Press Brief :on the situation after Fukushima Nuclear plant disaster -Introducing the issues of Nuclear radiation and Biodiversity-

on the situation after Fukushima Nuclear plant disaster
 -Introducing the issues of Nuclear radiation and Biodiversity- 

Nuclear radiation poses large threats to Biodiversity and the sustainability of societies.
The possibility of future nuclear accidents, such as that of Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, cannot be excluded.
This issue is of interest to the international community and is very relevant for conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity and, therefore, should be addressed under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
The issue of nuclear accidents and pollution is an issue of central concern for the CBD.
We, citizens from Japan, feel that it is very urgent and necessary to raise this issue since we are experiencing the serious and long-lasting harm to biodiversity and send out an international alarm. 

Masako Sakata (representative of JCN-UNDB)
Takafumi Tomita (JCN-UNDB / Environmental NGO ”ikimono cafe”) 

◆ Impact on forest ecosystem
The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster caused a wide range of environmental pollution due to the diffusion of radioactive materials. Soon after the accident, radioactive substances adhered to the trees, and it was washed off to the ground over time by rain and snow. Thus the forest floor were highly contaminated. Cesium substances were found in some newly budded leaves after the disaster, which proves that tree has absorbed contaminant. Wild animals living in such environment, take radioactive substances into their bodies through food chain, and radioactive cesium is detected in many wild birds. The effect of radioactive nuclides varies from species to species, and a very few species were reported to be not affected. Some species have a possibility of abnormality after generations by mutation accumulation. The species which have short alternation generation such as insects, malformations were found at the early stage. It is necessary to promote monitoring surveys from the international and public viewpoint to ascertain whether the gene abnormality was caused by natural origin or radiation contamination of Fukushima nuclear power plant. It is impossible to decontaminate the forest. Because it is impossible to remove all fallen leaves and mulch leaves and there is no solution.

◆ Marine pollution
· The main task that TEPCO has kept on working since the accident is cooling down the nuclear fuel.  TEPCO put in 400 tons of cooling water every day, and cools the three meltdown core. (The amount of cooling water has changed to 300 tons from the second half of 2014.)  However, because 400 tons of groundwater flows into the reactor building every day and is contaminated, the polluted water of the day becomes 800 tons.  Furthermore, the radioactive substances spreading in the contaminated area eventually flows out to the sea due to rain.  Hundreds of thousands of tons of highly contaminated water were created after more than five years since the accident.

· After quite amount of a high-concentration contaminated water has already flowed into the ocean, TEPCO started and continued to remove cesium and salt and put back 400 tons of water into reactor for cooling, and the remaining 400 tons of water into the storage tank.   However, storage tanks have already reached the limits. And now TEPCO plans to remove the radioactivity of 62 nuclides to the legal standard level in the facility called ALPS from 2013 and release them as treated water into the ocean.  This device has many accidents and troubles and is not operating as expected. Nevertheless they decided to release this treated water (1000 trillion in total tritium) into the ocean from 2017.

On the other hand, they invested 32 billion yen cost to install a frozen barrier wall depth of 30 metre, total length of 1 kilometer to stop the flow of groundwater, but ended in failure.  Nobody can enter the melted Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plants 1, 2, and 3 because radioactivity is too strong.  It is said that it is impossible to take out the nuclear fuel for at least 40 years. Meanwhile, high concentration contaminated water continues to be created.

The radioactive substances that flowed out to the ocean will arrive at the northwestern coast of the American continent by the north pacific ocean current, and spreading to Alaska and Chile.  Meanwhile, phytoplankton (algae) absorbs radioactive substances, and it accumulates in zooplankton and larvae by food chain.   These microorganisms are the main food for fish and marine mammals.

◆ Impact on primary industry
· Environmental pollution caused by enormous radioactive substances brought a great damage to all agriculture, forestry and fishery industries relied on natural environment.  The sales declined in long term, not only by the shipping regulation but for another reason.  The Japanese government has loosen the radiation regulation standard significantly after the accident and allowed shipment, which caused consumers anxiety over safe and secure food.
Those who engaged in agriculture, forestry and fishery industries were still able to recover if only the damage caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake were merely earthquake and tsunami.
Due to radioactive contamination to the farming fields, forests, and oceans, the primary industry has no light in sight, and causing a serious situation.
Radioactive contamination has threats that the ecosystem service itself will not be established.

· In agriculture, for example, a large amount of radioactive material has fallen in fields. 
In addition, many of the Japanese farmers have locations called “Satoyama” which forest hills are set behind. Farmers use water from the forest spring water to rice-paddy fields. But now the water is contaminated. 
In order to fix the radioactive subtances in the soil, the common methods is to plow the topsoil about 50 cm and invert it. Now the rice has no longer absorb radioactive substances, but the soil itself remains contaminated. The health of farmers working at the contaminated soil are concerned.

