The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Japan just does not know what to do with its masses of radioactive trash

With no plans, designated waste sits by farms  Japan News, September 12, 2014 The Yomiuri Shimbun Most radioactive-contaminated materials being kept at temporary storage sites in Fukushima and nearby prefectures still have nowhere to go.


In the Tohoku and Kanto regions, the 2011 crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant has produced a massive amount of waste tainted with radioactive substances that were released into the air from the power plant.

However, the central government is having difficulty finding locations to build final disposal sites, where the waste will be buried underground. At this stage, there are no clear prospects for construction plans anywhere in the regions.

“Authorities say it’s safe, but will it really be safe, even when we’re hit by tornadoes or typhoons? I hope it moves somewhere else soon,” said a rice farmer in his 60s in Tome, Miyagi Prefecture, referring to one of the warehouses of “designated waste” that stand in an area of farmland near his rice paddies. The city is one of the most famous rice-producing areas in the prefecture.

Covered in sheets of silver foil designed to protect against the sun’s rays, the warehouses store the designated waste — rice straw that was originally supposed to be used as livestock feed. The city government initially explained that the warehouses would be kept in the farmer’s vicinity for only two years — until January this year.

Waste with cesium levels higher than 8,000 becquerels per kilogram will receive an environmental ministry designation based on the special measures law on handling environmental pollution caused by radioactive substances. The amount in Tokyo and 11 other prefectures totaled about 146,000 tons as of June 30, according to the Environment Ministry……..

As a construction plan for final disposal site has been substantially delayed, the contaminated rice straw will remain in the warehouses for the time being…….

September 15, 2014 Posted by | Japan, wastes | Leave a comment

Masao Yoshida’s fears of nuclear catastrophe

Top-Secret Fukushima Interview: All the melted nuclear fuel will escape from containment vessel … it’s completely exposed — Nuclear annihilation of entire eastern part of Japan envisioned
 Asahi Shimbun,

Sept 12, 2014 : Yoshida feared nuclear ‘annihilation’ of eastern Japan, testimony shows Continue reading

September 15, 2014 Posted by | - Fukushima 2011, Fukushima 2014 | Leave a comment

Testimony reveals despair of Fukushima Nuclear Plant Chief Yoshida

Secret Fukushima Testimony Revealed: Plant chief considered “disemboweling himself” after explosions… “I should kill myself” — Smoke seen at No. 3 reactor before blast, “I figured this was the end of plant” — At start of crisis “I was in despair… panicking… I could not afford to logically think”

The Times (UK), Sept. 11 2014: Hero of Fukushima nuclear disaster considered hara-kiri … [Masao] Yoshida describes his horror on realising the reactors faced meltdown… [He] contemplated ritually disembowelling himself after an explosion that appeared to have killed dozens of his men… the manager of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, made the admission in recently released secret testimony…

Former Fukushima Daiichi plant manager Masao Yoshida’s interview with gov’t investigation committee, Yomiuri Shimbun, published Sept. 10, 2014:

No. 1 Reactor — “I was in despair… I was panicking… I could not afford to logically think”

  • YOSHIDA: “To be honest, I was stunned [the plant lost all AC power]. I thought the situation was grave… My first thought was, ‘It’s a calamity.’… I was in despair… The No. 1 reactor fell into a state of crisis first, and then the No. 3 reactor. A crisis [like an explosion] could have erupted at any time… honestly, I was panicking… the No. 1 reactor exploded… Everything was in turmoil, and I could not afford to logically think.”

