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Widespread dispersal of radioactive cesium as Fukushima debris is removed

Cesium-137Study: Cesium from Fukushima debris removal likely spread 50 km http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201407160064 July 16, 2014 By MIKI AOKI/ Staff Writer

Radioactive substances released during rubble-removal work at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant last year likely spread to areas nearly 50 kilometers away, according to a research team at Kyoto University.

The agriculture ministry earlier raised the likelihood that debris-removal operations on Aug. 19, 2013, led to cesium levels exceeding the safety standard detected in rice harvested more than 20 km from the plant.

Akio Koizumi, a health and environment science professor at Kyoto University’s Graduate School of Medicine, and four other scientists discovered that the wind likely carried the cesium more than twice that distance.

The researchers set up air sampling instruments at three points in residential areas of Fukushima Prefecture and have measured radioactive cesium concentrations every week since September 2012 to estimate residents’ exposure to radiation.

From samples collected between Aug. 15 and 22 last year, they found a reading of 1.28 millibecquerels per cubic meter at a location in Soma, 48 km northwest of the plant. That radioactivity level was more than six times higher than usual.

Radioactivity levels were 20 to 30 times higher than normal in Minami-Soma, 27 km north-northwest of the Fukushima plant. And there were almost no changes in cesium concentrations in Kawauchi, 22 km west-southwest of the plant, the researchers said.

Based on the wind’s speed and direction at the time, as well as size of the collected particles, Koizumi and his colleagues concluded that the radioactive cesium came from the Fukushima No. 1 plant as the result of the Aug. 19, 2013, clearance work at the No. 3 reactor.

The team also found that cesium levels at the measuring point in Minami-Soma surged in both May and June 2013. They attributed the increase to debris-clearing operations at the facility.

The research results indicate that future rubble removal at the nuclear plant could disperse radioactive materials over much broader areas surrounding the facility.

In March this year, the scientists presented their findings to the Environment Ministry. It has also been reported that the agriculture ministry instructed Tokyo Electric Power Co., operator of the nuclear plant, to take measures to prevent the release of radioactive substances in the debris-removal work at the site.

TEPCO currently plans to resume debris-removal efforts by the end of July, starting with the dismantling of a cover installed on the No. 1 reactor building, where highly contaminated rubble remains to be removed.

The utility acknowledged that the Aug. 19 operations released a maximum 4 trillion becquerels–more than 10,000 times the usual levels at the site–over four hours, and apologized to residents for “causing trouble.”

However, TEPCO argued that it is unclear whether the increase in cesium readings was related to debris-clearing work.

July 21, 2014 Posted by | environment, Fukushima 2014, Japan | Leave a comment

Criticism of nuclear power in Japan in a month’s public debate before nuclear restart is final

protestor-JapanRegulator greenlights reactor restarts in nuclear-weary Japan Rt July 16, 2014 Japan’s nuclear watchdog has given a preliminary safety approval for restarting two nuclear reactors at the Sendai plant. A month is given for opposition groups to make their case against the move before a final decision is taken.

The reactors at Sendai power plant in Kagoshima Prefecture are two of 19 which Japanese electric utilities seek to restart and have applied for permission from the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA)………

The regulator is bound to see criticism over the one-month public debate period. Even as it was prepared to release the report on Wednesday, a small groups of protesters shouting “Shame on you!” at the public meeting, with one demonstrator accusing the watchdog officials of being puppets of the nuclear industry.

Greenpeace criticized the approval, charging that NRA is “ignoring unresolved safety issues and rising public opposition.”

The Sendai plant has “no effective evacuation plan for the populations in the region, in particular for the elderly, children and those in hospital, no functioning emergency-response center protected against radiation,” the group said in a statement.

The regulator deflected the criticism from the environmental group, saying that evacuation plans are the responsibility of local governments rather than the NRA.

A petition against the planned restart of the Sendai reactors scored 30,000 signatures of residents in Ichikikushikino, a coastal town 5km from the facility. And a local assembly adopted a resolution calling for Sendai to be decommissioned rather than restarted.

