The Ecologist


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The transformer fire at Vermont Yankee nuclear power station, 18th June 2004. Photo: anonymous whistleblower via

US Nuclear Regulatory Commission's 'enforcement' is as fierce as the comfy chair

Linda Pentz Gunter

2nd August 2016

The NRC routinely fails to enforce its own safety codes at nuclear power plants, writes Linda Pentz Gunter - putting all of us at risk from accidents. It's the US's most extreme example of regulatory capture, rivalling Japan's 'nuclear village' of crony agencies and feeble regulation that led to the Fukushima disaster. How long can it be before the US experiences another nuclear catastrophe? more...
White storks on road near Chernobyl, Ukraine. Many parts of the Chernobyl region have low radioactivity levels and serve as refuges for plants and animals. But other areas are acutely radiotoxic. Birds tend to be especially susceptible to radiation impact

At Chernobyl and Fukushima, radioactivity has seriously harmed wildlife

Timothy A. Mousseau, University of South Carolina

27th April 2016

Field studies show that the intense radioactivity released by the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear disasters is seriously and unequivocally damaging to wildlife, writes Timothy A. Mousseau - in stark contrast to theoretical studies that show little or no impact on plant and animal health and populations. more...
Radioactivity warning sign on the hill at the east end of Chernobyl's Red Forest, so called due to the characteristic hue of the pine trees killed by high levels of radiation after the disaster. Photo: Timm Suess via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA).

Blind mice and bird brains: the silent spring of Chernobyl and Fukushima

Linda Pentz Gunter

25th April 2016

Evolutionary biologist Timothy Mousseau and his colleagues have published 90 studies that prove beyond all doubt the deleterious genetic and developmental effects on wildlife of exposure to radiation from both the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear disasters, writes Linda Pentz Gunter. But all that peer-reviewed science has done little to dampen the 'official' perception of Chernobyl's silent forests as a thriving nature reserve. more...
Hiroaki Koide (小出裕章さん) speaking at EcoLaboCamp on Mt Takao, August 2007. Photo: Hanako via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Koide Hiroaki: an insider's exposé of the Fukushima nuclear disaster

Katsuya Hirano & Hirotaka Kasai / Asia-Pacific Journal

17th March 2016

Koide Hiroaki has spent his entire career as a nuclear engineer, and has become a central figure in Japan's movement for the abolition of nuclear power plants. He met with Katsuya Hirano and Hirotaka Kasai to discuss the catastrophic nuclear meltdowns at Fukushima Daaichi in March 2011, and the crimes and cover-ups committed both before and after the event. more...
IAEA marine experts and Japanese scientists collect water samples in coastal waters near the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. Photo: Petr Pavlicek / IAEA Imagebank via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

No matter what BBC says: Fukushima disaster is killing people

Chris Busby

14th March 2016

The BBC has been excelling itself in its deliberate understatement of the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe, writes Chris Busby. While calling in pseudo experts to say radiation is all but harmless, it's ignoring the science that shows that the real health impacts of nuclear fallout are around 1,000 times worse than claimed. more...
Anti-nuclear demonstration in the wake of the Fukushima disaster at Meji Koen, Tokyo, 19th September 2011. Photo: jordi olaria jané via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

The flight from Fukushima - and the grim return

Linda Pentz Gunter

11th March 2016

Five years after the Fukushima nuclear disaster began to unfold, the searing psychological effects are still being felt among the 160,000 refugees who fled the fallout, writes Linda Pentz Gunter. But now there's growing pressure to return to contaminated areas declared 'safe' in efforts to whitewash the disaster's impacts. Why the rush? To clear the way for the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics, complete with events in Fukushima City. more...
IAEA fact-finding team leader Mike Weightman visits the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant on 27 May 2011 to assess tsunami damage. Photo: Greg Webb / IAEA Imagebank via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

No bliss in this ignorance: the great Fukushima nuclear cover-up

Linda Pentz Gunter

20th February 2016

The Japanese were kept in the dark from the start of the Fukushima disaster about high radiation levels and their dangers to health, writes Linda Pentz Gunter. In order to proclaim the Fukushima area 'safe', the Government increased exposure limits to twenty times the international norm. Soon, many Fukushima refugees will be forced to return home to endure damaging levels of radiation. more...
Kaoto Kan, as prime minister of Japan, responding to the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe on live television, 14th August 2013. Image: NNK World TC via Youtube.

Fukushima PM Naoto Kan: 'if you love your country, let nuclear go!'