No. 3 Reactor Explosion — “I thought I should kill myself… I should commit harakiri”

  • Q: TEPCO’s records show radiation levels registered 300 millisieverts within the consecutive doors leading into the [No. 3] reactor building, and also that there was whitish smoke nearby… YOSHIDA: “Yes… before an explosion took place there… I assumed that the No. 3 reactor’s fuel had been damaged… and that steam and other leaks from its container were starting to fill its building… I figured this was the end of the plant. That is to say, I wanted to inject water sooner, but in the end, a range of circumstances piled up and conspired against us… I explained that the No. 3 reactor also had its fuel rod damaged and that, based on the pressure in the containment vessel, it was approaching the same condition the No. 1 reactor had been in. There was a risk of another explosion at 9:30 a.m. or 10 a.m. on March 14, so I called for an evacuation of all personnel at that time… However, when discussing this with headquarters, I was told, “Just how long are you evacuating?” I told them that there was a risk of an explosion, and there was no way we could put personnel on the ground… The pressure on the containment vessel had dropped a bit… I issued the order to go back, and almost as we were doing so, it exploded. They said there were about 40-plus people missing… I thought I should kill myself at that point. If that report were true, and some 40-plus people were really dead, I thought I should commit harakiri.”

No. 2 Reactor — “The containment vessel might have been destroyed”

  • YOSHIDA: “That morning [of March 15]… we got word that the [pressure in the No. 2 reactor's suppression chamber] had reached zero… the containment vessel might have broken. Thinking conservatively, this meant the vessel might have been destroyed, and that popping sound would suggest some sort of breakage… I decided to treat this as an emergency and issued an evacuation order, leaving only core [personnel]… I gave an order for all other personnel to temporarily evacuate from the site… the prime minister came at, I think, a bit after 5 a.m… I stated that I was evacuating personnel. There was pushback that the containment vessel would surely not explode because there was still pressure, but I countered that the pressure gauges could not be trusted.”

See also: Deceased Fukushima Chief: “I thought we were really dead” — Fear of “nuclear doom for eastern Japan” — “A total failure in which the fuel melts and breaches… containment vessel”

September 13, 2014 Posted by | - Fukushima 2011 | Leave a comment

Masao Yoshida warned Japan of the dangers of large nuclear plants

safety-symbol-Smflag-japanLate Fukushima manager flagged ‘density danger’ risks plaguing Japan’s big nuclear plants September 12, 2014 Recently disclosed documents show the late manager of Japan’s destroyed Fukushima plant warned of safety risks in restarting nuclear power stations in the seismic-prone country, which is considering rebooting full-scale nuclear energy production.

Transcripts of interviews with Masao Yoshida, who headed the emergency response team at Fukushima nuclear plant after the disaster, reveal that Japan’s big nuclear facilities with six or seven reactors had inherent safety risks and were difficult to operate.“When you’re talking about demerits, most other plants have four [reactors] at one site,” said Yoshida, who died of cancer last year, according to transcripts released by the Japanese government Thursday.“I’ve always disliked dense location [of nuclear reactors].”

Yoshida specifically cited the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa site in northern Japan, also run by Fukushima operator TEPCO. A seven-reactor facility, he said, was difficult to operate as “chaos” ruled the site after the earthquake. He added that grouping numerous nuclear reactors together made it more difficult to manage.

“I thought it wasn’t very good from a risk-diversification standpoint, but [Tepco] had already built this [Fukushima Daiichi] and Kashiwazaki, so I had to work within that [system],” he said, Reuters reported. The Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Nuclear Power Plant was completely shut down for 21 months following an earthquake in 2007.The transcript released by the government is part of a government investigation into the causes of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Since the 2011 incident, Japan has shut down all of its nuclear facilities.

But on Wednesday, Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) approved the restart of two reactors of a nuclear power station at Sedai after the plant met safety requirements needed. It is seen as the first step to reopening an industry of 48 reactors.

Under Japanese safety regulations, reactors after 40 years are to be decommissioned, unless they receive a 20-year extension. Reuters estimates that as many as two-thirds of Japan’s 48 idled nuclear units may never restart again.

Prior to March 2011, Japan generated 30 percent of its electrical power from nuclear reactors.

