Nuclear energy costs still rising, three years on from Fukushima, SMH, 11 Mar 14 #……Atomic Abe The arrival of Abe as prime minister in December 2012, gave a boost to the pro-nuclear camp. Cutting energy costs is part of his plan to revitalize the economy.
Abe’s push on nuclear shows how polarizing the issue is in Japan.
At least three former prime ministers have publicly opposed the current premier on reactor restarts, including Junichiro Koizumi, Abe’s mentor and one of Japan’s most-popular postwar leaders. Naoto Kan, prime minister at the time of the 2011 quake, is another.
“The reason I’m against nuclear is that people cannot fully control it,” Kan told reporters in a briefing in December.
Industrial accidents can happen, but nothing on the scale of nuclear, he said. A worst-case scenario for Fukushima would have made a third of Japan’s land uninhabitable, Kan said. Opponents also point to the cost of nuclear accidents. The government has estimated it’ll take 11 trillion yen and 40 years to clean up the Fukushima site.
The former prime ministers find themselves in an unusual place on the opposite side of the argument from Japan Inc.,……..http://www.smh.com.au/environment/nuclear-energy-costs-still-rising-three-years-on-from-fukushima-20140311-34ii6.html
Senior Scientist at MIT Event: Japanese scientists censored — Not allowed to publish research that compared Fukushima to Chernobyl — Fukushima ‘arguably’ bigger http://enenews.com/senior-scientist-at-mit-event-japanese-scientists-censored-not-allowed-to-publish-research-that-compared-fukushima-to-chernobyl-fukushima-arguably-bigger
Ken Buesseler, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (at 31:00 in):
I kind of look at these [Chernobyl and Fukushima] and say these are similar in scale, we can argue about which one’s bigger.
It was politically impossible, the first paper I wrote, for Japanese scientists to be co-author because I compared Fukushima to Chernobyl and that was considered not appropriate by his bosses at his institution.
Buesseler during a recent radio interview: Fukushima released “100, or 50 to 80 petabecquerels” of cesium-137 in 2011 — Chernobyl total was 70 petabecquerels Watch the presentations here
Jiji: Highly radioactive groundwater now flowing under Unit 1 — Levels skyrocket since last test, now 1,000s of times higher — 8 locations hit record in recent days at Fukushima Daiichi http://enenews.com/jiji-highly-radioactive-groundwater-now-flowing-under-fukushima-unit-1-levels-skyrocket-since-last-test-now-1000s-of-times-higher-8-locations-hit-record-in-recent-days
Jiji Press, Jan. 24, 2014: Tainted Water May Also Have Leaked from No. 1 Reactor at Fukushima N-Plant — Highly radioactive water accumulated in the basement of the turbine building of the No. 1 reactor [...] may have contaminated groundwater, experts said Friday. [...] TEPCO has explained that the groundwater may have been contaminated by highly radioactive water in underground cable tunnels of the No. 2 and 3 reactors [...] however, 5,600 becquerels of radioactive tritium per liter was detected in groundwater taken on Sunday from an observation well near the turbine building of the No. 1 reactor. No radioactive tritium was detected in water collected in mid-November. [...]
8 groundwater locations hit new highs for tritium since January 6 (Bq/liter):
0-2: 4,700 <1/12>
0-3-2: 73,000 <1/16>
0-4: 46,000 <1/12>
1-8: 12,000 <1/6>
1-17: 31,000 <1/16>
2-2: 660 <1/8>
2-7: 1,100 <1/17>
3-5: 170 <1/8>
No plan best plan in Kansai nuclear disaster Area leaders paralyzed by lack of answers, state guidance Japan Times, BY ERIC JOHNSTON 26 Jan 14 Ten months after regional governments were required to submit nuclear disaster evacuation plans, a lack of central government guidance and local-level cooperation is generating concern that Kansai will be ill-prepared to respond if any of Fukui Prefecture’s 13 commercial reactors suffers a meltdown.
Questions remain about how fleeing Fukui residents who pass through neighboring Kyoto would be stopped and screened for radiation, and how residents in the rural northern areas closest to the reactors would be gathered and evacuated in a timely manner. Evacuating the elderly, young mothers and the pregnant is also a serious concern.
There is also the question of what to do if Shiga’s Lake Biwa, which supplies drinking water to about 14.5 million people, gets contaminated with radiation.
Citizens’ groups have posed these and other detailed questions to prefectural officials in Kyoto and the Union of Kansai Governments, a loose federation of seven prefectures and four major cities in the region. But Kansai officials reply that, on many issues, there is little they can do because the central government hasn’t drafted specific guidelines…..
