Meet the team

Page - March 24, 2011
A Greenpeace team is monitoring locations around the evacuation area surrounding the crisis-stricken Fukushima/Daiichi nuclear plant, to independently assess the extent of radiation risks that the local population may be facing.

As part of the monitoring work, the team will be using a selection of standard radiation monitoring equipment:

- Gamma spectrometer: Exploranium GR-135
- LB 200 Becquerel monitor
- Geiger counters: Radex RD 1503, RadAlert
- Contamination monitors: RADOS MicroCont, Berthold UMO

Rianne Teule, Ph.D. - Energy Campaigner and radiation expert

Rianne Teule

I finished my Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry at Amsterdam’s Vrije Universiteit in 1997, and started working as a nuclear energy campaigner for Greenpeace Netherlands in 2002. An extensive course on Radiation Safety at the Technical University in Delft, Netherlands, and working on nuclear and energy issues for more than seven years has given me extensive knowledge of nuclear technology and safety.

For many years I have acted as Greenpeace’s radiation safety expert, and participated in many field trips to radioactively contaminated areas such as the Chernobyl region, Iraq, Russia, Niger, Brazil and Japan. Since August 2008, I have worked as an international campaigner on nuclear energy for Greenpeace International. I am currently seconded to Greenpeace Africa to help build up the Climate and Energy campaign in our new office there.


Nikki Westwood, Logistics manager/Radiation safety advisor

Nikki Westwood

I have been involved with Greenpeace for over 12 years in many different countries. I started as a volunteer in the UK office while I was studying environmental science in London. From there I managed to find myself on board the MV Greenpeace, and I was hooked. After the UK office, I worked in Canada for many years, until 2010 when I returned to Europe to work for Greenpeace International.

I previously supported the first field team with logistics, and advice on conditions on the ground – such as wind direction and current radiation readings in the area.

For this trip I am one of the Radiation Safety Advisors out in the field, and dealing with logistics for one of the teams. I have seen the long term effects of radioactive contamination after participating in field monitoring within the Ukraine, and my deepest thoughts go out to all the people in Japan who have been affected by the earthquake, tsunami and now the looming radiation threat. I am proud to be able to help provide accurate, non-biased information on the radiation levels.

Wakao Hanaoka, Oceans campaigner

My name is Wakao Hanaoka, and I am the Oceans Campaigner for Greenpeace Japan. As a member of the delegation team 10th Conference of the Parties to the Convention of Biological Diversity held in Nagoya last year, I witnessed our government work with other governments from around the world to form the basic agreement to protect biological diversity, and ensure its sustainable use. I’m now witnessing the same government’s complete inability to deal with the Fukushima crisis, which is doing massive damage to Japanese society and our environment.

I am also a father of a three year-old son. I strongly believe that we should not be leaving the coming generations a legacy of out of control problems and technology that is inherently risky. We need safe, stable, environmentally friendly and sustainable sources of energy, not those that threaten to contaminate our food, land, air and oceans.

In this team my role is to collect all the necessary and timely information - from the condition of the nuclear reactor, to the weather and wind direction - to ensure the smooth operation and the safety of the field research team. I'm also a point-person to communicate with local communities as we conduct the research.

Jan Vande Putte - Radiation safety expert

Jan Van de Putte

When I first heard the news on the Fukushima disaster, it was an immense shock. Over the last 6 years, I had been working for Greenpeace on modeling of the impact of a major atomic accidents and on accident scenarios for light-water reactors. The mathematical dispersion models became in one blow a lot more realistic. In the following days, it was a surreal and horrifying experience to see how our publications on accident scenarios were almost a script of what was now happening in Fukushima. Just a few days after the first explosion, so-called nuclear 'experts' from the nuclear industry were already downplaying the disaster, claiming that atomic power was safe. The industry has always had difficulty facing certain truths. But in this case, the total denial made me think of Qaddafi stating that there was no uproar in his country while hundreds of thousands were marching in the streets.