Linda Pentz Gunter

12th February 2016

Nuclear power is a uniquely hazardous technology that can destroy entire nations, Japan's prime minister at the time of the Fukushima nuclear disaster has warned British MPs. The lessons of from such catastrophes must be heeded in other countries that believe that nuclear fission can be harnessed safely, writes Linda Pentz Gunter - or they, and the world, will reap the whirlwind. more...
Which can you trust to tackle America's toxic legacy of crumbling nuclear plants? Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. Artwork: DonkeyHotey via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Bernie and Hillary - speak out on America's dying nuclear reactors!

Harvey Wasserman

8th February 2016

America's crumbling nuclear power plants, dozens of them built to the design that spectacularly failed at Fukushima, must be closed down to prevent catastrophe, writes Harvey Wasserman. So let's hear Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton speak out on the topic and make it a core issue in the Presidential race! more...
Smoke rises above the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant, 24th March 2011. Photo: deedavee easyflow via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Fukuzilla? China's nuclear boom threatens global catastrophe

Oliver Tickell

28th October 2015

China's plans for 400 nuclear reactors threaten global catastrophe, writes Oliver Tickell. In the normal way of things we could expect major accidents every few years, but with 300 reactors along China's seismically active coast, a major tsunami would be a Fukushima on steroids - wiping out much of China and contaminating the whole planet. more...
Workers on site at Fukushima Daiichi, December 2012. Photo: IAEA Imagebank via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Fukushima - the first cancers emerge

Oliver Tickell

20th October 2015

As a first 'official' cancer case is admitted at Fukushima, a study of over 400,000 young people in the prefecture identifies a 30-fold excess of thyroid cancer, writes Oliver Tickell. With the high rate and early onset of the disease the scientists fear many more cases to come - and that WHO underestimated the scale of radiation release. more...
Beautiful but deadly: a golden sunset over the Pacific at Naraha, Fukushima, Japan. 'Scenery of Tears' Photo: Mirai Takahashi via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Fukushima: Japanese government and IAEA ignore radiation risks to coastal population

Tim Deere-Jones

28th September 2015

Radiation can be carried long distances by marine currents, concentrated in sediments, and carried in sea spray 16km or more inland, writes Tim Deere-Jones. So Fukushima poses a hazard to coastal populations and any who eat produce from their farms. So what are the Japanese Government and IAEA doing? Ignoring the problem, and failing to gather data. more...

fukushima: /25 of 53
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The valley of the shadow of death: near Fukushima Daichi, March 2015. Photo: Lucas Wirl via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Fukushima: thousands have died, thousands more will die

Dr Ian Fairlie

17th August 2015

New evidence from Fukushima shows that as many as 2,000 people have died from necessary evacuations, writes Ian Fairlie, while another 5,000 will die from cancer. Future assessments of fatalities from nuclear disasters must include deaths from displacement-induced ill-heath and suicide in addition to those from direct radiation impacts. more...
Contaminated earth storage area within the Iitate Village evacuated zone, December 2014. Photo: Eric Schultz / EELV Fukushima via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Japan and IAEA risk Fukushima victims' lives with forced return

Kendra Ulrich / Greenpeace Japan

29th July 2015

A massive decontamination exercise is under way in Iitate Village near Fukushima, writes Kendra Ulrich: step one in a plan to force 6,000 residents back into the evacuated zone in 2017. But as radiation levels remain stubbornly high, it looks like the real plan is to 'normalize' nuclear catastrophe, while making Iitate residents nuclear victims twice over - and this time, it's deliberate. more...
Now it's Japan's press that's muzzled. Residents of Iitate village, about 40 kilometers from the radiation-spewing Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, prepare fopr evacuation, 13th April 2011. Photo: Kyodo News via Irish Typepad on Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

After Fukushima: Japan's 'nuclear village' is back in charge

Jim Green

28th March 2015

Public opposition to nuclear power in Japan remains strong, writes Jim Green, but piece by piece, Shinzo Abe's right-wing government has been putting the country's infamous 'nuclear village' back in control - boosted by draconian press censorship laws, massive interest-free loans, and a determination to forget all the 'lessons' of Fukushima. Is another big accident inevitable? more...
Fukushima damage showing Unit 3, left, and Unit 4, right, 16th March 2011. Photo: deedavee easyflow via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0).

Fukushima: an unnatural disaster that must never be repeated

Arnie Gundersen

11th March 2015

The Fukushima catastrophe four years ago today was no natural disaster, writes Arnie Gundersen. Operator TEPCO and nuclear regulators were well aware of the danger of tsunamis, but put money before safety. Nuclear power remains the only energy source that can destroy a country overnight - and it's time to ditch it! more...
The damaged Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station as seen during a sea-water sampling boat journey, 7 November 2013. Photo: David Osborn / IAEA Imagebank via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0).