Kansai leaders recognize that more monitoring stations, particularly in northern Kyoto and Hyogo, are needed, but without guidance from the central government, as well as funding, there is little they can do.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government has made restarting the nation’s nuclear reactors a primary goal. The discussions have focused mostly on the technical issues related to the plants and whether the fault lines surrounding them, or in some cases under them, are active.
Given the widespread concerns, Smith says such thinking puts the cart before the horse. “It’s a very serious problem that Japanese nuclear power regulation does not require evacuation plan approval as a prerequisite for restarting nuclear power plants,” she said. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2014/01/26/national/no-plan-best-plan-in-kansai-nuclear-disaster/
“Shock & Outrage”: Japan TV host reveals being told he cannot discuss nuclear power until pivotal Tokyo election ends — “Somebody needs to bring these issues into the media” — #2 in trending news http://enenews.com/shock-outrage-japan-tv-host-reveals-being-told-he-cannot-discuss-nuclear-power-until-pivotal-tokyo-election-ends-somebody-needs-to-bring-these-issues-into-the-media
TokyoReporter’s tweet, Jan. 22, 2014: Radio host Peter Barakan says broadcasters told him to avoid nuclear issues till after poll
To say that nuclear power should not be an issue in the Tokyo gubernatorial election is ludicrous as the question of what to do about nuclear power affects everyone in this small, quake-prone country — including the tens of millions of people living and working in the nation’s capital.
Can’t bury the nuclear issue, Japan Times Editorial, 23 Jan 14 Campaigning kicked off on Thursday for the Feb. 9 Tokyo gubernatorial election, which will not only decide the leader of the nation’s capital but also influence the debate on whether Japan should continue to rely on nuclear power — a major issue that will help determine the shape of Japan’s future.
The nuclear issue has assumed great importance because former Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa has entered the race with the backing of former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and is running on a “zero nuclear” platform — a stance shared by Koizumi. Both Hosokawa and fellow candidate Kenji Utsunomiya, a former head of the Japan Federation of Bar Associations, are calling for the immediate halt of nuclear power generation. They oppose the Abe administration’s plan to restart idled nuclear power plants if their safety is confirmed by the Nuclear Regulation Authority.
Some people, in particular Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, oppose the idea of treating nuclear power as a major issue in the Tokyo gubernatorial election. In an apparent effort to prevent the nuclear power issue from rousing wide interest among Tokyo voters, Abe said energy policy is an issue not just for Tokyoites but for all Japanese, adding that various issues that the Tokyo governor must deal with should be discussed in a balanced manner.
Yet Tokyo, which consumes about 10 percent of Japan’s total electricity, is the biggest power user among Japan’s 47 prefectures. Continue reading
Is Japan’s Offshore Solar PowerPlant the Future of Renewable Energy?s found a new way to harness the power of harness the power the sun
By Vicky Gan SMITHSONIAN MAGAZINE
FEBRUARY 2014 cross Japan, 50 nuclear power plants sit idle, shut down in the aftermath of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster. Nobody is certain when government inspectors will certify that the plants are safe enough to be brought back online. Anti-nuclear activists point to this energy crisis as evidence that Japan needs to rely more on renewables. One think tank has calculated that a national solar power initiative could generate electricity equivalent to ten nuclear plants. But skeptics have asked where, in their crowded mountainous country, they could construct all those solar panels
One solution was unveiled this past November, when Japan flipped the switch on its largest solar power plant to date, built offshore on reclaimed land jutting into the cerulean waters of Kagoshima Bay. The Kyocera Corporation’s Kagoshima Nanatsujima Mega Solar Power Plant is as potent as it is picturesque, generating enough electricity to power roughly 22,000 homes.
Other densely populated countries, notably in Asia, are also beginning to look seaward.
In Singapore, the Norwegian energy consultancy firm DNV recently debuted a solar island concept called SUNdy, which links 4,200 solar panels into a stadium-size hexagonal array that floats on the ocean’s surface.
Former Japanese Premier Challenges Abe’s Nuclear Policy Tokyo Governor Race Threatens to Become Referendum on Atomic Energy, WSJ, By ALEXANDER MARTIN And TOKO SEKIGUCHI Jan. 22, 2014 TOKYO—Former Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa pledged on Wednesday to work toward keeping Japan’s nuclear reactors offline in his campaign platform for the coming Tokyo gubernatorial race, threatening to make the local election a referendum on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s pro-nuclear energy policies.