When Greenpeace asked me to join a team to support our colleagues of Greenpeace Japan, who were working in extremely difficult circumstances, and to set up a monitoring trip to the Fukushima area to measure the radioactivity, I did not hesitate one minute. Both the owner of the reactors as well as the Japanese government have been known to downlplay the risks of atomic power, to make it look all more acceptable. We had to go there and find out for ourselves, and inform the Japanese people, so that they could make informed decisions about their future. Japan has a massive potential for renewable power, with its very long coast, it is the ideal country for wind power, both onshore and offshore, and it has excellent solar conditions. Japan does not need any nuclear power, renewables can do a much better job, cost less, and present no risks. The wind turbines Japan already has kept running through the earthquake and tsunami. Solar panels don't explode. I hope that we can somehow contribute to such a rational choice.

The boring bit: I was born 21 September 1965, I'm Belgian, living in Leuven, close to Brussels, and I have two daughters of 17 and 19. I have a masters degree in Political Sciences and War studies at the University of Leuven, Belgium and a degree in Radiation Protection from the University of Utrecht. After working for the International Physicians for the Prevention of a Nuclear War (IPPNW) till 1994, I joined Greenpeace Belgium as a nuclear disarmament campaigner and later as a nuclear energy campaigner. From 2003-2007 I worked as a nuclear campaigner for Greenpeace International, and since 2010 I have been seconded from Greenpeace Belgium to work for Greenpeace International. I specialise in nuclear proliferation issues and radiation protection. I likes nice food, Belgian beer, cycling, and mountaineering.

Mitsu (Mitsuyasu Oda) - Translation, communications and community liason

Mitsuyasu Oda

Mitsuyasu Oda

I was a journalist with Kyodo News as an international journalist in 1996 covering the Atlanta Olympic Games, after that I moved to Reuters as a photographer, where I covered the general news in Japan. When I moved to Bloomberg for economic news, I covered a lot of financial scandals in Japan and I was awarded two prizes in the US for covering the financial scandals.

I joined Greenpeace because I had heard that Greenpeace Japan was doing investigative environmental research, with a journalistic approach and I had experience in the NGO community working on forest preservation.

I have taught as an adjunct professor at Tokyo University in the past and now teach journalism in Waseda University.  As a journalist I covered the Los Angeles earthquake and the Niigata earthquake, Thuoedsu earthquake, and the Kashiwasaki-Kariwa earthquake which severely affected its nuclear power plant. Some years ago there was another big earthquake in Sendai, which stopped the Onagawa Nuclear Power Plant, which I covered as well. I am thus very conscious about the risk of nuclear power, especially linked to natural disasters. Obviously, Fukushima, I am very concerned about it, and many people in Japan are doubting what Tepco and even the government say about what is happening. I want to go see for myself what is going on there, as an NGO member, but also as a journalist.

Daisuke - Logistics expert

Daisuke Miyachi

I was born in Hiroshima, and I went to the atomic bomb museum when I was 7 years old, which was a very shocking experience to me and made me very afraid of war. Many years later I got in contact with Greenpeace when they were taking action against the testing of French nuclear weapons at Moruroa Atoll in the Pacific Ocean. Before that, I thought that it was not possible to stop countries from launching a war, but after seeing these Greenpeace actions, I was convinced that people could actually make a change.

Greenpeace asked me to join the field team to document the impact of the radioactive contamination, I first wanted to know what the dangers to me were, and I was worried to take part of it. By learning more about the real facts on the ground at Fukushima, I also got the courage to come here. I want to stop nuclear energy, so it is very important to do this and I hope it can help to make a better world.

Frode Pleym - Senior advisor, Greenpeace Japan

When the earthquake hit Japan on March 11th, I was with my family in downtown Tokyo. The first few seconds I thought little of the shaking, you get quite used to earthquakes living here. But it soon became clear that this was a major one, even though the shaking in Japan´s capitol city was nothing compared to that of further north.

Luckily most buildings in Japan - particularly after the great Kobe earthquake - can survive even the bigger quakes. This, together with that fact that the quake´s epicentre was out at sea, meant that the material damage from it was less than could have been the case. Unfortunately, the tsunami it caused devastated whole communities and killed thousands of people.

The last thing Japan needed on top of this was a nuclear crisis, however, that is what we are now struggling with. Its consequences will be felt not for days, nor months, but for years. Now everything is about making sure that as few people as possible are in areas with unsafe levels of radiation, and ensuring that the Government and TEPCO do enough to protect life and the environment.

