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The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

TEPCO removes canopy panel from Fukushima reactor N°1 building

fuk reactor n°1 canopy removal  july 28 2015The interior of the No. 1 reactor building of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant can be seen from above after a canopy panel was removed on July 28.

OKUMA, Fukushima Prefecture–Tokyo Electric Power Co. on July 28 started removing a canopy covering a damaged reactor building at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant to prepare for the eventual extraction of spent nuclear fuel inside.

Around 7 a.m., workers using a giant crane lifted away the first of six canopy panels, each measuring 40 meters long and 7 meters wide, from the No. 1 reactor building.

The 30-minute removal of the panel left a large hole in the canopy through which steel beams on the damaged upper part of structure could be seen from above. Workers closely monitored radiation levels in the surrounding areas during the removal process.

The utility plans to remove the remaining five panels from next week.

The removal of the canopy will allow TEPCO to clear debris inside the building, possibly in the latter half of fiscal 2016. That process should pave the way for the removal of nuclear fuel rods from the spent fuel pool in the building.

Before removing the canopy panel, the utility sprayed the inside of the reactor building with liquid resin through holes drilled in the cover to prevent radioactive materials from being stirred up during the dismantling work.

TEPCO initially planned to start removing the canopy panels from the No. 1 reactor building in summer 2014, but the schedule was delayed because a large amount of radioactive substances was released into the environment when the utility removed debris from the No. 3 reactor building in August 2013.

Even after the anti-scattering resin was sprayed into the No. 1 reactor building in May, removal of the canopy panel was postponed by a problem inside the building.

Source: Asahi Shimbun

http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201507280071

July 28, 2015 Posted by | Japan | , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima fishermen OK TEPCO plan to release decontaminated water into sea

fuk decontaminated release plan july 28 2015

SOMA, Fukushima Prefecture–Fishermen in northern Fukushima Prefecture gave Tokyo Electric Power Co. the green light on July 27 to release radioactive groundwater from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant into the ocean after it undergoes decontamination treatment.

The Soma-Futaba fisheries cooperative association approved TEPCO’s “subdrain plan” at a board member meeting after earlier approval by the Iwaki fisheries union, which brings together fishermen operating on the southern Fukushima coast, to back the plant operator’s plan.

After the decisions by the two fisheries unions, the Fukushima Prefectural Federation of Fisheries Cooperative Associations is expected to formally approve the subdrain plan in mid-August at the earliest.

To deal with the accumulation of contaminated groundwater at the plant, TEPCO and the central government implemented from May last year a “groundwater bypass” that intercepts clean groundwater before it flows into contaminated reactor buildings and reroutes it safely around the facility into the ocean.

Under the subdrain plan, the utility will pump 500 tons of water from 41 subdrain wells around the premises of the plant’s four crippled reactors each day. It expects that the amount of groundwater flowing into the reactor buildings will be drastically reduced, and the amount of contaminated water generated at the plant will be halved from the current levels.

The water will be released into the sea after it undergoes decontamination treatment to reduce cesium levels to below 1 becquerel and beta ray-emitting radioactive materials to less than 3 becquerels.

Because the decontamination equipment cannot remove tritium, water contaminated with the radioactive isotope that emits 1,500 becquerels or more of radiation will not be released into the sea.

TEPCO has sought the fisheries cooperatives’ approval of the subdrain plan.

But TEPCO’s delay in disclosing the flow of radioactive water into the ocean whenever it rained–which came to light in February–hampered negotiations with the fisheries unions, which felt the incident undermined their confidence in the utility.

At the meeting of the board members of the Soma-Futaba fisheries union, TEPCO officials explained that the subdrain plan was essential in reducing the flow of contaminated water into the ocean, according to Hiroyuki Sato, the union president.

The members who had remained strongly opposed eventually recognized the need for the subdrain plan and agreed to approve it, Sato said.

Based on requests from the two local fisheries cooperatives, the prefectural federation of fisheries unions will demand that TEPCO and the central government conduct periodic checks on waters emitted from the subdrain program.

The prefectural union will also request that a third-party watchdog monitor the process to prevent contaminated water from flowing into the ocean.

It will also request that TEPCO and the government to continue to provide compensation to local fishermen, while taking effective measures when the subdrain project causes harmful rumors about their products.