In another example of opposition to Abe’s nuclear policies, a candidate backed by his Liberal Democratic Party lost Sunday election to anti-nuclear candidate for the position of Shiga prefecture governor. http://rt.com/news/173224-nuclear-reactor-restart-japan/

July 21, 2014 Posted by | Japan, politics | Leave a comment

USA soil still has radioactive material from Fukushima nuclear disaster

text-radiationFlag-USAFox: Fukushima radioactive material still being found in U.S. soil — Japan Gov’t: The disaster “posed radiation threat to human society”… In 4 days “detectable all across northern hemisphere” — Denmark: Fukushima clearly had widespread consequences, not limited to borders (VIDEOS) http://enenews.com/fox-fukushima-radioactive-material-found-arizona-soil-japan-govt-fukushima-release-posed-radiation-threat-human-society-detectable-all-across-northern-hemisphere-4-days-denmark-fukushima-widespr

Danish Emergency Management Agency’s Carsten Israelson, Nordic Nuclear Safety Research’s 2013 Fukushima seminar (at 4:15 in): The accident in Fukushima… clearly showed that there are consequences that are widespread, and is not limited to borders… Nuclear accidents do happen! Nuclear accidents will likely have widespread consequences – for all of us. >> Watch presentation hereNational Institute of Radiological Sciences (Japan), March 3, 2014: The Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (FDNPP) accident led to the release of large amounts of radionuclides into the environment. [...] The released radioactive materials posed radiation threat to human society. Thus, source identification of radioactive contamination and long-term environmental behavior of released radioactive materials are important issues of study after the FDNPP accident.

Japan Atomic Energy Agency & University of Tokyo, Apr. 10, 2014: By March 15, traces from the accident in Fukushima were detectable all across the northern hemisphere. By April 13, the associated radioactivity had spread to the southern hemisphere of the Asia-Pacific region and was clearly detectable at CTBT IMS stations located in Australia, Fiji, Malaysia, and Papua New Guinea.

Fox 10 News — Phoenix, AZ, July 15, 2014: [Aubrey Godwin, director of Arizona Radiation Regulatory Agency] says radioactive material can still be found in Arizona soil from nuclear weapons testing in the 50′s and from Fukushima’s nuclear disaster in 2011. Despite that Godwin says there is no health concern.

Watch the Fox 10 broadcast here

July 21, 2014 Posted by | environment, Fukushima 2014, USA | Leave a comment

Tokyo in danger from Fukushima radiation, says Japanese doctor

radiation-warningflag-japanJapan Doctor: “Tokyo should no longer be inhabited” — Everyone here is a victim of Fukushima — People truly suffering — Bleeding under skin, urinary hemorrhaging — Children’s blood tests started changing last year — Time running short… up to physicians to save our citizens and future generations http://enenews.com/japan-doctor-tokyo-longer-be-inhabited-everyone-living-victim-fukushima-disaster-began-notice-childrens-blood-test-results-around-mid-2013-time-running-short-physicians-save-citizens-future-g?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ENENews+%28Energy+News%29

Dr. Shigeru Mita’s essay published in the newsletter of Association of Doctors in Kodaira (Tokyo)
, translated by WNSCR, July 16, 2014: Why did I leave Tokyo? To my fellow doctors, I closed the clinic in March 2014, which had served the community of Kodaira for more than 50 years, since my father’s generation, and I have started a new Mita clinic in Okayama-city on April 21. [...] It is clear that Eastern Japan and Metropolitan Tokyo have been contaminated with radiation [...] contamination in the east part [of Tokyo] is 1000-4000 Bq/kg and the west part is 300-1000 Bq/kg. [...] 0.5-1.5 Bq/kg before 2011. [...] Tokyo should no longer be inhabited [...] Contamination in Tokyo is progressing, and further worsened by urban radiation concentration [...] radiation levels on the riverbeds [...] in Tokyo have increased drastically in the last 1-2 years. [...] Ever since 3.11, everybody living in Eastern Japan including Tokyo is a victim, and everybody is involved. [...] The keyword here is “long-term low-level internal irradiation.” This differs greatly from medical irradiation or simple external exposure to radiation. [...] People are truly suffering from this utter lack of support. [...] If the power to save our citizens and future generations exists somewhere, it [is] in the hands of individual clinical doctors ourselves. [...] Residents of Tokyo are unfortunately not in the position to pity the affected regions of Tohoku because they are victims themselves. Time is running short. [...]

Dr. Mita on patient symptoms since 2011: White blood cells, especially neutrophils, are decreasing among children [...] Patients report nosebleed, hair loss, lack of energy, subcutaneous bleeding, visible urinary hemorrhage, skin inflammations [...] we began to notice changes in children’s blood test results around mid-2013 [...] Other concerns I have include symptoms reported by general patients, such as persistent asthma and sinusitis [...] high occurrences of rheumatic polymyalgia [...] Changes are also noticeable in the manifestation of contagious diseases such as influenza, hand-foot-and-mouth disease and shingles. [...]

