Tokyo Electric Power has asked for approximately 900 billion yen ($12 billion) from the Japanese government-sponsored bailout body. This will be the first instalment of tax payer-funded assistance to pay for compensation from the crisis at its Fukushima nuclear plant.
The UK Government rushed out its Report on the Fukushima disaster, preventing Dr Weightman from looking at the costs which is making nuclear power unaffordable and uninsurable throughout the planet. The Government prematurely judged the consequences of the Fukushima in order to shore-up collapsing public and investor confidence.
The effects of the disaster in Japan are still being revealed. Today a preliminary report into Fukushima has found that twice as much radioactive caesium was released into the atmosphere than first thought. The levels of caesium-137 reached 40% of the total from Chernobyl.
A study by the Norwegian Institute for Air Research, said the Japanese government's estimate came only from data in Japan and would have missed emissions blown out to sea. The report says about a fifth of the caesium fell on land in Japan, while most of the rest fell into the Pacific Ocean. About 2% came down on land outside Japan.
Caesium 137 is dangerous because it can last for decades in the environment, releasing cancer causing radiation. The journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics posted the report online for comment but the study is still under formal review by experts in the field and has not been accepted for publication.
Last summer the Japanese government estimated that the 11 March Fukushima accident released 15,000 terabecquerels of caesium. The terabecquerel is a radiation measurement. The new report estimates about 36,000 terabecquerels through to 20 April. That is about 42% of the estimated release from Chernobyl.
An official at Japan's Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency said it could not offer any comment on the study because it had not reviewed the contents. Many parents of small children in Tokyo worry about the discovery of radiation hotspots even though government officials say they don't pose a health risk. The previous prime minister, Naoto Kan, has said the most contaminated areas inside the evacuation zone could be uninhabitable for decades.
Yesterday about 200 women from Fukushima began a 3 day sit-in outside the Tokyo office of Japan’s Ministry of Economy. They are calling for the evacuation of children from areas with high radiation levels and the permanent shut down of nuclear reactors in Japan currently switched off.
"Their peaceful protest is a powerful - almost radical – act in a country where standing up for something can often mean ostracism from one’s community. These are not women who regularly participate in civil protest. These are mothers who fear for their children’s safety and future. These are grandmothers separated from their families. The fact that they have put their own lives and families on hold for these three days reflects the harrowing situation these women and their families have found themselves in since the nuclear disaster.
"The responsibilities of these women have only grown since the nuclear meltdown completely disrupted their lives. One of the women protesting, Ms. Saeko Uno, fled Fukushima with her 4-year daughter just hours after the earthquake struck Japan on March 11. She is now living in another city, but her husband can’t give up his job in Fukushima and has to commute back and forth between the two cities. She is frustrated by the separation that has been forced on her family by the disaster. Ms. Uno came to the protest to tell the world that Fukushima doesn’t need nuclear power. In Fukushima, many victims of nuclear radiation are not recognised by the government as having an official right to evacuate the area. This injustice is another issue that has brought Ms. Uno and dozens of other women to Tokyo to protest.
"The women come from all backgrounds. They are young and old (including an 86-year-old woman), teachers and farmers. During the sit-in they will knit a long woolen chain together, a symbol for them of connecting themselves in one circle. They are calling on women from all over Japan and the rest of the world to join them, beginning on October 30th. Some of the women have been protesting against the Fukushima nuclear plant for years – long before the earthquake and tsunami. Others have joined the cause after the radiation began to affect their families, their children. Most of all, Ms. Uno explains, they want to connect with each other and - amongst the despair that has brought them together – find hope.