“Restarting nuclear reactors while we still have no place to dispose nuclear waste is a criminal act toward future generations,” Mr. Hosokawa said during a news conference where he laid out his campaign promises for the Feb. 9 election……..
Mr. Hosokawa’s candidacy poses a headache for Mr. Abe’s administration, which has been preparing to reactivate the nation’s 50 commercial reactors once they are deemed to comply with new safety standards introduced after the March 2011 Fukushima crisis.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government is the fourth-largest shareholder of Fukushima Daiichi plant operator Tokyo Electric Power 9501.TO +1.02% Company (TEPCO) with a 1.2% stake, giving it the right to make proposals at the general shareholders’ meetings. Using this leverage, Mr. Hosokawa said he would pressure TEPCO not to restart any reactors………Mr. Hosokawa, 76, opposes any restarts and calls for pulling the plug on nuclear power entirely. And he aims to tap the antinuclear electorate with the support of fellow former Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. A political mentor to Mr. Abe who in recent months has become an avid antinuclear campaigner, Mr. Koizumi remains one of the nation’s most popular politicians after stepping down in 2006……
rival candidate Yoichi Masuzoe……supports a phasing out of nuclear power……..http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303448204579335982659523094?mg=reno64-wsj&url=http%3A%2F%2Fo
Is Nuclear Experimentation Fascism? OpEdNews 1/22/2014 By Ethan Indigo Smith (about the author) ”…the crew of the U.S.S. Reagan. The U.S.S. Reagan was exposed to radiation after being redirected towards Japan to provide support immediately after the massive Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami off the coast of Japan.
According to an article in the New York Post, Senior Chief Michael Sebourn, a radiation-decontamination officer who tested the aircraft carrier for radiation found that “levels were incredibly dangerous and at one point, the radiation in the air measured 300 times higher than what was considered safe.” The article continues: “The former personal trainer has suffered a series of ailments, starting with severe nosebleeds and headaches and continuing with debilitating weakness” has lost 60 percent of the power in the right side of his body and his limbs have visibly shrunk.” As Senior Chief Michael Sebourn stated, “I’ve had four MRIs, and I’ve been to 20 doctors” No one can figure out what is wrong.” He has since retired from the Navy after 17 years of service.
And he is not alone. According to The Post, “crew members on the aircraft carrier and a half-dozen other support ships are battling cancers, thyroid disease, uterine bleeding and other ailments.” Of the 5,000 sailors on board, at least 70 have contracted some form of radiation sickness, and of those, “at least half” are suffering from some form of cancer,” said lawyer, Paul Garner, who is representing the sailors in a lawsuit against the operators of the Fukushima Daiichi energy plant. ”We’re seeing leukemia, testicular cancer and unremitting gynecological bleeding requiring transfusions and other intervention,” said Garner.
In a Voice of Russia report, Mr. Garner elaborated: “it seems that there’s too many people at the same place at the same time without any family background or any reason to believe that they had these issues to now show up with these significant cancers and beyond. So we feel that time will tell in many instances”. especially, because they all had physicals and were all in top health.”
Navy sailor Lindsay Cooper, who was also present on the U.S.S. Reagan, stated that crew members suffered from excruciating diarrhea at the time. ”People were s-”-tting themselves in the hallways,” Cooper recalled. ”Two weeks after that, my lymph nodes in my neck were swollen. By July, my thyroid shut down.”
When asked about the U.S.S. Reagan’s ability to detect radiation early, sailor Cooper stated “we have a multimillion-dollar radiation-detection system, but” it takes time to be set up and activated”. She went on to describe that after being exposed, ”we couldn’t go anywhere. Japan didn’t want us in port, Korea didn’t want us, Guam turned us away. We floated in the water for two and a half months” until Thailand took the stricken sailors in……..http://www.opednews.com/articles/Is-Nuclear-Experimentation-by-Ethan-Indigo-Smith-Fukushima_Nuclear-Cover-up_Nuclear-Meltdown_Nuclear-Waste-140122-627.html
a constant flow of water is necessary to keep the molten uranium from heating up. TEPCO has built thousands of tanks to store the daily flood of contaminated water, but it is running out of space.
“The tanks have mushroomed all over the power plant,” McNeill said. “Because if they don’t keep it cool, it heats up, radiation escapes and then we’re back to square one.”
Is Fukushima at risk for another nuclear disaster?, Aljazeera America, 9 Jan 14 by Michael Okwu Nearly three years after the nuclear catastrophe at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, there remains concern about whether another disaster is right around the corner. America Tonight
At the Fukushima Daiichi plant, the Tokyo Electric Power Co., or TEPCO, is struggling to contain the ongoing nuclear disaster. Since the catastrophe almost three years ago, there has been disagreement about whether the plant is safe.
