事故当初においては、環境へ放出された放射性物質はセシウム１３７と１３４、そして比較的少量のヨウ素１３１を含んでいたことが明らかになっているが、長期的な健康被害は主に人体に容易に吸収されるセシウム１３７によって引き起こされると考えられている。セシウム１３７の半減期は３０年と言われており、数十年に及び健康を脅かすことになる。最近の調査によると、福島第一原子力発電所から漏れた汚染水に含まれるストロンチウム９０の量が増大していると指摘されている（ストロンチウム９０はセシウムよりもはるかに危険である）。ストロンチウム９０は体内でカルシウムを代替する機能があるため、人間の骨に容易に吸収される。 Continue Reading
Foreign Policy in Focus
September 3, 2013
“Peer-to-Peer Science: The Century-Long Challenge to Respond to Fukushima”
(with Layne Hartsell)
More than two years after an earthquake and tsunami wreaked havoc on a Japanese power plant, the Fukushima nuclear disaster is one of the most serious threats to public health in the Asia-Pacific, and the worst case of nuclear contamination the world has ever seen. Radiation continues to leak from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi site into groundwater, threatening to contaminate the entire Pacific Ocean. The cleanup will require an unprecedented global effort.
Initially, the leaked radioactive materials consisted of cesium-137 and 134, and to a lesser degree iodine-131. Of these, the real long-term threat comes from cesium-137, which is easily absorbed into bodily tissue—and its half-life of 30 years means it will be a threat for decades to come. Recent measurements indicate that escaping water also has increasing levels of strontium-90, a far more dangerous radioactive material than cesium. Strontium-90 mimics calcium and is readily absorbed into the bones of humans and animals.
The Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) recently announced that it lacks the expertise to effectively control the flow of radiation into groundwater and seawater and is seeking help from the Japanese government. TEPCO has proposed setting up a subterranean barrier around the plant by freezing the ground, thereby preventing radioactive water from eventually leaking into the ocean—an approach that has never before been attempted in a case of massive radiation leakage. TEPCO has also proposed erecting additional walls now that the existing wall has been overwhelmed by the approximately 400 tons per day of water flowing into the power plant. Continue Reading
The “Daejeon: Three Rivers” Mug Cup
The Asia Institute launches the “Daejeon Three Rivers” mug cup in honor of the remarkable city of Daejeon. Surrounded by mountains and defined by three beautiful rivers, the Gapcheon River, the Yudeungcheon River and the Daejeoncheon River, Daejeon is perfectly represented by its ecosystem in these attractive mugs. Produced by the Asia Institute in recognition of Daejeon’s beauty and history, the mugs make perfect Christmas presents as the only commemorative goods for the city Daejeon available anywhere.
The mug cups are of the highest quality.
PLEASE ORDER TODAY!!!!
Set of 4: 40,000 Won
Set of 20: 190,000 Won
Individual cup 12,000 Won
As our director Park Kyungho must prepare and often deliver the mug cups, we ask that you order a set of 4 or a set of 20.
For orders, please contact
Park Kyungho 박경호 국장
The Asia Institute
Cell: 010 2825-1908
Fellow, The Asia Institute (and P2P Foundation)
Address to the World Energy Congress
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
“Science, Society and Fukushima: An Argument for the Importance of Technology from the Perspective of Global Justice”
First, let me thank the nuclear engineering Department at Seoul National University and Dr. Suh, and A-E-S-O-P, and many of you who are researchers or scientists that I have learned from, or will learn from.
I also want to acknowledge the hundreds of people at the Fukushima site who stayed behind to make sure the conditions didn’t get further out of hand. And, I want to recognize the multidisciplinary levels in this; the brilliance of the scientists and the hardworking people who are all involved.
The complete issue of nuclear power, now, will always have Fukushima underlying it, as the first speaker said, that any talks about nuclear energy have Fukushima in the background.
I will spend about equal time on two parts, today.
The first is related to logic, and the second, an argument on technology from global justice, and on open reasoning and citizens’ awareness about the nuclear industry; following Dr. McDaniels’ before me here.
I will start with the logic that we are seeing both in the industry and in the public.
And then, I will argue in a Kantian way, primarily, on the technological argument. What I mean here are universals and duties. This is the perspective I call: an Argument on Technology from Global Justice - and the Global Resources Dividend
The second part, is largely a report on a recent project we initiated at the Asia Institute and the P2P Foundation, where I serve as a fellow in convergence studies, philosophy and ethics; also advising in nanochemistry at a biomedical company in Incheon. The second part will be a report to you on progress on a white paper, but also practical work on smartphone apps which can assist in disaster relief, citizens’ participation, and getting information from experts for guidance.
The larger issue of climate change is the underlying motivation for my talk today. There is a major dilemma in energy related to climate change, and I don’t need to go into that, it’s already a major consensus that anthropological climate change is accepted. ButI would make two points, that there are two dissenting opinions on climate change. One is that it is not a problem; the other, a smaller group which says climate change is farther along, and I’m quoting Stern in this case. I would ask, ‘How will the Global South scale up in their energy production, since as you know, the Global South is growing, from BRICS countries, Brazil, Russia,India, China, South Africa; and also Latin America, Africa, Southeast Asia, are all headed in that direction. They are all relying on fossil fuels which are the most risky and dangerous, at this point, empirically.
Additionally, I include apartial solution to add to the multiplex of viable solutions for the currentFukushima crisis, and beyond for advanced technologies, and will finish on thatnote.
On logic and reasoning, I present a few premises that I accept as true and I hope that you might also.
A philosophical view on global justice and energy would argue:
First, Japan has few fossil resources. It’s not possible to get natural gas or coal into Japan, though they need energy for 130 million – 140 million people. So, the next step, and cleaner step is nuclear; with less CO2 output – and it is the solution or argument that seems a win-win. But there’s a problem, as you know, Japan sits on the Ring of Fire. There is not only an existential risk related to nuclear reactors but the added risk of faults. As I understand it, and maybe you can correct me if I’m wrong, the earthquake is what knocked out the power lines to the plant, which initially started the problem. Then, later came the failure of the diesel engines from the tsunami. So, it was not just the tsunami but the earthquake, also.
Second, due to the current structure of energy in the world, Japan is forced to depend upon nuclear – at peril, situated on the Ring of Fire. That’s premise number two.
The third premise is that the issue is a matter of global justice due to the universalization of duties within the global community to address the risk and related structures around energy. Continue Reading
Emanuel Pastreich delivered a talk at State University of New York at Songdo on September 23, 2013, on the topic “Leadership in an Age of Existential Threats” in which he tried to address the serious issues facing the next generation in an age of climate change and unprecedented technological change. The full talk is available here. Of particular value are the opening comments by the students who arranged the event and also the closing comments by students.