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Feb 25, 2013

[Soon northern wind will blow] Regulation leaving environment to be more contaminated than inside of nuclear power plants!: Niigata Prefectural Governor

Mr. Hirohiko Izumida, Niigata prefectural governor, is a respectable person.  He was a former bureaucrat of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Technology.  I mean that there are a very few people in every field who are definitely honest.  It is important to discern between honest people and others.  There has never been a time when it was easy to know good from evil like it is now.

Masatoshi Takeshita
February 17, 2013

English translation of an excerpt from a Japanese article: “Soon northern wind will blow” – February 17, 2013 –

Governor explodes with anger “Almost murder” over incineration of disaster debris
Yomiuri Shimbun February 15

In the press conference of February 14, Niigata Governor Hirohiko Izumida strongly criticized Kashiwazaki city and Sanjo city for starting full-swing incineration of disaster debris and gave a comment: “If someone dies, I shall say it is injury resulting in death.  But it is almost murder to incinerate disaster debris knowing the risk of radiation.”

On 12th, he also criticized such incineration by the two cities as “criminal act.”
In the press conference on 14th, he exploded with anger, saying “Can both cities take responsibility for the future?”

Sanjo City Mayor, Yuto Kunisada criticizes the governor as “dictator.”  The governor rebutted by saying “Is he going to say that I should not give my opinion and is he going to curb the freedom of speech?  Isn’t it the dictatorship to incinerate disaster debris ignoring residents’ opinions in his city?”

The governor also criticized the mayor by name: “I wonder Mr. Kunisada thinks he will not live in Niigata in the future.”

Governor Hirohiko Izumida of Niigata has always expressed his legitimate opinions on the nuclear power plant accident and radiation contamination, and submitted a questionnaire to the Environmental Agency.

Although he was a former bureaucrat of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Technology, he honestly and candidly criticizes the government for its lack of common sense which leaves people to be unfairly exposed to radiation, and he also criticizes municipalities which follow the central government.

I’d like to introduce what he gave comments on nuclear power plants in the three regular press conferences held from December last year to February this year.

Partial excerpt from press conferences and others on Niigata prefectural governor posted on “kiikochan.blog”

Summary of regular press interview with Governor Izumida, at Niigata prefectural government office on December 26, 2012

Partial excerpt (on nuclear plant-related problems)

With regard to nuclear power plants, would you tell us what you are going to urge the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) to do, considering the present situation, if any?

A: Governor
I have already submitted to the NRA a questionnaire on how to tackle challenges after taking into consideration the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident.
I want a quick reply from the Authority.
I think nobody will believe any nuclear safety standards set by the Authority without answering the questionnaire.
As I have often said, it is doubtful whether they can really develop measures against nuclear disasters without members having knowledge of local administration.  Niigata prefectural government had directly accepted evacuees from Fukushima prefecture and had exchanged information with TEPCO.  However, NRA has not yet answered our questionnaire for many months.

In spite of that, NRA suddenly says that it is going to develop nuclear safety standards.  We cannot believe the Authority.  We are matter-of-factly urging it to quickly answer the questionnaire, worrying about possible establishment of meaningless safety standards.

Partial excerpt (on control of radiation materials contained in disaster debris)

I’d like to ask you about radioactivity control issue and other issues associated with it.

A: Governor

With regard to radioactivity control, the central government is relaxing it now for the reason of the time of the accident.  This is the reason why it is accepted to have environmental contamination more severe than that of the inside of nuclear power plant.  It is likely that a relaxed standard at the time of the accident may reflect their way of thinking; no need to worry about some effects.

I wonder until when they will continue this sort of thing.
“First of all, why do they rigidly control the radioactivity level at the inside of nuclear power plant?”

Additionally, the other day designation as specific evacuation recommended spots was cancelled.  This may be because radioactivity of the spots was lower than 20 msV per year.  Incidentally, an area with radioactivity of more than 5 msV per year is called radiation control area.  It is stipulated in the Industry Health and Safety Law that minors should not work in such areas.

So, why can they cancel such designation when lower than 20 msV?  In a word, if a baby should be in an area with radiation dose of between 5 msV and 20 msV, would they stop supporting his/her parents though the parents have to live in area where they are now allowed to work under the Law.

I cannot understand the current standards.

The government is discussing with five cities about how to dispose of incinerated ash.  As a solution, for example, is it possible to ask TEPCO to accept it?

A: Governor
I think TEPCO should do so.

This is because there are professionals who know how to control radioactive materials in a nuclear power plant.
Municipalities have no such experts.

In fact, it is the utility firms operating nuclear power plants that can professionally keep away radioactive materials from the environment and control them so that they will never harm human body.  Therefore, I think it is natural that they should control the materials.

You say that it is not an issue of disaster debris but an issue of radioactivity control.  With regard to radioactive materials contained in garbage dumped from the prefecture, you are against burying it with radioactivity of less than 100 Bq.

A: Governor
They should make their best effort to control garbage with high radioactivity.  As a rule, it is against the basic principles to scatter garbage after diluting its concentration.  I think we should use our wisdom to assemble garbage in one place as much as possible to keep away from human society.

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