Source: Asahi Shimbun

http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201507280063

July 28, 2015 Posted by | Japan | | Leave a comment

Construction of seawall begins in Naraha

Construction of a new seawall has begun in a town near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, as authorities prepare to lift an evacuation order covering the area in September.

The seawall in Naraha Town was seriously damaged by the March 2011 tsunami. Construction of a new one had been delayed as radiation from the nuclear accident restricted entry to the town for about a year and a half.

Local government officials took part in a groundbreaking ceremony in the town on Monday ahead of the construction. Three trucks unloaded soil at the site after the ceremony.

The new seawall will be about 1.8 kilometers long. It will be built more inland than the previous one.
Its height will be 8.7 meters above sea level. That’s 2.5 meters higher than the previous one.

The construction will cost about 67 million dollars, and will be completed by March 2018.

The town of Naraha has a population of about 7,400. The evacuation order, covering almost the entire town, is scheduled to be lifted on September 5th.

Town Mayor Yukiei Matsumoto says some residents still suffer from memories of the tsunami, but he expects the construction to give them relief about returning home.
Source : NHK
http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20150727_27.html

July 28, 2015 Posted by | Japan | | Leave a comment

“Only Just Beginning…” – Arnie Gundersen & Paul Gunter on Fukushima’s Nuclear Crisis.

These two YouTube videos give a basic overview of the severity of the current situation in the ongoing Fukushima Nuclear Catastrophe.   Recommended:

Paul Gunter of Beyond Nuclear, Fukushima June 2015:

See also: http://www.beyondnuclear.org/

Arnie Gunderson, July 2015:

See also: http://www.fairewinds.org/

July 28, 2015 Posted by | Japan | | Leave a comment

“What means living in Fukushima”

Poem : “What means living in Fukushima”

Sometimes it annoys me when I hear:
“Do not eat Fukushima Fukushima”.

Sometimes it disgusts me when I hear:
“How do you want people in Tokyo to eat Fukushima products when Fukushima people do not eat them themselves there? “

I trembled with rage when I heard:
“You are like a murderer if you keep children in Fukushima.”

Who would keep his children here with the intention of murdering them?
We have no way to leave this place without the evacuation right together with compensation.

The brown rice of Mr. Nakamura which measures 3 becquerels
Radiation was not detected after removal of its husk.
I ate it.

Radioactivity in a public garden after its decontamination is 0,05μSv / h.

I have let my kid play there.
But not at the river banks because the radioactivity is still high there.

After playing outside, wash hands and gargle.
Do not lick. You’ll be irradiated.

But instead
In summer, I’ll take you to the island of Sado * for you to play outside as much as you like. 

We repeat endlessly.

“To measure radiation, to understand, to think and to decide.” 

This is living in Fukushima.

The radiation measured results have dropped.
But when compared with the radiation measured levels before the accident or with those in western Japan, they are still high. There is a limit to their reduction.

This is why we live taking health holidays, 

taking care and paying attention.

Now, they say,
That “there is no problem up to 20 mSv / year.”
That “we stop housing assistance in 2017″
That “we help those returning **”.

Those who caused the accident do not fulfill their responsibility,
and they decide to stop helping, abandoning us.

With risk or without risk, it is not to the state or to TEPCO to dictate.
It’s up to me to judge and to decide myself.

Notes

* Sado is an island that is located in the West side of Japan, in the Sea of Japan
** There will be only help for evacuees who accept to return to their former places of residence before the evacuation, as part of the return policy.

__

Posted on July 18, 2015 on Facebook by Hisao Seki,

living in the city of Nihonmatsu, Fukushima Prefecture

Via Nos Voisins Lointains 3.11_Les paroles des sinistrés nucléaires

Translated Japanese to French By Kurumi Sugita

& French to English by Hervé Courtois

 