See also: Japan Physician: I hope adults will leave Tokyo, not just children — Strange things happening — Medications don’t seem to work — Rare diseases increasing dramatically (VIDEO)

And: Japan Physician: Parents should evacuate children from Tokyo; Danger from Fukushima radiation — “The threat has seemed to be spreading” — “I’ve seen a lot of patients badly affected”

July 19, 2014 Posted by | environment, Japan | 1 Comment

Problem of the Fukushima ice wall against radioactive leaking – it doesn’t work

ice-wall-FukushimaFukushima ‘ice wall’ can’t get cold enough to stop radioactive water flow  Dr Leonard Coldwell  Jul 09, 2014 A Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) project to freeze radioactive water to prevent it from further contaminating surrounding areas and the Pacific Ocean has hit a major snag: the water won’t freeze. ……. Not freezing, and behind schedule

Recently, TEPCO launched two related programs to contain existing contamination and limit the flow of new water into the contaminated area. Both consist of digging trenches for pipes, then filling the pipes with an aqueous solution of calcium chloride cooled to -30°C (-22°F). The goal of the first, smaller project is to freeze 11,000 metric tons of radioactive water that has pooled beneath two of the failed reactors.

This project is widely seen as a pilot project for the much larger, more ambitious plan to use pipes to actually freeze the soil and create a 1.4 km (0.9 mile) “ice wall” to prevent more groundwater from infiltrating down into the underground reactors and becoming radioactive.

But on June 17, TEPCO announced that even the smaller project was having difficulties.

“We have yet to form an ice plug because we can’t get the temperature low enough to freeze the water,” a company spokesperson said.

The company also said that fluctuating water levels were making it difficult for the water to actually freeze.

“We are behind schedule, but have already taken additional measures, including putting in more pipes, so that we can remove contaminated water from the trench starting next month,” the spokesperson said.

Cleanup plagued with gaffes and errors………. http://drleonardcoldwell.com/2014/07/09/fukushima-ice-wall-cant-get-cold-enough-to-stop-radioactive-water-flow/

July 19, 2014 Posted by | Fukushima 2014 | Leave a comment

Tokyo protesters say”NO” to restart of nuclear reactors

protestor-JapanAnti-nuclear protesters say “no” to possible reactor restart, Channel News Asia By Japan Bureau Chief Michiyo Ishida 17 July 14 Protesters have gathered in central Tokyo to demonstrate against a decision by Japan’s nuclear watchdog to push ahead with plans to consider restarting a nuclear plant, which it now considers safe. TOKYO: Protesters have gathered in central Tokyo to demonstrate against a decision by Japan’s nuclear watchdog to push ahead with plans to consider restarting a nuclear plant, which it now considers safe.

Shinzo Abe’s government has been pushing to bring reactors back online, after introducing tougher regulations on the industry last year. However, it faces determined opposition from concerned residents.

Protesters in Tokyo surrounded the building where the Nuclear Regulation Authority has its office, calling for the NRA to drop the plan to give the green light for the Sendai nuclear plant in Kyushu to consider the restart of its nuclear reactors.

Kyushu — Japan’s third largest island — has suffered heavily from power shortages. But steps still need to be taken for Sendai to officially restart.

The most difficult hurdle — to gain the approval of residents. Those opposed to the restart question the vulnerability of the plant’s location as it is surrounded by active volcanoes.

One of the protesters said: “We don’t think any of them should be restarted. It’s not about debating what figures indicate their safety.”……..This type of protest however, is not expected to be a one-off event, with 19 nuclear plants having applied to the NRA for a possible restart. http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/asiapacific/anti-nuclear-protesters/1267526.html

July 17, 2014 Posted by | Japan, opposition to nuclear | Leave a comment

Fukushima nuclear plant now a radioactive swamp

Japan Nuclear Prof.: Fukushima plant now a ‘swamp of radioactive material’ — Can’t stop pumping in more water because they don’t know where melted fuel went — Build roof over entire site? — Asahi: Continued presence of water threatens construction of ice wall around reactors   http://enenews.com/japan-nuclear-prof-fukushima-plant-is-now-a-swamp-of-radioactive-material-cant-stop-pumping-in-more-water-because-tepco-doesnt-know-where-melted-fuel-went-build-roof-over-entire-site-t?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&

text-Fukushima-2014

Interview with Professor Hiroaki Koide, Kyoto University Reactor Research Institute, translated by Fukushima Diary, July 13, 2014: Fukushima plant is now like a swamp of radioactive material due to the contaminated water [...] Tepco should quit cooling with water since one year ago. However from Tepco’s assumption, it is impossible to shift to air cooling because they can’t identify the exact locations of molten fuel.

More from interview with Professor Koide,translated by Google: I think of that accident of Fukushima [...] the human race has been encountered for the first time [...] Rather than the cooling in the water, shouldswitch as soon as possible to the cooling method of another I think. [...] I thought the most part rain is falling on the site [...] so, I cut off the rain. In other words, it is such as paving the entire site. I think I think in some cases, that I would build a roof on the entire site [...] in the premises of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, but is in a state such as the swamp of radioactivity [...]

