Japan’s Cut-Price Nuclear Cleanup: TEPCO woes continue amid human error, plummeting morale and worker exodus - Japan Focus
..as the challenges facing Fukushima Daiichi become clearer with every new radiation leak and mishap, the men responsible for cleaning up the plant are suffering from plummeting morale, health problems and deep anxiety about the future. Even now, at the start of a decommissioning operation that is expected to last four decades, the plant faces a shortage of workers qualified to manage the dangerous work that lies ahead, according to people with firsthand knowledge of the situation inside the facility.
The dangers faced by the nearly 900 employees of Tokyo Electric Power [Tepco] and some 5,000 workers hired by a network of contractors and sub-contractors were underlined in October when six men were doused with contaminated water at a desalination facility. Their brush with danger was a sign that the cleanup is entering its most precarious stage since the March 2011 meltdown.
Commenting on the latest leak, the head of Japan’s nuclear regulator Shunichi Tanaka, told reporters: “Mistakes are often linked to morale. People usually don’t make silly, careless mistakes when they’re motivated and working in a positive environment. The lack of it, I think, may be related to the recent problems.”
Japanese officials desperate to contain an ever-growing crisis at the Fukushima nuclear power station are looking to use artificial permafrost to stop radioactive water from leaking. The idea is to build a mile-long wall of frozen earth around Fukushima’s toxic reactor buildings to stem the groundwater contamination; the most experienced specialists in the field say the plan should work.
The Japanese firms involved appear to be taking a go-it-alone approach. Two weeks ago, a top official at Tokyo Electric Power (Tepco) signaled that the utility behind the Fukushima disaster would seek international assistance with the Fukushima water contamination crisis. But experts at U.S.-based firms and national labs behind the world’s largest freeze-wall systems—and the only one proven in containing nuclear contamination—have not been contacted by either Tepco or its contractor, Japanese engineering and construction firm Kajima Corp.
One of these experts is Elizabeth Phillips, who managed the installation of a 300-foot-long, 30-foot-deep freeze wall to isolate radioactive waste at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee in 1996 and 1997. While freeze walls are commonly used to hold back groundwater to facilitate excavations at construction sites and mines, this case calls for specialized expertise, she says. “You need to make sure that whoever is doing it is analyzing everything that can go wrong,” says Phillips. “You should go with someone who has done it before.”
a bilious dread and disgust of the world
swollen over these speechless years
exuding from my cervix gagged
with dead albatross
stains this dashboard like wet prussian blue
A group of about 100 antinuclar protesters on Saturday blocked a road outside the front gate of the Oi nuclear plant in western Japan, ahead of the planned reactivation of a reactor there on Sunday.
The protesters, part of 650 people who took part in a rally against the reactivation, sought to block the entrance to the plant in Fukui Prefecture with more than a dozen vehicles in an attempt to prevent workers from entering the facility.
The group is set to remain at the site until Sunday night when the process of reactivating the No.3 reactor is scheduled to begin. The plant operator, Kansai Electric Co., said the protest will not affect the reactivation process.
[Antinuclear protesters block road to Oi plant ahead of restart - Kyodo News]
At the entrance of the Oiigenpatsu are 5000 people gathered outside Oi nuclear plant entrance since yesterday evening more than 5,000 people gathered from all over the country have prevented me from running again all night long yesterday.
[Oi Nuclear Plant Occupied By Protesters | SimplyInfo]
NYTimes.com: In Tokyo, Thousands Protest the Restarting of a Nuclear Power Plant
Carsten Nicolai, anti (2004)
Regular geometric forms represent systematic thinking and the interrelationship between mathematics, optics, art and philosophy. anti is a geometrical form, a distorted cube, truncated on top and bottom to obtain rhombic and triangular faces. It reacts to the magnetic field of bodies, enabling an interaction with the visitor while its mechanism remains hidden. anti refuses instant recognition. Its black, light-absorbent surface and monolith-like crystalline shape, that derives from Albrecht Dürer’s engraving Melancholia I (1514), confronts the viewer, trying both to mask its form and to disguise its function and thereby absorbing information.