●詩の投稿「福島で暮らす、ということは」

17日、18日と東京に行ってきました。17日はまず、「告訴団」が検察審議会に対して原発事故の責任を明確にするよう起訴するための「激励行動」に 行ったものです。200人ほどの人が全国から集まりました。その後は参議院で院内集会。引き続き「子ども被災者支援法」を改定するという復興庁の説 明会に向けて赤坂でアピールと浜田副大臣を交えての説明会、そして国会前の行動に行ってきました。支援法を改定するとは、要するに支援法の中身をきちんと 実施しないまま、4年が過ぎて線量が下がったからこれに見合った支援の形を取っていくための法整備ですが、2017年には自主避難者の借り上げの家賃補助 を廃止、除染も終了、2018年にはADRを含むすべての賠償を停止するというものです。東京で一回、福島でやってあとはパブコメを集めて意見を聞いて終 了というものです。これは、戦争法を強行採決した安倍政権の方針と同じ路線のもので、「福島を見殺しにして戦争にひた走るアベ政治」と言えるものです。国 会前ではアベ政治に抗議する多くの人たちが集まっていました。18日は澤地久江さんが呼びかけた一斉行動で1時に「アベ政治を許さない」を全国で展開しま した。私もこれからは車に「アベ政治を許さない」を貼って宣伝しようとっています。

「 福島で暮らすってことは  」
2015年7月18日

ときどき イラッとする
福島産 食べちゃいけないって 言葉に
ときどき ムカッとする
福島のひとが 福島産 食べないで
どうして 東京のひとが 食べますかって 言葉に
ふるえるほど 腹が立った
「福島に 子どもを置くことは ヒトゴロシと一緒だ」 の言葉

だれが わが子 殺したくて ここに 置く
避難の権利 補償なかったら 出るに 出られねえべ

ナカムラさんの玄米 3ベクレル
精米すれば 不検出 だから おれは食べた
除染した 公園の線量0,05 だから遊ばせた
土手はダメ まだ高いから 終わったら 手 洗って うがいして
なめたらダメ ヒバクすっから そのかわり
夏は佐渡で 思いっきり 外遊び させっからない

「はかる わかる 考え 決める」の くりかえし
福島で暮らすって そういうことなんだよ

線量も 下がったけんど 西日本とかの
もともとと 比べたら やっぱし 高いのさ 限界あるのさ
だから 保養 行ったり 手当てしたり 気い使って 暮らしてんのさ
それをな 「20ミリシーベルトで問題ありません」とか
「2017年で住宅支援打ち切り」 「帰還者には支援」とか
事故起こしたもんが 責任も 取らねえで
きめる 打ち切る 放り出す
安全か どうかは 国や東電が決めるんでは ねえ
おれが 自分で 判断することなんだぞい

July 27, 2015 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Nuclear expert tasked with leading Fukushima decommissioning

Toru Ogawa, a 64-year-old nuclear research expert, has been entrusted with probably the most challenging task facing Japan — leading the decommissioning process at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant.
This April, Ogawa, a professor at Nagaoka University of Technology in Niigata Prefecture, was installed as the first chief in the Collaborative Laboratories for Advanced Decommissioning Science, a government-funded research center supporting the decommissioning.
“Our research and development must be flexible based on our analysis of the (March 2011) accident and information collected by robotic probes (in the reactor buildings),” Ogawa said during a recent interview.
The center started out with a workforce of 80 within the Japan Atomic Energy Agency based in Tokai, Ibaraki Prefecture, as a research base for decommissioning the plant, which is plagued by increasing amounts of contaminated water.
Looking back on the disaster, which was triggered by the powerful Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami in March 2011, Ogawa said, “The government and the agency should have envisioned the worst-case scenario, in which all multiple layers of defense are destroyed.”
When the plant lost nearly all of its power sources and consequently the ability to cool the reactors and spent fuel pools, units 1, 2 and 3 suffered core meltdowns, while hydrogen explosions damaged the buildings housing reactors 1, 3 and 4.
“We will certainly need technological support from abroad,” Ogawa said.
He added that “we can’t carry out the decommissioning task” unless the center receives support and expertise from the United States, which experienced a meltdown at its Three Mile Island power plant in 1979, and other countries that have disposed of military nuclear waste.
Ogawa said he wants to increase the total workforce at the center to some 150 by inviting around 10 Japanese and foreign experts each year.
The center will be moved closer to Fukushima No. 1 during fiscal 2016, which begins next April 1.
A native of Yokohama, Ogawa studied nuclear engineering at Tohoku University in Sendai.
The focus of his research was on high-temperature gas reactors — the next generation reactor known to have a lower risk of core meltdowns, rather than commercial light-water reactors like the ones at Fukushima No. 1.
In researching what will be needed to complete the decommissioning project, which will take several decades, he is currently assessing the state of the melted fuel in reactors 1, 2 and 3, putting together a puzzle with small scraps of information obtained by robotic probes in the reactor buildings.

