2012 Vol. 3, No. 2

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Fukushima Fallout: Gauging the Change in Japanese Nuclear Energy Policy
Elena Shadrina
2012, 3(2): 69-83. doi: 10.1007/s13753-012-0008-0
The Fukushima nuclear disaster is a special case:a major twin natural disaster (earthquake and tsunami) incited a large-scale technological disaster, which resulted in a serious nuclear accident. Because the various costs are so tremendous, this triple disaster has had a pervasive impact on all aspects of life in Japan. This article describes nuclear energy policy transformation in the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster. The study draws on theoretical propositions of governance and disaster risk governance, and demonstrates that a vested interest perspective is important to understanding the results of Japan's energy policy before Fukushima. Safety, democracy, and openness were the fundamental principles of Japan's nuclear energy policy when the country decided to diversify its energy sources in the 1950s. But these basic premises were undermined by the vested interests that controlled policy administration and implementation as the nuclear energy industry developed. Analysis of Japan's recent nuclear energy policy transformation covers such dimensions as policy targets, policy issues such as safety, the fuel cycle, waste disposal, administrative structure, public awareness, and national and local policy considerations. The study identifies process deficiencies in Japan's post-Fukushima nuclear energy policy transformation and evaluates possible ways to eliminate defects through administrative reorganization and independent safety oversight.
China's Drought Disaster Risk Management:Perspective of Severe Droughts in 2009-2010
Tao Ye, Peijun Shi, Jing'ai Wang, Lianyou Liu, Yida Fan, Junfeng Hu
2012, 3(2): 84-97. doi: 10.1007/s13753-012-0009-z
China has been frequently and heavily affected by drought disasters. During 2009-2010, three large-scale severe droughts struck China, caused considerable social, economic, and ecological losses. These droughts showed significant regional differences. This study employs a two-stage transition framework comprising "entry" and "exit" transitions to discuss disaster risk management of drought in China, by taking the three droughts as comparative case studies. Chinese society's response in the exit transition is examined and the underlying factors that enable the entry trigger are diagnosed. The policy responses that lead to the exit transition from these drought disasters were appropriate, but there is substantial room for improvement in management strategy regarding both entry and exit transitions. This article suggests that government policies should emphasize entry-prevention measures that reduce adverse impacts early in a drought episode rather than focus solely on improving performance in achieving a rapid exit transition from drought.
Impacts of Climate Change and Hydrological Hazards on Monsoon Crop Patterns in the Lesser Himalaya: A Watershed Based Study
Pradeep K. Rawat
2012, 3(2): 98-112. doi: 10.1007/s13753-012-0010-6
The Lesser Himalaya region is a densely populated, nonglacial tract of the Himalaya. About 95 percent of the regional population depends on agriculture and forest resources but both have been declining rapidly in recent decades due to climate change and hydrological hazards. The main objective of this study was to assess the integrated impacts of climate change and hydrological hazards on monsoon crop patterns in the Lesser Himalaya through a geographic information system (GIS) database management system (DMS). The DMS comprises four GIS modules:climate informatics, land use informatics, hydro-informatics, and agro-informatics. The Dabka watershed in India's Uttarakhand State is part of the Kosi Basin in the Lesser Himalaya in District Nainital and was chosen as a case study. The climate of the study area, depending on elevation, falls into three climatic zones:subtropical, temperate, and moist temperate, which are favorable for mixed forest, pine forest, and oak forest respectively. The results of the climate-informatics analysis suggest that in recent decades all these climatic zones have shifted towards higher altitudes and the areas of oak and pine forests have decreased. Forest degradation has accelerated hydrological hazards (high runoff, flash floods, river-line floods, soil erosion, and landslides) in monsoon periods, which affected about 22 percent of the cultivated land annually in 2005-2010. Monsoon crop yields decreased by an annual average of 1.40 percent between 1985 and 2010 while the population of the study area increased by an average of 2 percent each year in the same period. The negative correlation between annual crop yields and population growth has led to increased food security risks.
Optimization of Threshold Ranges for Rapid Flood Inundation Mapping by Evaluating Backscatter Profiles of High Incidence Angle SAR Images
Panchagnula Manjusree, L. Prasanna Kumar, Chandra Mohan Bhatt, Goru Srinivasa Rao, Veerubhotla Bhanumurthy
2012, 3(2): 113-122. doi: 10.1007/s13753-012-0011-5
Rapid satellite-based flood inundation mapping and delivery of flood inundation maps during a flood event can provide crucial information for planners and decision makers to prioritize relief and rescue operations. The present study is undertaken to optimize the threshold ranges for the classification of flood water in Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) images (of 20° to 49° incidence angles) for quick flood inundation mapping and response during flood disasters. This is done through assessing the signature of flood water in Horizontal transmit and Horizontal received (HH), Horizontal transmit and Vertical received (HV), Vertical transmit and Horizontal received (VH), and Vertical transmit and Vertical received (VV) polarization radar data. The mean backscattering signature profiles of various water bodies were analyzed to discriminate flood water from other water bodies. The study shows that there is better demarcation of land-water surface in HH polarization. VV polarization has the potential to identify partially submerged features, which can be useful in flood damage assessments. The backscatter of flood water in HV and VH is the same and both HV and VH polarizations are adequate for the mapping of flood water. At near range to far range, -8 to -12 dB, -15 to -24 dB, and -6 to -15 dB can be used as optimum ranges for the classification of flood water in HH, HV, and VV polarizations. These optimum threshold ranges can be applied to the automation of flood mapping using SAR images in near-real time, where much time was often spent on finding the thresholds in order to produce flood inundation maps in a short time from the onset of flood disasters and deliver such maps to the concerned agencies.
Sustainable Campus Initiative at Keio University after the Great East Japan Earthquake Disaster
Yingjiu Bai, Yasushi Ikeda, Shizuko Ota, Hikaru Kobayashi
2012, 3(2): 123-130. doi: 10.1007/s13753-012-0012-4
After the shock of the Great East Japan Earthquake on 11 March 2011, the issue of local sustainability is presently center stage in the Japanese political process, and educational and research values are imperative for long-term cost savings, risk management, and clean, efficient energy generation. This study illustrates the Sustainable Campus Initiative approach at Keio University that students have been undertaking to make the campus more sustainable and resilient during post-disaster restoration. To unveil innovative recovery concepts, processes, and social challenges, several outcomes that maximize energy efficiency and conservation opportunities are discussed. The results indicate that the Sustainable Campus Initiative contributed to energy relief in the summer of 2011. It made campus life more creative during a period when the 15 percent mandatory power-saving order by the government to big clients of Tokyo and Tohoku Electric was established. Pilot experiments provide a useful example of how the communications media have an extraordinary ability to increase public understanding of social issues. Since the March 11 disaster, power shortages have redirected renewed attention to fossil fuels. As large energy consumers, universities have an increased responsibility to demonstrate their commitment to sustainable design and encourage innovative development concepts in their regions in the future.