September 13, 2014 Posted by | Japan, safety | Leave a comment

Japanese government slow to recognise dire situation of Fukushima nuclear plant

Fukushima plant chief rapped gov’t for not sharing sense of crisis, Fukushima Emergency What Can We Do  by  September 11, 2014

The late chief of the disaster-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant criticized politicians in his testimony, saying they completely failed to grasp the dire situation that workers faced at the height of the crisis, and that they only brought about further confusion, according to documents disclosed by the government Thursday…….

September 13, 2014 Posted by | - Fukushima 2011, Fukushima 2014 | Leave a comment

Obstacles in the way of nuclear restart for Japan’s Sendai reactors

speed-bumpSeriously? Japan Plans to Restart Nuclear Reactors by , 09/10/14 Despite the devastation wreaked by the Fukushima meltdown in 2011, Japan wants to restart two nuclear reactors that were shut off in the wake of the disaster. According to the Guardian, Japan’s nuclear watchdog has said the reactors can be started up again, as long as the operator can convince the local communities they are safe. That might not be an easy task as the Japanese public has been wary of nuclear power since Fukushima, which was the worst atomic disaster since Chernobyl.

Japan’s Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NRA) only gave permission to open the Sendai plant in southern Japan after a 400-page safety report and months of public consultation. Plant operator, Kyushu Electric Power still needs to get two more NRA approvals for other facilities at the plant, as well as the all-important public approval. So it’s unlikely the plants will open until sometime in 2015.

Newly-appointed Japanese Industry Minister, Yuko Obuchi will have to be persuasive to restart the plant, and she acknowledges she has a tough road ahead of her. “If people say they are worried, I think it’s only natural,” she told the Guardian. “If you are a mother, I think it is a kind of feeling that everyone has. The central government must offer a full explanation to these sentiments.” She added that it’s important to earn the “understanding of hosting communities” who might not like nuclear facilities operating in the backyard, despite the new safety rules.

But Greenpeace Japan is campaigning to have the country abandon nuclear power altogether. The organization says the government is ignoring the fact that Japan has done just fine without nuclear power over the past year, and that it favors dangerous nuclear energy over renewable sources. “The government . . . is ignoring the lessons of Fukushima and attempting to prevent the renewable energy revolution, trying to take the nation back to its dependence on dangerous and unreliable nuclear power,” Kazue Suzuki of Greenpeace Japan said in the Guardian.

September 11, 2014 Posted by | Japan, politics | Leave a comment

Restart of Sendai nuclear reactors not happening soon, despite propaganda announcement

Nuclear magicianJapanese regulator caves to the nuclear industry and government pressure – but still no restart for Sendai by Kendra Ulrich – 10 September, 2014 As with all things nuclear, things are not always what they seem.

Good example – today’s decision on the so called restarting of the Sendai reactors by the Japanese Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NRA), the best nuclear regulator in the world, according to the Abe government.

The five NRA commissioners decided that a proposal submitted by Kyushu Electric, owner of the Sendai reactors, complies with new guidelines brought in after the 2011 Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear catastrophe.

What the commissioners actually did was capitulate to pressure from Japan’s infamous nuclear village – the same industry and government alliance that created the Fukushima nuclear disaster. The decision really means that Kyushu Electric has moved restarting the Sendai reactors forward a bit, but it’s still not a restart approval. It doesn’t mean the NRA has certified the reactors as safe to operate or that they will restart anytime soon.

Why the confusion?

In part, it’s a savvy political strategy and a deliberate effort by the regulator, acting for the nuclear utilities and the Abe government, to signal that nuclear power is back in Japan.

The timing is no accident. In a few days, Japan celebrates an entire year without a single commercial nuclear reactor operating. It’s a powerful symbolic moment and a concrete demonstration that nuclear power, and its inherent risks, is unnecessary for the third largest global economy, with a population of 130 million people.

This is a major body blow to the nuclear industry both in Japan and globally. It’s a lesson the nuclear industry and its government backers would rather the public did not learn.