Source: Japan Times
http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/07/27/national/nuclear-expert-tasked-with-leading-fukushima-decommissioning/#.VbYRmRNViko

July 27, 2015 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Tepco to start removing the largest debris from Reactor 3 pool / Worker “The most dangerous process”

Tepco-to-start-removing-the-largest-debris-from-Reactor-3-pool july 23 2015

On 7/25/2015, the former Fukushima worker “Happy11311″ posted on Twitter that Tepco is going to start removing the largest debris from SFP 3 (Spent Fuel Pool of Reactor 3) on 2nd August. “Joint communications” published the news followed by other mass media but Tepco has made no official announcement on their website.

Joint communications reported that the debris to be removed weighs 20 t, but “Happy11311″ commented on Twitter that it is the 35 t of fuel handling machine. He added this is one of the most risky processes in decommissioning of Fukushima plant as fuel removal from SFP 4 (Spent Fuel Pool of Reactor 4).

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The latest challenge at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is to remove a 20-ton piece of debris from a pool holding over 500 spent fuel rods.

More than four years after the plant was hit by a massive earthquake and tsunami, Fukushima Daiichi’s operator Tokyo Electric Power  said it would start work on the critical task this week using a specially designed crane.

“The debris will be pulled out using two cranes, but we had to create a specially designed hook with a unique shape for it to securely hold on to the object,” a Tepco spokesman told Japan Real Time on Monday.

The object is what remains of a fuel handling machine originally located above the surface of the water. The debris is preventing Tepco from removing the spent fuel rods to a safer location. It is the largest object requiring removal inside the power plant’s reactor No. 3, according to the company.

The removal will be conducted at the slowest possible speed to ensure safety. The pool’s water level, as well as any signs of a jump in radiation levels, will be monitored closely with multiple cameras during the procedure. The debris must be lifted so that it won’t swing or cause damage to the spent fuel pool’s gates.

While it is unlikely that any water from the pool will leak even if the object comes into contact with the gate, Tepco said it will be ready to add water in case of a drawdown. Reduced water levels or exposure to air could cause the radioactive fuel rods to heat up.

All other procedures at Fukushima Daiichi will be halted while the debris is being removed, according to the company.

Sources:

https://twitter. com/Happy11311/status/624896752231952384

https://twitter. com/Happy11311/status/625636958941810689

https://twitter. com/Happy11311/status/625638084642668552

http://daily.2ch.net/test/read.cgi/newsplus/1437817703/

http://blogs.wsj.com/japanrealtime/2015/07/27/fukushima-operator-prepares-to-lift-20-ton-debris-from-fuel-pool/

July 27, 2015 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

Crucial emergency test begins at Sendai nuclear plant ahead of upcoming restart on August 10, 2015

An emergency drill to contain a severe accident like the Fukushima nuclear disaster started at the Sendai nuclear power plant on July 27, a final hurdle the operator must clear before a planned restart next month.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority, the nation’s nuclear watchdog, inspected the site to see if plant workers followed Kyushu Electric Power Co.’s revamped procedures for responding to a crisis. The steps were approved by the NRA in May.

The No. 1 reactor of the plant in Satsumasendai, Kagoshima Prefecture, is expected to be the nation’s first to go back online under the new regulations set by the NRA for nuclear power plants after the 2011 Fukushima accident.

Kyushu Electric plans to restart the reactor as early as Aug. 10.

On the first day of the four-day drill, the exercise began at 10 a.m. under a scenario that the plant lost the ability to cool its No. 1 reactor due to the loss of power, just like the 2011 accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co.

The scenario also envisages that the nuclear fuel rods begin melting 19 minutes after the water level in the reactor began dropping.

During the drill, Kyushu Electric employees are expected to confirm steps to prevent a rupture of the reactor’s containment vessel to avert the release of a huge amount of radioactive materials into the atmosphere.

At the central control room, utility employees worked to secure power from large-scale, mobile power generators via remote control.

The backup devices were installed on the plant’s premises in line with the new regulations.

The employees also simulated the operation of equipment that lowers the concentration of hydrogen in the containment vessel to reduce the possibility of a hydrogen explosion.

