10 Months, Five Minutes To Midnight, Another Worker Death

Today marks 10 months since the triple disaster in Japan. Some progress has been made, much more is desperately needed.

Unemployment benefits for those displaced by the disaster have ended. Many are still in temporary housing and with all the uncertainty around the nuclear disaster, making decisions has been hard for many trying to grasp a plan to rebuild their lives.  120,000 are still unemployed in the region and only about half have applied for compensation from TEPCO. Of those that have applied the process is slow.

Workers at Fukushima Daiichi are preparing to insert a scope into Unit 2 as an initial inspection of the damage and fuel location. Unit 4 is also expected to begin removal of spent fuel on September 2013. (more on this in another article later today)

TEPCO is working on an additional operations center in Tomioka and inspecting rail lines nearby for use in activities at the plants.

A 4th worker has died under suspicious circumstances. There is still no process in place for government oversight or investigation into worker deaths at the plant. The 4th worker, a man in his 60’s was listed as having a heart attack and later that he was in a coma. It was announced today that he died the day he fell ill and that TEPCO had told this story of him being in a coma until family could be contacted.

The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists who maintain the doomsday clock has moved the hand one minute closer to midnight, leaving it at five minutes to midnight. They board of the publication stated that the Fukushima Daiichi disaster exemplified the failures that together made their decision to move the clock forward.

There is some positive action. Osaka has gathered enough signatures to put nuclear power to a referendum vote. The US renewable energy production has surpassed nuclear power this year. Renewables were 11.7 while nuclear was 11.1 percent. It is easy to see that nuclear in the US could be phased out by a push for power conservation alone.

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