracks in the Italian port of Livorno by a letter bomb apparently sent by the same anarchist group.

The FAI has also claimed responsibility for a letter bomb sent to a Greek top security prison where a number of anarchists are incarcerated, Greek police said on Friday.

Thursday’s incident occurred near a Greenpeace demonstration outside the headquarters of Swiss power firm Alpiq, not far from the Swissnuclear office.

The group cancelled its demonstration following the explosion, distancing itself from the action.

“We distance ourselves with the greatest firmness from this explosion. Greenpeace has nothing to do with this attack,” Florian Kasser, who heads Greenpeace’s energy campaign in Switzerland, told AFP.

In a statement, Greenpeace said the demonstration was being held to demand Alpiq formally withdraw a request to build new nuclear power plants in Switzerland, which has suspended plans to replace its ageing reactors following Japan’s nuclear disaster.

In an interview with a Swiss newspaper, Heinz Karrer, who heads Swiss energy group Axpo, acknowledged that “at the moment, it is unthinkable to talk about another new nuclear power plant.”

Bulgarians Protest Russian-Backed Nuke Proposal

31 Mar

Hundreds of people joined an anti-nuclear protest in Sofia on Wednesday, calling for the government to drop plans for a new Russia-backed nuclear plant after the radiation disaster in Japan. About 300 protestors -- some wearing gas masks and radiation suits -- gathered outside the government headquarters to shout "No to Belene!" against the planned 2,000 megawatt facility on the Danube in northern Bulgaria. Many people at the rally had yellow radiation signs stamped on their jackets and carried slogans reading "Stop the Nuclear Bomb in Belene." In a declaration distributed to journalists, the organisers warned that "the Fukushima disaster showed that the nuclear industry had not learned the lessons of (the world?s worst nuclear accident in) Chernobyl."