As part of efforts to bolster its ability to deal with a serious accident, Kyushu Electric increased the number of night staff on duty at the plant to 52 from 12 prior to the Fukushima disaster.

Source: Asahi Shimbun

http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201507270069

July 27, 2015 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

JAPC Applies for Permission to Bury Tokai-1 Waste on Plant Premises

The Japan Atomic Power Co. (JAPC), under the terms of a local nuclear safety agreement, submitted a plan to Ibaraki Prefecture and Tokai Village to bury extremely low-level radioactive waste (Level III or L3) generated by the current decommissioning of its Tokai-1 Nuclear Power Plant (GCR, 166 MWe), located in the village. At the same time, JAPC also filed an application with the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) for approval to bury the waste.
The waste burial is to take place on the premises of the nuclear power plant, which is the country’s first commercial reactor to be decommissioned. This is also the first time in Japan that a commercial NPP operator has submitted an application for an L3 burial plan connected with a reactor’s decommissioning.
The plan calls for the creation of a trench on the Tokai-1 premises that will be 100m long, 80m wide and 4m deep. The L3 waste will be first put in flexible container (flecon) bags and then buried in the trench, where it will remain under control for three to five decades as it becomes less radioactive. The trench will be capable of accommodating about 26,400 cubic meters of waste, with the total amount of waste to be buried expected to be some 16,000 tons. After considering the plan, which includes both management methods and safety measures, both the prefecture and village will decide whether to give their consent, and the NRA will also determine whether to approve it or not. Once the NRA does give it the green light, JAPC will begin work on constructing the trench, targeting FY18 (April 2018 to March 2019) for the onset of operation. 

Source: Japan Atomic Industry Forum 

http://www.jaif.or.jp/en/japc-applies-for-permission-to-bury-tokai-1-waste-on-plant-premises/

July 27, 2015 Posted by | Japan | | Leave a comment

No idea what to do with the radioactive trash, but Japan still plans to make more of it

While moves are being made to restart nuclear reactors in Japan, the weaknesses in nuclear power that have led to nuclear plants being likened to “apartments without toilets,” remain unsolved.

Despite moves to restart reactors, Japan lacks nuclear waste disposal site http://mainichi.jp/english/english/perspectives/news/20150708p2a00m0na018000c.html 

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a news conference on July 7 that the government would restart nuclear reactors that met new safety standards established by the nation’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA).

The same day, Kyushu Electric Power Co. began loading fuel into a reactor at its Sendai Nuclear Power Plant in Kagoshima Prefecture. The Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan released a statement saying, “This is one important step. Preparation for reactivation is progressing step by step.” Within the electric power industry, hopes are spreading that if one reactor is restarted, then the screening of other reactors will move ahead more smoothly.

Later this month, the government will formally adopt a proposal stating that nuclear power account for 20-22 percent of Japan’s energy mix by fiscal 2030. Based on this, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has made an international declaration that Japan will cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 26 percent from 2013 levels.

wastes garbage

It is evident that the long-term idling of nuclear reactors has strained electric power companies financially, and both power companies and the government are aligned in seeking to restart these reactors, but the process is not all smooth sailing.

Under the Nuclear Reactor Regulation Law, the life of nuclear reactors is set at 40 years in principle. To extend this period, reactors must pass stringent NRA guidelines before this 40-year mark is reached. In fiscal 2030, there will be just 22 reactors in Japan that have been operating less than 40 years. To have nuclear power account for 20-22 percent of the nation’s energy mix, around 35 reactors would need to be in operation, according to Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Yoichi Miyazawa. This would mean the life of a dozen or so reactors would need to be extended.

And yet the problem of nuclear waste remains. About 17,000 tons of spent fuel sits in Japan, and the pools for spent fuel at the nation’s nuclear power plants are nearly full. In the case of the Genkai Nuclear Power Plant, which Kyushu Electric Power Co. is hoping to get back online together with the Sendai Nuclear Power Plant, the pools for spent fuel would be full after just three years of operation. Finding a place to store this fuel is an urgent task.