The official line from the Japanese government is that the situation is under control.
“The government is moving to the forefront and we will completely resolve the matter,” said Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in September, just before Tokyo was awarded the 2020 Summer Olympics.
But others, such as then–Tokyo Gov. Naoki Inose, have said the situation is “not necessarily under control.”…..
‘An ongoing crisis’ Journalist David McNeill has been covering Japan since 2000. America Tonight
Japan’s energy pact with Turkey raises nuclear weapons concerns Asahi Shimbun, This article was compiled from reports by Sachiko Miwa in Tokyo and Kazuyuki Kanai in Istanbul., 7 Jan 14, A pact required for Japan’s first nuclear plant export after the Fukushima disaster faces opposition over concerns about a possible proliferation of nuclear weapons.
Debate over the issue is expected when the government seeks Diet approval for the nuclear energy agreement with Turkey during a session that convenes this month. Japan and Turkey agreed to conclude the nuclear energy pact, a precondition for exporting nuclear technology, in May. It requires the recipient country to use technology, as well as equipment and materials, only for peaceful purposes.
However, the pact includes a provision allowing Turkey to enrich uranium and extract plutonium, a potential material for nuclear weapons, from spent fuel if the two countries agree in writing. A senior Foreign Ministry official said the clause was added at the request of Turkey.
The agreement would also pave the way for exporting Japan’s enrichment and spent nuclear fuel reprocessing technologies if revisions are made.
The provision has sparked criticism that it contradicts Japan’s stance against nuclear weapons. Continue reading
Nuclear Chemistry Expert: Steam at Fukushima reactor could be from corium burning through containment into groundwater http://enenews.com/nuclear-chemistry-expert-steam-at-unit-3-could-be-from-corium-burning-throug-containment-into-underlying-groundwater
|Judy Haar, former nuclear industry worker with a master’s degree in nuclear chemistry, Jan. 6, 2014: [...]the story continues to linger, and the speculations have not stopped. [...] With a high potential of fear-mongering, just the facts, please. [...] First noticed in July, 2013, the plant, [Fukushima Daiichi] Reactor 3, suddenly started releasing steam. [...] TEPCO [...] hypothesized it was caused by rain waters seeping into the reactors damaged containment vessel which hit thermal hot spots [...] On December 19, 24, 25, and 27, Reactor 3 started releasing steam, again. [...] this is a strong indicator of the fragile state the site is in [...] Reactor 3 ran on a mix of uranium and uranium/plutonium mixed fuel [...] which experienced a complete meltdown. We don’t know for sure at this time, but the corium could have burned its way through the reactor vessel due to extreme heat, thus reaching the underlying ground water and producing steam. [...]|
In the months after 3/11, Haar concluded, “The Answer is Clear: Nuclear Power is Safe — The three major reactor accidents have shown the industry that even among the worst accidents, few and far between, there is little loss of life, as compared to other fuels.”
And it appears Tepco won’t be the only company in the area emitting plumes related to hot radioactive material — NHK WORLD, Jan. 6, 2014: Nuclear waste incinerator to be built in Ibaraki [...] The personnel of JCO, a subsidiary of Sumitomo Metal Mining, began constructing an incinerator to dispose of low-level radioactive substances at its plant in Tokai Village, Ibaraki Prefecture, on Monday. The firm lost its business license for such processing after 2 workers died of radiation poisoning during the disposal process in September, 1999. More than 660 others in and around the plant, including residents, were exposed to radiation. [...] The firm is hoping to begin using the incinerator in November [...] Used work clothes and documents are among the item to be treated. [...] The firm’s officials say the facility’s air-filtering system will prevent any radioactive substances from leaking outside. [...]
See also: Nuclear Engineer: Radioactive plumes always coming out of Fukushima Unit 3 — “Water is not getting to hotspots… it’s because of melted core” — Fission may be taking place underneath reactor (AUDIO)
And: Nuclear Engineer: Radioactive plumes always coming out of Fukushima Unit 3 — “Water is not getting to hotspots… it’s because of melted core” — Fission may be taking place underneath reactor (AUDIO)
ABC News: Gov’t, scientists ‘baffled’ over white spots on cows around Fukushima plant — Farmer: No one knows what they are, I think it’s from radiation; “Our town’s contaminated like Chernobyl… We were just thrown away like trash” — Officials order the animals to be slaughtered (VIDEOS) http://enenews.com/abc-news-govt-baffled-over-white-spots-on-cows-around-fukushima-plant-farmer-no-one-knows-what-they-are-i-think-its-from-radiation-our-towns-contaminated-like-chernobyl-we-were-j
ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation), Jan. 4, 2014 (Emphasis Added):
Mark Willacy, ABC News (Australia) correspondent: He calls himself [...] the leader of the Fukushima nuclear resistance movement [...]