Asahi Shimbun, July 9, 2014: 11,000 tons of contaminated water [are in] underground trenches connected to the No. 2 and No. 3 reactor turbine buildings. [...] contaminated water began seeping into them after the onset of the March 2011 nuclear crisis. If the contaminated water is not removed from the trenches, it could eventually leak out. The Nuclear Regulation Authority instructed TEPCO to promptly remove the water, calling it the “most serious source of concern.” [...] But TEPCO officials said the ice walls failed to form because of the constant flow of a maximum 2 milliliters of water per minute around the connecting points. Toyoshi Fuketa, an NRA commissioner, has instructed TEPCO to come up with steps to resolve the matter by the end of July, arguing that the frozen walls should be able to withstand certain levels of water flow under normal circumstances. The continued presence of water threatens to prevent the creation of outer frozen soil walls encircling the No. 1 through No. 4 reactors, which are a central part of TEPCO’s plans to reduce the amount of contaminated water at the plant.

Full interview with Prof. Koide available here (Japanese only)

July 16, 2014 Posted by | Fukushima 2014 | Leave a comment

Japan’s legal void. Nobody has authority to order restart of nuclear reactors

 text-who-me1Decider Hard to Find in Japan Nuclear Restarts http://blogs.wsj.com/japanrealtime/2014/07/15/decider-hard-to-find-in-japan-nuclear-restarts/ Back in Japan’s feudal days, commoners would protest from time to time over burdens such as heavy taxes or forced labor. Samurai overlords might grant relief but would typically kill the protest ringleader.

To avoid that consequence, the commoners developed the idea of the “umbrella covenant”: Those who joined the protest signed their names in a circle resembling an open umbrella, making it hard to tell who signed first.

The situation over Japan’s nuclear restarts brings to mind that history, taught in Japanese grade schools, because it’s hard to tell who is the ringleader in bringing the nation’s 48 nuclear reactors back online.

As we reported today, the Nuclear Regulation Authority is set to say Wednesday that two Kyushu Electric Power Co. reactors in Satsuma-Sendai, Kagoshima prefecture, have complied with tougher post-Fukushima safety regulations.

The regulator says it is merely checking compliance with regulations, not verifying the complete safety of the reactors. Members of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s cabinet say they defer to the regulator when it comes to verifying safety. Leaders in Satsuma-Sendai say the city needs the central government’s approval before agreeing to restarts.

“The decision is too big. They are afraid of being responsible,” said Miwa Kiwaki, a volunteer helping a civil group in the Fukushima prefecture that has been petitioning the central government for criminal prosecution of those responsible for the Fukushima accident.

“The problem is nobody in Japan has any legal authority to enforce nuclear-power operations. Mr. Abe has to do something about the legal void if he thinks nuclear power is necessary,” said Junji Annen, a professor at Chuo University and the head of a government panel that discusses electricity prices.

Industrial electricity users say they hope for action soon to bring down power prices, which have risen because the nation is importing fuel to replace nuclear power. “A number of companies have already closed down, gone bankrupt, or decided to go overseas and cut staff,” 11 associations of manufacturers said in a joint statement in late May.

July 16, 2014 Posted by | Japan, politics | Leave a comment

Japan should not be hosting 2020 Olympics

Why Japan should resign as host of 2020 Summer Olympics OpEdNews  7/15/2014
By  (about the author)  In September 2013, the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) met in Buenos Aires to elect a host city for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games. Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe assured the IOC that “the situation [at Fukushima Daiichi] is under control”, and convinced them to hold the Games in Tokyo.

Abe was lying. Unforunately, the site is nowhere near “under control.” Fukushima Daiichi, the nuclear reactor complex damaged by the earthquake/tsunami of March 2011, continues to spew forth radioactivity today. The groundwater, which connects with the Tokyo aquifer, picks up unacceptable levels of radiation from the molten reactor cores. There are radioactive hot spots all over northern Japan, including in Tokyo. The practice field for athletes is only 20 kilometers from the Fukushima Daiichi. If the 2020 Olympics do take place in Tokyo, Japan will be exposing the world’s finest young athletes to potentially harmful soil and water.

Siting the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo involves a huge risk. There are so many things that can still go wrong at Fukushima Daiichi over the next 6 years, that one wonders why the IOC was willing to go along with the obvious lies told by Abe-san. The answer is also obvious- the world economy and current political makeup depends on Japan’s stability, as Japan has the third largest economy on the planet, and is the linchpin of US policy in the Far East. Moreover, the powers that be are heavily invested in nuclear power, and want it to appear safe. The Olympic decision is meant to reassure everyone that Japan is fine and nuclear power is not to be feared, so as to maintain the status quo.