◆ Huge social cost
According to the Japanese government (Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry), it will cost hundreds of billions of yen annually in order to carry out effective decontamination work. Currently, the Japanese government is not willing to spend this budget.  In September 2016, the Japanese media scooped the internal resource of the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy, "Considering the cost of nuclear power plants such as nuclear waste disposal reactor costs, 8 trillion yen."  The National government estimated that TEPCO has no ability for compensation, decommissioning cost, decontamination cost, that governent will support additional 8 trillion yen.  The additional amount thatssumes that there is no payment ability as a company such as compensation, decommissioning cost, decontamination cost is over 8 trillion yen.
A great criticism came up to the means of raising money, by overriding commission to the electricity bill, which is national burden.   To build a Nuclear power plant costs huge expenditures, and if an accidents occures, it will require astronomical amount of money. Why do we need to maintain such less cost-effective energy?

Radioactive contamination gives great loss to biodiversity, it loses grace from nature to people, social damage is immeasurable. Human beings can not live by human being alone, we can not maintain our lives unless we coexist with all creatures and ecosystems. Therefore, it is very important to know what radiation contamination brings to biodiversity for us.
We will seek for a neutral and calm scientific investigation immediately, from the viewpoint of biodiversity, that information is open and accessible to anyone.
We strongly hope to share the threats of radioactive contamination internationally .

Health effects
The health consequences of the Chernobyl and Fukushima catastrophes are extensive. 
Thirty years after Chernobyl, mortality is higher, birth rates are lower, cancer incidence has increased and mental health disorders are widespread among Chernobyl survivors. 
Just five years after Fukushima, incidence of mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is already elevated, and a discernible increase of thyroid cancer has already been detected.
On 9 October 2011,a survey started in the prefecture Fukushima: ultrasonic examinations were done of the thyroid glands of all 360,000 children between 0 and 18 years of age. 
This was done in response to concerned parents, alarmed by the evidence showing increased incidence of thyroid cancer among children after the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. 
The project was done by the Medical University of Fukushima. 
At the end of 2014 the initial testing of all children should be completed, after this the children will undergo a thyroid checkup every 2 years until they turn 20, and once every 5 years above that age. 
At June of 2016 reseach in the Fukushima prefecture found that more than 25 times as many people in the area had developed thyroid cancer compared with data from before the disaster. 
Given it is only five years after Fukushima, scientific evidence on specific cancer and disease effects are not expected yet. 
So,It is vitally important that long-term monitoring of diseases for children. 
Radiation-induced health effects are often controversial and evoke significant scientific debate. 

This is because our understanding of the health effects of radiation is by and large limited to lessons learned from the survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. 

Nevertheless, in Ukraine, Belarus and Russia,the following health consequences have been observed and can be attributed to radiation exposure: 

- significant increases in thyroid cancer in both children and clean-up workers 
- leukaemia and breast cancer in Chernobyl clean-up workers 
- a decrease in the cognitive function of clean-up workers 
- an increase in cataracts among clean-up workers 
-an increase of mortality of the clean-up workers and of the population resulting from diseases of the Cardiovascular 
  System (DCS) 
-disability of the clean-up workers and of the population of the contaminated territories 

After The dramatic social changes, inadequate governmental information, psychosocial impact and stress-related disorders following nuclear disasters can cause a significant deterioration of health among exposed populations. 
Thirty years after Chernobyl, studies show there is an undeniable decline in the health and well- being of Chernobyl survivors. 
Until very recently, mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) were not taken as seriously as physical illnesses by the medical establishment and the public. 
But the recognition and acceptance of these diseases has increased significantly over the past several decades.
These psycho-pathological responses occur due to concern for the future, such as risk of cancer, genetic impacts on descendants, living in contaminated areas, the inability to return home and unfair compensation losses. 
Early studies around Fukushima have found “disaster emergency workers, children, internally displaced people, patients with psychiatric disorders, and the bereaved persons” are particularly susceptible to depression, anxiety, psychosomatic conditions and PTSD. 
Studies show that a significant number of people affected by the disaster have severe depression. Of the mothers having babies in the region closest to the Fukushima plant, 28% were found to have symptoms of depression. These figures were significantly lower in areas of lower radioactive contamination. 
These effects stem from fears over possible radioactive contamination, the shortage of mental health care and the issue of social stigma where people regarded as contaminated may be shunned or discriminated by wider society. 
The lesson here is that psychological care and support for the disaster’s survivors should be urgently improved. 

contact : ikimonocafe@gmail.com

information : http://ikimononocafe.blogspot.mx/

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