Masami Yoshizawa, ‘Ranch of Hope’ 14 km from Fukushima Daiichi: I won’t obey what the government says, because we were betrayed. Our community was destroyed by the nuclear disaster. [...]
What we saw and heard in Fukushima, “The Ranch of Hope”, Namie
Willacy: A radiation decontamination team arrives [...] Yoshizawa has defied a government order to slaughter his cows.
Yoshizawa: Instead of being slaughtered, these cattle should be used to study the long-term effects of radiation. Killing them is destroying evidence. [...]
Willacy: Scientists have descended on his property, saying it is important his herd is studied. [...] Some of Yoshizawa’s cattle have developed white spots. The ministry of agriculture has begun an investigation, but so far everyone is baffled.
Yoshizawa: “I showed these spots to many vets who came to my farm. But none of them knows what they are. I think it’s the result of radiation.” [...]
Masami Yoshizawa in Tokyo last May, published Dec. 26, 2013 13 (at 5:30 in): Our town is over. The end. It is like Chernobyl. [...] Our town has been contaminated like Chernobyl. [...] Our lives are totally destroyed. How depressed we are! So sad and empty. [...] We were just thrown away like the trash. [...] With all the rest of my life, I would like to fight against TEPCO and the government.
Citizens seek nuclear-free Shimane http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2014/01/06/national/citizens-seek-nuclear-free-shimane/#.UsweM9JDt9U BY ERIC JOHNSTON STAFF WRITER Shimane Prefecture citizens seeking to enact a local ordinance that would phase out nuclear power and develop renewable energy sources have collected more than 92,000 signatures of support from registered voters, well over the minimum needed to force the governor to introduce the ordinance to the prefectural assembly.
The latest move is part of a series of attempts by citizens’ groups around the nation to pass anti-nuclear power ordinances, none of which has succeeded so far.
Kenji Nanki, a spokesman for the group pushing for the ordinance, said local governments are checking the signatures against their voter registration lists but will present them to Shimane Gov. Zenbei Mizoguchi in early February. The governor is then expected to bring the issue to the assembly.
The ordinance calls on Shimane to establish a plan of action for getting out of nuclear power by an unspecified date, to up the use of natural and renewable energy sources, and to establish a committee to develop a concrete policy for that purpose.Chugoku Electric Power Co.’s Shimane nuclear plant, in Matsue, has two reactors. About 469,000 people in Shimane and Tottori prefectures live within 30 km of the plant. Last month, Chugoku Electric formally asked the Nuclear Regulation Authority to inspect reactor 2 to determine whether it meets new safety standards established last year.
Reactor 2 was built in 1989, making it one of Japan’s newer reactors. Shimane’s reactor 1, on the other hand, turns 40 years old this year and its future is uncertain.
Renewable village offers lifeline to Fukushima farmers New Scientist. 06 January 2014 by Rob Gilhool It seems the most unlikely place to try to put a utopian blueprint into practice. Yet a patch of land in Fukushima, the Japanese prefecture contaminated by nuclear fallout in 2011, holds the foundations of a model village of the future.
The prefecture was affected by the meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, following the earthquake and subsequent tsunami in March 2011. Now construction has started on a community-run project in the coastal city of Minamisoma to reuse farmland contaminated by fallout. About two-thirds of the city’s farmland lies within the nuclear evacuation zone.
So far the Renewable Energy Village (REV) boasts 120 photovoltaic panels, generating 30 kilowatts of power which is sold to a local utility. Plans are afoot to put wind turbines on some of the land. Recreational and educational facilities as well as an astronomical observatory will also be built if further funding can be secured.
Solar sharing Central to the project is what the Japanese call “solar sharing” – growing crops beneath raised solar panels. One crop that has already been planted, namely rapeseed, was chosen, say project organisers, because its oil is free of contaminants even though the plants themselves take in some radioisotopes such as those of caesium. Generous feed-in tariffs set by the government support the project……..http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn24816-renewable-village-offers-lifeline-to-fukushima-farmers.html#.UsyZe9JDuik
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