Do children suffer worldwide from atomic power? Absolutely. CCTV host Margaret Harrington anchored a panel with Maggie Gundersen, Caroline Phillips, and Chiho Kaneko from Fairewinds Energy Education to discuss the health risks to children around the world from operating nuclear power reactors and their burgeoning waste. In the aftermath of the nuclear meltdowns at Fukushima Daiichi, mothers in Japan especially bear the responsibility to protect their children. As a result, they experience greater hardships in an environment where just expressing one’s legitimate concerns about radiation contamination is seen as a treasonous act. Meanwhile in Ukraine, 30-years following the atomic disaster at Chernobyl, the repercussions of massive radioactive contamination and government zoning continue to severely impact children living within 50 miles of Chernobyl’s epicenter. The United States is not immune to these worries and contentions as Tritium, Strontium-90, and Cesium 137 are radioactive releases that threaten the health of children living nearby leaky atomic power reactors and nuclear waste dumps. Learn more by watching this episode of Nuclear Free Future as the women of Fairewinds lend their voices to protect the children.
French nuclear giant, AREVA, has suffered some major economic failings, but financial problems became the least of AREVA’s troubles on Tuesday when France’s independent Nuclear Safety Authority (NSA) confirmed “irregularities” in 400 parts produced by the company since 1965. “These irregularities consist in incoherencies, modifications or omissions in manufacturing dossiers,” ASN said in a statement. Of these 400 faulty parts, at least 50 are currently in service in operating atomic power plants throughout France. An operator who conducted tests on AREVA metal parts wrote down their findings on a host of parameters. “When a value was obtained at the upper end of the required norm, the written reports of certain manufacturing reports were allegedly modified,” the operator wrote. Apparently, this was the case for around 400 parts. These 400 falsified documents were uncovered during an audit ordered by the ASN following last year’s discovery of a dangerous flaw in an AREVA reactor vessel in France’s Flamanville EPR nuclear plant. Currently, there are plans for two new atomic power plants to be built at Hinkley Point in Great Britain using this same Flamanville model. Just to reiterate the gravity of the manufacturing failure in Flamanville’s atomic plant: reactor vessels are used to contain the atomic core, nuclear fuel, and its radioactivity.
Yuichi Okamura, Tokyo Electric Power Company general manager at Fukushima Daiichi and chief architect of the infamous ‘ice wall’, admits that even if the ice wall is built perfectly, it will not completely block out all water from reaching Fukushima Daiichi’s destroyed atomic reactors. In fact, Okamura projects as much as 50 tons of water will reach the reactors – daily – and become contaminated. The purpose of the $312M ‘ice wall’, payed for with taxpayer money, is to keep groundwater from entering the meltdown site. Currently, water is continuously sprayed into the reactors to keep the radioactive debris from overheating. This has resulted in nearly 1,000 tanks of radiated water surrounding the plant with more tanks built and filled every week. The constant flow of groundwater into the plant has been an issue since the first days of Fukushima Daiichi’s atomic mess that atomic power risk critics like Fairewinds Arnie Gundersen predicted at the start of the meltdowns. Shigeaki Tsunoyama, honorary professor and former president of University of Aizu in Fukushima, stated “Building a concrete wall into the hill near the plant right after the disaster would have minimized the contaminated water problem considerably.” However, now due to the negligence of Fukushima Daiichi owner TEPCO and government regulators, even a perfectly constructed ‘ice wall’ will produce the same amount of radioactive water daily that was produced by the Three Mile Island meltdown in eight months.