There is a systematic pattern of lying and coverup about conditions at Fukushima Daiichi.

Japan-Olympics-fear

 Occasionally we hear that readings were wrong and there is 1000x as much radiation in the groundwater as we were told. Respected national and international groups such as the World Health Organization assure us that there are no deaths or cancer increases from the accident. This, despite the 80 cases of childhood thyroid cancer in the area after only three years, and despite the sick American sailors who were first responders, and despite the many people with nosebleeds, cancers, etc. Japan has a law prohibiting doctors from reporting radiation related diseases. And people who report radiation problems are likely to be prosecuted under the new security law.

So many things can go wrong at Fukushima Daiichi! There’s a 400 foot tower, damaged, that could fall at any time, and is too radioactive to approach and repair. Another huge earthquake, tsunami, typhoon, could destabilize any one of the damaged reactor buildings, topple a spent fuel pool, lead to another explosion. The precarious process of removing damaged rods from the spent fuel pools could fail, leading to an unquenchable nuclear fire. The underground melted cores from reactors 1, 2 or 3 could reach a critical mass. The ground could settle and cause the buildings to fall. Etc., etc, etc. Any of these mishaps could force workers to abandon the site, so that the cooling would stop and the complex would spread radiation over a wide portion of Japan, including Tokyo. If any of these things happen, the Olympics will have to be moved, when there is too little time to build a new complex somewhere else.

On April 1 st , 2014, a new management team was put in place, devoted to decommissioning and decontaminating the plant. It’s telling that it took Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) 3 years to make such an obvious move. One can only speculate that a combination of denial, corruption, and stupidity prevented this necessary reorganization. http://www.opednews.com/articles/Why-Japan-should-resign-as-by-carol-wolman-MD-Fukushima_Lying_Olympics_Radiation-140715-303.html

July 16, 2014 Posted by | Japan, safety | Leave a comment

Japan’s consumers to be rewarded for reducing use of electricity

flag-japanKepco to pay customers to switch off in effort to reduce demand Ft.com 15 July 14 By Jonathan Soble in Tokyo  On hot days this summer, some Japanese electricity customers will begin receiving an unusual offer from their energy supplier: a de facto bribe to get them out of the house and away from their air conditioners.

Kansai Electric Power, a utility in western Japan that is struggling to meet demand as a result of the post-Fukushima shutdown of nuclear plants across the country, has announced the experimental reward programme for about 800,000 customers whose homes are equipped with smart meters that monitor usage.

energy-efficiency
Utilities worldwide have long used financial incentives to induce customers to spread electricity consumption more evenly throughout the day, typically by charging different rates for daytime and night-time use. But Kepco, as the company is known, is taking the idea a step further: it plans to pay customers not to use electricity during peak daytime hours……….

Utilities have avoided outages thanks to nationwide power-saving campaigns – many office air conditioners are set to a far from chilly 28C – but supply is tight nonetheless……….in the aftermath of Fukushima much of the public remains wary of restarting plants: polls show a majority favour eliminating nuclear power for good. http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/5670af9e-0b22-11e4-9e55-00144feabdc0.html#axzz37ghBiVwG

July 16, 2014 Posted by | ENERGY, Japan | Leave a comment

Doubtful that Japan’s nuclear reactors will restart, even with safety clearance

flag-japanSafety Clearance for Japan Reactors Won’t Guarantee Restarts WSJ, By MARI IWATA  July 14, 2014 Gaining Local Approval Could Be Stumbling Block TOKYO—A victory by an antinuclear candidate in a local election points to the difficulty of restarting Japan’s nuclear reactors, all 48 of which are currently offline until they can pass new safety standards and gain local approval for restarting.

The nation’s nuclear regulator said Monday it was planning to release its review of two reactors in southern Japan’s Kagoshima prefecture on Wednesday, an indication of progress in efforts to get nuclear power in Japan back in operation. People on both sides of the nuclear debate have said the two reactors are likely to pass the technical review. But even then, the two units face local opposition and aren’t certain to restart soon. Japan’s other reactors likely face longer waits.

The election of antinuclear candidate Taizo Mikazuki as governor of Shiga prefecture on Sunday is a reminder of the continuing opposition to nuclear restarts in many areas bordering regions that host nuclear plants. Shiga prefecture is located next to Fukui prefecture, home to more than a dozen nuclear reactors. Mr. Mikazuki defeated a candidate backed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and succeeds an incumbent with antinuclear views who had insisted on having a say about restarting the Fukui reactors………..the government would continue to back restarts of nuclear reactors deemed safe by the nation’s Nuclear Regulation Authority.

The regulator, however, has said its decisions shouldn’t be treated as authoritative proof of safety……….