When the Ohi 4 reactor in Fukui prefecture was shut down on September 15th 2013, Japan became completely nuclear-free. A year later Japan is still nuclear-free. Many of the remaining 48 nuclear power reactors in Japan will stay shutdown permanently. Most of those that may restart will not do so for years to come.

The Abe government is desperate to prevent people from grasping that the world’s third largest nuclear reactor program has failed to generate any electricity for 12 months. In that year, there have been no blackouts or brownouts, the trains still run, the lights still turn on, and smart phones are still charged.

Most people in Japan understand that the declared government policy, that nuclear power is an essential and a stable source of energy, is a myth. They will not be fooled. The majority of the public are demanding no nuclear reactor restarts, an end to nuclear power, and a future energy system based on efficiency and renewables.

In fact, they are already creating this clean energy future with massive growth in solar PV, and significant reductions in energy demand since the Fukushima disaster.

Nuclear regulation worldwide exists to give the impression that nuclear power can be managed safely and without risk of severe accident. That is not the same as actually assuring safety and no severe risk of accidents.

The Japanese NRA, created from the discredited agencies that contributed to the Fukushima catastrophe, in the past months has revealed that it takes the side of industry instead of standing up for public safety.

The decision today highlights this wider truth. The NRA is still reviewing many remaining unresolved safety issues that scientists and citizens groups are also challenging.

So flawed is the safety case for Sendai that local citizens are seeking an injunction against Kyushu Electric and the government to stop them from operating the plant. No restart reflects public opinion

The latest polling shows 59% of Japanese people oppose restarting nuclear reactors, including Sendai. The NRA decision ignores the majority opinion.

The people of Japan, still suffering the ongoing tragedy of Fukushima, understand that the NRA is not protecting the public but only the interests of an industry in crisis.

The plan of the Abe administration and electric utilities to return Japan to nuclear power is in disarray, with no early restart for the Sendai reactors, and ever-increasing challenges for the other 46 reactors.

Sendai may make headlines in Japan and elsewhere today as a step toward restarts, but it does not change that for an entire year, as of September 15th, Japan will have been nuclear-free.

This is in large part due to the commitment of the people of Japan who have taken to the streets to protest nuclear restarts, have fought and won in courts, have massively reduced energy demand, and rapidly expanded clean, renewable solar PV.

This is impressive leadership from the people has advanced Japan’s future despite the determination of the Abe Government and dirty energy industries to drag Japan backward into the energy dark ages.

The people have proven their commitment to a clean energy future, and they’ve shown the world that it is possible. It is happening now.

Kendra Ulrich is an energy campaigner with Greenpeace International.

September 11, 2014 Posted by | Japan, spinbuster | Leave a comment

Critical situation at Fukushima nuclear reactor No 2 on March 11 2011

Fukushima No. 2 scrambled to avoid same fate as sister site Fukushima No. 1  Fukushima Emergency – what can we do? by  Sep 10, 2014 

FUKUSHIMA – This is the fifth in a series on the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe based on the accounts of people who struggled to contain the crisis in its early stages. Job titles and ages are as of March 2011.

Fukushima No. 1 wasn’t the only nuclear complex facing a critical situation after the magnitude-9.0 earthquake of March 11, 2011, unleashed a monster tsunami on the coast of Tohoku.
Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 2 plant, located about 12 km south of the No. 1 plant, also saw seawater pumps and electrical equipment flooded by the tsunami, which led three of its four reactors to lose key cooling functions.
Still, the extent of the damage was less devastating than that at its sister plant and one off-site power source that remained operable provided more leeway for workers to deal with the emergency.
For No. 2 plant chief Naohiro Masuda, 53, the worst situation imaginable was to lose control of both plants at the same time.
So when he watched on television as an explosion rocked the No. 1 reactor building at the other complex on March 12, Masuda issued an order that could be seen by some as coldhearted.
“Don’t allow anyone (from Fukushima No. 1) to enter our emergency response office building,” the plant chief said.
The building houses the emergency first-aid station.
Masuda’s decision reflected his determination to keep the developments at the other site from hampering stabilization efforts at his plant.
Workers exposed to radiation or injured by the explosion were certain to be transported to Fukushima No. 2.
Masuda believed that he had to limit the radiation contamination inside his complex so as not to affect the workers’ efforts.
He told his subordinates to prepare a place away from the office building for the No. 1 workers. His decision was later criticized by some No. 1 workers, who said they felt they were treated “like garbage.”
An area to scrub away radiation contamination and an aid center were set up inside a facility next to the main gate. The plant’s gymnasium was also readied as a shelter for workers from No. 1.
By the night of March 12, everything was ready to receive the No. 1 workers. But Masuda noticed many of his own workers appeared anxious. To reassure them, he gathered them together and told them he would “make sure that you won’t end up with any health problems. Don’t worry……….

