- Japan’s Diet passed legislation to provide $156 billion in disaster reconstruction aid, the third time since the March earthquake that legislators have approved supplemental funding. Of the total, $3 billion is earmarked to fund radiation decontamination efforts, with the majority of the money to be used to rebuild areas devastated by the earthquake and tsunami and to help companies build new manufacturing plants.
- Fukushima Prefecture held elections delayed from April because of the earthquake and tsunami. Toshitsuna Watanabe, the incumbent, won the mayoralty race in Okuma, the town nearest the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear energy facility. Watanabe favors rebuilding the town in place while his main opponent, Jin Kowata, advocated moving the entire town further inland. Evacuees from the prefecture were allowed to vote, but the total vote count was low.
- The Financial Times reports that American investor Warren Buffett visited Iwaki, a Japanese town in Fukushima Prefecture and pronounced the area’s recovery “amazing.” The Times said the trip, Buffett’s first to Japan, acted as a tonic to Japan’s business environment.
- The Columbia Journalism Review took the Associated Press to task for needlessly alarmist reporting about cancer risk from radiation exposure near the Fukushima Daichi facility. In a blog post at the organization’s science blog, David Ropeik wrote, “Journalists often play up the dramatic and alarming aspects of the information they’ve found, and play down or leave out the ameliorative, neutral, or balancing aspects that might help do justice to the truth, but which could “weaken” the story. The AP’s article illustrates what this looks like.”
- NEI’s Safety First website continues its ongoing focus on practices that enhance nuclear safety. This week, the site features an article about the Fort Calhoun nuclear energy facility, which found itself in the middle of the Missouri River earlier this year when the river flooded. The story looks at the steps taken and equipment used to ensure the integrity of the facility. Fort Calhoun is expected to return online early next year.