Some towns near the Kagoshima reactors have expressed concern about restarts. In one city within 30 kilometers (about 19 miles) of the two units, more than half of the approximately 30,000 residents signed a petition seeking to keep the units closed until better evacuation plans are adopted. The city council of another nearby city on Friday passed a motion objecting to restarts of the units.

Junji Annen, a professor at Chuo University and the head of a government panel that discusses electricity prices, said the current approval system is likely to produce gridlock since no single entity is in charge of pressing the nuclear-restart button. “The problem is nobody in Japan has any legal authority to enforce nuclear-power operations. Mr. Abe has to do something about the legal void if he thinks nuclear power is necessary,” Mr. Annen said.

The prime minister may hesitate to get heavily involved in decisions to restart nuclear reactors because his approval ratings have fallen recently after his unpopular decision to expand the potential role of Japanese military in international conflicts……….

In a poll by Jiji Press in early June, 51% of respondents supported Mr. Abe’s cabinet, but 52% said they were against restarting nuclear-power plants even if they were approved by the NRA.

—Toko Sekiguchi contributed to this article.http://online.wsj.com/articles/safety-clearance-for-japan-reactors-wont-guarantee-restarts-1405340244

July 16, 2014 Posted by | Japan, safety | Leave a comment

Fukushima’s ice wall – a hazardous and dubious operation

ice-wall-FukushimaDoubts over ice wall to keep Fukushima safe from damaged nuclear reactors Frozen barrier, costing £185m, being built around Fukushima Daiichi’s four damaged reactors to contain irradiated water The Guardian, Monday 14 July 2014 “…..f all goes to plan, by next March Fukushima Daiichi’s four damaged reactors will be surrounded by an underground frozen wall that will be a barrier between highly toxic water used to cool melted fuel inside reactor basements and clean groundwater flowing in from surrounding hills.

Up to 400 tonnes of groundwater that flows into the basements each day must be pumped out, stored and treated – and on-site storage is edging closer to capacity. Decommissioning the plant will be impossible until its operator, Tokyo Electric Power [Tepco] addresses the water crisis.

Last month workers from Tepco and the construction firm Kajima Corp began inserting 1,550 pipes 33 metres vertically into the ground to form a rectangular cordon around the reactors. Coolant set at -30C will be fed into the pipes, eventually freezing the surrounding earth to create an impermeable barrier.

“We started work a month ago and have installed more than 100 pipes, so it is all going according to plan to meet our deadline,” Tadafumi Asamura, a Kajima manager who is supervising the ice wall construction, said as workers braved rain, humidity and radiation to bore holes in the ground outside reactor No 4, scene of one of three hydrogen explosions at the plant in the early days of the crisis.

But sealing off the four reactors – three of which melted down in the March 2011 disaster – is costly and not without risks. The 32bn-yen (£185m) wall will be built with technology that has never been used on such a large scale.

“I’m not convinced the freeze wall is the best option,” Dale Klein, former head of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission and a senior adviser to Tepco, recently told Kyodo News. “What I’m concerned about is unintended consequences. Where does that water go and what are the consequences of that? I think they need more testing and more analysis.”

The 1,500-metre wall will stay in use until 2020, using enough electricity every year to power 13,000 households, according to officials.
Over the next eight months, 360 workers from Tepco and Kajima will work in rotating shifts of up to four hours a day, with each shift beginning in the early evening to combat heat exhaustion. Each worker is wrapped in hazardous materials suits and full-face masks, along with tungsten-lined rubber torso bibs for added protection against radiation.Tepco’s record of mishaps in the three years since Fukushima Daiichi suffered a triple meltdown suggests the wall project will not be trouble free. The firm has had problems freezing irradiated water – using the same method being used to build the underground wall – that has accumulated in underground trenches, raising concerns that the ice technology is flawed…….http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jul/13/doubts-giant-ice-wall-fukushima-nuclear-reactors

July 14, 2014 Posted by | Fukushima 2014, Japan, technology | Leave a comment

Fukushima radioactive releases – Cesium 137 onto the Pacific Ocean

Pacific-Ocean-drainTV: Fukushima radioactive releases into ocean can continue thousands of more years, says nuclear expert — Japan gov’t concerned with tracking radioactive waste in Pacific as it returns to Fukushima from U.S. West Coast after several decades (VIDEOhttp://enenews.com/tv-radioactive-releases-pacific-thousands-years-fukushima-melted-fuel-be-removed-nuclear-expert-japan-govt-concerned-radioactive-waste-ocean-coming-fukushima-several-decades-after-being-west-coast?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ENENews+%28Energy+News%29