At one point Masuda asked for the head office to send 4,000 tons of water for the reactor-cooling operation. Instead, the office arranged to send a 4,000-liter water truck, possibly thinking that the request had been for drinking water.
When that happened, Masuda told his subordinates: “Don’t rely on others. Let’s do things by ourselves.”
A single misstep could have altered the fate of Fukushima No. 2. But the plant managed to keep the severity of the incident at level 3 on the international scale of nuclear accidents.
The crisis at Fukushima No. 1 was eventually rated at the maximum, level 7.
Source: Japan Times

September 11, 2014 Posted by | - Fukushima 2011 | Leave a comment

120,000 Fukushima nuclear evacuees still displaced, 3 years after

Fukushima nuclear disaster: three years on 120,000 evacuees remain uprooted

Japan’s 2011 plant meltdown has torn apart close families, leaving elderly relatives isolated and villages uninhabited  in Fukushima The Guardian, Thursday 11 September 2014  More than three years after Japan‘s Fukushima nuclear disaster more than 120,000 people from the region are living in nuclear limbo with once close-knit families forced to live apart.

Japan’s nuclear watchdog on Wednesday gave the green light for two nuclear reactors at Kyushu Electric Power’s Sendai plant in south-west Japan to restart, but communities are anxious over the safety aspects. The nuclear industry in Japan has been mothballed since the meltdown.

At a temporary housing complex in Fukushima prefecture one resident, Iiko Kanno, said she now spends her days reading, growing vegetables and counting the days until she is reunited with her grandchildren. As with many of her neighbours, Kanno’s family has been torn apart by the nuclear meltdown, which happened in March 2011…….

A survey conducted this year by the prefectural government found that almost half of the households forced to evacuate were living apart, while almost 70% had relatives suffering from physical and mental health problems.

  • Of the total, 48.9% of households said family members were living in two or more locations. Of that number, 58.6% said relatives who had once lived together had been scattered across three or more sites.

    In the same survey, 67.5% of households said they had relatives who were showing signs of physical or psychological distress. More than half of those afflicted said they had lost interest in activities they once enjoyed or that they had trouble sleeping.

    Kanno’s plight is typical of many Fukushima families who lived together in large rural homes before the disaster………

  • So far only a few hundred people from two districts on the eastern edge of the evacuation zone have been given permission to return permanently……
  • “The nuclear accident turned everything upside down,” she said. “Even if the evacuation order is lifted, no young people or children will go back. We have asked everyone – the village office, decontamination workers, environment ministry bureaucrats – when it will be safe to return. But no one can give us an answer.”

September 11, 2014 Posted by | Fukushima 2014, Japan, social effects | Leave a comment

USA Dept of Energy’s estimate of Fukushima radiation release “Not for Distribution, Internal Use Only

“Not for Distribution, Internal Use Only”: US Energy Dept. estimated Fukushima release up to 10,000 times larger than nuclear regulators predicted — ‘Supercore’ scenario an underestimate?