The government has positioned the “nuclear fuel cycle,” under which spent nuclear fuel is reprocessed, allowing uranium and plutonium to be reused as nuclear fuel, as a central part of the nation’s energy policy. However, the Rokkasho Nuclear Fuel Reprocessing Facility in Aomori Prefecture has been plagued with problems, with the schedule for its completion being delayed 21 times. Moreover, the fast-breeder reactor Monju, which uses plutonium, has hardly operated at all over the past 20 years, effectively leaving the cycle broken.

Furthermore, there is currently no prospect of settling on a final disposal site for the highly radioactive waste that is produced after reprocessing. In May this year, the government switched to a policy of naming scientifically “promising” disposal sites, preparing the way to reactivate nuclear reactors.

From the same month, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has held explanations for workers of local government bodies across Japan, but about 30 percent of these bodies have not attended. One in Tokushima Prefecture argued that attending would give local residents the impression that it has accepted disposal site plans.

The explanations have been held behind closed doors, sparking criticism at a ministry meeting of experts that it appears things are being done in secret.

While moves are being made to restart nuclear reactors in Japan, the weaknesses in nuclear power that have led to nuclear plants being likened to “apartments without toilets,” remain unsolved.

July 27, 2015 Posted by | Japan, wastes | Leave a comment

Every single hour Fukushima’s stricken reactors discharge 960,000Bq Cs-134/137 to the air

Author-Fukushima-diaryStill 960,000Bq Cs-134/137 and 2,336,000,000Bq noble gas discharged from reactors to the air every single hour http://fukushima-diary.com/2015/06/still-960000bq-of-cs-134137-and-2336000000bq-of-noble-gas-discharged-from-reactors-to-the-air-every-single-hour/ On 5/25/2015, Tepco reported still 960,000 Bq / hour of Cesium-134 and 137 is assumed to be discharged from Reactor 1 -4 to the air this April.

This is 2.7 times much as their provisional figure published in the end of April.

Tepco states the difference is caused by the change of calculation method. It strongly suggests the entire historical discharged volume of Cs-134/137 has been underestimated since 311 however they did not disclose the recalculated discharged volume before April of 2014.

Comparing to May of 2014, the discharged volume of Cs-134/137 increased to 180% this April. Tepco however states this is lower than 10% of the set point of “discharge control”, and they haven’t made any explanation on this increase.

Especially in Reactor 3, the discharged volume increased 78 times much as May. 2014. Also, 95,000 Bq / hour of Cs-134/137 is discharged from Reactor 4 building though it does not contain nuclear fuel.

Regarding noble gas (such as Kr-85), PCV (Primary Containment Vessel)  gas control system detected 2,336,000,000 Bq of gas discharged from Reactor 1-3 every hour this April. Tepco states noble gas passes by as radioactive cloud to cause only external exposure so the exposure dose caused by the discharged noble gas should be significantly small.

http://www.tepco.co.jp/nu/fukushima-np/f1/smp/2015/images/additional_amount_150525-j.pdf

http://www.tepco.co.jp/life/custom/faq/images/d150430_08-j.pdf

July 27, 2015 Posted by | Fukushima 2015 | Leave a comment

Immmorality of nuclear weapons, power – former International Court of Justice President Mohammed Bedjaoui

ethics-nuclearFormer ICJ head says Japan is world’s conscience against nuclear weapons, power  http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/social_affairs/AJ201507260018  July , 26, 2015 By ROY K. AKAGAWA/ AJW Staff Writer HIROSHIMA–Due to their bearing witness to the destruction of the atomic bomb and a nuclear disaster, Japan and its people are “the keepers and shepherds of Planet Earth.”

That was the key conclusion of the keynote address by former International Court of Justice President Mohammed Bedjaoui on July 25 at the International Symposium for Peace 2015 titled “The Road to Nuclear Abolition” held at the International Conference Center Hiroshima.

“Japan becomes the only country in the world to have been the victim of both military and civilian nuclear energy, having experienced the crazy danger of the atom, both in its military applications, destruction of life and its beneficial civilian use, which has now turned into a nightmare with the serious incidents of Fukushima,” he said.

He was referring to not only the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945, but also the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant in 2011, triggered by the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.

Bedjaoui was the president of the ICJ in 1996 when it issued an advisory opinion that marked an important turning point in the international movement to ban nuclear weapons.