American Chemical Society — Environmental Science & Technology (pdf),Apr. 29, 2014 (emphasis added): 135Cs/137Cs Isotopic Ratio as a New Tracer of Radiocesium Released from the Fukushima Nuclear Accident [...] many important issues with respect to its atmospheric transport, deposition processes, and distributions in terrestrial and marine environments remain to be investigated. It has been estimated that ∼80% of the atmospherically released 137Cs was deposited in the western North Pacific Ocean, in addition to [...] 137Cs directly discharged into the ocean [...] continuous input of 137Cs into the ocean due to river runoff of the 137Cs deposited in heavily contaminated Fukushima forest soil can be expected. Recent studies have revealed the start of the transport of the Fukushima accident-sourced 137Cs into the ocean interior [...] it is predicted that in 30 years the Fukushima accident-derived 137Cs will come back to the ocean surface in the western North Pacific Ocean off the Fukushima coast through its transport by the Kuroshio current. Thus, to understand the environmental behavior and the fate of Fukushima accident-sourced radionuclides in the environment, a powerful Cs tracer is strongly required, because the currently widely used 134Cs/137Cs activity ratio tracer will become unavailable in several years because of the rapid decay of 134Cs [...] 135Cs has a half-life of 2 × 10^6 [2.3 million] years; therefore, we are confident that the 135Cs/137Cs isotopic ratio can be considered as a new powerful tracer for long-term source identification and environmental behavior studies. [...] This study was supported [...] partially by the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), Japan [7 of study's 8 authors are from Japan's National Institute of Radiological Sciences]

Nuclear analyst John Large, July 9, 2014: The cores remain active for hundreds, if not thousands, of years, so there’s a commitment to keep either the ice wall technology in place or to replace it with an alternate technology by some future generation. […] Water is coming off the escarpment above the three reactors, it’s then percolating through the ground — there’s hydrostatic pressures pushing the water up toward the sea level — it’s then collecting the fission products and radioactive products from the melted-down cores and taken out to sea. […] What I think they should now have a plan to tackle the root cause… How do you control, manage and eventually remove the reactor cores? […] If the reactor cores remain in there, it’s going to be a constant leachate (water that percolates through a solid and leaches out some of the constituents) of radioactivity.

Watch the interview with Large here

July 14, 2014 Posted by | Fukushima 2014, Japan, oceans | Leave a comment

Radiation causing mysterious disease in cows in Fukushima prefecture

Japanese cows develop skin spots, mysterious disease; farmers fear radiation affecting humans, too   http://www.naturalnews.com/045890_fukushima_cows_radiation_poisoning.html#ixzz37JFiFmJf  Monday, July 07, 2014 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer  (NaturalNews) Livestock with strange white spots covering their skin were put on display at a recent protest in front of Tokyo’s agriculture ministry, according to the Associated Press (AP). Two Japanese farmers, disturbed by the unusual markings, are calling on government officials to conduct a real investigation into what they believe is radiation poisoning from the shuttered Fukushima nuclear plant.

The damage is affecting hundreds of animals on farms near the plant, barring the sale of milk and meat due to safety concerns. And the Japanese government, say the farmers, has glossed over the problem by failing to properly investigate it and come up with an explanation, all the while pretending as though nothing is wrong.

“Our cows cannot be shipped as meat,” lamented Masami Yoshizawa, one of the farm’s organizers, before media and the public in Tokyo. “They are evidence of lives affected by radiation.”

Fukushima-cow-white-spots
Yoshizawa and fellow farmer Naoto Matsumara trucked it down to Tokyo together, bringing with them a black bull bearing the white spots. When they arrived in front of the ministry office, local police attempted to block the duo from bringing it onto the street so everyone could see it, claiming that the animal might be dangerous. But the farmers were ultimately successful in gaining the public’s attention, expressing vocal outrage over the loss of their farms, produce, and ultimately their livelihoods. In the aftermath of Fukushima, the Japanese government has taken a largely hands-off approach, siding with the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) in minimizing the damage caused by a large earthquake and tsunami that struck the facility back in 2011.
“What if this started happening to people?” asked Matsumara, expressing concerns about the human impacts of Fukushima radiation. “We have to examine the cause of this and let people know what happened to these animals.”

Japanese government needs to take Fukushima radiation more seriously

According to the AP, Matsumara and Yoshizawa want the government to be more proactive in determining the cause of the white spots. They are also calling for an end to the culling of abandoned livestock, as well as the burning of radiation-contaminated vegetation that farmers need in order to keep feeding the suffering animals.

“The ministry told us they don’t know what is causing the spots,” added Yoshizawa. “Well, they need to do more research and figure it out. They can’t just run away, saying they don’t know.”

