Tag Archive for nuclear disaster

11th March Anniversary

In commemoration of the 11th March 2011 earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster, the homepage slide show gallery was changed to the Nuclear Spring gallery. The collection is so called because of reference to Nuclear Winter and the historic book called Silent Spring.

 
Nuclear Spring Collection – Images by Andrew Blyth

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A poem of the first hope for 2011

My New Year’s routine is to go to a local Buddhist Temple to see in the New Year and take my turn to toll the bell, and then to a Shrine to eat warm oudon and drink my first (and usually only) sake for the year, and in the morning to see the first sunrise. I went out really early in the morning on the 1st January 2011 to get sunrise pictures. It’s not my preferred subject, but it’s special to Japanese people, to send New Years cards that feature a sunrise, especially the first one of the year. We send Christmas cards, they send New Year cards to their friends. That day I took a friend out with me to take him to see one of my favourite sunrise pictures ever, which I happen to have taken. Unfortunately, we were about 500m too far to the left, and so we missed getting the sun rising through a local amusement park (see link for that picture). As a consequence and with some irony, I just photographed on anyway, shooting the rising sun with a smoke stack / cooling tower in view.

Every time I’m out there alone I wonder what the year will bring, what will happen in the coming year. Will it be exciting or uneventful? On the 1st January 2011, the first day of the new year there was hope, optimism, potential for everyone in Japan. Below is a video of the photographs I took to commemorate the day of a new and potentially exciting year, a year that many would rather forget, but will always be remembered. There was too much irony for me to ignore these photographs.

My best new year photos are on my agent’s website, Asian Photo Connection by Henry Westheim, and here is a search for “Japanese New Year“, and many of those photos (including the boats, dog, etc) were taken on 1st January, 2011.

Sunrise over the popular Nagashima Spa Land, 2009

Sunrises are often used on New Year cards in Japan

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Propaganda Land

Even if this is true, it’s either too much of a coincidence or they’re too optimistic.

Last night on NHK it was announced that Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), the owners and operators of the troubled Fukushima Daichi Nuclear Power Plants, had on 7th March 2011 submitted their first ever revisions to tsunami estimates to the appropriate government office. The same office that has been publicly accused of failing to fulfil their oversight safety duties of nuclear power plants. TEPCO admits that the Fukushima plants were designed to withstand a 5.7m wave (tidal, storm surge, or tsunami), but last year a revision to this estimate suggested that they should prepare for a 10 meter wave, so they claim to have submitted this revision four days before the Tohuku earthquake and tsunami struck. Thus, it is possible that both the government and TEPCO had not neglected their duties, just unfortunate timing… very suspicious to me.

Secondly, a German documentary was aired in Japan, which was about how a German contractor is dismantling the Russian unwanted nuclear powered submarines leftover from the cold war. Interestingly, the company had no immediate plans on dismantling the some 300 nuclear reactors, instead pulling apart the submarines, cleaning off any radioactive material, and selling the metal to scrap. The reactors are being stored in a sarcophagus (their own hulls with some extra lining added), and will be left for 100 years to when it is hoped that the next generation of nuclear-reactor disposal experts will know what to do. The reactor cores will still be dangerous, but less dangerous. In contrast, the Japanese government and TEPCO seem confident that they can solve the Fukushima problem in only a few decades. It should also be pointed out that the reactors are far bigger than a submarine reactor core. They seem very optimistic.

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Fukushima residents have no rights?

I just saw the most shocking video on YouTube. Safecast recently posted on Twitter a link to a video uploaded by Perjorativeglut on YouTube. Essentially, bureaucrats attended a meeting with local residents and seemed to have made a promise that they weren’t willing to keep. The video starts with the most important question, “…people in Fukushima have the right to avoid radiation exposure and live a healthy life, too. Don’t you think so?” The bureaucrat refused to answer. This is in stark contrast to the messages that NHK the national news broadcaster has been saying. Apparently all the Fukushima residents want nothing more than to return home. I think I smell propaganda.

Please get the word out and share this YouTube video.

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