I joined Greenpeace ten years ago. Before that, I worked at various Norwegian and Swedish environmental organisations. For Greenpeace, I have led a number of ship expeditions against hazardous transport at sea and pirate fishing. I have been based in Iceland on several occasions, coordinating campaigns for sustainable fisheries. Here in Japan, I co-ordinate the joint efforts of my international and Japanese colleagues, which for now is an ongoing effort to support the Japanese people in their struggle to keep their families safe.

Christian Aslund - Photo/video documentation

Christian Aslund

I am a photo journalist, I started to work for a newspaper back in 1998 and I got in contact with Greenpeace when they were doing a campaign to protect the old growth forest at the west coast of Sweden. I was impressed by their dedication of the activists, and after spending a couple of weeks in the Swedish winter time to protect the forsts, Greenpeace actually won the case and it was declared nature reserve. I could witness how engagement can lead to changes.

I am born and raised in Sweden and I was a kid when Chernobyl exploded 25 years ago, and affected even distant Sweden. Since then I have always been critical towards nuclear energy and I do believe we should put more resources into renewable energy. If I can document what the impact is of the Fukushima accident, I hope that I can help to make people aware of the risks of nuclear energy. I do not believe that nuclear power has a future. I believe this should never happen again.

Stephanie Hillman - Logistics expert

Stephanie Hillman

I grew up in Plymouth, Massachusetts, a town with a faulty nuclear power plant just 10 miles down the road, coincidentally with the same design as that in Fukushima.  We often heard the false emergency alarms ring throughout the town.  We couldn't help but live with the fear that any day the alarms could be the real thing, and what that would mean.  Because of this I have been heavily opposed to nuclear power my whole life. Very sadly, the world is now witnessing the real thing and what it means! When I was asked to take part in this testing project, I had only momentary hesitation related to putting myself in harm, but then realised how necessary it is that we bear witness to this disaster and do what we can to bring an end to any possibility of this happening again.

I started working with Greenpeace almost 15 years ago, first as a fundraiser, then as a campaigner and coordinator of non-violent direct actions all over the world.  I've always greatly appreciated the professionalism and commitment to environmental and social justice, and in the case of projects like this, the high standard of safety! That was another reason it was only momentary hesitation before I said yes to taking part here on the ground in Japan.  It's a story that desperately needs to be told truthfully, and I'm happy to be part of telling it.

Greg McNevin - Communications officer

Greg McNevin

Being close to my colleagues at Greenpeace Japan, I was shocked to hear the news of the natural disaster and immediately concerned for their safety. However, having woken up inside swaying Tokyo buildings on several occasions, the spectre of a possible nuclear incident was also one of the first things to jump into my mind.

Sadly, it did not take long for this apparition to become a reality and overshadow what was already an extensive tragedy. Greenpeace’s effort to bear witness, document, and provide accurate measurements of contamination in the region will help the people of Japan protect their health and safety. I am here to help get the information we are collecting into their hands.

Formerly a technology journalist, I joined Greenpeace in 2008 to work on ocean and climate issues in New Zealand. I helped support the coal campaign in Poland as well as the 2008 COP14 climate conference in Poznan, but so far most of my time with Greenpeace has been spent in Japan wrangling media during the Tokyo Two trial.

Jacob Namminga

Jacob Namminga

My name is Jacob Namminga, and I'm an actions coordinator for Greenpeace Netherlands. I've been a radiation safety expert since 2004, I've done sampling at Chernobyl, and fieldwork with radioactive waste leak monitoring at Huelva in Spain. I've been an actions coordinator for 10 years, and I first volunteered for Greenpeace in 1992.

I consider nuclear power to be dangerous. When it goes wrong, it goes very wrong. Look at Chernobyl and now Japan. And even if it weren't for the accidents, there's no solution for radioactive waste. I look forward to using my expertise to help to tell the Japanese people and the world the true story of what is happening here.  

When I'm not investigating nuclear disasters, I enjoy rowing and sailing.

Note:  Jacob participated in the first round of work, and has since safely returned to the Netherlands.