Despite making calls through a megaphone for Yoshimasa Hayashi, Tokyo’s farm minister, to come down in person to see the animal, Yoshizawa was unsuccessful in convincing anyone from the agency to make an appearance. The two farmers were, however, given access to the ministry’s reception desk, where they presented a written appeal for action.

In the interim, feral animals continue to run wild in the evacuation zone surrounding Fukushima. And the more than 100,000 “nuclear evacuees” who escaped the area after the disaster have largely resettled elsewhere, leaving nearby towns virtually abandoned.

“Discarded towns, discarded evacuees,” rattled an unsettled Yoshizawa. “The cattle and people are still living. We cannot remain silent.”

July 12, 2014 Posted by | Fukushima 2014 | Leave a comment

The Yoshida Testimony – report on Fukushima nuclear accident as told by former plant manager

Fukushima-molten-coreshighly-recommendedThe Yoshida Testimony. The Fukushima Nuclear accident as told by plant manager Masao Yoshida http://www.asahi.com/special/yoshida_report/en/   12 July 14

Prologue

The Asahi Shimbun has recently obtained a copy of the transcripts of testimony given before a government investigation panel by Masao Yoshida, who served as general manager of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant when it succumbed to a Level 7 disaster, the highest on the International Nuclear Events Scale, following the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011.

The document remains the only available official transcript of the testimony by Yoshida, the on-site commander of efforts to bring the situation under control, who died in July 2013 without having disclosed much to media organizations about the accident at the plant, operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co.

The transcript, not to be released publicly at Yoshida’s request, was gathering dust in government offices.

28 hours, 400 pages

The Yoshida testimony report comprises seven parts and contains about 500,000 characters in total. It is printed on more than 400 pages of A4-size paper.

Eleven of the 13 interview sessions with Yoshida were conducted at a Japan Football Association Academy meeting room at the J-Village soccer training facility, 20 kilometers south of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant. The remaining two sessions took place in a quake-proof control center building, Yoshida’s workplace, at the Fukushima No. 1 plant.

The government’s Investigation Committee on the Accident at the Fukushima Nuclear Power Stations of Tokyo Electric Power Co. interviewed 772 individuals over a total of 1,479 hours. The Yoshida testimony was compiled during that process.

While an interviewee was only questioned for slightly less than two hours on average, Yoshida was interviewed for more than 28 hours, and was asked to respond on how he acted and what he thought at decisive moments. Yotaro Hatamura, chairman of the investigation panel, called the Yoshida testimony “invaluable historic material” because it is Yoshida’s only available official transcript.

Anger, Angst, Sense

In the Yoshida testimony, he is not only telling his side of the story………..

Multiple disaster of unprecedented scale

The Fukushima nuclear disaster, which involved more than one reactor stricken simultaneously, was a multiple disaster that humankind had never experienced……..

Were lessons learned?

Unfortunately, the government investigation panel’s final report failed to discuss and review the actions and judgments made by individuals who were leading concerned organizations at the time–the prime minister, industry minister, director-general of the now-defunct Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, chairman of the NSC, president of TEPCO and general manager of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, although it is up to people to stop nuclear plants from running amok and up to people to save residents from nuclear damage.

Although the panel interviewed as many as 772 individuals involved, it failed to dig deep into essential aspects of the disaster because it made it a stated policy that it would not pursue the responsibility of individuals.

It is not too much to say that the government and power utilities are eagerly working toward preparing for restarts of nuclear reactors by adding height to seawalls, installing filter vents and reinforcing other facility components because the government investigation panel limited its analysis and reviews only to phenomenal aspects of the tragedy.

Voices of those who fought the unprecedented nuclear disaster should be engraved in history. History is humankind’s common property.

“I would like you to attend our hearing in the understanding that what you are going to tell us could be published almost in their original form,” a member of the government investigation panel told Yoshida during the first interview session. The Asahi Shimbun notes that Yoshida replied promptly, “That is OK.”

The government later released a written request by Yoshida that his interviews not be publicly disclosed.http://www.asahi.com/special/yoshida_report/en/

Reports in nine installments

This is an English translation of serial feature stories on the Yoshida testimony report that began running online on The Asahi Shimbun Digital on May 20.

The series focuses on the part of human action and judgments, which the government investigation panel questioned Yoshida about but seldom mentioned in its report, and addresses three issues: who is there to halt nuclear reactors; if residents can be evacuated; and if humans can stop a crisis.

In analyzing and reviewing the Yoshida testimony report, The Asahi Shimbun perused TEPCO’s teleconference records, a time-series table of events and TEPCO’s other in-house documents obtained from sources. The newspaper’s reporters also interviewed concerned parties.

July 12, 2014 Posted by | Fukushima 2014 | 1 Comment

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