Ocean Plume Modeling for the Fukushima Daiichi Event
 (pdf) — US Dept. of Commerce, NOAA, National Weather Service, Sept. 2013:

Estimates of contamination

  • “Coastal releases ignored. According to TEPCO estimates, coastal releases are 1% of atmospheric… Not important for far-field estimates (i.e., exposure for US territories)”
  • “Scenarios used [are] NRC source scenario [and] DOE Supercore source scenario”
  • Regarding Cs-137 release estimates, “NRC and DOE differ by three orders of magnitude” [i.e. DOE estimate is 1,000 to 9,999 times more than NRC]
  • “Enormous uncertainty in total amount of contamination released at FDNPP”
  • “Differences between NRC &  DOE sources are crippling from a scientific perspective”
  • “DOE much too high at… JAMSTEC observation line 30km offshore [and] overestimates Cs-137 by order of magnitude [predicting a] maxima of around 100 Bq/L for Cs-137… JAMSTEC realistic contamination levels would be factor 10 smaller (10 Bq/L).”

Is DOE’s 100 Bq/L an ‘Overestimate’?

  • The above report by the federal government claims to use ‘realistic’ data from the JAMSTEC line (Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology) of 10 Bq/L for Cs-137. However, JAMSTEC measured a maxima of 186 Bq/L for Cs137 at 30km off the Fukushima coast — nearly double the DOE ‘overestimate’.
  • The Science Council of Japan: “Oceanic monitoring… identified that 100 Bq/L or more of 137Cs had been diffused to the north and south.”

DOE’s estimate based on the ‘supercore’ scenario came rather close to predicting actual Cs-137 levels observed in samples from the Pacific Ocean — if anything, it appears to be an underestimate.

The reactor conditions assumed in DOE’s ‘supercore’ scenario have been redacted from FOIA documents. However it’s likely that the ‘supercore’ was among the worst-case scenarios discussed by the US government. As reported by Echo News,  around 5 different worst-cases were in play — “I still won’t let anybody use the word ‘worst case’ in the room here because there’s about five worst cases.” -NRC’s Director of Nuclear Security & Incident Response

See also: “There is spent fuel and pellets and whatever all over the place around the plant” -NRC’s Top Man in Japan — Trying to clean it up, but dose still going to be incredible

September 11, 2014 Posted by | Fukushima 2014 | Leave a comment

Did Japan’s government use the dengue fever scare to stop anti-nuclear protest in park?

flag-japanNuclear Conspiracies And Pacific Radiation Activist Post, Richard Wilcox, PhD  September 10, 2014
“……….While speculation about controversial topics in the SNS sphere should be taken with a large grain of salt, there is a theory spin-media-nuclearthat the government has used the dengue scare to shut down Yoyogi Park in order to block what was supposed to be a “huge” September 27, anti-nuclear protest. Before you laugh and shout “conspiracy theory” (although you might be right in this case) read on.

Given that practically everything many Western (including Japan) governments say these days are lies, dutifully parroted by the Media, it does make one wonder. Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you. ……….
this year is Japan Prime Minister Shinzo “I Love Nukes & Military Spending” Abe’s big push to restart the country’s idling and costly nuclear reactors. The timing is interesting. Not only did Abe recently appoint a pro-nuclear woman to his cabinet (to soft peddle the cute and cuddly image of nuclear power) but it was recently announced that the first nuclear restart has been approved in Kagoshima prefecture in the far south of the country (2). This is despite the fact that “more than 60 percent of local governments that host or surround a nuclear power plant are cautious about restarting idled reactors even if they meet new safety guidelines” (3).

According to the dengue conspiracy theory, this year the government manipulated the data to make it look like the dengue cases were specifically emanating from the park. There is also a theory that the fevers are caused by the spraying of chemicals and pesticides in the area, that mimic the symptoms of dengue. The motive: Where a huge anti-nuclear demonstration was to occur on Sept. 27, in order to combat the push for reactor restarts — now the park has been CLOSED! The canceled anti-nuke event will muzzle the opposition and pave the way for nuclear restarts.