All fouled up - Fukushima four years after the catastrophe

Jim Green

11th March 2015

Four years ago today the world's biggest nuclear disaster since Chernobyl took place at Fukushima, Japan. Total clean-up costs are estimated around $0.5 trillion, writes Jim Green - but work to defuse the dangers has barely begun, the site is flooded with radioactive water making its way to the sea, and underpaid and illegally contracted workers are suffering a rising toll of death and injury. more...
Black smoke at Fukushima Daichi, 24th March 2011. Photo: deedavee easyflow via Flickr.

Fukushima and the institutional invisibility of nuclear disaster

John Downer

20th December 2014

The nuclear industry and its supporters have contrived a variety of narratives to justify and explain away nuclear catastrophes, writes John Downer. None of them actually hold water, yet they serve their purpose - to command political and media heights, and reassure public sentiment on 'safety'. But if it's so safe, why the low limits on nuclear liabilities? more...
IAEA experts examine recovery work on top of Unit 4 of TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, 17 April 2013. Photo Credit: Greg Webb / IAEA Imagebank via Flickr.

Fukushima 40-year, £11bn cleanup progresses - but the worst is yet to come

Justin McCurry / the Guardian

14th November 2014

The clean up at Fukushima faces enormous challenges, writes Justin McCurry. First, managing 500,000 tonnes of contaminated water stored onsite. Next, removing molten fuel from reactors 1, 2 and 3, a task so hazardous that it's been put off until 2025. Even robots have been unable to enter the reactor buildings - and no one knows where the molten fuel has gone. more...
After a history of accidents at the site, the three ageing reactors at Mihama, Japan, are among those likely never to restart. Photo: Kansai Electric Power Co via IAEA Imagebank / Flickr.

Rocky road ahead for Japan's nuclear restart

Jim Green and Peer de Rijk / Nuclear Monitor

26th September 2014

Japan's government is trying to get its failing nuclear power industry up and running, write Jim Green and Peer de Rijk. But in the post-Fukushima world, it faces formidable obstacles. Experts believe most reactors will never restart - and Japan's stricken utilities may have to find $30 billion or more to finance their decommissioning. more...
After the Fujushima catastrophe, this rice was grown nearby by IAEA to test methods of soil decontamination. Photo: IAEA Imagebank via Flickr.

Fukushima radiation damages rice genome

Gregory McGann

18th September 2014

Research on the biological effects of radiation near the Fukushima nuclear disaster site finds a powerful response in rice seedlings, writes Gregory McCann. The discovery will do nothing to boost consumer confidence in resumed rice exports from the Fukushima region. more...
Diablo Canyon in California lies in a seismically active zone totally unsuitable for a nuclear power plant. Photo: Nuclear Regulatory Commission via Flickr.

Earthquake risk makes California's Diablo Canyon a Fukushima in waiting

Karl Grossman

27th August 2014

A newly-exposed report by Diablo Canyon's lead nuclear inspector shows that the twin reactors are unsafe, writes Karl Grossman. An earthquake on nearby geological faults could trigger a Fukushima-scale accident causing 10,000 early fatalities. The owner's response? Apply to extend the site's operation for another 20 years. more...
IAEA Experts at Unit 4 of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, 17th April 2013, as part of a mission to review Japan's plans to decommission the facility. Photo: IAEA Imagebank.

Fukushima - we need health studies now!

Joseph Mangano & Janette Sherman

2nd August 2014

A massive health crisis is following the 2011 nuclear disaster at Fukushima, write Joseph Mangano & Janette Sherman - not just in Japan but around the world. But the health impacts remains woefully under-studied. Scientists must wake up and undertake serious research without delay. more...
Unit 4 of TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station. Photo: IAEA Imagebank via Flickr.

Fukushima - the continuing catastrophe

Harvey Wasserman

11th June 2014

Fukushima has largely disappeared from the mainstream news, writes Harvey Wasserman. After all, who wants to read about children with cancer, continuing huge radiation leaks, and the very real possibility of another catastrophe as big as Chernobyl? more...
The damaged Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station as seen during a sea-water sampling boat journey, 7 November 2013. Photo: IAEA Imagebank via

Fukushima meltdown continues around the world

Paul Mobbs

12th March 2013

Three years after the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe hit our TV screens, Paul Mobbs examines the still unfolding global disaster - and the motives of politicians whose love of nuclear power is stronger, than it is wise. more...


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