Other participants took part in a panel discussion in which they presented their views on what the atomic bombings mean today. The event was sponsored by the Hiroshima municipal government, the Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation and The Asahi Shimbun. Masako Ikegami, a professor of decision science at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, said the passing of 70 years since the atomic bombings was sufficient time to consider the weapons in a new light.

“In humanitarian terms, nuclear weapons are unacceptable, and discussions have to move toward acknowledging their use as a crime against humanity,” she said.

Max McCoy, a university professor and writer from the United States, visited Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1986 as part of a project to bring U.S. journalists to Japan.

Showing the photos he took at that time and recalling the interviews he had with hibakusha, McCoy talked about the importance of passing on the experiences of those who survived the atomic bombing.

“We need to remember the testimony of the hibakusha and to know the truth of what (the atomic bombings) were like,” McCoy said.

The symposium began with guest speaker Dai Tamesue talking about what would be needed to maintain peace.

“I believe a major problem arises when an atmosphere develops in society which makes it difficult to speak up in a different way from the vast majority,” Tamesue, a retired athlete, said.

He was asked to speak because he is a third-generation hibakusha. Tamesue, who was the first Japanese track athlete to win a medal at the world track and field championships, was born and raised in Hiroshima. His grandmother was in Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945, when the atomic bomb was dropped on the city.

July 27, 2015 Posted by | Japan, Religion and ethics | Leave a comment

Reconstruction plans drawn up for no-go municipalities near Fukushima plant

On Saturday a panel at the Reconstruction Agency produced a final draft of proposals to help 12 municipalities in Fukushima Prefecture recover from the March 2011 nuclear accident.
The proposals include improving medical services to help the evacuees being forced to return home, developing new industries to create jobs, and beefing up administrative services by getting municipalities to cooperate with each other more closely. The draft declares a goal of completing reconstruction plans by 2020. The municipalities are all located close to the Fukushima nuclear plant, the site of the disaster.
The central government says they will work to secure funding. The central government has also pledged to lift evacuation orders for the 12 municipalities, by March 2017, although areas with “persistently high radiation levels” are excluded from the target. 

Source: Japan Times 

http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/07/26/national/reconstruction-plans-drawn-up-for-no-go-municipalities-near-fukushima-plant/#.VbVNoPmFSM9

July 26, 2015 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

20 μSv/h still detected in Fukushima city

FULL VIDEO (courtesy of 福島日報ダイジェスト)

Video-20-μSvh-still-detected-in-Fukushima-city-july 26 2015It went over scale of the ordinary dosimeter tested by Ministry of the Environment.

A citizen’s group on the look out for hotspots finds over 20 uSv/h spikes in a park, frequented by children and joggers, in Watari, Fukushima shi, by the Abukuma riverbed. 5 years into the crisis, hotspots can be found aplenty.

Putting aside the many hotspots as seen in the following video, the average measurement across the park remains 0.5 uSv/h. That does not deter the nearby High School to send off students for a little run … in areas close to 1 uSv/h.

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As the brave residents recorded a nearby hotspot of more than 20 uSv/h, a mother could be seen in the same vicinity, playing in the grass with her small child.

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Sources:

福島日報ダイジェスト

5年目のホットスポット 福島市で20マイクロ超え 

Fukushima Diary

http://fukushima-diary.com/2015/07/video-20-%CE%BCsvh-still-detected-in-fukushima-city/

July 26, 2015 Posted by | Japan | | Leave a comment

Sendai nuclear plant to restart as early as Aug.10

The operator of the Sendai nuclear power plant in southern Japan submitted an application on Friday to the country’s regulator to get final approval for putting one of its reactors online.

Kyushu Electric Power Company is hoping to turn on the reactor as early as August 10th.

The utility has completed the assembly of the reactor core after loading nearly 160 fuel rod assemblies into the plant’s No.1 reactor in early July.

It has also finished checking a water level gauge system for the containment vessel and confirmed that it is working normally.

Kyushu Electric Power will also conduct a drill starting from Monday to train for a possible severe accident. The exercise is mandated by the government’s new regulations to be performed before a reactor is restarted.

If no problems are found, the No. 1 reactor will go online as early as August 10th.

Last year the plant cleared the government’s new regulations introduced after the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant. It was the first nuclear facility in Japan to do so 

Source NHK 

http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/20150725_15.html

July 26, 2015 Posted by | Japan | , | Leave a comment

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