In the summer of 2012, tens of thousands, upwards of 100,000 demonstrators or more, gathered in just that park, Yoyogi Park, in order to protest the government’s nuclear policy (4).

Considering the anti-constitutional and dictatorial leanings of the Abe administration, it is not a ridiculous hypothesis to consider that The-Powers-That-Be took advantage of the dengue scare to manipulate data for furthering administration goals.

Of course the lapdog media is always on hand to play its role in furthering such myths, as happened in the granddaddy conspiracy of all time, the 911 “terror attacks” (5). Incredibly, the man who wrote his college thesis about the creation and maintenance of state myths is also the one man who was in charge of the 911 investigative committee (6; 7). That’s what we simple folks call putting the fox in charge of the henhouse.

The nuclear restarts are a big mistake in a country that is built on a plate of jiggling tofu, not to mention surrounded by a host of potentially vomitous volatile volcanoes (VVV). Japan’s scientists originally opposed introducing nuclear power because they thought it was not only impractical but dangerous, and they were right. Today, Japan could easily transition to solar and wind power and implement a multi-year plan to offset its reliance on nuclear power and fossil fuels (8; 9; 10). But the lack of political will, in part squelched by the inability of the opposition to build any momentum, allows the nuclear juggernaut to plunder onward. ………..

September 11, 2014 Posted by | Japan, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

On 11 March 2011 Fukushima nuclear workers were sure that they would die

Fukushima-aerial-viewHydrogen explosion left Fukushima No. 1 workers sure they would die  Fukushima Emergency what can we do ? Sep 10, 2014    FUKUSHIMA – This is the fourth in a series on the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe based on the accounts of people who struggled to contain the crisis in its early stages. Job titles and ages are as of March 2011.

Ground Self-Defense Force member Yuichi Sato was on a firetruck heading for the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant the day after it had been decimated by the March 11, 2011, tsunami — without being notified what his mission was.
That morning, the truck was in the town of Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, where the 22-year-old was born.
He was several kilometers from his destination, but the familiar sights were gone — the walls of houses had collapsed, road surfaces were buckled and the town looked deserted.
“It was like a ghost town,” said Sato, who was part of the GSDF’s artillery regiment based in the prefecture. “I thought everyone must have rushed to escape.”
The regiment’s firefighting unit had received orders the night before to go to the nuclear plant. His squad members thought their task was to prepare for the possibility of a fire, but Sato, even though he had been told since childhood that nuclear power is safe, felt something out of the ordinary was happening.
When they arrived at the plant gates at around 7 a.m. on March 12, he was greeted by an acquaintance who works for Tokyo Electric Power Co.
Sato wondered why the Tepco employee was wearing a mask. He didn’t know at the time that the radiation level at the site was rising because a meltdown was occurring in the No. 1 reactor due to the loss of its key cooling functions.
After entering the emergency response office building, the firefighting squad was finally told what to do.
At the time, Tepco was using a single fire engine to inject water into reactor 1, but every time the truck had to return to a storage tank to be refilled, it meant halting the flow of water being sprayed into the unit.
The SDF’s firetrucks were supposed to assist in the operation.
Inside the main control room for reactors 1 and 2, workers were demoralized and exhausted after an attempt to open valves to reduce the pressure in reactor 1 ended in failure because of high radiation levels inside the reactor building.
It was imperative to open the valves to prevent a rupture of the containment vessel……….

At the main control room for reactors 1 and 2, Izawa instructed others to wear full-face masks, though no one knew yet what had happened at this point.
“I later found it was a hydrogen explosion at the building, but at the time, I thought the reactor containment vessel itself had exploded,” said Mitsuyuki Ono, 51, who was also in the room. “I thought it was all over.”
There were some 40 reactor operators in the room, but everyone was exhausted after trying to do all they could to prevent the worst.
Izawa decided to stay along with the more experienced workers, and let the others evacuate.
The roughly 10 workers who remained included Izawa, Ono and 48-year-old Kazuhiro Yoshida, whom Ono had once worked with in operating the No. 1 reactor.
Ono was wondering how he could communicate to his family what he thought might be his final moments. If he wrote anything down on paper, it would probably be incinerated if there was an explosion.
“Why don’t we take a photo at the end,” Yoshida proposed cheerfully, as if he had read Ono’s mind. Everyone seemed to liven up.
The room, which was dark due to the loss of power, was lit up with flashing cameras.
Ono, having a picture taken with Yoshida by his side, a junior operator whom he trusted and liked the most, thought: “If the radiation level rises or hot steam comes into the control room, I will probably die. But someone will find the camera some day. Then this picture will be the witness to my life.”
Source: Japan Times

September 11, 2014 Posted by | - Fukushima 2011 | Leave a comment

Japan’s Nuclear Regulator stands firm on need to close reactor sited over earthquake fault

logo-EnformableRegulatory panel in Japan affirms decision that will force decommissioning of Tsuruga reactor, Enformable, Lucas W Hixson, 5 Sept 14 

On Thursday, a panel of experts organized by Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) determined that it will not change its 2013 judgment that an active geologic fault exists under the Unit 2 reactor at the Tsuruga nuclear power plant.

The determination means that the Japan Atomic Power Company (JAPC), the utility which operates the Tsuruga nuclear power plant, will be forced to decommission one of the two reactors at the nuclear site.

During the meeting, officials from the JAPC attempted to present new data, which they said challenged the decision made by NRA, but many experts at the meeting debated the validity and objective nature of the data and the ability of the new findings to support claims made by the utility.

After hearing the panel’s decision, the vice president of Japan Atomic Power demanded more discussion on the issue, but was rebuffed by NRA Commissioner Kunihiko Shimazaki who stated that “Enough scientific debates have been done.”…….

After NRA experts determined that the D-1 fault zone of pebbles and sediments under the Unit 2 reactor is an active fault in May 2013, the JAPC began actively working to change the regulator’s decision, and the meetings between the two parties have been known to be contentious.

The secretariat of the NRA has told reporters that it plans to file a protest with Japan Atomic Power Company over inappropriate and threatening remarks made by Hiroshima University professor Koji Okumura, who is affiliated with the utility……..

nuke-reactor-deadExperts estimate that the costs to decommission a reactor like the Unit 2 reactor at the Tsuruga nuclear site will cost in excess of $650 million.

September 6, 2014 Posted by | Japan, politics, safety | Leave a comment

Japan’s nuclear regulators pushing for permanent closure of aging reactors

nukes-sad-flag-japanAging Nuclear Reactors May Close in Japan  TOKYO (Reuters) 5 Sept 14 – Japan will push nuclear operators to draft plans to scrap a quarter of the country’s 48 reactors, which are either too old or too costly to upgrade to meet new standards imposed after the Fukushima disaster, the Nikkei reported on Friday.

The government is betting that by forcing older units considered more vulnerable to disaster to shut down it may gain public support to restart newer units, the Nikkei reported.

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September 6, 2014 Posted by | Japan, politics | Leave a comment

The one big hurdle to the India-Japan nuclear deal

The hurdles to this deal emanate from Japan’s insistence that no reprocessing of spent fuel would be done in India, and that in the event of a nuclear test by India, the components supplied would be immediately returned to Japan.

The nuclear thorn in India-Japan ties BHASKAR BALAKRISHNAN 5 SEPT  14 The recent visit to Japan by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has brought into focus the ongoing India-Japan negotiations on a civil nuclear agreement. This remains an item of unfinished business, though both sides have declared that it would be pursued with greater vigour. Exactly how important is this agreement in the context of India’s nuclear programme? What factors underlie the Japanese position? Continue reading

September 6, 2014 Posted by | India, Japan, politics international, Reference | Leave a comment


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